Sunday, March 1, 2015

The centrality of Christ in the New Testament

I find it interesting that so many these days speak of faith for the sake of faith. The reality is that if one is a Christian, then faith should be in Christ Jesus. I wrote an article just a short time ago that asked the question whether we should present church or Christ. The obvious answer is that we should present Jesus Christ (1Cor 2:2.) The overwhelming message of the New Testament is the superiority of Jesus of Nazareth as the prophesied anticipated Messiah. When one looks at the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, known as the faith chapter, it is somewhat easy when isolating passages within the chapter to teach on faith for the sake of faith. I think I have been guilty of not making it clear enough what the object of our faith should be. Let me state it unequivocally; it is Jesus Christ.

Let me share the short *Cliff Notes* outline of Hebrews. Chapter 1 & 2 speaks of the superiority of Christ over angels. Chapter three begins the superiority of Christ over Moses and Judaism. He is greater than Moses in chapter three, and he is the Sabbath Rest in chapter four. In other words, the Sabbath was a picture of Jesus. Chapters 5-7 begins to show the superiority of Christ's priesthood. Chapter eight tells us that the whole point of the first seven chapters was to show that the New Covenant under Christ is superior to the Old Covenant. Then chapters 9 & 10 explain that the sacrifice of Christ is superior to the temple sacrifices and the temple formed by believers in the spirit is superior to the stone and mortar temple. Notice this, the entire book of Hebrews is ALL about Jesus and nothing else. Now enters chapter 11 which is the *faith chapter.*  It begins to point out all of the Old Covenant saints who had faith. To name some in a non-all-conclusive list are Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Sampson, Gideon, Jeremiah, Daniel, the three Hebrew Boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and on and on. This interesting thing though is that their faith is not even the point of the chapter.... that's right let me state again that their faith was not the point of the Chapter. The point of the chapter is found at the very end of chapter eleven.

Heb 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (40) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

The point was that all of the hero's of faith in the Old Covenant could not be made perfect by their faith. They received a good report but were not made perfect. The reason was that they did not know exactly how the plan of redemption was going to play out. They did not know that Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God would by his faith make them all perfect. So you see, in the New Covenant, it is not sufficient to merely have faith. No, one must specifically have faith in Christ. All of the blessings of the New Covenant are channeled through Jesus Christ. He is pre-eminent. He, according to this same book is the author and finisher of our faith. We rob him of his glory when we do not make him pre-eminent in all of our teaching and sermons.

This is a beginning of a series in which I will show that the church today is presenting church and not Christ and that the sole job of the church is to present Christ.

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