I’m working through sections of Sidney Greidanus’ Preaching Christ from Genesis: Foundations for Expository Sermons for a sermon series coming up on Abraham’s life in Genesis 12 – 25. I’ve looked at preaching Christ from the OT before, but never explicitly from Greidanus. He presents seven means by which we can see Christ in OT passages, and I’d like to list those below. Greidanus defines preaching Christ as “preaching sermons which authentically integrate the message of the text with the climax of God’s revelation in the person, work, and/or teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament” (Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, 10).
Greidanus presents seven avenues to get to Christ from a text, and this is necessary if the interpreter is seeking to understand the text first, as the writer intended for Israel (or the original audience) to hear the message; and secondly, as the message is understood in light of the completed canon of the Triune God’s self-revelation to His covenant people. When both are recognized as necessary, the interpreter realizes seeing Christ in light of a passage isn’t an add on, but necessary to understanding the fullest and truest meaning of a pericope.
7 Ways of Preaching Christ
The following comes from pp. 2-6.
Redemptive Historical Progression
Scripture is a narrative that begins with a good creation, is abruptly marred by the Fall, and then traces God’s redemptive purposes in human history to bring about redemption and the New Creation. First through Abraham, and then Israel, the story of redemption climaxes and is focused in the advent of Jesus Christ. This method seeks to understand a pericope in light of this “metanarrative.” Continue reading →
Sometimes you run out of room or time in your Lord’s Day sermon, and so “Monday Morning Pulpit” is a chance to expand upon or reinforce ideas you didn’t have a chance to finish during the sermon.
We wrapped up a short, topical series on God’s Judgments and Judging at Zion Ev. & Reformed Church. Especially in the second sermon in the series, we looked at what it means for God to Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25; Psalm 50:1 – 6). After demonstrating his judgments in Creation by issuing divine decrees on His own handiwork (“it was good,” “it was very good”) God shows His just judgments in salvation history. God’s judgment climaxes in condemning our sin at the cross, and vindicating Christ at His resurrection (Romans 4:25; I Timothy 3:16), and thus pronouncing us to be justified by faith in Christ (Romans 8:1).
Wilhelmus a Brakel (1635 – 1711) was a prominent Dutch theologian and pastor at the end of the High Orthodoxy in the Netherlands. His magnum opus is The Christian’s Reasonable Service, which is (overall) a marvelous combination of dogmatic and practical theology, certainly in the vein of the Nadere Reformatie tradition. For excellent treatments of the Dutch churchman see Bartel Elshout’s resource-rich site.
Brakel is very careful in describing typology. He argues that, unless clear boundaries are given, every star, tree and worm will turn into a type of Christ at the hands of less-than-skilled interpreters. So he lays down the following rules for a type: “If one is to designate something as a type, the following must be true:”
It must have been appointed by God to be a type.
Types had been given to the church of the Old Testament in order that during that time frame she would thereby look unto Christ and believe in Him.
Types were a necessary component of Old Covenant worship such that those who did not use these types for their intended purpose were in sin.
“When these three criteria are absent, however, one may not appoint or designate something as a type” (Volume IV, p. 382).