God tells us that “my thoughts are not your thoughts” (Is. 55:8). Since we have access to God’s thoughts in the Bible, Christian preaching ought to be conscientiously biblical. But it is probably helpful to explain what we mean by ‘biblical preaching’ here at Grace Bible Church.
Biblical Preaching Is Expositional.
Our calling as preachers is to speak, and teach, and explain God’s thoughts in Scripture. ‘Expositional preaching’ does this by taking the point of a particular passage and making it the point of the sermon. In this way, we let God set the agenda for every sermon. We preach biblical ideas in their proper biblical context. The New Testament admonishes preachers to give themselves to the teaching of the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and “all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20). Jesus said we are to teach “all that he commanded” (Matt. 28:19).
In practice this means we normally work through entire books of a Bible, section-by-section, trusting God’s Spirit to speak to us as a congregation through the Word he authored. As a congregation, we desire to hear the whole counsel of God, not a pastor’s hobby-horses. Expositional preaching is committed to feeding the church with the truth of God, not the novelties of man. We want the person who stands in our pulpit to be God’s spokesman, not God’s editor.
Biblical Preaching Is Redemptive-Historical.
The whole Bible is a story about Jesus Christ. More than that, the Bible is a story about the redemption God has brought through Christ. Christ is spoken of throughout the Old and New Testaments. As Jesus said, “All that is written about me in the Law of Moses, Prophets and Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Again, our Lord said, “if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).
‘Redemptive-historical preaching,’ then, recognizes that biblical preaching must be Christ-centered preaching. Preaching that is redemptive-historical is preaching that explains every passage in light of the Christ-centered context of the whole Bible. Put differently, redemptive-historical preaching is gospel preaching. With the apostle Paul, it has “decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
Biblical Preaching Is Experiential.
God intends to change our lives with his word. That means our preaching should have the same aim. Paul tells Timothy: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourselves and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16). The Bible teaches that there is a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned. It teaches that there is grace from God to be received, comfort from the Holy Spirit to be experienced, and a call to discipleship of Christ to be acted upon. God does not want us to be “a hearer of the word and not a doer” (Jam. 1:23).
‘Experiential preaching,’ then, is preaching that calls for a response from those who hear. Individuals and congregations are called to experience God’s saving and renewing grace as they respond to God’s word in worship, faith and obedience. Since the Bible is calling us to this, we expect biblical preaching to do the same.