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ANSWERING QUESTIONS #1
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.,
A lesson given at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Hymn Sung Before the Lesson:
Should you be offended if a person asks you a question? Definitely not. The Apostle Peter said,
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15; p. 1314 Scofield).
1. I don’t believe the Bible.
The Apostle Paul quoted the Bible to Greeks who did not believe it. Paul did not try to convince those he witnessed to. In witnessing our main function is proclamation, not defence.
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The main message of the Bible is how a person may have eternal life. If he says he does not believe in eternal life, you can say, “What do you understand about what the Bible says on that subject? What is your understanding about what the Bible teaches on this subject?”
In about 98 percent of the time, they will say, “By keeping the Ten Commandments or imitating the example of Christ.” You may then say, “That’s what I was afraid of. You have rejected the Bible without understanding its main message, because your answer is not only incorrect, it is diametrically opposite to what the Bible teaches. Now, don’t you think that the more intellectual response would be to let me share with you what the Bible teaches on this subject? Then you can make an intelligent decision whether to reject it or accept it.”
Now I will read to you 10 predictions about Jesus.
“They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21; p. 632).
(2) Suffering for others
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities… The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6; p. 760).
(3) Working miracles
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped” (Isaiah 35:5 – 713 BC; p. 743).
(4) Betrayed by a friend
“Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9; p. 618).
(5) Sold for thirty pieces of silver
“Give me my price…So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver” (Zechariah 11:12 – 487 BC; p. 975).
(6) Spit upon and scourged
“I gave my back to the smiters…I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6 – 712 BC; p. 758).
(7) Nailed to a cross
“They pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16; p. 609).
(8) Forsaken by God
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1; p. 608).
(9) His resurrection
“Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; p. 605).
(10) The conversion of the Gentiles to Him
“Behold my servant…he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:1 – 712 BC; p. 750).
Those are just 10 prophecies about Jesus. There are more than two thousand specific prophecies in the Bible that have already been fulfilled.
Several years ago the National Enquirer magazine listed 61 prophecies by leading modern “prophets.” These 61 prophecies were supposed to happen in the last six months of that year. How well did they do? Believe it or not, they missed all 61 prophecies! They said that Pope Paul would retire and the Roman Catholic Church would be taken over by a committee of laymen; that George Foreman would keep his heavyweight crown in a bout with Mohammed Ali in Africa; and that Ted Kennedy would campaign for president! The only difference between modern prophecies and those in the Bible is that the modern “prophecies” were invariably wrong, and the Biblical prophets were unfailingly right!
2. Doesn’t evolution disprove creation?
Dr. A. W. Tozer said, “We who believe the Bible know that the universe is a creation. It is not eternal since it had a beginning. It is not the result of a succession of happy coincidences whereby the number of matching parts accidentally found each other, fell into place, and began to hum. To believe that would require a credulity few persons possess.”
A young man was asked, “What evidence has convinced you that evolution is true?” He replied, “The similarities between animals and people. To me, that proves evolution.”
Back in the 1950s James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the key molecule of life, the DNA – a discovery that earned them the Nobel Prize. The human body has well over a trillion DNA molecules. It’s an incredibly complex system.
Crick, an atheist and an evolutionist, decided to find out the probability of a DNA molecule arising spontaneously over the course of 4.6 billion years that evolutionists say is the life of the earth. What were the chances of a DNA molecule of a single cell in earth’s history? Do you know his conclusion? Zero. Even in 4.6 billion years, it could never possibly have happened!
Did Francis Crick then say it had to be God that did it? He did not.
Does it seem peculiar that none of these scientists, receiving that evidence, admitted that their theory was wrong? None of them said, “Ever since Darwin, we have been teaching something untrue. We taught you that life arose out of the primordial slime as amino acids got together and formed a cell. And, after a billion years, here we are. We thought that is how it happened. But our theory has been disproved. We are sorry that we misled you.”
Do you know what Francis Crick did? He came up with a theory even more impossible. His new theory was that an advanced race of beings, on some far-off planet, sent out spaceships with their sperm on board, and seeded various planets. And that is where we came from. It sounds a bit like Star Wars!
Life can’t come from nonlife. That’s why the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1; p. 3).
Three evidences that have helped me believe in the existence of God:
(1) The law of cause and effect.
Because I see in the universe causes and effects that logically point me to a great invisible cause whom I believe is God.
(2)The evidence of design.
If you went to Mars and found a perfectly designed watch there, you could logically conclude that the watch pointed to a watchmaker. So an elegantly designed world points to a worldmaker, a designer I call God.
(3) The evidence of personality.
We look at the famous painting Mona Lisa. We see evidence of personality. The painting could not be the result of an impersonal cause. This third evidence is important because a cause or force will not hold us accountable, but a person can and will hold us accountable for our sins.
3. My God isn’t like that.
The life of John Wesley, who started the Methodist Church, illustrates very clearly the importance of trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. He went to Oxford Seminary for five years and then became a minister of the Church of England, where he served for about ten years. Toward the end of that time, in approximately 1735, he became a missionary from England to Georgia.
All of his life, he had been quite a failure in his ministry, though he was, as we would count men, very pious. He got up at four o’clock in the morning and prayed for two hours. He would then read the Bible for an hour before going to the jails, prisons, and hospitals to minister to all manner of people. He would teach, pray and help others until late at night. He did this for years. In fact, the Methodist Church gets its name from the methodical life of piety that Wesley and his friends lived.
On the way back from America, there was a great storm at sea. The little ship on which they were sailing was about to sink. Huge waves broke over the ship’s deck, and the wind shredded the sails. Wesley feared he was going to die that hour, and he was terrified. He had no assurance of what would happen to him when he died. Despite all of his efforts to be good, death for him was a big, black, fearful question mark.
On the other side of the ship was a group of men who were singing hymns. He asked them, “How can you sing when this very night you are going to die?” They replied, “If this ship goes down, we will go up to be with the Lord forever.”
Wesley went away shaking his head, thinking to himself, “How can they know that? What more have they done than I have done?” Then he added, “I came to convert the heathen. Ah, but who shall convert me?”
In the providence of God, the ship made it back to England. Wesley went to London and found his way to Aldersgate Street and a small chapel. There he heard a man reading a sermon that had been written two centuries earlier by Martin Luther, entitled “Luther’s Preface to the Book of Romans.” This sermon described what real faith was. It is trusting only in Jesus Christ for salvation – and not in our own good works.
Wesley suddenly realized that he had been on the wrong road all his life. That night he wrote these words in his journal: “About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
There it is. That is saving faith. Repenting of his sins, he trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Now, would you say that Wesley had not believed in Jesus Christ before this night? Of course, he had. He was a Biblical scholar and had studied about Christ in English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He had believed in Christ in all these languages. But he had trusted in John Wesley for his salvation.
After this, he became the greatest preacher of the eighteenth century. But it all began when he put his trust in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation and received Him as His Lord. (Dr. D. James Kennedy, Evangelism Explosion, fourth edition, Tyndale House Publishers, 1996, pp. 183-184).
Stand and sing our hymn!
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).