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Evidence Of Things Not Seen

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Hebrews 11:1
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Is Christianity a blind faith?
Do we have to check our brains at the door of the church every time we come in here?…or watch online?
Do we see everything that we say we believe?…no…so why do we choose to believe them?…what evidence do we have?
1 Peter 3:15
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Today, we will examine several misconceptions about the Christian faith and provide real answers for the skeptic’s questions.

I. Christianity Is Based on Facts

“Christianity appeals to history. It appeals to facts of history that are clearly recognizable and accessible by everyone.”
The Bible, particularly in the Gospel accounts, does not present itself as anything but a historical document.
Luke 1:1–2
1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us,
Acts 1:3 (NKJV)
3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
This leads us to a question: “What makes a so-called proof ‘infallible’?”
I offer two prerequisites…there are undoubtedly more.
An infallible proof would have to be verifiable by multiple sources.
An infallible proof would have to be something that both sides of a given argument would be willing to concede to.
Today, we will examine some of these “infallible proofs”
But first, as we begin today, I want to remind us that our faith is based in facts, not feelings.
The Christian life has been compared to walking along the top of a wall or a log in this case.
Faith is in the middle, and either our feelings or the facts are in front of us, with the other one behind us.
If our feelings are leading the way, they can easily be tipped of balance and bring our faith down with them, and only the facts remain on the log.
But if the facts are leading the way, and our faith is following right behind them, closely watching and focusing on them with our feelings coming along behind us, they might still get tipped off balance but we are no longer following those feelings…they are still important and part of us, but they are not in the lead anymore.
Our faith is based on the facts - on the factual Person - of Jesus of Nazareth.

I. Christianity Is Based on Facts

II. Clearing the Intellectual Fog

There is a lot of fog in the air surrounding Christianity.
Critics and skeptics often cloud things up by making accusations that are not based on a logical, critical examination of the text but on misconceptions and preconceived notions about Christianity.
We will examine several of these misconceptions.
This will demonstrate that we are not taking a leap in the dark, having no basis for our faith.
The Christian faith does not require one to check your brain at the door and remove all intellect.
We have a faith the is based on compelling, historical evidence, but many have attempted to surround Christianity with a dense fog of doubt and have, unfortunately, succeeded.
The arguments used to explain Christianity are called apologetics - from the word apologia - meaning a well-thought out argument to prove a truth claim in a court of law.
But we need to remember that apologetics do not save anyone - only the power of the gospel can do that.
We are not absurdly arguing that Apologetics has in itself the power to make a man a Christian or to conquer the world to Christ. “Only the spirit of Life can communicate Life to a dead soul…But we are arguing that faith is, in all its exercises alike, a form of conviction, and is, therefore, necessarily grounded in evidence. -BENJAMIN WARFIELD, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Faith is believing that something is true without seeing it firsthand, but it is a reasonable faith.
Let’s take a look at some misconceptions about Christianity that you and I will encounter in this world and then make a reasonable argument to refute those misconceptions:
II. Clearing the Intellectual Fog
A. Misconception #1: Blind Faith
Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)
37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
God expects people to engage their minds - not commit intellectual suicide.
The message of Jesus and the apostles was for people to place their FAITH in Jesus.
This is the same message we have today, but we are not asking people to have “blind faith”, we are asking people to exercise “intelligent faith”.
That’s why we use the Gospel as it is presented in the Bible
The Romans Road, for example, is a series of verses that are grounded in facts: Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, which is also clearly presented in:
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 NKJV
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
God created our minds! He expects us to use them.
He doesn't hide behind the curtains like the wizard of Oz and expect an unbeliever to agree to place their trust in a fraud.
The Bible can withstand any amount of scrutiny that man can throw at it.
2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)
12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
Paul’s faith was grounded in facts, not circumstances or feelings.
Paul’s faith was grounded in a Person - Jesus Christ. Paul could say that he KNEW the PERSON that he had faith in - to Paul, Jesus was not some higher level of consciousness…Jesus Christ is a KNOWABLE PERSON, not a far off celestial being.
this word “know” is to experience something - not just agree with certain facts.
“persuaded” means to be convinced that something is indeed true!
Paul’s future was completely dependent on the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus predicted this sequence of faith events:
John 8:32 (NKJV)
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
What is “blind faith”?
Often, Christians are accused of “taking a leap into the dark”.
But if we truly exercised blind faith, what would we do with the evidence?…we would ignore it and go the other way!…the evidence would not matter!
And our evangelism would be pointless! - There would be no gospel message!
Christianity is not a leap into the darkness…it is a step into the light!
II. Clearing the Intellectual Fog
A. Misconception #1: Blind Faith
B. Misconception #2: Just Be Sincere
The Christian faith is an objective faith - so it must have an object to place faith in.
When a person “gets saved” - or becomes a “believer”, they have placed “saving faith” in Jesus Christ, thereby establishing a relationship with God through Christ - who is the object of our faith.
This is completely opposed to the philosophy that is prevalent today, which states:
“It does’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe it enough”
In other words, merit is based on one’s SINCERITY.
And this would lead one to believe that the success of one’s faith is in themselves, regardless of who or what they are putting their faith in.
“The Christian faith is faith in Christ. Its value or worth is not in the one believing, but in the one believed-not in the one trusting, but in the one trusted.”
-Josh McDowell
There are many from other religions that have more faith in their gods or systems than Christians have in Christ…are they better off?…NO! Just because they have more faith, they aren’t saved because the object of their faith is false.
For example, there are many Muslims that live a deeper life of faith than some Christians…they are more sincere, more faithful, more devoted to their system of faith (albeit an unbiblical faith).
But it will not help them in the end, because of the object of their faith is not Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t matter how much faith a Christian has - only that they have faith in Jesus…it’s not the size of their faith…its the power of the one in whom they trust - Jesus ALONE is able to save!
2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)
12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
The Scriptures are clear: the Christian faith is set apart from any other type or brand of faith
Biblically speaking, faith is not an abstract theory…the NT describes faith as “the faith” 43 times, including 8 times is 1 Timothy:
1 Timothy 1:2 NKJV
2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Timothy 1:19 NKJV
19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
1 Timothy 3:9 NKJV
9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
1 Timothy 3:13 NKJV
13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:21 NKJV
21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.
the Christian faith is unique because it rests fully on the Person of Jesus Christ.
Now take a look at a verse in the next chapter.
What happens when a Christian’s faith suffers or is diminished?
This next verse is talking about a christian who’s faith has been diminished to the point of being “faithless” - this person has been through some deep trials, pain, suffering, and loss.
2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Paul might have been thinking back to a time in his life that was especially difficult…a time when his faith was forged in the crucible of pain:
2 Corinthians 1:8 (NKJV)
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
Does this sound like a guy who is living his best, faith-filled life now??
Here is a man who’s flame of faith in God has dwindled down to a smoldering ember, yet he still has his salvation - he is still God’s son in the faith.
The resurrection is the foundation stone of the Christian faith.
1 Corinthians 15:14,17 (NKJV)
14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. ... 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
Sincerity alone is not enough to save - true faith is grounded in the Person and the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.
II. Clearing the Intellectual Fog
A. Misconception #1: Blind Faith
B. Misconception #2: Just Be Sincere
C. Misconception #3: The Bible is Full of Myths
Many skeptics of Christianity will claim that events such as the virgin birth of Christ, the resurrection, and miracles like the water turned to wine or walking on water didn’t happen as described in the Gospels.
They claim that Jesus’ followers added these to elevate Jesus and promote him as divine.
(which makes no sense historically, because what happened to Christians immediately following Jesus ascension?…persecution! So why would anyone want to follow a deified person who’s followers are killed for their faith??)
But getting back to the argument at hand, there are many legends and mythologies that contain similar miraculous events like we read about in the Bible:
The Lexham Bible Dictionary (The Greek Pantheon)
Cronus and Rhea had six divine children, three daughters (Hera, Demeter, and Hestia) and three sons (Hades, Poseidon [puh-sai-dn], and Zeus). Eventually Cronus, like his father, became fearful that his children would challenge his authority. He chose to swallow his children as Rhea gave birth to them so they would not pose a threat to his rule. Rhea appealed to her parents to end Cronus’ cruel treatment of their children.
Together they devised a plan to swap a disguised stone with the newborn child. Cronus devoured the stone while the real child, Zeus, was hidden away and later rescued his siblings from their father.
What does this myth remind you of in the Bible?
How about a baby named Moses that is hidden from the infanticidal pharoah?
How about another baby, named Jesus, who was hidden from a different infanticidal king named Herod?
Or a similar description in Revelation:
Revelation 12:4–5 NKJV
4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
So we have Greek mythologies and biblical text that seem to relate to one another…how do we explain the similarities?
Here is the difference between the Greek mythologies and the events recorded in the Bible:
The Greek myths were not applied to real, flesh and blood people, but were instead about non-historical, fictional, and mythological characters.
However, the biblical narratives are attached to real people and to the historic Jesus of Nazareth who was known personally by the writers of the NT.
I. Clearing the Intellectual Fog
A. Misconception #1: Blind Faith
B. Misconception #2: Just Be Sincere
C. Misconception #3: The Bible is Full of Myths
Now we will break down this “myth” misconception further by examining three roadblocks that an atheist must overcome if they are to maintain that the Bible is a mythological story book.
Put yourself in the shoes of an unbeliever…you’ve been brought up in a non-christian home, even an atheist home, that rejected God, the Bible, and church.
How would you navigate these three roadblocks?
Eyewitnesses
The NT writers were either eyewitnesses or recorded directly from eyewitnesses of the events that happened before, during and after Jesus of Nazareth walked on planet earth.
These are recorded as first-hand accounts.
Read the following verses carefully to see the words and phrases - decide for yourself - Is this the wording of stories and myths?…or are these the words of eyewitnesses?
2 Peter 1:16 NKJV
16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
1 John 1:1–3 NKJV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Luke 1:1–3 NKJV
1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,
Acts 1:1–3 NKJV
1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 15:6–8 NKJV
6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
john 20:30-31
John 20:30–31 NKJV
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Acts 10:39–42 NKJV
39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.
1 Peter 5:1 NKJV
1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
Acts 1:9 NKJV
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Acts 2:22 NKJV
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—
Acts 26:24–28 NKJV
24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” 25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
What is your verdict?..are these the stuff of legends?…or FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS?
The Bible is NOT full of myths, and the accounts of eyewitnesses help us know that.
C. Misconception #3: The Bible is Full of Myths
Eyewitnesses
“Yes You Did: You Knew That”
The writers of the NT made truth claims about Jesus - His miracles, resurrection, and ascension (all things disputed by modern day critics).
With very few exceptions, Jesus’ miracle events did not happen behind closed doors.
These were all events that happened in plain sight of everyone, even those that opposed Christ.
Mark 6:44 NKJV
44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
The crowd was likely at least double, as this figure did not include women and children.
If 1 or 2 people made a claim of food being miraculously provided, it should be questioned…but if thousands of people literally experienced the same miracle, there is no way to make sure that every one of them has the right story to tell if this was a hoax! This was an indisputably factual event!
The apostles made arguments that left the door wide open for their critics to refute them
They would say, “You also know that what we are claiming is true!”
This is a bold move in a debate, and one that would only be taken if they knew that what they claimed was true…AND they knew that their adversaries also knew it was true.
Acts 2:22 (NKJV)
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know
Not only were the apostles and believers eyewitnesses, but also the critics and opponents of Christianity, which is another reasonable evidence that the Bible does not contain myths.
C. Misconception #3: The Bible is Full of Myths
Eyewitnesses
“Yes You Did: You Knew That”
The Difference Between Myth and History
We have touched on this already as we looked at the language of Scripture written by eyewitnesses.
Did you see the difference between Scripture and “once upon a time”…or “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”??
This is not the language of legends or mythology…this is the language of historically accurate documents written as biographical narratives with factual data by those that eye-witnessed the events described.
“If he [the biblical critic] tells me that some thing in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, and how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavor: not how many years he has spent on that Gospel...I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this."
The author S. Estborn, in his book Gripped By Christ, tells about a man named Anath Nath who committed to Hinduism. Nath “studied both the Bible and the Shastras. Two biblical themes in particular deeply engaged his mind -
first, the reality of the Incarnation,
and second, the Atonement for human sin
These doctrines he sought to harmonize with Hindu Scriptures. He found a parallel to Christ’s self-sacrifice in Prajapati, the Vedic creator-god. He saw, too, a vital difference.
Whereas the Vedic Prajapati is a mythical symbol, which has been applied to several figures, Jesus of Nazareth is an historic person. Jesus is the true Prajapati, said, ‘the true Saviour of the world.”” (Estþorn, GBC, 43)
Even a committed Hindu, once he engaged his mind, came to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior of the world!
II. Clearing the Intellectual Fog
A. Misconception #1: Blind Faith
B. Misconception #2: Just Be Sincere
C. Misconception #3: The Bible is Full of Myths
D. Misconception #4: The Jesus of History Is Unknowable
Philosophical Presuppositions:
There is only the natural world - not any supernatural
There is no God
There are no miracles
We live in a closed system
These are the presuppositions that many people have as they approach the study of history.
So when they study the life of Christ in the gospel accounts and read about His miracles and His resurrection, they conclude that it could not have been true miracles or a real resurrection because they know (philosophically, not historically) that there is no God, no miracles, no supernatural, and we live in a closed system.
These are philosophical prejudices - not historical biases.
It’s all about the starting point:
This “closed system” approach starts with that particular presupposition…
as opposed to starting with the historical data.
“The fact of the resurrection cannot be discounted on a priori, philosophical grounds; miracles are impossible only if one so defines them-but such definition rules out proper historical investigation.” - John W. Montgomery
The proper presupposition for studying history is to begin with method - researching for discovery instead of presupposing a body of truth already.
empirical
■ adjective based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.
The empirical method involves ignoring presuppositions and being willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads you, even if it contradicts what you once believed to be true.
This was the method that Luke employed when he wrote his books:
Luke 1:1–3 NKJV
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,
Luke’s presuppositions made little difference to him as he recorded his work - he was only concerned with writing down the facts as they happened.
“The purpose of the historian is not to construct a history from preconceived notions and to adjust it to his own liking, but to reproduce it from the best evidence and to let it speak for itself.” - Philip Schaff
This is exactly what Luke stated in his prologue!
So, what is a good definition of history?
“History: A knowledge of the past based on testimony” - Josh McDowell
So, do you believe that Abraham Lincoln lived and was president of the United States?…if so, why?…You have never personally seen or observed him.
The only way we know that Lincoln existed and was a president is by testimony - physical, verbal, and written.
Ex: Lincoln’s hat and other personal effects in W.D.C.
If we can know the historical Lincoln through our country’s history, we can also know the historical Jesus. (also - the fact that Jesus is alive today makes this all the more true!)
Precaution: This method requires that your witnesses be trustworthy.
II. Clearing the Intellectual Fog
A. Misconception #1: Blind Faith
B. Misconception #2: Just Be Sincere
C. Misconception #3: The Bible is Full of Myths
D. Misconception #4: The Jesus of History Is Unknowable
E. Misconception #5: Loving Christians Should Accept Other Religious Views
Have you ever been told that as a Christian, you need to be TOLERANT?!?
The word “tolerance” gets thrown around a lot, but it does not mean what many think it means.
tolerance: to recognize and respect [other’s beliefs, practices, and so forth] with our sharing them and to bear or put up with [someone or something not especially liked] - Webster’s New World Dictionary of English (third edition)
Is this what tolerance means in our world today?? - no way!
How did the Apostle Paul describe tolerance?
1 Corinthians 13:7 (NKJV)
[love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
But this is not what tolerance means today in 2023
“The definition of new…tolerance is that every individual’s beliefs, lifestyle, and perception of truth claims are equal, and all truth is relative.” - thomas A. Helmbock (Helmbock, IT, 2)
This view sees truth as inclusive - like a mother hen who gathers everyone’s beliefs under her wings, regardless of whether or not they oppose one another.
However, truth cannot be inclusive - it must be exclusive or it is no longer truth, whatever one may call it.
For example: Washington, D.C. is our nation’s capitol city.
no other city in America can claim to be the capitol of the country
in fact, no other city on planet earth can make that claim
by defining WDC as the nation’s capitol, we have automatically excluded all other cities from being so.
The same is true of Christianity:
If the claims of Christianity are indeed true, and we would say that they are, then any other claim that stands in opposition to Christianity is deemed false automatically. (just like any claim that a city other than WDC is the capitol)
What did Jesus have to say about absolute truth?
Matthew 10:34 NKJV
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
John 14:6 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus truth claim to be THE way, truth, and life, is a claim of exclusivity, not inclusivity…He was saying that any other attempt to get to the Father would be a failure.
So this is not an issue of tolerance, it is an issue of TRUTH!
This false view of tolerance assumes that we Christians should always keep our options open, even when the evidence clearly shows that only one option is the actual truth.
This is basically demanding that everyone believe multiple things are in fact true, even if they oppose one another.
Is this possible?
The old adage is appropriate here:
One person claims, “There is absolutely no absolute truth!”
And his companion replies, “Are you absolutely certain?”
The claim that all truth must be absolutely accepted is a truth claim in and of itself, and therefore it is a self-refuting argument.
Open mindedness is a good thing - but to truly be open minded assumes that there are absolute truths in existence, and i just haven’t found them yet - I am open minded to all the possible truths until I begin to narrow them down by exploration which leads to discovery of evidence.
“In the long run, openness cannot really be true unless it is open to some real absolutes that cannot be denied. Open-mindedness should not be confused with empty-mindedness. One should never remain open to a second alternative when only one can be true.” - N. Geisler WSA, 259
Intolerance and closed-mindedness is best defined as a state of mind that refuses to believe in spite of strong evidence of a truth claim, including such evidence that obviously supports Christianity.
II. Clearing the Intellectual Fog
A. Misconception #1: Blind Faith
B. Misconception #2: Just Be Sincere
C. Misconception #3: The Bible is Full of Myths
D. Misconception #4: The Jesus of History Is Unknowable
E. Misconception #5: Loving Christians Should Accept Other Religious Views
F. Misconception #6: “I Have an Intellectual Problem”
As we conclude, a question comes to mind: After all the evidence and solid, logical and reasonable arguments that we have made today, why do people still continue to reject Jesus Christ?
Often, it is not the MIND that rejects Jesus, it is the WILL.
It is a matter of “I won’t believe.” vs. “I can’t believe”.
And what is cited is often an intellectual excuse - claiming to have an intellectual problem, when the real issue is with their will.
If an unbeliever investigates the claims of Christ, but concludes that he simply cannot believe and is able to express why, this is actually a common ground with us as believers - he knows why he doesn’t believe from a factual and historical point of view…and I know why I do believe from a factual and historical point of view. We have both investigated the evidence, but have come to different conclusions.
But this is often not the case.
‘A student in a New England university said he had an intellectual problem with Christianity and therefore just could not accept Christ as Savior. “Why can’t you believe?”, I asked. He replied, “The New Testament is not reliable.” I then asked, “If I demonstrate to you that the New Testament is one of the most reliable pieces of literature of antiquity, will You believe?” He retorted, “No!” “You don’t have a problem with your mind but with your will,” I answered.
A graduate student at the same university, after a lecture on “The Resurrection: Hoax History?” bombarded me with questions intermingled with accusations (later I found that he did this with most Christian speakers.). Finally after forty-five minutes of dialogue I asked him, “If I prove to You beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ was raised from the dead and is the Son of God, will you consider Him?” The immediate and emphatic reply was, “No!”.
Most people reject Christ for one or more of these three reasons:
Ignorance (often self imposed) Romans 1:18-23; Matthew 22:29
Romans 1:18–23 NKJV
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Matthew 22:29 NKJV
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.
Most people reject Christ for one or more of these three reasons:
Ignorance (often self imposed)
Pride John 5:40-44
John 5:40–44 NKJV
40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
Most people reject Christ for one or more of these three reasons:
Ignorance (often self imposed)
Pride
Moral Issues John 3:19-20
John 3:19–20 NKJV
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently [I] assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves…For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.
Most people reject Christ for one or more of these three reasons:
Ignorance (often self imposed)
Pride
Moral Issues
But if a person is a true SEEKER, they can and will find the truth.
John 7:17 NKJV
17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
“If any person comes to the claims of Jesus Christ wanting to know if they are true, willing to follow His teachings if they are true, he or she will know, But one cannot come unwilling to accept, and expect to find out.”
CONCLUSION:
As we conclude, we see that every misconception so far is one that can be explained or refuted by reasonable arguments and by Scripture.
Our faith is a choice to believe certain things are true that we have not witnessed, but it is a reasonable faith!
And the warning to us as Christians is clear, as we are also susceptible to these same vices.
Ignorance, Pride, Moral Issues - we as Christians are just as susceptible as any unbeliever - be alert and ask God to reveal your heart....we are not the experts on ourselves - only God can claim that position.
1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
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