A Church That Feeds on the Word

The Church’s Pursuit of Health: Part 2

By Jason Finley, Lead Pastor of Equipping

A healthy church is one “that increasingly reflects God‘s character as His character has been revealed in his Word.” (1)

Today we are exploring the first characteristic of a healthy church: A healthy church feeds on the Word.


Nourishment Brings Health

We live in an instant gratification society. We have instant access to music, movies, news, shopping, and sports.

Sadly, our craving for instant gratification seeps into the church. It can cause us to be impatient with God’s ordinary (and often slow) means for preserving and growing His people, and often, in our pursuit for quicker results, we can compromise primary responsibilities for far less important matters.

That said, churches regularly face the temptation to exchange God’s Word for substitutes that, over time, leave God’s people empty and spiritually malnourished.  

If “a healthy church is a congregation that increasingly reflects God‘s character as his character has been revealed in his Word,” the obvious place to begin building a healthy church is to call Christians to listen to God’s Word. The Bible is our very food and God nourishes, strengthens, and preserves His people primarily through it.

To that end, Crosspoint Church is committed to expository preaching. 


What is Expository Preaching?

Expository means “to uncover” or “to expose.” Therefore, expository preaching is teaching that faithfully exposes God’s Word. It takes the main point of a Scripture passage, makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to our lives today. (2)


What Expository Preaching is Not

To shed a little more light on expository preaching, let’s observe what it’s not:

Expository preaching is not topical preaching.

Topical preaching is when the pastor sets the agenda for the sermon and then finds Scripture passages to support his ideas. Bible verses in topical sermons are often referenced void of any context — if not taken out of context completely. As has been said, a topical preacher is in danger of using the Bible to say what he wants to say.

Expository preaching is not an exegetical lecture.’

Exegetical lecture is teaching a Bible study that takes the listener back in time to a historical situation of the original context of a passage and leaves them there. The problem with this Bible teaching is that it does not “cross the bridge” from yesteryear to our modern audience through the lens of the gospel. This sort of preaching risks providing Bible information disconnected from application.

Expository preaching is not magical.

In expositional preaching, the listener should never remark, “Wow! That insight is amazing…I would have NEVER seen that in the text!” Expository preaching isn’t magical — the preacher simply unpacks and highlights truths clearly found by any faithful student of the Word.

Expository preaching is not a string of moralisms.

Preaching morals and the law of God is not wrong in itself. It’s just wrong by itself. Preaching morals void of the gospel endangers the church. In Luke 24:27 and John 5:39, 46, Jesus says all Scripture points to him. Regardless of where in the Bible, expository preaching should point to Jesus as our rescuer.

Crosspoint’s sermon series will normally move consecutively through individual books of the Bible. On occasion, we may preach a series of topical expositions. In other words, some series will contain expository sermons on passages related to a common theme.  The pursuit of a topic may narrow our focus to a particular set of passages, but it will be the heartbeat of the passages which will serve as the substance of the sermon–not our own musings about the topic.


Why Expository Preaching?

Here’s why a healthy church will be a church committed to expository preaching:

Expository preaching allows God to set the agenda.

Rather than man’s own wisdom, expository teachers derive the message from the text. Expository preaching also forces the preacher to address verses that he may be uncomfortable with or don’t fit as cleanly into his theology. Expository preachers are guarded against preaching man’s opinions or speculations. 

Expository preaching teaches a congregation how to read and study the bible for themselves. 

Week after week, faithful expository preaching helps the church family be faithful explainers and appliers of God’s Word.


What does it have to do with me?

While Crosspoint’s elders are committed to diligently preparing expository sermons, we listeners also must be committed to diligence in hearing and receiving God’s Word. If you desire to grow as a listener, here are a few practical ideas to make the most of Crosspoint’s preaching each Lord’s Day:

Read and pray through the passage each week.

Our preaching plan is available on our current series web page. Use the upcoming Sunday’s passage as the focus of study during your quiet time or read it Saturday evening with your roommates or family. And, of course, please pray for the pastor who will be preaching the Word and for the congregation who will be hearers of the Word. 

Take notes.

Many find the sermon outline provided in Friday’s Crosspoint Life email helpful. (Click here to subscribe to receive this to your inbox each Friday.) You can use the outline as a listening guide and add your own notes as you listen.

Evaluate your Saturday evenings.

Admittedly in a college town, some Saturday nights will keep many of us up late as we cheer on the Tigers. But Saturday ought not ordinarily to be a late night. How might your Saturday evening habits affect your participation and engagement with the Word on Sundays? How can you strive to come to our weekly gathering rested and refreshed?

Eliminate unnecessary distractions in worship.

Ask your spouse or a friend to hold your phone or leave it in the car if possible. Take seriously this time in your week and do what you can to minimize distractions before, during, and after the service. 

Talk about the passage and sermon with others.

Discussion reinforces learning and increases accountability for application. Make it routine to discuss the sermon with friends over lunch, with your family in an evening family worship time, or during your weekly small group.


Nourished by the Bible

The number one reason Crosspoint is committed to expository preaching is that God’s Word alone brings life. The Scriptures overwhelmingly show us that all good, lasting fruit comes only by God’s Word. We are created by God’s Word (Genesis 1:3, 26-28), born again through His Word (1 Peter 1:23), and believe in Christ only by the Word (Romans 10:17). With so many resources at our disposal, it’s good to be reminded again that all we need in order to be ready for every good work is found in God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

At Crosspoint, we’re convinced that expository preaching provides the regular diet of God’s Word that nourishes the church for its long-term health. Let us continually feed on His Word together.

(1) Mark Dever, What is a Healthy Church?, 40.

(2) Mark Dever, What is a Healthy Church?, 63.

Jason Finley is the Lead Pastor for Equipping at Crosspoint. He gives oversight to worship services and preaching as well as our EQUIP teaching strategy. Jason met his wife, Cayce, as a student at Clemson and they married June 3, 2001. They have two daughters: Reese (2003) and Anna (2010) and four sons: Will, (2005), Stuart & Clark (2006), and Nathan (2011).