Lecture 3 – Texual & Consecutive Expository Sermons

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b. The relative advantages and potential disadvantages of the textual expository sermon.

1) The relative advantages of the textual expository sermon

a) To the hearers

1- It creates a climate of expectation.

2- It usually provides good footing for the memory.

3- It provides a good pattern for analyzing a specific text or individual portion of Scripture.

b) To the preacher

1- It forces him to be honest with the words of Holy Scripture.

2- It forces him to be consistent with the proportionate emphases of Scripture.

3- It allows him the liberty of preaching on passages which have gripped him.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “On the Choice of a Text”, in Lectures to My Students, Book I, (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 2008), pp. 93-94.

2) The relative potential disadvantages of the textual expository sermon

a) To the hearers

1- They may cultivate an itch for the more novel and striking words of Scripture.

2- If the textual expository sermon does not focus on the more immediate and remote context, all the disadvantages of the topical expository sermon apply here.

b) To the preacher

1- He is vulnerable to the exquisite agony of subjectivism in the selection of his text.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “On the Choice of a Text”, in Lectures to My Students, Book I, (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 2008), pp. 93-94.

2- He is vulnerable to the danger of manipulating the emphases of the text for homiletical finesse.

3- He is vulnerable to the danger of imbalance and lopsidedness in his preaching.

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c. The relative advantages and potential disadvantages of the consecutive expository sermon

1) The relative advantages of the consecutive expository sermon

a) To the hearers

1- They see the Bible in its own native form and substance.

James W. Alexander, Thoughts on Preaching, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), p. 238.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 88-89.

William Taylor, The Ministry of the Word, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975), pp. 161-162.

2- They most readily absorb proper principles of sound interpretation and application.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 81.

3- They are naturally and inevitably introduced to unsavory but necessary subjects.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 83-85.

4- They may most readily be prepared for, involved in, and able to conserve the substance of the preaching.

5- Their interest is encouraged and sustained by the element of variety and change.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 87.

b) To the preacher

1- It forces him to be honest with the whole of Scripture.

James W. Alexander, Thoughts on Preaching, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), pp. 234-235.

2- It enables him to be working ahead, to be thinking and preparing constantly.

James W. Alexander, Thoughts on Preaching, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), pp. 235-236.

3- It preserves him from the agony of indecision and uncertainty in selecting a text or a subject.

Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 82.

4- It puts a wholesome check on any potential abuse of his oratorical powers.

James W. Alexander, Thoughts on Preaching, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), pp. 251-252.

2) The relative dangers and potential disadvantages of excessive or exclusive consecutive expository sermons.

“Admittedly, these dangers are much less acute than with the other kinds of sermons. However, I believe they are real dangers, especially where the consecutive expository form of preaching is used exclusively – or especially where the assertion is made and believed by the preacher that consecutive expository preaching is the only kind of preaching worthy of the designation of ‘biblical preaching.’”

a) To the hearers

1- They can become weary of the same general field of study and meditation.

2- They may sit for years and still be ignorant of some of the most fundamental biblical doctrines, duties, and privileges.

3- They may fail to see how the scriptures address all the burning issues of life.

4- They can become hypercritical or unappreciative of any other method of preaching.

b) To the preacher

1- He can become insensitive to current needs which ought to be addressed.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), pp. 193-194.

2- He can become less dependent upon the Holy Spirit (because he knows where he is going) than is healthy for a fruitful ministry.

3- He can become paralyzed by his own labors if he does not vary his method.

4- He can easily mistake a running commentary on the text for true preaching.

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