3/26/13

From Gary.... Will you?



Yesterday, the police were at a house a few doors from us.  Someone had overdosed and died.  Cancer (for quite a few years), too many drugs, alcohol, divorce and home foreclosure - all at one time!!!  It was just too much for this person to continue living.  I knew of the problems and had spoken with the person several times.  I had even given him a copy of the Easy Read Bible that you see displayed on this blog.  I guess he just didn't take in enough of the word to deal with all his problems.  Unlike prescriptions, you can not take an overdose of the Bible.  Even if you take a diluted version (like those paraphrased ones), it will still do you good.  That same day, while I was viewing  facebook, a former classmate of mine, Walter Vogt, posted the link "falling plates" and I liked it so much that I wanted to share it with you.  After you view it (by clicking on "falling plates" above), take a few minutes and read the following passages from the book of Romans, listed below...

Romans, Chapter 5
1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;  2 through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering works perseverance;  4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope:  5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  6 For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die.  8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

  9  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him.  10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life. 


Romans, Chapter 6
 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  2 May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?  3 Or don’t you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection;  6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin.  7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.  8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him;  9 knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him!  10 For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God.  11 Thus consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

  12  Therefore don’t let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  13 Neither present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  14 For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be!  16 Don’t you know that to whom you present yourselves as servants to obedience, his servants you are whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?  17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were delivered.  18 Being made free from sin, you became bondservants of righteousness. 

  19  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification.  20 For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  21 What fruit then did you have at that time in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  22 But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life.  23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 


God died for us, we obey him with our will, our compliance with his Gospel and our ongoing decision to lead a life that he would have us to live.  There are probably a thousand (maybe even more than that) ways to say it, hundreds of Bibles to read it and untold videos to see.  Right now, the how is not so important and the will.  Will you listen, will you change, will you obey and will you continue in HIS WILL???  I wish you all would, but I know some will not - no matter what!!!  Please, before its too late - before they carry you out of YOUR HOUSE with no life left in you - Please, just think about it, OK???? Right now, it might be a good thing to just click on the video one more time, its that good!!!!  Will you????

From Gary... The word of God



The word of God

Song: "Give me the Bible"

Bible Reading:  John 1:1-14



I. Introduction

A. How DO we know God?

B. How do we know HIM?

C. How do we KNOW?

D. HOW?

E. How? By the Heaven sent.... Word of God !!




II. Body

A. The perception of God through his word

1. The Logos Jn. 1:1-14; Heb. 11:3

2. Jesus Rev. 19:13

3. Good seed Lk. 8:5-15

4. God's word Exo. 20:1-7; Jer. 30:2

5. Covenant Isa. 59:21; Jer. 31:31-34; 
    See Acts, Chapter 2

B. The power of the word of God

1. Living Matt. 15:6

2. The Holy Spirit Acts 4:31

3. Sword of the Spirit Eph. 6:17

4. Living, piercing Heb. 4:12

C. The possibility of word of God Lk. 8:11

1. Hearing Acts 13:44; Rom. 10:17

2. Godly living 1 John 2:14; Col. 3:16

3. Obedience Lk. 8:21

D. The proclamation of the word of God

1. Truth Acts 6:7

2. Teaching Acts 18:11

3. The apostles 1 Thess. 2:13

4. Life/jesus 1 John 1:1-5;1 Peter 1:23;
                    Jas. 1:21-23; 1 Pet. 2:2; Jn. 12:48-50



III. Conclusion

A. God is made known to us through his word.

B. God's word is His interaction with this 
     physical world.

C. God spoke in many portions and in many 
    ways, but in these last days has spoken to 
    us through His Son.

D. God's word lives on, from the lips of Jesus    
     and the apostles, throughout the pages of 
     the Bible--- right into the human heart by 
     the Power of the Holy Spirit.

From Gary... Bible Reading, Mar. 26



Mar. 26
Leviticus 7, 8

Lev 7:1 " 'This is the law of the trespass offering. It is most holy.
Lev 7:2 In the place where they kill the burnt offering, he shall kill the trespass offering; and its blood he shall sprinkle around on the altar.
Lev 7:3 He shall offer all of its fat: the fat tail, and the fat that covers the innards,
Lev 7:4 and the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the loins, and the cover on the liver, with the kidneys, shall he take away;
Lev 7:5 and the priest shall burn them on the altar for an offering made by fire to Yahweh: it is a trespass offering.
Lev 7:6 Every male among the priests may eat of it. It shall be eaten in a holy place. It is most holy.
Lev 7:7 " 'As is the sin offering, so is the trespass offering; there is one law for them. The priest who makes atonement with them shall have it.
Lev 7:8 The priest who offers any man's burnt offering, even the priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has offered.
Lev 7:9 Every meal offering that is baked in the oven, and all that is dressed in the pan, and on the griddle, shall be the priest's who offers it.
Lev 7:10 Every meal offering, mixed with oil or dry, belongs to all the sons of Aaron, one as well as another.
Lev 7:11 " 'This is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which one shall offer to Yahweh.
Lev 7:12 If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mixed with oil.
Lev 7:13 With cakes of leavened bread he shall offer his offering with the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving.
Lev 7:14 Of it he shall offer one out of each offering for a heave offering to Yahweh. It shall be the priest's who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings.
Lev 7:15 The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering. He shall not leave any of it until the morning.
Lev 7:16 " 'But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow, or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice; and on the next day what remains of it shall be eaten:
Lev 7:17 but what remains of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned with fire.
Lev 7:18 If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings is eaten on the third day, it will not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed to him who offers it. It will be an abomination, and the soul who eats any of it will bear his iniquity.
Lev 7:19 " 'The flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten. It shall be burned with fire. As for the flesh, everyone who is clean may eat it;
Lev 7:20 but the soul who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that belongs to Yahweh, having his uncleanness on him, that soul shall be cut off from his people.
Lev 7:21 When anyone touches any unclean thing, the uncleanness of man, or an unclean animal, or any unclean abomination, and eats some of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which belong to Yahweh, that soul shall be cut off from his people.' "
Lev 7:22 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 7:23 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'You shall eat no fat, of bull, or sheep, or goat.
Lev 7:24 The fat of that which dies of itself, and the fat of that which is torn of animals, may be used for any other service, but you shall in no way eat of it.
Lev 7:25 For whoever eats the fat of the animal, of which men offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh, even the soul who eats it shall be cut off from his people.
Lev 7:26 You shall not eat any blood, whether it is of bird or of animal, in any of your dwellings.
Lev 7:27 Whoever it is who eats any blood, that soul shall be cut off from his people.' "
Lev 7:28 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 7:29 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'He who offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to Yahweh shall bring his offering to Yahweh out of the sacrifice of his peace offerings.
Lev 7:30 With his own hands he shall bring the offerings of Yahweh made by fire. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before Yahweh.
Lev 7:31 The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'.
Lev 7:32 The right thigh you shall give to the priest for a heave offering out of the sacrifices of your peace offerings.
Lev 7:33 He among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right thigh for a portion.
Lev 7:34 For the waved breast and the heaved thigh I have taken from the children of Israel out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their portion forever from the children of Israel.' "
Lev 7:35 This is the anointing portion of Aaron, and the anointing portion of his sons, out of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister to Yahweh in the priest's office;
Lev 7:36 which Yahweh commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them. It is their portion forever throughout their generations.
Lev 7:37 This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meal offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecration, and of the sacrifice of peace offerings;
Lev 7:38 which Yahweh commanded Moses in Mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their offerings to Yahweh, in the wilderness of Sinai.
Lev 8:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 8:2 "Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and the bull of the sin offering, and the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread;
Lev 8:3 and assemble all the congregation at the door of the Tent of Meeting."
Lev 8:4 Moses did as Yahweh commanded him; and the congregation was assembled at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Lev 8:5 Moses said to the congregation, "This is the thing which Yahweh has commanded to be done."
Lev 8:6 Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
Lev 8:7 He put the coat on him, tied the sash on him, clothed him with the robe, put the ephod on him, and he tied the skillfully woven band of the ephod on him, and fastened it to him with it.
Lev 8:8 He placed the breastplate on him; and in the breastplate he put the Urim and the Thummim.
Lev 8:9 He set the turban on his head; and on the turban, in front, he set the golden plate, the holy crown; as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Lev 8:10 Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and sanctified them.
Lev 8:11 He sprinkled it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its vessels, and the basin and its base, to sanctify them.
Lev 8:12 He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
Lev 8:13 Moses brought Aaron's sons, and clothed them with coats, and tied sashes on them, and put headbands on them; as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Lev 8:14 He brought the bull of the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull of the sin offering.
Lev 8:15 He killed it; and Moses took the blood, and put it around on the horns of the altar with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar, and sanctified it, to make atonement for it.
Lev 8:16 He took all the fat that was on the innards, and the cover of the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat; and Moses burned it on the altar.
Lev 8:17 But the bull, and its skin, and its flesh, and its dung, he burned with fire outside the camp; as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Lev 8:18 He presented the ram of the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.
Lev 8:19 He killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood around on the altar.
Lev 8:20 He cut the ram into its pieces; and Moses burned the head, and the pieces, and the fat.
Lev 8:21 He washed the innards and the legs with water; and Moses burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt offering for a pleasant aroma. It was an offering made by fire to Yahweh; as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Lev 8:22 He presented the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.
Lev 8:23 He killed it; and Moses took some of its blood, and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot.
Lev 8:24 He brought Aaron's sons; and Moses put some of the blood on the tip of their right ear, and on the thumb of their right hand, and on the great toe of their right foot; and Moses sprinkled the blood around on the altar.
Lev 8:25 He took the fat, and the fat tail, and all the fat that was on the innards, and the cover of the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right thigh;
Lev 8:26 and out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before Yahweh, he took one unleavened cake, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and placed them on the fat, and on the right thigh.
Lev 8:27 He put all these in Aaron's hands and in his sons' hands, and waved them for a wave offering before Yahweh.
Lev 8:28 Moses took them from their hands, and burned them on the altar on the burnt offering. They were a consecration for a pleasant aroma. It was an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Lev 8:29 Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before Yahweh. It was Moses' portion of the ram of consecration, as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Lev 8:30 Moses took some of the anointing oil, and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, and on his sons, and on his sons' garments with him, and sanctified Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him.
Lev 8:31 Moses said to Aaron and to his sons, "Boil the flesh at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and there eat it and the bread that is in the basket of consecration, as I commanded, saying, 'Aaron and his sons shall eat it.'
Lev 8:32 What remains of the flesh and of the bread you shall burn with fire.
Lev 8:33 You shall not go out from the door of the Tent of Meeting seven days, until the days of your consecration are fulfilled: for he shall consecrate you seven days.
Lev 8:34 What has been done this day, so Yahweh has commanded to do, to make atonement for you.
Lev 8:35 You shall stay at the door of the Tent of Meeting day and night seven days, and keep Yahweh's command, that you don't die: for so I am commanded."
Lev 8:36 Aaron and his sons did all the things which Yahweh commanded by Moses.

From Gary V. Womack... Our Father in Heaven



Our Father in Heaven

Lk. 2:41-ff Mary & Joseph lose Jesus in Jerusalem - They find Him in the temple where He knew He should be about His Father's business.

vs. 49 - The first reference in the NT of God as "Father"

Jesus was subject to both His earthly father and His heavenly Father.

Later, Jesus taught His disciples to call upon God as "Father" :

Mt. 6:5-15 "Hallowed be Your name"

"Hallowed" [hagiazo] = Holy, sanctified, set apart - indicates worthy of honor.

Eph. 6:1-3 Children are to honor their parents.

"Honor" [timao] = To value - To hold in esteem - respect.

Our heavenly Father also deserves honor :

Mal. 1:6 "A son honors his father, and a servant his 
              master. If then I am the Father, where is 
              My honor? And if I am a Master, where is 
              My reverence?"

Israel had failed to honor God in obedience - This was reflected in the unacceptable sacrifices they offered & in their attitude.

We owe our Father due respect & honor as our "Creator" :

Mal. 2:10 "Have we not all one Father? Has not one 
               God created us?..."

Gen. 1:26-28 As His children, we bear His image.
As any good father does, He gave us responsibility--dominion.

Psa. 139:13-16 David speaks of our physical 
                        entry by God's doing.

Being a father requires more than bringing another life into the world :

To be a father is to be a PROVIDER

Lk. 11:9-12 Ask & the Father will give us as we 
                   need.

Eph. 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our 
               Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us 
               with every spiritual blessing in the 
               heavenly places in Christ."

2 Pet. 1:3 "As His divine power has given to us all 
                things that pertain to life and godliness, 
                through the knowledge of Him who called 
                us by glory and virtue."

To be a father is to be a TEACHER

Eph. 6:4 "And you fathers, do not provoke your 
              children to wrath, but bring them up in the 
              training and admonition of the Lord."

Heb. 12:3-11 The Father chastens (trains) His 
                     children.  When they submit, they 
                     benefit:

Prov. 3:11-12 "My son, do not despise the 
                       chastening of the Lord, nor detest 
                       His correction; (12) For whom the 
                       Lord loves He corrects, just as a 
                       father the son in whom he delights."

To be a father is to demand RESPECT out of LOVE

Jn. 14:15 (Jesus) "If you love Me, keep My 
                            commandments."

Jn. 15:10 (Jesus) "If you keep My commandments, 
                           you will abide in My love, just as I 
                           have kept My Father's 
                           commandments and abide in His 
                           love."

We get to choose our father

Jn. 8:37-47 The Jews had chosen the devil as 
                   their father.

Jn. 1:11-13 "He came to His own, and His own did 
                   not receive Him. (12) But as many as 
                   received Him, to them He gave the right 
                   to become children of God, even to 
                   those who believe in His name: (13) 
                   who were born, not of blood, nor of the 
                   will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, 
                   but of God."

How do we become His children? :

1 Pet. 1:22 - 2:3 We are born again of 
                          incorruptible seed - the word of 
                          God.

Rom. 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of 
                 Christ, for it is the power of God to 
                 salvation for everyone who believes, for 
                 the Jew first and also for the Greek."

Jas. 1:17-18 "Every good gift and every perfect gift 
                    is from above, and comes down from 
                    the Father of lights, with whom there is 
                    no variation or shadow of turning. (18) 
                    Of His own will He brought us forth by 
                    the word of truth, that we might be a 
                    kind of first fruits of His creatures."

vs. 21 "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and 
           overflow of wickedness, and receive with 
           meekness the implanted word, which is able 
           to save your souls."

INVITATION

Jn. 3:1-18 Jesus tell Nicodemus, "you must be 
                 born again" of water and of the Spirit.

Mk. 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be 
                 saved; but he who does not believe will 
                 be condemned."

From Jim McGuiggan... God Punishing the Innocent


God Punishing the Innocent

Exodus 20:5 says that God will "punish the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me." (NIV) Deuteronomy 5:9 says precisely the same thing.
What does that mean? At a glance it looks like sheer injustice with maybe a large helping of spite thrown in. The fathers sin and God punishes someone else? Why not simply punish the guilty? What makes matters worse is that Deuteronomy 24:16 forbids the practice: "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin." So does God forbid this injustice to humans but practice it himself?
We acknowledge Deuteronomy 24:16 as simple justice and we've shaped our judicial system on that basis so we need to take a closer look at Exodus 20:5.
The truth is, to render the passage as the NIV does (in company with others) is to be too precise. The passage doesn't say God will "punish" the children for the sins their fathers committed. Old Testament and Hebrew scholar, Speiser, says that the Hebrew verb paqad has probably given scholars more difficulty than any other verb. It means "punishment" only when the context determines that that's what the writer has in mind; it means to visit (with friendly or hostile intent, it means to visit with blessing or curse). The same word is used when God "visits" Israel to bless (Exodus 3:16; 4:31, "watched over" and "was concerned" in the NIV).
In numerous passages the idea of "punishment" is easily seen, but it's the context that determines the nature of the visitation. The problem with our word "punishment" is that (if the procedure is just), it always implies guilt on the part of the one punished. 
You simply don't knowingly punish someone for the crime of another. God won't have it—Deuteronomy 24:16.
Yes, but in what way and on what basis are the sins of the fathers "visited" on the children? In the same way "mercy" (hesed, covenant faithfulness expressed in kindness) is visited on the children of those who love God (Exodus 20:6).


©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.

From Mark Copeland... The Witnesses Of The Resurrection



                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

              The Witnesses Of The Resurrection (28:1-10)

INTRODUCTION

1. If the resurrection of Jesus Christ really took place, it has great
   significance...
   a. For those who have yet to believe in Christ
   b. For those who are Christians
   -- Which we examined in another lesson

2. Upon what basis should one believe Jesus actually rose from the 
   dead?
   a. The evidence presented in the New Testament involves eyewitness
      testimony
   b. Ten distinct resurrection appearances of Christ are recorded in
      the New Testament
   c. One such case is that found in Mt 28:1-10

3. It is clear from the Scriptures that our faith in Jesus is based 
   upon such testimony...
   a. As Jesus intimated in His prayer, and John in his gospel - Jn 17:
      20; 20:30-31
   b. Jesus expected His apostles to be His witnesses - Jn 15:27; Ac 1:8
   c. Especially concerning His resurrection - Ac 1:22; 2:32; 3:15;
      4:33; 10:39-41; 13:31

4. Since our faith rests upon the testimony of these witnesses...
   a. Were they credible witnesses, that we should take them seriously?
   b. How strong is their testimony?
   c. How do we know they did not make it up, or were simply deluded?

[As with any event alleged to have occurred, there are a number of
factors to consider before we accept the event as a historical fact.
One such factor is...]

I. THE NUMBER OF WITNESSES

   A. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT...
      1. The strength or weakness of any testimony is affected by the
         number of witnesses
      2. The Law of Moses required at least two or three witnesses 
         - Deut 17:6
      3. Today, the number of witnesses also plays a crucial role in
         our justice system
      -- The more witnesses you have, the stronger your evidence!

   B. THERE WERE MANY WITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION...
      1. Paul lists many of these witnesses in 1Co 15:3-8
         a. Jesus was seen by Cephas (Simon Peter) - Lk 24:34
         b. Jesus was seen by the twelve (apostles) - Lk 24:36-43; Ac 1:2-3
         c. He was seen by five hundred people at one time (probably in
            Galilee) - cf. Mt 28:10,16-17
         d. He was seen by James, the Lord's brother
         e. He was seen by Paul, on the road to Damascus - Ac 22:6-10
      2. Other appearances are recorded in the Scriptures
         a. To Mary Magdalene - Mk 16:9; Jn 20:14
         b. To other women returning from the tomb - Mt 28:9,10
         c. To two disciples on the road to Emmaus - Lk 24:13-33
         d. To the apostles, Thomas absent - Jn 20:19-24
         e. To the apostles, Thomas present - Jn 20:26-29
         f. To seven disciples by the Lake of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee)
            - Jn 21:1-23
         g. To the apostles at the ascension - Ac 1:3-12

[So for a period of forty days (Ac 1:3), over 500 people had ample
opportunity to see Jesus, and determine for themselves if He was really
raised from the dead.  They were convinced, but are they reliable
witnesses?  How do we know they were not simply gullible, believing
whatever they wanted to believe?  This leads us to consider another
factor important to accepting the testimony of witnesses...]

II. THE CHARACTER OF THE WITNESSES

   A. SOME HAD NOT BELIEVED IN JESUS...
      1. Like His brothers in the flesh - Jn 7:3-5
      2. They even thought Him crazy - Mk 3:21
      -- But seeing Him after His resurrection, they became His
         disciples! - Ac 1:14

   B. SOME WERE SKEPTICAL AFTER JESUS' DEATH...
      1. Thomas would not accept the words of others - Jn 20:24-25
      2. Not until he had empirical evidence would he believe - Jn 20:
         26-28
      3. This demonstrates witnesses who were not gullible or easily
         deceived
         a. Which is why the Lord appeared to select witnesses - Ac 10:
            40-41
         b. Witnesses qualified to know if it really were Jesus

   C. ONE WAS EVEN A FORMER ENEMY...
      1. Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as Paul the apostle 
         - Ac 9:1-2
      2. Until he saw Jesus raised from the dead, he believed it to be
         God's will to oppose Jesus and His followers - Ac 26:9-11

[These were not gullible witnesses, ready to believe any hint that
Jesus had risen.  They required overwhelming evidence to convince them
that Jesus was truly raised from the dead.  Now let's consider...]

III. THE STRENGTH OF THEIR WITNESS

   A. DEMONSTRATED BY THE NATURE OF THEIR TESTIMONY...
      1. Their testimony appealed to empirical evidence
         a. Evidence derived from experiment and observation rather
            than theory
         b. For forty days they were given infallible proofs - Ac 1:3
         c. They ate and drank with Jesus - Ac 10:41
         d. They saw, heard, and touched Him - Jn 20:24-28; 1Jn 1:1-2
      2. There is no way they could have been deceived or deluded
         a. If all they had were individual dreams, visions, or
            hallucinations...perhaps
         b. But they testified that Jesus appeared to them in groups as
            well as to individuals

   B. DEMONSTRATED BY THEIR TRANSFORMATION...
      1. Prior to the resurrection, Jesus' disciples were afraid and
         without hope
         a. They fled at his arrest - Mk 14:50
         b. Peter cowardly denied Him three times - Mk 14:66-72
         c. The women mourned His crucifixion - Lk 23:27
         d. After His death, the disciples were sad - Lk 24:13-17
         e. After His death, the disciples hid behind closed doors, for
            fear of the Jews - Jn 20:19
      2. But after the resurrection, they fearlessly praised God and
         proclaimed Jesus!
         a. Praising God in the temple - Lk 24:52-53
         b. Proclaiming Christ, despite persecution - Ac 5:28-32,41-42
      3. This transformation in their lives is strong evidence for the
         resurrection, as admitted by one Orthodox Jewish scholar:
         a. "If the disciples were totally disappointed and on the
            verge of desperate flight because of the very real reason
            of the crucifixion, it took another very real reason in
            order to transform them from a band of disheartened and
            dejected Jews into the most self-confident missionary
            society in world history." - Pinchas Lapide, former
            Chairman of the Applied Linguistics Department at Israel's
            Bar-Iland University (TIME, May 7, 1979)
         b. He concluded that a bodily resurrection could possibly have
            been that reason!

   C. DEMONSTRATED BY THEIR HIGH MORAL STANDARD...
      1. They taught others to live holy lives - 1Th 4:1-7; Ep 4:25
      2. They lived their own lives in unimpeachable way - 1Th 2:3-12
      -- Does this sound like people who propagate lies when they know
         better?

   D. DEMONSTRATED BY THE PRICE THEY PAID...
      1. The apostles endured much suffering because of their testimony
         - 1Co 4:9-13
      2. All but one died a martyr's death because of their testimony
      3. Even Jesus' brother, James, was thrown off the temple and then
         clubbed to death for his testimony
      -- There was no motive for them to persistently lie about Jesus'
         resurrection!

CONCLUSION

1. The nature of their witness does not allow for the option that they
   were simply deceived or deluded...
   a. Again, they professed empirical evidence
   b. They claimed to eat and drink with Him, touch Him, see Him

2. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, there is only one
   alternative...
   a. These witnesses were liars, deceivers
   b. Even Paul admits this is the only alternative - 1Co 15:14-15

3. Is it reasonable to believe they successfully propagated a lie?
   a. Too many people attested to the same fact
   b. They were not the kind of people to fabricate such a falsehood
   c. They lived noble lives, and were ALL willing to suffer and die
      for their testimony!

When we carefully examine the lives and testimony of "The Witnesses Of
The Resurrection", the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that
they really saw what they claimed:  Jesus is risen!

And His resurrection from the dead is assurance from God that Judgment
is coming and we must repent:

   "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands
   all men everywhere to repent,  because He has appointed a day on
   which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He
   has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising
   Him from the dead." - Ac 17:30-31

Are you ready for that Day?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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