We live in a very interesting era in America right now. I think that it's probably the most spiritual time of any other time. You're thinking, wait a minute, I think we're deeply in secular humanism.
I think you're right. At the same time, people today want to call themselves spiritual. It's not Christianity, it's not believing in this God of the Bible, but they want to say they're very spiritual. That is, I believe in God. They mean a generic God, an unnamed God, an unidentified God, a watered-down God, a father figure or a mother figure God.
Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. One of the definitions for belief is confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof. Well, the fact of the matter is there's probably more rigorous proof for believing in Jesus than we might realize. All it takes is a little time and investigation, which will prove to be well worth the effort. Turn once again to John chapter five, where we'll continue in verses 30 through 47 as Skip Heitzig resumes our study.
He's at the pool of Bethesda. He healed a man who had a disease for 38 years. It was a miraculous sign. It was a miraculous work and it got their attention. It was on the Sabbath day.
They didn't like that. It was a miracle unmistakably, but they still didn't believe in him, which I don't really fault them because of that, honestly, because their own scriptures, Deuteronomy 13 even says if a guy comes and says he's a prophet and he does some miracle, you be careful and listen to the message that he speaks, because if the message that he speaks draws you away from the true God, he's a false prophet. So they would naturally be skeptical. But when you put this witness, the miraculous works of Jesus, alongside of the other witnesses that he calls upon in this section, it's compelling evidence. There's over 30 miracles recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. When I say miracle, I'm not talking about how some people use the sun rose today. That's a miracle. The sunset, that's a miracle.
No, it's not. It happens every day. A miracle is the suspension of natural law and the enacting of supernatural forces. That's a miracle. Walking on water, that'd be a miracle.
Walking on water, that'd be a miracle. 30, over 30, 34 of those in the New Testament are recorded. And often Jesus would appeal to those acts as substantive proof for who he was. For example, in John chapter 14, Jesus will say, believe me when I say that I am in the father and the father is in me. Or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. And others who saw those miracles also would agree. In John chapter nine, verse 16, some of the Pharisees said, this man Jesus is not from God for he's working on the Sabbath. But others said, but how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs? So these works mentioned in verse 36 are activities and miracles that Jesus did that substantiated that he was the Jewish Messiah long ago predicted. And that's why many people believed in him then.
And now I'm gonna throw this at you. That's why many people today believe in him. You go, excuse me, I mean, people today believe in him because of the miracles? I haven't seen a miracle this week in my neighborhood. I haven't seen a miracle this week in my neighborhood. Where are all the miracles? Well, here's where all the miracles are, not all of them, but a lot of them. There's countries in the world that will not allow the gospel of Jesus Christ to be preached or Christ himself to be presented.
It's closed to it. And in those areas of the world that are not allowing the gospel to be heralded, God is bringing people to Jesus Christ through all sorts of creative New Testament means like this. My friend Joel Rosenberg has written in his, well, one of his books, Inside the Revolution. He believes more Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ in the last 30 years than any other time in human history. And he said there's evidence that would suggest since September 11th, 2001, the majority have come to faith in Christ. One of his things that he cites is the leading Saudi Arabian cleric who came out on Al Jazeera television lamenting the fact that six million Muslims a year are converting to Christianity. That's from a Muslim cleric. Now, we don't know exactly how many are, but the fact that this cleric is lamenting the fact that an enormous amount of Muslims are coming to faith in Christ begs the question, why are they coming to faith in Christ? Why are they coming to faith in Christ? One named Hormoz Shariat from the International Antioch Ministries broadcasts messages by satellite to Muslims in Europe and in the Middle East. And he says, and I quote, every day we have stories of dreams and visions and miracles.
God is getting his message across and many are believing him for the same reason. Here's one story that I got from a source, Mariam Asal, an Islamic evangelist for seven years. She was teaching women verses from the Quran. She was teaching them prayers so they'd live an obedient Islamic life. And she was on track, says the source, to become a female Ayatollah, a Shiite religious and political leader. Well, that was then. What happened after that is her mother came down or exhibited severe MS, multiple sclerosis. It got so severe, one day she said, I prayed to Allah. I've served you for many years of my life.
I've given you my youth and this is what you've done for me. I read that. I thought, that's interesting.
I know a lot of people here who not necessarily in this church, but in America who pray that same kind of prayer. Well, her mom's health deteriorated. She became disillusioned with God, disillusioned with everything. And she decided that she and her mom would commit suicide together. They'd kill themselves.
They'd get everything ready. And I don't know if it was television or radio, but some broadcast was on on one of those two sources. And as they were getting ready to commit suicide, this voice over the airwaves said, are you trying to kill yourself today? And it was a message being broadcast into her language about the gospel. She called the station. She received Christ as her savior. She then took her mother to get an MRI sometime later and it was completely negative.
No signs at all of multiple sclerosis. She knew Jesus healed her mother. It confirmed her own faith and led her mother to Jesus Christ as well. So here's Jesus confronting these unbelieving Pharisees and leaders and saying, my first witness, outside testimony because of what others have declared.
Number two, because of what I have done. Here's the third one because of what God Himself, God the Father, the one you say you love and worship, what He has decreed. Look at verse 37. Verse 37, and the Father Himself who sent me has testified or given His testimony or born witness of me.
You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. What does it mean that Jesus is saying that His Father testified of Him? Well, there's two incidences in the New Testament where the voice of God the Father spoke out of heaven, attesting to His Son.
Remember what they were? One was the baptism. He's down at the Jordan River and God the Father speaks, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Now that's recorded by three separate sources. Matthew, a tax guy who had no interest in religion before his conversion, Mark who got his testimony from Peter directly, and Luke, an unbelieving doctor who became converted and then sought to give an eyewitness account of what happened. The second time is when Jesus was walking up to a mountain with three of His disciples and a voice came out of heaven after Jesus was transfigured and the voice said this is my beloved Son listen to Him. Now having God Himself, that is the Father Himself testify on His behalf was a powerful sign to these leaders because they claimed that they believed in God. They claimed that they loved God. So what Jesus would be saying to them is even your God or at least the one you claim is your God who happens to be my personal Father would bear witness and say that you should believe in me.
That's what He said. We live in a very interesting era in America right now. I think that it's probably the most spiritual time of any other time. You're thinking, oh wait a minute, I think we're deeply in secular humanism.
I think you're right. At the same time, people today want to call themselves spiritual. It's not Christianity, it's not believing in this God of the Bible, but they want to say they're very spiritual. That is, I believe in God.
They mean a generic God, an unnamed God, an unidentified God, a watered down God, a father figure or a mother figure God. According to George Barna, he said, Americans are probably more interested in spiritual matters today than they have been at any other time in the past 40 years. And before you go, man that sounds like great news, listen to what the editor, religious editor for the New York Times said and I quote, today we are witnessing a mass movement of individual seekers who are shunning labels but drawing their belief from several contradictory belief systems. You know what it's like? It's like if you go to a salad bar and you can pick whatever you want right on a salad bar and some of the stuff you're thinking, why would I ever put that on my salad? But it's there and so you put it on there and somebody else says, I don't like that but I like this.
So your salads look very different though it's salad. That's exactly how people are approaching spirituality today. It's sort of like saying, I'll take a small order of Christianity please. Hold the guilt. I'm on a guilt-free diet.
I'd like a side of Hinduism and a side of Buddhism because that's cool and maybe a few aged spices because you know we'll just spice it up a bit. And so what God would say to them is that this God that you believe in, this generic God that you believe in is real. There is a God and He would tell you, you believe in Jesus. Even God the Father testifies that. Here's the fourth and final reason or witness if you will in the courtroom of truth and that is because of what Scripture discloses. Verse 39, you search the Scriptures. Now some believe this is put in the imperative.
It could be rendered as a command. Hey you, search the Scriptures. Either way it makes sense. For in them you think you have eternal life and these are they which testify or bear witness of me. Verse 45 is interesting. Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, Moses in whom you trust. For if you believed in Moses you'd have believed me for he wrote about me. You know they were all into the Torah and we believe in the Torah. The first five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Moses man he's our guy.
Jesus says really he's your guy. If you believed him you'd believe me because he wrote about me. And then he concludes if you do not believe his writings how will you believe my words.
In other words his fourth witness is the Bible itself that has predicted him. You go the Bible, how is that a reliable witness? I mean it's just a book. Everybody has a book. Every religion has its book. Every holy belief has its holy book. There's so many holy books out there. Why is the Bible so reliable?
I'll tell you exactly why really briefly. For two main reasons. One is let's call it internal evidence. The other is external evidence. Internal evidence just look at the Bible itself. 66 books not one 66 books written by more than 40 authors over 1500 years in three separate languages on three continents and those who wrote it had different backgrounds. And they wrote about the most controversial subjects like the person of God, the origin of man, the problem of evil, the meaning of life.
And oddly enough all of those authors of those 66 books from all those different time eras happen to agree. You go so? Okay then I give you a challenge.
You ready? Here's the challenge. Find 10 people just 10 from your own neighborhood who have the same educational background speak the same language have the same culture and have them write two paragraphs on the meaning of life and see if any of them agree with each other.
Probably not. Or here's another experiment. Take 25 medical books over the last 1500 years and treat a patient based on the information they're in. What would happen if you did that from Harvard medical school all the way to voodoos in whatever country?
You'll kill them. So this is very unique the internal evidence of the Bible itself. Then there's the external evidence. We don't have time to get into it like the history the Bible has survived time even though it wasn't written on permanent stuff like stone or clay tablets like the Babylonians but parchment and and perishable products. And it survived the time when people wanted to get rid of it you know in 303 BC for example Diocletian the emperor put out an edict that all the churches should be destroyed and all of the copies of the Bible in the Roman Empire should be destroyed. Anybody caught with a copy of the scriptures was killed immediately and between the second and fourth century that was the kind of persecution going on the Bible survived it. Then there's archaeology and anybody who's ever tried to discredit the Bible archaeologically has failed. I have tons of examples of this one most notable one that comes to mind is Sir William Ramsay. Now he was a he was a man who was a very well known during his time very well-known archaeologist and he said that he could disprove the writings of Luke and he thought it was important because Luke wrote a gospel and the book of Acts so he wanted to discredit him as a credible historian. He spent years of research and travel in Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and finally published his findings and he shocked the academic world when he said number one Luke was one of the best historians ever and number two he announced that he himself Sir William Ramsay had converted to Christianity as an archaeologist. Number three with external evidence is what Jesus alludes to in verse 39 and that is prophecy.
You search the scriptures they are testifying about me. There are events in the pages of Bible that are foretold in incredible detail even before they happen very specific predictions. Here's one. Actually here's two in one chapter. Isaiah chapter 44 describes the fall of Jerusalem and when it was written it was written a hundred years before Jerusalem fell. You say well that's a lucky guess. Okay here's number two in the same chapter. The same chapter names the guy who will rebuild Jerusalem.
He's actually written by name in that chapter Osiris of Persia and that was written 160 years before he was born. Here's how it works. Let's say in my pocket right now are 10 pennies and they're all marked one two three four all the way to 10 and then I make a prediction. Ladies and gentlemen I'm about to reach in my pocket and select penny mark number one.
What are my odds? Well there's 10 pennies one in 10 are the odds so I go down there pick it up and go wow he defied odds. He picked out penny number one.
You all applaud I would hope and then I then I announce okay ladies gentlemen watch this now I'm going to select penny number two. Well now my odds decrease exponentially. It's not one in 10 or one in nine it's now one in a hundred that I can select sequentially and if I predict to you that I'm going to select in order penny one two three four all the way to 10 now my odds decrease to one in 10 billion and here's my point. God repeatedly stacks the odds against himself by writing about things before they happen in incredible detail because they testify of Jesus.
One of my favorite little books that I have by Peter Stoner called Science Speaks is where this mathematician analyzes 48 predictions the bible writes about Jesus Christ 250 years or more before he was born. 48 predictions and using his scientific background and the principle of probability Dr. Stoner said and I quote we find the chance that any one man in history to fulfill all 48 prophecies would be one in 10 to the 157th power and if you go what does that mean? Well here's a little visual if you took the entire state of Texas and filled a two feet thick of silver dollars you marked one of those multi millions or billions of silver dollars and you marked it the odds of one person finding that one silver dollar would be one in 10 to the 17th power. If you fill the United States of America coast to coast two feet thick full of silver dollars in pre-mark one the odds of a person finding the one you pre-marked is one in 10 to the 18th power. If you took the continents of Africa and Asia and filled them two feet thick of silver dollars in pre-mark one the odds of somebody finding that would be one in 10 to the 19th power. What he just said is for one man to fulfill 48 of these predictions is one in 10 to the 157th power and he concludes in 100 billion years there is no chance that the prophecies Jesus fulfilled could be fulfilled without God. Verse 39 look at that once again because it applies to us you search the scriptures we do don't we I know I do and I know you do you search the bible you love bible study but it says for in them you think that you have eternal life and they are they which testify of me here's what I want to say studying the bible won't get you to heaven only Jesus will they miss the whole point in their meticulous study of the bible of the bible it's a warning to us it's not about the bible it's about the author of the bible it's not father son holy spirit and holy bible it's the bible points to Christ and if I know the bible but I don't know its author guess what I've missed it all as one evangelist gypsy smith used to say it's not how many times you've been through the bible it's how many times the bible has been through you and so we're confronted with some powerful testimony powerful witnesses this morning what others have said what Jesus has done what the father has declared and what the scripture itself discloses as reliable testimony Jesus says that's why you should believe boy isn't it nice to know that there's a solid foundation for believing in Jesus that there's real solid evidence and just good reasons for us to believe I hope you found that comforting as we went through today's study we're going to have to wrap things up for now but before we go we have an excellent new resource for you this month at connectwithskip.com great marriages are made not born God wants you to have a strong thriving and fun marriage the marriage devotional 52 days to strengthen the soul of your marriage by Levi and Jenny Lesko is designed to help your marriage not just survive but thrive you want to understand God's secret the secret for fruit in your marriage in your family in your parenting if you feel overwhelmed because your marriage is a long way from where you feel like it should be or if you feel discouraged and excluded today because divorce is in your story and here you see God's plan for flourishing and you've disqualified yourself because of what's in your past let me tell you something God never shames you for your past he always fights for your future and flourishing and fruitfulness can be your reality we want to send you a copy of this encouraging resource as thanks for your gift today to support connect with Skip heitzig and help expand this teaching ministry to more major cities in the us in 2023 so request your copy when you give today and get the encouragement you need for your marriage to flourish the vine has been given the tools to continue to grow and i love this and i want this vision in your mind i want this vision in your heart if you're empty nesters if you've been married for 40s i want you to have this vision young people that you don't have to fear a marriage getting stale you don't have to fear getting trapped into something i need to experiment and keep my options open i'm telling you so long as you focus in cling to the right vine cling to the Lord your marriage's growth can be infinite the marriage devotional by Levi and Jenny Lesko yours for a donation of 50 or more just call 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com offer that's connectwithskip.com slash offer next time we're going to go on a picnic one that should teach us some rather valuable lessons so if you're curious be sure to join us right here on connect with Skip weekend edition a presentation of connection communications of the crossing is connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times
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