Christians need to be able to give an answer for their faith in Jesus as the Son of God. We can be confident that God did ask us to believe blindly but when we examine our faith, we find more and more reasons to believe.
Today’s lesson, Jesus in Prophecy, discusses the prophecies given regarding Jesus in the Old Testament and how they can help us have more confidence.
Which prophecy concerning Christ do you find the most meaningful?
Two weeks ago we discussed the Bible as God’s word. While Christians do not doubt the Bible being God’s word, those who have questions might be interested in some of the facts about the Bible which may help them draw the same conclusion we do. (Unfortunately, part 1 did not get recorded)
While there are many classic lines from movies that make it into the American vocabulary and consciousness, the title of today’s blog comes from the movie A Few Good Men and I am sure most of you know that line delivered in typical Jack Nicholson brashness. (I don’t recommend the movie due to it’s R rating, a televised version would clean up most of that language, however.)
Can we actually handle the truth depends on whether we want to handle the truth. It is, therefore, completely up to us to decide if we can handle it, or not! It is a decision of the will.
Truth can be used in many ways, but at the heart and foundation (no pun intended) of “truth” is a foundation that you can build on. Can you imagine what would happen if “truth” changed? Right now, some are saying that truth does change. No, truth does not change but circumstance can. As I write these blog, my wife is not with me. This is truth but the circumstance might change in 10 minutes. If she comes into the room, she is now with me. The circumstance has changed but the truth has not. Through all eternity, it shall always be true that she was not with me when I wrote that sentence.
Gravity is a truth. If you drop a hammer from a tree in Texas, it falls just as fast as if you drop it in India. There is a relationship between that hammer and the planet that causes it to fall. It never rises! It will fall on the moon too, although a bit slower. Gravity is a truth you cannot ignore.
Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue, if NASA tried to send a man to the moon only to find out that gravity stopped working at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere? What if gravity quit working every other Tuesday, unless the sky was cloudy overhead? It would be circumstantial then, subject to change and not a truth.
Here are some good things to remember about Truth that are based on a book called I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist:
Truth is discoverable but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t yet discovered it. (Jupiter’s moons were there before we saw them.)
Truth does not depend on culture. Math works just as well in the U.S.A as it does in China.
Truth does not change based on our beliefs. Many used to believe you would lose your breath if you ever exceeded 60 miles an hour in a car. This was not true before we did it and suddenly, no longer true. It was always a mistaken belief. If I believe a bottle to contain medicine but it contains deadly poison, I will not be able to avoid death simply by believing hard enough the opposite of the truth.
We expect truth from our doctors, parents, spouses, children, and politicians. (O.k. maybe we don’t expect it from our politicians. That might not be true. LOL) However, we want the truth about the house or car we go to buy. If an archeologist tells us that the skull we are about to buy is the skull of a famous Aztec king, we do not expect him to try and sell us a smaller sized skull and tell us it is the same Aztec King’s skull when he was a child!
So why is it that we do not ask for the same thing in our religion? Why are we willing to buy into the idea that what someone believes to be true can be true for them and not for us, and visa versa?
Here is a truth claim, from the Christian Scriptures: Speaking of Jesus, Peter says ” Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Act 4:12)
Now that may or may not be a true statement! Let’s look at that statement though and what it means.
IF IT IS TRUE, it states that there is only one way to Salvation. It states that Jesus is the only way. It is is exclusive of other names, roads, means of salvation. It says, that only by going through this name, may one be saved; if it is true.
IF IT IS NOT TRUE, then perhaps other names are valid means of obtaining salvation, if, that is, that there is a salvation. One might also say that if it not true, that Peter lied, which in most circles is not a good way to obtain salvation. So the door is open to other means of salvation, if salvation exists.
So, can you handle the truth? If Jesus is the only way to salvation, can you accept it? It is not good enough to say “I don’t believe it to be true.”, nor is it good enough for me to say “I believe it to be true.” That statement cannot be both true and untrue, it cannot be true for you and not for me, it makes a claim to be true and it either is, or it is not!
Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (Joh 18:37-38 ESV)
Indeed, what is truth? There are some people who don’t think there is truth about anything. Some think that truth is relative. Truth however, is real and objective. It is something so precious that it cannot be simply overlooked.
Of course the statement that “Truth is relative” is not true. It is stated as a truth and yet if all truth is relative then how could that statement be true. I may say that I hate coffee and that is truth. It is not true only for me but it is true for others. Steven hates coffee is true to other people also. Where one can say I have a preference and my opinion of coffee is not the opinion of others, this does not change the truth: I hate coffee.
Jesus said that those who are of the truth listen to Him. There is much in the Bible to indicate that God speaks the truth and that His words are what we need to listen to. These scriptures say that those who refuse to listen to him are those who suppress the truth or have not received a love for the truth.
Truth: There is a God. But some deny this.
Truth: The Bible is God’s word. But some deny this.
Truth: Jesus is the son of God, God in the flesh. But some deny this.
In one post, you cannot possibly explore all of these truths to validate them or disprove them but I hope to tackle them over the next few weeks. A few at a time, a bit at a time. However, one illustration may help show how useless it is to dispute something when it is true.
In my last post, the original post (before I corrected it) referred to a fellow preacher and blogger by the name of Eric. I referenced his blog, I thanked him for his comment, and I used his comment in my blog. The only problem is that Eric’s name is not Eric. It is Eugene. While it is certainly true that in the overall scheme of things, a mistake in calling someone by a different name is minor, it still needs to be corrected.
Now I could have told him that his name is not Eugene. But that would not have changed the truth, as his birth certificate, friends, parents, and drivers license would show.
I could have asked him to change his name so that I was indeed correct. Yet, I am sure you can still see that even if he had changed his name to Eric, that would only mean that it had not been when I mistakenly called him Eric.
I could fight it or…I could acknowledge the truth. Why so many people would rather say “Hey, you look more like an Eric to me….” and lie against the truth is curious. It does not have long-lasting implications (although perhaps a friendship would suffer) in the matter of a simple name but when it comes to things like God’s existence, or Jesus’ deity…why stand and beat your head against what is true?
Even worse are those who don’t even care to take the time to investigate. They can’t be bothered with the facts, their mind is made up.
As a means of full disclosure, I will be following a couple of works by others and adding what seems to me to be common sense. The book called “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” and a study book called “Indestructible foundations” (Peter J. Wilson) are going to help guide me in some of the order things are presented.
Stick around, Lord willing some of these posts will give us good reason to believe what we, as Christians, believe.
Question: Do you have questions, critiques, opposing viewpoints? Comments are welcome. Discussion encouraged. Respectful dialogue is required.
photo credit from Google images
Today’s lesson dealt with the significance of Saul’s conversion for us as Christians today. As we recognize that we are so far away from the actual events that happened in the 1st century, are there any evidences that what we believe happened, really did?
Granting for the moment, the accuracy of the Biblical text, there is some evidence to be found in the life of Saul, latter known as the Apostle Paul. (I say granting for the moment, not because I doubt the Biblical texts but doing an in depth study on the reliability of the manuscripts would take more time and space than we can deal with today. Another time, perhaps.
What was it that caused Saul to completely change from a zealous persecutor of the Lord’s church to a ferocious, staunch supporter and proclaimer of the Gospel message? It helps for us to see the beginning of Saul’s life. In several passages, Paul recounts his past life, or Luke records things about his life that let us see:
- Saul was in agreement with the stoning of Stephen
- Saul was an avid persecutor of those who professed faith in Jesus Christ.
- He had studied at the feet of the well respected Gamaliel
- He was advancing in the traditions of Judaism
- He felt he had to do many things against the Way.
Suddenly, we notice that he is no longer persecuting the church. Rather, he is fighting for and on behalf of the church. What explains this change? Perhaps fame or fortune?
- His life as a Christian, however, was filled with dangers and uncertainties.
- He didn’t want people calling themselves by his name.
- He was imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten, stoned.
Either he was a liar or a madman but neither of those seem to fit the life of Paul after his conversion. The evidence would seem to indicate that Paul really did see the risen Lord. He serves a good argument in Christian Apologetics.
The audio lesson is here