“Preaching Christ from the Old Testament” was a preconference module offered in connection with the 2016 GARBC conference, which took place at Harvest New Beginnings, June 28—July 1. The module was hosted by Bryan Augsburger andfeatured guest speaker by Dr. Steven Mathewson, author of The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative (2002) and Joshua and Judges (The People’s Bible Commentaries, 2003), and senior pastor of Crosslife Evangelical Free Church in Libertyville, Ill.
Mathewson invited those in attendance to encounter the Old Testament text as it relates to “the Word in flesh,” Christ Himself. He instructed his audience to discover the messianic themes in the Old Testament. Mathewson also explained the historical, Scriptural, and practical approach that envelops preaching Christ from the Old Testament. Tasked with unearthing the person of Christ in the Old Testament, the men that attended this conference walked away with an ability to communicate Christ to those they lead.
First, Mathewson addressed a key question, How do we preach the Old Testament in a way that pays attention to authorial intent and points forward to Jesus? Mathewson pointed out that while the tenor of the Old Testament does not refer to Christ, it certainly directs us to Christ. Next, he instructed the room to follow four guidelines for finding Christ in the Old Testament: (1) work from clear New Testament references, (2) work from New Testament contact points, (3) work from themes in Biblical theology, and (4) work from the established gospel. Mathewson reminded conference-goers that they cannot expect their congregants to obey Christ if they are not saved by faith in Christ. Finally, Mathewson modeled finding Christ in the Old Testament by preaching through Judges 3, the account of Ehud.
As the module came to a close, attendees experienced a heightened awareness of the need to reveal the restoration of the presence of God as told in both from the Old and New Testaments. Clearly, the Old Testament is the foundation upon which the New Testament rests, as both bear witness to Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.