Defending our faith part 2
1 Peter 3:15,16
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
1) Can we trust the Gospels to be accurate?
The book of Acts was most likely written around AD 61 to 64
within 30 years of the resurrection of Christ. How do we know this?
Several key events that would naturally have been included in the Book of Acts were left out
James death AD 61
Paul’s death in AD 64
Peter’s death in AD 65
Jewish war against the Romans AD 66
Destruction of the temple in AD 70
In fact J.P. Moreland of Talbot school of theology writes in his book, “scaling the secular city” on page 154 that “the Gospels style of writing and the synchronicity all point to an authorship between 12 and 29 years after Jesus resurrection.”
The new testament also includes Paul’s letters some of which date to AD 49
“Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too. 2 I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-9
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. 9 For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.
2) Have there been revisions and changes to the New Testament record over the years?
And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.
To date archeologist have found over 5000 Greek manuscripts. If we add to that the number of Latin, Coptic and other manuscripts we have over 24,000 manuscripts of the New Testament as proof to the continuity of the New Testament.
Compare that to there are less than 650 manuscripts of Homers Iliad the ancient manuscript with the next highest level of authenticating works.
Compare that to the less than a dozen manuscripts for our Constitution yet we believe it to be authentic.
Apart from actual manuscript evidence 95% of the New testament is found in the writing of the early church Fathers
Sir Fredrick Kenyon former director of the British Museum and other of Palaeography and Greek Papyri,……. “The last foundation for any doubt that the scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written, has now been removed.”
3) Did Jesus claim to be God?
1) Jesus most common name for himself was “son of man”, not what others called him but instead what he called himself.
This was in reference to Daniel 7:13,14
“As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would serve and worship him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.”
2) He claimed to be “I am” John 8:58,59
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
3) Jesus forgave sins
Mark 2: 5-7
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
4) Others recognized Him as God and he did not deny it.
Thomas after Christ resurrection having seen Him, he now believes and makes the exclamation John 20:28
My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Peter when challenged about who Jesus really is…
Matthew 16: 15-17
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
5) What Jesus said about himself
“That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. 9 But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels.
It doesn’t get any clearer than this John 10:30-33
The Father and I are one.” 31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Two weeks ago I shared with you in part one of defending your faith that
1) Even science proves there was a beginning if a beginning then a Creator
2) The Bible is God’s Word,
3) There can only be one universal truth and not all truth is truth.
4) We can trust the Gospels to be accurate,
5) The Bible has not been changed over the years
6) Jesus did claim to be God.
Let’s love unconditionally, pursue relentlessly and change the world continuously.
If you need prayer….