Preacher’s Toolkit: Should I Always Call for Repentance and Faith?

Steven J. Lawson | June 22, 2017

Expository preaching addresses the entire person—the mind, the affections, and the will. Sadly, many think of expository preaching only as mental instruction. While preaching must certainly instruct the mind, it must go further than mere mental instruction. An expository sermon must also raise the affections.

Jonathan Edwards, for example, spoke of this desire to raise the emotions of his listeners so that they might be on fire for the Lord and emotionally responsive to his truth. But a sermon must not only instruct the mind and raise the affections; it must also challenge the will. In other words, an expository sermon will always include a call to respond to God’s Word. By its nature, preaching both challenges and petitions the will.

Proclamation Demands a Verdict

An evangelistic sermon demonstrates the importance of calling for decision. In evangelistic preaching, the sermon invites unbelievers to repent of their sins and trust in the Lord. The ministry of Christ repeatedly illustrates this commitment to call for a decision. Christ says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24). Elsewhere he says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. . . . ‘Out of his…

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