The Gospel in the Pentateuch

The Gospel in the Old Testament  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Why this topic?

In Seminary I was introduced to a man who would be used by God to shape my life.
I was a hardcore decisional-regenerationist, an quasi-Arminian, and a Dispensationalist.
Michael Barrett was my teaching for Old Testament Theology and his teaching was used by God to lead me into a path I have never left: search for Christ in all of Scripture.
Jesus has words with two men in Luke 24:13-27:
Luke 24:13–27 ESV
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Why Does It Matter?

Studying this topic should cause us to have greater confidence in Christ

The Bible has a story line: it traces an unfolding drama revealing Jesus and His work. In the Old Testament it is there: it has shadows, types, and symbols but it is there.
All of Scripture is all about Christ! (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
2 Timothy 3:15–17 ESV
and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
We do not need to allegorize the Old Testament to redeem it for the Church today
Paul wrote of the Old Testament when he said Scripture was profitable for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete.”
The New Testament was being written shortly before, during, and after these words were penned so we know what Paul is referring to.

Studying this topic will cause us to use God’s Word correctly

People can and do misinterpret the Word of God - and it is to their detriment!
The challenge we have is we do not have red letters or a name we recognize as clearly.
One of the best ways to find Christ in the Old Testament is by taking New Testament passages and following them back to the Old. This is not poor homiletic but “rightly handling the Word of Truth” as spoken in 2 Timothy 2:15.
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

What Is The Gospel?

You might say well, It is the Good News! And you would be right.
You might say, It is that Jesus saves! And you would be right.
But I think that we need to distinguish between how we appropriate the Gospel and what the Gospel is. The gospel is more than blind believing - it is believing content about Jesus and what He accomplished.
Romans 10:8-10 gives us a glimpse of the content and appropriation of the Gospel.
Romans 10:8–10 ESV
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
In 1 Cor. 15:1-5 we have a marvellous statement on the content of the Gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:1–5 ESV
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
You see, the Gospel is more than believing; it is believing certain content about Christ.
A Jesus or Gospel of your imagination will not save you. Someone you call your Messiah will not save you. Only Jesus can save you - your Gospel must be all about Him and rooted in Him.

The Gospel in the Pentateuch

What I am doing is showing the foundation of all we know and believe in the New Testament, where the Gospel is clearly expressed, but which was present from the Fall forward.
There are foundational elements in the Old Testament that the New Testament relies on and assumes our knowledge of.
I am not asserting that the content of knowledge is the same now as in the Old Testament, but I am asserting:
No one has ever been saved other than by faith, by the grace of God, and through Christ alone.
The Gospel has been present an aware to people since the Fall.
The Old Testament provides critical foundation for New Testament truths.

We Were Created for God (Genesis 1:26-27)

Please turn to Genesis 1:26-27
Genesis 1:26–27 (ESV)
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
The first catechism question asks, What is man’s chief end? The response, Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
We have a problem though - we are fallen and sinful and He is holy. We are told of this hostility we naturally have against God in Eph 2:13-15 .
Ephesians 2:13–15 (ESV)
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Until we realize that we were created for fellowship with God we will struggle in this relationship and in our surrender to it.
You are not saved to go your own way.
God wasn’t kind to you in merely rescuing you from Hell - God saved you for fellowship.
This does not mean God is lacking - but it does signify that God chooses fellowship with believers. No unbeliever can have fellowship with God because he is not reconciled to God.
First, be reconciled to God; then enjoy the fellowship He created to exist.
These truths are captured in 2 Cor. 5:17 and Ephesians 4:24
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Ephesians 4:24 ESV
and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
These passages “scream” about Creation and what happens when a person comes to know Christ.

We Have Sinned Against God (Genesis 3:1-7)

Please turn to Genesis 3:15
Genesis 3:1–7 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
To transgress is death. "In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die."
Who can hear this penalty, and think that sin is a trivial fault—easily to be pardoned—soon to be effaced? No! the slightest sin is the soul in open rebellion.
It casts God from the heart. It strives to tread Him in the dust.
It avows the godless principle of independence.
It proves that self has erected the idol of self-love.
Luther said Man is an idol factory and this is why worship is critical - it forms our view and understanding of God, who He is and how He is.
Sure Eve was deceived but Adam wasn’t: Adam looked clearly at Eve and God and Adam chose Eve.
We look at sin and holiness and we choose sin.
For those who are saved this should be less and less but we are not morally superior.
We do not hate sin as we ought to hate it; we do not see it as evil as it is.
Sin caused Christ to die to redeem us for there was no other way.

The Gospel Is Given by God (Genesis 3:15)

Please turn to Genesis 3:15
The Protoevangelium
Genesis 3:15 ESV
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
You might see this and say, I didn’t do that sin!
Henry Law says,
Adam stood before God, not as an isolated being, but as a common person. All generations were in his loins. The whole family of man were wrapped in that casket.
As one seed holds a forest; so all nations of all ages were involved in this one head. As all rays are in one sun; so all descendants were in this common stock.
Thus Adam's act affects each child born, as taint in the spring is taint in each issuing drop.
It follows, then, that in him we break the Covenant of Works. We sin in his sin. We offend in his offence. We transgress in his transgression.
We are guilty in his guilt. In him we depart from God. In him we enter the cells of wrath. In him we put on the prison-garb of condemnation. In him we receive the heritage of curse.
When were these words spoken?
Immediately after the Fall
By whom were these words spoken?
They were spoke by God!
To whom were these words spoken?
There were three present: Satan, Adam and Eve.
For Satan there was no hope: He was told that there would be one born that would crush his head. He had no opportunity for redemption, there was no redemption, He would lose by the seed of the woman.
For Adam and Eve there was one hope. That one hope was found in the Seed: that one born of Eve, not immediately, but, as Galatians 4:4-5 says, When the fullness of time had come.
Galatians 4:4–5 ESV
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
When Christ was crucified Satan thought He won! He thought I stopped Him! He did not know that his actions and control of people had completed His doom.
Romans 5:12-17 tell us that Yes we have imputed sin but through Christ we can also have imputed righteousness.

We Can Be Rescued by God (Exodus 14:13-14)

The Exodus
Exodus 14:13–14 ESV
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Israel Is commanded to leave their homes and become Pilgrims
Israel marched through waterless wasteland, not having an assured source of food, and facing hostile nations - God was saying, Trust me as your food and your defense.
Israel faced doubt (Exodus 17:7) and, yet, Hebrews 11:13 lauds these men and women in their perseverance.
Salvation is not by man, not even man “cooperating with God,” it is by God radically rescuing man and it demands that all glory goes to God in salvation.

Christ Is the Only Way (Genesis 22:1-14)

Substitutionary Atonement
We know the story in Genesis 22:1-14
God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son: let me be clear, God was testing Abraham without ever allowing him to sacrifice Isaac.
God had promised to give Abraham offspring that would remain - you cannot lose sight of this truth in the narrative. Hebrews 11:17-19 gives us necessary understanding here.
Hebrews 11:17–19 ESV
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Verses Genesis 22:10-12 are critical here:
Who stops Abraham is the Angel of the Lord - this is an appositive statement, the Angel who is the Lord.
This is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ and He shows Abraham that He has provided a substitute.
Abraham names this place, The Lord will provide; provide what? A sacrifice as a substitute.
John 8:56 tells us Abraham saw the implications of this act and day: at the least this applies to all Abraham saw; at the most it is a definite reference to our passage.
John 8:56 ESV
Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”

What Does This Teach Us?

Salvation Does Not Have Its End In Us

God isn’t saving us from Hell as much as He is saving us unto Himself!

There is no one outside of original and personal sin

We are all dead in Adam (original sin) but we have also personally sinned and are under condemnation.

The Gospel is given by God, not invented by man

The Gospel is not something you just decide to believe because you are smarter than others; it is a work of the Spirit and it finds its source in the Godhead. It is a triune salvation.

God rescues undeserving sinners because of grace

No man has ever merited or earned God’s salvation - it is by grace alone unto God’s glory alone.

Faith in Christ is the only way of redemption

James 2:18–24 ESV
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
James is not teaching works based salvation - he is teaching us that true faith is living and active, it will bear the fruit of good works.
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