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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8am service, 2003-03-02

Text: Matthew 7:28,29; Hebrews 1:1-4

We have already had eight messages on the theme, 'Do you know my Jesus?' and we still have five more messages on the same theme. And it is possible to go on having another twenty messages on the same theme! I hope that through all these, all of us will realise that there is just so much for us to know about Jesus Christ. We can keep on knowing Him, knowing Him and knowing Him without ever getting tired of Him. His whole nature, character, life, ministry and teachings are so richly captivating and so enriching, that there is nothing more satisfying to the soul than to know the Lord Jesus! 

This was the testimony of all who knew Him when He lived on earth among men 2000 years ago. When Jesus came to Bethany, to the house of two sisters, Mary and Martha, Mary could spend hours just sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him. And when Martha got a little irritated that her sister was not helping her to serve Him, Jesus told her that Mary had 'chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.' (Luke 10:38) The good part that she had chosen was to spend time knowing Jesus and learning from Him. Dearly beloved, whenever we choose to sit at the feet of our Lord Jesus to know Him and learn from Him, we are also choosing that 'good part' - the choicest part of all experiences in life!

It is no wonder then that those who have known Jesus would want others to know Him too. When Andrew was introduced to Jesus by John the Baptist, and spent just a day with him, he immediately went to find his brother Simon Peter to bring him to meet Jesus (John 1:39-42). Shortly after that, Philip did the same thing for Nathanael (John 1:45,46). The woman at the well of Samaria only had a brief encounter with Jesus under the hot noonday sun, and that was enough to stir her up to action: She immediately went to tell the people in the city to come and see Him (John 4:28-30). And when they came, and talked with Jesus they confirmed that what she had said about Him was true. They told the woman, 'Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.' (John 4:42) And they probably spent more time with Jesus after that.

Even the officers that were sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to arrest Him, were so captivated when they heard Him teaching that they all returned to their masters empty-handed. When asked why they had failed to carry out such a simple order, they answered, 'Never man spake like this man.' (Mark 11:2) There was clearly something in the character and teaching of Jesus that reaches out to the hearts and minds of men. Those who met him and heard Him could not help but to be amazed at his teachings. Jesus was the truly Profound Teacher. There is no doubt at all that He is the Teacher above all Teachers!

I. The Profound Teacher of The Truth

Although this world has seen many great human teachers, none of them were like the Lord Jesus Christ. This can be seen in the extent of His teaching ministry. A great part of His public ministry was spent in teaching. As Matthew 9:35 says, 'Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom' He was ready to teach at a moment's notice, not only crowds of 5,000 people, but also individuals like Nicodemus, who came to consult Him at night. He could teach people anywhere: At the Temple, in synagogues, in their homes, along the roads as He traveled, at the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and also on a mount - from which we have His famous 'Sermon on the Mount'. The whole world was His classroom! The teaching ministry of Christ was not only great in in extent, but also in its marks. It is marked by at least five things:

1. Firstly, His teaching ministry was marked by originality - he was not like a parrot, merely echoing or repeating what others had already said. Matthew 7:28,29 'when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.' The Jewish scribes would simply teach whatever they had memorised in their schools from their received traditions all of which were based on the authorities of ancient teachers, and the people had been hearing the same teachings over and over again, like a broken record. In that situation, the teaching of Jesus, based on His own authority, came to them like deep refreshing streams of water, full of cooling refreshment for their thirsty souls! Dearly beloved, if your soul is thirsty for teaching that really refreshes the soul, then you must let the Lord Jesus teach you through His Word! When you do that you will find that His teaching is not only marked by a refreshing originality but also,

2. with simplicity - Jesus taught the truths of God with the greatest clarity, and yet in the shortest communication. He did not have to use so many words to get His points across. Today, in our fast paced life, people prefer short and to-the-point communication to long verbose speeches. But when messages become too short and abbreviated (like SMS messages) they sometimes leave people wondering what they mean. The teachings of Jesus were not like that: No one could misunderstand Him when He said, 'The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath' (Mark 2:27). No one would be left wondering what Jesus meant by the words: �No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.' (Matthew 6:24). 

3. The third thing that marked the teaching of Jesus was its beauty of expression - Jesus used striking images to communicate His Word. Listen, for instance to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:3,4 'And why beholdest thou the mote [speck of dust] that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam [huge plank] that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?' 

Can you see how the teaching of Jesus against a judgmental attitude is intensified here by His skillful use of hyperbole? It really nails home the message that it is absurd for a man who has sins in his own life to be judgmental against another with lesser sins in his life.

Jesus also used a wide variety of subjects in His teaching in order to illustrate truths that are hard for man to understand. His subjects included animals and plants, agriculture and commerce, domestic and religious life. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the pictures Jesus used in His teaching included lightning, earthquakes, fire, storms, sheep, wolves, swine, birds, dogs, trees, lilies of the field, houses, food, lamps, builders, fishermen, sowing, harvest, and many other things. These things added concreteness to His teaching.

One of the beautiful elements in the teaching ministry of Jesus was His use of parables. Of the many parables that Jesus related, a total of 43 are recorded for us in the Gospels. They are short stories that are rich with meaning and excellent instruction for all Christians. They have been described as 'earthly stories with heavenly meaning.' I think you will agree with me that nothing can portray the love of a father for his lost son better than the parable of 'The Prodigal Son'. And nothing can be better than the parable of 'The Good Samaritan' to show how we should love our neighbour. Parables like these served two important functions: They are both mirrors and windows. As mirrors, they help us to see and understand ourselves, as we really are. And as windows, they help us to see and understand life and God. 

Here is a little advice to those of you who are involved in a teaching ministry, like Sunday School. If you want to learn how to teach people the eternal truths of God's Word well, you need to learn from Jesus who is the Master teacher of Truth. Spend time in God's Word to examine the way that Jesus taught, and the methods He used, and soon you will learn how to present the truth with simplicity and with beauty of expression, to the blessing of the students you teach. Now we come to:

4. the fourth thing that marked the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that was its life-changing power. The two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, listening to Him teaching them, testified later on, 'Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?' (Luke 24:32). 

As Jesus opened the Scriptures to them for about three captivating hours, their hearts were 'strangely warmed'. Through his teaching they understood why Jesus had to die - It was not an unfortunate demise, but all part of God's great redemption plan, executed to the very last detail. At last they understood why the tomb was empty - No one had stolen His body, but Christ had risen from the dead! The two Emmaus disciples probably realised how shallow their knowledge of scripture had been, when they suddenly saw all its wonderful gems of Scripture unearthed for them by the Lord! After that event, their study of the Scriptures would never be the same again. Their lives had been changed! Jesus Himself mentions what change His teaching can effect in those who heard Him - He said to His disciples, 'Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.' (John 15:3).

5. Finally, we see that The teaching of Jesus was marked with great wisdom - Matthew 13:54 'And when He was come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?' The name in the Bible that is usually associated with wisdom is king Solomon. People came from near and far just to listen to wisdom that God gave to Solomon, and today we have it in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. But the wisdom in Solomon's teaching is nothing compared to the wisdom in the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 12:42). His wisdom was far greater than Solomon's. How was Jesus able to teach with such great wisdom? It is only because He Himself is God's wisdom. 

According to Colossians 2:3, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:24,30 affirms that Christ is the wisdom of God for all believers. Therefore the essence of God's wisdom is to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally, as your Lord and Saviour. If you want to have true wisdom, and one that leads to a real, deep and lasting happiness and peace, there is no other way at all than to know Him. Jesus Himself said, 'I am the way the Truth and the Life.' (John 14:6). The truth about Jesus, the Profound Teacher is that He is the Truth! This brings us to the latter part of this morning's message where we turn from looking at Jesus as the Profound Teacher, to looking at:

I. The Profound Truth of The Teacher

A. As The Full and Final Revelation of God

John�s Gospel brings this out from the very first verse of the book 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' (John 1:1) You will notice that the word for 'Word' here is written with a capital letter turning it into a proper noun. This unique designation of Jesus reveals that He is the full divine revelation of God Himself. Jesus is the Living Word (logos), who was made flesh. John 1:14 says that, 'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.' Before the Living Word came to dwell upon this earth, the Truth of God had been revealed only in bits and pieces, in many separate portions, and in many ways - visions, dreams, theophanies, and direct revelation. But none of them was ever a final and complete revelation of the Truth of God. 

It is only when Jesus, the Living Word, came to this world that we now have the truth of God in its fullness revealed to us. Hebrews 1:1,2 tells us, 'God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds'. 

B. As The Ultimate Subject of all Revelation from God

Now, we come to something even more amazing about Jesus: He is not only the full and final revelation of God, but He is in fact the ultimate subject of all revelation from God. Jesus Himself said, 'Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.' (John 5:39). What this means is that every portion of the Bible in some way, point to Jesus and testifies of Him. He is the central subject, or the key to all divine revelation!

Even the prophets who wrote the OT applied this principle, as 1 Peter 1:10-12 says, 'Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.' 

According to this, the OT prophets knew that what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write was meant to reveal Christ to them, and so they studied and searched their own writings intensively, trying to learn as much as they could about Christ. But much of what they wrote, could not be fully understood yet at that time, because it was meant by the Holy Spirit to benefit those who would live later on, those who would possess the full, complete revelation of Jesus Christ, who would be able to make perfect sense of all that these prophets wrote! And that refers to us! 

Because of this we should now see the whole Bible, both OT and NT as being one unified revelation of Jesus Christ. He is the sum and substance of both Old and New Testaments. A picture of this wonderful unity is provided in Ephesians 2:20, which states that we 'are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.' The apostles and the prophets refer to the teachings of the NT and OT respectively. 

The chief cornerstone here refers to the corner foundation stone, the point where two walls meet, just as Christ is the meeting point of the OT and the NT. In ancient royal buildings this chief cornerstone stone was so important that the king's name was often written on it. The name that is written on the chief cornerstone of the Scriptures is none other than Jesus Christ, since He is the One who binds it all together. As such, we should see Jesus now as:

C. As The Key To Understanding the Revelation of God

A writer named Dr Graham Scroggie, who spent years studying the Scriptures states this very nicely: 'No more convincingly are the unity and progress of the Biblical revelation demonstrated than in the fact that Christ dominates the whole revelation.' And then Scroggie goes on to cite some interesting evidences for this statement. And we shall consider two of them:

Firstly, in relation to Christ, the OT reveals Him prophetically, while the NT reveals Him historically. In the OT Christ's redemption is anticipated, while in the NT it is accomplished! The OT is the preparation, while the NT is the realisation. The themes of the OT converge on Christ, while the themes of the NT emerge from Christ. Through this whole progressive revelation of Christ in the Bible, He is revealed as the meeting point between God and man! That is why Scroggie titled his great exposition on this subject as 'The Unfolding Drama of Redemption'. He wrote, 'In this drama of redemption the Earth is the stage, Man and Nations are the Dramatis Personae, and Christ, let it be said reverently, is the Hero.'

The second evidence that Christ dominates the scripture is this: In the OT we see man's need of a Prophet, Priest and King. He needs a prophet to reveal God to him, a priest to represent him before God and a king to rule over him. No one in the OT however ever held all three of these offices at the same time. Moses was a prophet but not a priest or king. David was a king, and since he is one of the inspired writers, he is in a sense also a prophet (cf. Acts 2:29,30), but he was never a priest. Melchizedek was both king and priest (Hebrews 7:1,2), but not a prophet. Moreover, all three of these men were sinners, subject to mortality, who proved to be merely imperfect, and at best, temporary provisions for man's need. So while the OT defines what man needs, it leaves the needs unresolved. It is only in the NT that we see the answer provided by God in one person - Jesus Christ - our Great Prophet, Priest and King! 

The Prophet, Priest and King ministry of Christ corresponds quite nicely with the three main sections of the NT. We see Him as our Prophet in the four Gospels and Acts, revealing God to man. We see Him as our Priest in the 21 NT epistles (Romans to Jude), which teaches how Christ saves us through His atonement for sins. We see Him as our victorious King in the book of Revelation, judging all the wicked, vanquishing the enemy, and ruling in earth and in heaven.

I hope that all these will help us now to see how Jesus is the key to understanding the whole Bible. It is this that makes the Bible such an wonderful book to study - when you are able to see everything within it in relation to Jesus Christ. In this morning's message, have seen Jesus both as the Profound Teacher in whom all of God's wisdom is found, as well as the Profound Truth that is taught in the Scriptures. In response to this, we must come and learn from Him, and learn of Him. May we all be moved to spend much time reading and studying the Scriptures prayerfully with a new objective, asking the Spirit of Christ to enlighten us and speak to us through every book, every chapter and every verse that we study. And may we through doing this, grow into a deeper and closer relationship with the Lord Christ.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25