Chapter 142

 

“He opened to us the Scriptures.”

 

“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.”

Luke 24:13-35

 

That which is here revealed is so precious, so sweet, so heavenly that it hardly needs explanation. Indeed, it cannot be explained to any who have not experienced it for themselves. As they walked together, our Lord Jesus opened the Scriptures to these two disciples. — “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Robert Hawker, commenting on those words, wrote, “Hence we are taught, as plain as words can make it, that the whole body of Scripture is concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

            Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Pearl of great price in this Field of his Divine Revelation. As he drew near these two disciples in the way, may he draw near to us every time we open the Book of God. As he opened to them the Scriptures, may he open the Scriptures to us by his Spirit. As his presence and his doctrine caused their hearts to burn within them, O may he cause our hearts to burn within us when we read and study the Sacred Volume.

 

            The fact is, we have read the Bible with no profit to our souls and no understanding of its message, until we realize that the message of Holy Scripture is the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Bible is the revelation of Christ.

 

            I fully agree with Martin Luther, who wrote, “There is not a word in the Bible which can be understood without reference to the cross…As we go to the cradle only in order to find the baby, so we go to the Scriptures only to find Christ.”

 

            Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who lived long before anyone dreamed of electric lights, said to his congregation at Christ’s Church in Dundee, Scotland, “When you are reading a book in a dark room, and find it difficult, you take it to a window to get more light. So take your Bible to Christ.”

 

            Christ is the scope of Scripture, the sum and substance of divine Revelation. Take Christ out of this Book and all that is left is processed wood, with gilded edges, wrapped in leather covers.

 

One Message

 

The one thing I want you to see in this study is this fact. — The Bible is a Book about the Lord Jesus Christ. How I wish I could get every man who claims to be a preacher to see this! With regard to the Book of God, Christ is “the key of knowledge.” Without the key, men can never unlock the Chest and discover its riches. — They just fumble. The Bible is not a book about science, but the Book about Christ. This is not a book about morality, but the Book about Christ. This is not a book about history, politics, philosophy, or law. It is not even a book about prophecy, church dogma, or theology. This is a HIM-BOOK. It is all about HIM, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not enough just to preach the Book, we are sent of God to preach the message of the Book, and the message of this Book is Jesus Christ and him crucified. There is not a page in this Book that does not speak of Christ, not a page!

 

            The Son of God tells us plainly that he is the message and theme of Holy Scripture, that he is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks. He said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). — “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself…And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:27, 44-47).

 

            The Apostle Paul shows us that the preaching of Christ is synonymous with preaching all the counsel of God, for Christ is all the counsel of God. In Acts 20:26-27 he said, to the Ephesian elders, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” In 1 Corinthians 2:2 he wrote, to the Church at Corinth, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” In both places, he is telling us the same thing. Christ and him crucified, is all the counsel of God, for all that God almighty has purposed, decreed, revealed and given to the sons of Adam is in Jesus Christ and him crucified. The Bible, the Word of God is a Book with one message, and that one message is redemption, righteousness, and eternal life in Christ.

 

The Old Testament Prophecies

 

The Old Testament Scriptures speak of Christ, point us to Christ, and call us to faith in Christ. All the law, the prophets, and the psalms speak of our Redeemer. All the Old Testament declares, “The Redeemer is coming.”

 

            From the moment that God announced in the Garden of Eden that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), Christ was the central fact and figure of Old Testament prophecy. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and all the prophets spoke of him. Here are a few of the many prophetic statements that pointed directly to the coming of Christ, his glorious Person, and his redemptive work (Genesis 22:13-14; 49:10; Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Psalms 2:7-8; 45:6-7; 110:3; Proverbs 8:22-23; Song of Songs 1:2-4; Isaiah 53:8-11; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 12:10; Malachi 3:1). Job spoke of Christ as his Redeemer, whom he expected to see in his flesh in resurrection glory. Enoch prophesied of Christ’s glorious second advent, of his coming to the earth in the last day with ten thousands of his saints.

 

The Old Testament Types

 

In addition to the direct prophecies about the coming of Christ, God gave numerous types and pictures to foreshadow his coming. The types of Christ and his redemptive works are so numerous that I cannot begin to name them But let me mention just a few. They may be divided into three different categories.

 

Š      Typical People — Adam (Romans 5:14), Noah (Hebrews 11:7), Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:1-3), Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-18), Aaron (Hebrews 5:1-5), Joshua (Hebrews 4:1-9), Boaz (Ruth 2:1; 3:18), David (Acts 2:25-36), Solomon (1 Kings. 10:1-24).

Š      Typical Things — Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6), The Ram Caught in a Thicket (Genesis 22:8-13), Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51), The Brazen Serpent (John 3:14-16), The Paschal Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), The Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21), The Manna (John 6:32-33), The Smitten Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), The Altar of Sacrifice (Hebrews 13:10), The Mercy-Seat (1 John 2:1-2).

Š      Typical Places — The Tabernacle (John 1:14), The Temple (John 2:18-20), The Cities of Refuge (Hebrews 6:18).

 

            The lists could be greatly expanded.[1] I have not even mentioned all the instituted, ceremonial types, the sabbath days, and the many other instituted types of the Old Testament, all of which pointed to the Person and work of Christ as our Mediator. — “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).

 

The New Testament

 

The doctrine and message of the entire New Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not have two Bibles, the Old and the New. We have one Bible. God’s Word is one, with two distinct parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. But the message in both the Old and the New is the same. — The message is Christ.

 

            The four Gospels give us four views of Christ. Matthew presents him as the promised King. Mark presents him as the Servant of God. Luke presents him as the Son of Man. John presents him as the Son of God. The four gospels tell us that the Redeemer has come.

 

            The Book of Acts tells us that the Redeemer is enthroned. The Book of Acts demonstrates that our Lord Jesus Christ was the singular subject of preaching in the earliest days of Christianity. — The words “preach,” “preached,” and “preaching” are used thirty-seven times in the Book of Acts. It is not insignificant that every time they are used the subject preached was Jesus Christ and the resurrection! If the Book of Acts is to be taken for our standard, it must be concluded that unless Christ has been preached no preaching has been done. That man who pretends to be a preacher but does not preach Christ and him crucified mocks the people who hear him, and rather than serving their souls he destroys them.

 

            The Epistles reveal and explain the mysteries of Christ and his gospel, proclaiming the Redeemer’s doctrine: Ruin by the Fall, Redemption by the Blood, and Regeneration by the Holy Spirit, showing us the universality of God’s mercy, love, and grace in Christ for chosen sinners out of every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue. The Book of Revelation is a declaration of the sure triumph of Christ and his church by the gospel. The Book of Revelation tells us that the Redeemer is coming again. — “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Revelation 1:7).

 

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:9-14).

 

“Behold the glories of the Lamb

Amidst His Father’s throne.

Prepare new honors for His Name,

And songs before unknown.

 

Let elders worship at His feet,

The church adore around,

With vials full of odors sweet,

And harps of sweeter sound.

 

Those are the prayers of the saints,

And these the hymns they raise;

Jesus is kind to our complaints,

He loves to hear our praise.

 

E-eternal Father, who shall look

Into Thy secret will?

Who but the Son should take the Book

And o-pen every seal?

 

He shall fulfill Thy great decrees,

The Son deserves it well;

Lo, in His hand the sovereign keys

Of heaven, and death, and hell!

 

Now to the Lamb that once was slain

Be endless blessings paid;

Salvation, glory, joy remain

Forever on Thy head.

 

Thou hast redeemed our souls with blood,

Hast set the prisoner free;

Hast made us kings and priests to God,

And we shall reign with Thee.

 

The worlds of nature and of grace

Are put beneath Thy power;

Then short-en these delaying days,

And bring the promised hour.”

 

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6).

 

            The whole message of the Bible is Jesus Christ and him crucified. Christ is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks. If we could squeeze the whole Volume of Inspiration down to its very essence and substance, we would find Christ, only Christ, and nothing but Christ. Our Lord said, concerning the whole Volume of the Holy Scriptures, “They testify of me” (John 5:39). The purpose of the Holy Spirit in moving men to write the Scriptures was to reveal Christ. That is the only purpose for which the Inspired Volume was given (John 16:14). To use the Scriptures for any other purpose is to misuse and abuse them.

 

The Ordinances of the Gospel

 

The only two ordinances of worship prescribed in the New Testament are designed to focus our hearts upon Christ. Baptism is a symbolic burial and resurrection with him (Romans 6:3-6). The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic remembrance of Christ and his great work of redemption as our Substitute (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

 

            Christ is the message of the Book of God, in the Old Testament prophecies, in the Old Testament types, in the New Testament, and in the ordinances of divine worship. In the Book of God we read about Christ. In believer’s baptism we confess Christ. In the Lord’s Supper we remember Christ.

 

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31).

 

            I cannot find better words to express what I so earnestly want you to see than these, which were spoken by C. H. Spurgeon to his congregation in London many years ago…

 

“Brethren, we should always read Scripture in this light; we should consider the Word of God to be as a mirror into which Christ looks down from heaven; and, then, we looking into it see his face reflected as in a glass — darkly, it is true, but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing him as we shall see him face to face. This Volume contains Jesus Christ's letters to us, perfumed by love. These pages are the garments of our King and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the golden chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child, Jesus; unroll them, and you find your Savior.”

 

            When you read the Word of God, look for Christ. When you study the Word of God, study Christ. When you talk about the Word of God, talk of Christ. When you live by the Word of God, live Christ. And when you preach the Word of God, preach Christ.

 

Preach Christ

 

The American Puritan, Cotton Mather, instructed his students with these wise and needful words of counsel — “Among all the subjects with which you feed the people of God, I beseech you, let not the true Bread of Life be forgotten; but exhibit as much as you can of the glorious Christ unto them; yea, let the motto upon your whole ministry be, ‘Christ is all!’”

 

            What a blessing it would be if every man who claims to speak for God, who claims to be a gospel preacher, would heed those words! How blessed the church of God would be if those who fill her pulpits were determined to preach and teach nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified!

 

That was Paul’s determination (1 Corinthians 2:2). It ought to be every preacher’s determination. Any man who is sent of God to preach is sent of God to preach Christ crucified, always, in all places, in all his fullness (1 Corinthians 1:17-25). Christ crucified is “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

 

He is the singular subject of Holy Scripture. He is the sum and essence of all true doctrine. He is the life of all gospel ordinances. He is the secret ingredient of all true worship. He is the Mercy-seat in whom God meets with men. He is the motive of all godliness, obedience, service, and devotion. He is the reward of heavenly glory. Jesus Christ is our God. Jesus Christ is our Savior. And Jesus Christ is salvation. He is the Way to heaven; and he is Heaven. He is the Revealer of truth, and he is Truth. He is the Giver of Life; and he is Life. — “Christ is all!”

 

            When we talk about divine sovereignty, we are declaring that Jesus Christ is Lord. When we proclaim God’s glorious work of predestination, we are showing how that sinners have been predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ. God’s election is his choice of some to everlasting salvation in Christ and for Christ’s sake. Total depravity, a thoroughly biblical doctrine, is God’s revelation of our need of Christ. Limited atonement is the biblical assurance of effectual redemption and grace by Christ, the declaration that all for whom Christ died shall be saved. Irresistible grace, or effectual calling, is the almighty, irresistible revelation of Christ in the soul by the Holy Spirit, which causes the chosen to come to him. Regeneration is the implanting of Christ in us. Justification is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to all his redeemed. Faith is trusting Christ. Sanctification is Christ being formed in us, begun in regeneration and consummated in glorification. Perseverance is Christ holding our hearts by grace and keeping us in life and faith. Baptism is the believer’s public confession of faith in Christ. Being symbolically buried in the watery grave and raised with him, we confess our faith in his finished work of redemption as our Substitute. The Lord’s Supper is our blessed remembrance of Christ. Eternal life is knowing Christ. Heaven is being with Christ and like Christ perfectly and forever. Preaching is telling people about Christ. Anything else is not preaching. Call it what you may; but it is not preaching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com

 

 



[1] Peter in Acts 2, Stephen in Acts 7, and Paul in Acts 13 delivered sermons that summarized the entire history of the Old Testament. And the subject of each of their sermons was the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and him crucified is the theme of Holy Scripture! "To him give all the prophets witness!" And to him give all the apostles witness. Every book of the Bible speaks of Christ. Let me show you just one thing revealed about Christ in each of the 66 books of Holy Scripture. Christ is the theme of every text, the subject of every page, and the message of every subject set forth in Holy Scripture. But space will permit me to show you just one thing revealing Christ in every book of the Bible.

 

In Genesis he is the Seed of the Woman           In Exodus he is the Paschal Lamb.

In Leviticus he is the Atonement for Sin.          In Numbers he is the Brazen Serpent.

In Deuteronomy he is the City of Refuge.         In Joshua he is Rahab's Scarlet Cord.

In Judges he is the Angel of the Lord.              In Ruth he is our Kinsman Redeemer.

In 1 Samuel he is the Slayer of our Enemies.     In 2 Samuel he is the Gracious King.

In 1 Kings he is the Builder of His Temple.      In 2 Kings he is the Great Prophet.

In 1 Chronicles he is the Ark of Blessing.         In 2 Chronicles he is the Defender Of His People.

In Ezra he is the Restorer of His People.           In Nehemiah he is the Rememberer of His People.

In Esther he is the Preserver of His People.       In Job he is the Daysman.

In Psalm he is the Good Shepherd.                  In Proverbs he is the Wisdom of God.

In Ecclesiastes he is the Teacher of Wisdom.     In Solomon's Song he is the Beloved of His Church.

In Isaiah he is the Substitute for Sinners.          In Jeremiah he is the Lord our Righteousness.

In Lamentations he is the Lord our Portion.      In Ezekiel he is the Glory of the Lord.

In Daniel he is the Messiah the Prince.             In Hosea he is God my Husband.

In Joel he is the Hope of His People.               In Amos he is the Sifter of His People.

In Obadiah he is the Searcher of Hearts.            In Jonah he is the Sovereign Deliverer.

In Micah he is Bethlehem's Infant.                   In Nahum he is the Great One.

In Habakkuk he is the Faithful One.                 In Zephaniah he is the Mighty One.

In Haggai he is the Desire of All Nations.         In Zechariah he is the Fountain Opened for Sinners.

In Malachi he is the Sun of Righteousness.       In Matthew he is the Son of David.

In Mark he is the Son of Man.                                    In Luke he is the Son of God.

In John he is the Lamb of God.                       In Acts he is the Ascended Lord.

In Romans he is the Just God our Savior.         In 1 Corinthians he is the Power of God.

In 2 Corinthians he is the Reconciler.              In Galatians he is the End of the Law.

In Ephesians he is the Effectual Savior.             In Philippians he is the Joy of Saints.

In Colossians he is the Pre-eminent One.          In 1 Thessalonians he is the Hope of Salvation.

In 2 Thessalonians he is the Coming Lord.       In 1 Timothy he is the Preacher's Doctrine.

In 2 Timothy he is the Eternal Surety.             In Titus he is the Grace of God.

In Philemon he is the Intercessor.                    In Hebrews he is the Fulfillment of the Law.

In James he is the Giver of Grace.                    In 1 Peter he is the Effectual Redeemer.

In 2 Peter he is the Longsuffering Lord.            In 1 John he is the Propitiation for Our Sins.

In 2 John he is the Doctrine of God.                In 3 John he is the Truth of God.

In Jude he is Our Security                              In Revelation he is the Fulness of God

 

            If we would understand, profit from and rightly use the Word of God, we must understand everything written in the Sacred Volume as it relates to the glorious Person and saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Never be satisfied with your understanding of any text in the Book of God until in it you have "found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus," the Christ, the Son of God. The Book of God is a Book about Him!