The Short Gospel

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul gave us a very short Gospel, ‘Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.’ 1

#  Why David?

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can be confident about our own resurrection into eternal life, but why do the verses mention David?  God promised David an Offspring, One [Jesus Christ] who will sit on David’s throne eternally. 2  

#  Why did it take so long for Jesus to come?

If it is true that God promised Jesus would come, why did it take such a long time before He came?  At least 1,000 years passed between David and the coming of Jesus.  At least 4,000 years passed from the time God promised the serpent (Satan) that ‘…He [Jesus] will crush your head….’ 3

#  God illustrated that salvation would be by grace and faith.

  • God created the Jewish nation from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, gave them the Covenant and blessed them.  Despite God’s care, they eventually messed up and were exiled twice.  With their history God illustrated that no one can be saved by keeping a law.  Man’s uncircumcised heart makes it impossible.  
  • Salvation would be by grace and faith.  That would ensure that the strong and disciplined are not advantaged above those who struggle to keep laws.  Once the message was very clear, so obvious that no one could miss it, because the Israelite kingdom was terminated, God could take action.  ‘But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.’ 4  
  • Salvation would be by grace and mercy alone, ‘But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved.’ 5

Conclusion

Short Gospel, long Gospel.  It does not matter.  It remains a wonderful Gospel of hope and grace for anyone who believes it.

References

  1. 2 Timothy 2:8-9  
  2. 2 Samuel 7:13  
  3. Genesis 3:15b  
  4. Galatians 4:4-5  
  5. Ephesians 2:4

Why the Old Testament is necessary for faith

People often wonder why the Old Testament is such a large part of the Bible?  Does it have any function, besides all the wars, intrigues and the ‘incomprehensible’ prophetic books?  The answer has to do with the Good News of God’s Kingdom. 

#  What is the Good News of the Bible?  

  • It is simply that we can become part of God’s Family through Jesus’ blood.  That means we become God’s blood relatives and will receive ‘an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.’ 1
  • What will we inherit?  Eternal life, with God who loves us, on the new heaven and earth. 2  It will be a wonderful life of joy, peace and love with food, health, friendship, lodging, safety, et cetera.      
  • The issue is: how do we know that this glorious fantastic future will become a reality?  The answer is in the Old Testament.

#  The history of the Old  Testament explains the Good News. 

  • For example, we understand that Jesus was the Lamb of God who died on behalf of our sins, because the Old Testament tells us that a lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the people.  
  • We understand that Jesus, the last Adam, takes us back into God’s presence, because the Old Testament tells us the first Adam caused us all to be expelled from God’s presence.  
  • There are many more such explanations and also specific promises in the Old Testament that build our faith in God.

# Three Old Testament promises

  • God gave Adam and Eve a promise.  The Seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent. 3  It refers to Jesus who was born of the virgin, Mary and who defeated the devil on the Cross. 4
  • God gave Abraham a promise.  Through him all people on earth will be blessed.5   It refers to one of Abraham’s specific descendants, Jesus.  He would be a blessing to all people. 6 
  • God gave David a promise.  His throne will endure forever. 7  It refers to King Jesus who sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father. 8  

#  The Old Testament shows God is faithful. 

  • God’s promises to Adam,  Abraham and David were fulfilled in the New Testament.  Without the Old Testament we wouldn’t know that God is completely trustworthy.  
  • He gave the promises, and despite the devil’s efforts to thwart those promises, they happened: Jesus was born, He was sacrificed on the Cross, He was resurrected.  Now He sits at the right hand of God the Father. 9  
  • The history of the Old Testament covers around 4,000 years.  Yet it all converged on Jesus, the focus of God’s plan.  If there was no Old Testament record, there was no reason to believe in Jesus or the Kingdom.

Conclusion

The Old Testament proves that God is dependable to the tee.  What He promises, will come to pass.  When God speaks in Scripture, it will happen.  That is why the Old Testament is such a large part of Scripture.  It gives us faith in God’s promises.

References

  1. 1 Peter 1:4  
  2. Revelation 21:1  
  3. Genesis 3:15  
  4. Matthew 1:21-22; Luke 2:6-7  
  5. Genesis 12:3  
  6. Matthew 28:18-19  
  7. 2 Samuel 7:16  
  8. Acts 2:29-33  
  9. Philippians 2: 5-11

Are you eating from a tree of life?

The Word of God is the Gate to immense treasures in this life and the one to come.

1 Peter 1:3-5 says, ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you….’   To miss that inheritance is the most terrible tragedy that can befall anyone.  We learn how to claim our eternal inheritance in the Word of God, the revelation of God’s plan for man.  It is a reliable document, but there is a world-wide attempt to sow seeds of distrust in it.

The keys to our inheritance

  1. The keys to open the way to our inheritance are: wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  We call it the ‘small trinity.’
  2. God used those keys to create: ‘By wisdom God laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided and the clouds let drop the dew.’ 1
  3. We need those ‘keys’ in our ‘creation’ process to become new people in Christ.
  4. But the glue that keeps the small ‘trinity’ together is faith (‘…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him’ 2).

How to acquire the keys 

  1. ’The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’ 3
  2. Thus the command in Proverbs 2:1-6, ‘My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom, and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.’  Then, 
  3. ‘…wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.’  4

The Bible calls these 3 keys, a tree of life

  1. ‘Blessed is the man who gets wisdom, the man who gains understanding for she is more profitable than silver, and yields better returns than gold….  She is a tree of life to those who find her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.’  5
  2. We eat of it here (get knowledge, understanding and wisdom in the Bible) to eventually eat of the real Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem. 6  God banished Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden so that they could not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen state. 7

Wisdom preserves life eternally, which money cannot do.

‘Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.  Wisdom is a shelter, as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.’ 8 

Conclusion

Knowledge, understanding and wisdom, held together by faith, are the 3 keys to the Kingdom.  The foundation of these keys is the 66 Holy Spirit inspired books that together form God’s wonderful Holy Book, the Book of all books!

References

  1. Proverbs 3:19-20
  2. Hebrews 11:6
  3. Proverbs 1:7
  4. Proverbs 2:10-11
  5. Proverbs 3:13-18
  6. Revelation 22:2
  7. Genesis 3:22-23
  8. Ecclesiastes 7:11-12
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