THE GOSPEL OF
O U T L I N E
= a Dispensational Outline
Matthew has a strong dispensational line of teaching that deals with the changes in God’s ways with His people on the earth. The greatest change that is emphasized is the setting aside of Israel for a time in the ways of God, and the blessing of the Gentiles in the interim. The future blessing of Israel through a remnant is also brought forward. The great theme of the book is the kingdom of heaven; it was prophesied of in the Old Testament, it’s manifestation was postponed because of Israel’s unbelief, but it has been set up in mystery form until the Church period comes to a close. Read more… Matthew helps us to get established in the truth of the Christian dispensation, although this book was primarily written to the Jewish people.
The purpose(s) of the book. For the Jews:
- To show that Jesus is their Messiah – as the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies.
- To establish the nation’s guilt in rejecting their Messiah.
And for Christians:
- To establish us in the broad changes of God’s dispensational ways.
A different style of teaching is seen in the gospels compared to the epistles. in the epistles the truth is stated outright, but in the gospels the Spirit of God teaches more often through symbolic actions of our Lord, and though parabolic teachings. Both ways are very good and helpful, but we need to understand that the gospels are different. If we do not understand that the gospels present a different style of teaching, we will not get the full benefit from all the miracles and parables which are recorded in them. At the same time, there needs to be added carefulness when seeking to apprehend the true interpretation of indirect teaching. It is easy to read thinks into the scripture that the Holy Spirit never put there. As with other parts of scripture, we need to read the gospels in the light of all the other scriptures.
The fulfillment of prophecy. In Matthew we see over and over again the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah fulfilled by Jesus. The Spirit of God acted in the capacity of “the porter” (John 10:3) to show, from the Old Testament scriptures, that Jesus was the Christ.
Dispensations are the various ordered dealings of God with men on the earth at different times. The Children of Israel in the Old Testament were in a different dispensation than we are in today. In the Millennium, inhabitants of the earth will live in a different dispensation than we are in today. Having an understanding of these changes in God’s dealings is tremendously important. Our behavior as Christians is largely based on the principles that God has given to us in the present dispensation. Read more…
The seed-plot of the New testament. Just as the book of Genesis is the seed-plot of the Old Testament (having the elements of promise, government, election, faith, and resurrection, etc.), so Matthew has the seeds of New Testament doctrine, although they are not brought out in their full depth in Matthew. To give some examples:
- right Christian conduct (ch.5-7)
- the failure of the Christian testimony (ch.13)
- the assembly (ch.16 & 18)
- The coming of Christ (ch.24-25)
- Christ’s glory in the kingdom (ch.17)
It is important to see that this “seed plot” is painted on a Jewish backdrop. Romans 15:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ became a minister of the circumcision.” Christianity did not properly begin until Christ rose from the dead, ascended to the Father, and send down the Holy Spirit. Christ’s ministry on earth was primarily to the circumcision. But in that ministry we see – by miracle and parable – the seeds of New Testament doctrine, particularly the setting aside of Israel and the bringing in of a new order.
Connection between Matthew, John, and Paul. Matthew documents the rejection of Jesus as the Christ, and John begins with His rejection as a forgone conclusion! In Matthew, man’s rejection of the Christ is the cause of Him retreating into His eternal relationship as the Son of God (Matt. 11:17, Matt. 16:16), but just mentioned in a kernel. Then in John, the glories of the Son of God and the revelation of the Father are fully treated of. In Paul’s writings, we have the glories of the Son as a foregone conclusion, and instead he unfolds those blessings that are ours as associated with the Person of the Son!
|Foregone conclusion||Old Testament history of Israel||⇗||Christ presented and
rejected by His people
|⇗||The glories of the Son,
the Father revealed
|Main subject||Christ presented and
rejected by His people
|The glories of the Son,
the Father revealed
|Our blessings in
association with Christ
Four gospels, Four perspectives:
- Matthew – written for the Jew
- Mark – written for the Roman
- Luke – written for the Greek
- John – written for the Church
We can all learn and enjoy each gospel, but they are understood best when we know the perspective they are written from.
Four gospels, Four themes:
- Matthew – Jesus, the King of the Jews
- Mark – Jesus, the Perfect Servant
- Luke – Jesus, the Perfect Man
- John – Jesus, as God Himself in the Person of the Son
The synoptic gospels are Matthew, Mark, and Luke because they give a short synopsis of the Lord’s life from beginning to end. John doesn’t do that, he focuses on the Lord’s ministry in and around Jerusalem. In the synoptic Gospels, we have Christ presented to man to be received, but man fails the test and Christ is rejected. In John, Christ is rejected by man and Israel from the beginning, and God’s sovereign ways in grace and resurrection brought in. Another difference is the audience. In the synoptic gospels we often have Jesus preaching to multitudes, but in John He is very often seen in a pastoral role, speaking to individuals… and it is to those individuals that He reveals the deepest truth of His Person!
- Kelly, William. Lectures on the Gospel of Matthew. Loizeaux Brothers, 1943.
- Darby, J. N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible. G. Morrish, 1940.
- Hole, Frank B. The Gospels and Acts. Scripture Truth Publications, 2007.
- Ironside, H. A. Expository Notes on the Gospel of Matthew. Loizeaux Bros., 1982.
- Bellett, J. G. The Evangelists: Papers on the Four Gospels. Loizeaux Bros.
- Darby, J. N. Notes on the Gospel of Matthew. G. Morrish, 1900.