As we prepare to talk about worship in giving next Sunday, we take a few minutes this morning to talk about what God has given us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“I am ready to accept that Jesus of Nazareth was a good moral teacher, but I cannot believe that he was the son of God.” How many times have Christians heard such a statement? So, just who is Jesus? It’s an important question. As we study, we find out what the Bible teaches about this very question, and even find that there is a fundamental problem with the idea Jesus being either a good moral teacher or the Son of God.
Why even bother asking as question like this? Don’t we know that Jesus rose from the dead? Our faith is based on Christ rising from the dead, and yet, there are some who do not believe that Christ really was resurrected, but simply that the disciples believed it to be so. In this lesson, we examine some evidence that should shows us that Christ did in fact rise from the dead.
There are a number of questions people ask when they find out you are a member of the church of Christ. The questions about music or weekly observance are almost always near the top of the list. Another charge I sometimes hear is that we do not believe in the Old Testament. While it is true that we do not believe that Old Covenant is still binding (Col 2:14), that does not mean we completely disregard the Old Testament. Here are just a few reasons why that is the case.
First, we believe that just like the New Testament, the Old Testament is inspired of God. Paul wrote that ALL Scripture is God-breathed in 2 Tim. 3:16, and Peter, speaking specifically of the prophecies of the Old Testament, says in 2 Peter 1:21 that “no prophecy of Scripture was every produced by the will of men, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
A second reason that we believe the Old Testament is still worth our study is because Jesus himself taught from it. In Luke 4, after reading from the book of Isaiah in the synagogue, Jesus took the opportunity in verse 21 to teach the people that “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” In a number of places he refers to the Old Testament in his teaching, such as making references to the “sign of Jonah” in predicting his resurrection from the dead (Mt. 12:38-42) and references to Daniel’s prophecy when standing trial before the Council (Mk. 14:62 cf. Dan. 7:13-14).
A third reason that we do not ignore the Old Testament is because the other New Testament writers taught from it as well. Paul quoted from and made references the Old Testament in his letters (Rom 3:10-18, 9:6-33; Gal. 3). One might say that the key to understanding the book of Hebrews lies in understanding the Old Testament, especially the books of Moses. Additionally, we could consider examples of Peter and other writers making reference to Old Testament passages (James 2:23-26; 1 Pet. 2:6-8)
Finally, the express words of Paul in Romans 15:4 give us a good reason to not neglect our study of the Old Testament. He wrote, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction…” In my opinion, this was easily seen in our recent Wednesday night series covering the book of Ruth. There was much we could learn from what we usually thought of as simply a beautiful love story.
There is considerable benefit in studying God’s first 39 books of revelation in addition to continuing to deeply study the 27 books given specifically to the church in the New Testament. Let’s not neglect more than half of God’s inspired word just because we are no longer bound by it’s laws. Study the Old Testament. All of God’s people would be better for it.
The gospel is a wonderful thing, and in the gospel is the power of salvation. God has given us a charge to preach that blessed gospel. Can we, along with Paul, say that we are not ashamed?
The entertainment industry thrives on love, but to the Christian it is so much more than what the rest of the world sees. Love is a choice, a choice to put others above oneself. Love is the reason that God gave us His Son, and he also demands love of us. Jesus said that the two great commandments in the Law are to love God and to love one’s neighbor.
In our lesson from Sunday morning, we examine the humility of Jesus from Philippians 2:5-8, with an emphasis on crowns that are associated with our Lord’s work, including the crown he gave up by emptying himself to become a man We also consider the crowns he put on, such as the crown of thorns, and after his resurrection, the crown of glory and honor. Finally, we consider the crown which he has promised to those who are his.