2024: MY YEAR OF EXPOSITIONAL PREACHING
By: Deji Yesufu
My break with the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement did not begin in 2013. 2013 was only the year I stopped speaking in tongues. My break with the Charismatics began from the very moment I met the Lord Jesus Christ in 1998. When I got born again, I possessed a voracious spiritual appetite: I sought to read everything that I could lay my hands upon that bore the name Christian. But even as a new Christian, I had an aversion for certain kinds of literatures.
First, I could not stand Nigerian pastors and their books. I felt that their writings were too simplistic; there was this tendency in their books to fill up space with Bible scriptures. I would say to myself then that if I wanted to read scriptures, I could simply take up my Bible and read. I bought this book to see the author’s thoughts and not to read a rehearsing of Bible texts. Then, there were those books that were full of stories: some fantastic encounters between the author and angels, demons, and other times even with Jesus himself. I was not interested in these – they sounded too good to be true. This was how I ended up removing the likes of David Oyedepo, E. A. Adeboye, and even W. F. Kumuyi from my reading list and I am thankful that I did today.
There were however some books I relished. They were literatures written by almost unknown theologians (many of them dead) but who took their time to tell about the Christian life. I was new to the faith and I appreciated those books that taught foundational truths. I relished texts that looked into the meaning of scripture and tried to make an ancient text speak to modern times. At the time I did not know that God was giving me a love for expositional preaching. With time, I would understand that there are divides in the Christian world. Besides the clear divide between Evangelicals and Catholics, there was also a greater divide within evangelicalism itself: there were those folks, the Charismatics, who base their religion mostly on their experiences.
There were others, conservative evangelicals, who drew their religion from their ongoing interaction with the biblical text. These latter ones I loved. I would learn later that even the great Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, discovered justification by faith as he taught his students the Holy Scriptures. At seminary, my teachers encouraged us to preach expositionally. They showed us that if the Bible are the very words of God, and the regulative principle of worship demands that everything we do at worship is biblical, then when we come to preach, we do not want to preach the pastor’s experiences but mainly tell the congregation what the biblical text is saying. When we do this, Jesus Christ emerges from the pages of the Bible and speaks to his people. It is preaching like this that brings genuine conversion and it is preaching like this sanctifies a congregation.
Knowing this, it was with great delight that I announced to the congregation that I pastor yesterday, that beginning with the first Sunday of 2024, we shall begin expositional preaching. 2024 will be a year of expositional preaching for Providence Reformed Baptist Church, Ibadan. Providence Church, as we love to abbreviate our name, began meeting on the 10th of October, 2021. Since then we have experienced all kinds of highs and lows that comes with planting a local church in a locality like ours. Sometimes in 2023, following the visit of Pastor Aniekan Ekpo, pastor of Christ’s Reformed Baptist Church, Rumuoadara, Portharcourt, Nigeria, to our church in Ibadan, he encouraged us to give the congregation a name. He explained that possessing an identity is a good way to start. We chose the name “Providence” because that has essentially been our story: God has sent both good and hard providences our way. But in everything, we have seen him use everything for his glory and to bring about his good purposes.
Providence Church is no longer a story about me; although I have the privilege of planting the church. Providence Church has become a story of what God has chosen to do in the city of Ibadan and one day that story would be told in its entirety. I have seen God’s hand in everything concerning this church; everything that has happened to us has been good. We have seen people come and go, and everything that has happened has only made us better – so that I am not at all bitter towards anyone who may have worked against my work in Ibadan. God has simply used everything to make this congregation better. I am so confident of God’s providence that even if this church were to shut down tomorrow, it would still be God’s kind grace to us and I will still be thankful.
This is why I am so excited to come to John chapter one verse one, as I lead God’s people in exploring God’s mind in giving the Church that mighty gospel through the Apostle John. Providence Church had spent the whole of 2023 examining foundational truths relevant to the Christian life and it has given the Church a biblical theology to base our church life upon. Preaching through the Bible expositionally will further accentuate these foundational truths and help drive the word of God into the lives of God’s people.
So that whatever God is doing in our individual lives, as families, and as a church, will receive the light of God’s word to direct us with. The common thing is for many to preach topically. It makes preaching easy for the minister because he simply preaches what he knows and finds scriptures to back his ideas up. Preaching expositionally, however, forces a minister to listen to God within the very words he authored and allows Christ to speak to the congregation directly. There is no greater blessing than this.
I write all these to ask you, my readers, to pray for me and the local church I lead; that God will guide us in this new path. That the Holy Spirit will sanctify the congregation and he will change the heart of sinners who come under the preaching of the word. I also share this with you to encourage those who may love expositional preaching and do not see this kind of preaching where they live. If you live in the city of Ibadan, and are close to the University of Ibadan, you may want to join our congregation, as we journey on this heavenly trip of knowing God within the words he gave to our world – the words of Holy Scriptures. 2024 is our year of expositional preaching as a church; it is my year of knowing God afresh within what is written. Amen.
To listen to sermon preached at Providence Church go to our Audiomack channel.
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