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Indelible Grace Church Blog

Seeing Christ in the Old Testament

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We've been going through Ephesians 5 on marriage in our Sunday sermons. The Apostle Paul makes an incredible statement in verse 32 – "this mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." What is this mystery? Paul, of course, is referring to his quotation of Genesis 2:24 in the immediate preceding verse – "therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

Here's what's profoundly amazing about what Paul is teaching us. Genesis 2:24, which on the surface is the story of Adam and Eve and the world's first wedding, is really about Christ and the church. This was unbeknownst to Adam, Eve and the writer of Genesis – thus a mystery! Only with the coming of Christ was this mystery revealed.

In the sermon series – I unpacked what this means for our understanding of marriage and salvation. But here, I want to explore what this says about how we read the Old Testament. Paul is showing us how to read the Hebrew Scriptures. The New Testament gives us new eyes to reread the Old Testament and see Christ in all those old familiar stories. Do we not see this again and again? Jesus says – "the story of Jonah. Don’t you realize that’s a picture of me?" (Matthew 12:39) Paul says – "the rock Moses struck in the wilderness. That was Christ!" (1 Corinthians 10:4) On the road to Emmaus, Jesus instructs his disciples – "and beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus interpreted to his disciples in all the Scriptures [Old Testament] the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:27)

In formal theological terms, this is called Biblical Theology or Covenant Theology. It gives us a paradigm for reading the OT, not as moral parables (a la Aesop's Fables), but as pictures of salvation in Christ. It informs how we read the Old Testament, even in those stories where the New Testament does not explicitly spell out how Christ is the real story. In other words, we read the Old Testament through the lens of the gospel.  As Augustine once wrote, "The New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament; and the Old is revealed in the New."


If you would like to learn more, here are a few good resources:

The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones (difficulty level: easy)

According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible, Graeme Goldsworthy (medium)

Preaching Christ in All of Scripture, Edmund Clowney (medium)

Biblical Theology, Geerhardus Vos (advanced)

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, Sidney Greidanus (advanced)

Last Updated on Monday, 04 April 2011 20:39
 

Reaching out to Cal State East Bay

Eric Jung is our ministry intern. He is on staff at InterVarsity at Cal State East Bay and he is preparing for seminary and pastoral ministry.  Recently, he wrote a report on what he’s been up to lately.

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Spring Conference – Growing deeper in the gospel

Last week, 12 students and staff from our campus coordinated a joint retreat with UC Davis' InterVarsity chapter in the mountains of Santa Rosa where we got to dig deep into the Gospel of Mark. A few of the new students and I got to sit in the first five chapters of Mark and look at Jesus in an intense, focused way. We discovered many great truths from the fact that the gospel is essentially good news and not good advice (listening versus doing) to the way that Jesus has authority over demons, sickness, sin, and ultimately even death. And along the way, we also saw that what mattered wasn't the strength of our faith as the object of our faith, namely Christ Jesus.

In addition to growing in the Word, we also had sweet fellowship with one another. I was startled to see how openly students would confess sins to one another and pray for one another, and greatly encouraged to see how the gospel was reshaping students' identities and values. Many students testified to being healed not just in a superficial sense (such as sexual impurity and idolizing grades) but in a deeper sense (things like loneliness, bitterness, and hopelessness).

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Ministry at CSUEB – Growing outward in the gospel

But as the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians, people will glorify God because of our submission that flows from our confession of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13), more than mere words without deeds. It is in that spirit that we look forward to this Thursday (3/31) where we will be having our Caesar Chavez outing. Since we have no school that day, our chapter will be taking around 15-20 students up to the mountain to talk and think about human trafficking and how our faith shapes our response to this issue. This is in anticipation for our upcoming event where we will partner with CSUEB’s Diversity Center in order to highlight not just a global issue but a profoundly local one as well.

As we realize how we were once in bondage and enslaved to unrighteousness and how Christ came to set us free at great personal cost to himself, we are motivated to also work toward proclaiming liberty to those who remain in physical and spiritual bondage. At the same time, this is a matter of deep injustice and we believe that God cares thoroughly for those who are oppressed and marginalized.

Praise be to God,

Eric Jung

IGC is proud to partner with Eric Jung in his ministry to the students at CSUEB. If you would like to financially support Eric, you can do so here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2011 22:29
 

Peacemaker: Jesus' New Family Rules

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by Pastor Shawn Doud

• What were the relational rules at your house growing up?
• The only family member you can say bad things about is Uncle Eustace.
• If you say our family has problems you’re the problem.
• If your feelings get hurt, you’re just too sensitive.
• To confront someone who hurts you means you don’t love them.

In our the upcoming four-week Sunday School series on Peacemaking (beginning March 20) we will explore some of the unspoken rules of our families and churches. We will be examining the root causes of conflict and how Jesus uses conflict to bring us face to face with our sin and the way that the Gospel restores broken relationships through forgiveness embraced and offered. This might be some of the most difficult and most practical Christian teaching we can tackle together. Since we belong to the Prince of Peace, there is hope for all areas of life (even our most painful relationships) to experience reconciliation and reflect the Gospel.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 March 2011 16:22
 

Reflections on Mercy Ministry

At seven and a half months old, IGC got to experience its first Christmas as a church. Aligned with our church’s core values, IGC wanted to make it a season where we focused outwardly towards the greater Bay Area community. As Christians, we have received the greatest gift – grace. The name of our church, Indelible Grace Church, means that God’s grace and love to those who believe the gospel is unending and can never be erased.  What better way could we spend the holiday season than by showing that same grace and mercy to others?

IGC is committed to making a difference in people's lives, especially during this time of economic hardship. We partnered with a local organization based out of Oakland, California called World Impact. World Impact is a Christian missions organization dedicated to ministering God’s love to inner cities by "adopting" families and meeting their material needs.  Through the first week of December, twenty families were still waiting "adoption." IGC made a commitment to adopt three families. The director was surprised and thrilled to hear that we were willing to adopt so many because each family had multiple items on their wish-list.  I was a little hesitant myself to agree to three families not knowing how big each request was. I feared that perhaps each family had asked for a large flat-screen television, an Apple laptop, and new clothes!  But once the families' requests were emailed, I realized that I was completely wrong. These families just wanted basic necessities, items that we take for granted, such as socks, pajamas, jackets, shoes, etc.

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Some of the items donated by IGC members.

Members of IGC were overwhelmingly responsive to the families’ requests.  Whether people contributed by adopting a whole family, an item or two, through financial donations, or in prayers, IGC fully covered the requests of all three families and was even able to donate more than what was requested.  More important than the donations was the hope given to these families.  Nothing is more important than God’s grace, and it is a privilege to be able to share that gift with others.

This blog entry was written by Marianne Siu.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 January 2011 19:08
 

Why I’m a Counselor

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You are more than your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

"You Are More" by Tenth Avenue North

I got into counseling for the same reason I've gotten into a lot of other things: to be the answers guy. For most of my life I’ve been underweight, or had an overbite, or undershot the basket. For most of my life I’ve felt lame. Or I’ve felt good about myself and grew in my pride. Let’s just say like any other sinner I’ve overdone the wrong things and underdone the right things. Which puts me right where everybody else lives. Having the answers was a way to sweep all that lameness under the rug. God likes pulling up rugs and shining the light. When God sent Christ to us it was to show us what was under the rug and take away what was brought to light.

The Gospel has come down to where we live. One wise translator paraphrased John 1:14 this way: "The Word became flesh and became a local. Heavenly glory had an address, a mom, a job, taxes, and a time of death."

God gets into the nitty-gritty details. Our struggle is trying to find how he fits. The type of counseling I’m trained in and practice (usually called biblical counseling) is looking for how we can walk together with people and see how the Gospel fits. The Gospel gives us a new narrative that is greater than what’s been done to us, or what we did, or what we feel. What God has done for us is just the beginning of what God wants to do inside of us. So really biblical counseling is a way of walking with someone through their story and then walking together through God’s story of redemption until there is hope for their story.

Now I see that wise love involves a lot more listening to both of the stories. Wise love walks with compassionate silence and wise words (mostly questions). I’m learning on the job when each are called for.

When I meet with people I am hopeful. Not because I’m a fortune teller, or have x-ray vision. I am hopeful because God knows people. He knows what derails us. He has planned the restoration of all things. His good news believed changes people. It changes deeply broken people. And while it’s still good news and people are still broken we can walk together and find hope. The middle of the story is ugly. The cross is ugly. My sin and yours is ugly. But that’s where God gets busy and does his “behold I make all things new” promise into reality. That’s why I’m a counselor.

This post is by Shawn Doud, the assistant pastor of Indelible Grace Church. You can also visit his counseling website GraceXchange.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 17:13
 


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