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Sunday, June 11, 2017 pm

IS THERE VALUE IN STUDYING THE OLD TESTAMENT?

         In a recent class, someone asked the above question.  It is a good question and worthy of consideration.  So tonight, we want to discuss some reasons why we should study the Old Testament. 

 I.                     ARE WE UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT TODAY?

a.       The clear answer to this question is NO!  And we need to understand this as we deal with this subject.

b.       The Old Law was nailed to the cross – Colossians 2:14 tells us He has taken it (the Old Law) out of the way having nailed it to the cross.  Galatians 3:19-24 clearly establish the purpose of the Law – to bring us to Christ. Ephesians 2:14-15 – Jesus died to break down the middle wall of separation, abolishing the law of commandments (the Law of Moses)
MUCH of the New Testament is devoted to us understanding that we are not under the Old Law – Galatians, Romans and Hebrews are all dealing with this in great detail.  You cannot study these books and think we are to follow the Old Law today.

c.        FURTHERMORE, let it be clearly understood that the Old Testament:

                                                   i.      Does not determine how one becomes a Christian – Acts 4:12, Romans 1:16

                                                 ii.      Is not a guide for how we worship God today – John 4:23-24

                                                iii.      Does not determine the pattern for the New Testament church (though we learn that parts of the Old Testament were written as a shadow of things to come).

                                                iv.      Does not govern how we are to live as Christians, including how to remain faithful and how we are forgiven when we sin.

 II.                   Why study the Old Testament?

a.       Some thoughts to consider:

                                                   i.      The events of the Old Testament are real – the people, places and times are history.   Critics have attacked some of these things, but every day archaeology and other sciences more strongly verify the reality of those mentioned in its pages.

                                                 ii.      It tells the story of man’s purpose on this earth – from the creation to its fulfillment in Jesus, the Old Testament leads us to Him.  It does this by giving us the history of a nation through whom He would bring salvation.  We understand who Israel is and what God did for us as revealed in the pages of the Old Testament 

                                                iii.      Its history keeps this in mind.  It is different from a typical history book in its brevity and what it records.  But in it we have EVERYTHING we need to understand WHAT we need.

                                                iv.      Study it intending to understand it and learn from it, its intended message, even as you would the New Testament.

b.       Because it is the word of God
2 Peter 1:19-21 – the prophetic word confirmed came by holy men of God moved by the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – all scripture inspired is profitable…
Jesus Himself referred to it as inspired – Luke 24:44, Matthew 4:4… - “It is written…”
Any word that comes from God serves a purpose.  We can learn from it. 

c.        Because we are told to learn from it
Romans 15:4 – the things written before were written for our learning
1 Corinthians 10:11 – these examples are for us to learn from them
Galatians 2:24 – to the Jews it was “a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.”  Similarly, it can help bring us to Christ today.

d.       We can better understand certain New Testament concepts

                                                   i.      Jesus often appealed to the Old Law (which He was under, BUT he was teaching its fulfillment – cf. Matthew 5:17).  He often appealed to the Old Law to verify He was its fulfillment – Matt. 22:31, 12:5, – have you not read? “It is written” – Matthew 4:4, etc. 

                                                 ii.      We can learn a great deal about sanctification, redemption, sacrifice, because of the teaching on these things in the Old Testament.

                                                iii.      The Hebrew letter emphasizes the importance of type/antitypes – that is, there were things God instructed as recorded in the Old Law that were looking toward the New Testament – consider – Ephesians 3:10-11 where we learn the church was according to God’s eternal purpose, that it reveals the manifold wisdom of God.   We learn in Hebrews that the tabernacle was made according to a pattern (Hebrews 8:5).  Later he explains how Christ has entered into heaven itself – Hebrews 9:23-24.  A study of the books of Exodus and Leviticus help us better understand this pattern.
1 Peter 3:20-21 – Peter appeals to Noah and his family being saved through water.  He then compares this to baptism today.
Galatians 4:21-31 - Paul even appeals to an event in the Old Testament to help us understand the Old Law was to be done away with.  Vs. 24 – which things are symbolic…
Romans 5:12 describes Adam as a type of Jesus, “Him who was to come”.  How can we understand this without studying who Adam is?

                                                iv.      Understanding the book of Revelation requires a study of Old Testament prophets.

e.        It is constantly referred to in the New Testament - More than 800 times, the Old Testament is quoted or referred to directly in the New Testament.  There are many other allusions to it.  

                                                   i.      Previously we noted that the books of Romans, Hebrews and Galatians explain how we are not under the Old Law.  But how do they do that?  By appealing to the Old Testament.  Quoting it and referencing it.  These authors used the Old Testament to show its completion.

                                                 ii.      Within its pages we have numerous life lessons –.

1         Many character studies - Daniel’s integrity, Abraham’s faith, Moses’ meekness, Joseph’s forgiveness and understanding of providence, etc.
As you read Hebrews 11, you find a list of character of enduring faith.  Without the Old Testament, who are these characters?

2         James 5:10-11 – we learn about patience from Job

3         James 5:17-18 – we learn from Elijah about persistence in prayer

4         1 Corinthians 10:1-10 – we can learn from the example Israel how NOT to behave. 

f.          It confirms our faith

                                                   i.      The Old Testament gives us answers to the key questions of life – how did life begin?  What part did God have in creation?  How long did it take?  When did sin originate?  Why are we here (cf. the book of Ecclesiastes)?

                                                 ii.      Prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament is found throughout the Old Testament.
John 5:39 Jesus said, You search the scriptures – they testify of Me.  
There are hundreds of direct prophecies about Jesus and His church that are fulfilled in the NT, and many hundreds more that allude to Old Testament passages.
Isaiah 53 describes the death of Jesus in great detail – some 700 years before it happened
Psalm 22 also describes many specific details about the crucifixion of Jesus – about 1000 years before it happened. 
After Jesus arose, Luke 24:44 finds Him explain how all things concerning the law, prophets and psalms concerning Him were fulfilled. 
Prophecy is one of the most powerful tools to verify WHY we believe in Jesus and the power of God.  Consider 1 Peter 1:10-12 where prophets inquired of their prophecies.  It is NOW revealed to us. 

                                                iii.      Numerous passages that verify science and archaeology point toward its validity -
Job 26:7 – He hangs the earth on nothing. 
Isaiah 40:22 – the circle of the earth

g.       It gives us practical lessons about living

                                                   i.      Again, we appeal to numerous examples of character – both positive and negative.

                                                 ii.      Proverbs & Ecclesiastes give wisdom that is just as applicable today as it was when written.  Because the nature of man doesn’t change.

h.       It can help us better understand God

                                                   i.      The Old Testament records the history of God’s dealings with man.

                                                 ii.      We know that His nature never changes – Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same… (cf. Malachi 3:6).

                                                iii.      We see examples of and read of His character – Him Godhood (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etc.) – Psalm 139. 
We learn of His goodness and severity (Romans 11:22)

                                                iv.      He is in control – 2 Peter 3:5-6 – He spoke the world into existence.

                                                  v.      Psalms teach us how to praise Him.

         These are a few considerations as to how the Old Testament is worthy of our consideration today.  It can strengthen our faith and give us greater understanding of the New Testament.  May we always resolve to give ALL of God’s word the respect it deserves.