Tuesday, July 5, 2016

7-3-16 sermon notes - Who is Jesus?

    1. The Bible tells us who Jesus is. 
    2. Jesus is the heart of the Christian faith! He is the one we worship as the Son of God, God the Son and the Savior of the world. 
    3. Within the Bible - Jesus proclaimed that He is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. 
    4. Using the rules of logic we have to determine is Jesus a liar, a lunatic/madman or is Jesus God. 
    5. We learned last week that we have an accurate copy of the Bible and that the Bible is historically accurate. So, we can’t say that the church exaggerated who Jesus was. He is either a liar, a madman or God in flesh.  
    6. So Who is Jesus? Three things.
  1. First, Jesus is the fulfillment of all Old Testament Prophecy
    1. The Old Testament was written 300 - 1500 years before Jesus ever stepped foot on the earth.
    2. It is full of Messianic prophecies. These are predictions of a coming Messiah. These predictions in the O.T. include…
      1. The Messiah would be of the seed of Abraham - Genesis 12 (He would be a Jew)
      2. The jews had 12 tribes and the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10)
      3. He would be a descendent of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
      4. He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) from a seed of a virgin (Isaiah 7:13-14) woman (Genesis 3:14-15)
      5. There are 100 more prophecies that I don’t have time to cover - but they include someone preparing the way for Him, speak in parables, would come into Jerusalem on a money, be called out of Egypt, die on a tree/cross, be hated without reason, etc…
    3. Now we know that the O.T. is accurate because in 1947 a young shepherd boy was watching his sheep when he threw a rock at a goat and heard the sound of breaking pottery. He went to find the broken pottery to discover a cave full of scrolls. These scrolls were stored here for years and contained full well-conditioned books of the Bible that pre-dated Jesus.
    4. One of those scrolls found was the book of Isaiah. The book of Isaiah was written 700 to 1000 years before Jesus came to the world. Isaiah 53 contains one of the greatest passages about the coming Messiah being a suffering servant. 
    5. Let me read and you decide who you think this is referring too. Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12
    6. There are couple of things said here that we need to point out. 
      1. The servant spoken of here would have humble origins (53:1-2)
      2. He would experience suffering and affliction (53:3)
      3. The servant would accept vicarious and substitutionary suffering on behalf of his people (53:4-6, 12)
      4. the servant would be condemned and put to death (53:7-9)
      5. He would be sinless (53:9)
      6. He would come back to life and be exalted above all rulers (53:10-12, 52:13-15)
    7. Just a quick reading of this leaves us with little doubt that this passage is referring to Jesus. But there are some who doubt it is talking about Jesus.
    8. Jews want to point out that this is referring not to Jesus but to the nation of Israel. There are a couple of problems with this interpretation. First, traditionally Jews have always interpreted this passage to refer to the coming Messiah. It was not until about 1000 years ago when they encountered Christian apologists that they reinterpreted it to be the nation of Israel.
    9. There are serious flaws with this interpretation of Isaiah 53 being Israel. First, verse 9 says that the servant would be sinless. The whole Old Testament contains stories that talk about how sinful Israel is. 
    10. Second, the suffering servant in verse 7 is referred to as a lamb who submits himself without resistance. Israel is certainly not a lamb and Israel lies down for nobody.
    11. Third, the suffering servant dies as a substitunary atonement for the sins of others according to this passage. But Israel has not died, nor is she paying for the sins of others.
    12. This leads us to one conclusion - the suffering servant is Jesus. Jesus fulfilled these prophecies.
    13. In his book “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” Josh McDowell writes that the probability of someone fulfilling all the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament is somewhere like 1 in 10 with 500 zeros behind it. He said the probability would be like someone filling the entire state of Texas up with quarters knee deep. Then taking one quarter and marking it with a black line and dropping it from an airplane somewhere in Texas. He said then if you blindfold someone and sent them into Texas. The probability of the person of finding that one quarter is the same probability of one person fulfilling every Messianic prophecy. 
    14. That is Jesus. Now that leaves us with one of three logical options. Reject the O.T.  - we can’t do that because of what we discovered last week. We can either say Jesus was from God like a prophet or He is God. 
    15. That leads to the second point - Jesus is God.
  2. Second, Jesus is God - the second in the Trinity
    1. The New Testament makes several claims that Jesus is God. The very opening words of the gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the Word, the word was with God the word was God.”
    2. Paul said in Colossians 2:9 that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”
    3. Matthew wrote that he would be called Immanuel which means God with us.
    4. Jesus also made several claims to be God. 
    5. I’ve had discussions with people who Jesus never said he was God. But I’ll give you two times when Jesus said He was God.
      1. First in Mark 14 Caiaphas, the high priest, was questioning Jesus. He asked Him Are you the Christ, the Son of God?” Jesus answered “I am and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” At this point they condemned Jesus for blasphemy. He referred to himself in two ways - first as I am - which is the name that Moses received from God when He asked God at the burning bush what His name was back in Exodus. Second, Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man. The Son of Man is a reference back to the O.T. book of Daniel. In chapter 7:13 it says that at the end times, the Son of Man - the Messiah - will come to earth to judge the world on the authority given to him by God the Father. So in this statement to Caiaphas, Jesus is claiming to be the God that the O.T. predicted would sit at the right hand of God judging the world. 
      2. Second, in John 8:56-59 we read about Jesus telling the jews that He lived before Abraham and he said “Before Abraham was born, I am.” It is that I am statement again that points people to the Exodus passages where Moses is told by God that His name is I am who I am.
      3. Jesus was claiming in these two passages to be Bod, the self existent one, the eternal one, and that’s why the Jews pick up stones to kill him and they eventually condemn Him to death. 
    6. Third, there are indirect claims of Jesus being God.
      1. Jesus prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was (John 17:5).” But the O.T. says there is only one God and God says, “my glory will I not give to another.”
      2. Jesus claimed to be the judge of all people - a job that the book of Joel in the O.T. says quotes as being a job for only God.
      3. Jesus said I am the good shepherd (John 10:11) but Psalm 23:1 says the Lord is my shepherd.
      4. Jesus is called the First and the last (Revelation 1:7) which are precisely the words used by God in Isaiah 44:6 to describe Himself.
      5. Jesus declared Himself to be God in many parables. For example - the lost sheep, the lost son, and in many others he calls himself the Son of Man - which I’ve already addressed.
    7. Fourth, Jesus does divine things.
      1. He forgave sins (Mark 2:5-11)
      2. He declared all authority belong to Him (Matthew 28:19-20)
      3. He gives new commandments - (John 13:34- love one another)
      4. He told us to pray in His name - (John 14:13-14)
      5. Despite the fact that the Old and New Testament forbid worshipping any other than God - Jesus accepted worship on at least 9 different occasions. From a healed leper, to the disciples after the storm to Thomas declaring after the resurrection - My Lord my God.
    8. Imagine your neighbor making claims like this - I am the light of the world, the good shepherd, the first and the last. You would seriously consider moving because your neighbor is crazy. You surely wouldn’t come to the conclusion that this guy is a great moral teacher. 
    9. So here is what we know from studying Scripture and even other non-christian historical evidence
      1. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies written years in advance
      2. Jesus lived a sinless life and performed many miracles. We know this b/c his disciples who spent three years with him day and night declared that he was unblemished and spotless (1 Peter 1:9), In Him there was no sin (1 John 3:5) and Paul said he knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21) Try spending three days with any human being much less three years and you definitely will find faults. But the disciples said Jesus had none. Even the Pharisees tried to dig dirt up on him and found none (Mark 14:55) Pilate found him innocent of any wrong doing. 
      3. finally, He predicted and accomplished his own resurrection from the dead.
    10. The only thing left to conclude is that Jesus was a liar, a lunatic or God. The most logical conclusion Jesus is and was God.
    11. Now there are a few objections that I will address before we finish.
      1. Why didn’t Jesus make more direct claims to be God. There are a few reasons that I think he didn’t make more direct claims. 
        1. First, the misconception of the Jews that he would come and free them from Roman oppression. There were a couple time in Jesus ministry that he performed a miracle and the people tried to make him king. So, he stayed quiet because His kingdom was not of this world - it was a eternal kingdom.
        2. Second, remember in Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. Satan tempted him to pull rank and throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus said, Don’t test God. What Jesus was doing was he emptied himself of his humanity so that he could be like us. He didn’t want to pull rank every time he got into earthly trouble by claiming to be God.
        3. Third, he had a mission to accomplish. By constantly claiming to be God he would have been killed even sooner than He was.
        4. Finally, N.T. Wright said, “Imagine going to a Muslim country that one was fulfilling the will of Allah while apparently mocking Muhammad and making him the bad guy and burning the Koran.” That is essentially what Jesus did to the Jews. He gave evidence that he was God to the open-minded, but not enough to overwhelm the free will of those wishing to cling to their traditions. 
      2. A second objection to Jesus being God is a wrong interpretation of the Trinity. 
        1. The Trinity is not the worship of 3 gods or 3 divine essences. The Trinity is three persons in one divine essence. In other words, there are three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who share one divine nature. 
        2. Like a Triangle has three corners but it is still one triangle.
        3. Some argue that is illogical because three is not one and one is not three. But it’s not illogical. Let me explain. 
        4. No finite being can completely comprehend an infinite God. But we can comprehend the Trinity. Just like we apprehend the ocean but never completely comprehend it. 
        5. Muslims say the Trinity is to complex, but who said truth must always be simple. 
        6. If we were making up a religion of course it would be simple, because God would only be as big as our understanding. But if we are dealing with fact, then of course at times it won’t be that simple. 
        7. The Triune God is seen throughout Scripture and it truly helps us understand how love existed from eternity. The N.T. Says God is love, but how can love exist in a monotheistic being. But because of God’s triune nature we can see how God exist eternally in perfect fellowship of love. 
        8. Think about it - to have love you must have a lover, a loved one, and a spirit of love. That is God! He is the perfect in everything and lacks nothing - not even love. 
        9. Knowing he lacks nothing, we understand that he didn’t need to create us human beings. But he chose to create us, and loves us in accordance with his loving nature.
        10. Jesus is the God the Son who became a man. His incarnation was not the subtraction of deity, it was the addition of humanity. When Jesus was a man he didn’t cease being God, He simply added human nature. 
    12. So here is the final conclusion that we come too. 
    13. Look at this illustration and decide for yourself. Page 347
    14. So the Logically conclusion is if Jesus is God the He is Lord and Savior
  3. Third, Jesus is our Savior
    1. The Bible teaches us that Jesus died on a cross for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day to become our Lord and Savior.
    2. The Bible teaches that is only through Jesus that one can get to God and go to heaven. 
    3. Acts 4:12 - there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
    4. John 14:6 - Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
    5. So how do we get this salvation?
    6. Ephesians 2:8-9 says this “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast”
    7. It’s not about what we do, it’s about who we believe in. 
    8. Romans 3:23 says - we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
    9. Romans 6:23 - the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
    10. Romans 5:8 - God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
    11. John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
    12. Romans 10:9-10 - if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [g]resulting in salvation. 
    13. That’s it - You must confess that Jesus is Lord and make him Lord of your life.
  4. Conclusion
    1. Who is Jesus! He is the fulfillment of all the O.T. prophecies.
    2. He is the long awaited Messiah. The second in the Trinity. He is God, the Son of God and God the Son who became Lord when He died for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day. 
    3. He is Alpha the Omega the beginning and the end, the lion of Judah, the king of the world, the Savior for all mankind, the righteous one, the ancient of days, the blessed one, the everlasting Father, the eternal one, the word who became flesh, God-man, Jehovah God, the beautiful one, and lover of our soul!!!
    4. Believe in Jesus and you will be saved

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sermon notes 6-26-16 - Be Prepared - the third tool - The Bible

  1. Intro to the Bible
    1. Christians believe the Bible is the very Word of God, the revelation of God to man. 
    2. If the Bible is true then it reveals to us who the Creator of this world is, it tells us who we are, why we are here, how we should live and what happens when we die? 
    3. But the Bible is not the only religious book that claims to be the word of God and give answers to those questions. The Koran, Vedas, the book of Mormon and several other religious books claim to be the revelation of God. But because of our rules of logic that we learned two weeks ago we can determine that if the Bible is the true word of God then anything that contradicts the Bible is false. 
    4. We also know if we can find errors and contradictions in the Bible then we can not trust any of the Bible. 
    5. Skeptics are quick to point out all the problems they perceive the Bible has. 
      1. It is not historically accurate.
      2. We don’t have the original documents so we can trust it is the real thing.
      3. It was written by man and man is prone to err - therefore we can’t trust it.
      4. Because it contains miracles - it’s just a book of myths and fables that has been exaggerated over the centuries.
      5. There are too many errors and contradictions in the Bible, therefore we can’t trust it. 
    6. But today, I want to share with you five reasons why I believe the Bible is true and accurate and the inspired Word of God. 
  2. Reason # 1 - Logically it makes sense.
    1. The Bible claims to be the word of God on almost every page. This is not something that the church made up. 
    2. The O.T. prophets said more 200 times “Thus says the Lord.” 
    3. One Christian writer said that at least 3800 times in the O.T. we hear words like “Then God spoke to me” or “the word of God came to me”. 
    4. It is no different in the N.T. 
    5. There are several references to the Holy Spirit inspiring Scripture and the words of the authors of the N.T. to be from God. 
      1. 1 Peter 1:25 - “The Word of the Lord Abides forever”
      2. 2 Timothy 3:16 - “All Scripture is God-breathed.”
      3. 2 Peter 1:21 - “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will.”
    6. Within the N.T. we see over 300 verses quoted from the O.T. and at least 4000 allusions that refer back to the O.T. to show it is also the words of God.
    7. The point is if you call the authors of the Bible to the witness stand they will affirm with one voice “We are speaking the words of God.” 
    8. But just because it claims to be the word of God, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the Words of God.  I could claim to be the greatest surfer in the world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am the greatest surfer. 
    9. So we are going to have to look at more evidence. 
    10. One of the biggest pieces of evidence for the Bible is the unity that we find within it.
    11. The Bible was written over a period of 15 centuries, in 3 different languages by more than 40 authors. The 40 different authors come from different cultures, different occupations (fisherman, kings, shepherds, tax collectors, prophets, etc…), under different circumstances (in jail, on mountaintops, gardens, etc..) and on three different continents. During the 1500 years when the Bible was written empires rose and fell and cultures came and went, but yet the Bible is the same. It’s quite remarkable to be honest. 
    12. Try and get 10 people from a similar area to agree right their thoughts when it comes to a controversial subject and you’re going to find 10 different opinions and stories.  Yet the Bible discusses diverse theological matters such as the nature of God, the purpose of God, the characteristics of God and Satan, the nature of man, the plan for man’s redemption, and how to deal with the difficulties in life and these authors say the same thing. They write the same message.
    13. Imagine a book on science written by 40 different authors over a period of 15 centuries that is still accurate today. You won’t find a science book like that. 
    14. But in the Bible - Every book, every chapter, every verse, every page, every word, and every letter speaks the same message. That unified message is all about Jesus Christ coming to save the world from our sins. 
    15. Martin Luther said, “All Scripture teaches nothing but Jesus and the cross.”
    16. Floyd Hamilton said this about the unity of Scripture, “In its structure the Bible is a unit, each part interlaced with and interpreted by the other parts, so that every part is necessary for a complete understanding of the whole.”
    17. Other religions follow the teachings of one man who claims to have heard from God. There is no accountability as to if the message was truly from God or not. Because of that we have many religions all claiming that they have the supreme answer from God because of one man’s revelation. 
    18. Yet the Bible contains a message about one man told by at least 40 different authors, over 1500 years and from diverse backgrounds and education. Yet, these authors say the same thing about God and about Jesus. To me… that type of harmony and unity did not happen by coincidence or collusion.  
    19. So, logically it makes sense.

  1. The second reason I trust the Bible is because of the authenticity of the original manuscripts.
    1. Skeptics are quick to point out that the Bible is just a human book written by flawed humans. They attempt to strip away all its miracles, divine teachings, and make Christ into a mere man or someone that never truly existed. 
    2. But I actually think this makes it more believable. For one, the New Testament contains 27 books written by 9 authors. These are 27 different scrolls that were written over a span of 20 to 50 years. These writings were collected and put together to form the Bible in which we have. 
    3. The problem is we don’t have any of the original documents that the N.T. was written on. They have either been destroyed or not yet been discovered. But that’s ok.
    4. All ancient literature is reconstructed into its original form by comparing manuscripts (hand written copies) that survive. The more manuscripts we have, and the earlier manuscripts that we find, the more accurate the reconstruction.
    5. So how does the New Testament stack up. Well here is what I have found out. There are close to 5700 handwritten Greek manuscripts of the N.T. that have been found by archaeology. In addition there are more than 9,000 manuscripts in other languages (Latin, Coptic, and Arabic). That is close to 15,000 manuscripts that we have - some which are complete Bibles, others are books or pages of the bible. 
    6. The next closest ancient literature we have is the Iliad by Homer with only 643 manuscripts. 
    7. You ask, well when are these manuscripts dated.  Historians and archaeologist believe the most early manuscript we have is from the book of John that is dated between 117-138 A.D. 
    8. Let me show you a chart that may help you see how this compares to others from the book by Norman Geisler. This shows that we have far more reason to trust the Bible than other ancient documents. 
    9. You also need to know that early church history the church fathers (Tertullian, Irenaeus, Origen, etc…) quoted the Bible in their writings over 36,000 times. So much so, that if all the manuscripts were destroyed of the Bible, we would be able to reconstruct the New Testament (all but 11 verses) just from the early church fathers quotations that have been discovered.
    10. This proves that we have an accurate copy of the original Bible that was written.
    11. But skeptics are quick to point out the many textual problems in the manuscripts. Since the manuscripts were copied by hand there are many errors in the reconstruction. But these are minor textual problems. A word missing here, a letter there, a grammar problem, etc… 
    12. In fact, one scholar named Philip Schaff calculated that there were only 400 problems that would change the meaning of a passage, and not one affected a theological problem. 
    13. Princeton professor Bruce Metzger estimated that the ancient writings of Hinduism the Mahabharata is copied with only 90% accuracy. Homer’s Illiad is copied with about 95% accuracy. While the New Testament is 99.5% accurate and that 0.5% that is not accurate does not affect a single doctrine of the Christian faith. 
    14. It is safe to say that we have a pretty accurate copy of the Bible. But that doesn’t mean the Bible is true. It only means that we have an accurate copy of what the original writers wrote. 

  1. The third reason I believe the Bible is because it is historically reliable?
    1. Christianity is different than other religions in that it basis it’s claim to be true based on historical facts. If the resurrection of Jesus never happened than Christianity is a false religion. 
    2. The Bible has several claims to history that can and should be tested for accuracy. In order to find out if it is historically reliable we must use a couple of historical tests.
    3. The first test is how early or close to the story was the new testament written. 
    4. To answer this question quickly - most historians and theologians believe that most if not all the books were written before AD 70 - most likely between 40-62 A.D.. That is about 40 years after Jesus death. More likely, many of the books of the N.T. were written with 20 to 30 years after Jesus died and the events recorded. 
    5. This is important because the historians know that the earlier the sources are to the actual event the more accurate the testimony. 
    6. For example, there are some that have started to come out recently and claim that the Holocaust never happened. They are beginning to do this today, b/c many of the eye witness are dying and cannot speak against them. But fortunately, we have written eyewitness testimony that the Holocaust did happen and the revisionists cannot change history. 
    7. The same holds true for the N.T. If the N.T were written within 60 years of the events recorded, we know that these events could not be exaggerated or made up without eyewitnesses speaking against the lies. But the evidence points to a closer date to the actual events. 
    8. There are times when Paul calls for his readers to ask about eyewitness testimony to confirm what he is saying. He couldn’t do that if the eyewitnesses had died. So we know the Bible was dated within the lifespan of several eyewitnesses who could confirm the facts written in it. 
    9. Skeptics are then quick to point out that history (especially ancient history) can’t be known. 
    10. If that is true then we can’t say that Alexander the Great existed or George Washington was the first president of the United States or that The baltimore orioles won the world series in 1983 because we weren’t there to witness it. But that defies common sense.
    11. We can and do know history because it is recorded for us to know. And the Bible has many sources that show that it is accurate account of historical events.
    12. For example, the Bible has many outside resources and inner proofs to show that it is an accurate representation of historical events.
    13. There are at least 10 known non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life. These are historians who did not want to see the advance of Christianity, (Tacitus, Josephus, and Pliny the Younger) but they wrote about many of the historical events recorded in the Bible. 
    14. By contrast, over the same 150 years, there are nine non-christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar and the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus. So discounting the Christian sources, Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the most important and famous political figures of his day. If you include Christian sources the authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning Tiberius 43 to 10.
    15. In other words, we have legitimate outside resources to show that Jesus was a legitimate person and did some amazing things. Without the bible we would know several things.
      1. Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar
      2. Jesus did many miracles and was called a wonder-worker.
      3. Jesus had a brother named James
      4. Jesus was acclaimed to be the Messiah
      5. Jesus was crucified under Pontious Pilate on the eve of Passover
      6. When Jesus died darkness and an earthquake occurred.
      7. Jesus disciples claimed that Jesus rose from the dead and were willing to die for their belief.
      8. Christianity spread throughout Rome very quickly  
    16. Ironically, none of these non-christian resources disagree with the Biblical accounts of Jesus life.
    17. There has also been several archaeological finds that have confirmed stories in the Bible. Archaeology is the study of non-perishable debris that has survived the ravages of time. 
    18. Now it is important to note that archaeology without history is meaningless. It is basically finding all kinds of things in this dirt. But when we hear of history and find things in archaeology it gives us more information about events, people and places.
    19. Archaeology has helped prove several stories we read about in the Bible. From names of kings, to places, to proper titles referred to in Scripture. 
    20. One writer confirmed over 85 facts in the last 16 chapters of Acts because of archaeological finds. 
    21. Also, the writers of the N.T. also include over 30 historically confirmed people. By implicating real people into the story they leave it up for everything to be scrutinized. There is no way they could get away with telling lies about people of such power like Pontius Pilate, Festus, Caiphas, Felix and Herod. 
    22. The same cannot be said about other historical documents. We still have not found one piece archaeological evidence that supports the Book of Mormon. 
    23. So we have shown that the we have an accurate copy of the Bible and that it is historical accurate so now what do skeptics say. 

  1. Fourth, I believe the Bible to be true because of the stories it contains.
    1. First, and foremost the writers of the Bible contains embarrassing details about themselves. They are dim-witted, uncaring, easily rebuked, cowards, and doubters.
    2. When you write a story about yourself you tend to leave out those embarrassing stories that would put you in a negative light. Think about it would you include stories about yourself that had a primary leader call you Satan, or how you denied Jesus three times, hid during the crucifixion. Would you depict yourself as a coward or a bumbling idiot. 
    3. And if you were making up a story would you include testimony from people whose testimony was not even admitted in a court of law. That’s how women were depicting in Jesus day. 
    4. But the authors of the Bible give all these details. If they were making it up, this would not be the story I would want to tell. I tell how I was the hero, and how God revealed something cool to me. And I make it all about how great I am. 
    5. Second, They not only include embarrassing details about themselves but they also recored embarrassing details about their leader Jesus. For example, His family calls him crazy (Mark 3:21). His brothers don’t believe in Him (John 7:5). He is thought to be a deceiver (John 7:12). Many of his followers leave him (John 6:66). He is called a drunkard, demon-possessed and a mad-man. There are things that if you want people to believe in Jesus you might not include in the story. 
    6. In addition, they record sayings of Jesus that are hard to understand and even more difficult to follow yet the writers of the New Testament didn’t hold back. Let me explain.
      1. I tell you the truth that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28)
      2. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32)
      3. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44-45)
      4. Be perfect… as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)
      5. Do not judge, or you will be judged. (Matthew 7:1-2)
    7. Here is the point, all of these commands are difficult or impossible for human beings to keep and seem to go against the best interests of men who wrote them down. They most definitely are contrary to the desires of many today who want a religion or spirituality that has no moral demands. 
    8. It incriminates even the writers who wrote these things - making them sinful. These commands clearly are not the commands that man makes up or would impose on Himself.
    9. They also include details to events that would have and could not have been invented.
      1. For example, they explain that Jesus was buried after he died on a cross by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin. This is the same Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus to die for blasphemy. Considering the relationship the Christians had with the Jews why would they put a member of the Sandhedrin in a favorable light? They also reveal exactly where to go and find Jesus body if his body was still in the tomb. This would easily be debunked by the Jews if any of it was false.
      2. The first witnesses to the resurrection were women. Women’s testimony carried no weight in the Jewish court of law in those days. If they were making up the resurrection story you think they would have used a better witness - like priest or judges that found Jesus alive first. Citing that it was women, especially ones who were demon possessed like Mary Magdalene, would only hurt their attempt to pass on the message of Christ.
      3. These are just two of the many examples of things that if the writers of the N.T. were making the story up would not make sense to include. 
    10. Skeptics are quick to point out that the Bible contradicts itself. Now if there are contradictions in the Bible then I would have to agree that we can’t trust it to be true. But I yet to find contradictions. For example, Matthew says there was one angel at the tomb of Jesus, while John mentions two. Or the Gospel of Matthew records two women who came to the tomb, while the book of Luke records at least three women coming to the tomb. Critics are quick to point out that the contradiction. But this is not true. These divergent details actually strengthen the case. For one, Matthew never says there were just one angel at the tomb or there was just two women who came to the tomb. You would have to add a word to Matthews account to make it contradict the other gospels account. 
    11. So, why did the authors tell two different accounts. The same reason why two different news sources cover the same event choose to include different details in their stories. The major event is still the same, but the details are different. The same is true for the Bible accounts in different gospels. Jesus rose from the dead, but the details are different. 
    12. It’s clear that the N.T. writers didn’t get together to smooth out their stories. Instead they told their eyewitness account and we have different details to the same story. If they had made up the story then we would have seen them get together and make sure their details were right. 
    13. I have heard others say - well you can’t trust the Bible - it is a book of myths and fables. Most recently, I had a friend say how do you believe in a book that contains unicorns.
    14. This intrigued me b/c I had never heard the Bible mention a unicorn. But sure in the book of Job we read a list of unique animals that God points out in chapter 38-39 to show His uniqueness to Job. One of these animals sounds like a unicorn.
    15. But this is not the fairy tale unicorn that flies around and has magical pixie dust. This is a horned beast like a rhinoceros or horned horse. 
    16. The absence of this animal in the modern world is not uncommon. think of the dodo bird or dinosaurs. We find archaeological finds of them and know they existed in the ancient past, but we don’t have them still. And we have actually found a animal with a single horn direction his head in the 18th century in Southern Africa. 
    17. Most likely it was a wild ox that had a horn. 
    18. The point is the bible has evidence to point to us that it is accurate and true on all accounts.

  1. The fifth reason I trust the Bible is because personally it changed my life.
    1. When I began to accept the Bible as the Word of God - I found not just truth, but a purpose for my life. 
    2. It gave me hope is this broken world. It help me cope with lost of loved ones who died before their time. It has helped me understand how to deal with the ever changing circumstances of this life. It gave me a reason to live and by showing me who my Creator is. Teaching me to love him, to love others and serve people. 
    3. The Bible’s message is one message for all people. It is the idea that God loves you and me so much that He came to this world to die for us. Why? We were not good. We needed someone to help us to be good. 
    4. Which by the way is another indication that there is a God. The fact that we have a moral standard by which we know in our hearts there is good and there is evil. God sent his Son, Jesus. Jesus came and lived the life we couldn’t live and died the death we deserve so that we could be with Him forever. 
    5. He says whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. On every page of the Bible we are taught about this great love that wants to be with us forever. 
    6. I pray today you will believe the words of the Bible, but even more so believe in the person the Bible is about. That you will place your faith in trust in Jesus who loves you so much that He gave His life so that He could be with you forever.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sermon notes 6-19-16 - Science verse Religion

Always Prepared - Week 2
Tool # 2 - Science.
The Existence of God

  1. Introduction:
    1. We started a series called Always Prepared last week. 
    2. I can already tell this is going to be a tough series for some. You will be required to actually think about things. 
    3. You see there is a problem in today’s Christian faith. 
      1. Christians are not prepared to answer the tough questions.
      2. Christians remain silent and there is no longer a voice crying out for good anymore.
    4. We need to prepare ourselves to share the Gospel of Christ with others, to defend the faith, to persuade others to come to the faith, and probably most important we need to understand what we believe and why we believe it. 
    5. Like this tool belt. Many of us have tool belt that looks good, but it has no tools. We need to add the right tools to our belt so that we are prepared for all this world will throw at us. 

    1. We started a series called Always Prepared last week. This series is based on 1 Peter 3:15 - “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”
    2. This verse commands believers to prepare themselves to make a defense.
    3. What kind of things do we need to prepare ourselves for?
    4. Well first, we need to know there is truth.  Last week we saw there was Truth and that truth is discoverable, knowable, transcultural, unchanging and absolute. 
    5. Once we determine those things, we believe that we need to discover what the Truth is - especially when it comes to God. 
    6. Jesus told us He is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. If Jesus is truth then anything that teaches different is False. 
    7. Now that doesn’t mean that we hate anyone who disagrees with Jesus. In fact, we are to do the opposite. This verse tells us to share the Truth with gentleness and respect. In other words, we love others who disagree with us, but we don’t agree with them. 
    8. We also never admit that we can prove Christianity to be true. We must admit that there are many things in this life we accept by faith because we have not seen everything with our own two eyes. Instead there is a standard of proof that amounts to a moral certainty that allows us to see Christianity is true beyond a REASONABLE doubt. 
    9. We make decisions all the time based on probability, not certainty. For example, crossing the road we look both direction, collect the evidence and then decide the probability of making the crossing the street safely.
    10. When it comes to religion, we apply the same standards of probability looking at the evidence of logic and reason and determine what is most logical and scientific. 
    11. Now today, we are going to apply that same logic to the second question that we need to be able to answer and add more tools to our tool belt. The second question is Does God exist
  1. Science verses Religion
    1. When it comes to the question of God we are led to study what the world calls science.
    2. Those who believe there is no God often make it a question of Science verses Religion.
    3. Maybe you have heard the argument before that science disproves there is a God.
    4. In his book “The God Delusion” renowned atheist Richard Dawkins argues that you cannot be an intelligent scientific thinker and still hold religious beliefs.
    5. In fact, Dawkins even list a statistic that says that only 7% of American scientist believe in a personal God. 
    6. And so today we have a culture that believes that there is a war between faith and science. The media enhances this problem by making every story have a good side and a bad side, a protagonists and antagonists. 
    7. In the process, it gives wide publicity to battles between secular and religious people.
    8. For example, the teaching of evolution in schools, stem-cell research, in vitro fertilization, medicine and science, homosexuality verses heterosexuality, animal rights verses people, pro-life and pro-choice, etc… the list goes on and on.
    9. Christians often find themselves caught in this battle to speak truth and know what they believe and at the same time trying to love people in a society where the media portrays them as the bad guys who impose their dogmatic beliefs on everyone or the ones who practice hate speech.
    10. In the process of all this balancing we still have the question - Does science really disprove God?
    11. I would argue that science actually is one of the greatest tools Christians have when it comes to explaining our faith. Science and the bible actually go hand and hand. In fact, as you study the Bible we begin to understand science and the world we live in.
    12. In fact, it’s not really science verse religion or faith verse reason. It is reasonable faith verses unreasonable faith. It’s good science verse bad science. 
    13. I hope to show you why today by giving you the second tool for your tool belt.
  1. Does God exists?
    1. You see using logic we know that we must come to one of three conclusions when it comes to God.
      1. There is No God.
      2. There are many God.
      3. There is one God
    2. Let me begin by saying, no of these can be proven to be true beyond doubt, so we must now look at the evidence and science that we know to draw to a reasonable conclusion.
    3. Science teaches us that everything that has a beginning had a cause. That nothing can just pop out of the air. You can’t just pull a rabbit out of a hat - the rabbit had to come from somewhere else. You can’t just ask a genie for a million dollars - because everything that has a beginning has a cause. 
    4. this is called the Law of Causality. 
    5. Now Science proves that the universe had a beginning. Without going to deep into this let me just explain a few discoveries that have helped understand this. 
    6. The second law of thermodynamics which explains that the universe is slowly running out of energy. Since we are not out of energy this is scientific proof that the universe had a beginning.
    7. Or how about the fact that the universe is expanding from one spot called General Relativity. 
    8. This picture is a picture seem from the Hubble Space telescope. In 1929 Albert Einstein looked through this telescope and came the conclusion that the earth is not eternal. He actually called this discovery irritating because it meant that the universe was a not self-existent or reliant on anything outside cause. 
    9. But now he had General Relativity and the hubble space telescope that proves to the fifth decimal point that the universe had a beginning. 
    10. But just because the universe has a beginning doesn’t prove there is a God or a theistic God. We must do some more research. 
    11. As we continue to look at science we see two other factors that point to the beginning. These are radiation and galaxy seeds. Not to become so scientific that I lose you - but in 1989 a discovery of galaxy seeds was made. Basically, scientist found precise ripples that point to a beginning in that the universe was created at one point in History. Scientist all agree that this is called the Big Bang. 
    12. Again, this doesn’t prove God - it just proves a beginning that started with a Big Bang that sent radiation cells throughout our universe. 
    13. At the Big Bang Time, Space and matter came into existence. But How and When did the Big Bang happen?
    14. That is the question that every person has to struggle with. You can’t just say it came from nothing because we have already learned that nothing comes from nothing - everything comes from something. You take away that law and you no longer have science.
    15. Some scientist said that the universe has been expanding and contracting forever and therefore it didn’t need a beginning. But that still doesn't answer how the first bang happened and answer all the questions about all the evidence we have found.
    16. So what do we decide - we must figure out what it is that caused the first cause that existed or exist outside of time, space and matter. 
    17. Let’s review - We know the universe had a beginning. 
      1. Everything that had a beginning had a cause.
      2. The universe had a beginning
      3. Therefore the universe had a cause
    18. We also come to the conclusion that the first cause that started this world had to be self-existent, timeless, and immaterial. In order to create this entire universe out of nothing it had to be powerful and creative. 
    19. What we can’t deny is that all science and evidence points to a beginning and a supreme being that was there before time, space and matter.
    20. So now we have to decide what that supreme being that existed outside of time, space and matter is.
    21. It seems to me that we have one choice left. 
    22. To believe in a God.
    23. Now the next question atheist are quick to assert is well then where did God come from.  But the answer to this question is easy. Man is subject to time and space but God is not. God exists outside of time and space. Colossians 1:17 states, “He is before all things.”
    24. This is where faith comes in - You either believe that the universe always existed or that something caused the universe. Both are possible but one seems more actual. 
    25. That is where we have to look at the second argument for the existence of God.
  1. Design
    1. Every that has design has a designer.
    2. The universe has a highly complex design.
    3. Therefore, the universe has an designer.
    4. You see everything that has design has a designer. The universe has a highly complex design - Therefore the universe has an intelligent designer.
    5. Let’s say you go for a walk on the beach and you find a iPhone on the beach. You pick up the iPhone and say what a nice iPhone. I’m so glad the wind and rain and erosion with a combination of natural forces made this for me. You put it in your pocket. 
    6. You then see a heart in the sand that says Sean loves Anna. You come to conclusion that this just appeared after 100 years of corrosion and beach erosion. Of course not. 
    7. You conclude that there’s absolutely no question in your mind that some intelligent being made the iPhone and someone drew that marking in the sand. 
    8. Now what is incredible is that earth is far more complex than an iPhone or anything man has created yet we some how come to the conclusion that the earth happened to come together from many natural things and evolution - and fail to take into account the complexity of the world in which we live. 
    9. Let me explain how complex the world we live in is….
    10. Oxygen compromises 21% or the atmosphere. If oxygen were more than that the earth would erupt spontaneously, if it were less there would not be enough oxygen for humans to survive. We would all suffocate. But our earth is just right for man to live. 
    11. Gravity and gravitational pull is just right. If it were any greater than it would cause tidal effects on the oceans and atmosphere that would be too severe for us to survive. If it were less, orbital changes would cause climatic instabilities and make life on earth impossible. It also would mean our sun would not exists. And if we didn’t have sun we all die as well. 
    12. The carbon dioxide level is perfect. If it were any higher than it is now we all burn up. If the level were lower than plants would not be able to maintain efficient photosynthesis and we all suffocate. 
    13. Finally, let me give you just one more. Atheist and evolutionists believe that all life came together by spontaneous generation without any intelligent intervention. That some one-cell amoeba floating in some little pond in the world turned into a living creature, which became a reptile, then to a animal of some sort and finally into the human race that we are today. It’s called macro-evolution - not to be mistaken with micro-evolution. Micro-evolution is commonly believed by all because it is the changing and adapting of creatures. Macro-evolution… let me just say there is absolutely no evidence of one creature being transformed to a new creature. For example, from fish to mammal - from monkey to human. 
    14. In order for macro-evolution to be true the fist life must have been generated spontaneously from nonliving chemicals. 
    15. But in 1953 two meanly the name of James Watson and Francis Crick made a huge discovery that showed us spontaneous generation is a huge leap of faith to believe in. 
    16. They discovered what we know as DNA. In each DNA strand contains thousands of cells. In each cell there is such complexity that just one cell, a DNA full of millions of cells, there is enough information to fill the 30 volumes of Encyclopedias. 
    17. A full DNA link it will fill 1000’s of Encyclopedias of information. 
    18. Now think about this - no human being has created anything close to a strand of DNA. So why should we expect non-intelligent natural laws to be able to create life forms, when intelligent humans can’t even create a DNA strand.
    19. There is so much design in just one strand of DNA that it takes a huge amount of faith to NOT believe in a Designer. 
    20. How can we look at something at the complexity of world and think anything different. 
    21. In fact, “science is the only source of objective truth claims to be objective truth, but it’s not a scientific truth.”
    22. In order to deny an intelligent designer who existed before and outside of time atheists must take extreme measures to deny the obvious that the world is full of design.
    23. Some claim that there are multiple universes in the galaxy and we just happen to live on the one that sustains life. But there is no proof to that. It allows you to deny that there is a God, but your putting your faith in something that evidence doesn’t support. 
    24. Other atheist claim that aliens deposited the first life here. I guess that’s all possible… Again, no proof 
    25. There is another option…

  1. Romans 1:21 
    1. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly been, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
    2. Psalm 19:1-2 - The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 
    3. There is faith in whatever you believe. It just makes more reasonable sense to believe in an almighty God who created the world.
    4. So now we must research the Gods of each religion to see what they teach
    5. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning (that means the beginning of time, space and matter) God created the heavens and the earth.” 

    1. More Objections:
    2. Now I have not proven there is a God. I have only used science, evidence and logic to determine that the belief is completely logical. 
    3. Before we move on today… Let’s handle a couple more objections.
    4. Evolution and science still contradict the Bible. The Bible says the world is young and science says it is old. Now as we already mentioned, atheist have a major problem of answering where the first life came from. But once there is life - Atheist love to point to evolution as more scientific.
    5. I have already answered that many Christians hold to the fact the life adapts and things change. There is no denying that. But to change from one life form to another is something that the Bible doesn’t teach and that science has very little proof in. Let me explain. Evolution is the ideal that more complex life-forms evolved from less complex forms through a process of natural selection.
    6. An example would be bacteria when it is attacked by anti-biotic. If the bacteria survives the attack from the anti-biotic then the surviving bacteria now becomes resistant to the anti-biotic. The bacteria has now evolved to multiply and dominate. Atheist love to point out that this is an example of evolution. But the problem is the bacteria is still bacteria. It didn’t mutate into a frog or a monkey. Again, there is absolutely no evidence to support macro-evolution. 
    7. Atheist then love to point out that the Bible says the earth is 6000 to 8000 years old when science points to the earth being much older - billions of years old. 
    8. Now I would love to get into this debate, but here is something that everyone needs to hear. There are Bible believing Christians that believe the earth is old.  For some of you traditional Christians I will be labeled a heretic and a liberal for not teaching the inerrancy of the Bible. But the Bible has different ways in which we interpret it. We always start with the literal translation, but that doesn’t mean that at times the literal translation is symbolic.
    9. There are some who interpret Genesis 1 where it talks about God creating the world in six days as literal six days (24 hours) - but others say it was a time lapse. Because the Bible speaks of God days being like a thousand years. It can be looked at as a poem or song and Genesis 2 is more the historical way it all happened. 
    10. The point is… this is something that should not divide us as believers. We can debate it and work through it, but in the end we can still agree that God created and that the Bible does not contradict science. 
    11. David Atkinson said it this way, “If evolution is elevated to the status of a world-view of the way things are, then there is direct conflict with biblical faith. But if evolution remains at the level of scientific biological hypothesis, it would seem that there is literal reason for conflict between the scientific explorations of the way which - at the level of biology - God has gone about his creating process.
    12. Objection 2 - Earlier we mentioned how Dawkins said only 7% of scientist believe in a personal God. Does that mean we are the unreasonable ones to accept the Bible over science. Absolutely Not! For one, Dawkins quote is inaccurate - much like polls in the political process. You interview the right people in the right place you can come up with anything. 
    13. More recent research has shown that 40% of scientist believe in a Creator God, 40% believe there is no God, and 20% aren’t sure. 
    14. also, keep in mind this - science doesn’t really say anything - scientist do. They interpret their findings many times based on personal preferences and unproven philosophical assumptions. They do exactly what they accuse religious people of doing. Within the scientific or academia there is immense pressure to conform to the what others think and say. To say you believe in God might get you outcast from the group. There have been several professors who have lost their job for just claiming that there could be a god. 
    15. Truth is we don’t have to accept scientist findings when they let their ideology dictate their conclusions for reasons we have already looked at today. 
    16. Final objection: Since miracles go against science we don’t accept any miracles. This is tough one that needs more time than i have today to break down, so let’s just give you the cliff note version.
    17. First, a miracle is an act of God. We don’t define miracles as a baby being born (although it is beautiful - it can be described by science). Now a virgin birth is a miracle because it does not follow the normal laws of science. 
    18. Many people reject Bible stories and call them myths or fables because they hear about a man being swallowed by a whale and living, water parting, the sun stopping for a day, and blind man being healed, etc… 
    19. My quick answer is this - If there is an all powerful Creator of the universe who made this complex world in which we live - why couldn’t He reach down into His creation and change the natural laws for a time period? In weeks to come we will go into greater detail with this, but for now we will stop there.
    20. Finally, let me end with this Atheist are quick to say that - Religion is just a crutch that helps people cope with the problems of life.
    21. Truth be told, it is possible that Christianity could have started b/c people needed something to lean on and that everything happened through a process of a billion years of natural selection and chance. But there we must also recognize something.
    22. First, life is hard and the fact of the matter is all of us need a crutch to get by in this world. Some people choose drugs and alcohol, others turn to religion, and others turn to other things that let them down.
    23. The question then is “Is the crutch we call Christianity true, or is it something on the same level as drugs or alcohol, invented to meet an admitted need?”
    24. Evidence and logic point to the former that Christianity could be true and that there is a God. 
    25. At the same time, I would also argue this that atheists and agnostics may be using their beliefs as a crutch to avoid the responsibility of God’s demand.

  1. Conclusion
    1. James Tour a nanoscientist - “Only a rookie who knows nothing about science, would say science takes away from faith. if you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
    2. I encourage you to study the Bible and study science. We shouldn’t be scared of it. In fact, as Psalm 19 tells us the heavens declare His glory. As we study the living creatures and the stars and the planet in which we live - we see the fingerprints of God everywhere.
    3. Let’s pray!