Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

About Me

I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Why Membership Matters

What does it mean to be a member of a local church? Does it carry any great significance? Is it simply having your name on a roll? Are there any expectations for those who become a member of a local congregation? Can someone just get baptized, join the church, and then never have anything to do with the church from that time forth? Does membership actually matter?

By the way that many people treat it today, you wouldn’t think that it does. Many congregations are full of just casual church members instead of committed ones and too many names on a registry who have little or nothing to do with the congregation at all. Some people appear to take it more seriously to be part of a country club than they do a member of a local congregation. I am convinced though that church membership is very important and something that a Christian who desires to be obedient to Jesus cannot neglect. A faithful Christian will become a dedicated member of a local faith community focused on bringing God glory through the growth of its members and the spread of the gospel. My goal in this article is to show you, from Scripture itself, what church membership is all about according to God and the commitment that He says it calls for. And maybe even persuade some of you to take your membership more seriously if you are not currently doing so.

Perhaps the first issue we need to deal with is whether Scripture supports the idea of having official membership in a local congregation. Not only will we see that they did but also some of the practical reasons why they found it necessary. We find evidence throughout the New Testament that the congregations kept a record of who belonged to them and were no longer part of the world. They formally or officially recognized who had joined the fellowship. For instance, Luke reports that the company of believers right before Pentecost numbered around 120 (Acts 1:15). One could surmise that this group knew those in the number by name. They obviously had a record of them for such a number to be given. Later, the Lord added 3,000 souls to this number (Acts 2:41). This group remained committed to one another and the cause of Christ as they continued to grow (Acts 2:42-47). So we see a group committed first to Christ and then to one another seeking to be obedient to the Lord's "Great Commission" (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15). A picture of church "membership" even if it wasn't called such at the time.

Also, the fact that the Bible instructs elders, the leaders of local congregations, to "oversee" and "shepherd" the flock that God has called them to indicates that they must know who their "flock" consists of (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3). How difficult would it be, without a membership list of who constitutes their flock, for an elder or pastor to recognize who God holds them responsible for? Keep in mind that this is no small issue. Hebrews 13:17 points out that these leaders will have to "give an account" of the souls they are entrusted to watch over. A membership list serves to specify who these ones are and who they aren't. There obviously has to be a way to distinguish between those of this elder's flock and those who do not belong to that flock.

Furthermore, Scripture speaks of removing an unrepentant immoral professor from the fellowship in the practice of church discipline (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:2). For someone to be "kicked out" of the visible church, they must first have been seen as being a part of it. You can't officially "remove" what first officially wasn't "accepted." This points to some sort of membership list or acknowledgement that the early church must have kept in order for them to painfully remove names on it in such cases of unrepentant sin. To designate that they no longer belonged and should be treated as someone outside the fellowship represented in Jesus' words as a "Gentile or tax collector" (Matthew 18:17). Paul also speaks of a difference between "those inside the church" and "those outside" (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). How can one know who are "inside" and "outside" without some formal list or record?

So, as you can hopefully see, the idea of some sort of membership concept indeed has been present since the very beginnings of the church. The Bible not only supports the idea of a believer officially becoming a member of a local congregation, but also specifies what such membership entails. And to the specifics of what that is we  turn to next.

Membership Entails Affirmation
In Matthew 16:18, we find the first mention of the term church in the New Testament. Right after Peter gives the proper identification of Who Jesus is, that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God (v. 16), Jesus states that He will use him as an instrument to establish the Church. Peter will serve as a rock for this living organism that Jesus will build. The other apostles would also help lay this foundation, with Christ serving as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). Jesus also tells Peter that He will give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven (v. 19). This indicates an authority bestowed upon Peter and, probably by extension, the other apostles. It is the authority of heaven itself. In a very real sense here Jesus could be indicating that the church that He will establish through the apostles will be the earthly representation of His heavenly kingdom. That the church will serve as an ambassador of heaven. This would make sense then what Jesus is getting at in speaking of giving the apostles the keys of the kingdom of heaven. An ambassador communicates the will and decisions of their king while in a foreign land. Any decision the ambassador makes is only the decisions that the king had already made. Thus, whatever the ambassador binds, will be only that which has already been bound by the king. To put it another way, we could say that what the church declares has already been decided in heaven. (The Greek phrase used here appears to indicate a future reality that has already been settled in the past. One could translate it as whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.)

We see this ambassadorial work with the apostles as Jesus goes about the business of building His church throughout the book of Acts. When the first group of Samaritans came to faith in Christ, the apostles, representing this new church that had begun construction, had to come to pray for them, lay hands on them, and a visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit occurred (Acts 8:14-17). The question should be raised as to why a few of the apostles had to come from Jerusalem to do this. Why Philip did not take it upon himself to do it? I think the reason actually goes back to the authority that Jesus gave Peter and the apostles as Christ’s ambassadors. We are seeing here the keys and the binding and loosing at work. Peter and John merely affirmed the faith of these new converts through the prayer and the laying on of hands. God had saved them through their reception of the message but this sought to confirm their profession of faith. Likewise, church membership serves as a way that the church affirms one’s profession of faith based on the evidence of the fruit of a changed life which should be visible if one has truly been born again. It does not save but the church acts as God’s authority on earth, under the authority of Christ and His Word, to basically say with receiving one into membership: “We recognize you as belonging as part of us. You too join us in representing Jesus on earth.”

If it helps, think of the church as an embassy for the kingdom of heaven here on earth. America has several embassies in foreign countries all over the world. Each American embassy not only declares the country’s interest in the foreign land that it is in as an ambassador role like referenced above but also serves to protect the nation's citizens who are living in that foreign country. For instance, say an American citizen in China loses their passport. They would have to go to the American embassy in China for them to verify that they are indeed a US citizen and would be supported by the embassy. The embassy doesn't make them a citizen of the United States but acknowledges that they are while in this foreign land. Membership in a local church is a congregation publicly acknowledging, protecting, and supporting a citizen of heaven who lives in this foreign land which is not their true home.

This is why we at Mt. Joy require all membership candidates to have an interview with the pastor and at least one of the deacons. We, as leaders of the congregation, to the extent that we are able, want to make sure to affirm those who exhibit evidence of being "in Christ" as part of the fellowship. In this interview, questions are asked pertaining to how one came to faith in Christ and their understanding of the gospel.

Membership Entails Commitment
God never intended for the Christian life to be lived alone. He does not save anyone individually and expect them to be “free agents,” roaming here and there. His desire is for them to be committed to each other in the context of a local congregation of His followers. How else can one live out all the one another commands in Scripture (Leviticus 19:11; John 13:14, 34, 35; Romans 1:12; 12:10, 16; 13:8; 14:13; 15:7,14; 16:16; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 11:33; 12:25; Galatians 5:13, 15, 26; 6:2; Ephesians 4:2, 16, 32; 5:19, 21; Philippians 2:3-5; Colossians 3:9, 13, 16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9, 18; 5:11, 13, 15; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24, 25; 13:1; James 4:11; 5:9, 16; 1 Peter 3:8; 4:8, 9; 5:5; 1 John 1:7; 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12)? Perhaps the clearest picture we have of this is found in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. In this chapter, Paul describes the church using the imagery of a human body made up of its various parts. God’s Spirit has given each believer a specific gift that should be used for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). The purpose of any spiritual gift is to edify or build up each other in the faith and to be used to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10). This indicates something that cannot be done at home away from other believers and something that would be difficult to do hopping from one local congregation to the next. Committing to suffer with the members of a local congregation in their suffering and to rejoice with them in their rejoicing can only be done if you have taken the time to, in a sense, live among those members and get to know them (1 Corinthians 12:26). Keep in mind that Paul writes to a local congregation in Corinth when he gives this instruction.

So the commitment of membership is to live together in community with and minister to the needs of the other members of the congregation. Let's dig a little deeper into what this means. It certainly requires more contact with other members of the congregation than just once a week on a Sunday morning. There should be sharing as a family of faith throughout each week whether that would be through getting together with other individuals or families from within the congregation or even just a simple phone call or card to check on others. This also means that a member should not be as concerned about getting their own needs met or desiring to be served by others but rather how they can serve others within the local body of believers. Far too often people selfishly ask, what can the church do for me. John F. Kennedy's famous instruction years ago could be reworded for church members today as "Ask not what the church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church."

Sitting at home and not joining a church really is not an option that the Bible gives (Hebrews 10:24-25). Take a moment to reflect on these words by Benjamin L. Merkle, "A Christian's relationship to the local church should not be like a dating relationship where both sides are constantly guessing how the other views their relationship. Many Christians today want to date the church, making no formal commitment. The biblical picture of our relationship with Christ is not dating but marriage. Therefore, it is appropriate that we have a formal commitment to Christ's visible church" ("The Biblical Basis for Church Membership," Those Who Must Give An Account: A Study of Church Membership and Church Discipline (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2012) 40).

Membership Entails Accountability
In the second mention of the term church in the New Testament, Jesus explains the accountability the church has upon its individual members. As recorded in Matthew 18:15-20, He lays out the steps in the process of what to do if you notice a fellow member in sin. The first step would be to point out their fault to them individually (v. 15). The hope is that this will lead the professing believer to see the error of their way and run back to Christ in repentance. However, if he or she refuses to repent and leave the specific sin, we are told to approach them again, this time with two or more witnesses (v. 16). If this still does not result in their repentance, they are to be called before the church and the entire congregation should reach out to them in love, calling for them to leave such a sin behind. However, if they appear to be so hard-hearted that he or she still refuses the reproach, drastically they are treated as if they were outside the church and thus as not belonging to the body of Christ (v. 17). Jesus then mentions the authority that He has given the church in these matters with the statement once again of them binding and loosing on earth what will have been already bound and loosed in heaven (v. 18) and that He stands with them in such a decision (vv. 19-20). (This assumes that the church followed His procedure as He had outlined of course). I must be careful here not to fail to state that the goal of such a process is actually restoration. This can be seen in the fact that Jesus’ teaching follows His parable of the shepherd leaving his 99 sheep to retrieve the one that has gone astray (vv. 12-14) and that it precedes Peter’s question concerning forgiveness (vv. 21-35).

When one becomes a member of a local congregation, they are actually saying that they want that body of believers together to hold them accountable for the way in which they are living. If they have an area of unrepentant sin in their life, they want the church to lovingly point that out. Any true believer who desires to live the holy life that Christ saved them for (2 Corinthians 5:15) would want this. We need each other for our growth in holiness! In a very real sense, our sanctification is a community project. Being a member of a local congregation is to say that I submit to this congregation and want them to hold me accountable for my spiritual growth and discipleship. I submit to their teaching and discipline. And discipleship consists of both teaching and correction. As you can visibly see, disciple and discipline are words closely related to one another.

So membership certainly consists of more than just having one’s name on the roll at such and such church. It involves having a local congregation affirm their profession of faith and recognize them as one of its own. It includes a commitment given to others in the congregation and their work together for the spread of the gospel. It is submitting to the congregation’s authority, which it enacts under the authority of Christ and His Word, to be held accountable for one’s growth and discipline in grace. All of this can be seen to be called for in Scripture. Do you see now why I stated in the opening of this article that a faithful Christian WILL become a member of a local faith community focused on glorifying God through the growth of its members and the spreading of the gospel? That church membership actually does matter? Mark Dever was right to label this as one of the "Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.

Allow me to end this article with one final convicting thought. We learn in His confrontation with Saul on the road to Damascus that Jesus identifies with His Church. He asked the terrorist who was deadset on killing Christians and destroying the Church, “Why are you persecuting ME?” (Acts 9:4). Not “why are you persecuting My Church?” This means that however we treat the Church Jesus views that as how we are treating Him. So if you want to have nothing to do with being a part of a local body of believers, then what does that say about your desire for Jesus? If you ignore the Church and do your own thing, what does that communicate about how precious Jesus is to you? I think that it is clear. If you truly love Jesus and desire to be obedient to His commands (which is how He Himself says that those who truly love Him demonstrate such love, see John 14:23), you will become an active part of a local congregation and take your membership in that body seriously. You will strive with the aid of God’s grace to love the people in that faith community (as difficult as that may be at times) as you love Jesus Himself. Take some time to evaluate how serious or lax you have been with your church membership. Are there some changes that you need to ask the Lord to help you make? Some steps you need to take to be more obedient to His Word and demonstrate your love for Him? Let’s make church membership meaningful again!

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria!!!

Worship Directed By the Word

            Who determines how we worship God when we gather together each week? Is it the congregation? The unbelieving world which serves as our mission field? The pastor and the leaders of the church? A combination of all of the above? Is God’s only concern that we worship Him but not necessarily how we go about that worship? That as long as He is the center of our worship, He is okay with what we do? Well, let’s turn to His Word and see what He has said about it. He has not left us in the dark concerning His perspective of His worship by His people.

            When we come to Scripture and pay attention to how God has treated worship throughout the history of His relationship with His people, we find that He very much cares not only that we worship Him alone but also in regards to how we worship Him. This is the same God Who told the people specifically where they were to worship Him after He delivered them from Egypt. They weren’t to go wherever they wanted but to conduct their worship “at this mountain” (Exodus 3:12). He clearly called the shots with their worship. The second of the Ten Commandments prohibits the false worship of Him (Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 5:8-10). He told the people of Israel exactly how, detail by detail, they were to build the tabernacle and all its furniture where He was to be worshiped (Exodus 20-40). He did not leave it to themselves to decide. We have instructions in the book of Leviticus how their worship was to be conducted. And in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul laid out some principles that the Corinthians should put into practice in regards to their corporate worship together. 

It clearly appears that God does have a great concern in how He is worshiped by His people. In fact, He did not take it too kindly when Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, decided that they could offer the incense for the altar differently than God had prescribed. That actually wound up being the last offering they ever made on this earth (Leviticus 10:1-3)! I fear that too many churches today are just as guilty of offering up “strange fire” to the Lord in their worship and it is only on account of the mercy of the Lord that they do meet the same fate as these two brothers. Or we can look at the case of Uzzah when he touched God’s holy ark (2 Samuel 6:5-11; 1 Chronicles 13:7-11). He was struck down on the spot! It all could have been prevented had they been careful to transport the ark the way that God had specified by His Word (Exodus 25:14; 1 Chronicles 15:13). In both of these cases, we see that God desires to be worshiped according to His Word.

What does this mean for us as a congregation whose desire it is to be obedient to God’s Word in all that we do? It means that God’s Word must direct or regulate our worship. (Some have called this the “regulative principle for worship.”) Yes, we are given freedom within the parameters that the Lord has laid out for us but we want to be careful that we don’t cross those boundaries. Our first concern must always be that whatever is done in our worship is done according to God’s Word. The simple principle is, “If God says or implies to do it, then we do it.” “If He hasn’t revealed that we should do it, then we have no business doing it.” We don’t want to be another Nadab and Abihu disregarding God’s clear commands as to how we are to worship Him. The question should not ultimately be “How do the members of the congregation want to worship God?” or “How is the church down the street conducting their worship?” But rather, “What has God said in His Word?” And since none of us are perfect, this means that we need to be open to changing things in our worship service as we continue to study God’s Word together seeing how He is directing us in our worship. One of the slogans of the Reformers was “always reforming,” the idea that the church continues to reform in conformity to the Word of God as they are shaped more and more by it’s teaching.

There are a few things that must be present in every gathering we have for worship that God has specified for us in His Word. For one thing, He tells us that the Word of God must be read to the assembly (1 Timothy 4:13). The Word of God must also be preached (2 Timothy 4:2), prayed (1 Timothy 2:4), sung (Ephesians 5:19), and shown (Baptism and Communion; the ordinances). The focus must continually be on God and His Word (Psalm 138:2). These are the boundaries that the Lord Himself has established for us. How we are to operate within those boundaries, we’ll look at next month, including the often contentious issue of what this indicates about the songs we are to sing together as a body.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Lee

The Puzzle and Picture of Scripture

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. ~Genesis 3:15

Have you ever been studying the Bible and felt that it was one big puzzle? You read a passage and then become frustrated and scratch your head just to what it means. You drudge through the seemingly never ending hard to pronounce list of names in those numerous genealogies. Or muster the exhaustive and extensive details of how the tabernacle or Temple should be built and wonder just what is the point. You know that All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) but you struggle with how that passage fits with the others or what it has been intended to teach you. You wind up with all of these puzzle pieces without any idea how they all fit together. When you put together any puzzle, you need to look at the picture on the top of the box to understand each piece’s meaning and how they fit together in light of the painting. The same can be said of Scripture. To understand each individual puzzle piece that we encounter, we need to first recognize the overarching picture of the Bible. Due to neglecting that overarching picture, far too many people today actually miss the Bible's point. Many treat the Old Testament historical accounts as if they were Aesop's fables. Always looking for the "moral" of the story; for a specific lesson to be learned. The way to correct such a faulty view is to recognize the picture all of it paints. We find that picture in one verse, Genesis 3:15.

In the midst of announcing specific judgments, God provides hope in a precious promise. Adam and Eve have just committed cosmic treason by disobeying God’s clear command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent had talked Eve into the treacherous act and her husband, Adam, followed suit. Now God delivers punishment to each of the participants in the great sin. While cursing the serpent, God states that there will be enmity between his seed and the seed of the woman. Basically, that the descendants of the serpent and the descendants of the woman will not get along but constantly be at odds with one another. In fact, one of these seeds or descendants of the woman will bruise the serpent on the head. The idea is that of a crushing defeat; a knock out in a boxing match. The serpent will bruise the seed on the heel but will not be successful in defeating him. A bruised heel can be recovered from but a bruised head cannot. Thus, God promises One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be born of a woman who will completely defeat the serpent, who is Satan himself (Revelation 12:9). The Deliverer who would defeat the deceiver.

This one verse serves as the picture of the entire Bible. It would be what you would see on the top of the box of the puzzle. The One who serves as the Savior of His people by defeating Satan and the powers of sin and death that he holds. All of Scripture basically serves as the unfolding of this promise. It can be described as the thesis or purpose statement for the entire Bible. Throughout Scripture, we find the battle raging between the descendants of the woman and those of the serpent; between the chosen children of God by grace and the children of Satan by nature. Over and over again, we see the serpent attempt to destroy this promised Seed. His descendant, Cain, who John tells us was of the evil one (1 John 3:12), kills Abel to ensure that he could not be this Seed who would defeat him nor could he bring about this Seed that God spoke of (Genesis 4:8). He seeks to corrupt the godly line of Seth (the sons of God) through convincing them to intermarriage with his descendants of Cain (the daughters of man) (Genesis 6:1-12). Twice he attempts to have Sarah raped in order to hinder the coming of this Seed (Genesis 26:1-18) and once with Rebekah (Genesis 26:1-18). He influences Esau to vow to kill his brother Jacob, who is a child of the promise who would ultimately bring about this Seed (Genesis 27:41). He also corrupts Judah's two sons in order to prevent the continuation of the line in which this Seed would come (Genesis 38:1-10). Through the Pharaoh, he works to have all the male children murdered in Egypt (Exodus 1:15-22). Saul tries to murder David, another child of God who will be an ancestor of this Seed (1 Samuel 18:10-11). Queen Athaliah plans to destroy the royal seed which would put an end to the coming Seed (2 Chronicles 22:10). Haman worked to slaughter the Jews from which the Seed would come (Esther 3-9). There are several attempts from the Israelites themselves to murder their own children for pagan sacrificial purposes (Leviticus 18:21; 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3; Psalm 106:37-38; Ezekiel 16:20). But God triumphed in having this Seed still arrive at His appointed time in spite of all of the wiles of the serpent and his children. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5). Even after the Seed's birth, Herod orders the slaughter of all the male Jews 2 years old and younger (Matthew 2:16-18). And when he finally bruises the heel of the Seed through entering Judas' heart for him to hand Jesus over to the authorities (John 13:2), the one identified as a devil (John 6:70), he faces his defeat with the Seed bruising him on the head through conquering him, sin, and death.

The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) and the historical books reveal God’s working to bring this seed through the chosen lineage as well as providing previews of the salvation that the seed will accomplish through dying in the place of those who will trust in Him. The tedious genealogies trace the Seed’s coming and the numerous animal sacrifices indicated that an innocent party would die in the place of the people for their sins. The heroic deeds of the men and women of faith point to the Ultimate Hero to come. (After all, these "men and women" were flawed sinners so such deeds must be recognized as a result of God's grace and not of themselves.) The Law points to the need of the Seed since it reveals that none of us are perfect and thus cannot save ourselves since we all fall short of it. The judges served as types of the Seed who will serve as the Ultimate Deliverer. (In fact, these judges are often referred to as saviors.) The fact that every judge went from bad to worst (just compare Othniel who served as a pretty decent judge to Samson who broke every single vow that he made) shows that none of these judges could be their Ultimate Savior. The prophets provide further information regarding the Seed’s birth and work, indicating that He will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and be God Himself (Isaiah 9:6). The entire purpose of the priesthood, the kingship, and the office of prophet was to point to the One who would be the great High Priest of His people (Hebrews 4:14), the ultimate King to sit on David's throne and rule over God's everlasting kingdom (Luke 1:32-33), and the ultimate Prophet to proclaim God's words (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22-23; 7:37).

In a sense, we should think of the Old Testament as being on a long journey. Just as you know the destination where you are going and eagerly anticipate your arrival, the authors know that the destination is this coming Deliverer and eagerly anticipate His arrival. As the kids keep asking the questions, "Are we there yet?" and "How much longer?," the Israelites found themselves with similar ones regarding this promised Seed to come. "Is He here yet?" "Could this one be Him?" "How much longer until He arrives?" Throughout your trip, you will encounter several signs that direct you regarding different things about the destination itself. What exit to take and how many more miles you have to go. The Old Testament also is filled with signs of what the Messiah will be like and how He will arrive. All of it points to Him and His work of deliverance.

The Gospels and New Testament letters reveals this Seed to have arrived and be named Jesus (Matthew 1:1-16, 21; Galatians 4:4-5). It is the very reason that Matthew begins his gospel with Jesus' genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17) and why Luke includes it as well (Luke 3:23-38). They show how the Seed defeated the serpent through His death on the cross and bodily resurrection. They also indicate the change that the Seed brings when one truly has embraced Him and trusted in Him and His work alone for their salvation. The book of Revelation reveals the final victory the Seed has over that serpent. As Alistair Begg has so succinctly put it, "In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted, in the Gospels Jesus is revealed, in the Acts of the apostles Jesus is preached, in the Epistles, or letters Jesus is explained, and in the Book of Revelation Jesus is expected."

So the next time that you are perplexed trying to make sense of a certain passage of Scripture that you are studying, consider how it contributes to the greater picture of God’s salvation through Christ and His death on the cross; this war between the children of God and the children of the devil as well as the bruising of the Seed's heel and the bruising of the serpent's head. The intended meaning may then become clear. You may see how the puzzle indeed fits after looking at the top of the box.

"Read the Bible with Christ continually in view. The grand primary object of all Scripture, is to testify of Jesus! Old Testament ceremonies are shadows of Christ. Old Testament judges are types of Christ. Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ’s sufferings, and of Christ’s glory yet to come. The first coming and the second; the Lord’s humiliation and His glorious kingdom; His cross and the crown shine forth everywhere in the Bible. Keep fast hold on this clue, if you would read the Bible aright!" ~ J.C. Ryle
Love in Christ,
Pastor Lee