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August 13, 2021 7:00 am
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The word gospel literally means good news.
And of course the good news that were talking about is the good news all Jesus Christ and the Gospels begin with Jesus's birth and they end with Jesus's resurrection, and I think we all know that there are four gospel accounts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But it doesn't mean that there are four different good news is reveals that what I'm saying. There's only one good news about Christ is tested each gospel tells it from a slightly different perspective and the last of the four Gospel writers to God. I was John who died in 95 A.D. therefore all four of the Gospels were written before the end of the first century A.D. before 100 A.D. now, let's talk about each one of them individually showing I have about the first one the gospel of Matthew will the gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew. One of the original disciples of the Lord.
As a matter of fact, Matthew chapter 9 says that is Jesus came from Capernaum, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth and he said to him, follow me and Matthew got up and immediately followed Jesus. One of the early church fathers named origin in 240 A.D. Road among the four Gospels. I have learned. By tradition that the first one was written by Matthew. It was directed at converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew that is the Aramaic language and then PPS from 130 A.D. another early church father said. Matthew compiled the sayings of Jesus in the Aramaic language and everyone translated this as well as he could. Now these church fathers tell us three very important things about the gospel according to Matthew number one that it was the first gospel written number two that it was originally written in Aramaic and then later translated into the Greek copy that we have in the Greek New Testament, is that what happened to the Aramaic original. We don't know don't have a copy.
And third, these church fathers tell us that the gospel of Matthew was intentionally directed and designed especially for Jewish people. And when we read the Gospel of Matthew, we can see that, for example, Matthew chapter 2 Matthew says then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet in the Old Testament was fulfilled saying and then he goes back and quotes from Jeremiah in Matthew 1217. Matthew says in order that that what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet in the Old Testament might be fulfilled, and then he goes back any quotes from Isaiah, and more than any other gospel.
We find this phrase in the gospel of Matthew that it might be fulfilled which was spoken in the Old Testament and the reason for that is just the way these church fathers said it's because Matthew wrote his gospel primarily to convince Jewish people that Jesus is the Messiah and that he fulfilled everything that the Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would do you know when I first met Bob Eckhart the man the street preacher in Chapel Hill North Carolina that was responsible for helping become the Christ. I was a student there in Chapel Hill universe North Carolina any other Tar Heels here would we need is the best you can do right. Well this to Elvis good. When we talk about okay as in Chapel Hill and in right after our first conversation he gave me a Bible. He said now all I want you to read the Bible you promise me you read the Bible. I'd never read the Bible and anointing about the Bible so I thought well and some of you heard me tell the story I started at the very beginning in the book of Genesis, you know, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I deal with that and then you know one long before I got to so-and-so begat so-and-so begat so-and-so and I was like how long does this go on and so I said what about switch to the New Testament because that I knew enough to know Jesus was in the New Testament, and so not knowing anything about the New Testament I decided to start after what the beginning yeah and so I open the gospel of Matthew and I started reading while what a perfect place for Jewish person like me to start because every time Matthew said that it might be fulfilled which was spoken I went back and looked in the Old Testament to see if it was really there and back, and I began slowly getting the idea all my gosh this person Jesus really is the Messiah that the Old Testament is talking about so today when I meet people who are seekers. They don't know the Lord and they want to start reading the Bible. If there Gentiles. I recommend that they start with the gospel of John, but if they are you where do we put in the gospel of Matthew.
That's exactly right.
All right, now we move on to the gospel of Mark, written by John Mark, the same one that deserted Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey. It's the shortest of all the gospel accounts and tradition says it was written by John Mark at the dictation of Peter do while Peter was in jail getting ready to be martyred in 66 A.D. Next, we turn our attention to the gospel according to Luke, written of course by Luke, the beloved physician Colossians for the Paul talks about Luke met the apostle Paul asked chapter 16 intro as ancient Troy, just as Paul and Silas were about ready to cross over into Europe for the very first time and then Luke accompanied the two of them and really accompanied the apostle Paul for the rest of Paul's life now. We need to understand something very important about the gospel of Luke and that is that it was the result of an intensive investigation that Luke conducted into the evidence regarding Jesus Christ, the son what he says. Luke one.
He says many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us things that were handed down from those who were eyewitnesses of the word and notice the word is capitalized because were talking here about Jesus Christ. John chapter 1 in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, whose John talking about the Lord Jesus right. That's who looks talking about now look at verse three.
So Luke says all I did a say.
The next two words out loud what a careful investigation of everything from the beginning and have written an orderly account of these things for you, oh Theophilus you say who is Theophilus I don't know know I knows we was friend Luke's. That's all I can tell you so that wanted Luke right watch so that you Theophilus may be fully assured about the certainty of the things you've been taught about the Lord Jesus look like hell to Senate investigation if you will, into the events surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ life because he wanted to make sure that he didn't write down something that was just a hoax, something that was just a fraud and so he checked everything out for himself before he wrote it meaning. When we read it, it should give us the confidence. This is not a hoax or fraud. This man checked it all out in person. He wrote his gospel somewhere between 50 and 60 A.D. because it clearly predates the book of acts which will talk about in a moment. Finally we have the gospel according to John, written by John the beloved disciple of the Lord. John 21 is where that phrase is used and written around 90 A.D., making it the last of the four Gospels to be actually written down and you know John's Gospel contains both a personal illness and it contains a mass of little details that only someone who had walked with Jesus personally. Everywhere he went. Would've possibly been able to know for example, you remember the wedding where the Jesus turned water into wine. John chapter 2. Look what John writes. He says now there were six water jars made of stone. There each holding 20 to 30 gallons now, how would you know that if you weren't there. The fact that they were made out of stone. The fact that there were six of them, and the fact that they held 20 to 30 gallons hey you know what you had to be there to have all that detail about John 21 verse 11 it says that Peter pulled in the net to shore and it was full of large fish hundred and fifth D3 to be exact. This is when Jesus met the disciples at the sea of Galilee. After his resurrection and said throw your net over here they said there's no fish verities of thought over anyway and there were so many fish they could hardly pull the net in and you know what if you weren't there and somebody said hey you wouldn't believe it with you this Ned and we caught a bunch of fish and you would estimate, say, will you pick around number.
If you are estimating 150 200 hundred 75 who would pick 153 if you weren't there. And part of counting those stinking fish right along with every body else you understand what I'm saying.
Finally, one more is my very favorite.
All of this in John chapter 20 where Mary has come to Peter and John and told him the tomb is empty and look what John writes. He says so Peter and the disciple Jesus loved, meaning himself. John were running to the true both were running, but the other disciple, John ran faster than Peter and got to the tomb first. I love this, everybody knows Peter. Peter is the macho man of the disciples.
Peter is the guy who beat on his chest since it will not dissolve the yellow bellies will I will never leave you.
Peter hated to lose anything and so John because he outran him.
Not only did he rub it in right there but he wrote in the Bible so for thousands of years everybody would know we outran Peter how great is that you had to been there to know who got to the tomb first right. You think that's funny that's hysterical. No, okay, well maybe should move on. Either I think this is hysterical okay anyway, let's summarize, there are four Gospels Matthew Mark Luke and John, and let me just say before we leave the Gospels that the oldest copies we have of all four Gospels together the whole collection come from the fourth century A.D. we actually have two of these. We have one called Codex about accountants.
Don't let that scare you. Kodak simply means something that's in book form as opposed to a scroll that's rolled up Codex about accountants is in the Vatican. That's where it's located. That's where was discovered from 325 A.D. and the other one is Codex Soddy Atticus, which is from 335 A.D. and was found in St. Catherine's monastery at Mount Sinai. But today resides at the British Museum.
You can see it if you go there but even though those of the oldest copies of all four Gospels collected the oldest evidence we have of any gospel comes from the Ryland papyrus P 52's actually the name of it it's in the Manchester University library Manchester, England, and it is from 125 A.D., meaning we have a copy of a portion of John 18 that comes only 30 years after the original gospel was written. I think that's pretty awesome what you say. All right, let's move on to the book back showing the book of acts is not actually called in the Bible in the Greek text, the book of acts is actually called the acts of the apostles was written by Luke as a companion volume to his gospel making Luke. The only writer of any book of the Bible that was not Jewish. Luke was a Gentile hero two books of the Bible, Luke and acts, and is the only Gentile to written any of the Bible, old or new testament, and I said it's a companion book to the gospel. Look what he says. Acts chapter 1 in my former book old Theophilus he says what his former book the Gospel of Luke in in my former book, he says. I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and teach until he was taken back in the habit meaning at the ascension, having given orders to the apostles whom he had chosen and then the rest of the book back is Luke explaining to us how the apostles carried out the orders that the Lord Jesus gave them and what orders did the Lord Jesus give the apostles well in Mark 1615. He said go he in all the world and preach the gospel to every person in Matthew 2819. He said go and make disciples of all nations. In Luke 24 Jesus said preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. I think it's pretty clear what the orders Jesus gave don't you and the book of acts is all about the actions that the apostles took in carrying out these orders of Jesus. Therefore, the title, the acts of the apostles got it okay book of acts begins with the ascension of the Lord Jesus back into heaven. 33 A.D. and it ends with the apostle Paul in jail in Rome for the first of two times in 62 A.D. therefore, the book of acts covers about the first 30 years of the history of the church and the book of acts can be pretty neatly divided into two sections the first section, chapters 1 through 12 is about what all of the apostles did and memorializes what they did in carrying out the Lord's orders before any of Paul's missionary journeys and the second half of the book of acts from chapter 13 to 28 memorializes the impact on the world that the four missionary journeys of the apostle Paul had now for the sake of completeness before we close this off, let me simply say that according to church tradition. Paul got out of jail. This first time that he was in jail and 62 A.D. we find this in Eusebius, the great church historian from the fourth century, Eusebius said after defending himself. Paul was again sent on the ministry of preaching until he was put in jail a second time in Rome suffering martyrdom under Nero. This was in 66 A.D. the very same year Peter was killed.
Nero killed them both at the same time in Rome you civil law. If Paul got out of jail back of the book of acts stops. I mean, how come we don't know what happened between 62 and 66 A.D. on the why isn't there an acts chapter 29 and in acts chapter 30 folks. I don't know. I mean if you care about it that much. The best thing I can say is if you know Jesus when you get to heaven ask you that's the best I can tell you I don't know why the book of acts stops there, but it does now.
That's as far as were going to go in the treatment of the Gospels and the book of acts. That is the fastest Bible survey you will ever get on the Gospels and the book of acts, but the joystick with me will okay y'all stayed up on but we still have our most important question and answer, don't I are you ready you know what it is all you guys on the Internet watching all of us here, here we go nice allowed Juan to Ray so you salon you know two men loving information there. But knowing about the Ryland papyrus P 52 in the Manchester library on what difference does that make to my everyday life tomorrow morning. Well, maybe it doesn't. But these books that we talked about the Gospels and the book of acts or chockablock full of things that do make a difference in our life. So why don't we for time sake. Just pick one. One thing that is in these books and talk about the impact that it should have on our life. Sound okay okay are good let's talk about. We said earlier that the book of acts can easily be divided into two major sections, and we said that the fulcrum point for those two sections is the apostle Paul and the apostle Paul coming to Christ and the ministry of the apostle Paul, and I think it's a fair statement to say that the apostle Paul coming to faith in Jesus Christ is one of the seminal events, not just in the Bible, but in all of world history. Let's remember together who this guy was the apostle Paul was raised in a strict Jewish home in Tarsus.
He was then sent to Jerusalem to study under the most eminent rabbi of the day. Rabbi Gamaliel, the second he says in the Bible that he was advancing in Judaism faster than all of his contemporaries. He had a hatred of furious hatred for Christianity and the church. And if you remember he was a one man wrecking machine when it came to the early Christians. He arrested them. He tortured them he put them in jail and in acts chapter 9. After ravaging the church in Jerusalem. He heads off for Damascus to take any Christians he can find there in the chains and bring them back to Jerusalem to do the same thing. And while is on the road to Damascus in acts chapter 9 the heavens open and the risen Christ appears to him and he sees the risen Christ with his naked eyes, and he suddenly realizes that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah and he falls on the ground and gives his life to Christ.
Okay, now it's what happens next that I want us to see acts chapter 9 verse 20. Now we pick up here. Remember, the apostle Paul is been a believer in Jesus may be 48 hours. Okay, maybe I will go and the verse begins. What's the next word say it loud immediately and immediately Paul began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues of Damascus man what I've loved to been there saying he is the son of God pay Paul for Jesus. I mean, are you kidding I visit doesn't like that it is is like PETA for further codes. This is like the green fees for whale oil.
But this is like of vegans for McDonald's. You understand what I'm saying this is like the businesslike makes no sense, and even the people in Damascus well couldn't believe it. Look at the next verse he says, and all those who heard them there in Damascus were say the word astonished and they said look what they said they said, isn't this the man who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on Jesus's name and came here to take such people in chains back to the priests in Jerusalem what's what's up what we don't.
What's up with this guy. But Paul Increasing in spiritual strength, confounding the Jewish people in Damascus by proving to them from the Old Testament that this Jesus is the Messiah that I could not argue in the Jewish people there and they couldn't out theologically, debating so they made up their mind. Instead, they were gonna telling and as a result of that, the disciples in Damascus had to take Paul by night and lower him over the wall in a basket so he could get out of town and were ready to go. He went back to where Jerusalem and it says it when Paul came to Jerusalem. He was moving around freely speaking out.
Say the word boldly for the Lord Jesus, you say okay long. So what's the point they friends the point is what George don't feel said it is very famous him stand up, stand up for Jesus. Here is a guy who from day one of his salvation is doing exactly that, standing up for Christ being a soldier of the cross.
A person who did not fear to own Christ's cause and did not blush to speak his name and standing up for Christ, Peter David Doug John did it. James did it. Stephen did it.
The apostle Paul.
And folks, the point of all this is if we know Christ today.
Now it's our turn to do this what you mean stand up for Christ, not complicated means when God opens the door for us to own his name and speak his name that we do it and I was on a flight not too long ago from here to San Francisco going out to Jews for Jesus board meeting and on when I'm on an airplane and I got a long flight like that. I do not eat a meal. I do not watch the movie. I don't listen to music.
I today I worked on my message because I get five hours without being interrupted by the phone, by email, by faxes, but nothing. It's Evan really is so I had my laptop out I had my Bible out. I had my notes out and I was drinking coffee. So I was caffeine.and then I was flyer on the on this this message and as I had to go to the restroom so I went I went back to the laboratory and I'm standing there because you know they're always occupied in a semi-guarding this so I'm standing there wait my turn and of the two flight attendants were there and one of the flight attendant says to me she says oh, sir. She said what what you do for living.
She said I don't mean to pry, but I noticed you had a Bible out and I said well yeah I mean when you take a Bible out on an airplane. The chances are somebody's going to notice that I said I'm a pastor of a church she so okay that's interesting. And then there was this totally awkward silence. You know what I'm saying and the guy comes out of the lavatory. It's my turn and I had this enormous crisis hit me because you see basically I'm a coward and I stood there and I said to myself that you know what I can walk in the lavatory use the lavatory go back to my seat, sit down, go back to work never said another word and it would be fine. I mean I can get away with that and that's really what my flesh wanted to do. Can I be honest with you, really, because I could feel the blood ever had this, coming up in my face you know blush a little bit and my armpits forget likable, squishy you know I'm trying to say and and I and you do have the cotton ball thing in your mouth you no one trying to say and I was standing there and there was this flight attendant.
The other flight attendant a couple passengers wait in line at about eight people in the seats pretend like they were listening.
You know you know what I'm saying and so I thought, oh Lord, I mean I and so I felt the spirit of God whisper to me.
Oh no you don't know know know know you member you made me a promise long. I did folks you know I let God down so many times in my early Christian years were he would open the door for me to stand up for him and I wouldn't do it I just I would just slink away.
That a while back I made him a promise that I would never do that again my life if I could help is also embarrassed at how much I done it and he said you made me promise you member like talk on Lord I did did night.
He said are you sure did, and what would what, by the way he said it will Paul do here. See memorize the verse of Scripture that says imitate me pulses imitate me as I imitate Christ.
Just a problem of memorizing Scripture. It comes back at and I memorized it and and and and and I thought what would Paul do here. Paul would not slink into the lavatory and slink back to his seat. Paul will talk to this flight attendant so should I here we go. Lord squishy armpits, flushed face here we go, and I said to her, ma'am, I said you know I'm not just the pastor of the church. I said I'm also Jewish person that believes in Jesus.
She said let's just say I never heard such a thing as a will or are few of us around and you're talking to one and I said, as a matter fact I have a CD with the tells all about the story of how I came to Christ that I be. I'd love to give you a sin. I have another CD with me. The talks about how you could know for certain you're going to heaven. It was a CD about Nicodemus.
What a God sated Jesus and Nicodemus. You must be born again right is if you wait right here.
I'll run get the CDs for you now and I got one for the other flight attendant. She may ask for but I got one for their flight attendant and I figured a few other people would want him Saul at the next values lavatory went back to my seat, everything came back get out CDs and everything and the lady the flight attendant who started the whole thing said to me she said you know she got tears in her eyes. She said you know I just had a really good friend who lost in – email not too long ago and she said man I really need to hear what's on the CDC.
She said you have my promise minute I land and get to my car I'm putting these in and I'm listen to that with the lavatory back to my seat, but folks listen I knew what my responsibility was standing there. My responsibility was God. It opened the door I needed to go through it was I excited about going through it in the flesh was.
I thinking about slink away. Yes, but you know the matter what you think about it matters what you do right now is what you do and you're as big a coward desire right right though the kids were all cowards only yeah of course we are look not only is it our duty, not only is it our responsibility to stand up for Christ.
But I want to tell your friends it's also our privilege to stand up for Christ. I was coming in here today and with this. I'm done. And every Sunday morning when I drive in I listen to Elder sing gospel dog has ever list the Aussie dollar listen over sing gospel yes on channel 19 serous radio series radio XM radio and so I day exit Elvis sings gospel as I come in on Sunday morning and he sang a song today that I had heard in a long time but is just one of my very very favorite songs. It goes like this should go by ahead of the burden needs a load of new Dan Shea and handed me a and I am no longer with us in a he taught me all such and that my soul some. They have an I know all touched me and a EE hold, wait a minute he's not done yet as he goes on to say this assignment. This will save you all is Wednesday and a the whole move I will never see who praise house voted to turn to the rule of man Elvis. Our analysis Elvis has nothing to fear. Will just heard that for me but listen I was this guy I was the one shackled by shame and by guilt I was the one carrying a heavy burden. I was the one whose life was an absolute mess and Jesus Christ took my life and made my life worth getting up for in the morning change my life.
I mean, what is the song say it says I will never cease to praise him until eternity rolls hey come on now, some of us here. You know what I'm talking about. You were there. Your life was there. Christ changed your life.
Hey you know what the blood in your face will go away and if you get squishy armpits. You wash your undershirt is just that simple.
And the cotton balls in your mouth. As soon as you start talking. They leave come on, what kind of price is that to worry about when we've got everything the Lord Jesus Christ did for us, was wrong with us what's wrong with us, these guys didn't tell people about Christ, Peter, James, John, these guys tell people about Christ because they felt obligated to.
They told people about Christ because they were thrilled to tell what about us well and we just say I'm a daughter promise years ago that I was so ashamed of myself for how I had shrink the way so many time in my early years that if if he would help me. I'd never do it again and I didn't on that airplane because I'd made that promise. I want you if you really know Jesus, to seriously consider making him that promise and say Lord blood in the face, squishing us in the armpits cotton in the mouth. It don't matter you open the door and by the grace of God I promise you the rest of my life Lord scared or not I'll go through what a great promise to give the Lord.
I hope you spray Lord Jesus. So we are all cowards. As we said, I'm sure that Peter was Paul was in their flesh, but I thank you Lord Jesus for the power of the spirit of God in our lives who can take cowards and turn us into men and women who are willing to step up and stand up for Jesus.
So do that for us Lord, and I pray you would motivate everyone of us here to make you that same promise that we are embarrassed how we slink away so many times in the past, but that is not going to be how the future is anymore were not doing that in Lord use us them as an Army of evangelists here in this town to see thousands of people come to Christ because we are willing to stand up when you give us that opportunity. Thanks for talking to us today change our life as we were here. We pray these things in Jesus name what God's people say amen