There should not be any doubt that I am a strong advocate of expositional preaching and holding the Bible in the highest esteem. God’s Word has a mysterious power to cause godly change. Therefore, a godly church is formed by it. The opposite is also true. An ungodly church, one that is marked by jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder, and other evils (Ja. 3:16), could very well indicate that the preaching is not expositional and the Bible is not held in high esteem. In his letter to Titus, Paul wrote that if he expects holy living he will need to teach holy doctrine (Titus 1-2). This is the idea.
To me, this reasoning is quite easy to understand. The power belongs to the Lord. When He speaks, things happen. Lives are transformed. Hearts are renewed. Behavior is cleaned. Minds are purified. Wills are edified. If you take His voice away, you take the power away and with it, the godly happenings. The same is true if you quiet His voice or lessen His speaking.
How can we do this? Very easily. We preach our own agendas, our own messages, our own words, our own wisdom. We use the Bible to reinforce our own voice rather than His. The effects are devastating and eternal. In fact, here is a blurb from one pastor who I think sums it up better than I could ever. (I added emphasis where appropriate.)
The Lord expresses His rule in His church insofar as the Scripture is preached, explained, applied, and obeyed. To diminish the dominating role of Scripture in the life of the church is to treat the Lord of the church as if His revelation were optional. It is nothing short of mutiny. And the seriousness of such revolt cannot be comprehended. Nonbiblical ministry, non-expository preaching, and non-doctrinal teaching usurp Christ’s headship, silencing His voice to His sheep. That kind of devastating approach steals the mind of Christ away from the body of Christ, builds indifference toward His Word, and quenches the work of His Spirit. It removes protection from error and sin, eliminates transcendence and clarity, cripples worship, and sows seeds of compromise. It deflects the honor due to the true head of the church, and the Lord does not take kindly to those who would steal His glory.1
The way we handle and present God’s word to our people indicates the rule the God has over us. The more His voice is heard, the more rule He exercises, the more power is used, and the more holy we become.
- MacArthur, John. “The Lord and Master (Part 2).” Slave: the Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2011. 75. Print.