Christ and the Scriptures
Jesus Christ and the Scriptures
Everything fulfilled written about Him
Call to worship
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy. (Psalm 147:1, 11)
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. (Galatians 1:3-4)
Hymn no 253:3 (Doxology) “Blessed Jesus at Your Word”
(one verse only)
Prayer of Adoration, Invocation, Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer
Hymn No 102: “Sovereign Grace”
· Reading of the Ten Commandments: Exodus 20:1-17
Declaration of pardon
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalm 32:1)
Hymn No 497: “How blest is he”
Scripture Reading Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:1-5
Offering and Dedication
I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. (Deuteronomy 26:13)
While the offering is taken up, all remaining seating sing:
Hymn no 369: “Lord, her watch your church”
(Tune 441, 3 verses)
Prayer for others
Hymn No 252: “His Name forever shall endure”
(Tune 299, 3 verses)
Scripture Reading Luke 24:36-49
Sermon “Jesus Christ and the Scriptures”
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
May I begin tonight by asking, “How important is the Old Testament to you?” “When was the last time you sat down to study the books of the Old Testament?”
There are people who don’t read the Old Testament arguing that it is not really exciting stuff. You look at books like Leviticus and most of the Minor Prophets and reading it just don’t make for exciting reading. Well, question is why should it be exciting before I need to read it? Besides, people say, in the New Testament is about Christ and the Old Testament is about Israel. Point is, if I don’t read it I neglect a huge part of God’s revelation of his will.
Others make a case that the Old Testament is not important for the New Testament church. Now that we live in the times of the fulfilment of the Scriptures in Jesus Christ, we don’t need to read the Old Testament. In this way the Old Testament becomes mere illustration of how God dealt with his people in another dispensation some time long ago, but to them, the real thing is that we read and understand the New Testament.
I want to make a statement tonight, based on the Word of God: He who does not read and understand the Old Testament, will read but not understand the New Testament.
If the Old Testament is the promise and the New Testament the fulfilment, how will we understand what is fulfilled if we do no know what was promised? One of my professors used to say: if we cannot see the Messiah in every page of the Old Testament we read it wrongly. Yes, we don’t read the Old Testament as rabbis and Jews; we read it as people of the cross and resurrection. But we must read it. In the Old Testament we see the beauty of God’s plan of redemption unfolding up onto the birth of or Master: He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures, and because of this fact, He is the message of hope to the New Israel, i.e. all those the Lord will call to Him out of all tribes, tongues, nations and peoples.
In Luke 24 we find the disciples of Jesus bewildered, doubting and without direction. This is hardly the group of people you would expect to go into the world conquering it in the Name of the resurrection Christ.
When Jesus appeared to them, He had to show them his hands and his feet. The reason for this was to connect Him with what had happened only some days prior: they had to see and believe that this Person in their midst was indeed the One the soldiers had nailed to the cross. Further, that this Person in their midst was not a ghost of the Lord Jesus, but it was Jesus Christ, resurrected in bodily form.
The blasphemy of some Church leaders can say that Jesus Christ has not risen in bodily form, is hard to understand! This paragraph in the Bible is a very clear proof that Jesus indeed raised in bodily form. It is of course if extreme importance that Jesus Christ was raised in bodily form, or we have no hope that our bodies will be raised one day at his return! If indeed He would then return, if He was not raised from the dead.
But the vital point for the disciples to understand was not only that Jesus Christ was resurrected, but equally important was that they had to understand: ; “Who was this resurrected Jesus?” More than that, who was Jesus Christ? Jesus had taught them many things about Himself during his ministry, but it seemed as they could still not get the full picture.
And that is exactly the problem with modern day evangelicalism: Jesus Christ is preached to the people, they hear and believe the message, but in many cases Jesus Christ and the teaching about Him is put alongside all the other teachings about many other religions. I heard about people doing evangelism in India, reaching out to people as they leave places of worship. The Indians accepted the tracts, read the Bible portions and gladly accepted the message. But next week they were back at their temple and mosque to worship their gods, and on their way out they would even ask for more literature from the Christians. It did not make a difference. Why? The Christian evangelicals only handed out portions of the Scripture, but hardly presented the Scripture.
The modern day students are not necessarily opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are like the people of Athens, they don’t mind to learn about yet another possibility as far as religion goes. The difference is just that we need to present the full Gospel about Jesus Christ, or it will make no difference: they will still believe in evolution and the post modernistic idea that there is not such a thing as absolute truth.
So, when Jesus that day appeared to the doubting and wavering disciples He made sure that they knew the Scriptures, and more specifically, what the Old Testament said about Him.
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)
Things written about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament
We were not there to hear what exactly Jesus taught his disciples. But let’s look at certain very important statements of the New Testament about Jesus pointing back to the Old Testament.
; God created through Jesus Christ
First is the verse we read from John 1 tonight.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3)
This statement about Jesus Christ, being the God’s Agent for creation, is not isolated in the Bible. Let’s read further:
; God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1-2)
; He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15-17)
What do these verses teach us? At least this truth: ; It is impossible to talk about creation and not talk about the person of Jesus Christ as God’s agent of creation. Or differently put: It is impossible to talk about Jesus Christ and not talk about the great deed of God in creation!
Now we understand why the message of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world is so important. We should not begin our presentation of the Gospel with John 3:16. We should begin with John 1:1, or in Genesis 1:1. We should begin at the beginning because God begins at the beginning. Present Jesus Christ as an answer to your problems only, and you will still have the problem of sceptic university students and other unbelievers who would ask what the connection between religion and science is. We know the connection is Jesus Christ, because through Him God created the universe.
To put it in the extreme: Jesus Christ did not appear in the New Testament in John 3:16 for the first time. He appeared to this world, revealing his unique relationship with the Father as the Father created the world in and through Him.
It is of extreme importance that we understand this fact. Proclaiming this message about Christ is to then claim the totality of man’s submission to God: heart, soul, mind and strength.
To come to Jesus is to have your sins forgiven, but it is infinitely more than that: it is to lose your life before the creator of the universe and to submit to Him in all spheres of life.
; Jesus Christ the One who crushed the head of the serpent
The message about the Person of Jesus Christ is the message of hope because Jesus Christ was the ultimate One promised to do away with sin.
The reason why we need to know who the resurrected Jesus is, is because without Him there is no forgiveness of sin. But the problem is that millions of people out there don’t have an idea what sin is. Now we need to go back to Genesis to explain original sin and the fact that all descendants of Adam are inherently corrupt because they are fallen in Adam. But Jesus Christ is the second Adam, and about this second Adam we read in Genesis:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
The “Seed” referred to here in the Bible is no one else but the resurrected Jesus Christ appearing in the midst of his disciples. He crushed the head of the serpent when, on the cross and through the resurrection from the grave, He conquered the powers of sin, and was victorious over death.
Further, He was the One who would satisfy the righteousness of the Father to become the only One to give his life for a lost world.
; In Christ the blessings promised to Abraham are fulfilled
God promised Abraham:
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
How did this happen? Was this promise fulfilled? Yes, it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Israel was the nation called and elected by God to give birth to the promised Messiah. The promises given to Abraham would come to full fruition in Jesus Christ. That is why, after his resurrection, He commissioned his disciples to go out in all the world and preach the Gospel and to teach the nations to obey everything He commanded them. By this Gospel even we, by birth no children of God or of the covenants, now became children of Abraham.
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
; A prophet raised up be God
Moses taught the people of Israel of the ultimate prophet who would be raised up by God for the people to believe.
The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, (Deuteronomy 18:15)
That this was ultimately referring to Jesus Christ, was acknowledged by Peter in his sermon in the temple. He saw, and most probably after the teaching of Jesus in Luke 24, that Christ was the fulfilment of this verse. In fact, all prophecies and words of God in the Old Testament have its full meaning in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The promise to David
Who is Jesus Christ? Let’s for one moment look at the Old Testament again.
“Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. (2 Sam 7:25)
God promised to establish the throne of David as an eternal throne. Isaiah refers to this promise in Isa 11:1-2
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)
This promise was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Ps 2 is another reference to this promise:
I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Psalm 2:7-9)
Numerous other passages
Think of the whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament, the Passover Lamb, the references in the Psalms, and the prophets. Jesus actually took the Scriptures one day in the synagogue and read from Isa 61:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
Then He declared that these Scriptures were fulfilled in Him.
Let’s sum it up
· Through Christ God created the world.
· When the world rebelled and fell in sin, God promised that Jesus Christ would crush the head of the serpent.
· When God called Abraham, He promised that through him the world would be blessed.
· When God rescued his people out of Egypt He gave them the Passover. Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb.
· Every time an animal had to be crucified for the sins of the people, it called for a perfect sacrifice: Jesus Christ was that sacrifice.
· When the high priest entered into the Most Holy for the people he had to atone for his own sins. This called for a perfect mediator without sins. Jesus fulfilled that promise.
· When David became king, God promised that there would be an eternal king to sit on his throne: this was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
; Jesus Christ of the Scriptures is the message to the nations
Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:46-48)
Remission of sins
To all nations
You are witnesses of these things
It is impossible to know Jesus Christ if we do not know the Scriptures. It is impossible to evangelise the world without preaching the message of the entire Bible, because everything promised and said in the entire Scripture revolves around God’s plan of redemption in Jesus Christ.
For faith, hope, courage and equipment for your task as disciple of Jesus Christ, go and study the Bible. Learn about the One promised by God: the resurrected Jesus Christ. Talk to Him, and talk about Him. AMEN.
Hymn No 336: “Now may He who from the dead”
(Tune 110, 3 verses)
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Hymn 335: “Saviour, again to Your dear Name”
(Only verses 2 and 3)