When I went to seminary I was taught the proper definition of expository preaching. I had to memorize it. However, for this post, I simply cut and paste it from the notes. (And don’t worry, I will not make you memorize this.)
EXPOSITORY PREACHING IS THE COMMUNICATION OF A BIBLICAL PROPOSITION DISCOVERED FROM A SPIRIT-DIRECTED EXEGETICAL/THEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF A TEXT AND APPLIED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH A PREACHER INTO A SPECIFIC AUDIENCE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.
That’s it. Preach it like that and you’re good. But many say, “Don’t take people where you haven’t been.” The only problem is when I read passages like this past Sunday (Luke 9:57-62) I wonder how well I have applied it. This series has been on my heart for quite some time, and yesterday was the first of four passages where Jesus says things that are not the most comfortable for comfortable people.
Even as I prepare for the series I get nervous. Even while I preach it I am nervous. Jesus did not equivocate on things I wish he would’ve. He spoke very clearly—too clearly, in my opinion—about following him. But I think this series is necessary for us, and here is why. . .
- We need to remember discipleship is a call to die: Jesus did say “Come to me all you who are weary . . . and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He wanted people to find comfort in him. I want people to find comfort in him. That doesn’t mean he is comfortable in our sense of the word. It means comforted (as in: comforted in our suffering [2 Cor. 1:3-4]). Following Jesus is the death of ourselves (Gal. 2:20) and new life in Christ (Col. 3:3).
- Our churches (read: I) make exceptions where there are none: This is where the Yeahbuts and the Reallymeans come in. “Yeah, but what Jesus REALLY meant was . . . .” I find myself trying to think about how to make following Jesus more palatable for people. The problem is that it isn’t palatable; it transforms us. Jesus expects our life and devotion. The cost is high and glorious.
I’d love to add a third point but I don’t think this really needs one. Jesus said true things. He never minced words and he needn’t call any mulligans on his phrases. Every word mattered and still matters. It rings more clearly than the clearest bell and carries more force than an atomic bomb.
My prayer for our series has been and continues to be that we allow ourselves to be bothered by these statements and come to resolution on them. That’s what I hope for myself and family as well. I’m glad you’re with us for it.