January 13, 2013

Many Convincing Proofs – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

The word “faith” communicated a different idea to the first Christians than the terribly perverted idea typical today. It is obvious from the New Testament that the deity of Christ was not an unreasoning leap into the dark… “I feel very deeply that this is true.” Rather, it was a proposition that they could and were commanded to defend… “I have been convinced that this is true by overwhelming evidence. I know that this is true because I can prove it!”

The first statement of “faith” is made by widely divergent protestants, Muslims, even Hindus and Buddhists. The second is dramatically different and illustrates the faith of the New Testament.

The Apostles saw the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. They saw Him, touched Him, and ate with Him, alone and in crowds, in closed rooms, and out in the open. They were eyewitnesses and their “testimony” was not something they just felt was true. They spoke of what they knew first-hand.

“…we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life —  and  the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify…” (I John 1:1-2)

It is shocking to many to realize that Christians today do not “testify.” We present the viable, defensible testimony of eyewitnesses, along with “many convincing proofs.” This evidence produces a reasonable conviction about things that we haven’t seen. (Cf. Hebrews 11:1) Christians today present powerful evidence but when we call what Christians do today “testimony,” we distort, and greatly dilute the force and power of the real testimony of eyewitnesses.

The term “convincing proofs” translates a Greek word used only one time in the Bible, meaning literally “many criteria of certainty.” The lexicon, by Brown, Driver, Arndt and Gingrich says the word translated “convincing” means, “that which causes something to be known in a convincing and decisive manner, proof.”

Jesus Christ presented convincing evidence to the Apostles that He was the promised Messiah, based on the fundamental fact they witnessed, that He was raised from the dead. This was done with the intention that they would the persuade the honest people of the world with this “convincing proof.” Five verses later He said, “…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” This is what Peter was doing when he said, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (II Peter 1:16) Paul testified of the Christ “who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4)

It is true that Christians are saved by and walk by faith, but it is nothing like what the world has in mind when they hear the word “faith.” Their concept accommodates the all-encompassing pluralism that dominates our society. Therefore we are told, “They all feel just as deeply as you do.” Yes, yes, but can they establish their conviction with “many convincing proofs?”

Faith in Jesus Christ as God’s promised Messiah, the Son of God is a reasonable, defensible faith, unlike competing “faiths” of the world. Therefore, we can be confident of His exclusive message.

“Unless you believe that I am He,

you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

 

 

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