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Can We Trust the Gospels Part 2 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 21, In the year of our Lord, 2013



  1. Is that material we read in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John real? 
    1. How about the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth?
    2. Peter and Paul also wrote of the resurrection.
      1. Can we trust the people who claimed to have seen the risen Jesus, and
      2. thus believe that He is the Son of God?
  2. We can test the accuracy of these witnesses in these areas: 
    1. Honest?
    2. Able?
    3. Number and Consistency?
    4. Testimony conform to experience?
    5. Testimony harmonize with known facts?
  3. Last Lord’s Day we considered the first two: 
    1. They were honest men.
      1. Devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
      2. They were sincere.
        1. Their character
          1. Men of integrity and truthfulness
          2. Their picture of Jesus as truth-loving, hypocrisy hating
          3. Knew penalty of false witnessing (Deu 19.15–19)
        2. Their testimony
          1. Shows the highest ethical standards
          2. If false, they would contradict one another
        3. Their motives
          1. If they knew it to be false, what prompted them to preach it?
          2. They gained nothing
          3. They lost everything
    2. They were men of ability.
      1. They could reason.
      2. They had the powers of observation.
      3. They had good memories, aided by the Holy Spirit.
      4. They wrote in Greek, and spoke Hebrew.
      5. They wrote without bias, showing their own faults.
      6. They revealed women as the first witnesses,
        1. a no-no to Roman and Jewish societies,
        2. showing that they simply reported the facts.
      7. They revealed difficult sayings of Jesus
        1. that misinterpreted put Him in a bad light.


  1. Number and Consistency 
    1. Did they corroborate one another?
      1. The Law: 2 or 3 witnesses
        1. Deu 17
        2. Deu 19
        3. 2Co 13.1

          1 This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established” (2Co 13.1).

      2. Matthew, Mark, and John are three witnesses
      3. Luke investigated,

        1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed (Luke 1.1–4).

    2. Verbatim would only show they copied
      1. Ask a school teacher about students giving exact answers, especially essays
      2. Either:
        1. Cheating or
        2. Plagiarizing, which is cheating
    3. Differences show they did not work it out together
    4. Therefore, we can trust their testimony, because
      1. there were sufficient witnesses and
      2. their testimony was consistent.
  2. Their Testimony and Human Experience 
    1. Is it possible these things could have happened?
      1. If not, someone came up with the teachings!
      2. If not, why did the church explode onto the scene in the first century?
    2. What about the miracles of Jesus?
      1. Do these ruin the credibility of their testimony?
      2. Miracles are not consistent with our human experience
        1. The witnesses claim Jesus is the Son of God
        2. If He did not do miracles, we would suspect their testimony
          1. We expect Him to do miracles, because He created everything
          2. Therefore, He can suspend laws of nature
            1. By the way, cosmologists, et al., claim laws of nature
            2. did not exist shortly after the Big Bang!
              1. Creationists and evolutionists believe
              2. laws of nature can be suspended!
    3. Therefore, consider,

      30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20.30. 31).

  3. Testimony Harmonize with the Known Facts 
    1. False witnesses avoid details, especially many details
      1. They fear giving themselves away
      2. They give few and simple statements
      3. Uncomfortable during questioning
    2. Their testimony harmonizes with known facts
      1. They reported matters of the world

        1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria (Luke 2.1, 2).

        1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem… (Matt 2.1).

      2. All historical, geographical, topographical, et al., are accurate.
      3. This shows
        1. That they were there, or that they lived then.
        2. That they got the details correct.


  1. What can we conclude about the four Gospel accounts? 
    1. They were honest men.
    2. They were capable men.
    3. We have a minimum of three witnesses, and they testified consistently.
    4. Their testimony conforms to human experience.
    5. Their testimony harmonizes with known facts.
  2. You can believe that the Gospels report what truly happened. 
    1. The Son of God truly came down from heaven,
    2. lived among the Jewish people, but
      1. died for all people
      2. that anyone of us might receive the promise of Abraham,
        1. promised over four thousand years ago,
        2. recorded in Genesis 12,

          3c “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
          (Gen 12.3c)

    3. This means further that everything you read in the Gospels and
      1. by extension, everything you read in the Bible,
      2. happened just as the Scriptures recorded it.
    4. This means still further that there is a God in heaven,
      1. who loves you,
      2. before whom you shall stand at the Judgment, and
      3. with whom you can share eternity.
  3. Believe with all your heart what the Gospel Accounts reveal. 
    1. The Bible teaches that all of our lives on Earth
    2. prepare us for eternity,

      31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1Co 10.31).

      1. Even if you live 80, 90, or 100 years,
      2. that does not even equal a split second in eternity, yet,
        1. what we do now determines our eternity.
        2. I am here to tell you
          1. that the lord will hold your hand all the way
          2. from the time you become a Christian
            1. to the time your spirit leaves your body.
            2. It can be a frightening experience, but
              1. the Lord knows what we think of life and death, and
              2. He will be there right beside us the whole time.
    3. So,

      Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters
      Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
      (Gene MacLellan)

  4. Trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, 
    1. showing Him that you trust Him
      1. by doing whatever He says, and
      2. He will make sure that you get to where He wants you to go.
  5. What He declared for salvation, you can trust that it will work:

    16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3.16).

    3 “…unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13.3).

    16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16.16).

  6. That is what the apostles preached:

    38 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.38).