Jesus in the Old Testament

Jesus is the main point of the Old Testament. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but rather he came to fulfill them! Jesus understood that every text ultimately pointed to him. I highlighted this point in my sermon concerning this text at Northbrook Church. Click HERE to view the video.

Jesus took the time to walk with two men on the road after his resurrection. In Luke 24:27 he opened up the Old Testament and showed them how it all pointed to him. We should be doing the same. As we interpret the Old Testament we need to intentionally shift to Jesus in our understanding of the text.

Here are some links to hone your skill at interpreting the Old Testament in a Christ-Centered way.

Is Jesus in the Old Testament?

How to Find Him on Every Last Page

Also check out this graphic that points to Jesus in each book of the Bible. Check it out and keep this in mind next time you read the scripture!

Essential Influence

Did you know you have an essential influence? We understand what an essential worker is due to the Covid era we live in. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you have an essential role to play in our society. If ever there was a time that the Church needs to step up and be the Church, it is now! You are essential!

In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus teaches that believers are like Salt and Light in the world around us. Here is the Northbrook Sermon link on this text. But in this article I want to focus in specifically on the role of salt and what that looks like in the spiritual sense.

What does it mean for a person to be like salt in the world? I want to pull out some practical applications from Jesus’s word picture.

As Salt in this world I see three aspects we should keep in mind.

  1. Salt Preserves:  Believers stand against the moral and spiritual decay that invades our world because of the curse of sin. In our families, communities, society, and even globally, followers of Jesus preserve what it good through our actions, words, and choices. Think of how most hospitals and schools were founded by Christians. Why is that? We bring with us a care for society that extends to the hurting and marginalized. Being the Salt of the earth means to help others, preserve goodness, and leading away from sinful self-destructive paths. 
  2. Salt Seasons:  Believers bring life, and as Jesus said in John 10:10, he came to give life to the full! Sadly many people feel that Church steals away the joy of life. This is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Being created in the image of God release us to build, create, imagine and engage life from a godly perspective. We are free to seek His glory in new and innovative ways. That is why Christians in the past were always the cutting edge of art and science. It was the glory of God that drove them. Today we need to reclaim our role as the Salt of the earth and bring the seasoning of life and truth with us. 
  3. Salt can be diluted:  Jesus warns if salt loses its saltiness is worthless. How does this happen? The basic elemental construction of Salt, (NaCl, sodium cloride) cannot be changed without becoming a new element. So what is Jesus talking about? Salt “loses its saltiness” when it is intermingled with other substances. The impact of the salt is reduced as it becomes more mixed. This happens on the spiritual level as well. Can a believer become so distracted by the worldly things that they lose their influence, yes. It happens all to often. Even good things can become distractions, but especially the temptations of our world are numerous and can ruin someone’s influence. The list of discredited pastors is to discouraging to review. But Jesus wasn’t teaching to pastors, he was teaching to every Christian. Make sure your actions and words don’t negate the Salty influence you should have. 

Go out and be Salty today! You are an essential influence because you are the Salt of the earth!

Download the Bible…into your Brain!

Check out this video from A Simple Way, some close personal friends of mine, talking about the value of Scripture Memory. Here you will hear some valuable tips, some serious encouragement, and real life experience regarding this rare spiritual discipline.

Jesus used memorized scripture as a foundational aspect of his ministry. Whether he was confronting temptation, teaching others, or even speaking from the Cross, the words of scripture were constantly on his lips, and therefore in his mind.

So download God’s word into your heart and mind through the practice of memorization.

This is hard work, no doubt, but the return on this investment of time and energy is beyond worth it! Growth for your soul, closeness with God, preparation for future opportunities, battling temptation; these are the tip of the iceberg of benefits accompanying this spiritual discipline.

Psalm 119:9-16

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
    all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

The Beatitudes – A Radical Contrast


In the beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12) we see that many of our cultural norms are often in direct opposition to a godly life. Jesus presents a set of values that is in stark contrast to worldly values.

For part of this week’s sermon at Northbrook I imagined what it may look like if the world produced a set of beatitudes corresponding to Jesus’s words. I thought through what the world views as important, fun, or successful. Seeing these side by side showed me the radical difference between what Jesus says leads to a blessed life and what the world says leads to a blessed life.

Where do you see your own values? Is it easy to follow the trends of our culture? Read these beatitudes and ask yourself what the blessed life really looks like.

Jesus’s view of the Blessed life –

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
  • Blessed are those who mournfor they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meekfor they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are the mercifulfor they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heartfor they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakersfor they will be called sons of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Now contrast these with my interpretation of worldly beatitudes.

The World’s view of the Blessed life –

  • Blessed is a self-made-man, because they have built their own kingdom.­
  • Blessed are your social media posts, because you always look perfect.
  • Blessed are the ruthless, because they get what they want.
  • Blessed are those who hunger for the newest iPhone, because you will be the envy of your friends.
  • Blessed are the powerful, because they receive respect.
  • Blessed are online dating app users, for they will see a good time.
  • Blessed are those who win at all costs, for they will be called successful.
  • Blessed are the celebrities, because everybody loves them.

It is truly striking when you dwell on these words. What our culture tells us to pursue, Jesus flips it totally on its head! It is no wonder unbelievers consider us fools. Look at the subjects of each sentence in Jesus’s words. The worldly man has no desire to be characterized by such descriptions, it would be an insult and an embarrassment.

Yet, the follower of Jesus…

  1. Understands his/her total dependence on God – vs. 3-5. Being poor, mournful and meek is not Christian depression, but rather seeing our sinfulness for what it is and then taking our eyes off ourself as if we could be good enough to earn God’s love.
  2. Is filled with godliness, vs. 6-8. Living according to God’s ways (righteousness, mercy, purity) truly is the best way to live.
  3. Is actively living this out in our world, vs. 9-12. As we are on display we become peacemakers by introducing others to the One who made peace with God, and yet we can be persecuted for shining light in the darkness.

Seek the blessed life today as you encounter these words of Jesus!

Pray Without Ceasing?!?

Have you ever wondered what we are supposed to do with the command in 1 Thess. 5:17 to “pray without ceasing”? I am tenacious about taking the truth of God’s Word and applying it to real life, but come on…without ceasing???
I just read a great article dealing with this subject that I wanted to pass along. Here John Piper deals with this verse in an astute and pastoral way.

Click the HERE to see the full article on

In summary here is what I learned. No, we don’t pray every minute of every hour of every day, and that is ok. While it is impossible to apply this verse physically, the principles behind it are essential for every believer.

  • This verse makes it clear that we must have a spirit of dependence on God – even if we are not consciously speaking to Him, we always must have a deep dependence on Him that truly is without ceasing.
  • There are other verses that show Paul using similar language as 1 Thess. 5:17. (for example “unceasing” in Rom. 1:9) But it is physically impossible to pray 24/7, so what is his meaning? What is intended is repeated, frequent, intentional prayer. Christians should be making time to pray. Period.
  • The final implication is a “never-give-up” attitude toward prayer. Pray without ceasing means we never throw in towel. We never abandon prayer. We understand that this is part of the bedrock of our faith. Communication with the Father should never come to a standstill.

I pray you have a greater understanding of 1 Thess. 5:17 today, and a renewed commitment to “pray without ceasing”.

The Sermon on the Mount

refocusOur time is one of extraordinary change. The virus has altered the daily life of everyone on the planet. We have new systems in place, new routines to develop, even new values emerging.

Over the next few weeks I want to unpack a passage of scripture that should help us refocus our view of life around us. Jesus called us to live his way in this new world. What will that look like? Whether we are dealing with Covid 19 virus restrictions, shifting cultural norms, or political upheaval, the believer is given a picture of how to live in a fallen world. This standard comes straight from the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5-7.

These chapters, known as the Sermon on the Mount (first acknowledged in literature as a unified sermon by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430AD), are full of practical, yet challenging, depictions of daily life. This sermon of Jesus was intended not as vision of heavenly existence, but rather of life here and now when submitting to him as King.

One misinterpretation of the Sermon of the Mount is to read these chapters as a conveyor belt of guilt. With subheadings such as Anger, Lust, Divorce, Retaliation, Loving your Enemies (just to look at Chapter 5), it could be easy to see this sermon as Jesus’s list of ways we don’t measure up. While it is true that we all fail, Jesus didn’t come to condemn, but rather to save! (John 3:17) The Sermon on the Mount must be read in light of Jesus’s invitation to a real relationship. As we submit to the King in a relationship, the Sermon on the Mount reveals a grand picture of kingdom life motivated by that relationship. Kingdom life is not about performance of rules, but rather a process of growing in Christlikeness. Toward the end of this sermon in Matthew 7:23 Jesus highlights this by acknowledging that many people will call him “Lord, Lord” but at the end of the day it is all about relationship and he will say “Depart, I never knew you.”

To believers reading this, we see a clear call to get to work. Be on display. If there was ever a time the world needs to see the church taking Jesus’s teachings seriously, it is now. The church needs to be that influence (salt and light, 5:13-16) in a world that is desperate for something real. We need to pray for God’s will to be done HERE as it is in Heaven (6:10). With so much changing in our world we must model how we build our house on the rock, not shifting sand (7:24-28).

While we may benefit from many sermons and never personally know the preacher, which is totally fine, that is not the case with the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon’s power is inextricably linked to a relationship to the Preacher. Without knowing him you will never really know what the Sermon on the Mount is truly about. Jesus is the King and as his subjects submit to his authority we find a new way to live in our crazy changing world.

Next week I will be looking at the upside-down value system of God’s Kingdom revealed by Jesus’s first topic as we go bit by bit through this text. May the Master Preacher help us refocus our view of reality through his words!


Check out our podcast – “CONTINUED”

As part of the teaching ministry at Third Baptist Church, Keith Myatt and I are hosting a weekly podcast. “Continued” in an effort to dive deeper into the sermon and draw out additional insights, context, and encouragement. This is a conversation that I hope you will benefit from as you listen and are challenged. Go check out “Continued” on your favorite podcast provider. I’ve copied the apple podcast link, but it is available on multiple platforms.

Our first episode focuses in on the physicality of the resurrection of Jesus. Without the physical nature of Jesus’s body being raised from the dead, as opposed to alternate theories like a spiritual resurrection, our faith would be bankrupt. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:16-17,  “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”  I pray you are equipped and encouraged as you listen.


Can your kids understand how to apply the most important teachings of Jesus?

We have made an intentional effort to pass along the two most important things in this world to our kids… To Love God and Love Others.  We review it daily on the way to school.  While rote memory has a vital role in the life of kids, it started to become too routine.  So I added another element to this question.


How do we love God?  How do we love others?

This is coming directly from Jesus’s mouth in Matt 22:36-40.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

So how do we do that?  To help my kids understand this key teaching of the Christian faith I boiled it down to two simple answers.

We love God by being obedient.

We love Others by being kind.

As we are obedient to God we must also obedient to the authorities in our life.  For my kids that means teachers, parents, rules, and so on.  I want them to understand that as they obey in these different arenas, they are loving God.  John 14:15, Jesus says if you love me, you will obey my commands.

As we are kind to others we show them the love that God showed us.  We are kind to our peers, those not like us, even the bullies at school.  We show kindness because we have received the ultimate kindness from God through His Son Jesus.  John 15:12 says, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

So let this be a reminder to you today to love God and love others by being obedient and kind in your daily life.