June 11, 2017

One story — His story

Several people have said to me, “I don’t have faith like you do” as if faith is totally unobtainable, yet the Bible says, “Faith comes through hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

The Word of the Lord is powerful and effective. Acts 4:4 records instances like this: “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”

Even more astonishing is that at that time, the New Testament did not exist! The only Scriptures available to preach and teach the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ were the books of the Old Testament. How then could this be the ‘word of Christ’ when it was written before Jesus was born and His coming was still a promise?

Here is a clue: after Jesus rose from the dead, He walked alongside two disciples who did not recognize Him. The Bible says, 

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself . . . . Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” (Luke 24:27, 44–47)

The NT says that redemption’s story in the OT points to Jesus. Right from the beginning, Jesus is promised as the one who will conquer Satan (see Genesis 3:15) and the rest of the Scriptures, including the prophets, also point ahead to Him.

Remembering that the NT had not yet been written, these verses add to that evidence:

  • “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me (Jesus), yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39–40)
  • “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture (from Isaiah) he told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35)
  • “To him (Jesus) all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)
  • “And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures (OT), explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.’” (Acts 17:2–3)
  • “Then I (Jesus) said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” (Hebrews 10:7)

Being a detail person, seeing the big picture in the Bible has been such a blessing. The story of mankind can be summed up in four major stages: creation, the fall into sin, redemption promised and fulfilled, consummation when Christ returns. We are well into the third stage and eagerly waiting for the final one!

Jesus, these passages and Your words fill me with great anticipation, but also with a better understanding. When I read the OT, I now look for You. You show me Yourself in the promises concerning ‘Messiah’ but I also see shadows of You in the lives of people like Joseph and David, and in the way God works with rebellious Israel to deliver and restore them. The redemption story is not completed yet and my hope is that thousands will hear a word about You and be granted the faith to believe and be saved. Thank You for this marvelous book and for Your amazing work to deliver us from sin and take us to our eternal home with You.


Darrell said...

I am really enjoying your devotions. My question: Does the date of your writing correspond to the same date as Donald Fortner? ie Yours: Sunday, June 11, 2017 "One story — His story" ; Donald Fortner: June 11, Day 163 "To him give all the prophets witness"?

Do you sometimes use scripture that is different from Fortner's? I just want to make sure I'm following correctly.

Elsie Montgomery said...

Thanks for this question. I read the Bible verse that Fortner gives, listening for God's word for myself each day. Usually those verses he uses have a word for me, but not always. Or they put other thoughts or applications in my mind than what they gave to Fortner.

On occasion, Fortner says something that does not give me a sense that God is saying anything to me. When that happens, I go wherever the Holy Spirit leads, and write what it seems He is saying to me. At times, Forner's theology makes me question whether or not it is true, so I go looking for the answer and wind up using different verses.

In other words, Fortner is not the source for my writing, except that he prompts ideas. From there I am listening and watching to discover what the Bible says about the ideas that God pops into my head. I am not trying to clarify Fortner, or explain his stuff. This is my devotional and concerns what God says to me each day.

That said, I don't skip around with Fortner's writing. I read it, sometimes comment on it, but not always. I'm listening for God, not for Fortner's ideas. Hope this explanation makes sense.

Darrell said...

Thanks, Elsie. The Lord is doing a great work through your writing.