Posts Tagged ‘ History ’

Nothing New: An Introductory Foundation

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

Here is the first lesson notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 1: Some Foundational Thoughts

This class starts on what would have been my mom’s 58th birthday. The day after her 53rd birthday she went home to be with the Lord.

Why is this relevant?

My parents did not instill Christian beliefs in us growing up. When I became a Christian, they complained some. My mom in particular challenged me with hard questions. Thankfully, it is what helped lead her to Christ, and it gave me the start toward ministry and apologetics.

What else helped was overcoming my perspective on Church that came from an evolutionary mindset I was not aware I had.

Thus, here is the list of scriptural (and anecdotal) foundations for my life, ministry, and this class:

  1. 1 Samuel 16:7 – My parents raised me to not judge people based on appearances. However, I also fell into that evolutionary view that we learn more and understand better than our predecessors. (If you actually read the Bible and study history, that should change your mind.) Likewise, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1, God used the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. It does not make sense for God to die on a cross, but He did. Then He used backwater fishermen, farmers, and tax collectors to change the world. We need to remember not to make assumptions about people based on appearances or perceptions.
  2. James 4:7-8 – We must realize that to overcome our biases and sin we must submit ourselves to God and draw near. Only He can make us clean and change our thinking.
  3. John 3:16-17 – We must realize that God first drew near to us, through Jesus. If we do not believe in the atoning work of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we stand condemned in our sins, but we escape condemnation through faith in Him.
  4. Hebrews (11:1-)12:1 – We must realize that the previous witnesses, those who came before us and revealed Christ to the world, know more about God (collectively) than we. These witnesses were the biblical writers, the prophets and apostles, and those who gave their lives for the truth. We know what we know because God acted in history to reveal Himself and preserve His truth in this world. We do not know better than the Early Church, and certainly not more than the Author and Perfecter of our faith (12:2) and Founder of the Church.
  5. 1 Peter 3:15 – We must make Christ foremost in our hearts and minds. We must be ready to give an answer – apologia = reasoned defense, hence “apologetics” – for our faith, why we believe, and remember to do it with gentleness and respect to reach our fallen, backwards world. It means we call out sin, but love people as we do it, with patience and understanding. We are no better than anyone else. And we know this from Scripture.
  6. Ephesians 2:20 – We run all of Church history and all of our understanding through the lens of Scripture. Our faith is built on the foundation of the prophets (Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures) and Apostles (New Testament) with Christ anchoring everything. This is where we find all truth and our authority to speak to this world.
  7. Matthew 28:18-20 – Jesus has all authority, and He gave that authority to us to tell the world God has come to us, to teach them His commands, and to baptize them into the Trinitarian name of God. Without the risen, living Lord, we have no authority.

Church history reveals to us we still make mistakes and sin against our Lord, but He has used this history and guided His Church to better understand His Word and equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It is fitting this new class starts on my mom’s birthday, because she helped me hone my understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian life. I am sure she would be honored with such a gift as her son sharing God’s redemptive work throughout history since the time of Christ her Lord and Savior. (And this is first shared online on the 5th Anniversary of her going to Him!)

Next time:

Christ our Foundation: The roots of the Church

Give Me 5: Is the Bible Reliable?

People ask if the the Bible is reliable, that it can be trusted as authentic and historical. (See the video on YouTube by clicking this sentence.)

There are a few items that prove the historicity and reliability of the Bible.

To begin with, in the last 20 years alone, several archaeological discoveries have been made confirming the existence of Kings David and Solomon, as well as much of ancient Israel from Biblical times, including NT times.

One of the greatest discoveries was the Dead Sea Scrolls, collections of biblical manuscripts dating from before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and even before the time of Christ. These scrolls contained much of the Hebrew Bible, confirming that existed it before Jesus’ time. This is important, because it means the prophecies of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection existed prior.

What about the New Testament?

First, if we want to discuss numbers of manuscripts, as a whole there are about 24,000 of the New Testament, and the four Gospels alone have nearly 6,000 copies from early on, possibly as early as late first century or early second century. This is within 100 years of Jesus’ and the Apostles’ lives. Even further, we know the majority of the gospels were written before 70 due to Paul – who was killed by 64 – quoted Luke 10:7 in 1 Timothy 5:18. By contrast, the next closest ancient document is Homer’s “The Iliad” with 643 manuscripts from over 500 years after Homer lived.

This should be enough to convince anyone, but just in case, the ultimate proof is that Jesus corroborated much of the OT and said His testimony is true. His proof was that He predicted His own death and resurrection (See Luke 20-22), adding validity to His claims by being crucified and rising again.

Therefore, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (vv. 16-20)

In other words, the resurrection proves the Bible is true (by backing up Jesus’ claims). (See also the series beginning with this post.)

Wanna debate, challenge, or question what was said here? Leave a comment below or send us an e-mail at Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

VerseD: 1 Timothy 2:5-6

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2:5‭-‬6, ESV

Jesus came at the right time in history to show us our need for God and His forgiveness, and He sacrificed Himself to bring that forgiveness. If we believe, we are saved from God’s judgment.