Author Archives: Slave of Christ

The Relevancy of the Old Testament

While the Old Testament is not the immediate historical, cultural, or religious setting for the life and ministry of Jesus, the apostles, and their associates… it is the foundation upon which their immediate context was built upon. How else could the New Testament writers assume their target audience possessed knowledge of the Old Testament? They could safely and confidently make that assumption because the history and teaching of the Old Testament was taught to God’s people by those responsible for communicating it to the common Jewish people. Evidence of that, I believe, is found throughout the New Testament. One example is found in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. There in 2 Corinthians 6:11 – 18 we find the apostle Paul urging the church to practice biblical separation from unbelievers and does so based upon God’s covenant promise of dwelling in, walking among, and being their God (v.16). His Old Testament quote in v.16 points the Corinthians back to or at least causes them to recall the covenantal language found in the Old Testament books of Genesis and Ezekiel (Gen. 17:7-8; Ezek. 36:25 – 28).

Other examples I believe are found in the Gospels. I remember listening to the late Dr. R.C. Sproul recalling the time when he was teaching within the context of the Bible institution he asked his newly accepted students who could name the greatest Old Testament prophet. While many Old Testament prophets were named… no one identified the greatest prophet…namely John the Baptist. Of course identifying John the Baptist as the greatest Old Testament prophet is based upon the Lord Jesus Christ’s designation found in Matthew 11:11. While the time period of the four Gospels is not the immediate historical, cultural, and religious setting of the Old Testament books of Genesis through Malachi… the period in which Jesus Christ and His disciples lived in is indeed Old Testament. You see, the Old Testament covenant system was still operative and remained so until the death of Jesus Christ at which time the New Covenant was made operative. Now for the example from the Gospels.

In Matthew 19 we find the Pharisees testing the Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. They were attempting to find something to accuse Him of. They thought they could trip Him up by asking doctrinal questions. So they ask a question regarding marriage and divorce. They asked Him if a man could divorce his wife for any given reason. How does the Lord answer? He answers by pointing them back to the Old Testament teaching on marriage. That from the beginning God “made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not a man separate” Matt. 19:5 (NKJV). Why did Christ the Pharisees back to the Old Testament teaching on marriage? He pointed them back there because the biblical understanding of marriage in His day, His day meaning during His earthly ministry, was founded upon the Old Testament teaching.

So, again, while the Old Testament is not the immediate historical, cultural, or religious setting for the life and ministry of Jesus, the apostles, and their associates… as we have seen from just two examples out of many, it certainly is, in my humble opinion, the foundation upon which their immediate context was built upon.
Blessings!
Pastor Wayne
John 10:27

Worthy of the Gospel

As followers of Jesus Christ we are inseparably united to Him (Col. 3:3).  Our inseparable union to Him means that we are inseparably united to one another (1 Cor. 12:12 – 13, 27).  In light of those two glorious realities, if we are not standing fast “in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”, what does that say about our relationship with Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:27)?  If we are going to walk “worthy of the gospel of Christ”, then we must be unified in both mindset and love (Phil. 2:2).  It is then and only then the members of the local church will be standing “fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27).

“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…” (Phil. 1:27)

A Sword, Not Peace

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32 – 33).

Jesus is saying that whoever publicly acknowledges or openly declares Him before men, that one He will declare to His Father as being one of His own.  You see, in reality there is no such thing an undercover or secret disciple. For all practical reasons it’s an impossibility.  The idea of “quietly living the Christian life” really does not square with scripture.  What does Jesus say in v.27? He says:

“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.”

Regardless of the consequences that follow our public confession of Jesus Christ, we are to be vocal about our love for and allegiance to Him.  Amen?  Of course we are to do this with a great amount of love and patience.  The last thing we would want to do is to bring reproach upon the name of our Lord and Savior.  We can be certain though that no matter how much tenderness and longsuffering we practice in vocalizing our relationship with the Son of God, difficulty eventually comes knocking on our door (Phil. 1:29).

Earlier in the chapter Jesus instructs His disciples to go public with their faith by proclaiming “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 10:5 – 7).  He then warns them of the difficulty that awaits them as a result of their preaching (vv.16 – 23).  It’s in light of the reality of being persecuted Jesus says to His disciples in vv.32 – 33:

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

One of the true tests of discipleship occurs when one finds themselves in the midst of difficulty as a result of their proclaimed love for and allegiance to Jesus Christ.

The one who consistently buckles under the pressure they receive from their brothers or sisters or parents or husband or wife or friends just may be proving themselves of never having become one of Jesus’ disciples.  Will there be moments of weakness?  Yes, we have Peter as an example.  He denied Christ three times, but did he stay there?  Once he was sifted or tested by Satan, Peter came out strengthening the brethren. Were told this in Luke 22:31 – 32:

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

The Bible is crystal clear… Jesus came into the world bearing a sword.  He did not come to bring peace to the world.  He did come so that men could be reconciled to God (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:14 – 16).  In that sense, He did come bringing peace.  But this is not so in regards to the rest of the world. The unbeliever, no matter how nice or gentle of a person they may present themselves to be… the Bible tells us that they are haters of God, of Christ, and of those who are His (John 15:18 – 25).

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household’” (Matt. 10:34 – 36).

“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”

“For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:49 – 53).

When it comes to those nearest and dearest to us, why is it that it can be so hard at times to take a firm stand as a disciple of Jesus Christ?  I believe our Lord answers our question when He says:

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37)

Christ’s demands that our love for Him be greater than the love we have for both family and friends.  Unless our loyalty to Jesus Christ transcends even the closest of family ties, when it comes time for the rubber to meet the road… we’re going to turn our back upon Christ and side with family and friends.  Jesus wants us to understand this.  He is telling us this plainly so that there isn’t any misunderstanding.

If we are truly His and He is truly ours, then when it comes time to choose between Christ and our earthly relationships; when the opportunity presents itself to demonsrtate our loyalty to the Savior… the choice we make will show that our relationship with Christ transcends all other human relationships.  This isn’t an easy cross to bear.  When we receive pressure from our loved ones to choose them over our beloved Lord and Savior and we choose to remain loyal to the Him, we are essentially saying that our love for Him is greater than our love for them.  That’s what we are saying and that’s what Jesus Christ requires of all His disciples.  And I believe that’s why He says:

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 10:38 – 39). 

If we are not willing to pick up our cross and follow Christ… even if that means being rejected by our loved ones or being put to death, we are not worthy of Him.

If we are not willing to suffer or lose our life for Jesus Christ… then we are justified in saying that we are one of His disciples?  Jesus says in these last two verses, “No, we are not.”

Scripture is so vividly clear… our beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came into to the world with a sword, not peace.  Amen?