There are a variety of ways that people talk about and describe preaching, especially when it comes to the purpose and design of a sermon. Some people argue for a strict exegetical style of preaching, others argue for a more topical approach to preaching.
One such approach has commonly been described as expositional preaching, which Mark Dever defined as:
"An expositional sermon takes the main point of a passage of Scripture, makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to life today.” - 9Marks
While not necessarily in disagreement with that definition, in a conversation with Tullian Tchividjian, Tullian suggested an expanded definition for expositional preaching.
Exposing the sin. And exposing the savior.
“What I’ve come to understand expository preaching to be now: in and through every text of Scripture we expose the sinner by preaching the Law and we expose the Savior by preaching the Gospel.” - Tullian Tchividjian
A New Definition for Expository Preaching
Exposing the sin.
The law exposes us for who we really are. The law makes sure we are completely aware of our failure to be righteous before God. It instructs in holiness and also reminds that we aren’t holy. The law shatters any inflated views of ourself we might have had and brings us back down to earth.
The law reveals that we are a mess and in need of a Savior. The law does its work so that the Gospel might do its work. The law kills us in order that we might be made alive.
Exposing the Savior.
The Gospel is the message of rescue. It exposes Christ who made us righteous even though we are sinners. The Gospel is the message that proclaims forgiveness that is not based on what we have done, but is based on the finished work of Jesus. The Gospel calls sinners “saints.”
The Gospel acknowledges that we are a mess. But it makes known the work of our Savior. The Gospel does its work redeeming and rescuing our broken lives. The Gospel brings us, while we were dead in our sins, back to life.
“Virtually the whole of the scriptures and the understanding of the whole of theology–the entire Christian life, even–depends upon the true understanding of the law and the gospel.” – Martin Luther