The Bible is the best source on the life of Jesus Christ. We must find out what Jesus said about Himself. Jesus made the kind of claims which only God can make.
a) Jesus claimed to be God.
It is clear from this passage that the Jews understood perfectly that Jesus was claiming to be God.
b) Jesus claimed to forgive sin.
This passage shows us that Jesus clearly claimed to forgive sin that only God can forgive; therefore the people understood that Jesus claimed to be equal with God.
c) Jesus claimed to be the final judge who will determine a person's final destiny in heaven or hell.
This passage shows that only God can determine one's final destiny. By claiming such authority Jesus claimed to be God.
d) Jesus predicted and fulfilled his death and resurrection.
John 2:19‑21 destroy this temple and Jesus was not talking about a temple of stone, but about His body.
Luke 24:1‑6 The woman at the tomb ‑ Jesus’ body was gone.
Luke 24:36‑45 Jesus stood among them.
e) Jesus claimed to be God and either his claims were true or his claims were false.
Lesson 2-2: THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
1. The Bible exemplifies amazing Unity, Composition & Preservation.
66 Books, 40 authors, written over a period of 1500 years in 3 languages on 3 continents - yet it is one book with one theme = the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible has survived 20 centuries, is printed in over 1000 languages; whereas most books don't even last for one century.
2. Fulfilled prophecies:
|Birth town named
|Born of a virgin
|Entry in Jerusalem
|Luke 19:29 38|
|Casts lots for robe
|Gall and vinegar
|Death, burial, resurrection
|Luke 23:33, Luke 23:50-53, Luke 24|
|Jesus predicts his death & resurrection
3. Mathematical evidence:
Mathematical probability estimates that if a prophecy about a person, place or event has 25 details there is a 1:33 million chance of its accidental fulfilment. Old testament contains 300+ references to the first coming of Jesus There are 25 predicted details about his betrayal, trial, death & burial which were all fulfilled within 24 hours at the time of Jesus Christ's death.
4. Evidence of the resurrection:
The tomb was empty (Luke 24:3).
Roman guards were bribed to say the disciples stole the body (Matt 27:62‑66, 28:11-15).
First reports of the resurrection were from women, and a testimony of a woman in that culture was worthless. But that argues for the reality of the situation (John 20:18).
Grave clothes were undisturbed (John 20:5‑7).
Jesus appeared in bodily form (Luke 24:36‑44).
Jesus was seen alive by more than 500 people (1 Cor 15:1‑6).
Disciples were changed - Peter denied Christ 3 times, yet spoke at Pentecost and 3,000 were converted (Acts 2:41).
Conversion of the Apostle Paul (Acts 9) - Jesus spoke to him personally.
Establishment of the church worldwide.
5. Evidence from a Non-Christian
Dr. Nelson Glueck, President, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio:
Over 10 years of personal archaeological exploration in Palestine mainly in the Dead Sea area.
Discovered King Solomon's Copper mines and Solomon's Porch by following Deuteronomy in the Old Testament
Featured on the cover of Time magazine... says:
Thus far, no archaeological discovery has ever been made in the Bible lands which contradicts a well-understood Biblical statement in the Bible.
Principle: God's light is progressive, leading us to the truth in Jesus Christ
Every man has knowledge about God from 2 sources:
a. Nature (Natural revelation) ‑ Rom 1:20 (God's power in nature).
b. Conscience ‑ The Law of God written in our hearts Rom 2:15.
Therefore man is without excuse to know there is a God:
Rom 1:20 so that they are without excuse
Rom 1:21 ...for even though they knew God, they did not honour him as God
Key point – they knew there was a God, but chose not to follow or worship Him.
Rom 1:21‑25 Shows what happens when man rejects God
A true heathen is one who has divine revelation, but has rejected it
God is not far from any individual regardless of how remote or primitive the people:
Acts 17:26,27 He is not far from each one of us
Proverbs 8:17 If any man will seek after God, he will find Him
Jesus Christ is the only name whereby men may be saved:
Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else
It is only through Jesus Christ that we can have Salvation ‑ He is the only way. We cannot just believe in any god.
John1:9 There was the true light
God's light is available to every human being.
Every man includes the educated, uneducated, urban, rural, every remote person, regardless of how primitive or physically isolated they may be.
Principal 1: Originally God created a perfect world.
Gen1:31 God saw all that He had created and it was good.
God did not create man and the world possessing evil.
God intended for man to live an unending life of joyful fellowship in harmony with God and his creation. [Paul Little in his book: Know Why You Believe]
Principal 2: Where did evil come from?
Evil originated with Satan.
Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezek 28:12-19 Satan was originally a beautiful creation of God, but he rebelled & exalted himself above God.
He contradicted God's command and deceived Eve, assuring her that her disobedience would not result in death, but make her like God.
Satan finds great pleasure in ruining God's creation and causing misery and suffering. Satan accounts for some of the disease and suffering in the world today. [Paul Little]
James 1:13-15 God himself never tempts anyone.
Principal 3: By misusing his own freedom of choice, man is responsible for evil and suffering in the world.
God created man with the ability to obey or disobey Him.
Gen 2:16,17 ‑ Man was given responsibility to keep God's commands.
God shows man respect and love by giving him the freedom to think and make his own decisions. (Otherwise we would be reduced to a mere mechanical puppet). Because of this freedom of choice, there existed a possibility for sin and evil, so the responsibility lies not in God's interference with man's free choice, but in the human consent to willfully choose good or evil. This is the choice Eve had when the serpent approached her.
Gen 3:16‑19 shows the severe consequences that resulted from man's decision to disobey God.
Pain, toil and death - both physical and spiritual - were introduced into the world from the moment of mankind's fall. (See vs 6‑15 also,
Rom 5:12, 3:23 and Mark 7:20‑23).
Rom 5:12, Rom 3:23 Because of man's one act of disobedience sin spread to all men.
Mark 7:20-23 Jesus explained that man's heart is corrupted by sin and that he is responsible for the evil deeds committed in the world.
Man has continued to rebel against God. The fall of Adam and of man lies in the exercise of man's free choice in the direction of evil. This "fall of man" is the basic reason for evil and suffering in the world; therefore, man, not God, must assume responsibility.
Man's wrong doing is the source of an incredible amount of misery and strife in broken lives today. The deceiving, selfish intentions and actions which characterize today's society, all reap a bitter harvest of suffering. [Paul Little].
Principal 4: This principle gives man the only means of victory over sin, evil and suffering:
Despite man's rebellion, God has responded with love and dealt with man's rebellion and the hurts that it has caused. God gave man His Son to conquer sin, evil and suffering.
1 John 4:9,10 This is how God showed his love.
Heb 2:17,18 Because He himself suffered when He was tempted.
We see from these verses that Jesus understands our trials because He faced them as a human being.
Heb 4:14‑16 Jesus is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses - on the contrary He was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.
Christ triumphed over these problems in several ways:
Christ was perfectly obedient to God to the point of death paying the price of man=s sins. (Phil 2:8).
He willingly bore man's sins and provided His righteousness for him in exchange for his disobedience (I Peter 2:24).
God has done the most dramatic, costly and effective thing possible by leaving His heavenly position to become man, to die willingly so that all creation could once again be restored to perfection in Him.
God, in Christ, became a partaker in man's suffering, not protecting Himself from experiencing pain. God understands suffering and He feels man's pain. Jesus is described as the ultimate sufferer for all mankind and a sympathizer of his weaknesses. (Isaiah 53:3, Hebrew 4:15).
The power of sin and evil can be broken by entering into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. He alone can change people's lives by changing their desires. Instead of wanting to do evil, they will want to do good. Christ lives to transform broken, sinful souls into those that will reflect His love and goodness.
He restricts evil and can even use it to bring positive results in a Christian's life:
Romans 8:28 ...God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
I Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
According to His Word, the goodness of God and the existence of suffering in the world are not necessarily contradictory. He can correlate the two and make them constructive. Therefore, a Christian has a different perspective on suffering. In His love, He constantly strives to 'perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish' believers, so there are times they may suffer in order for Him to work for His good pleasure.
There are countless Biblical accounts relating to how God uses evil and suffering for His glory and for the believer's good. For example, in the Old Testament, Joseph underwent many trials with his brothers selling him into slavery in Egypt, as well as suffering slanderous accusations against his character and enduring unjust imprisonment. However, God used this suffering to test his faith (Psalm 105:19), to establish him as a government leader, and to save many people including his own brothers from starvation.
Modern day examples also testify to God's faithfulness to use suffering to produce positive results in lives.
Recently at a conference at Mount Herman in Northern California (USA), a group of students were sitting around a campfire, sharing what Christ meant to them and how thankful they were for various things in the world and nature. As they sat around the campfire in the midst of pine-studded hills surrounding the campsite, they became aware of a blind girl attending the conference who had been listening attentively to all their comments. Finally, she spoke, "I'm thankful tonight that I was born blind, because the first thing that I will ever see is Jesus." This girl's sufferings were producing patience, endurance (James 1:2-4) and eternal perspective for her life (II Corinthians 4:17,18).
Another modern example shows how God uses suffering in a Christian's life to be a testimony to lead others to salvation (II Corinthians 7:10).
The wife of a Campus Crusade for Christ staff member, Larry Benton, was assaulted one afternoon in her home by an ex-convict. Shortly after the crime, the man was found and arrested. Larry and Beverly Benton felt impressed by God to express Christ's love to this man. The Bentons' visited him, corresponded with him and befriended the prisoner. After a period of two years, the prisoner committed his life to Jesus Christ. God used this trial to call the Benton's to a full-time ministry to prisoners. In 1974 they became the founders of the Prison Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, a ministry designated to communicate Christ's love to prisoners.
The third way God has dealt lovingly with man despite his rebellion is by promising that evil will not rule forever.
One day man will live in a new earth. In Revelations 21:1-4 God promises that He will dwell among men on earth, wipe away all tears, death, and pain.
When Jesus was here on earth He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry and calmed the potential natural disasters (like storms). This was a preview of what He can and will do when He will put an end to all evil and suffering.
God will remove all evil and suffering according to His perfect timing. He postpones judgment at the present time out of love, because He is willing for none to perish (II Peter 3:9). That's why He desires all men to heed His call now so He may return to establish the new earth.
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