Resurrecting Your Sermons


After the resurrection, the apostles began to understand that they were already a part of a new age in Christ, an eschatological kingdom-community, and that “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb 1:2). Their transformation was the result of an instinctual apprehension of a particular hermeneutic. They now read their Bibles with new eyes, believing that all Scripture testified of the resurrected Christ and his kingdom (Luke 24:27; 44-45; John 5:39; Acts 1:3).

The apostle’s approach to the preaching all the Scripture in light of the resurrected Christ was not formulaic. They now understood that all biblical truth claims fit into the overarching goal of the cosmos, the eschatological consummation of the Kingdom of the resurrected Christ. Scripture, life and the world are to be summed up in Christ (Eph 1:10). Commenting on the dangers of an overly technical and formulaic approach to preaching Christ Sinclair Ferguson writes,

It is likely to produce preaching that is wooden and insensitive to the rich contours of biblical theology. Its artificiality would lie in our going through the motions of exegeting and expounding the Old Testament and then, remembering the formula, tidying our notes in order to align them with it. The net result over an extended period of time might be akin to that produced by children’s sermons in which the intelligent child soon recognizes that the answer to the minister’s questions will always be one of: 1. God; 2. Jesus; 3. Sin; 4. Bible; 5. Be Good! Of course we need to work with general principles as we develop as preachers; but it is a far greater desideratum that we develop an instinctive mindset and, corresponding to that, such a passion for Jesus Christ himself, that we will find our way to him in a natural and realistic way rather than a merely formulaic one (“Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: Developing a Christ-Centered Instinct,” A Proclamation Trust Media Paper # 2, 2002, 5).

The Christ-centered instinct that Ferguson mentions is an excellent description of what one finds in apostolic preaching. Formerly vacillating, fearful disciples did not transform into bold preachers of the truth via technical study of hermeneutical formulae but because the resurrection of Jesus gave them new eyes. The apostle’s understanding of biblical truth was not merely a commitment to an abstract set of beliefs but truth now viewed through the resurrected Christ and the eschatological attitude and atmosphere his resurrection aroused. Effective preaching conveys this atmosphere of eschatological hope, a hope sourced in the triumph of the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ.

The post-resurrection preaching of the apostles never varied from eschatologically-minded kingdom Christocentrism and neither should ours. Every verse of Scripture should be preached from the standpoint of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ provides the same transformative hope today as it did for the apostles. We must also remember that preaching from the standpoint of the resurrection means, not simply, talking about Jesus’s resurrection, but that faithful preaching is participating in the ministry of the risen Christ as the direct extension of his preaching in the world. Jesus began his ministry by doing and teaching and the risen Christ continues doing and teaching through his faithful Spirit-empowered ambassadors (Acts 1:1-8).

If Jesus did not have to be crucified and resurrected for your sermon the work then it will have no power because it is not the extension of his preaching. But, if we follow the apostle’s example and read our Bible with new eyes because of the resurrection, believing that all Scripture testifies of the resurrected Christ and his kingdom, despite the limitations of our giftedness and ability, our sermons will be full of power and continue to serve as the voice of the risen Christ turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6).

By |April 18th, 2014|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |

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