Friday, June 09, 2006

Outline for Preaching

I have been describing some of the problems with the virtual canonization of expository preaching as “the only method of preaching that preserves the purity of Scripture and accomplishes the purpose for which God gave us His Word” (John MacArthur, Rediscovering expository preaching, p. 24).

While many still cannot see the problems, it is time to move on and answer the question, “
Exactly what kind of preaching should we be doing?”

Let’s start with the Old Testament. For many pastors preaching from the Old Testament is problematic. Some avoid it almost entirely. Others treat passages from the Old Testament as morality lessons.

Then there are those who apparently have never read Hebrews 8:13. They teach about tithing from Malachi. They promote
Sabbatarianism. They manufacture artificial distinctions between the moral, civil and ceremonial Law given through Moses.

Until recently, I struggled with some of these same problems. But through the influence of
N. T. Wright, Tim Keller and Peter Enns, I have finally understood how to treat the Old Testament with respect and from a Christian perspective.

The key is Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Jesus reinterpreted the Old Testament in light of what God had accomplished in the life, death and resurrection of his Son. Through the book of Acts we see the Apostles doing the same thing. Paul proclaimed from the Scriptures (Old Testament) the good news about Jesus.

When we preach from the Old Testament, the ultimate focus must always be on Jesus Christ. We can preach about Joseph and talk about how faithful he was, about how God’s providence was displayed in his life, and about how he held to his faith right down to the end by making them swear to take his bones back to the Promised Land. But in the end we must shift the focus to the One who was faithful to the point of death on the cross, to the One who God providentially used to provide the Bread of Life, to the One who did not waver in the Garden and trusted God to fulfill his promise of resurrection.

I now find preaching from the Old Testament more exciting, more appealing and more powerful as every text is reinterpreted in the light of what God has accomplished in the person of Jesus the Christ.

The Old Testament is more than just background for the Gospel. It is an important part, an essential part, of the grand narrative that finds its key moment in the resurrection of Jesus. And this narrative continues today.

Pastor Rod

“Helping you become the person God created you to be”


Scott Hill said...

Are you sure you want to use the word reinterpreted? If I see your intent correctly the wouldn't you have to say Christ exposited the OT text, and told them what it actually meant?

josh said...

I was going to say almost the same thing. I enjoy preaching the OT more than the NT, I really do not know why I just do. I think it has something to do with my perspective. On that page in between the two I have written 'You will never fully understand what happens past this page, until you understand what happened before it.'
So when preaching, if you take the expositional approach and give the meaning of the text as the meaning of your message wouldn't the Christological implication be the ultimate meaning of any OT passage, such as Jonah, Moses, Noah and so on...

jeff franczak said...

Pastor Rod, I disagree that ruling out all forms of Sabbatarianism is a clear-cut issue. I have been prayerfully thinking about and wrestling with this for well over a year now, and I’m just not convinced that the answer is as simple as applying Hebrews 8:13.

This evening, I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ words to the Pharisees when they accused the disciples of breaking the Sabbath by picking and eating some heads of grain: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28, NIV, emphasis mine).

The Sabbath ordinance set God’s people apart from the other peoples in a special way, but it was also a blessing of rest. Under the New Covenant, our relationship to the Sabbath has changed (grace vs. ordinance), but my conviction is that our human need for a Sabbath rest remains.

Could this be an issue without a simple answer where prayerful, Bible committed Christians simply disagree in their interpretation and convictions?

Scott Hill said...

Pastor Rod do you know what expository preaching is?

Pastor Rod said...


Yes, I want to use the word reinterpeted. No, I wouldn't say that Jesus "exposited" the OT text. Yes, I know what I'm talking about. No, I'm not particularly persuaded by arguments that depend largely upon personal attacks.


Pastor Rod said...


Thanks for your contribution. I'm talking about something different than "expositing" the OT. The job of the preacher is to tell the narrative and then place it in the context of the bigger narrative that includes Jesus Christ.


Pastor Rod said...


I know that you are serious about your Christ following. I can accept that you find a Sabbath practice a helpful discipline.

But there are few things to consider. One, the Old Covenant isn't just refurbished. It is completely replaced by the New Covenant.

Two, the Sabbath was a blessing of rest. But, as Hebrews explains, there remains for God's people a different kind of rest.

Three, yes Christians can have different "convictions," but the problem with Sabbatarianism is that it is proscriptive.

Thanks for contributing to the discussion.


Anonymous said...

From Don Johnson (they lost my id somehow)

I would not word it as "reinterpreted" I would word it as "interpreted correctly" or interpreted more fully".

Heb 8:13 is also a challenge to interpret, as the Mosaic covenant is not the first covenant of God. My undrestanding is that the whole pericope is discussing the Mosaic priesthood and showing how Jesus's is superior.

Pastor Rod said...

Welcome back, Don.

Anonymous said...

I have discovered through my study of the Bible, the Old Testament points to Jesus. If you study the Tabernacle everything in there is a parallel pointing to Jesus and His sacrifice. There is only one door to enter the Tabernacle, there is only one way to the Father, etc.
Jesus is the fullfillment of the Old Testament.