In my initial blog entry, I stated that my simple goal was to be “a New Testament gospel preacher”. This world desperately needs such preaching and I’d like to be one of the men providing it.
WHY DO I SAY I WANT TO BE A “NEW TESTAMENT” GOSPEL PREACHER?
Does this mean that I do not believe in the Old Testament, or that I do not think it important, or that I do not preach from the Old Testament? Not at all!
For the record, I consider the whole Bible, including all Old Testament books, to be both authentically historical and inspired by God. I have preached extensively from the Old Testament, including messages from every one of its books save one (Song of Solomon). I have also – and often – preached “New Testament gospel” messages from Old Testament scriptures.
Obviously, the gospel did not appear in history until the coming of Jesus Christ during the days of the Roman Empire. But the gospel existed in the mind of God from the foundations of the world – 1Pe 1:20. God therefore inspired men to plant the seeds of the gospel in writings that date as far back as the days of Moses.
The New Testament gospel is built upon Old Testament ideas and prophecies.
A New Testament gospel preacher is one who preaches the New Testament Gospel – the message of Jesus Christ – in the same way the NEW TESTAMENT'S gospel preachers did. The NEW TESTAMENT'S gospel preachers - men like Matthew, Luke, Peter, James and Paul - based much of their teaching on the Old Testament scriptures.
CAN THE NEW TESTAMENT GOSPEL REALLY BE PREACHED FROM OLD TESTAMENT WRITINGS?
Absolutely! In the 1st Century AD, the gospel of Jesus Christ brought thousands upon thousands to our Lord. This was done before a single page of our New Testament was ever written.
The very first time the resurrection of Jesus Christ was preached, 3000 were brought to the Lord. This is on record for us in Acts the 2nd chapter. The exact message preached is also recorded and it was built upon Old Testament scriptures. Peter’s message began with a “sermon text” from the book of Joel. He concluded with references to the Psalms, supplied as proof that the death and resurrection of the Messiah was a matter of inspired prophecy.
After His resurrection, Jesus explained to His disciples “all that had been written of Him by Moses and all the prophets” - Luke 24:25-27. These disciples, in turn, used this instruction to win the world of their day to the new faith of Jesus Christ, the faith we now call Christianity.
The Old Testament scriptures were also employed in the inspired writings of the New Testament. Page through Matthew, Luke, Romans, Galatians or Hebrews, for example, and you will in some cases see Old Testament references with every turn of a page.
The power of the Old Testament scriptures for bringing men to Christ was so great that Paul specifically mentions this at Gal 3:24. The Law was a tutor that brought men to Christ. We are no longer under the authority of that tutor (the Mosaic Law) but we can still gain much from its instruction.
DOES THIS DISCUSSION HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IMPROVED RESTORATION OF THE LORD’S CHURCH?
It certainly does. The patterns of evangelism and preaching seen in the pages of the New Testament have largely been abandoned in western culture today.
There are some ways that we simply cannot follow the New Testament pattern of preaching or evangelism and efforts to follow it in these particular ways are actually counter-productive.
->>We no longer have eyewitnesses of the Lord’s resurrection and sharing “our testimony” (a revered tradition in personal evangelism) is a poor substitute. Our experience means very little to post-modern prospects who are far more interested in their own experience. The post-modern mindset is that things that are “true for you” might not be “true for me”, so our testimony is close to worthless in today’s American culture. Even in the case of the apostle Paul, who was able to give eyewitness testimony, it did not produce the desired results - Acts 22:22 and Acts 26:24.
->>Also, God is no longer endorsing our message with the kinds of miracles worked in the 1st century AD. A full discussion of the “signs and wonders” seen today is beyond the scope of today’s entry. For our purposes now, it is enough to say that the things presented as “miracles” in some quarters of Christendom today have the exact opposite effect of the New Testament miracles. Genuine New Testament miracles produced faith in unbelievers. Today’s “miracles” promote greater skepticism and split churches.
What we do have in common with those of the 1st century church, though, is Holy Scripture from God. Supplied with both Old Testament scriptures and New, we are able to follow that part of the New Testament pattern in our evangelism and preaching. And considering that this is the resource God has left us with, we should use it with diligence.
There are several hundred specific prophecies and types contained in the Old Testament scriptures that have been fulfilled in Christ’s life, teaching and church. Comparing the Old Testament with the New we are provided with powerful and irrefutable evidence of the inspiration of scripture and the truth of Christ’s message.
The Old Testament scriptures were a very prominent part of teaching the New Testament gospel then and they can be now, as well. But scripture will not be a powerful tool in evangelism or preaching unless Christians know scripture. And how will our people learn without a teacher? As stated above, New Testament gospel preachers are needed.
DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF THE SCRIPTURES IS NOT OPTIONAL
Jokes are fun, stories are cute, pop psychology speaks to “felt needs”, and friendship with the world feels just as warm and toasty as it did when James (in Chapter 4:4) warned that such friendship amounts to enmity against God.
But the gospel is the power of God unto salvation and the gospel is taught through scripture.
A spiritual battle for the conquest of souls – including OUR OWN souls – is being waged. It is largely a battle of ideas. But while this battle rages and escalates, many of our churches continue to adopt the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple) model of preaching and teaching. This trend can only result in the progressive dumbing down of Christianity.
As a result we are ill equipped for spiritual survival, perhaps even OUR OWN spiritual survival – Hosea 4:6a. What is needed is an intimate familiarity with scripture coupled with deep insight into biblical teaching.
A Christian nobility that searches the scriptures daily is needed - Acts 17:11. Nothing less will do if we want to restore the New Testament pattern of evangelism, which sets its sights on World Conquest for King Jesus. And this Christian nobility will have to begin with New Testament Gospel Preachers.
By His Grace I Am
Rich In Christ