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Jesus Christ and OT Authority #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2024 12:00 am

Jesus Christ and OT Authority #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. Thanks for joining us as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. Don begins a new message today, so without further delay, let's join him right now in the Truth Pulpit. If you would, turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 5, verses 17 and 18. I just want to read a scripture to set the stage for what we'll be considering this evening as we consider the theme Jesus Christ and Old Testament authority. Jesus Christ and Old Testament authority. And I just want to read verses 17 and 18 from Matthew chapter 5, where our blessed Lord said, Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot will pass from the law until all is accomplished. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount here and what Jesus is saying, he says this at this particular point to guard his hearers from a false misunderstanding of the nature of his ministry. As Jesus is teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, he is confronting the nature of the teaching that they had become accustomed to under the Pharisees. And as we've said in the past, the Pharisees were viewed as the upholders of God's law at the time. They were viewed as so authoritative that if they said anything, it was taken as though God himself had said it. Jesus comes and challenges the teaching of the Pharisees, and that's a problem in the first century.

Think about it. If they have a mindset that the Pharisees are the guardians of the law, the guardians of the Word of God, and Jesus is contradicting and confronting the Pharisees, then it would seem it would be a natural corollary in the first century mind. Oh, well, he's attacking the Word of God also. He's attacking the Old Testament in what he says. Jesus is clarifying and guarding them against that conclusion, saying, Don't go there.

Don't think that about my teaching. I haven't come to set aside the Old Testament. I've come to fulfill it. And then he goes on in the rest of Matthew five in verses twenty one through forty eight and gives a half dozen different ways where the Pharisees had distorted the law of God with the nature of their teaching. And so Jesus says, You've heard the Pharisees say, but I say unto you, you've heard them say, but I say unto you. The point was not that Jesus was introducing something new on top of the law. It's not that Jesus was contradicting the law.

Jesus was contradicting the Pharisees' misinterpretation and misapplication of the law and was actually upholding the Old Testament law in the process. That's very important for understanding the Sermon on the Mount and also our theme for this evening. On Sunday, I started a new series which we've titled How to Know the Bible is True.

And that's part of an even broader series that we're doing on building a Christian mind. One of the things that is essential to a Christian mind is that it must be clear in your mind the nature of biblical authority, the trustworthiness and the authority of scripture is absolutely fundamental. It is a cornerstone of biblical thinking and having a biblical mind. If you're not clear on biblical authority, if you're not clear that only the Bible, the Bible alone is the authority, then you are going to eventually run into difficulty in your spiritual life and be far more easily misled by claims from others who say, yes, we believe the Bible, but we also believe this.

This is a common problem in so many false religions that they will pay lip service to scripture, but they will add something else in addition to the Bible we believe, you know, in these other writings or other traditions or whatever the case may be. And so to understand the unique and exclusive authority of scripture is essential to building a biblical mind and being able to live a biblical life in response to it. And we're going to build on all of this over a few weeks of time, and I do want to say just a word about that. You know, we spent a half dozen messages saying how to know that God exists, and we're probably going to do seven or eight or nine messages on this theme of how to know the Bible is true. And I want you to understand something.

I ask you for your patience, I guess, as we do this, but also to be earnest and eager as you receive this kind of teaching. Way back in January when I introduced all of this, I made the point that the, you know, the church today, the evangelical church is just in a terrible mess. You know, there are just so many false philosophies filtering through, passing for New Testament Christianity. And part of the reason that that is possible is that these fundamental themes are not clear in the minds of Christian people and even in the minds of Christian pastors and seminary graduates. And these things are not acquired quickly. You know, to build a Christian mind is to undertake a process and a task that takes months and years and even decades to accomplish. It's not something that's done in a three-part series.

It's not, certainly not done in a three-part sermon. And then you move on to something else that you like. These things require time. They require deep thought.

They require a consideration of details that are essential to be deeply grounded and firmly established in them. And my thinking on it is this. If we're going to do this, we might as well do it right. If we're going to do this, we might as well actually have something to show for it at the end of a few months of considering these things. And a sloppy approach to these critical themes is going to lead to sloppy thinking. And I'm not willing to contribute to that. There's plenty of sloppy thinking around.

I want to be part of the solution to that, not part of the problem by being in a hurry to get through these things. And tonight's message is a good example of that. When we come to Jesus Christ and the question of Old Testament authority, beloved, there are so many things in the New Testament gospels that support and illustrate and set forth the attitude of Jesus Christ to the Old Testament that it's breathtaking. And to actually consider all of it would be a series of messages all on its own just on Christ and the nature of Old Testament authority.

The passages are virtually endless that you could consider and that bear on this theme. We're only going to consider this one message here this evening, but it will be enough to point us in the right direction and to show that we're not basing our assertion of Christ and his view of the Old Testament on an isolated text, on one isolated text. It permeates everything about his teaching and ministry and it's essential for us to know that. Now, we state the theme how to know the Bible is true.

And I said that you can answer that question with two words and the two words are Jesus Christ. And as we say that, we say Christ is our ultimate authority on which we receive the authority of Scripture. And we'll review some of the things that we looked at on Sunday just to lead into tonight's material. Now, one of the things that we did last time, and just by way of brief review here, is that we considered the traditional way that Christians and evangelicals have told us that we can know that the Bible is true.

And we said that this is the evidential approach, and I'm not going to go through it all like I did last time. But the evidential approach points to different aspects, different proofs that they find that they think are compelling to establish a probability case that the Bible is the Word of God. So they will point to the indestructibility of the Bible. You know, people have tried to burn the Bible, cancel the Bible, eliminate the Bible, and they've failed. And the endurance of the Bible against the efforts to destroy it show that there must be a divine element to it.

Because men have tried to destroy it and they have failed. That's one aspect. Second aspect that we looked at is people will talk about the character of the Bible. That, you know, the Bible is written by 40 authors over a period of 1,500 years, and there's a unity to its teaching. And surely that character points to the fact that it is probably the Word of God. And thirdly, we talked about the influence of the Bible. The indestructibility, the character, the influence of the Bible. And the influence of the Bible talks about how the Bible has contributed to achievements in art and literature and science and architecture and music.

It's influenced the laws of nations throughout the course of history and produced social reforms and changed the lives of many, many people. Now, beloved, all of those things are true. It's not that any of these arguments are false. But the whole approach, the evidential approach itself is flawed, as I'm going to remind you in a moment. People also look to fulfilled prophecy and that many prophecies over the course of, about the course of human nations have been fulfilled and that this points to the fact that the Bible must be the Word of God.

All of those things are true and they're good for us to know. But, beloved, it is not the right way to establish the authority of the Bible. It is not the right way to establish that the Bible is the Word of God. Because what the evidential approach does and by its very approach and by the very label that is given to it, what the evidential approach does is it leaves the final judgment about whether the Bible is the Word of God or not up to you.

It says, here's all the evidence, you know, and it's as if an attorney is presenting it and said, here's my case and now the verdict is up to you and the evidence demands the verdict that I am trying to persuade upon you. But, beloved, even the proponents of this view, even the proponents of it, say this does not prove that the Bible is the Word of God, but it shows that the Bible is unique. That's a fatal flaw in my opinion to try to argue that the Bible is the Word of God when ultimately you say, I'm only making a probability case and I acknowledge that this doesn't prove it conclusively. To me, that's just an unthinkable way to stand up and assert the Word of God. The Word of God does not come to us in suggestions and probabilities, it comes to us in authority and in assertions that are to believe and to be obeyed upon pain of eternal judgment if you don't.

And so scripture is not pleading a probability case about itself and the very fact that they say this doesn't prove that the Bible is the Word of God leaves us saying there must be something else, there must be a different way to approach this. And one of the things that I said to you on Sunday is that ultimately the evidential approach backfires really badly on us because Muslim apologists make all of the same kinds of arguments for their claim that the Quran is the Word of God. And if we're making the same kind of argument, pointing to the same kind of evidence, then it ought to really disturb us as Christians to think that we're making the same case that a Muslim can make for their book. I won't dignify it by calling it a holy book, they consider it such, but I won't dignify it even for the sake of argument by calling it that.

If a Muslim can make the same kind of arguments, we must be missing something and the truth of the matter is that it does. And so we, after having considered the evidential approach on Sunday, we turned instead to consider the biblical approach, what I consider to be the biblical approach, and we laid it out this way. You start not with the question of is this book the Word of God, but rather you start with a different question. And so often, this is a tangent, but so often that's the nature of things.

People want to frame an issue, frame the question in one direction when actually a whole different question needs to be framed and asked and answered before you get to the question that's at hand. Before we get to the question is the Bible the Word of God, the question is who is the ultimate authority on such things? Who has final authority to declare what the truth is?

And beloved, it isn't you and me. The final authority in the universe is the Lord Jesus Christ. The final court of appeal is always going to be Christ. And so we ask not what we think about the evidence, but what does Christ say? What does Christ think about it? And that takes us into a whole different realm of thought and analysis and it leads us in, not into our minds, thinking about how we evaluate certain kinds of human evidence to say what does Christ say about it leads us into the mind of Christ where there is a sure foundation for us to think. And so we pointed to what Jesus said in John 13, 13.

John double 13. Jesus said, you call me teacher and Lord and you are right for so I am. And beloved, when God saves someone, when the Spirit brings someone out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God's marvelous light, he doesn't simply save them from sin and, you know, and give them a ticket to heaven and so that they don't go to hell.

He delivers them from the bondage of Satan and brings them under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as we said, we're under his authority not simply for the way that we behave, but we are under his authority for the very way that we think, that our responsibility is to line ourselves up in every possible way to the best of our ability, as the Holy Spirit helps us, to think like Christ does and to embrace what he thinks as the way that I think. If my thinking is not lined up with Christ, if my thinking is inconsistent with Christ, then my thinking is wrong and my thinking is even sinful if I am not thinking God's thoughts after him. And because he is our teacher, because he is the one who instructs us on all that we are to believe, then it seems obvious that we should ask ourselves as the first order of concern, what does Jesus Christ think about Scripture?

Forget about what I think about it. Let me know what Christ said about it. We start with what Christ thinks about Scripture. And last time we saw in a general way, we looked at several Scriptures, let me just remind you of a couple, what Jesus said. He said in John 10, Scripture cannot be broken. He said in Matthew 24 verse 35, heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. And so we started there in Matthew 5, there's not a jot, not a tittle that will be violated by the law.

Christ came to fulfill it all. He says Scripture cannot be broken. My words cannot pass away. The created universe, that'll pass away.

My words, uh-uh. My words will not pass away. They will not change.

They will not be altered. They will be fulfilled. Now, beloved, let's just step back from that for a moment and just let that sink in. When we hold a Bible in our hands, Jesus Christ says that we are looking at something which can never be violated, which is completely true, completely trustworthy, completely authoritative, without error, that no aspect, even down to the smallest detail in what it affirms, could ever be violated.

That's stunning. So when we examine Scripture, Christ's view is what matters to us, because, and I repeat myself, and I repeat myself because it takes a lot of repetition for these things to sink in as they need to. Jesus Christ is Lord, beloved. Jesus Christ is the final authority. He is the firstborn of all creation.

He is the firstborn of the church, meaning that he is in the place of highest authority. And so there is no other appeal. There is nothing like this. There's nothing saying, okay, well, that's what Christ says, but what does someone else say? You know, what do today's scholars say about it? Or, you know, that doesn't feel right to me.

I feel like something different. You know, I feel like every view should have equal validity. Beloved, that's foolishness.

That's foolishness. Do you see that even the best of Christian scholars is not worthy to be compared to the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you see that your sinful, frail, finite mind is not at all capable of comparing to Christ in wisdom, perspective, and understanding? We go to Christ to see these matters of supreme importance. We look to understand what he said, what he taught, what he believed, what he acted upon, and we line ourselves up with him. We're not interested in being independent of Christ. We are dependent on him. We are dependent upon him, upon his righteousness, upon his shed blood, to reconcile us to God. We are dependent upon him to know what the truth is. And so we gladly own our dependence upon Christ.

We gladly submit to him because we know there we are safe. There we know that we are in a place where we will not be led astray. We believe him when he said, I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me. We believe that. And so of course we go to see what Christ said. And when we go there, we see that he makes these broad statements. The Word of God is perfect. The Word of God cannot be broken. And we get these general statements that help us to have a high general view of Scripture.

That's kind of a review of last time. Now, what's stunning about these considerations in my opinion is that we're only getting started. And let me set forth a proposition to you to consider. If that was Christ's view of Scripture in general, that the Word of God is perfect, Scripture cannot be broken. If that's his view... Oh, follow me here because this transition is really, really important. If that indeed is his general view of Scripture, and we are intended to rely upon that as our defining view toward Scripture, then we should expect something to happen when we look at details. We should expect to find when details about Scripture come up in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, that they would be consistent with the general view that he set forth. So in general, he says Scripture cannot be broken. Well, then how does that work itself out, for example, when he speaks about the Old Testament and he looks at the Old Testament?

That is a very interesting and important question. So, for the rest of the evening, we've looked, point number one, at the evidential approach. Number two, we looked at the biblical approach. Jesus Christ tells us what's true, not, you know, that's our final authority, not some version of the evidence. Thirdly, now what we come to here today is thirdly, our third point, we see this, is that Jesus affirmed the Old Testament. Jesus affirmed the Old Testament. You could go on to say that Jesus affirmed it without qualification or diminishment. And just to repeat myself, if in general Jesus Christ viewed Scripture as true and authoritative, then we would expect that view to show up in the way that he handled specific Old Testament texts and themes. Jesus, beloved, consistently treated Old Testament narratives as historical fact. That is true especially on the events that are most vocally rejected by biblical critics today. And what I want to do, I'm going to give you four different areas to consider the way that Christ approached the Old Testament. Then I'm going to give you three illustrations within each of those four areas.

So it's going to be a total of 12 sub-points here tonight, but we'll handle them rather quickly. First of all, and I just want to point out, we're pointing out patterns. This is not exhaustive by any means. We're just pointing out patterns. Jesus affirmed the Old Testament, first of all, and we can show this and illustrate this by general historical examples.

If you're taking notes, that would be a sub-point under number three. General historical examples. I'm just going to cite a few random examples that could easily be multiplied in many different directions. So you remember the story of how Cain killed Abel in Genesis chapter 4, right? Early on in Scripture, this came to mind.

Well, look at the Gospel of Luke, and we're just going to, you know, we're going to turn to several different passages and turn to them quickly. Look at the Gospel of Luke chapter 11 verse 51. What did Jesus Christ think about the story of Abel? Was Abel a fable?

Or was it a fact upon which we are able to rely? Luke chapter 11 verse 49. Therefore also the wisdom of God said, I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation. Look at what he says in verse 51.

From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Jesus, in establishing the authority of the prophets, and in establishing the ministry of the prophets and the apostles, which is foundational to truth, foundational to God's revelation, in support of that principle, Jesus points back to the life of Abel who was killed in Genesis chapter 4. He cites it as a real historical example that illustrates the spiritual principle that he is teaching in his ministry at that point. The blood of Abel, he accepted it. It's almost a passing reference, but he accepts it and teaches it and refers to it as something that should be accepted out of hand. He casts no doubt on the historical narrative.

He believed it and used it to make an even broader point. You will remember the patriarch Abraham, Genesis 12 through Genesis 25, and you know, the life of Abraham. Jesus refers to the life of Abraham in his historical look back as he talks about his own life and ministry. Look at the Gospel of John chapter 8. John chapter 8, verse 48. The Jews are challenging the authority of Christ. They are accusing him of being demonically inspired. In verse 48, the Jews answered him, are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon? How does Jesus respond to that charge? Jesus answered, I do not have a demon, but I honor my father and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory. There is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.

Now, beloved, understand what's just happened here. A direct confrontation to the veracity of Christ has just been laid at his feet. He's been accused of having a demon. That is a frontal assault on the very plan of God and the authority of God. How does Jesus respond to that? How does he answer it?

What does he rely upon in order to make his point and to refute the accusation? Verse 52, the Jews said to him, now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, if anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died, and the prophets died?

Who do you make yourself out to be? Jesus answered, if I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my father who glorifies me, of whom you say he is our God. But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I keep his word. Now, here it is, beloved. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day.

He saw it and was glad. When Jesus, the eternal son of God, was challenged as one who had a demon, being a son of the devil himself, when that challenge was laid at his feet, what Jesus did was he pointed back to Abraham. And to do that is to recognize the historicity of Abraham.

It is to accept everything that Scripture says about the life of Abraham. His defense of his deity, his defense against the charge of demonic influence, rests in part upon the historicity, the accuracy of the biblical account, the biblical narrative of Abraham. If the story of Abraham was not true, Christ could never have relied upon it. Christ could never have pointed, and he never would have pointed, to something that was a fable or was considered a fable in order to defend the very nature of his person.

The defense depends on the truth of what he uses to support it. And so in defending the foundation of God's revelation on the prophets and the apostles, Christ says, from the blood of Abel, it's true. He assumes that as he makes even more foundational points, when it comes to his person and who he is by nature, he points to the Old Testament in defense of the claim. Now, you'll remember the story of the wilderness, the serpent in the wilderness, how God sent serpents to judge the Israelites and they would bite them. And there was a bronze serpent that was upheld that they were to look at in Numbers chapter 21 in order to live and not die from the bite of the serpent.

That's in Numbers chapter 21. Well, look at John chapter 3. Jesus had told Nicodemus what is universally true. You must be born again if you're going to enter the kingdom of heaven. And so the very nature of eternal life is now at stake in what's being said here.

I mean, even as I'm teaching these things, I'm overwhelmed by the significance of the principles that Jesus bases and supports and defends from the view of general Old Testament history, the nature of God's revelation, the nature of the person of Christ, and now the nature of eternal salvation. Jesus told Nicodemus, you must be born again. In verse 9, Nicodemus said, how can these things be? And Jesus answered him, are you the teacher of Israel and you don't understand these things?

How did you ever get into this position? Who gave you your job if you don't understand this? Verse 11, we speak of what we know. We bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.

If I've told you earthly things and you don't believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, and here it is. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Jesus, in speaking about the nature of the new birth, the nature of the forgiveness of sin, the nature of receiving eternal life, he premises it on an Old Testament illustration, saying remember what happened in Numbers 21. Remember the serpent lifted up in the wilderness and realize that that is a model, that is a type for what is going to come and what the truth and reality is now that I have come.

Abel, Abraham, the wilderness serpent. Now, beloved, if I wanted to stretch this out for hours, I could show you far more examples to illustrate that Jesus effortlessly quoted Old Testament history and he assumed it to be true. And it wasn't simply a history lesson that he was giving. He was showing that the Old Testament proved it to be the foundation for the most essential aspects of the program and plan in Revelation of God. He based these great principles on the reliability of the Old Testament. Time forbids us from considering the way that he spoke about Sodom and Gomorrah from Genesis 18, Isaac and Jacob in the last half of Genesis, Genesis 26 to 37 thereabouts, the way that he spoke about King David, King Solomon, the prophet Elijah, the prophet Elijah and others. You could go on and on and on on this theme.

And what we've just spent 20 minutes doing, you could multiply many times over and you would find the exact same principle at work. Jesus points to the Old Testament, assumes it to be true, assumes that his audience should know it, and draws conclusions and principles from it that are meant to advance the revelatory purposes of God. Now, step back and remember the way that we framed these things.

I don't know about you, but when I consider these things, it just makes me feel really small. I am in awe of Christ and of the Old Testament as we consider these things and the force and the power just of these general historical examples. Now, when it comes to building a Christian mind and understanding on what basis we receive the Old Testament, I hope that you see that what we are considering in the view of Christ is far superior to the evidential approach that talks about earthly history from a perspective that maybe this is true, maybe it's not. Maybe it's more probably true than not. And so, you know, if you want to get with the club, you ought to accept the Bible as the word of God.

I don't want to be a part of that club. I'm too overwhelmed by the genius, the authority of Christ and the way that he respected the authority and the teaching and the truthfulness of the Old Testament Scriptures. It's not that I say these other evidential arguments are false. I just say that the whole, that whole method of argument is weak and impotent compared to basing our view of the Bible on Christ himself. Christ is the highest authority, not my judgment.

If it satisfies Christ, it satisfies me. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, thank you, Bill, and just before we close, my friends, I just want to let you know that this podcast is made possible for you by the generous support of many friends of our ministry. We're grateful for that, and if you have supported us, I want to say a special word of thanks to you for all that you've done to make this possible. And if you would like to join in the support of our ministry, you can do that so easily by going to

That's You'll see the link to give, and you can add your support to the others who make this possible for us. Thank you for whatever you do and whether you give or you don't give.

Know that our love and prayers are with you. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together here on The Truth Pulpit. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-04 04:53:17 / 2024-03-04 05:06:20 / 13

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