Category Archives: expository examples

Habakkuk Overview (Outline)

Wordle: Habakkuk

TRUSTING GOD IN TROUBLESOME TIMES

Habakkuk’s Message of Hope

I. Take Your Perplexities to God (1:1-2:1)

A. with alarm over unchecked sin (1:1-4) (Our prayers suffer when we are unconcerned.)

1. in our country

2. in our church

3. in our selves

B. with amazement at God’s sovereignty (1:5-11) (Our prayers suffer when we are unimpressed with God.)

C. with awareness of God’s character (1:12-17)  (Our prayers suffer when we are not gripped by God’s character.)

D. with anticipation for God’s answer (2:1)  (Our prayers suffer when we are proud, stubborn, and impatient concerning God’s answer.)

II. Think Upon the Payday of God (2:2-20)

A. Consider the vision God reveals (2:2-3)

1. Its transmission – written and plain

2. Its trustworthiness (cf. Hebrews 10:37-38)

B. Consider the verdict God renders (2:4)

1. On those who trust in themselves

2. On those who trust in God (cf. Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38)

C. Consider the vengeance God repays (2:5-20)

1. Description of the wicked (2:5)

2. Declaration against the wicked:  five woes – catalog of wrongs & corresponding retribution (2:6-20)

a. First set of woes

i. Plunder (2:6-8)

ii. Self-exaltation (2:9-11)

iii. Oppression (2:12-14)

b. But God’s glory will cover the earth (2:14)

c. Second set of woes

iv. Exploitation (2:15-17)

v. Idolatry (2:18-20)

d. But God is in His holy temple – let all be silent (2:20)

III. Triumph in the Person of God (3:1-19)

A. Plead with God in supplication (3:1-2)

1. Pray for revival

2. Pray for mercy

B. Praise God for His supremacy (3:3-15)

1. Remember His sovereignty over nature and nations

2. Remember His salvation for His people

C. Pursue God for satisfaction (3:16-19)

1. Recognize that circumstances are not guaranteed

2. Rejoice in the character of God

a. Rejoice in His salvation

b. Rejoice in His strength

Ezra 7:10 – Overview of Sermon Preparation Process

* Click here for a PDF file or click here for a Word document file of this article (4 pages).

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. – Ezra 7:10 (KJV)


We will overview the sermon preparation process, looking at Ezra 7:10.

1. Before doing anything else, we need to read and re-read the text and…

2. pray over the text.

3. Write down some observations on the text itself. Aim for 30.

4. Read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.  Ezra is the book the text is found in.  Ezra and Nehemiah were not two, but one book in the Jewish arrangement of this portion of the Bible.  This will give you a head start on the historical and literary context of Ezra 7:10.  Note any connections to the content of Ezra 7:10.

Now we are ready to look at the basic study process and sermon preparation based on this text.

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HERMENEUTICS (STUDYING THE TEXT)

This process lays the groundwork for the sermon.  Using Daniel Doriani’s method from Getting the Message (which we use as a text book in CAPS classes), we will look at hints for studying Ezra 7:10 in light of its:

C – Context – literary and historical.  What can we learn from the words, sentences, paragraphs, books, etc. around the text and is there anything from history (in or outside Scripture) that sheds light on the meaning and significance of the text?

A – Analysis – How is the passage put together?  What are some important grammatical and content markers?  Can you outline or structure the text visually to show how it functions?

P – Problems – Do you see any difficulties in understanding or communicating the text?  Has the text been misused to teach false doctrine?  Are there translation issues?  Could someone easily misunderstand this text?  Are there wrong assumptions to guard against in interpreting and applying this text?  Are there unfamiliar concepts or words?  Are people overly familiar with this text yet missing its full teaching?

T – Themes – What are the main themes addressed in the passage?  Can you relate them to other key passages in the Bible?  How does this passage specifically and (uniquely?) advance these themes in comparison to the other passages?  What are relevant cross-references?  Are there word studies that help you understand the themes of this passage (that also do justice to the interpretation of the text in context)?

O – Obligations – What does the text require people to believe, do, or avoid?  Does the application look significantly different for us versus what was required for the original audience?  What is the principle to be obeyed and how can it be obeyed today?

R – Reflections (Main Point & Redemptive Thrust) – What is the main point of this text?  How can you boil it down to a single sentence proposition that tells us the primary theme/topic (what the text is talking about) and the thrust (what the text is saying about what it is talking about) – and join the main application with the main theme?  How does the text point to our need of Christ or what Christ has done?

(CAPTOR – acronym helps you remember these phases of study for hermeneutics)

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HOMILETICS (PREACHING THE TEXT)

The task now is to take the most important insights from our study of the text and communicate them in a sermon.

  • Take the main point of the text and rephrase it for the sermon – draw the congregation in by making the application clear in the main point of the sermon (we must…/you must…).
  • Craft the homiletical outline and transitional statements, especially between your sermon points.
  • Make sure you have prepared to adequately explain the text and include appropriate illustrations.
  • Craft your introduction and sermon conclusion.  (Frontload application in introduction, bring home in conclusion.  Rule of thumb: land where you took off.)

HERMENEUTICS:  For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. – Ezra 7:10 (KJV)

  • CONTEXT OF EZRA 7:10 – Literary: Books of Ezra/Nehemiah, especially Ezra 7:9 & 8:22.  Historical:  Post-Babylonian captivity, return to the land, Ezra a scribe/priest.
  • ANALYSIS OF EZRA 7:10 – Ezra had prepared his heart to do three things, all related to “the law of the LORD”:  seek, do, and teach.  “For” indicates this is a reason for something else (context indicates “the good hand of God” – 7:9).

For Ezra had prepared his heart

  1. I. To seek the law of the LORD
  2. II. and to do it
  3. III. and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
  • PROBLEMS IN RELATION TO EZRA 7:10 – What is “the law of the LORD”?  “Statutes and judgments”?  The relation of “the law of the LORD” to our concept of Bible & Gospel?  What do we make of the handling of the mixed marriage situation in Ezra-Nehemiah?

  • THEMES IN EZRA 7:10 – God’s Word (Josh 1:8; Ps 1, etc.); obedience/blessing; teaching/preaching (Matt 28:18-20)

  • OBLIGATIONS IN EZRA 7:10 – God’s hand can be on leaders and all other people (8:22) if we devote ourselves to God’s Word (God’s Law… now “all Scripture” 2 Tim 3:16-17) by study, obedience, and teaching.  Devote ourselves to these things – make God’s Word priority #1; Devotion – active – does not happen by accident – not passive, but proactive!  “Bible before breakfast” – say no; schedule; alarm clock, etc.; quiet place; streamline reinforcement (audio Bible on drive, etc.).

This order is important:  to teach we need to be models of obedience, to obey we need to know what Word teaches, etc. and must have a devotion to God to do all of these!

Study – set aside time & routine; read, meditate, ask questions of Bible; learn how to use study tools properly; Obedience – do what we understand God’s Word to require, even if inconvenient or hard; Teach – share with others what God’s Word teaches (evangelism, family worship, parenting, Sunday School, preaching, etc., etc.)

  • REFLECTING ON THE MAIN POINT & REDEMPTIVE THRUST OF EZRA 7:10

Main Point – Ezra experienced the blessing of God because he was devoted to the Word of God; Redemptive Thrust – our fallen condition of ignoring or misusing the Word/fear of sharing it & Christ’s (the incarnate Word) perfect example of knowing, doing, and teaching God’s Word – God’s Word points to Him and brings us to faith.  Do these things on the basis of the Gospel — Romans 12:1-2  (this devotion to God’s Word is not moralistic but a response to the great salvation He has accomplished for us).

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HOMILETICS: For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. – Ezra 7:10 (KJV)

  • MAIN POINT – God’s blessing rests on those who devote themselves to His Word (study, obey, teach).  à  In order to enjoy the blessing of God on our lives, we must devote ourselves to the Word of God.
  • HOMILETICAL OUTLINE & TRANSITIONS –

To enjoy God’s blessing, we must devote ourselves to

1. Study God’s Word (DILIGENTLY SEEK OUT ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR LIVING)

TRANSITION:  “To enjoy God’s blessing, we not only need to devote ourselves to studying God’s Word, but also to obeying God’s Word.  We need to obey God’s Word to enjoy His blessing.  Notice that the text said that Ezra ‘prepared his heart…to do it,’ that is, to practice, obey, or perform what he saw in his study of God’s law….”

2. Obey God’s Word (DO WHAT IT REQUIRES)

TRANSITION:  “We need to obey God’s Word.  But devotion to God’s Word does not stop with study and obedience.  We also need to teach God’s Word.  Notice that the Bible says Ezra ‘prepared his heart…to teach.’”

3Share God’s Word (TELL OTHERS WHAT IT REQUIRES)

  • ILLUSTRATIONS – Biblical illustrations (obedience to God’s Word in Ezra-Nehemiah – handling the intermarriage situations, festivals; teaching – Neh. 8); illustrations from word studies; how you know what someone is devoted to or if someone is devoted to something (their tools/equipment; their schedule; their activities; their performance; their conversation); what/who a preacher is devoted to (who he quotes, models his ministry after, listens to etc. etc.); qualities of a good teacher; qualities of a bad teacher (illustrating by contrast)
  • INTRODUCTION – get attention, raise need, hint at application, orient to text, give context;

Text is about qualities of a person blessed by God & their devotion to His Word – about a teacher who is favored.  An introduction might talk about how you know if someone is devoted to something (see in illustrations above).  Another approach might be to talk about the opposite of Ezra – qualities of a bad teacher (we can all think of real life examples).  This illustration would also function throughout the sermon as a foil to compare what we should be against the alternative.

Introduce text, theme, context — People were coming back from Babylon, where they had landed because they refused to devote themselves to know and obey God’s Word – were now returning – how to enjoy God’s blessing?

Ezra’s example:  Ezra a leader – but this applies to all of God’s people (8:22).

Introduce proposition before transitioning to body:  If we want God’s hand of blessing, we must devote ourselves to His Word.

  • CONCLUSION – Land where you took off. For example, recap qualities of a bad teacher and qualities of a good teacher, the things we must be devoted to according to Ezra 7:10.

Growth in godliness and usefulness in ministry (as leaders or church members) are evidence that God’s blessing is upon our lives.  This blessing comes via our devotion to seek out, obey, and teach God’s Word.  Does your life give evidence of God’s blessing?  Devote yourself to these things.  You will please God.  You will enjoy God.  You will point others to God.  In other words, if you commit yourself to these, you will enjoy His blessing.

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After you do your Bible study and steps to prepare your sermon, finish up by completing the outline or manuscript you will take to the pulpit or use from memory.  Put the intro and conclusions in their place and flesh out the outline with the illustrations and other material you wish to include, including integrating the redemptive thrust so that your sermon is preached in the context of the Gospel.  Pray over it and preach the Word!

Preaching Through James: Alistair Begg

Here is a brief biography of Pastor Alistair Begg from the Truth for Life website:

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio.  He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life.  The teaching on Truth For Life stems from the week by week Bible teaching at Parkside Church. He and his wife, Susan, were married in 1975 and they have three grown children.

And here is his expository series from the New Testament epistle of James (free download available after you click on link):

When Trials Come, Part 1 – James 1:1

When Trials Come, Part 2 – James 1:2

Asking God for Wisdom – James 1:5

Rich Man, Poor Man – James 1:9

The Genuine Article – James 1:12

When Tempted… – James 1:13

The Word of Truth – James 1:18

Don’t Kid Yourselves! – James 1:22

Do What It Says – James 1:22-25

Religion, Part 1 – James 1:26

Religion, Part 2 – James 1:27

Favoritism, Part 1 – James 2:1-4

Favoritism, Part 2 – James 2:1-7

Favoritism, Part 3 – James 2:8

False Faith – James 2:14

Faith: True or False? – James 2:14

Abraham and Rahab – James 2:21

A Warning to Would-Be Teachers – James 3:1

The Power and Danger of the Tongue – James 3:3

Who Is Wise? – James 3:13

The Wisdom from Heaven – James 3:13

Such “Wisdom” – James 3:14

Fights and Quarrels – James 4:1

Submitting to God, Part 1 – James 4:7

Submitting to God, Part 2 – James 4:7

Saying No to Slander – James 4:11

Only One Judge – James 4:11

Planning Properly, Part 1 – James 4:13

Planning Properly, Part 2 – James 4:13

Listen, You Rich Men – James 5:1

Ill-Gotten Gain, Part 1 – James 5:1

Ill-Gotten Gain, Part 2 – James 5:1

Be Patient, the Lord Is Coming, Part 1 – James 5:7

Be Patient, the Lord Is Coming, Part 2 – James 5:7

Telling the Truth – James 5:12

Prayer and Praise – James 5:13

If Anyone Is Sick…, Part 1 – James 5:14

If Anyone Is Sick…, Part 2 – James 5:15

Confession and Prayer – James 5:16

Bringing Back the Wanderers – James 5:19-20

Preaching Through Numbers: Ligon Duncan

Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III serves as Senior Minister at First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Jackson, Mississippi.  Dr. Duncan preached through the book of Numbers from January 2007 until May of 2008.  Most of the messages are available as free mp3 audio files, and all but one have text versions, accessible via the links below.  He models in this series what he shared in a 2006 message on “Preaching from the Old Testament” (free audio here), especially his message on “The Adultery Test” from Numbers 5:11-31 (preached on Valentine’s Day!).  Another highlight is his taking God’s Word seriously enough to take the time to read the entire 89 verses of chapter 7 as he speaks from it.  For more information about Dr. Duncan and more resources from him, visit www.fpcjackson.org.

Numbers 1:1-4 01a 1/3/2007 Introduction and Outline
Numbers 1:1-46 01b 1/10/2007 Numbered
Numbers 1:47-54 02a 1/17/2007 The Levites, however, were not numbered
Numbers 2 02b 1/24/2007 Arranged
Numbers 3 03a 1/24/2007 Priests, Duties, Firstborn
Numbers 4 03b 2/07/2007 Priests, Duties, Firstborn (2)
Numbers 5:1-10 04a 2/14/2007 Defiled
Numbers 5:11-31 04b 2/21/2007 The Adultery Test
Numbers 6:1-21 05a 2/28/2007 The Nazarites
Numbers 6:22-27 05b 3/21/2007 The Total Blessing
Numbers 7 06a 4/18/2007 Offerings of the Leaders
Numbers 8 06b 4/28/2007 Lamps, Levites, and Retirement
Numbers 9:1-14 07a 5/2/2007 Passover
Numbers 9:15 -10:10 07b 5/9/2007 Cloud and Trumpets
Numbers 10:11-36 08a 5/30/2007 Leaving Sinai
Numbers 11:1-15 08b 6/6/2007 Grumbling
Numbers 11:16-30 09a 6/20/2007 Elders and Quail
Numbers 11:31-35 09b 6/27/2007 The Plague
Numbers 12:1-16 10a 7/18/2007 Murmuring in the Land
Numbers 13:1-33 10b 8/1/2007 Spies in the Land
Numbers 14:1-45 11a 8/8/2007 Rebellion and Rebuke
Numbers 15:1-41 11b 8/19/2007 The Laws of the Land
Numbers 16:1-50 12a 8/22/2007 Korah’s Rebellion
Numbers 17 12b 8/29/2007 Aaron’s Rod Blossoming
Numbers 18:1-32 13a 9/2/2007 Levites’ Duties and Priestly Responsibility
Numbers 19 13b 9/9/2007 The Red Heifer
Numbers 20 14a 9/23/2007 Just Another Day in the Wilderness
Numbers 21:1-9 14b 10/7/2007 Snakebit
Numbers 21:10-35 15a 10/21/2007 The Wars of the Lord
Numbers 22:1-21 15b 11/4/2007 Conspiracy to Curse
Numbers 22:22-40 16a 11/11/2007 Balaam’s Ass
Numbers 22:41-23:26 16b 1/2/2008 Balaam’s Prophecy
Numbers 23:27 – 24:25 17a 1/9/2008 Balaam’s Prophecy (2)
Numbers 25:1-18 17b 1/16/2008 The Zeal of Phinehas
Numbers 26:1-65 18a 1/23/2008 The New Generation
Numbers 27:1-14 18b 1/27/2008 Inheritance Laws
Numbers 27:12-23 19a 1/30/2008 Succession Plan
Numbers 28:1-31 19b 2/6/2008 The Laws of Offerings
Numbers 29:1-40 20a 2/13/2008 The Offerings of the Seventh Month
Numbers 30:1-16 20b 2/27/2008 Vows
Numbers 31 21a 3/5/2008 Vengeance on Midian
Numbers 32 21b 3/12/2008 This Side of the Jordan
Numbers 33:1-49 22a 4/6/2008 From Egypt to Jordan
Numbers 33:50-56 22b 4/23/2008 Possessing the Land
Numbers 34:1-29 23a 4/27/2008 Divvying Up Canaan
Numbers 35:1-34 23b 5/4/2008 Cities of Refuge
Numbers 36:1-13 24a 5/11/2008 No Inheritance Transferred
Final sermon in the Numbers series.

Preaching through Titus: James Hamilton

Dr. Jim Hamilton, pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church and professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (both in Louisville, Kentucky), preached through the book of Titus in April and May of 2010.  Here are links to the sermon audio (.mp3 format).

Titus 1:1-4

Titus 1:5-16

Titus 2:1-15

Titus 3:1-15

You can access more resources from Dr. Hamilton here:  www.jimhamilton.info.

Preaching Through Job: John Piper

This series was preached in the summer of 1985 by Dr. John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It is a great example of preaching expository sermons through a book of the Bible without getting bogged down at the micro-level.  Because of its literary genre, Job would be difficult to tackle if dealing extensively with every verse (I know it’s been tried, with some being more successful than others).  You can view the sermon transcript or listen or download the audio using the links below.

Job: Reverent in Suffering (1:1-2:10) (click here for audio)

Job: Wrestling with Suffering (2:11-31:40) (click here for audio)

Job: Rebuked in Suffering (32-37) (click here for audio)

Job: the Revelation of God in Suffering (38:1-42:6) (click here for audio)

Job: Reversal in Suffering (42:7-17) (click here for audio)

Piper has also preached through other books of the Bible. All his sermons are online for free in the resource library at www.desiringGOD.org.

See also this helpful series by Dr. Robert McCabe of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary:

Prizing God Above His Gifts: Job’s Message for Today

Click here to view or download the complete .pdf file,

or view the web version in 5 parts:

Part 1 –  Part 2 –  Part 3 –  Part 4 –  Part 5

Expository Examples

Some people have never heard expository preaching. Some have never heard of expository preaching. Some have never heard expository preaching but think they have. Whether you’ve heard of expository preaching, never heard of it, or experience it regularly, it is good to not only have a definition of what it is (proclaiming the message of the text), but to see actual examples of it taking place.

All churches need preachers who are committed to exposition as the main diet for the sheep.

In the days to come, I plan to post examples of expository preaching, with a special focus on preaching through books of the Bible. These posts will include nationally known preachers but may also include men you have not heard of, but who seek to faithfully preach the text. I hope it will be useful to you.

Preaching through Numbers: J. Ligon Duncan III

Preaching through Job: John Piper

Preaching through Titus: James Hamilton

Preaching through James: Alistair Begg