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The Christ Of The Bible Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 20, 2023 1:00 am

The Christ Of The Bible Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 20, 2023 1:00 am

Although modern scholars try to discredit Jesus, few say He had ill intent. Many look to Him as a good moral teacher, so His opinion of the Bible should at least be worth considering. In this message, we find three examples of Jesus’ belief in the historicity and ethical claims of the Old Testament. If Jesus held up the Scriptures as truth, we are faced with a choice.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Major news magazines report that Jesus only said 18% of what the Bible says He said.

No miracles, just a man. The Christ of the Bible, though, is a far different figure. The Christ of the Bible is very much alive and is still changing lives as millions can attest.

Today, why the Bible's picture of Christ validates its truth and authority. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, I would think what the Son of God thought about the Bible should be taken very seriously.

Oh Dave, exactly, and I'm going to comment on that in just a moment. Back in the early 50s, there was a pastor at Moody Church by the name of Franklin Logsdon. Every time he preached, he said this little poem, think of it carefully, study it prayerfully, deep in thine heart let its oracles dwell, ponder its mystery, slight not its history, none ere can love it too fondly or well.

And we still believe that today, none ere can love it too fondly or well. Now Dave, you made reference to the fact that there are some scholars who think that Jesus said only a small percentage of that which is written in the New Testament. Well I deal with that in my book, Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible, and show that those decisions are totally arbitrary. We have every reason to believe that Jesus said everything that the Bible claims he said, and he said the scripture cannot be broken.

For a gift of any amount, the book can be yours, Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible, go to, that's, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. As I've said so often, thank you so much for your prayers, for your interest, for your contributions, because our desire is to get the word of God to as many as possible. Whenever I see a picture of Jesus Christ on the cover of Time magazine or Newsweek, I always am apprehensive and a little sad. I always buy the magazine if I don't have it and read it, but I'm grieved because I know that the Jesus that is presented there will not commend our worship, he will not qualify to be a savior, he will be stripped down by scholars, chewed to bits, dissected, analyzed, discussed.

He will be a no-frills Jesus and at all costs reduced to a historical figure. Some time ago, Time had an article about Jesus in which they quote Stephen Mitchell who says, we can't be sure of anything that Christ said. And then they quote Rudolf Bultmann, the gospel accounts are so unreliable that we can know almost nothing concerning the life and the personality of Jesus. Well that doesn't build faith in the lives of many people, does it? You've all heard about the Jesus seminar which has gained a lot of publicity because when the Jesus seminar began, they deliberately said that we want to get this to the media, it's time that we took what the scholars are doing and we were to spread it around the country for the common reason. California, a number of different scholars sit together and then they have plastic beads that they drop into a dish and that's the way in which they vote on the sayings of Christ to see how many believe that he said this and how many believe that he said that or didn't say that. If you drop a red bead into the bowl, that's Jesus, that's Jesus.

Pink means it sounds like Jesus, gray is well maybe, black is well there's been a mistake, Jesus would never have said that. Are you surprised that only 18% of the words of Jesus found in the gospels are believed to have been actually said by him? And of course none of the miracles, the resurrection, the loaves and fishes, all of the miracles that Jesus did on the pages of the New Testament are immediately cut out, excised, thrown away as being unauthentic.

So what you have left is these few sayings of Jesus and we can't even be sure about that they say, in fact we can be sure of nothing that Jesus Christ did or said. Does that trouble you when you read about that? The reason that I grieve is because I know that tens of thousands, millions of people read these magazines and others like them and they actually believe that if that's what the scholars are saying this must be true. Now I look at it very differently when I read remarks like that my heart absolutely swells with thanksgiving and praise and faith as a result of what the scholars are saying. I see it as nothing but faith building but I look at it a little differently. You have to understand why the scholars are saying the things that they're saying and when you understand that faith is generated in your heart and you say, Lord, this is awesome, this is wonderful. You need to understand.

Here's what has happened. Let me give you a little bit of history, all right? For the last couple of hundred years scholars have wanted to find the historical Jesus. What they've wanted to do is to separate the historical Jesus who lived in space and time from the Christ of faith as they call it. The historical Jesus was a mere man who went around doing wonderful things. The Christ of faith is the legends and all of the myths that developed around the historical Jesus so what they want to do is to separate the two to find this real historical Jesus who he really was, shorn of all of the miracles and all of the statements regarding his divinity in the New Testament.

Now that's been the quest. It dates back to Germany. It's been going on for hundreds of years. The problem is that scholars today basically have given up on that and the reason is because they've learned a couple of things. First of all that the only way that they can separate the historical Jesus from the Christ of faith is by their own subjective bias against the miraculous.

They understand that. In fact when the Jesus seminar came out with a book in the introduction of the book it says who can, Jesus Christ can no longer command our respect and belief in him since we have now been able to see the stars through Galileo's telescope. In other words because of the fact that we are modern people we just can't believe these miracles.

So that's presupposition number one but number two here's what happened. As various scholars wrote their own biography of the historical Jesus they came up with so many contradictory accounts. These accounts were basically the biographies of the scholars because it told us what the scholars could or could not believe. Some people said that Jesus they came up with was a counterculture kind of hippie. Others said that he was a Jewish reactionary. Some said that he was a charismatic rabbi. Others said that he was a homosexual magician.

You know we oftentimes honor Albert Schweitzer the great humanitarian. Well I know some details about his life that most assuredly are not worth honoring but anyway he wrote a book on the historical Jesus and said in the introduction that Jesus was essentially insane. He believed that Jesus made those statements regarding his divinity and said that only an insane man would do that so Albert Schweitzer's Jesus is essentially demented. So now the question is whose portrait are we going to believe and as I mentioned it is not so much a portrait of Jesus it is a portrait of the scholars.

I have in my library Spong's book. Bishop Spong who wrote a book in which he said that Jesus was conceived when Mary was raped and and he's got all of these theories in the book and and he says I love my Bible and I want to keep it from the fundamentalists and it was not written in order to be taken literally but to inspire faith. I read that and I say faith in what? If the thing is full of lies in exactly what sense is it it going to inspire my faith.

Now here's the point and I don't want you to miss it. What's happened in the minds of these scholars is finally they have concluded something. That the portrait of Jesus in the New Testament is a whole piece of cloth. They could not find the seam that would separate the historical Jesus from the Christ of faith, the Christ with the miracles. So in light of the fact that they came up with this welter of contradictions and subjective opinions many scholars now throw up their hands and say we don't know anything about him at all. We don't know anything.

You see they were faced with this thing. Either you accept the portrait in the New Testament as it stands or else you simply toss the whole thing out and say we don't know anything about him. And that's why you have scholars saying we don't know anything about Jesus. It's not because there isn't evidence. The New Testaments got all kinds of things in the manuscript evidence for the New Testament is excellent but if you're going to say I'm not going to accept a miraculous Christ no matter what the best thing you can say is to simply say you know when it comes to Jesus we don't even know whether or not he lived because because that's the only way that's the only place for you to go once you've rejected the whole thing. You either accept it all or you reject it all. You see friends when you look at quotations like that and you read about these scholars who get this press remember something this has very very little to do with scholarship. It has everything to do with unbelief. Unbelief a fundamental unwillingness to grant Jesus any miraculous qualities and so that's what you end up with and that's actually why I in my heart when I read scholars saying that I say well of course of course if you're not going to accept him all that you can do is to toss everything out but of course if you're a scholar you'll be quoted widely when you do that. Now folks let's just talk about reality okay let's pretend that this is not a message this is actually just a classroom for a moment just for a moment you need to understand that if you evaluate the manuscripts of the New Testament and do so like you do any other historical document you put it through the tests of reliability and consistency and and you take it through the most scholarly and the most rigorous evaluation that you want to give it you come to a miraculous Jesus because the documents of the New Testament are proven to be very reliable very reliable and that's what you come to so we have nothing to fear from scholars who want to do analysis you know it says in the Bible that this was not done in the corner and when Paul says in first Corinthians 15 that Jesus Christ was raised and that many people saw him he said if you don't believe me ask those who are still living who remember him in other words we're talking about actual historical realities and when you analyze the New Testament like that we discover that it has the marks of authenticity of accuracy and historicity that's where it's at and then we come to a miraculous Christ there there he is and we accept him we accept him now what I'd like to do in the next few moments is to ask a question because as you know this is a series of messages entitled seven reasons why I believe the Bible is God's Word I gave an introductory message and then other messages this happens to be now the fourth reason why I believe the Bible is God's Word and that is because of Christ you see having come to Jesus in the New Testament we now ask the question what does Jesus think of the Old Testament what was his opinion of the stories that many scholars tell us didn't happen that becomes a very important issue for us if Jesus is our Savior is he also our teacher is he also one whose opinions are valuable to us well I hope so just look at this he believed in the historicity of the Old Testament to its details for example in Matthew chapter 19 and in order to preach this message I can't help but turn to a number of different passages because what we're looking at is Jesus Christ's opinion of the Old Testament so I begin with Matthew 19 and if you want to follow me in your Bibles in a moment we're going to be in Matthew chapter 24 but what about the story of Adam and Eve for example and by the way next time in the next message I'm going to deal with the supposed conflict between the Bible and science but you know that many people believe that we just came up through the animal world and we are really products of it and therefore femininity and masculinity just happened as nature began to evolve well what does Jesus think 19th chapter of Matthew verse 4 the issue at hand actually is divorce but this is what Jesus said he answered and said have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made the male and female and he said for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh now he doesn't mention Adam and Eve but obviously he believed in their existence and he's quoting from the second chapter of Genesis so many people say well I can't accept the the first 11 chapters of Genesis well I'm sorry that you can't because it seems very clear that Christ did Christ did Matthew chapter 24 here we have a story that has often been neglected and debated and that is the flood do you actually believe that a flood encompass this entire world listen I want to tell you that there are certain things that the flood would explain regarding geology that no other event or calamity could ever possibly explain in fact some of the best explanations of the kind of fossil record that we have which oftentimes is so haphazard is because there was a flood that caused many many different changes in the world but this is what Jesus said verse 37 for the coming of the son of man will be just like the days of Noah for as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking they were marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah entered the ark and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away so shall the coming of the son of man be now did Jesus actually believe that there was a flood did he believe that there was an ark did he believe in Noah well the answer obviously is yes of course he did and notice what it says in verse 35 boy this takes your breath away no wonder the scholars say it's just best if we say we know nothing about this guy because look at what he says in verse 35 heaven and earth will pass away but my word shall not pass away what are you going to do with him you either worship him or you say we don't know anything about him that's about your only choice now let me take another one and there are dozens but let me take one that is often ridiculed you know the story of Jonah do you actually believe that Jonah was swallowed by a fish well look at Matthew chapter 12 Matthew 12 and we'll begin at verse 39 there are two things about the book of Jonah that are difficult to accept one is that Jonah was swallowed by a fish the other is that he he preached to Nineveh and he wasn't a very good evangelist because he just kept repeating the same words repent or in 40 days you're going to be overthrown he wasn't very happy you know he was really upset that God was so merciful Jonah isn't your your typical you know if you had a candidates for pastors of a church probably Jonah would not not be the kind of man that you'd like to have you wouldn't like him as an evangelist and he preaches and everybody repents and the king even says let beasts put on sackcloth you imagine he's got a revival on his hands and even the even the animals are repenting and some of you know that there are animals that should we had a cap that certainly should have repented but you know you read that and you say well my word did this happen notice Jesus said in Matthew chapter 12 verse 38 then some of the scribes and the Pharisees answered him saying teacher we want to see a sign from you but he answered and said an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign verse 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth the men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgment and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah and behold something greater than Jonah is here you say well I just can't believe that Jonah was swallowed by a fish I can't believe that he preached and Nineveh repented well you know what are you going to do you fence sitter who can't believe what are we going to do are we going to go with Jesus or are we going to go with you I mean that's the problem that I've got and and here Jesus believed it you you look at all of these stories do you have trouble with God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah you don't believe that it happened Jesus did what about Lot's wife do you believe that she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt you say no I don't believe that I know somebody was driving a car and looked back and turned into a light pole but I just can't I can't believe that she turned back and turned into a pillar of salt well Jesus believed it Jesus believed it I could point to the text it's just that there are too many texts to turn to but it's but it's all there so what are we going to do with him and what are we going to do with his view of the Old Testament now of course he believed in the historicity of the Old Testament he agreed with the ethical teachings of the Old Testament we don't have time to turn to this but in Matthew chapter 22 a young lawyer comes to him and says what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life what are the great commandments and what does Jesus do he strings two commandments together from the Old Testament thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy mind and with all thy soul and thy neighbor as thyself says Jesus and and he quotes the Old Testament and Jesus believed that the Old Testament was true and reliable and not disconnected from the new you know the old liberal idea that the Old Testament God is an angry God who judges and the New Testament God is a kinder gentler one with a sunny disposition who lets us get by with all kinds of things that he winks at now but judged in the Old Testament that of course is nonsense it is a total misreading of the Bible it is a it is a mindset that comes to the Bible with without the willingness to understand the unity Jesus here showed the unity of it you take for example the respect that Jesus had for the Bible take Luke chapter 18 for just a moment and I think you should turn there just so that you see that even Christ's death on the cross was a fulfillment of the Old Testament texts and the high regard that Jesus had for the Old Testament prophets you'll notice in Luke chapter 18 verse 31 it says and he took the 12 aside and said to them behold we are going up to Jerusalem and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished you know that little word must I preached a message on it a couple of years ago just the little word must and you look how often Jesus said that I must die that the scriptures would be fulfilled and the Son of Man must go as it is written of him because Jesus believed that the Old Testament law and the Old Testament predictions would happen to the exact descriptions that would be given they would be fulfilled and when he confronts Satan what does he say three times it stands written be gone it is written and for Jesus that was the end of the debate you know going back to that little word must in my mind I'm thinking of 1957 Christians Astrodome Billy Graham is preaching and he preached on ye must be born again yes that little word must and the scriptures must be fulfilled I've written a book entitled seven reasons why you can trust the Bible I wrote it because I believe that there are ample reasons indeed why the Bible can be believed to be trustworthy and your eternal destiny depends on what you believe about the Bible if you believe its teachings of Jesus its history the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross all of that is found in the scriptures if the scriptures are wrong we are lost forever but thank God there are good reasons to believe that the Bible is the word of God for a gift of any amount this resource can be yours and I like to emphasize that we make these resources available to enable you in your Christian walk to make it all the way to the finish line you go to RTW that's RTW of course RTW offers all one word or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the book seven reasons why you can trust the Bible the bottom line is simply this that Jesus trusted the Old Testament and his Bible was exactly like our Old Testament in content and of course we have good reasons to also believe the new seven reasons why you can trust the Bible RTW or 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614 running to win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago to help you understand God's Word as the roadmap for your race of life next time why we can trust the opinion of Jesus on the Bible's authority thanks for listening for Pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-20 06:00:43 / 2023-01-20 06:09:26 / 9

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