This past Sunday I continued our study through Nehemiah, finding ourselves in chapter 8. The exciting thing about this chapter is the focus placed on the reading and preaching of the Word of God. One of the Marks of our church is the centrality and primacy of preaching, and our aim is to make our preaching expository. In The 9 Marks of a Heathy Church, Mark Dever writes:
“The first mark of a healthy church is expository preaching. It is not only the first mark, it is far and away the most important of them all, because if you get this one right, all of the others are sure to follow…Preaching should always be expositional because the Word of God should be at its center, directing it. In fact, churches should have the Word at their center, directing them. God has chosen to use His Word to bring life.”
Therefore, it should follow, if this is the most essential thing to a church, then the first and most important thing someone looking for a church should seek is a church centered around expository preaching. But what is expository preaching? It is preaching that approaches a text and draws it’s main points from the main points of the passage. Sometimes it goes word by word, other times it can come from a much longer passage, but in the end you walk away thinking about what God has said and not the opinions of the pastor. The goal of the preacher is not to be creative with a text or find a text that talks about what they want to say, but to explain to the congregation what God wants of them.
A church that centers on Expository preaching sees that the Word of God is sufficient and the most important thing that men need. Music is good and needed and helpful, but it is not the reason we are to attend church. Fellowship is wonderful and needed, but neither is it to be the main reason we attend church. We are to attend a church because we need to hear God’s Word. All of the other things done in church life are to flow from a response to the reading and preaching of God’s Word.