Matthew 6:9-13 - After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom
come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
week’s Sermon is - Introduction To Christian
1. In - 1 Peter 3:15 - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be
ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is
in you with meekness and fear:, all Christians are commanded to be ready to make a ‘defense’ for the reason
of their hope in Christ:
a. The word ‘defense’ is from apologia, which means “a speech in defense of what
one has done,
or of truth which one believes”
b. The formal use of this word is used by Paul in Acts 22:1 - Men, brethren, and fathers, hear
ye my defence which I make now unto you. - 1 Corinthians 9:3 - Mine answer
to them that do examine me is this,
2. Peter, however, uses the word in the context of an informal inquiry by a friend or neighbor...
a. E.g., someone asking “Why are you a Christian?”
b. To such Peter says that we should be ready to give reasons why we believe
3. In this series, we shall examine some of the evidence that exists for placing one’s faith in
Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God
4. In doing so, I hope to accomplish two objectives:
a. To strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ
b. To help prepare ourselves to be able to do the very thing enjoined by Peter in 1 Peter 3:15
- But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
[In this lesson, I wish to establish some basics for Christian apologetics that are important for
all to realize...]
I. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS AN INTELLIGENT, RATIONAL FAITH:
A. IT APPEALS TO THE ‘MIND’ AS WELL AS TO THE ‘HEART’:
1. God expects us to use our minds - Matthew 22:36-38 - Master, which is
the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
- John 8:32 - And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
a. I.e., we do not have to commit “intellectual suicide” in order to have faith!
b. This is important, for as one person said, “My heart cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects!”
1) A “weak faith” may be the result of the heart trying to believe in something the mind cannot
2) But the “strong faith” God requires involves both the mind and the heart
2. So it is important that we present reasons why we believe in an intelligent and rational
a. “We cannot pander to a man's intellectual arrogance, but we must cater to his intellectual integrity.”
- Paul Little
B. DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN OFFER 100% PROOF...?
1. No, but there is virtually nothing of which we can be 100% sure (e.g., who our parents are)
2. Yet, we often make 100% commitments with less than 100% proof; e.g., flying on an airplane:
a. We cannot be 100% certain that we will have a safe journey
b. But the statistical evidence is strong enough to convince us that we will
c. So though we may not have 100% certainty of arriving safely, when we step on the plane we make a 100%
3. So the question becomes: “Is there enough evidence or proof to warrant making a 100% commitment
a. I believe that there is
b. Certainly enough evidence to commit myself 100% for Him, rather than be 100% against Him!
1) There is no other alternative - Matthew 12:30 - He that is
not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
2) Jesus is like an airplane; either we get on board totally, or we get left behind!
[So the Christian faith is to be an intelligent, rational faith. As an example, consider the next
II. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS A HISTORICAL, FACTUAL FAITH:
A. CHRISTIANITY APPEALS TO HISTORY, AND THE FACTS OF HISTORY:
1. “The facts backing the Christian claim are not a special kind of ‘religious’ fact.
They are the cognitive, informational facts upon which all historical, legal, and ordinary decisions are based.” - Charles
2. It will be my purpose in future lessons:
a. To present these historical facts
b. Then demonstrate that the Christian interpretation is more logical than any other
B. BUT TO BRIEFLY ILLUSTRATE THAT CHRISTIANITY IS BASED UPON HISTORICAL FACTS:
1. Consider Luke 2:1-5 - And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from
Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when
Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee,
out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house
and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. - Luke 3:1-2 - Now in
the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and
Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
2. Notice the appeal to time, places, people and events that actually existed in history
C. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, THEREFORE, IS A HISTORICAL FAITH THAT APPEALS TO CERTAIN FACTS OF HISTORICAL
1. Not a philosophical faith appealing to philosophies of men
2. Not a faith based upon myths and legends
[As we consider the evidences for the Christian faith, it is also important to bear in mind that...]
III.THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS AN OBJECTIVE FAITH:
A. IT IS A FAITH IN AN ‘OBJECT’: JESUS OF NAZARETH:
1. Faith in who He was: The Christ, the Son of God
2. Faith in what He did: He rose from the dead on the third day
B. IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE ‘WHAT’ WE BELIEVE:
1. The old cliché “It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something”
is inconsistent with the Christian faith
2. Consider John 8:24 - I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die
in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall
die in your sins. - Romans 10:9 - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt
believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
a. Note that it is not faith in of itself that is important
b. But in Whom (the object) our faith is based!
[And then consider that...]
IV. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS BASED ON PRINCIPLES OF TRUTH:
A. TRUTH IS ALWAYS OPEN TO EXAMINATION:
1. So is the Christian faith:
a. Cf. Acts 2:22 - Ye 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:
- Peter appealed to the crowd to examine what they themselves knew
b. Cf. Acts 26:24-26 - And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul,
thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the
words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that
none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. - Paul invited Agrippa to examine
2. Unlike some religions (esp. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons), the Christian faith is
open to honest examination
B. TRUTH IS ALWAYS OPEN TO NON-TRUTH (FALSIFICATION):
1. That is, it is open to be proven wrong
2. To illustrate, if you don’t believe Jesus was raised from the dead:
a. Use the evidence that is available, and...
b. Attempt to prove by it that He wasn’t!
c. Do this and then we shall see which interpretation of the facts is more logical (intelligent and rational)
[Before I close this lesson, I wish to address one last question: “If the Christian faith is
such an intelligent, rational, historical and factual faith, then why do many people reject it?”]
V. WHY PEOPLE REJECT CHRIST:
A. AS IN THE DAYS OF CHRIST, IT IS USUALLY DUE TO ONE OF THREE REASONS:
1. Ignorance - John 7:40-43 - Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying,
said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath
not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there
was a division among the people because of him.
a. Some rejected Jesus as the Christ because they were ignorant of the historical facts concerning His
b. So many do today for a similar reason: lack of accurate information!
2. Pride - John 12:42-43 - Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but
because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
a. Pride in wanting to be approved by men kept them from confessing Jesus as the Christ
b. Today, many do not want the ridicule or rejection one might face for following Christ
3. Moral Problems - John 3:19-20 - And this is the condemnation, that
light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
a. Some people reject the evidence because it means having to change their lifestyle
b. Today, many people in efforts to justify their immorality...
1) Accept only that evidence which supports theories which allows them to continue their lifestyle
2) Reject any evidence which may support a doctrine which would condemn their behavior and require a change
B. WHAT IT OFTEN BOILS DOWN TO IS THIS:
1. The rejection of Christ:
a. It is not so much a problem of the ‘mind’ but of the ‘will’!
b. It is not so much “I can't” but “I won't”!
2. There is enough evidence to convince the honest and sincere seeker
3. But there is not enough evidence to force a man against his will when he is determined to reject it!
1. It is with these basics in mind that I shall endeavor to give evidence that warrants faith in
Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ, the Son of God
2. I shall not attempt to prove anything “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” for that is not possible
3. But I shall try to show that it is more logical to believe in Jesus, than for one not to!
we shall begin by examining the evidence that demonstrates Jesus to be a true, historical figure, a person who actually lived!