<< Previous | Index | Next >>"CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS" The New Testament: Truth Or Lie? INTRODUCTION 1. Up to this point I have tried to demonstrate the following FACTS: a. Jesus actually lived b. The New Testament has good reasons to be considered as a RELIABLE HISTORICAL DOCUMENT... 1) It was circulated soon after the events took place 2) Archaeology confirms the New Testament record in every area that can be checked 3) The bibliographical test gives us every reason to believe that what we have today is what was written by the original authors 2. But what are we to do with the testimony of the New Testament con- cerning the miracles of Jesus, and the report of His resurrection from the dead? a. Archaeology cannot confirm or deny the truthfulness of such things b. Each of us must decide whether the New Testament at this point is telling the TRUTH, or that a LIE was carefully orchestrated by the eight writers of the New Testament! 3. But are these the only alternatives? That the New Testament is either telling the truth or is a carefully orchestrated lie? [YES! To understand why, consider...] I. WHY THERE ARE ONLY TWO ALTERNATIVES A. THE WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT LEAVE US NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE! 1. As Paul explained in his letter to the Corinthians, either Jesus rose from the dead, or he and other "eyewitnesses" are in fact "false witnesses" - 1 Co 15:14-15 2. Peter, also, states that either the events (like the trans- figuration) occurred as described by the "eyewitnesses", or they are "cunningly devised fables"! - 2 Pe 1:16-18 B. WE CANNOT SAY THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN SINCERELY DECEIVED! 1. Especially in reference to the resurrection of Jesus a. They claim they ate and drank with Him afterwards - Ac 10: 39-41 b. They claim they saw and touched Him - 1 Jn 1:1-4 2. They leave us NO ROOM for saying they were but MISTAKEN or DECEIVED! a. Some skeptics have tried to offer this as an alternative b. That perhaps in their grief and loss over the crucifixion of Jesus they "hallucinated" or saw grief-inspired "visions" of Jesus c. But "hallucinations" and "visions" are highly individualistic experiences 1) One person might see the hallucination or vision 2) But several or many people don't see the same vision at the same time! d. As outlined in the gospels and also 1 Co 15:4-8, the resurrection appearances of Jesus were often witnessed by many at the same time (over 500 on one occasion!) [So they leave us no choice; either the New Testament is a "Book Of Truth," or it is a "Book of Lies." Which is more logical, more rational, to believe? To help us decide, consider...] II. THE IMPLICATIONS IF THE NEW TESTAMENT IS NOT TRUE A. THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A CAREFULLY ORCHESTRATED LIE! 1. We have seen the great accuracy they used in describing events, places, and people (as confirmed by archaeology) - Lk 2:1-5 2. If the record of miracles and the resurrection is false, then they very carefully intertwined fact and fiction! -- IS IT REASONABLE TO BELIEVE THAT? B. THE AUTHORS SUFFERED EXTREME HARDSHIP FOR WHAT THEY KNEW WAS A LIE! 1. Many people will lie if they can get something out of it (such as money, power) 2. But what did the apostles get out of it? - cf. 1 Co 4:9-13 3. What did Paul get for holding to his testimony? - cf. 2 Co 11:24-29 4. How do we know they really suffered this hardship? a. The fact that the letters of the New Testament were even saved! b. For example, consider the letters 1 & 2 Corinthians... 1) These letters are filled with rebuke of the Corinthians 2) The Corinthians would have every reason not to save these letters which exposed their faults 3) The Corinthians had first hand knowledge as to whether the apostles and Paul really suffered the hardship spoken of in their letters 4) If they knew the accounts of such hardship to be false, they would have quickly destroyed these letters written by a liar who embarrasingly wrote about their problems! 5. So especially the author of half the books of the New Testament (Paul) suffered extreme hardship for a lie, if the New Testa- ment is not true -- IS IT LOGICAL TO BELIEVE THAT? C. THE AUTHORS WHO WERE MARTYRED KNEW THEY WERE DYING FOR A LIE! 1. History and tradition record that: a. JAMES was stoned to death b. PAUL was beheaded c. PETER was crucified 2. If the New Testament is a lie, they went to their deaths KNOWING they were dying for a lie! -- IS IT RATIONAL TO BELIEVE THAT? D. IN SUFFERING AND DYING FOR A LIE, THEY WENT AGAINST EVERYTHING JESUS AND THEY THEMSELVES TAUGHT! 1. "But let your 'yes' be 'yes', and your 'no' be 'no'." - JESUS (Mt 5:37) 2. "Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor..." - PAUL (Ep 4:25) 3. "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking" - PETER (1 Pe 2:1) -- DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO BELIEVE THAT? E. IN FACT, THE BOOK WITH THE WORLD'S HIGHEST STANDARD AND LOFTIEST GOALS WAS COMPOSED BY LIARS, FRAUDS, AND DECEIVERS! 1. What book presents a higher standard of love and morality than the New Testament? 2. For example, Jesus' "Sermon On The Mount" (Mt 5-7) and Paul's "Discourse On Love" (1 Co 13) -- CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? CONCLUSION 1. This is what you MUST believe if you do not believe the New Testament when it speaks of the miracles and resurrection of Jesus Christ: a. It is a carefully orchestrated lie! b. The authors suffered extreme hardship for what they KNEW was a lie! c. Those authors who were martyred KNEW they were dying for a lie! d. In suffering and dying for a lie, they went against everything Jesus and they themselves taught! e. And somehow, these liars, frauds, and deceivers came up with a book containing the world's highest standard morality and loftiest goals! 2. I am convinced that those who do not believe the New Testament are those who: a. Have never read the New Testament carefully b. Are not aware of the evidence which supports it as a historical document c. Have not considered the logical implications of simply regarding it as a mixture of fact and fiction! 3. But to those who will read it, I believe that they will find... a. That it has "the ring of truth" to it b. That it will produce the faith necessary to believe in Jesus (cf. Ro 10:17), and through such faith find eternal life (cf. Jn 20:30-31)! 4. There is a saying: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." a. What I have tried to do is remove any obstacles that might hinder anyone from drinking of "the water of life" (i.e., the New Testa- ment) b. But no one can present enough evidence to FORCE someone to read the New Testament if they are determined not to! Have you read the New Testament? Even more important, have you OBEYED the New Testament?
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The Executable Outlines Series, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2001
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