Sunday 10:30 am
Harvest Bible Chapel
11173 Griffing Blvd, Biscayne Park, FL 33161
Small group meet Friday 7:30 pm for men and woman
65 west 61st
Hialeah Fl 33012
The reason for God by Timothy Keller
Mark 2:13 Why are you here?
Jesus said Follow Me!
Why don't you?
"Jesus said to him, come be my disciple" Mark 2.14
Why is Jesus the only way? How do we explain? How do we answer other religions and skeptics?
Jesus was one of the greatest leaders, teachers, and remarkable individuals that ever lived, but few realize that Jesus declared, “I and the Father are one,” He was saying that He and the Father are of one nature and essence. Jesus claimed to be God, and He is God. This however is what separates Christianity from every other religion. In that we worship, follow and believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). A created being, which Jesus would be if He were not God, could not pay the infinite penalty required for sin against an infinite God. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21), die, and be resurrected, proving His victory over sin and death.
In his famous book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes this statement, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.(emphasis: web author)"
Jesus could only have been one of four things: a legend, a liar, a lunatic--or Lord and God. There is so much historical and archeological evidence to support his existence that every reputable historian agrees he was not just a legend. If Jesus were a liar, why would he die for his claim, when he could easily have avoided such a cruel death with a few choice words? And, if he were a lunatic, how did he engage in intelligent debates with his opponents or handle the stress of his betrayal and crucifixion while continuing to show a deep love for his antagonists? Christ said he was Lord and God. The evidence supports that claim.
Here are some of the key claims Jesus made about himself.
The Claims of JesusChrist claimed to live a sinless life
Jesus could look at a crowd of people angry at his claims to share God's nature and ask, "Which of you can point to anything wrong in my life?" Even more amazing is that none of them could give a reply! No human being has ever lived a sinless life, except for Jesus Christ.
John 8:28-29 "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.'"
John 8:46-47 "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."
Jesus Christ claimed to be the ONLY way to GodNot one of several ways, but the one and only way. Not to teach the way, but to be the way to God. Nobody has ever made claims like that before and backed them, but Jesus did through his love, balanced life, and miracles.
John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."
Matthew 11:27 "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Note: No other world religious leader, such as Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed ever made this claim.
Christ claimed to have shared the glory of God in HeavenJesus claimed to have pre-existed the people he spoke with. The apostle John--who shared bread with Jesus--wrote that Jesus was with God in the very beginning, and that "all things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being." (John 1:1-5)
John 17:5 "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."
This is a claim distorted by groups like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses.
Jesus Christ claimed to be able to forgive sinsOne of the reasons that the Jewish leaders were so angry with Jesus was his continual practice of forgiving people's sins. The religious leaders understood clearly that since sins were rebellion against God Himself, only God could forgive sins.
Luke 5:20-21 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.' The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, 'Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'"(emphasis: web author)
Luke 7:48-49 "Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' The other guests began to say among themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?'"
Christ claimed to be a Heavenly kingLuke 22:69 "But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."
Luke 23:1-3 "Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, 'We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.' So Pilate asked Jesus, 'Are you the king of the Jews?' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied."
John 18:36-37 "Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.' 'You are a king, then!' said Pilate. Jesus answered, 'You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.'"
Christ claimed to be able to give everlasting lifeJesus didn't just tell people how they could find everlasting life, or deepen their own life experience. He actually claimed to give life himself.
John 6:40 "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:47 "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."
John 10:28-30 "I give [my followers] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
John 11:25 "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die...'"
Jesus claimed that he would die and come back to lifeJohn 10:17 "Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
John 12:32-33 "'But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.' He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."
John 16:16 "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."
Luke 18:31-33 "Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, 'We are going up into Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.'"
Christ claimed that he would return again to judge the worldMatthew 24:27-30 "So as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man... At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."
Matthew 25:31-32 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats."
Mark 14:61-62 "Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?' 'I am,' said Jesus. 'And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"
"How do I know the Bible is not just mythology?"
This past week in Small group we discussed areas in which the Bible is doubted.
Questions like is the Bible a Myth?
Answer:That the Bible originated in the mind of God makes it not only unique among all books, it is unique among all the treasures on earth. President Abraham Lincoln appropriately referred to the Bible as “the best gift God has given to man.” Indeed it is. It reveals God’s eternal plan of redeeming the fallen human race. Yet even though billions of copies of it have been distributed throughout the world, many continue to question its truth. Is the Bible aBOOKof mythology, or is it the true, inspired Word of God? This question is of the greatest importance to every person, whether they know it or not.
Many religious texts claim to convey a DIVINE message. The Bible, however, stands alone in that God left absolutely no room for doubt as to whether or not this is His written Word. If anyone undertakes an honest effort to examine the facts, he will find the Bible most ASSUREDLY has God’s signature all through it. The very same mouth that spoke all of creation into existence also gave us the Bible.
Unlike mythology, the Bible has a historical framework. Its characters are real people living in verifiable locations during historical events. The Bible mentions Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, Cyrus, Herod, Felix, Pilate, and many other historical figures. Its history coincides with that of many nations, including the Egyptian, Hittite, Persian, Babylonian, and Roman empires. The events of the Bible take place in geographical areas such as Canaan, Syria, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and others. All this certifiable detail refutes the idea that the Bible is mere mythology.
Unlike mythology, the Bible has many confirmations in sciences such as biology, geology, astronomy, and archaeology. The field of biblical archaeology has absolutely exploded in the last century and a half, during which time hundreds of thousands of artifacts have been discovered. Just one example: at one time, skeptics used the Bible’s references to the Hittite civilization as “proof” that the Bible was a myth. There was never any such people as the “Hittites,” according to the science of the day. However, in 1876, the first of a series of discoveries was made, and now the existence of the ancient Hittite civilization is well documented. Archaeology continues to bolster the Bible’s historicity. As Dr. Henry M. Morris has remarked, “There exists today not one unquestionable find of archaeology that proves the Bible to be in error at any point.”
Unlike mythology, the Bible is written as history. Luke wrote his Gospel as “an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us . . . just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses.” Luke claims that he had “carefully investigated everything from the beginning” and so wrote “an orderly account . . . so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (seeLuke 1:1-4). Did Luke include miracles in his account? Yes, many of them. But they were miracles verified by eyewitnesses. Two thousand years later, a skeptic might call Luke’s account a “myth,” but the burden of proof rests with the skeptic. The account itself is a carefully investigated historical document.
Unlike mythology, the Bible contains an astounding number of fulfilled prophecies. Myths do not bother with prophecy, but fully one third of the Bible is prophecy. The Bible contains over 1,800 PREDICTIONS concerning more than 700 separate subjects found in over 8,300 verses. The Old Testament contains more than 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ alone, many with amazing specificity. Numerous prophecies have already been fulfilled, and they have come to pass precisely as foretold. The mathematical odds of someone making this number of predictions and having every one of them come to pass are light-years beyond the realm of human possibility. These miraculous prophecies could only be accomplished with the supernatural guidance of Him who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10).
Unlike mythology, the Bible has transformed a countless number of lives
This week as I prepared to teach on Mark 2.13 I have come to prepare myself with questions such as, what is holding me back from being sold out for Jesus. It was Jim Elliot who said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose!"
Jesus calls us to follow Him! Calls us to consider the cost! With this we ask the question 'Why are we Here?'
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When he teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting.Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
1. The call to discipleship in 1:17 is threefold: to follow, to be changed (a literal translation is I will make you to become), and to engage in a ministry (fishing for people).
2. The primary ministry of the kingdom is to draw others into an
experience of the reality of God’s reign (fish for people).
3. Leaving does not always mean permanently abandoning. Here Simon does not cut all ties with home or family or boat, as we see in 1:29–31;3:9; & so on.
4. The cost of discipleship is not experienced in the same way by
Some people came and asked Jesus, “Why do the followers of John and those of the Pharisees often go without eating, while your disciples never do?”
Let us get into the motive of things!
No one can make himself pure by obeying laws. Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations— He gives us His teachings which are truths that can only be interpreted by His nature which He places within us. The great wonder of Jesus Christ’s salvation is that He changes our heredity. He does not change human nature— He changes its source, and thereby its motives as well. Our motives reside in our hearts. They help compel us to act. As we examine our walk with Jesus, we cannot ignore this side of us. The characteristic of a disciple is not that he does good things, but that he is good in his motives, having been made good by the supernatural grace of God. The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being.
The next few weeks we will be getting into our motives in everyday life living
I spoke to a man once that I invited to church and he responded “If indeed God exists, what is the problem of evil?” He stated how such a loving God allow evil in the world.
The conversation reflected around How God could allow evil to exist; Subject
The theology of God as the Creator seems inconsistent with the existence of evil. God is all-knowing; he is fully aware of the evil in the world. God is all-powerful; he could seemingly rid the world of its evil. God is all-loving; he does not want his people to suffer. Given these qualities, the question remains why God would allow the existence of evil in our world.
The problem with evil is mitigating the fact that evil does exist in a world, with an all powerful, all knowing, and perfectly good God. The bible declares God will work out everything for the greater good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). The Bible gives a great example of how this should be applied is found in Genesis 50:19-20 where Joseph speaks to his brothers about selling him into slavery. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. One must keep this in mind when dealing with the problem of evil because suffering is indeed a direct result of evil, be it moral or natural.
I presented to Him God’s magnificent act of grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In this act, we have the victory. I believe that Christ is God’s answer to the problem of evil.