What is Preaching?
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27
First and foremost, I want to let everyone breathe and clarify that this isn’t a relationships blog but a blog about preaching and God’s role of preaching within the context of the local church of Jesus Christ. Yet, this is God’s desire and plan for us if we are married or desire to be married men. Early on in my walk with the Lord I was invited to church and my first ever Christian sermon that I listened to was in Acts 7:54-60 where Stephen gets stoned after he performs signs and wonders. Men from the synagogue of the Freedmen rose up and disputed Stephen and he preaches and then they stone him. As a new Christian and not understanding what’s going on I thought to myself a very long resounding, geez.
I was constantly curious about what the purpose of the pastor preaching the Word of God on Sunday mornings in a particular local area church. Before we can begin with the purpose of preaching we must look at the study of what the local church is defined as. Jonathan Leeman defines the local church as “a group of Christians who regularly gather in Christ’s name to officially affirm and oversee one another’s membership in Jesus Christ and His kingdom through gospel preaching and gospel ordinances.” We are going to look at gospel preaching in a minute but gospel ordinances are defined as the taking of the Lord’s Supper and baptism by immersion in water. We can see in 1 Peter 5:2 that pastors are to shepherd the flock of God that is among them underneath the Chief Shepherd who is Jesus Christ and we as members of a particular local church should submit to our pastors for they are keeping watch over our souls as Hebrews 13:17 states.
One of the ways in which pastors of a local church shepherd the flock of God that is among them, underneath the leadership and rule of Jesus Christ is through Gospel preaching. The three types of Gospel preaching are expositional, topical and evangelism. Expositional preaching takes a particular passage of Scripture as the subject of the message. Topical preaching takes a particular topic that the preacher would want to discuss. Evangelism preaching is when you individually share the gospel one on one or preaching to crowds in a general local area. There is a time and place for all three types of Gospel preaching yet the main type of teaching that a local church should emphasis is expositional preaching.
Bryan Chappell in his book, Christ-Centered Preaching states that in expository preaching “the ultimate goal is not to communicate the value of our opinions, other’s philosophies, or speculative meditations but rather to show how God’s Word discloses his will for those united to him through his Son.” Chappell goes on to say “the work of the Spirit is as inextricably linked to preaching as heat is to the light a bulb emits. When we present the light of God’s Word, his Spirit performs his purposes of warming, melting, and conforming hearts to His will.” In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we can see that God has spoken and that the Bible is the very Words of God. It’s through the Word of God that the Lord transforms us and the preached Word of God is the means by which God shepherds the local church through her pastors. As under shepherds, it is through preaching from pastors that Jesus will accomplish what He has stated in Ephesians 5:25-27 that Jesus will present His bride, the Church to Himself in splendor by the washing of the Word.
As believers in Jesus Christ we are to:
- Belong to a local church in membership (Hebrews 13:17).
- Submit to biblically qualified elders, pastors and leaders (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-16).
- Understand the Word of God for yourself to help the pastors protect the church from those who teach contrary to the Word of God (Romans 16:17).
- Do not forsake gathering together as a church (Hebrews 10:25).
- Pray for your pastors and leaders (1 Timothy 2:1).
- Set aside personal preferences and serve the local church (Philippians 2:1-4).
I pray that this helps us to understand what the local church is, what the purpose of preaching is in the life of the local church, the role of the local church pastor and the role of the member of the church of Jesus Christ. My hope is that we as the Church of Jesus Christ would be all that the Lord would intend His bride to be for the glory of His name and for the Kingdom of God here on Earth until His second coming.
 Chapell, Bryan. Christ-Centered Preaching. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI. 2005. Pg. 31.
 Chapell, Bryan. Christ-Centered Preaching. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI. 2005. Pg. 33.