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Are You Even Reading the New Testament? 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 19, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 

Scripture Reader and Reading: Dominic Meyer – Matthew 4.1–4 

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on the Word of God 

Prelude

  1. The place of the Old Testament, or what Jesus called, 
    1. the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24.44), 
    2. in the life of a Christian and in the life of the church 
      1. has perplexed Christians since the very beginning. 
      2. It happens in Acts 15 
        1. when former Pharisees in the church 
        2. demanded that Gentile converts be circumcised to be saved. 
          1. The Books of Galatians and Hebrews deal with this problem. 
          2. Yet, Jesus built 
            1. all of His teachings and arguments upon the Old Testament. 
            2. All New Testament preachers preached the Old Testament. 
            3. They used it for the basis of all their teachings. 
              1. The Book of Romans makes this abundantly clear. 
              2. To restore the church, we have to do what they did. 
  2. I am beginning a series on the Hebrew Bible, Genesis through Malachi
    1. Some of what I will bring in this series, 
    2. I have taught before. 
      1. Some will be new, but 
      2. we need to be clear about this part of God’s word, because 
        1. I believe that preachers and teachers have made huge mistakes, and 
        2. I am including myself in this, 
          1. when they have written off the Old Testament, 
          2. claiming that we do not live under any of it. 
  3. Also, when Christians say 
    1. the Old Testament never saved anyone, 
    2. the New Testament Church should not be in the Old Testament, 
    3. the Old Testament was only for Israel, 
    4. the Old Testament was outward and the New Testament is inward, 
    5. giving people a whole Bible just confuses them, and 
    6. the Old Testament is only useful for admonitions and illustrations, they show 
      1. that they are not even reading the New Testament, and 
      2. that they do not understand the New Testament. 
    7. Let me show you why that is true. 

Persuasion

  1. Can We Read the New Testament By Ignoring the Old Testament? 
    1. What do you think of condensed Bibles? 
      1. Do you remember the Reader’s Digest Bible? 
      2. Have you heard of the “Jesus Seminar” Bible? 
    2. What about the church, do we want a condensed Bible? 
      1. Sometimes we do, but 
      2. no one objects to it, 
        1. instead many endorse it and 
        2. want preachers to preach that way. 
    3. Let me demonstrate what I mean. 
  2. The Gospels 
    1. Let us begin reading Matthew, which starts like this,

      1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

      – Matthew 1.1
      1. Who are David and Abraham? 
        1. Why it is significant that Jesus is the son of both men? 
        2. Someone please tell me without referencing the Old Testament. 
      2. We run into trouble with the first sentence of the New Testament, and 
        1. it does not end there:

          2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.

          – Matthew 1.2–3
        2. Matthew continues to do that through verse 16, and 
          1. in verse 17 he talks about the number of generations between 
            1. Abraham and David, 
            2. David and the Babylonian captivity, and 
            3. the Babylonian captivity and Christ. 
          2. What is the meaning of all those names? 
      3. You continue to read Matthew and it is constant 
        1. quotations from the Old Testament, 
        2. stories from the Old Testament, and 
        3. references to the Old Testament. 
      4. Therefore, the no-Old-Testament people have to 
        1. cut out Matthew from the New Testament, and 
        2. if Matthew were alive today, they could not invite him to preach. 
    2. Let’s try Mark, and perhaps we can get away from the Old Testament there:

      1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

      – Mark 1.1
      1. That sounds like the direction we need to go. 
      2. Let’s keep reading:

        2 As it is written in the Prophets:

        “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
        Who will prepare Your way before You.
        3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
        ‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
        Make His paths straight.’”

        – Mark 1.2–3
      3. What happened? 
        1. To talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, 
        2. Mark quoted Malachi 3.1 and Isaiah 40.3! 
      4. We are going to run into the same problem with Luke and John. 
        1. Someone says, But Don, Jesus lived under the Old Testament, we are going to have stuff like that! 
        2. Oh, that is right, while Jesus was giving His religion, 
          1. He lived under the Law of Moses and 
          2. the religion of Jesus Christ would not be effective until 
            1. sometime after He died on the cross. 
      5. Therefore, we cannot preach and teach the Four Gospels. 
  3. Acts 
    1. In Acts 1, Peter realized that Judas had to be replaced, but 
      1. do you know what Peter used as his authority for replacing Judas? 
      2. He used the Old Testament, namely, Psalm 69.25 and Psalm 109.8. 
        1. Oh, but Don, truly the New Testament had not started yet, because although a Testament is of force after men die, there still has to be the reading of the testament or will, and that is what Acts 2 is, Don, that is the first Gospel sermon. 
        2. Yes, someone says, finally he is going to get into Gospel preaching. 
    2. We start reading Peter’s sermon in verse 14, and two sentences later we read:

      16 “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…”

      – Acts 2.16
      1. Acts 2.17–21 is nothing more than Joel 2.28–32. 
        1. Five verses of Peter’s sermon 
        2. is five verses of Joel’s sermon. 
      2. Then Peter quoted Psalm 16.8–11 in Acts 2.25–28! 
        1. Furthermore, Peter kept talking about David in verses 29–31! 
        2. He liked David so much, Peter quoted him again in Acts 2.34–35, 
          1. which is a quotation from Psalm 110.1. 
          2. Well, that did not go too well for a supposed Gospel sermon. 
            1. Look at a visual presentation of Peter’s sermon and 
            2. how much of it is Old Testament or teaching from it. 
    3. When you read Acts 3 you run into the same problem, 
      1. a Gospel preacher referencing and quoting from the Old Testament. 
      2. Peter’s sermon in verses 11–26 is nothing but Old Testament history. 
    4. Acts 4 shows the church quoting the Old Testament to God in a prayer. 
    5. Acts 7 is nothing but Old Testament history. 
    6. In Acts 15, a preacher used the Old Testament to solve a church problem. 
    7. You will keep reading of this in the Book of Acts, 
      1. gospel preachers quoting the Old Testament as authority
      2. as Paul did when explaining why he would preach to Gentiles,

        47 For so the Lord has commanded us:

        “I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
        That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

        – Acts 13.47
        1. quoting Isaiah 42.6 and 49.6! 
    8. Therefore, eliminate the Book of Acts from preaching and teaching. 
  4. The Rest of the New Testament 
    1. When we move to the Book of Romans, 
      1. Paul mentions right away that Jesus was born of the seed of David, but 
      2. the first chapter is not too bad, then 
        1. a couple times he quotes the Old Testament in the second chapter, 
        2. by the time you get to chapter 3, Paul is stumbling all over himself 
          1. quoting as many passages from the Old Testament as he can, 
          2. quoting Psalm 51.4 in verse 4 
            1. before he uses a gospel machine gun in verses 10–18, 
            2. quoting six or seven different Old Testament passages. 
              1. Why did he not quote Jesus or 
              2. one of the other apostles? 
      3. Have you read Romans 4? It is all about Abraham! 
      4. In Romans 5, Paul referenced Adam eight times! 
      5. Romans 7 is much about the Law of Moses. 
      6. Romans 9–11 is nothing but Old Testament doctrine. 
      7. Eliminate Romans from our teaching and Bibles, and 
        1. make sure that we do not invite him to speak or 
        2. anyone like him! 
    2. Starting at the beginning did not worked out, so what if we go to the end? 
    3. Have you ever wondered why the Book of Revelation 
      1. is so hard to understand and 
      2. why some Christians do not want to hear teaching on it? 
        1. Brethren, it is an Old Testament Book. 
        2. The imagery and messages come straight out of the Old Testament.

          “Ranko Stefanofic observes that out of 404 verses in Revelation, 278 contain references or allusions, direct or indirect, to the Old Testament. He comments that the prophecies of Revelation are especially built on the greatest and key events from sacred history. These include; the creation, the flood, the exodus, God’s covenant with King David, and the exile to Babylon. According to Jenkins, Revelation speaks the language of the Old Testament prophets of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

          “It is observed that the book of Revelation contains citations from, or allusions to, 28 of the 39 books of the OT. There are 505 such citations and allusions, some 325 of which are to the prophetic books of the OT – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel in particular. Of the Minor Prophets, references to Zechariah, Joel, Amos, and Hosea are most common. Of the books of the Pentateuch, greatest use is made of Exodus, and of the poetic sections, Psalms…”

          – “THE USE OF OLD TESTAMENT IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION,” OLADOSU, Opeyemi T. (MA cand.) and ALU, Caleb O. (MA cand.), American Journal of Biblical Theology, Volume 17, Issue 8. February 28, 2016.
    4. Let us try the little letter of Jude. 
      1. Listen to how Jude began, after his introduction,

        3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 3, 4).
        1. Yes, Jude spoke of the Faith, once for all delivered to the saints! 
        2. He said we should content earnestly for the faith, because 
          1. people have crept into the church who pervert the grace of God. 
          2. They were long ago marked out for condemnation. 
            1. Just how long ago did Jude mean? 
            2. Will he quote Jesus, an apostle, or a New Testament Book? 
      2. He did use Second Peter 2 as a pattern, and 
        1. someone says, yes, a New Testament Book, but 
        2. read Second Peter 2, then Jude and 
          1. see what these two Holy Spirit-inspired men wrote, and 
          2. you will discover what Jude meant by “long ago.” 
      3. Listen to what he used as his authority and what examples he used,

        5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

        – Jude 5
        1. Do know what Jude, this New Testament Christian, this New Testament preacher, this member of the New Testament Church, then did? 
        2. He preached the Old Testament as the body of his letter, 
          1. using it to explain why we should contend earnestly for the faith, 
          2. showing when false teachers were marked out for condemnation. 
        3. He wrote of 
          1. angels who sinned in the past, 
          2. the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis), 
          3. the body of Moses (Deuteronomy), 
          4. the way of Cain (Genesis), 
          5. the error of Balaam (Numbers), 
          6. the rebellion of Korah (Numbers), and 
            1. Jude quoted Enoch (Genesis), 
            2. whom Jude said was the seventh from Adam (Genesis), 
              1. showing how far back the Lord prophesied 
              2. of the condemnation of false teachers in the church,

                14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

                – Jude 14–15
      4. By the way, notice how Jude in verse 11, 
        1. expected his readers, us, to be biblically literate, 
          1. literate in the Old Testament Scriptures, 
        2. denouncing perverters of God’s grace in this way,

          11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

          –Jude 11
          1. What is the way of Cain? 
          2. What is the error of Balaam for profit? 
          3. What is the rebellion of Korah? 
        3. You have to know Genesis 4, Numbers 22–24, and Numbers 16 
          1. to be able to answer those questions, that is, 
          2. you have to know the Old Testament to know the New Testament.

Exhortation

  1. What we saw in the Gospels, Acts, Romans, Revelation, and Jude
    1. we could also see in Galatians, Hebrews, James, First and Second Peter, because 
    2. they used the Old Testament heavily to build their arguments, and 
      1. the rest of the New Testament Books use the Old Testament, but 
      2. not as part of their major argumentation. 
        1. Those who object to Old Testament preaching and teaching, 
        2. need to condense the Bible like the Reader’s Digest or the Jesus Seminar. 
  2. To understand the New Testament we have to understand the Old Testament! 
    1. If we read the New Testament we cannot avoid the Old Testament, because 
      1. the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and 
      2. the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. 
    2. The story of the New Testament is a continuation of the story of the Old. 
  3. Why should I as a Christian concern myself with the Old Testament? 
    1. It is the word of God just as much as the New Testament is the word of God. 
    2. The Holy Spirit in His infinite wisdom 
      1. preserved the Old Testament for Christians, and 
      2. moved New Testament preachers 
        1. to quote it, 
        2. to illustrate with it, and 
        3. to use it as an authority. 
  4. Let us continue to read the entire Bible, for as Jesus once said,

    4 “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

    – Matthew 4.4
    1. By the way, He quoted Deuteronomy 8.3. 
    2. Therefore, if you read the Old Testament, you shall truly live!