Sermons for Today

Mt.Gilead CHURCH OF CHRIST

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Sermons for Today

        

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Acts 2

 

Acts 2:1 - 47 (KJV with NKJ edit) 1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 

6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.  7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?  8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

 

9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia 10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

 

12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 

13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. 14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

 

17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 

18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 

19And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 

21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

22Ye 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

23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held by it.

 

25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:  26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:  27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

 

29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 

30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;  31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

 

32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses

 33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear

34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,  35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

 

36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 

41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 

43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles

44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;  45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 

46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  47Praising God, and having favour with all the people.

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved

Sunday Evening Sermon:

III.          Harmony of the Bible (no contradictions)

A.           Christians should ever be ready to challenge unbelievers to find just one.

B.           Remember that omissions are not contradictions!  You wouldn’t need four gospel accounts if each one was identical in subject matter.

C.           J.W. McGarvey does a wonderful job of showing coincidences between the gospel accounts that were obviously not designed.[3]

IV.         Historical Accuracy

John 20:30,31 The integrity of the writers cannot be impugned.  Archeology testifies to it, and secular writers even back up its references to Jesus.  The Bible passes all the tests, so there is no other sane conclusion than that it is inspired.

A.           All the cities existed.  All the titles given to Roman officials are true.  All the geographic locations are there even to this day.

B.           Secular writers give testimony (though theirs is flawed in detail and contradicts – it is from man) to the rise of Christianity.

1.                  Tacitus(55-117 or so A.D.) – He said Nero, the Roman Emporer, “falsly charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians…Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius…”

2.                  Pliny the Younger(c. A.D.112) – He was governor of Bithynia and having a hard time with persecuting such a large number of Christians, speaking of trying to make them “curse Christ, which a genuine Christian cannot be induced to do.”[4]

3.                  Josephus(37-100A.D.) – A jewish historian, he wrote of “the so-called Christ” and had other things to say about Jesus.[5]

C.           The point of the last few observations is that the Bible is not based on mythologies of supposed places and happenings.  These points will be brought up later on in some arguments.

D.           There are three basic tests of a document to determine its reliability: 

1.                  Biographical Evidence test – have the Bible documents been transmitted down through time?  The answer here is an obvious, yes.  There is no other historical document that can even come close to the literally thousands of ancient manuscript copies of various parts of the Bible which show faithful transmission over the centuries.  In fact, if we had the originals, there would be a problem of having someone sneak and change something which others would then think the writers actually said.  No one can sneak and change thousands of copies all over the globe.

2.                  Internal Evidence test – As to the text of the Bible itself, we find that the Scripture testifies to itself, and that the writers bore consistent eye-witness to the things that they speak of. The Bible does this in the New Testament by giving us the testimony of Jesus (Luke 24:46,47; Heb. 10:7; Rev. 19:10).  Thus, the New Testament claims its own inspiration by proclaiming the promises of Jesus and the fulfillment of those promises.  It is recorded in the New Testament that Christ promised his apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth (John 16:12-15).  This point needs to be remembered for later reference.    In addition, Matthew 10:19,20 tells how the Holy Spirit would speak for them when they faced opponents and critics (see also Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12).  All of this is presented in such a way as to give multiple witnesses to the truth of what was said.  These witnesses cannot just be discounted, and they would not in a court of law.

3.                  External Evidence test – Does the world situation when the books of the Bible were written, match the description given in the Bible?  Yes, they do.  Whether it be the location of a city, the title to an official, or the custom of the people, modern finds and coincidental information show that the Bible is totally reliable in what it says existed and when it existed.[6]

V.          Prophecy Fulfillment

A.           “His coming was prophesied in the fine detail, as to lineage, birthplace, time, career, purpose, nature of death, resurrection, and many other things, hundreds of year prior to His actual appearance.  Of no other religious leader – indeed, of no other man – in all history was such a thing true.”[7]  See I Pet. 1:20

B.           Isaiah 41:22-23a

C.           Prophecies relating to Christ Deut. 18:18; Micah 4:2; Micah 5:1,2

D.           Prophecies relating to the kingdom and covenant, Jer. 31:31-14; Dan. 2:44

E.           Many others could be given, but let us examine the possibility of the prophecy being “cooked-up”.

1.                  There are two basic reasons, and probably many more, as to why the prophecies are not fabricated.

a)                  First, there was no reason for the Old Testament prophets to give the prophecies to start with.  Why tell small details about a Savior that will come far in the future and leave it as an incomplete picture of what is to come at best.  There was no way of knowing others would prophecy like you were and fill in the gaps.  Even if others did prophecy, there’s just no point in it (if they were really ungodly men).  Not to mention that none of the prophets, if uninspired, could have know that there would be a bunch of people coming around in several hundred years to write fulfillment to their prophecies!  They could not have known of the coming of Christianity!

b)                  Secondly, the New Testament writers couldn’t have started a movement the way they did in the first Century.  Their reasoning for why people should become Christians is that Jesus fulfilled prophecy and answered to the things mentioned in the Old Testament.  If  in fact Jesus did not do the things they said, or the prophecies were not in place, then no one would have understood Sermons like in Acts 2, much less believed them!  The fact is that they did believe, and Christianity spread like wild fire based on fulfillment of prophecy – see Acts 6:7.

 

VI.         Unique preservation of the Scriptures

A.           When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, they agreed with other Hebrew documents from 1000 years later.

B.           Having copies of manuscripts and not the originals actually prevents tampering in that it would be impossible to go and change all the copies.

C.           We have much, much more copies (in the thousands) of the New Testament than any other work from the same time period in history.

D.           “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” – Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33

VII.       Inspiration by Common Acceptance

A.           By this I mean that there are certain reasons why people believe in the Bible, and these reasons do not necessarily have to do with archeology, science (although we will touch on that), or other disciplines.

B.           People believe in the Bible because it has the ring of truth to it.  Think about it.  When you were younger, did you believe because of that one prophecy someone showed you?  I doubt it.  Did you believe because of some scientific wonder just discovered that the Bible had already mentioned.  I don’t think so.  When you read the Bible, you read it as truth, and in hearing it and reading it, it confirmed itself to you as truth in the nature of the message.  I am not talking about some mysterious moving of the Spirit.  When you read a mystery book or a fantasy book, you know that what you are reading is fiction.  Now, what if someone tore off the front cover and told you to read the book.  You would still know very soon that you were reading fiction.  The Bible is different from that.  That is, when you picked it up you were probably influenced by someone who you respected as rational and sincere.  This person or these other people believed it, why shouldn’t you?  And then when you read the words, they spoke to the needs of your heart.  Think about it, you may have been a young teenager, but you were searching when you read the Bible, and in it you found what you were looking for.  God has given us all a sense of right and wrong (conscience), and when you read or heard of Jesus Christ and the Cross, that conscience was stirred.  Further investigation of the Bible showed you that there were some matters that you deemed to be boring in it, but that just heightened your appreciation for its attention to detail and made you realize that it was not given to the sensationalism that keeps peoples attention in the works of fiction.  There are great mysteries revealed in the Bible, to be sure, but not so much philosophy as to keep you from learning what God wanted you to do.  The more you heard the gospel and read it, the more disturbed you became, until you were motivated to obey.  But obedience requires belief.  So, for the most part unconsciously, you decided in your mind what every ounce of common sense and accumulated knowledge was telling you, that the Bible was truth.  Now we may strengthen that truth by looking at the details of all these things we have been examining, but it still remains that these details are just ways of putting into words what already knew in general.  You knew that reality was consistent, practical, and cannot be ignored.  Likewise the Bible has been there and will always be, stays focused on Jesus, and answered to your every need.  Therefore, you accepted its truths.

VIII.     We know of God and observe His creation, but what gives the creation meaning and explains it? (Bible & Science)

A.           The Bible was not designed as a science textbook, so if it gives us any insights into the scientific field, that is all the more astounding.

B.           The Bible naturally is in accordance with modern scientific understanding and common sense.

1.                  For instance, let us look at Genesis 1:1.  Modern science says that there must be a continuum of space, time, and matter/energy before something can exist.  In Genesis 1:1 we find just these things:  “In the beginning (time), God created (energetic happening) the heaven (space) and the earth (matter).”[8]

2.                  Ecclesiastes 1:7 speaks of the process of condensation and evaporation.

Isaiah 40:22; Job 38:16; Levitical laws of cleanliness; many more).  Are all of these just lucky guesses?  Note that the Biblical writers were not given to flights of fancy in describing the world or nature like mythologies or other ancient writers do.

 

Conclusion


I.             The Bible and profound themes

A.           The Bible provides man with a complete revelation and deals with all profound themes.

B.           Right and Wrong, Mankind’s destiny, his salvation, the Creators nature and plan for man, it is all in there.

II.           “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.” – Isa. 40:8

III.          Matt. 24:35 – Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass…



[1] Tom W. Snyder, “Unity as proof of Inspiration”, (Tenn. Bible Col., 1987)

[2] Ibid., p.7, from lecture by E.R. Brannon.

[3] J.W. McGarvey, Evidences of Christianity, (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Co., 1974), pp. 83ff

[4] Ibid., p.12.

[5] Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976), pp. 323-324.

[6] Dennis Lowe, “Historical Evidence of Divine Inspiration”, (Tenn. Bible Col., 1987)

[7] Henry M. Morris, Many Infallible Proofs, (El Cajon, Calif.: Master Books, 1974), p. 12.

[8] Ibid., p. 230