In this brief excerpt from a sermon delivered by J. Ligon Duncan III, we get an encouragement on where he sees trends going with expositional preaching, while at the same time presenting a sobering reality on the content of that expositional preaching. He makes a compelling case for preachers to refocus their preaching efforts on the whole counsel of God, which includes the Old Testament. Read through this excerpt and then grab a copy of the book that has the entirety of the sermon. It is full of soul-gripping, gospel-centered sermons that are sure to impact your life the way it has mine.
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:14–16).
One of the encouraging signs found among many young Christians today is a renewed appetite for expository preaching. By expository preaching I don’t mean one particular style or method of preaching, but a self-conscious, principled commitment to preaching in such a way that the Scripture itself is supplying the main theme, principle headings, and central application in our proclamation
Young people are looking for churches where the Bible is preached. They are tired of (and not a little cynical about) dumbed-down preaching or preaching that is too clever by half. Young people can detect preaching that uses a text of Scripture as an excuse for talking about something else or as a mere launching point but is then ignored during the remainder of the message or deployed in such a way as to make medieval allegorists look like the most rigorous of exegetes! The kind of preaching that has been advocated by those who viewed the seeker movement as the cutting edge of kingdom advancement—Scripture-anemic, superficially practical, therapeutic, man-centered, God-at-your-service, consumer-driven fireside chats—is death on the ears of legions of younger Bible-believing Christians today. They want the real stuff—no–holds-barred, high-octane, meaty exposition of God’s inspired word—applied until it hurts.
For that reason it is also encouraging to see hosts of young evangelical pastors newly committed to the practice of expository preaching. Many of them even prefer preaching through Bible books, and for this I praise God. But I have also noted in the midst of this general revival of expository preaching a neglect of the Old Testament. While you can hear many fine sermons in many fine evangelical churches on the Epistles and Gospels, a series on Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, or the Minor Prophets is much rarer.
That is why we are taking up the topic of preaching Christ from the Old Testament. We want to learn how God, in the New Testament, exhorts us, as ministers of the new covenant, to preach from the Old Testament, because he has given all of Scripture for his people’s edification.