Hello Project Ezra!
This week’s readings are two passages out of the book of Acts. Both are public addresses (appropriate for this group), one by Paul and one by Peter. Both are appeals to the crowds to trust their testimony regarding Jesus Christ, and both have a number of points that are common not only to these passages, but to multiple passages within the New Testament. It is interesting that so often, those who choose to reject God’s word claim we have nothing but blind faith, and that there is no basis for the truth of the Bible. But Peter and Paul’s appeals paint a very different picture. Consider these appeals:
They appeal to their listeners’ knowledge of the truth – There are no true atheists. People may suppress their conscience, but it is still there. Remind your listeners that they know these things to be true, and challenge their motives for rejecting the truth.
They appeal to their eyewitness testimonies – The Bible was not written hundreds of years after the fact, as is sometimes claimed. Over and over, the Bible, and the New Testament particularly, claims it is based on eyewitness accounts.
They appeal to actual historical events – Not only are the events of the Gospels historical, the events that frame them, those mentioned as background material for the stories they relate, are historical. The historical truth of God’s word has been demonstrated over and over again.
They appeal to the witness of the prophets – Many of the events in the Bible were specifically predicted hundreds of years in advance, including many details of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. The prophecies were not vague, but specific and detailed. Look at the prophecies of the destruction of Tyre for a good Old Testament example, and the specifics of Christ’s crucifixion for a New Testament example.
Appeal to the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people – Many of the prophecies regarding Christ are not only examples of fulfilled prophecy, but are examples of God’s fulfilled promises regarding the salvation he would provide through the line of David.
And, of course, their final appeal is to turn from sin and trust in Jesus as the judge of the living and the dead, and the only source of salvation.
These are just another example of what sets Christianity apart from every other faith. An honest look at the Bible will convince any fair-minded person that it is true. Consider this quote from Spurgeon: “Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself.” So true! So loosen his chains and let him roar!
Thanks again to all of you who participated in Sermon on the Mount Saturday. We had folks all over the States and Canada, and several overseas as well. Be sure to mark your calendars for First John on July Fourth, and start inviting people now. We’re only a month away and, needless to say, the Fourth of July is, at least here in the United States, one of the best days of the year to hit the streets, with thousands out and about to enjoy the festivities and the fireworks. I’ll have the event up on the Facebook Page soon. Also, check out our participation map and be sure to add your name and location.
All for His glory!