He is alive!!

Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection: By faith we believe and our faith is not a blind leap but a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence.

Mission: My mission is to, by the Spirit and thinking and word, bolster and encourage your faith in the Triune God of the universe and thereby bring peace to your mind and joy to your heart.

Evidence does not nullify faith. Evidence encourages and builds faith.

Faith is not a blind acceptance of something irrational.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.

We are assured of the reality of what we have believed with the evidence we have received and that works itself out in the conviction of the things that are unseen.

I am really a Christian. I really believe and I’m really wanting to follow Jesus.

Christianity is not a “religion” of choice or convenience for me.

I was dead and he made me alive when I was trying go the opposite direction.

I was on the verge of walking away from the faith because of the intellectual challenge brought by unbelieving liberal “scholarship” and in a supernatural moment the Spirit sent by the resurrected Christ rescued me.

The growth of my faith through the Spirit and his Word has helped me to understand that, again, faith is not a blind acceptance of something irrational. The faith given me by the Triune God of the universe is built firmly on reality. And reality has not left itself without witness.

As a result of the fall all of mankind is shut off from face to face fellowship with Father. We are left with the witness of Scripture.

Even though many of us have been brought to life through the Gospel, and we believe, there are moments when we wonder if we have believed in vain or if this is really real or is Christianity man’s opium to deal with the pain of a meaningless existence.

If Jesus is risen, then he is the way, the truth and the life.

If Jesus is risen then he is the only God and all other “religions” are a mirage of reality.

If Jesus is risen then my doubt and skepticism are irrational.

If Jesus is risen then my rebellion and sin have been neutralized in regard to judgment.

If Jesus is risen then hardships and hurts and scars have great significance and are not wasted.

If Jesus is risen we have great hope to persevere because he is alive  and coming again!

How can we bolster your faith today? How can we use the intellect and reason to stand under and firm up our trust in Jesus?

Let’s give it a whirl.

Often, the Enemy’s first and most successful attack comes in questioning what Father has said. “Did God say?”. “Is that really true?”. “That can’t be right.”.

Scripture is often the source of attack because Scripture witnesses to who Father is explicitly and tells us how to know Father and how to take great delight in Father and how Father takes delight in us.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was crucified, buried and rose on the third day (Matthew 27:64; Mark 16; Luke 24:46; John 20; Acts 10:40

Is Scripture reliable? Can you let yourself rest on the testimony of Scripture.

Transmission of Scripture

1. Jewish Scribes

A. Meticulous copying

1. Line and word counts for accuracy

B. Dead Sea Scrolls (1947)

“Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.”[1]

Archaeological Record

1. Ebla Tablets

A. Weakens the Documentary Hypothesis (says Moses could not have written the Pentateuch)

B. Julius Welhousen says that Language had not “evolved” enough for Moses to have been able

to write such a complicated work using the various names of God used in each book. So,

Welhousen theorizes that different authors wrote the books with each one emphasizing a different

name for God.

C. The Ebla Tablets were discovered at Telmardikh (modern Syria) and were part of a large

library.

D. The Ebla Tablets are 1,000 years prior to Moses.

New Testament

1. Objection 1: Oral tradition is unreliable

A. Oral tradition was held in highest regard

B. Jewish children were taught to remember oral material accurately

C. Oral tradition was handed down collectively to the entire community

D. Exodus 24:4; Joshua 24:26; 1 Samuel 10:25; Isaiah 8:1; 1 Corinthians 14:37; Revelation 1:19

1. These passages record that the words of the Lord were written down

2. Objection 2: Scripture is written by men

However, this is not what Scripture claims for itself.

A. “Biblical inspiration my be defined as God’s superintending of the human authors so that, using

their own individual personalities – and even their writing styles – they composed and recorded

without error his revelation to humankind in the words of the original autographs.”[2]

B. 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 2:13

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21 ESV)

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV)

3. Objection 3: Writers were biased

A. 1 John 1:1

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— (1 John 1:1 ESV)

B. Consider some reasonable thinking:

1. The apostles had little to gain and almost everything to lose.

2. New Testament writers gave up their lives in defense of what they saw

3. New Testament authors gave embarrassing details about themselves:

a. Jewish folks unfaithfulness to God

b. Peter denying Jesus 3 times

c. Peter being addressed as “Satan” by the Lord

d. The disciples scattering when Jesus was arrested

e. Thomas’ doubt about the resurrection

4. Objection 4: Too much time has passed

A. The time between two very important events is extremely short. What two events? 1. The

writing of the original manuscript 2. The copying of the oldest existing manuscript

1. Why this is important: The shorter the time the more reliable a text is considered

a. Ancient classics have an overage of over 1,000 years between these two

events.

b. A 700 year gap is considered good among works of antiquity

2. John Ryland’s Manuscript (oldest copy of the New Testament)

a. Contains fragments from John (18:31-33, 37-38)

b. Dates approximately A.D. 117-138

3. Bodmer Papyri

a. Contains most of the Gospels of Luke and John

b. Dates approximately A.D. 200

4. Chester Beatty Papyri

a. Contains almost all the New Testament (including large portions of the

Gospels)

b. Dates approximately A.D. 250

5. Codex Sinaiticus (British Museum)

a. Contains the entire NT and parts of the OT

b. Dates approximately A.D. 340

6. Codex Vaticanus (Vatican Library)

a. Contains most of the bible

b. Dates approximately A.D. 325-350

7. Codex Alexandrinus (British Museum)

a. Contains most of the bible

b. Dates approximately A.D. 450

8. Codex Bezae (Cambridge University Library)

a. Contains parts of the NT and most of the Gospels written in Greek and

Latin

B. Non-Christian Accounts

1. Tacitus (A.D. 55-120): Roman Historian: Annals

2. Suetonius (A.D. 120): Roman Historian: Life of Claudius

3. Josephus (A.D. 37-97): Jewish Historian: Antiquities

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.  He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.  And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.” (Antiquities, XVIII, 33)

4. Pliny the Younger (A.D. 112): Roman Governor: Epistles X

5. Jewish Talmud (Commentary on Jewish law, completed A.D. 500)

6. Lucian (second century A.D.): Greek satirist

5. There was just not enough time for legends to develop and be recorded between the ministry of Jesus and the writing of the first books of the New Testament

A. The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke/Acts and John) – written in the early 50’s and 60’s

B. None of these works mention very noteworthy events between A.D. 60 and 70

1. Persecution of Christians instigated by Nero (mid 60’s)

2. The martyrdom of James (brother of Jesus), Peter and Paul (62-66)

3. The fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple under Roman General

Titus (70)

6. Scripture records eyewitness accounts of historical events

A. Luke 1:1-4

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4 ESV)

B. John 19:35; John 20:30-31

He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. (John 19:35 ESV)

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31 ESV)

C. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

(1 Corinthians 15:3-8 ESV)

D. Galatians 1:11-12

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

(Galatians 1:11-12 ESV)

E. 1 Peter 1:16

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16 ESV)

F. 1 John 1:1-4

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4 ESV)

 

Conclusion

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”  That is one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a mad man or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.” [3]

1. He is alive, and your faith is not in vain!

2. You can attempt great and awesome pursuits of good because he lives and has all authority

3. We can make disciples of all nations because the General, the Risen King, is directing the work and we can’t loose

4. Take heart, King Jesus has overcome the world

5. He is risen!


[1] Archer Gleason, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 19

[2] Ron Rhodes, Answering Objections of Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics, p. 125.

[3] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 52

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