When it comes to the Bible, I am passionate about one thing above all others—seeing Christ in every scripture (Luke 24:44-46). While I acknowledge other messages in scripture, Christ is the fullness of every other message.
We must see that Christ is the end of old covenant laws. He is the substance of the commandments (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:16-17). Failing that we will make holiness about clothing, dietary restrictions, or not working on certain days of the week; we will focus on outward behavior instead of seeing the law written on our hearts through the indwelling Christ (2 Cor. 3:3). Without an understanding of Christ in the law, our message will be about morals or commandments instead of Jesus. This is not the gospel (=“good news”) (Gal. 1).
Every promise is “Yes” in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). Otherwise, promises find their fulfillment in my fulfillment, success, or prosperity. Certainly God cares about my welfare. But my welfare was not primarily what He had in view when He made the promises in scripture. When God promised Noah He would never again destroy the world by water He was first speaking about the baptism of the cross (Gen. 9:11; Rom. 6:4). The promises made to Abraham and His seed addressed Christ first and Isaac second (Gal. 3:16). Likewise, God never makes promises that are first about us or to us. Promises are always first about Christ and to Christ. Applying promises to me first makes for a “me first” message as well.
It is helpful to apply biblical principles to our lives. But God’s main purpose in articulating Bible principles wasn’t to help us live better lives. His main purpose was to teach us about His Son. Sowing and reaping is a wonderful principle. Paul says giving financially is like planting seed that grows into a financial harvest (2 Cor. 9:6). He also says our actions plant seeds from which we harvest destruction or eternal life (Gal. 6:7). But why does this principle work? It works because it is rooted in Christ who fell into the ground like a seed and died. From His death came a harvest of souls brought to bloom by His life within (John 12:24). It’s possible to know God’s principles and not God’s Principal—Jesus. And whatever we know is what we’ll speak, as Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:10).
“The testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). Even with such a clear statement as Revelation 19:10, prophecy can be difficult to untangle. Creatures covered with eyes, tornados, eagles and angels flying about, fire, thunder, cryptic sayings…it’s enough to make you cross-eyed and loony in mere minutes. But consider the apostle John. Because his ears were attuned to Christ, he had no difficulty understanding Zechariah 12:10. The Lord whom Israel pierced was the One pierced by a sword as He hung on a cross (John 19:34-37). Some today search the prophets for the antichrist more than Christ. If that was John’s focus Zechariah’s prophecy of the cross would have been lost. Perhaps we spend too much time trying to figure out prophecy instead allowing the Spirit to incline our hearts to Jesus.
The testimony of God is about His Son (1 John 5:9-12). We must see Christ as the fullness of every message in scripture. Otherwise, we will testify about something else. Biblical or not, if our message comes short of the Son, it comes short of God’s testimony.
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Amen! When the Holy Spirit starts showing us Jesus in Old Testament scriptures we can be sure that he wants to show us more. He doesn’t want to show us more knowledge otherwise we would try to control it. He wants to show us the Substance that created the shadow in the Old Testament stories. Jesus is the Substance. And His Life expressed is what we need and were designed to house and show. The step that comes after the Holy Spirit showing Jesus and His cross is Jesus showing up in us by with His crucified nature in the circumstances of our sojourn on earth.
Yes, we have to be messages, not just preach or know a message.