Apologetics – Introduction – I Peter 3:15

 This morning we begin a series of lessons on Apologetics. Who can define the word “Apologetics”? According to the dictionary, Apologetics is “the branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.” The second more general definition: “A formal argumentation in defense of something.” The word “apologetics” has nothing to do with making apologies for mistakes or errors in thinking. It is the science of “defending,” in the sense of “explaining,” what we believe to be true. Is Christianity only something that we BELIEVE to be true? Why then do you suppose that I worded my definition in that way? It’s because the world says, “Well that is only what you believe.” We are going to look at things that we believe to be true, because they are found in the Bible. If they are found in the Bible, they are true, whether anyone believes them or not. But, if they are found in the Bible we are all responsible to believe them to be true and to believe them. How many times is the Biblical word “apologia” is found in the New Testament? (Eight.) Wednesday we noticed Acts 22:1 – “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.” Acts 25:14-17 – “And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the...

Apologetics – More Misconceptions – John 5:40

 Last week we began a new study, dealing with Apologetics. Who can give me the definition of Apologetics? (“The branch of theology which is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.”) It is the science of defending, in the sense of explaining, what we believe to be true. What is one of the places in the Bible where Paul uses the word “apologia”? Acts 22:1 – “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my DEFENSE which I make now unto you.” Did Paul make any apologies in the verses which follow? What did he do? (He explained why and how he became a Christian.) Toward the close of that lesson, we began to look at some of the misconceptions that lost people have about Christianity. One is that Christians possess nothing more than a BLIND FAITH. What do people mean when they say something like that? (Our faith lacks intelligence or fact.) But is it intellectual suicide to believe the Bible or to be a disciple of Christ? Another misconception is that faith is nothing more than SINCERITY. But there is something more important than the act of believing; what is it? (The object of our faith.) How does II Thessalonians 2:11-12 characterize the last-days-people who will follow the antichrist? “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Will the degree of those people’s sincerity protect them from being damned? A third misconception is that the Bible contains MYTHS. What is a myth?...

Apologetics – Worlds in Collision – II Corinthians 4:3-4

 The best military leaders make it a point to know their enemies as well as they can. If they can think the way that their opponent thinks, then they may be able to anticipate his next move and beat him to the punch. Is this a good military tactic? What could be wrong with this when we apply it to fighting the Lord’s battles? First, we might forget that in dealing with souls, tactics are entire different, because the war is different. Secondly, it might tend to make us rely upon our logic or our learning rather than on the Lord. Third, when unsanctified and weak Christians study the things of Satan too closely, they make themselves vulnerable to his attacks. Nevertheless, a general understanding of the way that lost people think can be a good thing in trying to bring them out of it and to the Lord. II Corinthians 4 reminds us that even though Jehovah is the Creator and Sovereign owner of the world, some of the actual management of the world has been usurped by Satan. And that influence can be recognized as we look about us. When a Spirit-filled saint looks at current events, the physical creation, and even the hearts of men he should be able to see the hand of God. But at the same time can’t he also see the handiwork of the Wicked One? Someone coined the phrase: “worlds in collision.” That is precisely the universe in which we live. One of them is the POSTMODERN World. In 1930 an Algerian named Jacques Derrida created a philosophy which he called...

The Uniqueness of the Bible – Luke 21:33

 How much did a hundred shares of Microsoft stock sell for when it was first issued? Does anyone know how old Microsoft is? The Microsoft corporation is nearing its 25th anniversary. MS-DOS 1.0 came out in August 1981. What are some of the factors which cause the value of a company’s stock to go up? There is the strength of the leadership in the company. There is the introduction of new products, especially ground-breaking products. There is that company’s proximity to the cutting edge of technology. But doesn’t the increase in stock prices actually come down to the number of people who want to buy it? What is the most bought – the most popular – the most published book in human history? (The Bible.) Just think what your family fortune would be worthy if you had bought Gutenberg stock 550 years ago. Why do you think it is that the Bible the most printed book in human history? Well then why is it so often publically ridiculed, ignored, lambasted, disparaged and hated? What does the general world think about a person who reads his Bible every day? What does the world say about a person who publically carries and publically reads his Bible every day? But again I have to ask: Why have more copies of the Bible been produced than any other book in history? When someone questions your use of the Bible, ask him that question. And then give him the Biblical answer. The Bible is unique.What is the definition of “unique”? “One and only; single; sole. Different from all others; having no like or equal.”...

How We Got our Bible – Hebrews 4:11-16

  Which of the following adjectives describe the Bible? Quaint; obsolete; unique; spiritual; unintelligible; esoteric; gibberish; difficult; stupid; timely? How can a book which was completed 2,000 years ago, still be contemporary? What is the theological definition of “Biblical Inspiration?” In talking with the lost, it is important that we be able to speak the same language. But just because we both may speak English, it doesn’t mean that we can communicate. The language of the Christian is the Bible. Not often, but once in a while an unbeliever will ask: “How did you Christians get your Bible?” Our lesson this morning is more for the Christian’s information than for educating or evangelizing the lost, however once in a while someone will insist on an answer before allowing us to move on to the Gospel. The physical materials of the Bible.Is the original copy of Homer’s “Iliad” tucked away in a museum in Athens? What do you suppose happened to that original copy? Does that mean that there was no original copy? Are there original copies of any of the sixty-six books of the Bible left in the world? What sort of conclusions should we draw from that fact? Why aren’t there any original copies of the books of the Bible? Among the available materials for writing in Biblical days, the most common was papyrus. The oldest know fragments of papyrus date back to about 2400 BC. When was the Exodus? (About 1700 BC.) From what was papyrus made? (The papyrus plant, a reed common to shallow lakes in the mid-East.) The Syrian port of Byblos was made famous...

Is the New Testament Reliable? – Psalm 119:159-160

 What is the Biblical doctrine of the inspiration of the scriptures? What is historical reliability? (Whether or not the history under consideration is accurate.) On the lost man’s “I care / I don’t care” scale where do arguments about inspiration of the scriptures fall? To the average lost person, would you expect more interest in whether the Bible is true or whether the Bible is inspired by God? In this lesson, we’ll briefly think about the three basic principles of Biblical historiography. What is the meaning of the word “historiography”? (The principles used in historical research.) One of the results of of Biblical historiography is Biblical reliability. Three areas of historiological evidence are bibliographical, internal and external. The Bibliographical test. Since we don’t have the original copies of the 27 books of the New Testament can we be sure that what we have is accurate? The numbers indicate that we do. We have about 25,000 copies of the New Testament or parts of the New Testament written between the second and the fifteenth centuries. There are over 300 uncials and nearly 3000 minuscules. What are uncials and minuscules? There are 10,000 copies of parts of the New Testament in Latin, and 2,000 Ethiopic copies. Do all these 25,000 manuscripts have perfect agreement? By comparing the majority of these 25,000 manuscripts can we determine what is the New Testament? What ancient book provides us with the NEXT HIGHEST number of manuscripts? (Homer’s Iliad.) How many manuscripts of the Iliad do we have from the 2nd to the 15th centuries? (643.) When was the oldest extant copy of the Iliad made?...

Is the Old Testament Reliable? – I Peter 1:25

 What is the Biblical doctrine of the inspiration of the scriptures? How important is the doctrine of Biblical inspiration? What is the difference between inspiration and historical reliability? Are the statements of the Old Testament as reliable as those of the New Testament? The Old Testament can be proven reliable in at least a couple of ways: Textual transmission is one. What do I mean by that? Other ways involve hard scientific evidence such as archeology, geography and geology. Let’s start with Textual transmission. Do we have the original writings of Moses, David or Isaiah? Do we have accurate copies of the original documents of the Old Testament? Gleason Archer says that the Old Testament differs in consistency from all other pre-Christian documents. For example there exist copies of the Egyptian “Book of the Dead.” When those copies are compared it is found that words, clauses and sentences are inserted, omitted and inverted. But in the two copies of Isaiah found among the Dead Sea Scrolls they not only agree with themselves, but they are in 95% agreement with the Book of Isaiah in our Bibles. And the differences are only in obvious slips of the pen and variations in spellings. They do not change the message of God’s revelation in the slightest. Robert Dick Wilson has studied the many kings described in the Bible, Israelite and foreign, and concluded: There were about 40 living from 2000 to 400 BC. Each one of them are confirmed by outside historical evidence, although the spellings of their names are often slightly different. He said, “No stronger evidence for the substantial accuracy...

Did Jesus Exist ? – Galatians 4:4

 You may think that this is a silly question, but I have to ask: Was Jesus of Nazareth a real person or is He a product of our religious imaginations? I am not a student of Bertrand Russell; I’ve never directly read anything that he wrote. But he is quoted, quoted, and quoted as one of the leading agnostic philosophers of the last century. He died in 1970 at the age of 98. My dictionary says that he was a: “British philosopher, mathematician, social critic, and writer who had profound influence on the development of symbolic logic, logical positivism, and the set theory of mathematics.” Can anyone explain to me “symbolic logic, logical positivism or the set theory of mathematics”? I have no idea those things are, but I do know that Bertrand Russell displayed unbelievable foolishness when he wrote in his book “Why I am Not a Christian:” “Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him.” The fact that Jesus of Nazareth was an historical person, cannot be doubted, and yet that still doesn’t keep otherwise sane people from denying Him. In fact, it seems to me that some people are so deathly afraid that what we preach about Christ might be true, that they defy logic and go so far as to say that He is a complete figment of our imaginations. Sometimes I feel silly teaching or preaching on some subjects, because they are so elementary. I would like to believe that everyone of us know these things and are confirmed in...

The Trial of Christ – Mark 16:61-64

 Was Jesus of Nazareth a real, historical person? How do we know that for sure? (Historical evidence from non-believers.) Is it enough to believe that there was an important man from Nazareth, Galilee whose name was Jesus? Obviously, who Jesus IS, is more important than who Jesus WAS. What do you think that I meant by that statement? There are several different ways to answer the sceptic’s concerns about the deity of Christ. This morning we’re going to begin at the end – the trials of Christ before the Priests and before Pilate. Let’s read the Gospel accounts of the trial of the Lord Jesus: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:11-14; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:63-71; 23:1-4; John 18:19-24; 28-38. These two trials were very different from 99% of most of the trials of which you and I are familiar. When O.J. Simpson was in his first trial, what was it that the jurors were trying to determine? In capital punishment trials what is question under consideration? What was the question under consideration in the trial of Christ Jesus? (Not what He had done, but Who He was.) In Jesus’ trial there was one event, or potential event, which was considered; what was it? (Destruction of the Temple.) If I publically announced to you that I was going to Washington DC with the intention of blowing up the Capital Building, could I be charged with a crime? If the government made some charges against me, what would they call it? (Conspiracy.) If that was all that I did, made an announcement, what is the likelihood that I would be found guilty? If investigators...

Biblical Statements of Jesus’ Deity – John 10:25-33

 What do you think is my purpose in these lessons? (Arguments for the “defense” of Christianity.) What is the general description for this group of lessons? (Apologetics.) What is “Apologetics”? (And explanation or “defense” of the Christian faith.) If someone is skeptical of the truth about Christ and Christianity, is he going to readily receive the testimony of the Bible? If someone professes to be a “Christian” but has problems with or is ignorant of the deity of Christ, is there a likelihood that he will listen to the testimony of the Bible? Even though the material in this particular lesson will not be received by the total skeptic, it may still be important in answering the unbelief of many people. Last week we looked at the testimony made to Jesus’ deity through His trial, now we moved on. Jesus’ own statements.John 10:25-33. What did the Jews think that Jesus meant by what He said here? (Claimed deity.) The word “one” (“I and my Father are one”) is neuter in Greek, not masculine, and refers to their unity in essence or nature, not person. The Father and the Son are one in their deity, but remain two distinct Persons within the Godhead. If the man from Nazareth had clearly said, “God, the Father, and I are the same person” which would it be more: a statement of insanity or blasphemy? If he said, “God and I share the same deity” would it be considered more insanity or blasphemy? Notice that this isn’t the first time that the Jews tried to stone Him. John 5:8-18. How often do you suppose...

Biblical Statements of Jesus’ Deity – John 10:25-33

 Two weeks ago we looked at the testimony made to Jesus’ deity through His trial. Then last week we studied Jesus’ own statements about His deity. And we took note of other things which Jesus said and did, which are indirect statement about His deity. This week let’s notice a couple more things: Jesus’ deeds.He forgave sin – Mark 2:5-7. In Catholicism does a Roman Catholic priest have the authority to forgive sin? In the Jewish religion does or did the priest have authority to forgive sin? Why did Jesus claim the authority to forgive sin? He also raised the dead. –John 4:46-53. If a modern doctor with all his medicines had been somehow transported back in time to Capernaum, 2000 years ago, what would have been the likelihood that he might have saved the life of this little boy? What could a modern doctor have done once the boy died? Jesus’ miracle in this case was that He prevented a death which was almost always fatal in that day. We could say that same thing about Peter’s wife’s mother, and about the lepers and others. Luke 7:11-17. What is the likelihood that this young man was really dead? Why did great fear come on all those who witnessed or heard about this? What did the people say about Christ as a result of this miracle? (A great prophet is risen up among us.) Isn’t it true that Elijah and Elisha also raised the dead? What made what Jesus do different from what they did? (I Kings 17:21). Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26. What were some of the miracles which took...

Three Alternatives – Mark 8:27-29

 If you were able to take an historical electro-magnet and pull every fragment of Jesus Christ out of human society, how much different would the world be today? From what date do most of the world’s calendars mark time? By what Name do most blasphemers curse? By what Name do the majority of people pray? For the last three of weeks, we’ve been thinking about ways to prove the deity of Christ. Before that we proved that the Jesus of Nazareth was a real person. For the last two weeks we looked at Biblical statements and evidence about Jesus’ deity. And before that we also looked at the evidence for deity from Jesus’ trial for blasphemy. Was Jesus crucified because he conspired to destroy the temple? Was he crucified for claiming to be God? That may have been the charge and the conclusion, but actually…. He was crucified because the Jewish leadership didn’t want to acknowledge that he was the Christ. This morning, let’s return to things that we might share with a non-believer in order to make him think about Jesus – His deity and His salvation. And our primary thoughts are about His influence. If we can get people to think about what Christ has accomplished through His people since His death, we might open a door to discussions about Who He is. Jesus Death on the Cross.Was Jesus’ death the establishing of a president, an illustration of how Christians should die? Was His death an effort to draw attention to the godly instructions that He gave us? What was the purpose of Jesus’ death on the...

Prophecies about Christ (1) – Numbers 23:19

 When the Apostles were first preaching Christ, what three kinds of things did they mention in order to prove His Deity and Messiahship? His miracles. On the day of Pentecost Peter preached: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” Is this the most common method that they used to prove Jesus’ deity? (No. To the best of my knowledge Acts 2:22 is the only time that they used this proof.) His resurrection. Acts 1:22 – “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Acts 4:33 – “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” Paul said that he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” His fulfilment of prophecy. These are still tools available to us today. And every skilled craftsman knows that some of the best tools for the job have been around a very long time. Messianic Prophesy.How many prophesies of the first-coming of Christ were made during the Old Testament? (Over 300) Over how many years did the writing of the Old Testament take place? (About 1,000 years.) Was it written by one man and who could therefore create an intellectual or religious conspiracy...

Prophecies about Christ (2) – John 5:39

 When the Apostles were first preaching Christ, what three kinds of things did they mention in order to prove His Deity and Messiahship? His miracles. On the day of Pentecost Peter preached: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” His resurrection. Acts 1:22 – “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Acts 4:33 – “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” Paul said that he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” His fulfilment of prophecy. These are still tools available to us today. And every skilled craftsman knows that some of the best tools for the job have been around a very long time. How many prophesies of the first-coming of Christ were made during the Old Testament? (Over 300) Over how many years did the writing of the Old Testament take place? (About 1,000 years.) Was it written by one man and who could therefore create an intellectual or religious conspiracy about Christ? How many years were there between the completion of the Old Testament and the coming of Christ? (About 400) How can we prove that? (The Septuagint was translated into Greek...

Prophesies of Christ (Part 3) – Galatians 4:4

 We have seen that Jesus’ resurrection is a very powerful way to prove that He is “special.” And we’ve noticed that the Lord Jesus’ miracles prove to us that He was no mere man. We’ve looked at the fact that both Jesus and His disciples used prophesy to prove that Jesus was and is the Christ the Son of God. And we’ve looked at a few of the prophetical illustrations of Christ in the Hebrew Feast Days. Now we move on to general and specific prophesies about the birth and lineage of Christ. Like detectives at a crime scene, one little piece of evidence might not convince a jury of a man’s innocence. But when one little piece of evidence is added to another, and then a more major piece is found and then another and another, pretty soon everyone’s doubts should be removed. But are there ever jury trials where the proof appears to be overwhelming, and still the jury is split? Sometimes prejudice doesn’t give up very easy, even when the proof is compelling. Christ is the SON OF GOD.Psalm 2: – “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my...