Wrote Calvin (emphasis mine):
"Christ began His sermons thus, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel. First of all he declareth that the treasures of mercy are set open in Him. Secondly, He requireth acceptance. Lastly, confidence in God's promises. 'To what end,' some will ask, 'do exhortations tend?' Why are not men rather left to the conduct of the Holy Spirit? Why are they solicited by exhortations, since they can only comply with them so far as the Holy Spirit enables them? This briefly is our answer: The sinner cannot impute the hardness of his heart to any one besides himself, and oh man, who art thou that wouldst impose laws on God? If he choose to prepare us by means of exhortations to receive that very grace to obey those exhortations which are addressed to us, what hast thou to object to this conduct of the Lord, and what is there in it which thou canst justly condemn?" ("CALVINISM AND HYPER-CALVINISM: Mr. J. E. Cracknell's Reply To Mr. Wale's
"MINISTERIAL APPEALS TO THE UNCONVERTED."") (see here)
"Thematic preaching is an excellent form for preaching Bible doctrine. The speaker can focus on everyday topics by expounding a specific biblical text. The pastor can focus on Bible sayings on any relevant subject by a careful study and exposition of relevant biblical passages. Thematic expository preaching generally appears in a sermon series over several weeks and introduces many Scriptures focused on the same theme. Thematic messages may include as many as 10 or 12 Scripture passages in each sermon. Since the Bible tends to provide teachings on themes dispersed through different books, this form of preaching is a good way to preach the "whole counsel of God." This method also introduces new believers or unschooled unbelievers to general themes and patterns that appear throughout the Bible."
"Narrative preaching presents the biblical text in the form of story and follows that story to completion. A narrative sermon functions as a lengthy illustration that uses a biblical text as its beginning and end.
When using this form, the speaker shares a story from the gospel such as that found in the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4). In telling the story, the preacher asks the listener to join in the narrative."
"Narrative preaching will grow more popular in the coming years. This is good news as long as the narratives remain consistent with biblical texts. Jesus demonstrated the value of narrative preaching by his use of parables."
Concerning topical expository preaching he says:
"Of the four forms of exposition, I recommend this form the least. Its weakness grows out of the limits of time and the speaker's inability to include enough biblical text about the topic in one sermon. Although I discourage this form, it is helpful at times.
Topical exposition generally revolves around one passage, centering on one theme. It is topical because it is usually a single message on a single subject. It is expository because it uses the biblical text as its source.
Most preachers use this form on special occasions such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Easter, but topical preaching does not provide adequate time to address the whole counsel of God as other methods do. Topical preaching limits opportunities for presenting proper understandings of the context as opposed to verse-by-verse preaching. In addition, the topical approach does not offer the opportunity to use the graphic and powerful images of narrative preaching. The church planter will probably use topical exposition, but it should be used sparingly.
(Ed Stetzer is vice president of LifeWay Insights for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is visiting professor of Research and Missiology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, visiting research professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has taught at 15 other colleges and seminaries. He also serves on the Church Services Team at the International Mission Board. He coauthored Transformational Church with Thom Rainer.)