The Central Message of the Bible

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 23, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

In our day and age of intellectualism and our desire to pick apart and dissect every detail of anything academically, it is very easy to get sidetracked and chase rabbits while forgetting where we are and where we are going. While the ability to properly read, understand, and unpack a verse gives the reader life, let us not forget that all these verses and all these passages have a point and purpose together. For the next two posts, I am going to describe several of the central key messages of the Bible holistically to help us keep our thinking and our studies in line. This will set up my next series on the ten fields of systematic theology that theologians use to describe the ten major subjects and themes of the Bible.

As we celebrate Christmas this weekend, we should have a heightened awareness of Christ and His coming. The overall central message of the Bible is Jesus. As Eric Ludy teaches, the Bible is the Word of God in text form. Jesus is the Word of God in living flesh. One of his sermons that I often go back and listen to again is called “Christophany,” which is about making Jesus the center of all our theology and Bible and living discussions and studies. In the sermon, Ludy shares a hypothetical dialogue between a new preacher and his old mentor. The new preacher did an excellent job at dissecting the text with great analogies and good application, but the old preacher said it was a poor sermon. Why? Because even though the text did not explicitly have Christ in it, the preacher did not make a connect to Christ. Every text has such a road to Christ and the preacher’s job, or the reader’s job, is to find that road and go to Him.

I emphasize on origins a lot, but it really is not about whether the earth is 6000 years old. The age is merely a label that encompasses everything that comes with it. There are some old earth creation apologists who publicly state that Jesus is more important than origins. While that sounds good on paper, and while no one would disagree with such statement on the surface, this is actually a false teaching in how it is used. It is correct in that studying origins is pointless unless it points to Christ, but it is dead wrong to suggest that you can believe whatever you want regarding origins “as long as you believe in Christ.” Why? Because if you get origins wrong, you get Jesus wrong. If the earth is billions of years old, that means within all those rock layers are millions of dead things, including humans, that well precede any notion of Adam. That puts human death before sin, and that right there completely eliminates the Gospel. The atheists know this. Yet our theologians cannot see it. And we wonder why our churches are so impotent today: our leading men don’t believe our own text. Why are we letting those men lead us? Why are we putting men who openly question the clarity and meaning of the opening chapters of the Bible in the spotlight as our representatives?

If Jesus is the center and the most important topic, then anything He says on the matter goes, right? Except that Jesus didn’t come into existence only about 2000 years ago. Jesus is the very Creator Himself. Don’t you think He’d know what He did? “Well, well, this is Jesus’ humanity speaking. He didn’t have His God-knowledge.” Is that your final answer? Because Jesus said He knew Abraham and that He was the I AM who met Moses at the burning bush. But let’s say Jesus’ “God-knowledge” was held back. How would Jesus answer any question about origins? “Have you not read in the Law of Moses that in six days, God created the heavens and the earth and the seas and all within them?” We have a very famous apologist who said if he could go back in time and talk to Jesus about origins, he not only would have to teach Jesus about Evolution, but that Jesus would be perfectly fine with it. My reaction to that was, “Blasphemy!” Not because he is wrong about origins, but because he is wrong about Jesus. He has the wrong image of Jesus as a result of his wrong image of origins.

There are other fields of theology in which Christ must be center. No. matter what we study, the center must be Christ. The end goal must be Christ and the One proclaimed in the end must be Christ.

Proclaiming Christ means proclaiming the Gospel. Now the Gospel is not merely the plan of salvation. It’s a big part of it, but the Gospel is so much more than that. The Gospel is not just how we sinned and rebelled and how Jesus came to save us. It is also about how we live our lives as saved people. So, the Gospel is for the believer, not just for the unbeliever. And the Gospel should be all about sharing Christ and who Jesus is.

One of my pet peeves today is the modern testimony. It is so self-centered and all about “me” and how Jesus makes my life better. While there are often mentions of “I once was a sinner and now am saved” and while there are mentions of how “Jesus saved me,” I have to ask: would anyone leaving that conversation know anything about Jesus? The answer is often no. Why? Because all they gave was self-centered message in which Jesus is a means of making life better. Jesus was presented as a means to an end, not the end of the means. We need to learn how to share our testimony so people walking away will be thinking about Jesus, not us. When Rebekah came to become Isaac’s bride, she was thinking about Isaac, not the servant who told her about him. The same should be true about us. We point to Christ and then get out of the way.

In our intellectual day and age, we are so focused on doctrine that we frequently miss Christ. I easily fall into this trap as well. I often fail to get to the Gospel when doing apologetics because I am so set on seeing the truth being proclaimed in that one area that I never get past it to where it all points too. This is one thing I so greatly appreciate about my church is that while we love and support the intellectual studies, we seek to do so out of humility and not pride. I have learned a lot, but I have a lot more to learn in putting it into practice.

Though He is the primary message, Jesus is not the only message in the Bible. There are others that go along with Him. You cannot have Jesus without having these other central messages as well. It is not enough to “just have Jesus,” because Jesus drew a rather thick line to what it means to be His disciple or not. You have to take all that comes with Him. That’s for next week.

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