Biblical Theology: Keeping Christ at the Center of Every Sermon
Updated: Oct 2, 2020
While Christ-centered preaching is not one and the same with the discipline of biblical theology, the two go hand in glove. What follows is an example of how biblical theology aides a preacher in connecting every biblical text to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jim Hamilton describes how the New Testament authors pick up on certain words, phrases, and ideas from the Old Testament and apply them to the New Covenant community:
These are the terms and categories that the New Testament authors use to describe what God has done in Jesus, and they learned this way of interpreting the Bible from Jesus Himself, who in turn interprets the Old Testament the same way later Old Testament authors interpreted earlier Old Testament passages. The death of Jesus is the lowest point of the exile, the moment when the temple is destroyed (John 2:19-21), when the curse of the covenant was poured out in full (Gal 3:13). At the same time, the death of Jesus is the moment when the new exodus begins (Luke 9:31), and He dies as the new and better Passover lamb (John 1:29,36; 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7).
The new exodus has happened in the death of Jesus, and the return from exile has been inaugurated in His resurrection. The final fulfillment of the new exodus and return from exile await the final judgments and the millennial kingdom, giving way to the new heaven and new earth. In the present, the authors of the New Testament deploy the history of Israel as a kind of paradigm through which the present experience of the church is interpreted (cf. 1 Cor 10:1-13).
This is the big story into which believers have been incorporated. The church has been redeemed at the “new exodus” when Jesus the Passover lamb died on the cross, and the church is being built into a new temple, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. As churches indwelt by the Holy Spirit follow in the footsteps of Jesus, God’s glory is made known in their proclamation of the great salvation God has accomplished through judgment, in their love for one another, and in their faithfulness to God through all manner of affliction and persecution. The great commission (Matt 28:16-20) is nothing less than the call to cover the dry lands with the glory of God by making disciples of all nations.
The discipline of biblical theology will serve the preacher as he seeks to make legitimate gospel-connections in his sermons. Over time, church congregations will see that the whole Bible fits together and what unites it is a single, redemptive thread. One practical benefit of adopting this approach is that it will not be difficult for the preacher to remind believers of the gospel and to make an appeal to unbelievers to come to Christ in repentance and faith.
 Text-Driven Preaching (Nashville: B&H, 2010), 211, Kindle.