Shadows of the Messiah

Acts 13:13-41

Shadows of the Messiah

13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’ 26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: 41 “‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.'”

 

Paul uses the Old Testament to preach Christ’s New Covenant.  We will expand on what he said at the end of the sermon, but before we go there we must address a problem that is running rampant in Churches all over America:

 

  1. Most Christians have no idea what to do with the O.T.
    1. There are two Churchly attitudes to reading the Old Testament.

The first group knows the O.T. is important but it just doesn’t grip them, and they’re afraid to admit it for fear that some overly serious bible nerd is going to get all up in their face and quote 2 Timothy 3:16 at them.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

 And it is.

 We certainly believe this truth of the usefulness and inerrancy of all Scripture, big time.  But at the same time the Church is the community in which we learn about theology, God, and the Bible so that we may feed our Christ renewed minds.  This is different than questioning God.

 

 But then there is group number 2

1. Members of the second group will read a small scrap of the  O.T. and say, “I don’t like the God of the O.T.  He’s so mean.  He’s so vindictive.  He’s so blood thirsty… and besides, its all about Israel… shouldn’t it be about me?”  If you skim the N.T. looking for warm little fuzzys about how God exists for your benefit, then I can almost guarantee you don’t have much use for the O.T.

If you skim the N.T. looking for warm little fuzzys about how God exists for your benefit, then I can almost guarantee you don’t have much use for the O.T.

If you are in the 1st boat: you know the O.T. is important and you know you should read it, but you just don’t quite know how it fits with the N.T. then today’s sermon is for you.

 God is not Unjust in the Old Testament.

If you’re in the 2nd group I’m worried about you, because there is a good chance that one who judges God for His actions in the O.T. feels the liberty to disagree with Christ and the Apostles.  What one thinks of God’s actions in the O.T. is a bellwether on what one feels about the authority of N.T. Scripture.  The one who thinks God was wrong to punish Adam and Eve in the O.T. probably thinks it is wrong to practice Church intervention in cases of gross willful moral sin in the Church Age.

 The one who thinks it wrong for God to burn Sodom and Gomorrah probably thinks the N.T. teaching on marriage between one man and one woman for life is wrong.

The one who feels God was being a cruel despot when he flooded the world in Noah’s day will most likely be comfortable ignoring Jesus’ many teachings on the doctrine of Hell.

And so on, and so forth.

Christian, as you read the scriptures be careful to not stand in Judgment of God: that is not your place.  Our standards of sin and righteousness have been irrevocably tarnished by our sin natures.  Therefore, we must get our definition of right and wrong from observing God’s justice in the Scriptures, rather than judging the God of the Scriptures.

 “God is not unjust in the Old Testament, indeed, it is only our own sin that would tempt us to think so.

 

God’s dealing with the Canaanites

 The classic example critics of God’s goodness in the Old Testament point to is God’s treatment of the Canaanites.  God gave the promised land to Israel and ordered that they conquer it through militant means.  God’s critics cry foul, yet look at what God says to Abraham in

Genesis 15:13-16

 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

 What this text tells you is that the displacement of the Canaanites wasn’t merely to make room for God’s people Israel, but was judgment for 400 years of iniquity.  400 years is a long time to harden one’s heart against God’s pursuit.

 

We must not Judge God when we read the Old Testament.

 “We must not Judge God when we read the Old Testament.

 

The Oldest Heresies Are Beasts With Many Heads: Chop one off, 2 sprout up.

One of the reasons Pastors get so queasy in their gut when Christians bash the OT is that one of the oldest heresies was in large part centered around the question of the inspiration and devotional power of the Old Testament.  In around 144 A.D. there was a Bishop named Marcion who arrogantly thought the God of the N.T. could be divided from the God of the Old.  He taught that the God of the O.T. was a violent, vindictive, blood thirsty, local Jewish tribal deity while the God of the N.T. was a much more evolved God of Love.  Consequently, this Marcion preached that the only books welcome in the canon were some Gospels and the writings of the Apostle Paul.

One of the reasons Pastors get so queasy in their gut when Christians bash the OT is that one of the oldest heresies was in large part centered around the question of the inspiration and devotional power of the Old Testament.

Some still believe this outright.  Many more Christians are functional Marcionites.  A Christian’s Marcionite leaning rears its ugly head in their Bible reading, and in comments made about the two testaments, comments like, “ I’m more a of a New Testament kind of guy.”

 

“I’m more of a New Testament kind of guy” shows a dangerous misunderstanding of the doctrine of the unity of Scripture.

 

I’m more of a New Testament kind of guy’ shows a dangerous misunderstanding of the doctrine of the unity of Scripture.”

The Irony of Marcion teaching that the writings of the Apostle Paul were scripture while the O.T. was to be ignored is that the Apostle Paul himself preached Christ from the O.T.  This is what he is doing in Acts 13.

 

3 reasons you won’t understand Jesus without the Old Testament

1. Genesis

Nothing in Redemptive history makes sense without Genesis, indeed, without the history recorded in Genesis there would be no need of Redemption.

A.)  Creation: sets the stage for the Human Story.

B.) God’s earliest dealings with mankind are recorded in Genesis, and it is from these recorded dealings that we see God’s Character as well as the Holiness to strive for, and ultimately our need for a Savior.

C.) The Fall of Mankind.  The Villian of the Human story is revealed, in the unholy trinity of Satan, our sin nature, and the wicked world system.  We now have the Crisis in the great and sweeping plot of the human story… but who will bring about the resolution to the Crisis?  Whomever He is, He shall be the Hero of History.

D.)  We see in Genesis God’s dealings with individuals, families and the Nations.

 2. Lamb of God Imagery

 The New testament image of Christ as the “Lamb of God” is a silly word image no better than the title “Dog of God” or “Dolphin of God” without Old Testament background.

1.    Gen. 22

 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

 

2. Exodus 12

 21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.

 

3.  In Leviticus 16 we are introduced to the “Scape Goat”.  One Goat is sacrificed.  The priest lays hands on the head of the surviving Goat and confesses the sins of the nation and symbolicly imputes them onto the head of the Goat.  The Scapegoat is set loose in the wilderness, bearing the burden of the sins of the people.

John the Baptst.

All of this is why when John the Baptist sees Jesus Christ walking and shouts, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World”  (John 1:29) people didn’t say, “I think all the locusts and honey have finally gone to his head!”  Well, some did say that, but they knew what he was saying.

They wouldn’t have had the foggiest notion without the Old Testament.

Furthermore, let us not forget the triumph of texts such as:

 Revelation 12:11

 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death

 

The beautiful truth of what Revelation 12:11 is saying should send chills up and down the believer’s spine, but it won’t do so if you have ignored the Old Testament.

 

 3.) Lastly, the Old Testament is important in the Way Paul uses it here in Acts 13:13-41.  Namely, the Old Testament preaches the Gospel of Jesus the Christ: the Coming King.

 A.)  Not for nothing does Paul rehash the history of Israel.  He was a smart man and everyone knew it, but he didn’t recount the history of Israel just to show people he could.

B.) Paul points out the rise of the earthly kings of Israel.  Kings were not so in the beginning of the Nation.  At the dawn of the Israelite nation God ruled by proxy through Moses, Joshua, and the Judges.

C.) The Nation sinned by asking for a King because their motivation for asking was worldliness, they wanted to be like the other nations…A.K.A “Come on, all the other kids are doing it!”

D.)  God reminded Samuel that the Nation had not rejected Samuel, but Him, and so it was that He gave them in King Saul what they wanted, a sinful, flawed, human man to rule over them.

E.)  God then gives them David to be their king, a man flawed and sinful in many ways, but who more than any other king was a Shadow of Christ, the coming King.

Paul uses the Old Testament to Argue that Jesus is the long awaited True King..

 Acts 13:21-22

21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’

F.)  Perhaps the bigger picture that we Christians can see in light of the incarnation is that God would use the Abrahamic and Davidic lines to bring about Immanuel, God with us.

Acts 13:23  Shows this to us.

 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.

A.)    Who is God the Father?: He is the covenant keeping God who brings us the Savior.

B.)   Who is God the Son? He is the covenanted Savior of us who believe through the gift of faith… have you taken up that gift today?  I hope so.

 Paul uses the Old Testament to Argue that Israel should have recognized and worshiped the King when He came instead of crucifying Him.

 Acts 13: 26-27  “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him.

A.)    What is the Tragedy? They talked about Him every Saturday.

Paul preaches the Gospel from the Old Testament Psalms 2 & 16

 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

 

A.)     Paul’s Argument is this: These verses do not apply all the way to David, but they do apply to Christ. David died and rotted. Christ died and was raised from the dead.  David saw corruption; Jesus Christ did not.  Therefore Christ is the promised messiah, and David is Christ’s O.T. shadow pointing all of us to the Coming of Christ the King.

B.)    Let it be known today at First Christian Church, that through this man is forgiveness of sins and freedom from everything form which you could not be free from.

 

The text of this sermon was first Preached at First Christian Church of Glenwood Iowa, Sunday September 2nd, 2012 

 

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