Note: I believe it was Tommy Ice who mentioned that God’s people showed such adesire for expository preaching that they flooded the conferences in the early 1900s.It was this pursuit of God’s Word that eventually caused the need for more Bible teachersand preachers and brought about the founding of Dallas Theological Seminary and otherlike- Bible schools. As Dr. John Mitchell said, God will provide truth to feed His people. lkp“The faithful exposition of the Word of God powerfully transforms lives. This was never more true than in the preaching ministry by the so-called “Plymouth Brethren” 150 years ago. Men of God such as Henry Moorhouse, William Kelly, C.H. Macintosh, and R.C. Chapman were exceptionally gifted expositors of the Bible. C.H. Spurgeon commented that R.C. Chapman, was one of the godliest and most gifted expositors in England. “Brethren” Bible conferences in North America and Great Britain attracted overflowing crowds of serious Christians.The Legacy of Expository PreachingOf all the contributions of the so-called “Plymouth Brethren” movement to the evangelical church, it may be that expository preaching is its most enduring legacy. Expository preaching had fallen into disfavor at this time. Most ministers preached topically or textually, using one text or verse and then building a sermon around the theme of the verse. The “Plymouth Brethren” did not follow this method, but introduced a verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter consecutivemethod of Scripture exposition. Moreover, they preached the Bible as one unified book. Theydemonstrated that the prophecies of the Old Testament and the teaching of the New Testament could not be isolated from one another; rather, both were essential to a proper understanding of the Bible. They took seriously the historical-grammatic method of interpretation of Scripture, and labored in the exposition of types, dispensations, and prophecies of the Bible. They were recognized as authorities on the original languages of the Scriptures, trends within theology, and biblicalhistory and culture. This style of preaching was a refreshing change, stimulating spiritual growth and stirring great interest in the Scriptures. This unique approach virtually transformed the method in which the Bible was proclaimed and has influenced expository preaching well into our present day. The efforts of these Brethren expositors had a significant impact on L.S. Chafer, H.A. Ironside,and the founders of Dallas Theological Seminary and Moody Bible Institute, influencing the expository preaching of a whole new generation.The Importance of Expository PreachingAs expository preaching was given great emphasis by the early “Plymouth Brethren,” leading evangelical preachers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean were quick to see its great importance. As expository preaching began to gain acceptance, the spiritual lives of many Christians were revitalized. This expository preaching movement may have contributed in part to the deep interest in the Scofield Reference Bible, the surge in missionary interest, and the Bible ProphecyConference Movement of the late 1800s. How does expository preaching transform lives?Why is expository preaching so important? Alfred P. Gibbs, the author of The Preavcher and His Preaching, explains the importance of expository preaching:“Expository preaching puts the supreme emphasis on the Word of God. It magnifies the Word of God, and gives it the place of supreme authority…this type of preaching serves the far better purpose of edifying the people of God as the Scriptures are applied to their everyday lives. It provides an opportunity for speaking on many passages that would otherwise be neglected. By means of this method of preaching little known truths will be given their rightful place, and it will be demonstratedthat all Scripture is essential to furnish the man of God. The well-placed emphasis on expository preaching is a great tool in the hand of God for spiritual renewal.”The Challenge of Expository PreachingThese human messengers of the oracles of God were powerfully gripped by the realization that they were handling divine truth. Therefore, faithfulness and spiritual care were essential in setting forth the truths of the Scriptures. Many hours of careful study were devoted to understandingthe truth of God. These expositors, armed with the Word of God in their hearts and skilled with gift from above, brought untold blessing to many. Many were challenged by the godliness of their character, the breadth of their knowledge of the holy Word, and their commitment to the truth of God at all costs. Many who heard their ministry were changed forever. Expository preaching is theappointed way of bringing men and women face to face with the truths of God’s Word. It is God’smethod of faithfully proclaiming the whole counsel of God and fully furnishing believers for service. The apostle Paul exhorts Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”(2 Tim. 4:2). May we take up this important challenge to passionately preach the Word of God, to proclaim it expositionally, and to faithfullymake the truth of God known to a new generation!(from Cornerstone magazine, July-Aug 2017)
It was in that very spot, sir,” said a working shoemaker, pointing to a place in his little workshop, “Yes, in that very place, sir, six years ago, that the Lord spoke peace to my troubled soul; and how good and gracious He is.” Such was almost the beginning of our happy and profitable intercourse on paying a visit to this dear servant of the Lord Jesus. . . . .
After talking generally together, and having had sweet fellowship in the things of our precious Savior and Lord, and we were about to leave, he said, “I should like to let you know something about the exercises of soul I have been lately passing through.” To this we readily assented.
He then said something like this: “When I was converted to God, and knew the Lord Jesus Christ His Son as my Savior, I thought I shall now surely prosper in my little business; but in this I was sadly mistaken, for my earnings very soon fell off. The first year I earned three shillings a week less, the second year three shillings a week less, the third year four shillings a week less, and of late my earnings have been so little that I thought I must give it up, and seek some other employment, though I have so enjoyed the Lord’s presence with me in this little place. Accordingly, knowing Mr. M. to be a kind christian man, and that he held a good situation in a large factory near this, I asked him if he thought he could procure me employment of any kind in his place of business, and he promised to let me know when there was a vacancy.
“But after this I became deeply exercised before the Lord as to what I was about. Is this that I am seeking according to my own will or the Lord’s will? Is He bidding me to give up my present calling and seek another? for I have had much of the Lord’s presence, and enjoyed His sweet company when working alone in this corner. And just then the Lord seemed to say to me, Which will you have? Will you go into the factory, and mix with the ungodly multitude with large wages, or remain in this corner and enjoy my presence with small earnings; which will you have? I assure you, sir, it was a serious moment. I turned it well over in my mind. I considered how weak I am, how easily turned aside, and began to think that if I went into that factory to work, I might soon be drawn away, and lose my blessed Lord’s sweet company. So I said, ‘Lord, let me have Thy company even if it must be with small earnings; I’d rather suffer loss, than not enjoy Thy presence with me.’ From that time I became perfectly settled, and told Mr. M. not to think anything more about procuring a situation for me. Now, sir, it is remarkable that from that time work began to come in more than for a long time before.”
We could not help thinking that the result was just what we should have expected. We believe that one of the greatest hindrances to souls is their being so taken up with desire for worldly prosperity. The consequence is that the Lord has not got His rightful place in their hearts; and, however many excuses they may make, the question really is, “Am I seeking earthly gain, or the enjoyment of the Lord’s presence? Is communion with Him the uppermost desire of my heart?” Perhaps no point is of more importance for us really to settle in the presence of God. If
worldly advantage, to say nothing of the accumulation of wealth, has the first consideration, let it not surprise us, if such go further and further away from the Lord; but if we are willing to suffer loss, and to lay aside everything that hinders our enjoyment of His sweet company, then we may be sure that He will not forsake us as to food and raiment. We believe the scripture is as true as ever,
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).
We do well to remember that to the believer it is said,
Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (Phil. 1:29).
Things New and Old 25:330-332.
Articles from Things New and Old 377
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” 2 Timothy 4:7This faith was to be fed and nourished amongst the saints, and it was also to be published abroad in the world. Timothy was to do the work of an evangelist. Love never fails. It cannot be enfeebled by apostasy, it cannot be killed by treachery, it cannot be crushed by opposition, it cannot be frozen to death by neglect; it withstands the severest winters, the most biting frosts, the fiercest tempests, the most destructive storms of snows and hails and rains. It has melted the hardest hearts, it has broken the most stubborn wills, it has humbled the haughtiest, subdued the most obstinate, and won the most intractable. It is omnipotent, invincible, inviolable. It is self-neglecting, self-denying, self-sacrificing. It is life-imparting, life-preserving, life-nourishing. It is infinite, changeless, eternal, divine: for GOD IS LOVE.In the power of this love Timothy was to carry on the work of the Lord among the saints of God, and among the nations of the earth. He was to care for the people of God, and he was to preach the gospel to those still unconverted. The great Apostle of the Gentiles was about to put off his armour, and depart to be with Christ. To Timothy he looks for a continuation of that work that had been for so many years carried on by himself. He had found in his pathway of service for Christ much the same character of things that had beset the path of his Saviour: persecution from the world, desertion by his companions, carelessness regarding the interests of Christ. But he had found the Lord Himself all-sufficient. The Lord had stood by him when all had deserted him; and he had the confidence that He would still be at his side, in all the tribulations through which he might yet have to pass.
A number of years ago a Christian blacksmith who suffered much was challenged by an unbeliever to account for it.
Pressed out of measure, and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely it seems beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul;
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll;
Pressure by foes, and pressure by friends;
Pressure on pressure till life nearly ends.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod;
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things;
Pressed into living a life in the Lord;
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.