Why We Must Preach the Bible (part 1)

The Church of Jesus Christ exist to preach Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:23), a prospect that has never been acceptable to the world and is rejected by the apostate church. Like the Apostle Paul, we do not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). We believe that God has spoken without error and that His Word has never failed. We believe that the Word of God rules over the Church and God’s people, and that this authority extends to all humanity whether it accepts it or not. We believe the Bible, and this should have a direct impact upon how we minister in the preaching of the Word. 

Why do we preach the Bible, and even more specifically, why preach expositional sermons? Why take the pains to study deeply and move book-by-book and verse-by-verse through the Bible? Many answers could be given to answer these questions, but I’d like to give three reasons that center around the nature of this divine Book that has been handed down to us from God. I’ll begin with the first reason in this post and follow it up with the next two reasons in the next two posts.

1. It Declares with Divine Authority

When a preacher stands in the pulpit, he has no inherent authority. His authority is derived from God alone. Those who demand respect and unquestioning obedience simply because they are a pastor or preacher have more in common with the Roman Catholic Pope and a cult leader than the Apostles of Christ (Mk. 10:42-45). The faithful preacher of the Word shepherds through the teaching of the Word of God. Our Savior demonstrated this in his ministry with such power and grace that it is worth noting four examples of when Christ used the same biblically derived authority that is available to all Christians.

Authority in Denouncing the Enemy: Challenging the Son of God (Matt. 4:1-10)

The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 that the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. Because of this, we should not be surprised to see our Savior use the Sword not only in His teaching and discipling, but also in His direct confrontations with Satan himself. Although Christ has all authority to command Satan in any way He desires, Jesus ended each targeted attack of the enemy with the words, “It is written…” (vv. 4, 7, 10). Of all the options available to the Son of God, Jesus chose to wield the Sword of the Spirit against the Enemy. We do not have any power in ourselves to fight the enemy. We must follow the example laid down by our Lord and take the Word of God and use it to call out evil in all its forms so that those who have come under its sway might bow the knee to Christ.

Authority in Decrying the Legalists: Challenging the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-5)

When the Pharisees brought charges of unlawful Sabbath breaking against the disciples, Jesus once again turned to the Scripture to silence their accusations. Whereas the legalists were quick to point to the Law regarding the sin of harvesting on the Sabbath, Jesus responded to their legalistic error with the cutting words, “Have you not read…? (vv. 3, 5). In pointing to the Word of God, Jesus demonstrated the authority of the Word of God itself. Then, with Scriptural precision, Jesus referred them to Hosea 6:6 to learn that what God wants is not only obedience, but also mercy. This powerful response could not be overcome because Jesus’ challenge stood firmly upon the Scripture itself.

Authority in Discerning Application: Challenging the Traditions of Men (Matt. 15:1-9)

When the Pharisees and scribes once again attacked Jesus, this time through the actions of his disciples regarding the traditional cleansing ceremonies of the elders, Jesus turned the tables on them and immediately challenged them from the Scriptures. They had quoted the tradition of the elders and demanded to know why Jesus did not respect such traditions. But Jesus stated with great boldness his biblical reasons for not following these traditions, “For God commanded…” (v. 4). By placing this debate on the uneven footing of the traditions of men versus the commandments of God, he declared these men hypocrites—and then used the prophet Isaiah to show that the Word of God condemned them for this sort of vanity and pride. The traditions of men are not equal to Scripture and even useful traditions must submit to the authority of the Bible.

Authority in Declaring Orthodoxy: Challenging the Resurrection (Matt. 22:23-33)

When the Sadducees stepped up to try and overthrow Jesus’ popularity, they brought a theological challenge that was probably successful in silencing other opponents. These men who denied the resurrection brought a question which they couched in pious references to the teaching of Moses (v. 24). These deceivers thought their question would silence Jesus and show Him to be the uneducated man they thought Him to be. Jesus once again directly refuted them with the Bible, saying, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (v. 29). He then referred them to Moses, this time to Exodus 3:6 where He destroyed their argument by pointing to the present tense of the verb in that verse that demonstrates that there is a resurrection of the dead. Jesus proved that although the Sadducees said that they accepted the writings of Moses, they had not read carefully enough what God had said (v. 31)! When we say that we believe in verbal plenary inspiration, we mean that every word in the Bible is inspired by God. That includes the grammatical tenses of the verbs too!

The herald of the gospel must stand upon this same authority. We must declare the truth of the Word of God when we proclaim that Christ has won the victory over sin and death. We must courageously face off with legalists who seek to place a yoke of burden onto people by adding law to the gospel message and some who add the traditions of men on top of the gospel, taking away the freedom we have in Christ. We must declare with the authority of the Word the fundamental truths of Scripture when men want to deny doctrine, thereby silencing the deceptive hiss of the Serpent. In ourselves we have no authority, but wielding the Bible, we have authority that comes from heaven itself! 

Many times, the reason that sermons lack power is not because the Word is ineffective. Instead it is because Scripture has been given second place, with primacy given to a heavy dependence upon devices that we think will make our message more effective—quotes from commentaries and so-called authorities, emotional appeals and stories that seek to move the hearer, and exegetical data that would better be called a seminary lecture, delivering dry, passionless facts that don’t seek to affect the heart and the conscience, along with the mind. When the pews begin to empty, we either blame the people, or the Word. But there is power in the Word.

The Trustworthy Word of God

Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules. You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.

(Psalm 119:137–144, ESV)

No Matter How People Respond, God’s Word Is Trustworthy (vv. 137-139)

The perfect name of the LORD, is rarely used in this psalm, and so it’s appearance stands out when it does. The LORD, Yahweh, is righteous. This is who he is. He does not exhibit righteousness, but is always in every way righteous.

Spurgeon says, “God is always right, and he is always actively right, that is, righteous. This quality is bound up in our very idea of God. We cannot imagine an unrighteous God.[1]

And just as the divine Author is righteous, so too his word and works are all righteous as well.

In the next verse (v. 138), the psalmist states that as God, all his testimonies are commanded in righteousness. He does not suggest, but commands as the King. Such commands are all given in faithfulness because the King is both righteous and faithful.

Because of these traits which describe the Word of God, in v. 139, the psalmist says that he is passionate about the Scriptures, so that he describes himself as a man who is consumed with zeal for the Word of God.

But not everybody feels this way. God’s Word is righteous and his commands are faithful, but there are many of his creatures who couldn’t care less. They are described as “forget[ting] your Words.” How tragic that the creature would forget the Words of the Great King and Creator of the Universe and all Galaxies!

Isaiah 1:2-3 it says, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”” (Isaiah 1:2–3, ESV) 

Little children, and even less intelligent animals such as ox and donkeys know those who have raised and cared for them. If a donkey isn’t fed, or a child doesn’t get his afternoon snack, does he forget his owner or mother? No, in fact, he or she will cry out even more! But there are some who forget the God who has made them and gives them everything. And they do not care about his Word. It is not because his Words fail, nor are not true. They are righteous and faithful. But wicked men do not want God!

Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t matter how other people respond to the Word. His Words are righteous and true! His commands are not for us to consider whether we would like to obey or not. He is our Lord, and we will grow in zeal for his Word when we pursue him in it. So, no matter how other people respond to the Scriptures, we should set our hearts to follow our Lord to the very end.

No Matter How People Treat You, God’s Word Is Trustworthy (vv. 140-141)

 Like gold that has been refined and had all the impurities removed, the Word of God is pure, refined, and trustworthy. It will not fail you once every 10,000 times. It is pure.

Psalm 12:6 says, “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6, ESV) 

The child of God loves the pure Word. He has put it to the test in life over and over again. He has walked in the light of the Word and it has never led him astray. He has grown over time to place his trust in this Book and he has grown to love it because it has revealed the heart of God to him.

But unlike what he said in v. 139, the foes of the psalmist do forget the Word. These enemies looked down upon him and they despised him. He is nothing to them. But his concern is not that he would become acceptable to them, seeking their approval.

The righteous man or woman of God desires to please the Lord first and foremost above all others. He does not want to join those that are the enemies of God. Instead he desires to stay humble and close to the Word.

Have you “tested” the Word of God and proven to yourself that it is very pure? It is one thing to read what the Bible claims for itself, but have you proven it by the way you have placed your trust in the Lord in challenging situations? 

In 1Pet 1:6-7 it says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6–7, ESV) 

How are you responding to trials? Is it by faith or by the flesh? Are you leaning on the everlasting arms or are you leaning on your own understanding? Don’t worry about what others think or say. God’s Word is trustworthy, even if people think you are foolish for taking God at his Word.

No Matter How You Feel, God’s Word Is Trustworthy (vv. 142-143)

Speaking directly to God, the psalmist declares in verse 142 that the righteousness of God and his Word are timeless and unchanging. The Word of God is not time-sensitive, and outdated. Some people say that the Bible is old and we need a fresh word from God. The Scriptures are a fresh Word from God. They are more relevant than the morning news.

And unlike the news, the Word of God is true, and this goes farther than just containing truth. The news may contain truth, but the Word of God is truth. Just as God is righteousness, so too his Word is truth (Jn 17:17). Jesus is the truth (John 14:6) and the Spirit is truth (1Jn 5:6). 

This attribute of God should be comforting to us. He cannot and will not lie. Not a shade. We have “grey areas” and “little white lies” but God has truth and that is all.

Verse 143 demonstrates where the comfort of God is needed. We are not told what the trouble and anguish are in the life of the psalmist, but it appears that they are internal and external troubles. He has trouble that may come from his foes, and internally he is in anguish. But the pain is not all there is. There is so much more. He does not allow his trials to consume him but instead he finds “delight” in God’s Word.

As Christians, we can still find joy from the Word of God in the midst of his pain. God has given us the capacity to feel pain. That is a God-given gift. Can you imagine if you couldn’t feel pain? Those who lose feelings in their bodies often unknowingly destroy their limbs because they can’t feel when they hurt themselves so they will stop it. And God has given us pain to drive us to him and his Word as well.

The foolish and the unbeliever act similarly in this way—they refuse to go to God. But in doing so, they remove from themselves the blessing of pain, which is to drive them to prayer and instead it drives them to a darker place where they will find neither answers nor joy.

No matter how you feel, the Word of God is trustworthy. 

No Matter How Long You Might Live, God’s Word Is Trustworthy (vv. 144)

The testimonies of God are never ending in their righteousness. His words are eternal Words. When you and I speak, our words are like vapor. They come and go. We do not know most of the words spoken by most men of all ages. But God’s Words, every one of them, never cease in their power and effect.

The sun, moon, and stars will continue going as long as the Word of God spoken in the beginning is not rescinded with another command. God’s Word will not fail and it will never cease.

Because of this, the psalmist prays that his desire might be fulfilled, that he could cling to those eternal words of life and be given understanding of them. He wants wisdom and knowledge, and he wants to obey, but most he wants to know the righteous God who spoke them. This is where he will find life.

Of course, he is alive, but true life and true living can only occur through knowledge of the living God. To not know God as revealed in his Word is to be dead, even while you live.

The oldest person ever whose age has been verified is Jeanne Calment (1875–1997) of France, who died at the age of 122 years, 164 days.[2] For a human being, that is an amazing lifespan. Now, I don’t know if this person knew Christ, but I do know that the Word of God is righteous forever, and that included all the living days of Ms. Calment.

When the old Christian Polycarp in 167 AD, was asked to deny Christ or be put to death, his answer is so sweet. He said, “Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?”[3] 

We don’t know if Polycarp was 86 years old or he was converted 86 years before, but the fact remains, Polycarp was an old man and he found the Word of God, and the God of the Word trustworthy for as long as he lived.

Polycarp was burned at the stake and then pierced through with a spear because he refused to offer incense to Caesar. Caesar is not lord, Jesus is Lord. He would not deny his Master.

No matter how long you live, cling to the Word of God, for he is trustworthy. While you have life, seek to understand the Word of God so that while alive, you might live life to the fullest in Christ Jesus.

As I have prepared sermons, there have been many occasions when I have tried to find the source of a quote that I want to use. On many occasions, I find out that many books may use a quote, but nobody can seem to find out where that quote came from. Many times people will say that Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, or Jonathan Edwards said or wrote something that simply cannot be trusted as their actual words.

The other day I wanted to use a great quote I found supposedly from Albert Einstein, but nobody knew where or when Einstein said it. The saying was untrustworthy, and for all I know, Einstein may have never written or spoken those words.

But the Bible is always trustworthy. Satan and his workers may try to twist it for their own uses, but interpreted properly, it is trustworthy and perfect. It is trustworthy no matter what others do, or what they say, or feel or however long you live. The Word of Life is eternal. Do not substitute anything for it.

[1] Treasury of David, 5:390.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_verified_oldest_people

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp

7 Take-Aways From Jesus’ Discipleship Lesson in Matthew 10:15-25

“Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” (Matthew 10:15–25, ESV)

  1. Be courageous as you go into the world because you go as an ambassador of God (vv. 16, 20).
  2. Cruel hatred is often a part of a faithful witness (vv. 17-18).
  3. Through great trials will come great opportunities for the gospel (v. 18).
  4. In the pain and fear, never forget that God has not left you (v. 19).
  5. Faithfulness to Christ can drive a wedge in a family (vv. 21-22), but you must stand firm with Christ.
  6. In the midst of persecution, don’t lose sight of the Second Coming of Christ (v. 23).
  7. Being like Jesus is not only reflected in love and holiness, but it also includes great suffering (vv. 24-25).

Help For New Expositors: A Simplified Sermon Preparation Checklist


Over a decade ago, I was frustrated with my lack of methodology in sermon preparation. It seemed that every time I sat down to prepare a message, that I started in a slightly different way or I would do things in a different order. I was taught the exegetical method in seminary, but there are some things that only practice and experience can teach. I knew that I needed some sort of a form or checklist to help me move from one stage of preparation to the next. I don’t use this as much any more, but it served as a great training resource until I was so used to the movements of sermon prep that I didn’t need it any more. Below is what I came up with. If it helps you, great! If you have any questions about how each part functions, let me know in the comments. (By the way, my version has check boxes after each step, so I could get the satisfaction that comes from finishing each step with a “check.”)


Text: ____________________ Date to Preach _____________


1. Read the text in its context.  (Read 25x. Hash marks:)____________

Take notes on observations, questions, and cultural/historical issues that you need addressed later in your study.

2. Read the text 1x in alternative versions:

    • ESV
    • NASB
    • NIV
    • KJV
    • NKJV
    • NLT
    • The Message

3. Translate the text from the original language.

4. Diagram the text (either line or block). Understand the relationship of phrases and words to one another.

5. What is the major theme of the passage? 

6. Read available commentaries on the passage.

    • _____________________
    • _____________________
    • _____________________
    • _____________________
    • _____________________
    • _____________________

7. Outline the passage (Exegetical outline)

8. What is the doctrinal focus here? ________________

9. Form the preaching proposition.

10. Outline the proposition (Homiletical outline)

11. Clothe it with illustrations and applications.

12. Form introduction, conclusion and title.

Three Reasons to Preach Christ Crucified


“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1Corinthians 1:18)

1. Because It is Not Popular (v. 18)

Not only is it not popular, it is moronic (moria in Greek). Consider the fact that the gospel of Jesus Christ demands that we say to sinners that a poor and humble Jewish man was God, and that he was nailed to a cross to die a criminals death despite his perfect innocence. We proclaim that this Man was not only a man, but that he is God in the flesh. That he is perfect and sinless and that he was born of a virgin. Furthermore, we proclaim that all of humanity is lost and that each individual man, woman and child is a wretched sinner. We proclaim that Christ is the only hope for humanity and that all other claims are lies from the pit of hell and all who seek salvation in any other name are doomed to eternal damnation. We proclaim that Jesus Christ has done all that is necessary for our salvation, and that he rejects all attempts to earn salvation on our own. He, being the King demands our allegiance and one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord.

Brothers, when we proclaim this, the world will overwhelmingly reject us as fools of the worst kind. We will be called bigots, intolerant, and uneducated religious zealots. And that is why so many bow to the pressures and soften their message. Paul was keenly aware of the propensity of men to soften the blow of the gospel by using soothing words that made the hearer feel at ease. He said in 1Cor 2:1-5 that he purposely made it his aim to proclaim the unvarnished gospel of Jesus Christ crucified. Today, preachers everywhere are trying to make Jesus look cool. They are trying to make Christianity attractive. They are doing just what Paul avoided.

The cross was not cool. It was brutal and bloody.

The call of Christ is not popular. True Christianity will never court the world. But pastors will continue to attempt to make our precious faith more palatable in order to gain the popularity of the world. This is nothing but pride. Nobody should enter the ministry or the pulpit in order to make his own name great. Isaac Watts wrote, “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died; My riches gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.” PREACH CHRIST BECAUSE IT IS NOT POPULAR!

2. Because They Are Perishing (v. 18)

When we preach the message of the cross, the world sees it as folly because they do not see the danger to their souls. Sometimes they fail to see the danger because they do not see it in our eyes and do not hear it in our voices as we proclaim cold truth from our pulpits. Brothers, do you feel the truth of Hell? Do you remember the days when you were among the brood of vipers?  Do you recall that you were once a vessel prepared for destruction? Have you forgotten that you were on the precipice of the bottomless pit and you were ready in due time to slip into eternal fire separate from God to be tormented for all eternity? HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN?

When we remember our own dying state we will be quick to point people to the only remedy for their souls—the cross of Christ. When we remember that they are perishing, we will not care about their mocking and their cries for ear-tickling sermons—we will give them what we know they need. Wrote Thomas Brooks, “The damned shall live as long in hell as God himself shall live in heaven.” That fact alone should drive us to preach Christ crucified.

Check your hearts, brothers. Do you feel the terror of hell and do you cry out with Paul on Sunday mornings: (2Cor. 2:15-16) “For we (!) are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” PREACH CHRIST BECAUSE THEY ARE PERISHING!

3. Because It is the Power of God (v. 18)

Power in the pulpit. Power evangelism. Power encounters. Pastors want power. But the power of God is not found in the usual places. It is not found in business models or worldly philosophy (v. 22). It is not found in charismatic dramatics or signs and wonders (v. 22).  It isn’t found in confrontation with demons and the occult. The power of God was displayed on the cross, where God sent His Son to be crushed for our iniquities. Jesus became sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God! That is power!!!

Concerning the justification of God, John Calvin said, “Wherever the knowledge of it is taken away, the glory of Christ is extinguished, religion abolished, the Church destroyed, and the hope of salvation utterly overthrown.” This is the power of the cross. Why is the Church so weak and utterly incapable of making an impact in our nation? It has left this message behind and taken up the banners of politics, pop psychology, health and wealth, and so many other empty promises.

The Roman Catholic system, the Emerging movement, the Seeker Sensitive movement and the Liberal mainline denominations have all shown us what becomes of those who lay aside the cross of Christ. But it hasn’t stopped many men from flirting with those compromising  philosophies. Richard Baxter, “If a hardened heart is to be broken, it is not stroking but striking that must do it.” The only thing that can cut another stone is a diamond, the hardest gem on earth. In order to cut the hardest heart, we must use the sharpest tool. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ!

In Heb. 4:12 we are reminded, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Brothers, in our churches the temptation can be overwhelming to give up expository preaching in favor of sugar coated sermons that aim to please the itching ears of people. We reason in our hearts that once we have them in our churches we can preach the gospel to them, we just need to ease them into it. Don’t fall for this pragmatic lie! You are merely a tool in God’s hand. He uses you as His minister to wield His weapon of choice. You cannot change the soul of a man in any way. It is the Word of God preached—the Gospel alone that brings a sinner to his knees.