Church: 9 Marks of a New Testament Church: Biblical Theology

Livestream of “Biblical Theology”

The Jesus StoryBook Bible’s subtitle is, “Every story whispers his name.” 

This is absolutely true, and we want to help you get to the place to mine that glorious truth out for yourselves as you walk with Jesus together on mission. 

Some truths about biblical theology:

  1. helps us rightly interpret the Bible, 
  2. protects the church from false Christianity, 
  3. is the source of gospel-centered exposition, 
  4. is the foundation for proper Christian cultural engagement… “It’s in the Manual.”

What Is Biblical Theology?

Biblical theology is the discipline of learning how to read the Bible:

  1. as one story (39 OT + 27 NT = 66 chapters in one gigantic story that defines what is true)
  2. by one divine author (God is the author with many writers who wrote down his story at his directing)
  3. that culminates in the person and work of Christ, 
  4. so that every part of Scripture is understood in relation to Christ. 

Luke 24:26-27. Jesus, after rising from the dead, met two believers on the road to Emmaus, Jesus offered a crash course Biblical Theology. 

Verse 26: “26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Luke 24:44-47: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What book is Jesus referring to in verse 44 that must be fulfilled? 

  1. The Old Testament. 

Jesus names the three parts to the Old Testament, what are they? 

  1. Law of Moses (Torah)
  2. Prophets (Navi)
  3. Psalms/Writings (Kethubim) 

Then what does Jesus do in verse 45? 

  1. Jesus opens their minds to understand the Scriptures.
    1. Jesus has apparently not supernaturally opened their minds like this before.
  1. Now with enlightened minds, what could they now understand that the Old Testament actually teaches? 
    1. The Christ should suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.
    2.  Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations. 

What is amazing about the beginning of verse 46? 

  1. “Thus it is written.” 
    1. This is what is written in the Old Testament: 
      1. Jesus should die and rise, and that will lead to the preaching of repentance and forgiveness to all nations.

John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

WARNING: This doesn’t mean we carelessly impose Jesus on every text. It means we pay close attention to each text on its own terms, but then how every text falls into one of countless subthemes, and tracing out those subthemes like following a tributary river, until pours into a larger river, and finally into the ocean, or the story of the whole Bible. 

  1. In Scripture, the identity and the work of Christ are the crucial piece of information around which everything else revolves. 
    1. This means that Jesus is the interpretive key to the entire narrative of the OT.

Example: Manasseh 2 Chronicles 33

The Chronicles give us a post-exilic account of Judah, and we see many “dead ends” and “bridges” in the kings of Judah. 

Worth memorizing: All Scripture predicts, prepares for, results from and reflects Jesus’ person and work. 

One of the ways it does this is through these dead ends and bridges. 

NOTE: Dead end means one that we have hope in who can rescue us, yet leaves us unrescued and wanting the real rescuer….dead end. A dead end is a real disappointment. 

Bridge means one who lives right, does right, loves the Lord, speaks God’s word and leads God’s people well, yet dies leaving us wanting THE Bridge as a good example. 

Dead ends and bridges show us God’s saving nature through contrasts and comparisons. 

Let’s look briefly at God’s saving nature through 2 Chronicles 33 in Manasseh, a dead end and a bridge. 

  1. God is merciful and gracious to sinners because he is just good. 
    1. Manasseh is the longest reigning king of Judah at 55 years.
    2. Asa got 41 years. Maybe my favorite. 
    3. Jehoshaphat got 25 years. Next favorite. 
    4. Uzziah got 52 years. He was a good one. 
    5. Hezekiah got 29 years. 
    6. Josiah got 31 years. 
      1. This grace is why Paul wrote Romans 9:1-11. 
      2. Romans 9:10-11 (ESV) And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—
  1. Perhaps God’s giving of 55 years was to provide the opportunity to repent. 
    1. Exodus 34:6-8 (ESV) The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
    2. Through the awful consequences of his sin, Manasseh is granted grace to repent. 
      1. Not of his own merit does Manasseh get this gift.
      2. This gift opportunity is completely of the grace of God. Not a result of works so that no man can boast. 
    3. Consequences are one of God’s greatest gifts as a built in call of the gospel to run to Jesus for mercy having been spared and given another opportunity to turn to Jesus. 
  2. Manasseh calls on the Lord, and the Lord heard him, restored him and made himself known to Manasseh.
    1. Ezekiel 36:24-28 (ESV) I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
    2. The Lord gives salvation to Manasseh and passes over his sin until he will pay for it justly at the cross. 
      1. See Romans 3:21-26!!!
  1. Manasseh’s faith works itself out through acts of repentance. 2 Chronicles 33:14-16
    1. James 2:14-17 (ESV) What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
  1. No one is outside the reach of the good grace of God in Jesus Christ. Not even a king who would sacrifice his own sons by burning them alive to false Gods. 
  1. If you are outside of Jesus, run to him. He’s calling you to him with this opportunity today. 

Example: Judges 13-16 Samson

We learn in the narrative about Samson that he tears apart a lion with his bare hands, and hee kills a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. 

Will teaching about Sampson killing a thousand Philistines with a jawbone really result in people coming to faith in Jesus? It depends. 

  1. If Samson is preached as Jesus taught us how to read about Samson, then the story of Samson can and will bring people to faith in Jesus. 
    1. Rightly preaching Judges takes more than praising Samson’s manly virtues as a call to be courageous.
      1. That would be “moralizing” the text. Turning the text into a moral example. 
        1. The other error in using OT passages as proof texts.
          1. That is where a passage is used to justify an argument without regard to the context of a passage. 
            1. Example: God blessed Israel for obedience, so God will bless America if we obey. 2 Chronicles 7:14 applied to America as if its 1-1.  
  1. We should talk about Samson as a pattern (type) of Jesus and his life…in history…preparing the way for us to see and know that God had prepared us to know, see, and believe.
    1. Samson’s birth is announced by an angel…like Jesus’ was.
    2. Samson is set apart as holy for a holy purpose…Like Jesus.
    3. Samson is a God-anointed judge. 
    4. Samson is gifted with remarkable power through the Holy Spirit. 
    5. Samson is handed over to the enemies of God’s people for the purpose of rescuing God’s people (e.g. Judges 15:14-15; 16:30). 
  1. We should talk about Samson as the “dead end” who leads us to Jesus…Samson as an opposite to help us see Jesus more clearly.
    1. Samson is the opposite of Jesus, and that helps us see how amazing Jesus is. 
      1. Example: Samson disobeys where Jesus obeys perfectly.
  1. We should ask what Samson’s story teaches us about the nature and character of God.
    1. God is patient with his people and his determination to judge sin. 
    2. Samson teaches us about our need for a savior  who will not disappoint us like every judge or king who has ever lived, except one…Jesus!
  1. We should talk about Samson’s strength and how he kills a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey not as a manly virtue but as a pointer to the strength of Jesus as one who will overcome his enemies with justice on the last day.
    1. Samson is a beast, but how much more amazing is Jesus’ return on the last day, with a sword to bring God’s justice (Rev. 19:15)! 
    2. Only this judge, Jesus, is perfectly just and good. 
  1. Samson’s death is loaded with gospel goodness. 
    1. Samson defeats his enemies and rescues God’s people through death. 
      1. NOTE THE OPPOSITE: Samson’s folly and pride led to his death. 
      2. Not so with Jesus, who deliberately went to his death in humility and innocence to rescue his people. 
  1. Samson is a fantastic historical narrative, but one that points us to Jesus, not to Samson as a moral example or proof we should or should not do something.
  1. An expositional preaching on Judges 13 to 16 should be a gospel sermon, not a Ted Talk that could be given as a self-help seminar. 

How do we apply biblical theology?

  1. Believe that everything written in the Old Testament will lead us to Jesus. 
    1. Don’t settle for letting the OT become a moral handbook or handbook of courage.
    2. Galatians 3:24, “The law was our guide into Christ” (Author’s translation).
      1. John 2:1-2 – Jesus turning the water into wine does many things, but lets look at 2 things John intends for us to see.
        1. Jesus is the greater Moses. 
          1. Moses turned the water of the Nile into blood that brought death.
          2. Jesus turns the water into wine that brings life and celebration and joy. 
          3. Moses triumphed over the “gods” of Egypt through the plagues. 
          4. Jesus disarmed the “rulers” and “authorities” by the cross (see Colossians 2:14-15).
        2. Jesus is the fulfillment of Joel 3:18 and Amos 9:13. (the mountains will drip with sweet wine….on a mountain the sweet and saving blood of the new covenant makes the way to God).
          1. Looking to “that day”, Jesus’ day, God is going to give the abundance of life, and when Jesus redefines the passover and tells his blood is the blood of the new covenant and remembers it in the taking of wine, we see that Jesus at this wedding shows us he is the wine that brings life in his blood spilled for our sin, and he is the groom that supplies for his bride life. 
  1. Believe that the best Old Testament commentary is the New Testament. 
    1. Pay attention to how the NT quotes and applies the OT. 
    2. Example: Psalm 44’s use in Romans 8. 
  1. Know that it does not take an advanced degree to read the bible like Jesus taught us. 
    1. To read the bible like Jesus does require us to read it through over and over and over again. 
    2. Repetition is key to mastery. 
  1. Actively get on a bible reading plan, and do it in covenant fellowship together. 
    1. The Holy Spirit will guide seeking people straight to Jesus just as he was sent to do using the Word he gave in order that we would know Him in fellowship together. 
    2. The bible is the best devotional book on the market. It will feed your soul. Jesus, the Bread of life, makes himself available to us by the Spirit in his word. 
  1. If you have not believed the gospel, you have seen God’s salvation in his word, turn to Jesus and live. 

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