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EXPOSITORY EXULTATION: Christian Preaching as Worship

“God has appointed preaching in worship as one great means of accomplishing his ultimate goal in the world.” —John Piper

John Piper makes a compelling claim in these pages about the purpose of preaching: it is intended not merely as an explanation of the text but also as a means of awakening worship by being worship in and of itself. Christian preaching is a God-appointed miracle aiming to awaken the supernatural seeing, savoring, and showing of the glory of Christ.

Distilling over forty years of experience in preaching and teaching, Piper shows preachers how and what to communicate from God’s Word, so that God’s purpose on earth will advance through Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered preaching—in other words, expository exultation.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Roots and Scope of Expository Exultation

Part 1: A Setting for Preaching:

God’s People Gathered for Worship

1. The Essence of Corporate Worship

2. Corporate Worship: Biblical and Beautifully Fitting

Part 2: Why Is Expository Exultation Integral to Corporate Worship?

Heralding, History, and Trinity

3. How Paul Brought Heralding into the House of God

4. Four Roots of the Beautiful Fitness of Expository Exultation in Worship

5. The Trinitarian Roots of Expository Exultation

Part 3: How Does Preaching Become a Means of the Miracle of Worship—Supernaturally?

Expository Exultation in the Power of the Holy Spirit

6. Expository Exultation: A Humanly Impossible Act with a Humanly Impossible Effect

7. Expository Exultation by Faith: How I Pursued the Miracle in My Preaching

Part 4: How Does Preaching Become a Means of the Miracle of Worship—Naturally?

Expository Exultation and the Use of All Our Natural Powers

8. Expository Exultation: Loving People with Clear Thinking and Valid Logic

9. “Lest the Cross Be Emptied of Its Power”: The Perils of Christian Eloquence

Part 5: Rigorous Attention to the Text for the Sake of Radical Penetration into Reality

Making Connection Manifest between Text and Reality

10. Text, Reality, and Sermon: Making the Connections Clear

11. Showing How Reality Shines through the Words of the Passage: Three Examples

Part 6: What Reality Shall We Preach?

Three Pervasive Emphases of All Expository Exultation

12. Preaching in the Light of an Author’s All-Encompassing Vision of Reality

13. Expository Exultation and the Glory of God, Part 1: As the Ultimate Goal of All Things

14. Expository Exultation and the Glory of God, Part 2: How It Shapes Every Sermon

15. Expository Exultation and Christ Crucified, Part 1: Boasting Only in the Cross in Every Sermon

16. Expository Exultation and Christ Crucified, Part 2: “That We Might Live to Righteousness”

17. Expository Exultation and the Obedience of Faith, Part 1: The Path of Love That Leads to Life

18. Expository Exultation and the Obedience of Faith, Part 2: The Pursuit of Joy, Love, and Eternal Life

Part 7: Expository Exultation and the Old Testament

The Glory of God, the Cross of Christ, and the Obedience of Faith

19. Expository Exultation and the Old Testament, Part 1: Preaching the Glory of God

20. Expository Exultation and the Old Testament, Part 2: Preaching Christ Crucified

21. Expository Exultation and the Old Testament, Part 3: Preaching the Obedience of Faith

Concluding Thoughts: A Dangerous and Glorious Calling

General Index

Scripture Index

Note on Desiring God Resources

“John Piper’s Expository Exultation is fittingly dedicated to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, because it may well do for the present generation what Preaching and Preachers did uniquely for previous ones—instruct, humble, challenge, and inspire. Here are heat and light combined—what Lloyd-Jones called ‘logic on fire.’ All the emphases we have come to expect from Piper are here: God-centered, Christ-focused, Spirit-imbued, with rigorous attention to the text of Scripture and passionate theological conviction. Piper displays a take-you-by-the-throat honesty and a sense of the weight of glory that marks true worship. Here is a book about preaching in which God himself takes center stage. Expository Exultation is a stunning utterance, a leave-you-wanting-more kind of book. It prostrates us in the dust, then sets us on our feet, and thus makes us want to be and do better for God. It is simply a must-read for every preacher of the gospel.” -Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries

“The first time I heard John Piper preach the Bible, I was in my early twenties and had never experienced anything like the passion and power that proceeded from a zeal rooted and tethered to the text. This became for me a blueprint to be emulated. I am grateful that he has written the great lessons of over thirty years of ‘expository exultation’ for the generations to come. There is gold in these pages, and I am eager for the next group of those who will herald the good news of the gospel to be shaped by it. We are in desperate need of serious preaching in these serious days.” -Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Mingling of Souls and The Explicit Gospel

“It is a refreshing change to read a book on preaching that contains almost nothing about technique but rather focuses on the Bible’s teaching about the nature and awesome privilege of the task—and, above all, on the majesty of God, whose servants we are and whose glories we are called to proclaim. Many preachers will be spurred on by these pages, as I have been, to keep giving themselves to the solemn and joyful tasks of explaining Scripture and exulting in God.” -Vaughan Roberts, Rector, St Ebbe’s, Oxford, England; Director, The Proclamation Trust; author, God's Big Picture

“Piper has written more than fifty books, so there is something a bit outrageous in suggesting that Expository Exultation is his best. But such a case can be made. Perhaps that is because I, like John, am a preacher, and was profoundly instructed, rebuked, encouraged, and given even greater hope for my ministry through the insights he provides in this book. I trust John has many more volumes to come, but for my money, this is the culmination of his contribution to pastoral ministry. If you’re not a pastor or preacher, read it anyway. If you are in full-time ministry, dig deeply into this immense treasure trove of homiletical insight. I’m confident that if you do, it will radically transform your approach to God’s Word and the passion with which you preach it.” -Sam Storms, Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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