The Big Picture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 4, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

A very common question youth in particular ask about Christianity is, “What is the whole thing about?” We at Worldview Warriors have been addressing many different things including apologetics, Christian living, practical political situations, the philosophical issues we face, and many other topics. Starting today, I want to so a series on what this whole thing is about and why we as Christians do what we do and say what we say. This is the big picture.

A good friend of mine, Charles Jackson, was speaking at my church two years ago and he quoted Haskell Rycroft, the pastor of his boss when he was at the Creation Truth Foundation. Pastor Rycroft said, “What you have to do is look at the big picture. Whenever you’re lost and can’t find your way, you have to look at the big picture.” Dr. Jackson then described how if you are in a strange city, you can pinpoint your location on your GPS, however, you can’t really see where you are in that city until you zoom out and see where you are in relation to everything else.

Christianity can be like this GPS. It is easy to zoom in and nitpick all these tiny details about the meanings of particular words and get all kinds of depth out of a single verse. Many solid preachers can find a single verse and get an entire sermon out of it, whereas others of us look at a verse and the most we could get out of speaking on it would be reading it very slowly. But the reason these preachers can do that and still be Biblically sound is because they see the big picture. They know how to take that zoomed in image and pull back and see where it fits and belongs in the whole scope of things.

When I began thinking about what “the big picture” was and how all the different pieces of Christianity fit together, the idea of a mosaic came to mind. A mosaic is a collection of pieces of pottery or glass which are put together to create a unique picture. Many stained-glass windows in churches are mosaics of Christ or some event in Christianity. The artist takes different pieces of glass, creates them in certain sizes and shapes, and organizes them in certain patterns to create the big picture.

A mosaic can also be a picture within pictures. Each piece of the mosaic is a picture in itself. Here is a simple Google search for mosaic picture and you can see different pictures combining to create a unique image. Now, with most mosaics such as this, the main picture can be a little fuzzy, however there is one mosaic which gets absolutely clear the more pictures are included: that mosaic is the Bible.

The Bible is full of different pictures and images, especially throughout the Old Testament, each which is worthy of study in their own right. The study of creation is a hot topic because that is one of the primary fronts the enemy has been using to attack the integrity of Christianity. It is a very important topic; however, it is just one of many different pictures which demonstrates the central image. The study of end times is another topic, especially as today’s headlines are looking very similar to the prophecies of the end times. However, they too are just another piece to the puzzle. All the historical accounts of Israel from Adam to Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, the Kings, Nehemiah, and the prophets and more are all individual pictures worthy of their own study, yet each paint another picture: that picture is Jesus Christ.

Eric Ludy has an extremely important sermon called “Christophany." In this sermon, he addresses seven of the major issues that churches have split over and reminds us to keep our focus on Jesus as the center of attention. I still struggle with this in my online debates. Talking about origins is fine, however it is overall meaningless unless I am pointing to Christ. He does not deny the importance of origins, end times, theology, salvation, keeping the law, etiquette, or gifts of the Spirit. However, their place makes it work when Jesus is the focus.

Many people try to take each of these issues and others and relegate them to ‘secondary’ issues. I have long disagreed with such a notion. The argument is that “if it doesn’t affect salvation, it’s not important.” However, we cannot call ourselves Christians if we are going to look for the bare minimum of getting in and living our lives however we want otherwise. That’s not how it works. If we want to understand these issues, we need to start with Jesus and recognize that all the pieces of the mosaic create an image of Jesus. That being said, if we get the pieces wrong, it creates a fuzzy image of Jesus, or a false one altogether.

Many people think the image is Jesus in the center and all these other issues are off to the side and irrelevant. That is not true. All these issues are not side issues with Jesus as a separate discussion, but part of the image that is Jesus. Paul stated, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” He was a very intelligent man, very well-educated and very knowledgeable. However, he knew that all his knowledge was ultimately worthless unless Christ was his purpose and end game. He did not reject knowledge of anything else, but he saw the central purpose of it all. If it’s just knowledge for the purpose of knowledge, it is worthless. But if it points to and reveals Christ, then it is of the utmost value.

Charles Spurgeon is attributed to saying something like, “In every town there is a road to London. Likewise, in every Scripture there is a road to Christ.” (The quote tends to vary depending on who is citing it, but that is the gist.) Everything in the Bible points to and reveals Jesus. The Bible is the Word of God in written text. It is everything God wanted to say to his people of all time, of all languages, and of all cultures. Jesus Christ is the Word of God in living flesh. He is the personification of the message God sent through the written Word. To understand Jesus, read the Bible. To understand the Bible, look at Jesus. Every passage gives snapshots and images of what Jesus was like and what he would do. Even the villains of the Bible like Saul and Ahab and Absalom give pictures of Jesus by representing sin and the flesh and their ultimate demise at the hands of Jesus. Each story and each statement give some picture of Jesus both individually and collectively.

Look at the big picture. If any passage of Scripture or doctrine does not make sense, look at the big picture. Next week, I’ll look at some practical ways on how we can do this.

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