This past Sunday, we took a good, hard look at the Word of God as an encouragement to strengthen God’s People in times of distress. Peter said that it was useful for this as he wrote to the suffering Christians in Asia Minor:
1 Peter 1:10-13 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into. 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
The Prophets Inquired – SERMON AUDIO
As I studied and prayed my way through this text, I noticed the fact that Peter says to his readers, (AS A SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT) that the Old Testament was primarily written for the benefit of the New Testament Church. As I pondered this thought, it reminded me of a conversation I once had with a man who fancied himself a preacher. Knowing that, I am a preacher, he asked me what I was preaching on the following Sunday. At that time, I was preaching through Exodus, and so I gave him my text. Thy guy freaked out and yelled at me, “What!? Are you going to teach your people to be good Jews!?” Apparently, that man had not read 1 Peter 1:12, or 1 Corinthians 10:11, or Romans 15:4! All of which tell us this very same truth.
I can’t tell you how many times in my 20 years as a preacher and teacher that I have been reproved with the statement, “But that was Old Testament!” Now, I realize that the Old Testament was written to the Jews as well; that there are plenty of things that do not apply directly to the Church, but the Gospel was preached in the Old Testament and God was at work, bringing His promise to Abraham to fruition. That is what the whole Bible is about! But, what was that promise? Was it just a people and a land? No, those were side effects of the ultimate promise. The main promise to Abraham was that, through his Descendant, every people group on the planet would be benefitted.
Galatians 3:8-9 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Galatians 3:13-18 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “AND TO YOUR SEED,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
The main message of all of Scripture is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the Resurrected Christ walked with His Disciples on the Road to Emmaus, He said this to them;
Luke 24:25-27 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
It is a comfort to the Christian who understands that God is still on Plan A, because that plan is working! He does not need a Plan B. Some have taught precisely this about the Gospel. That God failed with Isreal (who is still His primary concern, according to them) and that the Gospel came to correct that failure. This is the opposite of what the Bible actually teaches. God began in Genesis 3:15 proclaiming that the Seed of the Woman (Jesus Christ) would crush the head of the serpent (the devil). To Abraham, God expanded that promise, saying, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). The Apostle Paul tells the Galatian Christians that when God said that, He, “Preached the Gospel to Abraham” (Galatians 3:8).
Paul tells the Christians in Asia Minor, that this is a cause for hope, but that we need to be prepared to really think about it, as the prophets had to. They “searched what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (1 Peter 1:11) It is not that we need to understand all of God’s plan for Redemptive History in order to be saved. But it is a stregthening agent in the life of the Christian, especially when trouble comes and we are battling doubt and fear. I encourage you to dig into the Scriptures. See what Jesus and the Apostles say about the Old Testament and follow their lead as you go back and search the Old Testament Scriptures for traces of the Gospel. I am including a few resources to help you along in this journey, as others have made their way down this path and can offer insight and resources that you will find helpful:
In addition to your studies, I encourage you to listen to the audio of the sermon and think this through, There is a lot that I have not been able to say here due to the constraints of blogging, which I was able to say in the sermon. Paul tells his readers that the fruit of understanding this is, that if you’re willing to think this through, it will strengthen your faith and increase your steadfastness;
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
The Prophets Inquired – SERMON AUDIO