BackDoor Bible Series

Download as Word 97

Origins of Faith

Objective:

To help us realize that our ability to believe in Gods Word and grow in faith in Christ comes not from our own knowledge or experience but from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture Basis:

1 Cor 2:15, Eph 1:13-14 , Luke 10:22, John 6:65

Activity:

Ask the class to consider these three tough questions, share their answers with the class and explain why.

  1. Would you rather lose all your savings or lose all you photographs
  2. Would you rather Have a dull life and a wonderful memory or live an exciting life but not be able to remember anything more than a week.
  3. Would you rather believe a significant lie or fail to believe a significant truth

 The BackDoor:

 Ask class to share something they have confidence in and why . Help the group to see that they often base confidence on knowledge and especially on experience. Establish that that there is a relationship between experience and confidence. Then when this is done ask them the following three questions.

  • Where does your confidence that the Bible is Gods word comes from?
  • How do you know that it is wholly inspired and the source of all truth?
  • What is your confidence in this based on ? Is this taken on faith soley from messages inside the Bible or is there an external basis for believing in Gods Word.

Discuss then ask for the group to define faith.

A secular satirist one said, "Faith is the illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable" .. ask the class, was he right? .. (no particular answer is important here)

The Bible gives a definition in Heb 11:1. Read it. Then ask the following --

  • Did you know any of the men who decided that the books of the New Testament were indeed inspired by God?
  • Did you check out their research?
  • Do you even know their names?
  • Do you know the criteria by which they made the decision to accept a letter as inspired by God?

Show on an overhead (or pass out) the chart from Pg 22 of Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament by H.Wayne House or use Appendix A attached in the Word document format.

Read some of the peoples and councils names. Show how long it took until all 27 books were agreed upon. Point out that it took almost 400 years for the New Testament to be completely accepted as scripture.

Discuss the following criteria that was used.

Old Testament

  1. Indication of Divine authorship Ö.. ie. with statements like "And God said"
  2. Written by an accepted prophet of one who was know to be in contact with God
  3. Historically Accurate (also prophetically accurate if applicable)
  4. Accepted by the Jews as scripture

 

New Testament

  1. Apostolic Authorship Ö i.e. written by one having direct contact with Jesus - 1 John 1:1-4
  2. Consistent with orthodox teaching as handed down by the apostles and the OT -1 Cor. 15:1-4 and Isa. 53
  3. Accepted by the Early Church at large as scripture
  4. Holding up moral and spiritual values consistent with the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-15)

 So if these were the criteria, I ask you, is this enough to make people believe that these books are Gods word? Is it enough to make you believe? Is this enough to inspire you with confidence in the message?

Well not for me and I suspect if you are honest, not for many of you as well. It would appear that something else is needed.

Interesting Tidbit:

Most of us realize that most Jews do not accept the new testament as Gods word. A few years ago a couple Jewish rabbis were playing around with a computer testing out the theory that under the test of the Old Testament are hidden messages. Back in the early 1900ís, a Rabbi named Michael Dov Weissmandl, found an obscure reference in a book by a fourteenth-century rabbi known as Rabbeynu Bachayah. The reference described a pattern of letters encoded within the Torah. . The use of the computer quickly revealed that hidden in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament are a startling series of word pairs and even short sentences. These are found in "equidistant letter sequences ", called ELS codes (An example would be a word made from every third letter starting at some point in the text of a book.) Today, these are known as the Bible Codes

What is quite interesting about these hidden words is that most Old Testament references to God, carry ELS messages laying right on top of them that point to the name Yeshua (Jewish for Jesus). The Isa. 53 passage on the suffering servant has the names all the names of the key players found the book of Matthew from the 12 disciples to Pilate being found in varying ELS sequences. While this "hidden code" has not produced any new Biblical revelations (since what is encoded in ELS is no different from what the New Testament teaches directly) what it has done is convinced a few Jewish scholars that the NT is truly inspired as well and that Yehua (Jesus) is God. From this, a number of Rabbiís have accepted the New Testaments gospel message and are now working to influence their nation to see the truth.

Would hidden codes convince you? Well if I were to be honest not even the Bible codes would convince me. No, I too needed more than the knowledge of those who canonized the NT. I needed someone to guide me to truth . Hmmm . a truth guide, that rings a bell. Lets read John 16:13 again.

Now lets read John 6:44 and 6:63-65

JI Packer Writes: "It is not for us to imagine that we can prove the truth of Christianity by our own arguments .... It is the sovereign prerogative of the Holy Spirit to convince men's consciences of the truth of the Gospel." Therefore I submit that -

1. Were it not for the Holy Spirit, there would be no followers of Christ save those who met Him personally. John 16:7-15

2. Were it not for the Holy Spirit, there would be no scripture, no gospel. 2 Tim 3:16

3. and .. Were it not for the Holy Spirit, none would believe. There would be no faith. John 6:65

Read Luke 10:22

"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Key Message:

Our Faith guide is the Holy Spirit, without his influence we couldn't believe any truth from God.

Beyond this is another insight that makes me shiver when I dwell on it. It is that is that Jesus decided to sent the Holy Spirit to me to allow me to believe and that changed my life. In the last analysis it appears that it is not that we had any knowledge or experience that gave us confidence, but that Jesus knew us first and sent his Spirit to us to reveal to us what truth is. It seems that our confidence in Gods Word comes from The Lord himself.

If this is so, should we then conclude that witnessing is not necessary? The answer is No. Christ commanded us to go and preach the gospel. It is the Spirit that enables faith, but for some reason God has chosen people to take His message of salvation to the world and given them gifts with which to do it. We should be obedient and go out an share. Our job is to vibrate the air with the gospel message. The Holy Spirit is the one who will apply it to hearts.

Read 1 Cor 2:15

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. 1 Cor 2:15 (NIV)

 Closing Challenge:

I was once asked how a person can be sure that they will "continue in the faith" after accepting Christ (ref Col 1:22). The best answer to this I have found comes from Eph 1:13-14. It tells us that the power to grow in faith is provided at conversion. It is the deposit the Holy Spirit makes that guarantees the future. Have class read it. Challenge the class to embrace the awesome concept that our faith is and will be the result of Godís supernatural work within us and not something based soley on knowledge or experience. Close in prayer focused on thankfulness that God has done this for you.

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