Hitched: The Gospel Message

Sharing your testimony should not be scary for you. Has God saved you? Has he made you new? Has he changed your life? Great! Then tell your story!


When Jesus called Philip to follow him, Philips first course of action was to go and tell someone. He went to Nathanael. I want you to notice the message that Philip delivered to Nathanael though. It’s a message that has nothing to do with Philip and everything to do with Jesus.


John 1:45, “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”


Going Deeper

Though Philip does not mention himself here, other than including himself in “we,” it must be assumed that Nathanael already knew Philip. Nathanael knew the man that Philip was and thus Philip did not need to spend a great deal of time introducing himself. Rather, Philip gets right to the heart of the message. There are two main principles in his message that you need to see: Philip’s message was biblical and Christ-centered.



Biblical. Philip describes Jesus as the one of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote. Philip is linking Jesus to the Old Testament. This is of huge significance. In recent days, a widely popular preacher has suggested that evangelical Christians should “unhitch” themselves from the Old Testament. It has been suggested that in light of the New Testament, the Old Testament is somehow of less importance, and by implication, less inspired, than the New Testament. This is a grave mistake!


Repeatedly, the New Testament refers back to the Old Testament. Philip’s message to Nathanael is one example. Jesus makes a very similar statement about the Old Testament pointing to himself as he journeys the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:27.


How do we know Philip is referring to the Old Testament? “Moses and the Law” refers to the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Pentateuch, or the Torah. Torahis a Hebrew word that means “teaching” or “instruction,” and Pentateuch is a Greek word that means “five books.” When Philip says the prophets, he is referring to all of the books known as the Major and Minor Prophets. These books are books authored by prophets. Major Prophets are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Minor Prophets are: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. God doesn’t distinguish them as major and minor, but man has done that in order to be able to categorize them. The words major and minor are not indicative of the importance or significance of the content matter, but simply refer the size of each book. The Minor Prophets are considerably shorter than the Major Prophets. Thus, Philip is referring to at least 22 of the 39 books of the Old Testament. Philip is referring to the Old Testament.


Christ-centered. And why does he refer to these 22 books? Because these authors all wrote about Jesus. Yes, the Old Testament points to the coming of Christ, so when Christ comes Philip recognizes it and immediately tells Nathanael. Philip recognizes that everything the Old Testament is leading up to has finally come! We cannot “unhitch” from the Old Testament. If we abandon the teachings of the Old Testament, we cannot have a proper understanding of the New Testament. Think about it:

  • Without Genesis 1-3 we don’t know why we’re sinners, we don’t know why death occurs, and we don’t know we need a Savior.

  • Without Genesis 6-9 we don’t fully understand the universal wrath of God and the security of the saved.

  • Without Exodus 12 we don’t fully understand substitutionary atonement.

  • Without Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy we don’t understand the Law and what it is required to fulfill the Law.

  • Without 1 & 2 Samuel we don’t understand the throne of David Jesus inherits.

  • Without the Psalms we don’t understand the human emotions encompassed in following Jesus.

  • Without the prophetic books, we don’t understand the grace in the centuries upon centuries of warnings to repent in anticipation of the Savior to come.

  • Without the Old Testament, we are just unhitched from the Biblical narrative altogether.

Application

Like Philip, when you share the gospel with your one, give them a biblical and Christ-centered message. Take them back to God’s perfect design in the Garden of Eden, and how sin ruined perfection. Explain how the broken world that you and I live in today is broken because of Adam’s sin. Explain how every human effort to fix brokenness is in vain. Then give them the good news: God provided a way of salvation, a way to restore brokenness back to perfection. Give them the Gospel, and use the Old Testament to explain it. Use Genesis 22 as an example of one facing death, but God provided a substitute. Use Exodus 12 as an example of a people facing death, but God provided a perfect substitute; a substitute that had to render its blood in order to appease the wrath of God. Use 1 Samuel 17 to tell them that we were like the Israelites, facing an enemy that we could not face, and then God sent the most unlikeliest of heroes to rescue us. Tell them “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Tell them about Jesus!







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75 Lowe Street

Canton, NC 28716

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