How To Preach Christ From Ecclesiastes -- By: Sidney Greidanus
SBJT 15:3 (Fall 2011) p. 56
How To Preach Christ From Ecclesiastes
Sidney Greidanus is Emeritus Professor of Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. A widely respected author and preacher, he has written a number of books on preaching and hermeneutics, including Preaching Christ From Ecclesiastes: Foundations for Expository Sermons (Eerdmans, 2010), Preaching Christ From Genesis: Foundations for Expository Sermons (Eerdmans, 2007), Preaching Christ in the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method (Eerdmans, 1999), and The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature (Eerdmans,
Ecclesiastes is arguably the most relevant Bible book for our secular, materialistic culture. It addresses a long list of issues such as ignoring God, irreverent worship, the futility of pursuing pleasure and riches, human autonomy, individualism, the brevity of life and its anomalies, suffering, temptations, cutthroat competition, injustice, poverty, and oppression. It provides preaching texts focusing on fearing God and keeping his commandments, reverently worshiping God in his house, God’s decree, judgment, providence, sovereignty, and transcendence, our dependence on God, trusting God, suffering and death, using wisdom, marriage, and work, contentment, cooperating with each other, justice, giving to the poor, the limitations of wisdom, risk taking, living with paradoxes, living with uncertainties, and the meaning and enjoyment of life. The book of Ecclesiastes offers much material by which one may produce powerfully relevant sermons.
But how do we preach Christ from Ecclesiastes? Most evangelicals will agree that Christian preaching is preaching Christ. When the selected preaching text is from the Old Testament, Christian preachers will still seek to preach Christ even as they do justice to the text in its Old Testament setting.
So how shall we preach Christ from the book of Ecclesiastes? In his Lectures to My Students, Spurgeon used a wonderfully vivid illustration. He said,
Don’t you know, young man, that from every town and every village and every hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London? So from every text of Scripture there is a road to Christ. And my dear brother, your business is, when you get to a text, to say, now, what is the road to Christ? I have never found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if ever I do find one, I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it.1
SBJT 15:3 (Fall 2011) p. 57
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