Why I Preach Expositionally (4)

The proclamation of the Scriptures is the chief means by which God builds His church.

P.T. Forsyth wrote, "It is, perhaps, an overbold beginning, but I will venture to say that with its preaching Christianity stands and falls." I don't think Forsyth was overstating the matter. God uses means and His chief means for building His church is the proclamation of His Word. The right preaching of God's Word has always been recognized as an indispensable mark of a true church. There are many things the church does that are not fundamental to her identity. But without the proclamation of God's Word there is no church.

From the very first words of Scripture we learn that God chooses to create by means of His Word. What is more, the Sovereign Lord chooses to address His creatures through His Word. God's people have always been an auditory lot. While pagan religions reveled in all manner of sensual experience God called His people to live upon His Word. In the past God spoke to his poeple through prophets and other mediators. But now He has spoken through His Son (Heb. 1:1,2). And it is through the Scriptures that we gain the fullest and only reliable revelation of Jesus Christ.

The church was founded at Pentecost through means of a sermon (Acts 2). The church grew and matured through the teaching of the apostles. Paul, the most important church planter in history was singularly committed to the primacy of preaching. For two thousand years the church has had the apostle's teaching in the form of the New Testament.

In his outstanding book Preaching The Whole Bible As Christian Scripture, Graham Goldsworthy writes:

"It is clear from the New Testament that the primary means by which the church grew was through the preaching of the gospel. The apostle Paul, who wrote to the Corinthians that he was determined to know nothing among them but Christ and him crucified, expressed it simply: 'we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles' (1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2). The act of proclaiming, or preaching, was not the giving of opinions or of reinterpreting old religious traditions in new and creative ways. It was proclaiming the word of God. Whatever the form of the proclamation, the content was the gospel of Jesus, and it was by this means alone that people were added to the church. 'Faith comes through what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). We note to begin with that the word of God now attaches to both Jesus and to the testimony, so that we rightly refer to the Bible as the word of God."