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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Have you ever read through Matthew 5 and saw the completely opposite way in which Jesus describes what it means to be a Kingdom citizen as opposed to a citizen of this world!?! 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. The worldly man has no desire to be characterized by such words, it would be an insult and an embarrassment.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Josh Harris, the senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, preaching on this very topic and let his creative energy flow. He wondered what it would look like if these were rewritten from the worlds perspective. Here is his artistic interpretation.
Blessed are the self-confident because they rule the world.
Blessed are positive-thinkers because they don’t need anybody’s comfort.
Blessed are the cocky and assertive because they get what they want.
Blessed are those who hunger for fame because they get reality TV shows.
Blessed are the vengeful because they get respect.
Blessed are the impure, pleasure-seekers because they see a good time.
Blessed are those who beat their opponents because the victors write the history books.
Blessed are the popular because everybody loves them.
As you read these, note how they correspond with the way we really see people living in our schools, jobs, homes, and society. Note also how they are the inverse of the biblical text as quoted above. It is scary to see how our culture values the exact opposite of what God says is truly valuable. The world, and our own sin natures, push us to live in these anti-biblical ways. It is hard to go against the flow. But when we allow God’s words to fill us up we find His strength to live out His plan.
What they are, why they happen, and how they can change your life
An inspiring and eye-opening exploration of the phenomenon of miracles from the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Bonhoeffer.
What are miracles, and why do so many believe in them? What do they tell us about ourselves? And what do we do with experiences that we cannot explain?
In Miracles, Eric Metaxas offers compelling — sometimes electrifying — evidence that there’s something real to be reckoned with, whatever one has thought of the topic before. Miracles is also a timely, thoughtful, and civil answer to the books of the “New Atheists” — Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris — who have passionately asserted not just the impossibility of miracles and the supernatural, but the outright harmfulness of belief in them.
Metaxas — whom ABC News has called a “witty ambassador for faith” — provides the measured and wide-ranging treatment the subject deserves, from serious discussion of the compatibility between faith and science, to astonishing, but well-documented stories of actual miracles from people he knows.
A more personal, anecdotal, and updated version of C. S. Lewis’s 1947 book on the subject, Miracles is a powerfully winsome challenge that miracles are not only possible, but are far more widespread than most of us ever might have imagined.
Today is election day. I voted. You should too. This is our means of having our voice heard.
There is an important issue on the line this year. In TN an amendment is proposed that will allow state guided regulation on the abortion industry. It in no way prevents or outlaws abortions, rather it makes it possible for lawmakers to set regulations for the abortion industry that are in place in many states.
While my visit to Great Clips for a haircut reveals that a hairdresser must have state certification and display their license, abortion clinics in this state do not need any such oversight.
Here are some facts about the amendment, abortion in Tennessee and those on both sides of the campaign.
What the amendment says:
Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
What the amendment would do:
If passed, the amendment would have no immediate effect on abortion in Tennessee. However, lawmakers would have more ability in the future to pass restrictions that the state Supreme Court has previously ruled were unconstitutional. A “yes” vote would give lawmakers this ability. A “no” vote would leave the state constitution unchanged.
If enacted, Tennessee would become the fourth state in the nation that has an abortion amendment in its constitution. The other three states are Arkansas, Colorado and Rhode Island.
What measures could lawmakers enact if Amendment 1 succeeds?
Examples of measures that lawmakers and others have spoken publicly about include:
• A waiting period before a woman seeking an abortion can obtain one.
• A requirement that doctors give women specifically worded information about abortions and fetal development crafted by lawmakers.
• A ban on abortions past a certain stage of fetal development.
• A requirement that abortion clinics meet the stricter standards of ambulatory surgical centers where typically more complex medical procedures are performed.
• An end to exceptions to abortion restrictions for women who are victims of rape or incest, or in cases in which a woman’s health is at risk.
The campaigns have been very different for the opposing sides.
“Yes on 1” is a grass roots effort creating groups in each county to speak in church, civic groups, and other forums to get the word out about the need for this amendment to pass. They are using social media and primarily word of mouth.
“No on 1” is using a TV campaign of commercials funded by Planned Parenthood and ACLU. Check out these ads. They are manipulative, do not address the issue, and appears to be designed to confuse the voter!
Don’t by the hype, Vote Yes on 1 today and make you voice heard for common sense protections of women.
“If someone said to you, ‘I have one insight for you that absolutely will revolutionize your ability to quickly and clearly identify the false statements and false philosophies that permeate our culture,’ would you be interested? That’s what we’re about to do here. In fact, if we had to pick just one thinking ability as the most valuable we’ve learned in our many years of seminary and postgraduate education, it would be this: how to identify and refute self-defeating statements.”(i)
What is a self-defeating statement?
A self-defeating (or self-refuting) statement is one that fails to meet its own standard. In…