What does it mean when a sermon is exegetical? That is certainly not a word you hear or read very often. Yet it is an incredibly important one. It is the difference in true, biblical doctrine and heresy.
For a sermon to be exegetical, the preacher must put into practice exegesis (ex-a-gee-sus). Exegesis is the careful and systematic study you use to learn what the Bible is saying. It is the work that must be done in order to determine the original and intended meaning of the author to his audience. Exegesis in simple terms is true Bible study.
It does not matter whether or not a sermon is topical or expositional. What does matter is what the preacher saying true to the text. A sermon can be topical but if the verses one uses don’t really mean what you say they mean then one is not true to the text. (And to clarify: just because it is expositional does not automatically mean it is exegetical either)
The fact is that real Bible study is hard work. It takes time and effort to make sure of what the Bible is actually saying not just what you want it to say. Exegesis means to pull the truth out. We want to take what the Bible says out and apply it to our lives not force our ideas into it.