The preacher’s proper task is to deliver the goods, not to manufacture them. He is the waiter, not the chef. Therefore, the biblical text must be his resource, the fountain of truth to which he constantly resorts, from which he himself continually drinks, and from which he faithfully draws to satisfy the thirst of others. Exercising this kind of control over topical preaching is hard work.
When preaching on a theme, a theological doctrine, or a historical event or character, the expositor must endeavor to utilize
Scripture fully in his preaching. His task is to unfold the Scriptures, not merely to enfold them into a topic. The latter will bend the Word to conform to the preacher’s perspective; the former will bend the preacher’s perspective to conform to the Word.
Topical preaching has many benefits. First, used at the end of one book study and before starting another, it provides variety. The change from one type of presentation to another often contributes freshness and causes increased attentiveness. Preaching on a theme or salient point of doctrine can give people a greater understanding of a particular subject, resulting in a greater impact on their lives… Second, restricting preaching solely to the verse-by-verse method without including any kind of didactic treatment of major biblical themes, doctrines, and ethical teachings is to make an unbiblical distinction between preaching and teaching, thereby withholding from a congregation essential perspectives on the Word.
Topical preaching has a venerable place in the history of the craft. Its legitimacy is seen in the validity of biblical and systematic theology. While this should not be the first choice of the pastor-teacher, every pastor will preach topically on occasion… Because the topical sermon can be more relentlessly unitary, one discovers that any list of the ten sermons which have most decisively influenced world culture and society consists mostly if not entirely of topical sermons.
To the extent that this kind of preaching uses the Bible at all, it does so to exploit or devour it and not to listen to it, let alone to stand under it and be guided by it… [They] are using the text as its masters rather than serving the text as its ministers (Dwight Stevenson).