Summary: Much of this sermon was inspired by Mark Dever’s teachings on Expository preaching from his 9 Marks of a Healthy Church series - a series that has greatly changed my view on preaching.
The Power of Preaching the Word
Text: 2nd Timothy 4:1-5
By: Ken McKinley
As your pastor here at Ft. Supply Baptist one of the main things I want to do is make sure we have a healthy church. And so one thing that I do is search the Scriptures to see what the Bible has to say for not only you as a congregation but for me as a pastor.
In our text here we have one of the passages in the Bible that is explicitly written to a pastor. Paul was writing to Timothy, giving him advice on how to be the best pastor he could be.
Now it is my belief that if we as a church do what God tells the church to do, we will be a healthy church and that if I as a pastor do what God tells pastors to do, it will help us achieve that goal. And so when we look at our text and we see that it is written explicitly to pastors, and specifically to Timothy who was a pastor, we see that Timothy is told to do something. But before we get to that we need to look at the seriousness of this command. Paul says, “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, this was a very serious thing that Paul was about to tell Timothy. We know it was serious because this charge was made before God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, then look what else Paul says, “Who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and kingdom.” Now Paul is bring to Timothy’s mind the same thing James was speaking of in James chapter 3 verse 1 when he wrote, “Let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” And so the instructions that Paul is about to give to Timothy are very, very important.
Verse Two: “PREACH THE WORD.”
This is what is so important for Timothy to know. This is how Timothy will fulfill his ministry. He is to preach the Word. He is to be ready at all times, and through the preaching of the Word he is to convince, rebuke, and exhort, and he’s to do it with patience and by incorporating teaching into his preaching. Paul tells Timothy he needs to do this because a time is coming when people will not endure sound doctrine, but instead will heap up teachers who satisfy their itching ears, and be turned away to myths and fables. So Paul concludes by telling Timothy to be alert, to endure the coming hard times and to do the work of an evangelist.
The word “evangelist” appears only 3 times in the NT. In Ephesians 4:11 where we read that God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; Acts 21:8 which speaks of Phillip the evangelist, and in our text from 2nd Timothy. When we hear the word “evangelist” most of us probably think of Billy Graham, but we can look at those Scriptures which have the word in them and study them out to better understand what an evangelist is.
In Acts 21:8 it mentions that Phillip is an evangelist; so what exactly did Phillip do? Well in Acts 6 we are told that he was elected to take care of the widows in the Jerusalem Church – this was his first position in ministry that we know of, in Acts 8:4 we see that he preached the Word wherever he went. In Acts chapter 8:12-13 Phillip baptized believers, in Acts 8:30-39 Phillip expounded on Scripture to the Ethiopian and taught him about Christ. So Phillip preached the Word, he explained and expounded on the Word and he baptized.
So let’s look at what Timothy did. We read about Timothy mostly in the letters written to him by Paul. We see in those letters that Timothy had a gift, and that gift pertained to the preaching of the Word, which involved exhortation, correcting errors, rebuking those who were false teachers, and teaching or expounding Scripture – thereby spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
What I see from Scripture is that both of these men proclaimed the Gospel whenever and to whomever they could. They did it by preaching and teaching, and their preaching was expository.
So what do we mean by expository? If pastors need to do this, and churches need pastors that do this, then we need to know. We usually contrast it with what we call topical preaching (and I confess that topical preaching is what I’ve always done, having never been taught any other way). Topical preaching is when we take a subject and talk about it. Rather than taking a text from the Bible and drawing the meaning from that text for our sermon topic, topical preaching usually takes a topic that the preacher wants to preach about, be it prayer, marriage, holiness, salvation, or as in this case, expositional preaching, and then he usually finds a main passage of Scripture and several other passages that back up his point. When we do this, the point of the sermon is already determined, the pastor already knows what he wants to say, so he finds passages that back that up. Expositional sermons take the main point from the text itself and then expound on it.