The Christocentric hermeneutic continues! Remember that Christocentric means “Christ-centered” and hermeneutic means “view or interpretation of Scripture.” This lesson is extremely important on how to preach Christ in every sermon and from every Biblical text. I believe these are the keys to a truly powerful sermon that changes lives!
Should we point to Christ in every sermon? From what we learned in the last lesson…absolutely! Usually we hear most in our churches about the will and the glory of God – and Jesus is both of them (Eph 1:9-11, Phil 2:9-11). We also saw that all of Scripture is ultimately pointing us to the person and the work of Christ – His identity and His accomplishment – Who He is and What He has done, is doing, and will do forever. Preaching is calling people to become like the person of Christ by trusting in His work!
So should we? Absolutely! Then how do we? I think there are two main ways that preachers make their attempt. First, I hear many preachers give a “Where’s Waldo” approach. They read Jesus into every passage as if He’s hiding in every scene as a rock, a red cord, or a lamb. Other preachers give an “invitation Jesus” approach. They just tack Jesus onto the end of all of their sermons saying, “the only way you can make this a part of your life is by asking Jesus into your heart to be your personal Lord and Savior.” I don’t think either way is biblical, helpful, or life changing to those who are listening.
I believe that God has designed a pattern in the Scriptures to continuously and progressively point to the gospel of Christ (His person and work). For just a few short examples: In Genesis, God is showing that His creation and His promises all point to one Person. In Exodus, God is showing that He will raise up an eternal mediator to lead His people. In Leviticus, God is showing that He will bring about a perfect law-keeper and sacrifice for law-breakers. In Numbers, God is showing that He will save His people from their rebellion through the conquering of the curse. In Deuteronomy, God is showing that He is offering His people peace through a super-power King who will protect them. Do you see? These are designed patterns of the person and work of Christ.
Also thinking about passages like Matthew 3 – 4 is helpful: the baptism and temptation of Christ. In Matthew 3, we see Jesus being announced as the Son of God just before being led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted with food. I think this is obviously Jesus reliving the life of Israel who was called God’s Son (Exo 4:22-23), who was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness for 40 years, and was temped with food, lust, and pride around every corner. These two passages are also fulfillment patterns of King David’s life which points us to Christ. King David was a shepherd, anointed with the Spirit of God to be King over God’s people, and was led by the Spirit of God out into the wilderness to fight and defeat God’s enemy – Goliath (1 Samuel 16-17). Likewise, Jesus was anointed with the Spirit of God at His baptism, then the Spirit of God led Him into the wilderness, and there He defeated God’s greatest enemy – Satan (Matthew 3-4). What is happening in the OT are real, historical stories that are orchestrated by God to be physical pictures of the spiritual realities in the NT.
It is important to continuously point our people to the pattern of the person and work of Christ in all of Scripture because God’s goal for preaching is to glorify Christ by us trusting in His work on the cross! We aren’t trying to find hidden figures of Jesus in every passage, but rather we are to understand the overarching story of each passage in Scripture and point it to the main storyline of all Scripture that God is orchestrating. The Old and New Testament are one piece of literature that turn, loop, and curve around into one story, and the knot that ties it all together is Jesus (Luke 24). He is sermon central!