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September 8, 2020 5:00 pm
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Thanks so much for being here today. Let's open a Bible. If you brought one to ask chapter 17 were to be continuing in our study of the life of the great man.
The apostle Paul, as many of you know since 1987 that the privilege of serving on the board of Jews for Jesus and one of my good friends is Maurice Rosen who was the founder and Executive Director former Executive Director Jews for Jesus and a few years ago Morse was in London this a true story he was walking through Hyde Park which as you know is a place where anybody can throw up a soapbox and talk about anything and so as he was walking along and Hyde Park. He saw this wiry little young man on this tiny little box and he heard the Scott bellowing out. I am an atheist. The guy says and I declare to you, there is not one shred of evidence to support the notion that Jesus is the Messiah. He went on to say, have you ever stopped to consider that the Jews who were eagerly looking for their Messiah that day never took Jesus seriously.
They didn't take him seriously, then they don't taking seriously today. In fact, the young man said, I do not know of one single Jew who ever believe in Jesus as the Messiah will understand the rest of the story. You gotta know that Maurice Rosen is a big man he 62 weighs over 350 pounds and he raised his hand and now the audience and he said young man cannot come up and stand on the little box with you in regards to what on earth for. He said well because I want everybody here to see what you say doesn't even exist because I'm a Jew who believes in Jesus.
What the man invited them up a little platform. Morse, hold onto them, tottering the product follow-up is and and the man begins ridiculing like a Barker and a sideshow. He begins to say ladies and gentlemen look here: one-of-a-kind you are unique Jew from America and when he paused to take a breath. There was a British voice that came out of the crowd that said young man to have another soapbox with you in any civil war on earth for anything because I'm a British Jew who believes in Jesus and I think the crowd to see me but there's no way I can get up there with that guy on that box that's a true story that happened and you know the Barker out there and Hyde Park actually made a good point. There were very few Jewish people in the world will believe in Jesus, if you wanted to prove to some Jewish person that Jesus really was the Messiah.
How would you do it.
In fact, if you wanted to prove the some Gentile friend at work, at school and the gym that Jesus is the Messiah. How would you do that is that what I would tell him that Jesus change my life. Well, that's wonderful.
But what if they say you really care about that.
Give me something intellectually defensible. Give me something that's got you know some meat to with something that's harder and faster than Jesus change your life so that I get my brain around.
Not just my heart around what would you say to what I thought were going talk about today and answer the question but were going to do it from looking at the life of the apostle Paul and so let's start with him and were to come back and will answer that question for you little bit of background. Remember the Paul and his team have a four man team. It's Paul, Timothy, Silas, and Dr. Luke have all crossed over the Cholla map.
From what we call today Turkey, the northwest corner of Turkey to the Greektown northern Greek town of Philippi here in Philippi. Paul and Silas have been beaten. They have been unjustly thrown into prison and we saw last week that they were Roman citizens of this was a gross violation of their rights as Roman citizens. So therefore when the magistrates of the town said okay you guys can leave now.
Paul said there is no way were not slinking out of town you gonna come down here after violating our rights like that and you little apologize and you want to personally escort us out of jail, which they did in a big Paul.
Paul, please get out of town for everybody say it out of town.
Well, verse 40 says after Paul and Silas came out of prison. They went to Lydia's house. Lydia of course he remembers the first person to ever give her life to Jesus on the content of your to live in Philippi where they met with the brothers and encourage them and then Paul and Silas to members of the team left to pick up and ask chapter 17 verse one and when they pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica think a map would help your let's show you what's going on Paul and Silas start appearing Philippi. They move south down the coast through Amphipolis a little city through Apollonia little city and then to Thessalonica. The total journeys about 100 miles and as you can see Thessalonica's is a port city located at the head of the scope in northern Greece and the road they walked on is the nation way. Let's show you that in yellow the nation way was a Roman road that stretch from Philippi on the East all the way across northern Greece, and eventually across the Adriatic to Rome itself.
Now this road designation way is actually still there portions of it today. If you ever go to Greece to go with me on a tour will take, and you walk on part of it actually parts of it still exist today. 2000 years later. I mean, when the Romans built a road friends. They built a road, not like in Washington DC.
These people really built the road the last no potholes in this road anywhere anyway. Paul came to the town of Thessalonica and he understood what a strategic town. It was because at the port city. As you can see it really held the opening with all the people going through.
It was the opening not only to all of northern Greece but to the whole Balkan Peninsula.
The countries we know today as Romania, Albania, Yugoslavia. All these countries, Bulgaria all the way the people reach them was by landing in Thessalonica this port city and then fanning out to the north and so Paul said while this is a strategic city. I'm going to camp in here and I'm to do some ministry here. Verse one continues and there was a Jewish synagogue here with some folks you find a place that has commerce business and money and you will find my people buried at them and they were and as a matter of fact, the Thessalonica actually had a very large Jewish population all the way up until 1940 and 1941 third of the population of the city of Thessalonica was Jewish. One third that's when the Nazis came in. The Nazis sorted 45,000 Jewish people in the streets of Thessalonica then took the rest of them and deported them to concentration camps and sadly if you go to Thessalonica today. You will find a very meager Jewish population in 1940 was 1/3 of the city will, as was his custom.
The Bible says verse two Paul went into the synagogue. The reason he did this is because the Jewish people already understood about the Messiah but was much easier job with them all Paul had to do is convince them that Jesus was that Messiah. They understood about and for three Sabbath. The Bible says he reasoned he preached to them from the Scriptures. Now remember that the Scriptures he used were the Old Testament Scriptures. There was no New Testament at this time and what was it from the Old Testament that Paul preached to them. Verse three says he explained and prove to them that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead is a lot I thought you said they already understood about the Messiah.
Well, they did box their understanding of the Messiah was a little bit distorted. It was a little bit skewed. We know this from the Dead Sea Scrolls documents which tell us that at the time of the apostle Paul, the Jewish people were looking for the imminent appearing of the Messiah.
However, the Messiah, they were looking for was a great conquering king who would liberate Israel from the Roman Empire and exalt Israel to the leading nation in the world that we know that's going to happen that is part of the overall ministry of the Messiah, but that something is going to do in his second appearing what they ignored or overlooked.
All the Old Testament prophecies that spoke about the suffering of death, burial, and the resurrection of the same Messiah, all of which, of course, apply to his first appearing in so what Paul did here is Paul spent three Sabbath walking. These people systematically through all of the predictions in the Old Testament about the Messiah that dealt with as we said his first coming. Verse three goes on. Then he said this Jesus that I am proclaiming to you is that Messiah.
Now how did Paul justify this conclusion with these Jewish people very simple. What he did is he then went to the events of Jesus's life, his suffering, his betrayal his trial, his crucifixion, his burial, his resurrection and he said all right here. You got all these things about the life of Jesus. You've got all these predictions from the Old Testament.
Now let's match them up and when we do we find a match up so perfectly so totally and so flawlessly that. Who else could Jesus be but the Messiah verse four and some of the Jews were persuaded and they join Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Gentiles, and not a few prominent women is that while things are going great and Thessalonica well were not done yet things turns were going to see next week will come back to this is as far as we want to go today because we have a very important question that you know we need to ask is everybody ready.
Gotta take a deep breath. Here we go. Now come on 123 right salon. So what I mean is a great story. I appreciate this always wanted to know where Apollonia was. And now I know. Thank you very much. What did Moses make my life in the 21st century try to make that connect together. I go back to the words of that guy in Hyde Park. If you remember, and I think it's important for us to ask ourselves a question. The question is, what if this whole Christianity thing is a hoax.
What if Jesus isn't the Messiah that's really important question friends. We got a lot riding on the answer that question, such as our entire eternal destiny is riding on that honey what is this whole thing is just the fraud it's all just a first century religious gimmick is that we have a lot how can you prove to me it isn't what I would prove it to you the same way, the apostle Paul prove that Jesus was we city was to these Jews in Thessalonica, you know, there are over 30 predictions of the life and the ministry of the Messiah in the Old Testament, and when we compare the life of the ministry of Jesus to these predictions, we find that the match is so unbelievable that there's no other way to explain who he is, other than being that Messiah. What I want to do now is take us to a little tour the Old Testament when I can do all 30.
You be glad to know that. But let's do a feel welcome and let's let you see for yourself. So here we go. To start with Psalm 22 written 950 BC by David Annie containing an incredible snapshot of the events of the cross. Here we go.
Verse one. My God, my God, David Wright, why have you forsaken me.
That sounds really familiar well it should.
Those are the exact words Jesus said while he hung on the cross. Matthew chapter 27. Let's look at verse seven on eight of the song all see me mock me.
They hurl insults at me, shaking their heads and they say he trusts in the Lord will then let the Lord rescue sounds familiar to. I know that's exactly what the enemies of Jesus did exactly what the enemies of Jesus said while he was hanging on the cross.
According to Matthew chapter 27 verse 16 Psalm 22 says they have pierced my hands and my feet. This is a classic description of the Roman practice of executing people by using crucifixion.
But you know what's intriguing here is that in 950 BC when the Psalm was written we know as a fact from archaeology that this form of punishment was not being used anywhere in Israel. As a matter fact we know this form of execution was not being used in any culture anywhere in the ancient near East at the time David wrote this or anywhere near the time the David wrote this so why in the world would David be writing about a form of execution that nobody in the world is even using badly interesting. Now verse 18 says they cast lots for my clothing.
John chapter 19 tells us this is exactly what the Roman soldiers. It is Jesus hung on the cross above the let's move on Psalm 69 also written 950 BC it says in verse 21. They gave me vinegar for my thirst. Matthew 27 so that that's exactly what the Roman soldiers did when Jesus hung on the cross. Let's move on.
Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14 written 850 BC, a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, Luke, chapter 1 tells us this is the virgin birth fulfilled by Jesus when he was born. Isaiah chapter 53 verse nine says he was put to death with wicked men, 850 BC and who was Jesus John 23 tells us crucified between 212 themes to wicked men to convicted criminals.
The verse goes on to say Isaiah 53 he was assigned a grave with the rich Matthew 27 tells us that Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea one of the wealthiest men in all Israel, and this was predicted 800 almost 900 years before that event happened about Micah chapter 5 verse two also written 850 BC out of you, Bethlehem will come forth. One who will rule Israel of being whose origins are from ancient time will once again Luke chapter 2 tells us Jesus fulfill this prophecy perfectly. I mean friends, nobody sings a little town of Tel Aviv and San Juan say or how about Zechariah chapter 11 in Zechariah chapter 11 you check it out for yourself.
Not only is Judas's betrayal of Jesus predicted, but even the betrayal prize is spelled out in Zechariah chapter 1130 pieces of silver, and the eventual destination of those 30 pieces of silver are spelled out that they went to buy a potters field.
Check it out for yourself written in 520 BC and we could keep going and going, but I think we made the point, Richard Park, one of our staff members wrote me a letter a while back and here's what he said and I quote he said during this past week I was talking with a research scientist and mathematician formerly employed at the Pentagon school research 30 of the clearest Old Testament prophecies referring to Jesus, and she calculated that the probability of one and the same person fulfilling all 30 prophecies was one with 100 zeros after" no, I'm not a professional mathematician and I can verify these numbers but I can tell you, even if the woman's half-life, even if it's only 50 zero it means this can't be luck. This can be an accident. This can't be a coincidence. This can't be faint but there is a deliberate design and there is a deliberate correlation that is so unbelievable that the only conclusion of thinking person can come to is the Jesus is got to be the Messiah, predicted by the Old Testament is that women allow women take a breath on.
I got some objections here that I like to point out why this introit will go ahead okay. My first what is this law. Jesus's followers don't you understand what they did. They went back and they really wrote the Old Testament to bring it into conformity with the events of Jesus's life so that it looked like he fulfilled the Old Testament but they changed the Old Testament will call this the tampering. In other words, when they saw Jesus was crucified and that the soldiers cast lockers code. They went back to Psalm 22 and they rewrote Psalm 22 to make it sound that way when they saw the Jesus was crucified between two thieves and buried in a rich man's room.
They went back to Isaiah 53 and they rewrote it when you just say to you, they tamper with the Old Testament text. Let me say to you, that's impossible. I can say categorically without reservation that is impossible to say why.
Well, in 1947, we discovered some things out in the Judean desert near the Dead Sea. Here's one of the things that we found this is the great Isaiah scroll scroll of the entire book of Isaiah that even the most liberal scholar will date 150 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. When you look in this Isaiah scroll at Isaiah 7 Isaiah 53, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 11 and all the other messianic prophecies in this book. Guess what you find.
The show your close up one of the pages you find that there exactly the same as in the Bible that your reading today. This is 150 years for Peter and all the boys even existed about the salts. Well, here's our song scroll from Qumran Cave 11 and hearing the song scroll dated between 25 and 50 years before the birth of Jesus, you find Psalm to Psalm 22 Psalm 45 Psalm 69 Psalm 110. All of these messianic Psalms. Guess what they read the same they do in your Bible today. Peter won them around to mess with this when when they wrote it is able to erase it. They can't raise parchment branch can raise parchment weather use white out.
No, you can't use white out on a document like this is a well somehow Peter and the boys got in there and rewrote these things.
I don't know how they did it. There is no way these things were hidden in the Judean desert for 2000 years and nobody had access to them. Nobody even knew they were there until we accidentally found them. Let me tell you the truth is that the Bible predicts the details about the Messiah's life just the way you read them in your Bible today and nobody went back and tampered with the Old Testament is LII. When I got another objection and this one is that the writers of the New Testament that after Jesus was dead. They twisted the events of Jesus's life after he was gone to make the events of Jesus's life match with the Old Testament will call this a hoax.
They created a hoax. In other words, the soldiers never cast lots for Jesus is called Peter and the boys made it out. Judas never got paid 30 pieces of silver.
Peter and the boys made it up, and they wrote it in the make it look like Jesus was really the Messiah was all a hoax long.
You say that possible yet remotely that's possible (it cuts against the laws of human nature is that what you talking about human nature is very good at duping and tricking people. Enron and WorldCom, ImClone, Tyco, Martha Stewart I have ever got at this well. I know, but human nature also says that when we get caught when the heat is on the people who do this what's going on today all these people running the federal prosecutors trying to get immunity so they can write out everybody else because their attitude is that you know the hoax was good. While we were running it but now I have to pay a price for they were not going to help with. We're not taking the rap for this in the part of human nature. I'm talking about is the number one law of human nature. What is it self-preservation thank you very much. So why explain to me when Emperor Nero decided to crucify Peter upside down and Paul upside down and to kill every single disciple for their faith and exile the only one who died of natural causes John to the island of Patmos explain to me why nobody stepped up and turned federal prosecution witness, why none of these people turned states evidence.
I'll tell you why they died. Rather than deny this because this was no hoax. They had seen these things experience these things and they knew they were true.
There's no way that this was some hoax they made up is a lot okay there.
I got one more objection. That's good because I only have time for one more father objection is this that Jesus was a smart fellow he knew these prophecies in the Old Testament. He knew what they were. So he orchestrated his own life to make sure he quote unquote fulfilled. These prophecies will call this the con game.
Jesus was run in a con game. He got Judas to betray him.
He slipped some money to pilot the putting between two thieves. He asked for vinegar to drink from the cross because he knew it was all in the Old Testament is set up law brand that's impossible. So how do you know that will think about how in the world could Jesus make the Romans crucified between 23.
How in the world could he make Roman soldiers cast dice for his coat. I mean you really think he could look down from the cross and go hey fellas down there. I know you don't understand is, what would you do me a favor and throw some dice for my coat is really important. You really think they would've done that. Come on now, how do you think he got his followers to bury him in a rich man's to be civil law people to set it all up before you ever went to the cross.
Okay so explain to me how he convinced Caesar Augustus to conduct a census of the Roman Empire because his parents really live in Bethlehem to have to go to Bethlehem, where he was born and did all that from inside his mother's womb. Explain that to me.
Come on this is nonsensical. This is crazy and if none of these objections work than friends were back to one with 100 zeros after I was in Israel two years ago as they mature, and though we were crossing from Egypt back in the Israel down in southern Israel of the lots and of course we had to go through Israeli security and there was this young lady, a military officer who was interviewing me because I was the tour leader and they always pull the tour leader side asking the same questions I mean I know the answers already, but the point is I do this so she said to me what kind of tour exactly is this a cheerleading.
I said well it's it's a Christian Torah minutes of church tour jet my passport. She looked at it. She said Solomon, she said no that's an interesting day and I said we I'm Jewish she's a Jew Jewish. She said you're Jewish and you are praised body think it was worth the trouble to try to explain size and yeah that's close enough.
I'm Jewish and I'm afraid she said well why can you be Jewish in the appraised.
I said well because I'm a Jewish person who believes that Jesus is the Messiah and she said what John the right is such a thing. She said what evidence could there be to support such a crazy believe well-being go and so I said to her, would you believe one with 100 zeros after it. She said what in the world is that mean I said you got 10 minutes to sit out over here and I'll explain it to you. And so we did. Finally after about 10 minutes she said, looking to get back to my job you know and I said okay, fair enough. But when she stood up she looked at me and she said I was the one more question for you.
She said don't you ever doubt whether or not you're right, but you ever wondered may be wrong and I said never and you know why because when I got one with 100 zeros on my side. You can't possibly be wrong though I never doubted if you're here and you've never trusted Jesus in real and personal way. In one of the reasons is that you been waiting for some kind of intellectually defensible evidence that you get your brain around and not just your heart around. I'm here to tell you that we given it to you today one with 100 zeros, and so friend if that's what's holding you up. I'm here to tell you it's time to do business with God's time to do business with God in your life and if you're here in your follower of Jesus, let me remind you, God didn't have to write all these things in the Old Testament, you know, why did God go to the trouble to write all these predictions down and imperfectly fulfill them. The reason his friends because he wants you to have an absolutely unshakable confidence that you're not following a hoax.
You're not following a con game.
Nobody is tampered with anything, but did you actually have come to believe in the real genuine article Xi of the universe and that every promise he's made you about heaven and every promise he made you about everything he's going to fulfill as easily said he is. That's why Peter wrote these words and said second Peter one we have not follow cleverly devised fables.
This is not a hoax, for we have seen and verified for our sale than what the Old Testament prophets predicted has come true. When I was a brand-new believer in Jesus. I had all these people friends at school.
Some of my relatives professors who somehow felt it was their personal mission to talk me out of believing in Jesus.
It was their personal mission in life to discredit and undermine my faith in Christ and I betcha some of you guys got some of the same people in your life where maybe the family member or professor at school or somebody at the office door neighbor who just feel that their personal calling in life to undermine your faith and try to talk you out of believing and they bring up all these high sounding intellectual arguments try to figure out every contradiction they can find when you take some principal somebody can undo one with 100 zeros after it been my advice to you is you better stick with Jesus. I don't care what counterargument they come up with until they can undo that kind of number stick with him and when the dust all clears and you open your eyes and heaven I'm telling you so you will be glad you're stuck with them. This is not a hoax. This is not fraud. This is not a con game. This is the real truth about how to get eternal life, and get to heaven, and if people were smart and when you got one 100 zeros on your side. I will bet you I will go against those odds, and I don't think you should either the spring or Jesus, thanks for talking to us today about a very important subject because every one of us deal with people every week who somehow feel like it's their personal calling to undermine our faith. What I pray today that as we walk out of here. We would walk out of here, more convinced than we walked in that what we have believed it is the real McCoy, the genuine article. Father I pray that we would take some of what we learned today and tell those people that the real people who need to be undermined in their convictions or avail because they're all in there going to miss everything that you promise them. And sadly, so God strengthen not only our faith but strengthen our courage and willingness to step out and speak about our faith. Realizing we don't just have a little bit of emotion and we don't just have a changed life, which is very important. We have an approach to God that is intellectually defensible and so Lord use what we learned today to strengthen our own walk with you and to make us missionaries to people we meet every day and we pray these things in Jesus name, amen