Thursday, February 18, 2021

Do We Need the Old Testament?

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

By the time Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, rumors had already begun to spread that he was starting a religious revolution. Many Jews—especially those in the religious establishment—had come to believe that Jesus wanted to scrap the Jewish religion. After all, Jesus ignored many of their time-honored customs, like ceremonial hand washing and fasting every Friday. Jesus did rebellious things, like healing on the Sabbath Day. Jesus shared meals with tax collectors, prostitutes and other sinners. No self-respecting rabbi would ever do that!  And if that wasn’t bad enough, Jesus didn’t tiptoe around the religious leaders and treat them like royalty. Now, THAT was inexcusable!

So, many Jews in Israel were confused about what Jesus thought about the Old Testament. Some were convinced that he wanted to abolish it altogether. And honestly, in our day, many Christians believe much the same thing. Many Christians believe that the Old Testament, especially the Old Testament Law, belongs on the ash heap of no-longer-relevant history. But to that, Jesus says in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” I really like the way The Living Bible paraphrases this verse: “Don’t misunderstand why I have come—it isn’t to cancel the laws of Moses and the warnings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them and to make them all come true.” 

One reason we can be certain that Jesus was the promised Christ was because he is the only person in the history of the world who fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies: He was born in Bethlehem of a virgin in the family line of King David (prophesied in Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14 and Jer. 23:5-6). He came out of Egypt, grew up in Nazareth and proclaimed good news to the poor and freedom for the captives. (Hosea 11:1; Isaiah 61:1). Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He was pierced. Men cast lots for his clothing. And he was raised to life. (Those are fulfillments of the very detailed prophecies in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.) And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Directly or indirectly, Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies.

So, Jesus has no desire or intention of eliminating the Old Testament’s prophetic books, because they all serve as a huge neon arrow pointing right to Jesus. If you read the New Testament and aren’t convinced that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God, then go back and read the Old Testament prophets. Read ALL of Isaiah 53. Read ALL of Psalm 22, and you’ll become convinced. Because, once again, the Old Testament prophets are a neon arrow pointing straight to Jesus. 

But what about the Old Testament law, the Torah? In the first five books of the Old Testament —especially Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—the ancient Jewish scribes counted 613 Laws of Moses. Didn’t Jesus come to scrap those laws? Obviously, we don’t slaughter sheep and goats anymore. We don’t wring off the heads of sacrificial doves. We don’t burn incense in temples, prosecute people who get tattoos, or stone to death children who rebel against their parents.

Well, keep this in mind. Those 613 laws fall into three categories: The Moral Law, The Civil Law, and the Ceremonial Law. The Moral Law contains laws like the Ten Commandments, which are timeless. They are to be obeyed by every follower of God in ALL times and places. The Civil Law contained specific laws for the nation of Israel to help maintain law and order. The Ceremonial Law contained the laws dealing with worship at the tabernacle and temple, including animal sacrifice.

Jesus came to reinforce the Old Testament Moral Law, and he came to FULFILL the intention of the Civil and Ceremonial Law. What does that mean? Theologian Warren Wiersbe explains it very well: “Jesus did not destroy the law by fighting it; He destroyed it by fulfilling it! Perhaps an illustration will make this clear. If I have an acorn, I can destroy it in one of two ways. I can put it on a rock and smash it to bits with a hammer. Or, I can plant it in the ground and let it fulfill itself by becoming an oak tree.”

So, did Jesus come to take a hammer and beat the Old Testament Law to a bloody pulp? Never! The Jewish people didn’t realize that for the past 1,500 years God had been planting those 613 Old Testament laws as seeds in the ground. If people were to step back and open their eyes, they would see that those 613 laws blossomed into a living, breathing neon arrow that pointed straight to Jesus.

We don’t need to slaughter sheep and birds anymore, not because those laws have been abolished, but because Jesus’ sacrifice has made them obsolete. We don’t have Aaron’s priesthood anymore that leads us in temple rituals, not because Jesus scrapped Aaron’s priesthood or the temple rituals, but because Jesus’ greater priesthood and superior ministry have made them obsolete. So, Jesus says in Matthew 5:18: “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

So, what are you and I supposed to do with the Old Testament Law? Should we take out a hammer and beat it to a bloody pulp? Never! It is God’s word. So, we read it. We study it. And we step back and marvel at the way it points straight to Jesus.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Don't Lose Your Flavor!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness … it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” — Matthew 5:13

I heard about a man who was walking through a county fair when he met a little girl who was carrying a gigantic fluff of cotton candy on a stick. It was almost as big as she was! He asked her, "How can a little girl like you eat all that cotton candy?" She looked up at him and said, "Well, I'm really much bigger on the inside than I am on the outside."

If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, here’s a truth that Jesus doesn’t want you to miss: While the world focuses on making you bigger on the outside, Jesus focuses on making you bigger on the inside. When Jesus preached the greatest sermon of all time, the Sermon on the Mount, he was aiming the sermon at his followers—those who had already chosen to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And he started off with the eight Beatitudes to show us what our character should look like in Christ’s Kingdom: humble, repentant, self-controlled, hungry for God, merciful, sincere peace makers.

But what Jesus teaches us immediately after the Beatitudes is just as important. In a nutshell, Jesus says, “There is a reason I’ve called you to live this way. It all comes down to influence.” The passage right after the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:13, is ALL ABOUT INFLUENCE. Jesus tells us, “I order you to influence those around you! You are the salt of the earth!” In Christ’s own words: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” What on earth does he mean?

Well, salt brings out flavor, and it creates thirst. But there is another use of salt that is more likely what Jesus had in mind that day.

Salt purifies. In the ancient world, raw salt was considered to be one of the purest elements on earth, and therefore came to symbolize purity. That’s one of the main reasons God instructed the Jewish priests to use it in their religious ceremonies and sacrifices. As Christ’s followers, we are to purify this corrupt world through our example of righteous character and by leading people to Jesus, who can cleanse them from unrighteousness. If you and I are living righteous lives but not leading people to Jesus Christ, our righteousness won’t do our family and friends any good. They’ll still die in their sins. On the other hand, if we try to lead people to Jesus, but we ourselves are just as corrupt as the people around us, unbelievers will say, “No, thank you! If that’s what following Jesus looks like, count me out!”

Notice that Jesus says, “If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” People in Jesus’ day knew exactly what he was talking about. The Jewish people quarried most of their salt from the Dead Sea valley, where there is plenty of salt. But there’s one problem: Much of the salt is contaminated with sand and gypsum and chemicals. Strictly speaking, the salt itself is not less salty than other salt. But mixed with all the other junk, it loses its potency. And when that happened in Jesus’ day, people would just toss it out on the roads as a cheap weed killer that people could stomp on.

Followers of Christ are a salt that purifies. We are called to remain pure in a corrupt world. And our purity should influence the corrupt world around us. We mustn’t let the corrupt world influence us the way sand and gypsum dilutes the flavor of salt. People have a bad habit of lowering their moral standards over time. Cultures around the world tend to lower their sexual standards, their standards for marriage and divorce, and their moral standards for music, TV programs and movies. But Christians are called to maintain the highest level of pure moral standards in a polluted culture that constantly wants us to drop them. So, in all likelihood, Jesus has purity in mind as he tells us that we are the salt of the earth.

You and I should have a purifying effect everywhere we go. Your home should be less corrupt because you’re there. Your workplace should be less corrupt because you’re there. Your school, your neighborhood and even your church should be less corrupt because you’re there.

And if they aren’t then something is terribly wrong, because pure salt always has an influence. Pure salt always makes a difference. So, if you are a follower of Christ but you’re not having a positive impact in your corner of the world, there are only two possible explanations: 1) Either you’ve become contaminated, or 2) you’re hiding in the salt shaker. Either way, you need to knock it off!

Bible scholar William Barclay wrote: “If the Christian is to be the salt of the earth, he must have a certain antiseptic influence on life…. The Christian must be the cleansing antiseptic in any society in which he happens to be; he must be the person who by his presence defeats corruption and makes it easier for others to be good.”

Salt purifies. So, Jesus calls you and me to have a purifying influence in our world. Remember, “You are the salt of the earth!”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

Monday, February 8, 2021

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” — Matthew 5:9

What do you think of when you hear the word “peacemaker”? Many people in our culture think of the Colt single-action revolver, the pistol famously known as “The Peacemaker.” What do you think the chances are that, when Jesus told us, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), he had something entirely different in mind? Pretty good chance, don’t you think?

Throughout the New Testament, God’s word calls us to pursue peace. Jesus tells us in Mark 9:50: “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” And James 3:17-18 reads, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

Notice something interesting in that James 3 passage. It doesn’t say that the wisdom from heaven is first of all “peace-loving.” It says that the wisdom from heaven is, first of all, pure. “Blessed are the peacemakers” was the seventh Beatitude given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. But right before it, the sixth beatitude says, “Blessed are the pure in heart” (v8). Do you think it’s a coincidence that being pure is mentioned right before being peace-loving in James 3:17 and ALSO mentioned right before being peacemakers in Matthew 5:9? No way! It’s definitely not a coincidence.

So, here’s a very important truth: Without purity, there will be no peace. To be peace lovers and peacemakers, we must first be pure in heart. If peace is built on any foundation other than Christ’s purity, it’s a FALSE peace. That’s very important to remember these days, when there’s much talk about achieving “peace in the Middle East,” “peace in Washington D.C.” and “peace in America.” If the foundation of that so-called “peace” is anything other than the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, that is a false peace. Like the peace that comes from a Colt single-action revolver it is—at best—shallow and temporary.

God wants you to be at peace in your relationships, but never at the expense of your purity. If you have to lie, cheat, steal, or in any way compromise your integrity on the road to peace, you’re on the wrong road. Many wives think that they have to lie to their husbands to keep the peace. Many kids and teenagers think that they have to cheat on their assignments to keep their grades up so they can keep the peace at home. Many of us, when we’re around non-Christian friends, change the way we talk and act in order to fit in and keep the peace. But that’s a false peace that ultimately doesn’t do your friends any good. Impurity never leads to true, lasting peace.

Once you have that foundation of purity, here are four keys to becoming a peacemaker in your relationships:

Key #1: Stay humble. If you are arrogant and full of yourself, you’ll inevitably say and do things to others that damage your relationships. If you aren’t humble, you will be a peace-breaker, not a peacemaker.

Key #2: Repent of your sin. Once you humble yourself before God, you must grieve over your own sin and turn from it. If you don’t think that your mean and hurtful words to others are really mean and hurtful, don’t be surprised if you’ve got some broken relationships on your hands. Don’t ever forget the four most important three-word sentences in any relationship. “I am sorry.” “I was wrong.” “I love you.” “Please forgive me.” If you can’t speak those words and mean them, you are NOT a peacemaker.

Key #3: Pray for those who have hurt you. Jesus says in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Don’t expect to experience true peace and reconciliation in your relationships if you’re not willing to sincerely love and pray for those who’ve hurt you. If you’re harboring bitterness, anger and resentment toward someone, DO NOT try to make peace with him or her until you’ve spent time in prayer and given that bitterness, anger and resentment over to the Lord. 

Key #4: Act quickly. Don’t allow open wounds to fester. Jesus tells us plainly in Matthew 5:25, “Settle matters quickly with your adversary.” That’s marvelous counsel. Don’t allow wounds in your relationships to fester. Don’t allow the sun to go down on your anger. If you want to be a peacemaker, deal with the rifts in your relationships as soon as possible. Take time to pray first, but then get to it!

Finally, remember: The most important way we can ever bring about peace in our relationships with people is to lead them into a relationship with Jesus. You’ll never be a true peacemaker who will be called a “child of God” if you’re not leading those around you to become “children of God” as well.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit