The Whole Counsel of God

Current Blog Series : Biblical Vision Explanation

“I once preached a sermon sheepishly apologizing for what the Scripture was saying. I then went home wept and vowed never again to apologize for God’s Word.” – Landon Dowden Ph.D.

            Many people are accustomed to hearing “feel good” topical sermons, which may invoke some change in the hearer’s life, but this change is often temporary or false. When we consider how the preachers in the Bible handled the Word they recognized that it would be through Word that lives would be changed. (see Gen. 1:3, Isa. 55:10-11, Acts 12:24). This means that if preachers want their sermons to be filled with God’s power, they must preach what God says. God never says a one-line statement without implications that flow throughout the whole of Scripture, therefore we must deliver sermons from all genres, testaments, and covenants.

            By preaching the whole counsel of God we will handle difficult passages, which may convict us as preachers, but in turn will transform the lives of our congregation. In modern terms declaring the whole counsel of God is exegetical preaching. Levitical priests taught the law (Deut. 33:10), Ezra and the Levites read from the law and gave the sense of it (Neh. 8:8), and Peter and the apostles expounded Scripture and urged their hearers to respond with repentance and faith (Acts 2:14-41, 13:16-47).

            Exegesis is when a preacher takes the passage and expounds upon the main points and implications of the passage, even the culturally difficult passages. This pattern of preaching differs greatly from topical preaching, because topical sermons often rely upon a person’s ability to superimpose topics over passages that may not handle that topic. So we know God condemns those who “speak of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jer. 23:16, 18, 21-22).

            Expositional preaching is important because God’s Word is what convicts, converts, builds up, and sanctifies God’s people (Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 Thess. 2:13; Jn. 17:17). Preaching that makes the main point of the text the main point of the sermon makes God’s agenda rule the church, not the preacher’s. The moment that a preacher relies upon his “amazing illustrations” and not the Amazing Cross of Christ is the moment that the pastor will miss the Gospel. Ephesians 4:13 calls every minister to grow all believers to Maturity. Without preaching the whole counsel of God, we’re leaving holes in every parishioner’s life thus lacking understanding of the entirety of the Gospel. 

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