Life Theology

Every Text a Road to Christ

Part 1 in a 10 part series. View series intro and index.

When was the last time you read 1 Kings or Deuteronomy and thought of Jesus?  (Maybe I should just ask when you last read 1 Kings or Deuteronomy?) The sad truth is, most Christians read the Bible and have no framework for how to read it and what to look for–especially when it comes to the Old Testament. If I’m honest, left to my natural inclinations, the Bible becomes a book of rules or a guide to how to be more or less like a particular character or a giant fortune cookie with inspirational sayings.

But that is not how we are to read the Bible. In our introductory post, I argued that if you read the Bible this way, you won’t last a week. And if you read the Bible this way, you will miss the point of the story, namely the redemptive work of God accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ.

In Bryan Chappell’s book Christ-Centered Preaching he says that the great British pastor Charles Spurgeon always took a shortcut to Christ no matter what text he preached from. Chappell went on to quote Spurgeon:

Don’t you know young man that from every town, and every village, and every hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London…So from every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis, Christ. And my dear brother, your business is when you get to a text, to say, now what is the road to Christ?…I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one…I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it.

Meditate on that last phrase: “For the sermon [or in our case devotional time] cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it.” If you spend “time with the Lord” but do not actually encounter and experience the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, then what good is it?!  If you spend “time with the Lord” but only think about how you can better yourself or how you can do this or that, is it really time with the Lord? No.

Here’s a news flash: The Bible is not about you. The Bible is about God working in history to rescue and redeem a people for himself–for his praise, for his glory, for his fame. Not yours. Therefore, if the grand story of the world is about what God has done, then the main character is God. Furthermore, because Jesus, God incarnate, is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of his nature (Heb. 1:3), he is to be the blazing center of all Bible study, both personal and corporate.

Hopefully this post gets the gears of your mind churning. Late next week, we will flesh out what “every text a road to Christ” actually looks like when you sit down with your Bible. Before we get there, we’ll need to take a practical “how to” look at setting up a “devotional time.”


The Importance of Conversion in the Church

Scripture is clear in teaching that we are not all journeying toward God–some having found Him, others still seeking. Instead, Scripture presents us as needing to have our hearts replaced, our minds transformed, our spirits given life. We can do none of this for ourselves. The change each human needs, regardless of how we may outwardly appear, is so radical, so near our roots, that only God can bring it about. We need God to convert us…I fear that one of the results of misunderstanding the Bible’s teaching on conversion may well be that evangelical churches are full of people who have made sincere commitments at some point in their lives but who have not experienced the radical change that the Bible calls conversion.”

– Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), p. 113.


Spurgeon Sermon Wordle

From Spurgeon’s sermon on John 5:40.

Wordle: Spurgeon Sermon on John 5:40


Spurgeon on Praying in the Spirit

The seed of acceptable devotion must come from heaven’s storehouse.  Only the prayer which comes from God can go to God.

Spurgeon’s five aspects of praying in the Spirit:

  1. Fervency: “Those who do not plead with fervency, plead not at all.”
  2. Perseveringly: “The longer the gate is closed, the more vehemently does he uses the knocker.”
  3. Humbly: “Out of hte depths must we cry, or we shall never behold glory in the highest.”
  4. Loving: “Prayer should be perfumed with love, saturated with love — love to saints, and love to Christ.”
  5. Faith: “A man prevails only as he believes.”

Most blessed Comforter, exert Thy mighty power within us, helping our infirmities in prayer!

Read the whole thing here.

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Sunday Spurgeon

From Morning and Evening:

I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
– Psalm 101:1 (ESV)

Faith triumphs in trial. When reason is thrust into the inner prison, with her feet made fast in the stocks, faith makes the dungeon walls ring with her merry notes as she cries, “I will sing of mercy and of judgment. Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.” Faith pulls the black mask from the face of trouble, and discovers the angel beneath. Faith looks up at the cloud, and sees that

“‘Tis big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on her head.”

There is a subject for song even in the judgments of God towards us. For, first, the trial is not so heavy as it might have been; next, the trouble is not so severe as we deserved to have borne; and our affliction is not so crushing as the burden which others have to carry. Faith sees that in her worst sorrow there is nothing penal; there is not a drop of God’s wrath in it; it is all sent in love. Faith discerns love gleaming like a jewel on the breast of an angry God. Faith says of her grief, “This is a badge of honour, for the child must feel the rod”; and then she sings of the sweet result of her sorrows, because they work her spiritual good. Nay, more, says Faith, “These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” So Faith rides forth on the black horse, conquering and to conquer, trampling down carnal reason and fleshly sense, and chanting notes of victory amid the thickest of the fray.

“All I meet I find assists me
In my path to heavenly joy:
Where, though trials now attend me,
Trials never more annoy.

“Blest there with a weight of glory,
Still the path I’ll ne’er forget,
But, exulting, cry, it led me
To my blessed Saviour’s seat.”