RS: Before we start, I mentioned this last week, and I’m going to mention it again. Someone was very, very kind. He went through The Investigative Study with a guy, and it had such an impact on the guy that presented it, he made a copy of The Investigative Study, if anybody wants a copy of it. And, someone took a copy last week, and he went back through it, and he said this. “I’ve been reviewing The Investigative Study that you gave last week, and I’ve been reviewing it these last few nights. For some reason,” and by the way, this guy has been through The Investigative Study twice. The first time, he rejected the message, 25 years ago, and ten years ago, he received it. He says, “For some reason, the material is more impactful than I remember it. You might ask the groups to read it again to determine if it strikes others the same way it did me.” And this is kind of interesting. He says, “You know, the dots seem to be starting to connect for me. Just a thought.” And he signed his name. So, if anybody wants a copy, we’ve got more in this box here, so they are there on the table. If you’d like a copy, we’d love for you to have one.
All right, we are going to finish up John chapter 5 today. So, if you would, turn to John 5. John 5:31-47. Take a minute, and let’s read it, and just kind of refresh your memory.
Just so you’ll get the context of these words, if you’ll remember, last week, Jesus has healed this man on the Sabbath, and the Jews get real upset with Him. And then He claims to be God, and in verse 18, it says, “For this reason, therefore, the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. And therefore, Jesus answered, and said to them.” And so, Jesus is speaking to a group of hostile Jewish people, and in all likelihood, some of them were probably scribes or Pharisees. So, you need to kind of get the picture to have some context of what we’re going to look at. And what He does in the process, He talks to them about the evidence that proves that His claims are true. Because He’s facing, really when it gets right down to it, a bunch of skeptical people. And He doesn’t, notice this, Jesus doesn’t say, okay, just have faith. You don’t need any foundation, you don’t need any evidence, you don’t need any proof. But it doesn’t say that. You see, evidence is important. In fact, we should want evidence, because the more evidence you have, the stronger your faith will be, just like if you’re trying a case in a court of law, the more evidence you have as the prosecuting attorney, the better the chances that you’re going to win.
And, so, a good question to ask is, what are the reasons that you believe? Why do you believe Christianity is true? What is the evidence that you’ve built your faith on? I mean, could you sit down and reasonably articulate it? Just asking you to think about that. But what is evidence? What is it? Well, do we have any lawyers in this group? We had six lawyers yesterday morning, can you believe that?
[Multiple concurrent comments]
RS: John’s not here today. I guarantee you he’d have a good answer. But evidence is the available, this is from the dictionary, it’s “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid”. Now, over the years, I know I’ve mentioned this a lot, but this is very significant as it pertains to evidence and belief. And there’s, the famous scientist Francis Collins, I know you remember him because I do share this probably a couple of times a year, but I think it’s so significant. I mean, here’s a man who is an atheist, incredibly well-educated until one day an older woman asked him about his faith. And it just kind of dawned on him. He said, this is what he says, “As a scientist, I had always insisted on collecting rigorous data before drawing a conclusion. And yet, in matters of faith, I had never collected any data at all. I had never examined any evidence at all. I realized,” these are his words, “I didn’t know what I had rejected.” In other words, he said, I had rejected God, I had rejected Christianity, but, in reality, I didn’t know what I had rejected. I had never looked at any evidence. And, as he began to examine the evidence, he was shocked at what he found. And today, he’s a very committed, outspoken Christian. And one of the most prominent scientists alive today.
Now, an example that’s a little closer to home, is, I think most of you, a lot of you have read the book I wrote, Reliable Truth: The Validity of the Bible in an Age of Skepticism. I tried to make it scholarly, but easy to read. And, I think it was easy to read, because all three of my teenage children read it when they were like 15 and 16. But I wrote it to provide evidence that the Bible was legitimate and valid, and it was aimed at the skeptic to maybe help change his mind, or do what Francis Collins did, but I also wrote it for Christians, to strengthen their faith. Because the evidence, I believe, is compelling, if you look at it. If you know it. If you understand it. And I have had some great examples of walking through that book, chapter by chapter, with skeptics, only to find that at the end they have become Christians.
But more significantly, I had my, this is interesting, my daughter when she was 15 read it, and, you know, she, my daughter has got a legitimate, I like to say strong faith, but she has a faith, and we went to JH Ranch together, and we talk about this a lot, but she shocked me when she said, Dad, I’m glad you got me to read this book. She said, because I’ve often wondered if the stories that you read in the Bible, are they really true? And, yeah, this was significant, because you don’t know what’s going on in your children’s brains. You don’t know what they’re encountering in this skeptical culture that we live in.
What am I saying? Guys, evidence is important, and that’s what Jesus is addressing here. And again, we need to remember, He’s not talking to a bunch of people who don’t know much. These were, many of them were, scholars in the Old Testament, and they had a high view of Scripture, and yet, Jesus comes along and smacks them over their spiritual blindness. So, let’s go to the text. Go to verse 31. Just so you’ll know, I’m going to make a comment on 31. Jesus says, “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true.” Now, what does He mean by that? Well, what He is saying is that you shouldn’t necessarily believe that I’m the Son of God just because I say so.
You see, the Jews had that they believed in this universal principle that the unsupported evidence of one person cannot be taken as proof, as sound evidence. In fact, Deuteronomy 17:6 says, that you need two, but preferably three, witnesses before you could execute someone. And so, Jesus goes along with the normal Jewish law of evidence, which is, His own unsupported testimony about Himself is insufficient. And so, what Jesus does, guys, in this text that we’ve just read, is that He gives three significant reasons which becomes the evidence of His Sonship. And they are called the three witnesses, or the three testimonies. And look at verse 32 to 35. What is the first witness? What is the first evidence?
Unidentified audience member: John.
RS: John the Baptist. You see, John, other than Jesus’ parents, and, at this time, we’re pretty sure that only Mary is alive, nobody knows Who He is, except for John, and Mary. In fact, if you’ll go back and remember, we read in the first chapter of John, John the Baptist declared that Jesus was the Lord. He was the Lamb of God Who would take away the sins of the world. He was the Son of God. And this is what’s interesting, guys. In verse 3,5 Jesus reminds them, you know, that at one point, ya’ll really liked old John. Look what it says. It says, in the New American, it says, “You were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.” The NIV says, “You chose for a time to enjoy his light.” Enjoy his teaching. And so, clearly there was a period when John shows up on the scene and he’s talking, talking is not the right word, preaching. A very unorthodox person and lifestyle. But he was preaching and people would go out and they loved listening to him. But what you see is they enjoyed his light. His light, L-I-G-H-T, while they agreed with it, and while they liked what they heard. But then, as it became closer to Jesus’ beginning His ministry, and he began to really prepare the way and, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” they didn’t like it so much anymore. Because it was taking them in a direction they didn’t want to go. And this can be very easily true today, guys, in, whether it be Christian Bible studies or Christian churches. I’m pro-church, so, don’t, I’m not against the Church, but Paul says this is a problem that people have to face.
Keep your finger right here, if you would, at John 5, and turn over to II Timothy chapter 4, verse 3. All right, how are we doing everybody? I’m going to give you a second to find it. Got it? II Timothy 4:3. All right, George, you want to read that for us?
George: “The time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
RS: So, what is Paul saying there, guys? You’ve got to be aware of something, what?
Unidentified audience member: People who preach what they want to hear.
RS: Not what they need to hear. Not necessarily the truth. But, what they want to hear. What’s pleasant to them. Tell us what’s pleasant. Tell us what makes me feel good. That’s what I want. And it says, we’ve got to watch out for accumulating people that teach you, but don’t teach you the Truth. Don’t challenge you. There’s a great verse, great verse – I’ll just read it to you real quick though. It’s in Isaiah chapter 30, starting in verse 9, listen to this. “This is a rebellious people. False sons who refuse to listen to the instruction of the Lord, and they say to the seers, ‘You must not see visions’,” and listen to this, “And they say to the prophets, ‘You must not prophesy to us what is right, instead speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions’.” In other words, tell us what is pleasant, even if it’s not true. And then they say, “But get out of the way, turn aside from the path, we do not want to hear any more about the Holy One of Israel.”
We want what’s pleasant, even if it’s not the truth. Now, this is a problem. It’s very easy, I think, particularly in the South, with all the churches, with all the spiritual activity, it’s easy to gravitate towards, I just want to feel good. I shared this with one group a couple of weeks ago, so if you’ve heard this for the second time, I’m sorry, but, it’s like a guy who was part of a search committee for a church, and they would fly to different churches around the country to listen to these preachers that they wanted to consider hiring. And this guy said, you know, there was a committee, and there was a lot of diversity in the committee, I’ll just put it that way. And he said, we heard this one guy that was down in Florida who was dynamite. I mean, he could preach. And he preached a dynamic sermon, and the committee got together, we flew back and got together, and he was thinking, this is going to be unanimous. And he said, unfortunately, several of them said, he talks too much about sin. He talks too much about sin. We don’t want a preacher that talks about sin and judgment. See, that’s what Paul is talking about here. That’s what Isaiah is talking about. Let me stop here. Any comments or questions?
Unidentified audience member: Richard, there was something on television [unintelligible 16:52-16:53] Joel Osteen, and this is exactly, everyone walks out feeling great but hasn’t really heard the Gospel.
RS: Well, yeah. Somebody brought that up this morning, and, [unintelligible 17:06] it was, and I’m not going to comment on Joel Osteen. I’m going to leave him alone, because, but, I hear what you’re saying.
Unidentified audience member: Do people refer to that type of church as maybe a seeker-friendly type environment.
RS: Could be. And I think the thing is, we want to draw people; we don’t want to run people off.
Unidentified audience member: Which makes sense, but there is the fine line between…
RS: Yeah. Anybody else? Well, you know, guys, in doing my preparation, I use three different commentaries, really good commentaries, and if Tim Keller has preached any sermons on any of the texts, I use, I’ll go read the sermon. And, back in 1997, he preached on these same verses. And he brought something out about John the Baptist that I thought was very good, that none of the commentators, I think, saw. But, he said, “John was a bright and shining light. Jesus wasn’t really focusing so much on John as a prophet, which he was, but instead, he says, look at his light. He was radiant.” Keller goes on to say, “See, the first kind of evidence, the first way God speaks to you is the personal. People who believe in Christ. People who point to Christ, and people whose lives are radiant. Their lives are tremendous. There is incredible integrity. There is a kind of unaccountable radiance there. Unless you’ve known people like that, you haven’t heard of one of the main ways in which God gives evidence that He’s there.”
I’m going to talk a little bit today about my own journey, but, when I look back, I mean, I became a Christian at the age of 20, I’m 63, that’s 43 years ago. But, I can look back and see things that happened now. I can see more clearly, and one of the things that I realize looking back, was that my own father, who was a very, he was a good businessman, he was well thought of, but he was a real committed believer, and it struck me as a kid that you could be a Christian and you could be a man, out in the world. And he was a, I mean, he was a really solid Christian man. And that, the personal, had an impact on me. The question is though, that we’ve got to ask ourselves is, do people see the radiance of Christ in us? Do they see His joy in us? And you know what one of the problems is, guys. You can’t fake it. It’s got to be real. And it’s got to be God working in you. You can’t just generate and produce it. It’s got to be His radiance in us. It says, Paul says, “It’s Christ in you.” That is the hope of glory. Comments or questions?
All right, let’s look at the second witness. The second piece of evidence on why should we believe. Why should we believe that You’re the Son of God? Look at verse 36. Ben, you want to read verse 36?
Ben: Sure. “I have testimony weightier than that of John, for the very work that the Father has given Me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent Me.”
RS: What is He talking about there? What’s the evidence? He says, this second piece of evidence is much weightier, stronger, than John’s testimony. And what was it?
Unidentified audience member: His miracles.
RS: His miracles. His works. I mean, think about it. Eventually, the Resurrection. He says, these works are the works of the Father. And He says, this is much more significant evidence. Go back, why did Nicodemus come to see Jesus in the first place? Remember in John 3:2, he says, you’ve got to be from God. No one can do these kinds of signs that you’re doing. And one of my favorite – let me just read this to you real quick – in Matthew 12, it says, “Some of the scribes and the Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You,’ but He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet, no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a large fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
You see what’s happening here? These guys are saying, we want a sign, but you know what their problem was? They weren’t really interested in seeking spiritual truth. They were looking for something spectacular. They had heard all about what Jesus was doing, and, do something spectacular. And, of course, His response, I’m sure, they had no clue what He was talking about. But, you know what He’s saying to them? I’m not going to give you a sign. And then He turned around and says, but in the future, there is going to be a sign, and it’s going to be the motherlode of all signs. And it’s the Resurrection. Think about this, guys. This is a good question. Think about it. If the Resurrection is true, and I believe with all my heart it’s true, and the evidence that is provided for the Resurrection is very powerful, but, if it is true, then what difference does it make in your life? What does it mean? What does it mean to us? Does it mean anything? What does it mean to you?
Unidentified audience member: We’ve been saved?
RS: We’ve been saved. And Jesus says that.
Unidentified audience member: He was the Son of God.
RS: He was the Son of God. We know that. If we know He was the Son of God, what else do we know?
Unidentified audience member: We can also conquer death and have eternal life.
RS: That’s the biggie. Death is conquered. There is eternal life. What does it mean about His words?
Unidentified audience members: True.
RS: They’re true. What does it mean about the Bible?
Unidentified audience member: It’s true.
RS: Think about it. Jesus quotes the Bible, continuously. You don’t hear Him say, you know, I have to tell you guys there are some errors in the Bible that we need to correct. You don’t see that.
Unidentified audience member: Typos.
RS: He doesn’t say that. And He quotes it, and He says, God has spoken and He quotes right out of the Scripture. It validates the Bible. When it gets right down to it, the Resurrection means everything.
And back to my own personal story. It’s interesting how God slowly kind of draws you. The first time I ever heard and understood the Gospel when I was about the fifth grade. I went with my Dad to the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, and it was at Boutwell Auditorium. I can see it now. I can see this guy. He was a Colonel or a General in the military and he’s explaining the Gospel, and I remember, I got it. I understand it. I didn’t do anything with it, but I understood it. I was about twelve.
Five years later, seventeen. I remember going to a Young Life meeting. Seventeen years old. It was at Jimmy Rudolph’s house. Some of you know Jimmy. And the guy that was talking was not that good of a speaker. His last name was Mulvaney. You might know his son, Mike, or Jimmy. Mike’s an attorney down at Maynard Cooper, and I don’t know what Jimmy does. But he read, and kind of shared the evidence for the Resurrection. And I remember leaving that meeting, thinking, you know, this really happened. This is really true. And I think that was important for me at that time. You see, evidence is important.
Many of you may have been to the Birmingham Country Club breakfast last year, on Good Friday. And I shared how, from time to time, I have an opportunity to speak to those who are “skeptics”. And my objective, of course, is to provide evidence that demonstrates that Christianity is true. And what I do is, I share, I do this by sharing four arguments, I think all of them are powerful arguments, that Jesus is the Son of God. And, as I said a minute ago, the evidence is compelling, particularly the evidence of the Resurrection. And this is the problem. I’m sharing with ya’ll something that I’ve learned. The problem is people generally when I meet with them, they want to talk about these intellectual issues that trouble them. They want to go way out here in the cosmos. And they want to ask certain questions, that are legitimate questions. But, what you find, is that you can talk for hours about these questions and never get anywhere, and you know what some of the questions are, don’t you? What are some of the questions a skeptic usually asks?
Unidentified audience member: What’s the meaning of life?
RS: What’s the meaning of life? That’s a good one. What else?
Unidentified audience member: Why do bad things happen?
RS: Why do bad things happen? Why is there so much pain and suffering? What else?
Unidentified audience member: Heathen in Africa.
RS: What about those in Africa? Those who have never heard. Good question. What about all those other people in other religions? Aren’t, in reality, aren’t all the religions leading to the same…these are all common questions. You don’t get any curveballs. I mean, I’ve heard most of them. Now, I’ve learned to take a different approach when they bring their questions. Not that they aren’t, it’s not that I don’t want to answer your question, we will, I say, but before we do that, let’s start with what I consider the most central question to any spiritual search for truth. And it’s real simple. What we’re going to do is simple. Let’s answer this question. Did Jesus rise from the dead or not? The great thing about this is that’s a simple proposition. Either He did, or He didn’t. And, if He did, that means everything. If He didn’t, then you can scratch Christianity off and go and look for something else. This worked really well with the most recent guy that I did this with. He admitted that this was really helpful. It made me think. He really had kind of a bunch of smokescreens out there that he wanted to talk about, but He really got into this.
Let me just say this, guys. If you can get a skeptic to look seriously at the evidence for the Resurrection, they’re in trouble, particularly if they’re honest. This is what Dallas Willard says. “The evidence for the Resurrection is very difficult to challenge because it’s very convincing.” Now this is a guy with a PhD in Philosophy at USC. He says, “But the problem I run into when I meet with intellectuals, skeptics, they’re ignorant of the facts.” And then he says, and I quote, “Over the years, I’ve noticed that over the years, that many a skeptic has set out to disprove the claims of the Christian faith, only to change their minds and become Christians.” There is a long list of people, starting with Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Frank Morrison, J.N. Anderson, Sir William Ramsay. And the reason, according to Willard, is this. They change their minds because they’re “forced to examine the historical record, and historical facts.” They have to look at the evidence. And, you see, if they are scientists, they’re used to science, and you can’t go to a scientist and say, can you prove in the lab that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? They can’t. They can say, men don’t rise from the dead, but that’s not the question. You can’t go to a Philosophy department and say, can you prove that He didn’t rise from the dead? It’s not an issue of philosophy. It’s a historical issue. Did it happen or did it not, and you have to look at the historical record. And most people have never done that. Guys, strong evidence is a powerful force. Particularly if you have people that really want the Truth. Comments or questions? Anybody?
Unidentified audience member: What was the…I always think about this. This is not about proving that the Resurrection happened or didn’t happen, but like when you, you may have answered this for me before, but I always struggle with it, when you see the words in red, or any of this, what’s the gap in time between when this stuff happened and was said versus when it was written down? Did you talk about that in your book?
RS: Yeah. I’ve got a whole chapter on it.
Unidentified audience member: I read it. I’ll have to reread it.
RS: All right. Go back. If you still have questions, go back.
Billy: It’s part of The Investigative Study too, isn’t it?
RS: Billy, it used to be.
[Multiple concurrent comments]
RS: It’s changed since 1990. Yes, you’re right. It was.
Unidentified audience member: The critical question I came to in The Study was either Jesus was Who He said He was or the world’s greatest liar. No man claims to be the Son of God unless He’s a complete idiot, a lunatic, or is, in fact, the Son of God.
RS: Yeah. He’s a liar, lunatic, or He isn’t.
Unidentified audience member: And He is the Son of God, and it’s beautiful.
RS: And that was the same logic that C.S. Lewis used to come to the conclusion that he came to. Just what you just said. You and C.S. think alike.
[Laughter and multiple concurrent comments]
RS: All right. Anybody else? Let’s go to the final evidence that Jesus says. Go down to 39. John 5:39. It says, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them, you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.” Then go down to verse 45. “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. For since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
Unidentified audience member: Okay. How do the Jews deny that? Because it’s not in the Old Testament?
RS: Well, deny what now?
Unidentified audience member: Because of Moses.
RS: That’s…I know a number of Jews who have become Christians, and their response to me has been, our people are very stubborn, and they are very blind.
Unidentified audience member: There is a guy, a Rabbi, I saw just surfing the other night, he was called the Jewish, he was speaking about the Jewish Jesus.
RS: Well, you wouldn’t, there are thousands and thousands of Jews, and there are all kinds of ministries of Jewish people who have become Christians and they, they have churches now. And I, hold onto that thought, Hal, because I’m going to kind of come back to it. So, what’s the final evidence? Hal, you didn’t say it. What is it? What is the final evidence?
Hal: The Old Testament.
RS: The Old Testament that points to Jesus as the Messiah.
Unidentified audience member: When they say Moses, are they talking about the books of the Bible that Moses wrote?
Unidentified audience member: I mean, this will show my ignorance a little bit, but what, could you point to one thing that Moses said that predicted Jesus was coming? Where would it be?
RS: It goes all the way back to Genesis, is where it starts. I got them all, because I knew this would come up, I have them all listed in the Appendix in my book. But you can go through all of them if you want to. But, you know, what Jesus is saying to these skeptical Jews is that the Scripture, which you think so highly of, points to Me. It speaks of Me. William Barclay, he’s one of the commentators that I use, he said Jesus is saying that you think you have Moses to be your mediator and that makes you safe. But Moses really is going to be the one who condemns you. He says, why? Because Moses spoke about Me. Moses knew I was coming, so, if you reject Me, you, in reality, are rejecting Moses, because Moses wrote about Me. And there’s a great book that Bill [unintelligible 35:45] gave me, that’s titled, it’s one of the best research books I’ve ever seen, it’s called The Emmaus Code, by David Limbaugh. And Limbaugh says that the 39 books of the Old Testament are all united by a common thread. They are all centered on God’s promise to redeem mankind, and this thread continues through the New Testament where the promise is fulfilled in Christ. Now, guys, we see this, and we even, Paul’s own letter. Keep your finger here, and go back to II Timothy where we were a minute ago. Go to II Timothy chapter 3. II Timothy chapter 3, verses 14 and 15. Reynolds, you want to read those for us?
RS: This is Paul writing to Timothy, remember, all right.
Reynolds: “But, as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
RS: You hear what he’s saying? Paul is saying, now Timothy, remember, continue the things you’ve learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you’ve learned them, and then, remember, from childhood, from infancy, he says in the NIV, you have known the Holy Scriptures. The sacred writings. And what does he say about the sacred writings? They are able to make you wise for salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. Remember, guys, there’s no New Testament here. He’s saying, It’s the Old Testament that you, these sacred writings that you have learned, or you have been given the wisdom that leads to salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul is confirming how the Old Testament is used. And going back to what Paul would do, in the book of Acts, he would go into a temple, or he’d go into a synagogue, excuse me, and he said he would reason with them from what?
Unidentified audience member: The Scriptures.
RS: The Scriptures. What would he reason with them? What would he tell them? What we’re talking about right here. And the reason that Limbaugh titled his book, The Emmaus Code, is because of Jesus’ conversation with those two men who were leaving Jerusalem where Jesus had been crucified, and they were walking seven miles to this village in Emmaus. And let’s look at that real quick, and then we’ll wrap this up. Turn to Luke 24.
Now, Jesus had been crucified, and three days had gone by, and the word is starting to get out that the body is missing. Okay? And that goes from 13 to verse 24. And these two guys are talking to each other about these events. And, so they’re having this discussion with each other and then, somebody joins them, just kind of out of the blue. You know who it was?
Unidentified audience member: Jesus.
RS: It was Jesus. And He says, what’s going on here, guys? And they start telling Him, and they tell Him, this is what happened. And they would say, are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and aren’t aware of what’s happened? And they tell the story, and they say, and some of the women went to the tomb, and they didn’t find the body, and even some of his followers went, and they didn’t find the body, and then look what Jesus says to them. “Oh, foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken.” What’s He saying to them? These are Jews. He’s saying, you ought to know about this. You ought to know what the prophets have said? Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? And then it said, then, “And beginning with Moses, and all the Prophets, He explained to them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.”
Unidentified audience member: That would have been a good Bible study.
RS: That would have been a good one. That would be good. And then, go down to verse 44 in Luke 24. Jesus is addressing His disciples for the last time, and He says, in verse 44, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms, must be fulfilled. And then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And He said to them, ‘Thus it is written,’” reading from the Scriptures, “‘that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.’”
Now, you know if you were wondering, earlier I had said in the book, Reliable Truth, in the chapter on Jesus, I said there are four main arguments that provide the evidence for Him to be the Son of God. If you are wondering what the four are, one is His impact on history, number two, obviously, evidence for the Resurrection, and three, one that I really love, is how Jesus has had such an impact on the world, yet He didn’t do it through power, He did it through humility. And then finally, and I think, very significant, is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies, which are in the book on Jesus, I have five or six, and in the Appendix, I have, I think I have the rest, I can’t remember if I have all of them, but I have a large number of them. Now, we’re about out of time here.
I want to close with, I think, really powerful, powerful words from Ray Stedman, as quoted in The Emmaus Code.
Unidentified audience member: Richard, I have a real quick question.
Unidentified audience member: Of all the religions in the world, and I know you’ve said this, isn’t Christianity the only one that has the central figure of worship that proclaims to actually be the Son of God?
Unidentified audience member: Everybody else is just really good guys, and smart people, and …
RS: A good way to look at it is that really all the other religions and philosophies of the world, is basically, God gives you a standard, and basically, you try to live by the standard and work your way to Him. Christianity where, He came to us, and died for us, and enabled us, through Him, not through our own efforts, to be saved.
All right. This is a great ending, guys. It’s worth you coming for, how about that? Listen to what Ray Stedman says.
“The Old Testament is deliberately an incomplete book. It was never intended by God to be His last Word to the human race.” Then he says, “The Old Testament leaves you with a number of unexplained issues. First, the unexplained sacrifices.”
You see, what you learn, the sacrifices were what you call an atonement. It was a temporary covering of your sin until the coming of the true Lamb of God. And so, you have an incomplete, basically, you have an unexplained sacrifice, you have all these unfulfilled prophecies that I guess the Jews are still waiting for that Messiah, and you have then the unsatisfied human longings, the longings of the soul that only the Spirit of God can quench. And he says this, “But the second you open the New Testament, the first thing you see in Matthew is the genealogy of Jesus, from the Old into the New, and you see that He is the one Who fulfilled prophecies. All of the Messianic prophecies He fulfills. And then He is the one Who explains the sacrifice, by becoming the sacrifice, by being that Lamb of God. And finally, He is the One, through the Holy Spirit, the living water, that satisfies the deep longings of the soul. So, in fact, the Old Testament is really incomplete, and Jesus came to complete it.”