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                            "WHY I BELIEVE"

                            In Jesus Christ

INTRODUCTION

1. The greatest story ever told is that of Jesus Christ...
   a. The Son of God becoming flesh, dwelling among men
   b. His life, His miracles, His teachings, His death, His resurrection
      and ascension to heaven
   c. How He shed His blood to provide atonement for the sins of the
      world!

2. It is a story that calls for faith...
   a. For those willing to believe, eternal life is possible - Jn 3:16
   b. For those choosing not to believe, there is condemnation - Jn 3:18

[Why do I believe in Jesus Christ?  For two reasons mainly, both of
which were stressed in the preaching of the apostles of Christ.  The
first being...]

I. FULFILLED PROPHECY

   A. EXPLANATION...
      1. The apostles appealed to Messianic prophecies to produce faith
         in Jesus
         a. Peter in his second sermon at Jerusalem - Ac 3:18
         b. Paul in Thessalonica, as was his custom - Ac 17:1-3
      2. Some examples of Messianic prophecies
         a. The conflict between the serpent and the seed of woman - Gen
            3:15
         b. The blessing upon all nations through the seed of Abraham
            - Gen 12:3; 22:18
         c. The prophet to come who would be like Moses - Deut 18:15,
            17-19
         d. Who would be born of a virgin - Isa 7:14
         e. The forerunner who would prepare the way of the Lord - Isa
            40:3
         f. The suffering Servant who would bear our iniquities - Isa
            53:4-12
         g. His resurrection from the dead - Ps 16:8-11
         h. His ascension into heaven - Dan 7:13-14

   B. SIGNIFICANCE...
      1. They help to identify the One who is truly the Messiah, God's
         "Anointed One"
         a. The Old Testament has approximately 330 prophecies
            concerning the Messiah
         b. Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled every one!
      2. The mathematical probability of it being a coincidence is
         astounding!
         a. The probability of any man who has lived fulfilling just
            eight prophecies has been calculated as 1 in 10 to 17th
            power (100,000,000,000,000,000)! - Peter Stoner
         b. To illustrate how large this number is, Stoner gave this
            illustration: Suppose that we take that many silver dollars
            and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of
            the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver
            dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the
            state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as
            far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and
            say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of
            getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets
            would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having
            them all come true in any one man, from their day to the
            present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.
            - ibid.
         c. The probability of fulfilling just 48 prophecies is one in
            10 to 157th power! - ibid.
            1) Counting at the rate of 250 units per minute...
            2) ...it would take 19 million x 19 million x 19 millions
               years to count to 10 to the 157th power!

[Jesus fulfilled not 8, not 48, but over 300 prophecies!  It is easy to
see why the apostles appealed to Messianic prophecies to prove that
Jesus was the Christ.  But they also appealed to their own...]

II. APOSTOLIC TESTIMONY

   A. EXPLANATION...
      1. The apostles claimed to be eyewitnesses
         a. As professed by Peter - Ac 10:39-42; 2Pe 1:16-18
         b. As professed by John - 1Jn 1:1-3
      2. The apostles by their testimony force us to make a decision
         a. Were they truly eyewitnesses, or false witnesses? - 1Co 15:
            14-15
         b. Was their testimony based on truth, or cunningly devised
            fables? - 2Pe 1:16-18
      3. We cannot say they were sincerely deceived or mistaken
         a. Especially in reference to the resurrection of Jesus
            1) They claim they ate and drank with Him afterwards - Ac
               10:39-41
            2) They claim they saw and touched Him - 1Jn 1:1-3
         b. They leave no room for saying they were mistaken or deceived
            1) Some skeptics have tried to offer this as an alternative
            2) That perhaps in their grief and loss over the crucifixion
               they hallucinated or saw grief-inspired visions
            3) But hallucinations and visions are highly individualistic
               experiences
            4) The resurrection appearances of Jesus were often
               witnessed by many at the same time (over 500 on one
               occasion) - cf. 1Co 15:4-8

   B. SIGNIFICANCE...
      1. If the apostolic testimony is false
         a. The New Testament is a carefully orchestrated lie!
         b. The apostles suffered extreme hardship for what they knew
            was a lie! - cf. 1Co 4:9-13
         c. Those martyred (all but one) knew they were dying for a lie!
         d. They went against everything Jesus and they themselves
            taught! - cf. 1Pe 2:1
         e. The greatest book ever written (as per Charles Dickens) with
            its high standards and lofty goals was composed by liars,
            frauds and deceivers!
      2. But if the apostolic testimony is true
         a. Then Jesus is everything they taught He claimed to be!
            1) He is the Son of God - Ro 1:4
            2) He truly has all authority in heaven and earth - Mt
               28:18; Ac 2:36
         b. Then everything they testified concerning what He taught is
            true!
            1) He was from the Father above, and spoke the words of the
               Father - Jn 8:28-29
            2) No one can come to the Father but through Him - Jn 14:6
            3) His blood was shed for the remission of sins - Mt 26:28
            4) He came to offer abundant life - Jn 10:10
            5) He went to prepare a place for us - Jn 14:2
            6) He shall come again - Jn 14:3
            7) There will be a resurrection of the dead and ensuing
               judgment - Jn 5:28-29; 12:48

CONCLUSION

1. We have good reason to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
   God...
   a. The testimony of Scripture, in the fulfillment of Messianic
      prophecies
   b. The testimony of eyewitnesses, in the credible account of the
      apostles

2. For those willing to obey Jesus, there is yet another reason to
   believe...
   a. In keeping His word, they will come to know He has spoken from God
      - cf. Jn 7:16-17
   b. "He shall have evidence, in the very attempt to do the will of
      God, of the truth of the doctrine." - Barnes
   c. "He who in his heart says, 'Thy will be done, give me light and I
      will walk in it,' will find that Christ is just the teacher
      demanded by his soul, and that the gospel meets his soul's want.
      Jesus will so meet the wants of his soul that he will be satisfied
      and will know the doctrine, that it comes from him who made the
      soul." - B. W. Johnson

Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ, not only because of the Messianic
prophecies He fulfilled and the eyewitness testimony of His apostles,
but because I have tried Him and not found Him wanting...!
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