Sunday, May 25, 2014 pm                    Basics Index


BACK TO BASICS 2014 (Authority - supplement)
Is the Old Testament a Source of Authority Today?

As we conclude our brief study of the subject of Authority, tonight we want to address a supplemental subject – the relevance of the Old Testament today.  

There are many that appeal to the Old Testament for authority in what they do.  Some argue that because David used instruments of music in worship so can we.  Others establish a priesthood and priestly garments (preachers wearing the robes) from the Old Testament.  Others appeal to the 10 commandments as law today. Sabbatarians appeal to the Old Testament for their day of worship.  But are these consistent with the teachings of the New Testament?

ONE might ask, “Are we under the Old Law today?  The simple answer to that is NO! If that were all we were discussing we would be done, BUT the question we want to address is WHY?  Why are we not under the Old Law today?  AND if we are not under the Old Law anymore, is there any benefit to the Old Testament for us today?  Do we need the Old Testament as Christians? Should we study it? Tonight, we want to address this subject.

 I.                    Why We are Not Under the Old Law Today

a.        To whom was it written?
 The Jews (AKA – the children of Israel) – the chosen descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Consider Exodus 19:3-6 where Moses is at Mt. Sinai and about to go up on the mountain.  And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
The Ten Commandments was included in this Covenant with them – Deuteronomy 4:13 records Moses recalling Mt. Sinai saying, “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.
As Moses reviewed the Ten Commandments he said, “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.” (Deuteronomy 5:2–3)   Clearly, the Old Law was for Israel and not all mankind.  That is the first thing we need to understand. 

b.       But it DID have a purpose!  The Old Law predicted its own conclusion - Jer. 31:31-34, ““Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

c.        Interestingly the New Testament emphasizes its conclusion continually. 
Jesus brought the Old Law to its end:

                                                   i.      Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

                                                  ii.      Galatians 3:19, 23–25 “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.”…“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

                                                iii.      Ephesians 2:14–15, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,

                                                iv.      Heb. 1:1-2 says that He has in these last days spoken to us through His Son

                                                  v.      Col. 2:13-14, “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

d.       Jesus brought about a new covenant – A study of the book of Hebrews emphasizes how Christ fulfilled the Law and more so, how through Him there HAD TO BE a change!  Heb. 10:8-9, speaking of the sacrifices of the Old Law (and their ineffectiveness – Heb. 10:1-4) we read that Christ “takes away the first that He may establish a second.”  A study of the context shows this is about the covenant.  Earlier in Heb. 8:7-13 the writer speaks of the need for a new covenant because Christ was not a Levite (and thus could not be High Priest under the Old Law).  He then quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34, and concludes, “In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13)

e.       When we stand before God we will answer for whether or not we have obeyed the gospel – that which is taught in the New Testament. Let this be clearly understood. 
Acts 4:12 tells us that salvation is in Christ Jesus.
In Galatians 5:4, Paul warned that if one seeks to be justified by the Law (of Moses) they have fallen from grace.

f.         And that is WHY we do not accept the Old Testament as the law we are under today

g.        BUT, the Old Testament IS the word of God! That is taught in a number of ways in the New Testament as well.
We are told in 2 Tim. 3:16, 17 that as scripture it is profitable “that the man of God may be complete.”  The OT is both important and useful - HOWEVER, it MUST be used within its proper boundaries.  2 Tim. 2:15 


 II.                  Is the Old Testament Useful to us Today as Christians?

a.        Yes.  Many passages appeal to us to consider the Old Testament –

                                                   i.      Rom. 15:4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

                                                  ii.       1 Cor. 10:6, Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

6:11, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

2 Peter 2:6 speaks pf the example of Sodom and Gomorrah to those who afterward would live ungodly.

b.       Continually, both Jesus and His apostles appealed to the Old Law. 
One might argue that Jesus lived under the Old Law, and He did, but much of His teaching was directed toward the New Covenant He intended to establish (for example:  Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28, etc.). He often appealed to the Old Law to prove He was Whom He claimed to be (cf. John 5:39-40).

c.        How is it useful today?

                                                   i.      It can bring to light passages in the New Testament – there are so many Biblical characters mentioned in the New Testament that we would not understand without the Old Testament – Adam, Moses, Abraham, David, Lot, Rahab, Joseph, etc.  
We learn about FAITH from the examples of Hebrews 11
We learn about fervent prayer from Elijah in James 5:17-18
We learn about patience from Job in James 5:10-11
How do we explain the priesthood of Jesus, the New Covenant, the importance of sacrifice without the Old Law?

                                                  ii.      It confirms both Jesus and the church through prophecies  -
In Luke 24:44 Jesus said, ““Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”” WE can have confidence in Jesus because of some very remarkable scriptures about Him – found throughout the Old Testament.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter quotes from Joel 2:28-32 (Acts 2:17-21)

                                                iii.      IT can strengthen our faith in Christ –

God exists and is omnipotent – again I appeal to prophecies, and miracles.
The quality of the Bible as the word of God – again prophecies show He is behind it.
 - The unity of its message from Genesis to Revelation.  If all we had was the New Testament, even though it was written by several men – they were all of the same generation.  Some could charge corroboration – but how do you do that when Moses lived 1500 years prior to Christ coming and Isaiah with his exact prophecies about the suffering of Jesus some 700 years BC in Isaiah 53, and Psalm 22 of David about 1000 BC. 
- Add to this the scientific and natural accuracy of scriptures noting things ahead of its time.  We have every reason to trust in the Bible.

                                                iv.      There are principle therein that always ring true –

1.       The character of God we read in Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus is the same – yesterday, today and forever.  While God’s laws may change, He does not!  But then again, what happened was His plan from the beginning.
We learn of God’s longsuffering, forgiveness and mercy and His love as we study His relationship with His chosen nation.
We learn of His power by His dealings with them and other nations.

2.       The nature of man doesn’t change – times change but the nature of man is the same.  We see that throughout the Old Testament.  Corrupt nations back then are no different that corrupt nations today.
Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  This comes on the heels of a number of Old Testament passages about how both Jews and Gentiles are sinners (Rom. 3:10-18).

3.       Proverbs is filled with insights written around 900 BC that describe the nature of man as being the same today as then.

                                                  v.      Much of the Law of Moses was a type of the New Law in Christ. 

1.       The Old Testament begins with the fall of man in Genesis 3.  The rest of it is about God’s plan to redeem man of his sins.  We would NOT understand God’s plan without the aid of the Old Testament – all of it!

2.       Furthermore, much of the New Law is based upon God’s instructions in the Old Law.   The book of Hebrews (along with Romans & Galatians) explains how God’s pattern for Israel was actually looking toward something better.

3.       The tabernacle was a type of heaven

4.       The priesthood of Levi was a type of the better priesthood of Christ.

5.       The sacrifices of the Old Law were a type of the sacrifice Christ offered once for our sins.
We have discussed in this series how Moses was instructed to follow the pattern God gave – Heb. 8:4-6.

6.       Finally, in the New Testament we have continual contrasts between the physical aspects of the Old Law and the spiritual aspect of the New Law.  The type-anti-types just mentioned are examples of this. 
In Romans 6:14 we read, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” While there is much to explain, this passage is one of many that contrasts the Old Law with the grace (and faith) of the New Law.  We understand the grace of God and our faith by contrasting it with the Old Testament.


And thus we can see that while we are not under the Old Law, it is still very beneficial to us.  We would not be able to fully appreciate God and Jesus if it were not for the Old Testament.  As with all of God’s word, let us give it the respect it deserves and keep it within its appointed boundaries.  Think about it.