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Class: Why We Need to Defend the Gospel Accounts

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06172015WhyWeNeedToDefendTheGospelAccounts1DonRuhl


06172015WhyWeNeedToDefendTheGospelAccounts2DonRuhl

Why We Need to Know and to Defend the Significance and the Historicity of the Gospel Accounts 1

Ezekiel 1

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • June 10, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Prelude

  1. You have probably heard 
    1. that Genesis through Malachi said that someone was coming,
    2. that Matthew through John say that He came, and
    3. that Acts through Revelation say that He is coming again.
  2. There is something wonderful that I want to show you. 
    1. I want you to see what God showed Ezekiel the prophet and then in turn
    2. what he showed us by writing it in the Bible.
      1. You will see the connection with the Bible’s announcement
      2. that someone came.
        1. We will then learn how to defend
        2. the Bible’s record of that someone having come to the Earth.

Persuasion

  1. Ezekiel 1.1–3 Visions of God 
    1. More than thirty years after the start of the Babylonian captivity,
      1. Ezekiel the prophet saw something magnificent,
      2. so magnificent that the prophet fell on his face,
        1. requiring a command from God
        2. to make the prophet stand again.
    2. Ezekiel set the stage for us.
      1. He was with other captives by the River Chebar.
      2. The prophet saw the heavens open and he saw visions of God,
        1. covering a couple of days, going through chapter 7.
        2. Yahweh put His hand upon the prophet,
          1. showing him things you and I have yet to see.
          2. Look at the first thing he saw.
  2. Ezekiel 1.4 Self-Engulfing Fire 
    1. Out of the north, Ezekiel saw a whirlwind or storm of some sort, as Job did.
      1. However, before Ezekiel will hear God speak,
      2. the prophet will see a marvelous display.
    2. As the storm drew closer,
      1. he saw a great cloud with fire in it, and
      2. he could tell it was a self-engulfing or infolding fire.
    3. He saw brightness and
      1. something coming from the middle of the fiery cloud,
      2. appearing as glowing metal with the color of amber.
  3. Ezekiel 1.5–14 Four Living Creatures 
    1. From the midst of the fiery cloud, he saw four living creatures.
      1. Each living creature had a face that resembled a man.
      2. Each creature had four faces and each one had four wings.
        1. Their legs were straight and
        2. their feet resembled calves’ feet.
          1. However, they did not have the color or texture of calves’ feet, but
          2. the feet sparkled like polished bronze.
      3. Under the wings the creatures had human hands and
        1. their wings touched one another.
      4. They did not turn like we would, because
        1. we need our faces to go in the direction of our movement.
        2. However, the living creatures had a face on each side,
          1. so that whatever direction they wanted to go,
          2. they were already looking in that direction.
      5. Yet, on each side was not the face of a man, but
        1. the other sides had faces of a lion, an ox, and an eagle.
      6. When they moved their wings,
        1. they lifted two wings going to the top and touching one another.
        2. They used the other wings to cover their bodies.
      7. The Spirit directed their movement.
      8. After these details, verse 13 shows their overall appearance,
        1. like burning coals of fire,
        2. like torches or flashes of fire going between the creatures, and
        3. from the brightness of the fire Ezekiel saw lightning!
      9. The living creatures moved as quick as a flash of lightning!
  4. Ezekiel 1.15–21 Wheels of the Living Creatures 
    1. He saw on the earth for each living creature a wheel for each of the faces.
    2. Look at the appearance of the identical wheels.
      1. They had the transparent colors of yellow, blue, and green of beryl.
      2. Each wheel had another wheel inside, perhaps at 90 degree angels.
    3. When the wheels moved,
      1. they were like the living creatures themselves, that is,
      2. they did not turn in direction, but
        1. went forward, because
        2. the wheels pointed in all four directions.
    4. The wheels stood tall,
      1. stunning the prophet with their awesomeness, because
      2. eyes filled each wheel rim.
    5. The wheels worked in unison with the living creatures,
      1. since the Spirit inhabited both.
  5. Ezekiel 1.22–25 An Expanse Above the Living Creatures 
    1. Something large, an expanse appeared above the living creatures.
      1. It looked like crystal and
      2. it stretched out over the heads of the living creatures,
        1. impressing the prophet with the awesomeness of the sight.
    2. Under the firmament
      1. the living creatures stretched out their wings straight and
      2. with this action they covered each other’s bodies.
    3. The sound of the wings of these mighty creatures was
      1. like the sound of many waters,
      2. like the voice of the Almighty Himself,
      3. like the rumblings of an army.
    4. Then when the living creatures stood still, they let down their wings,
      1. doing so because it was time to hear from Someone above the firmament
      2. whom the living creatures had brought to the presence of Ezekiel.
    5. At the beginning the prophet said he saw visions of God, but
      1. so far Ezekiel has not shown us God.
      2. The wheels and the living creatures bring God to the prophet!
  6. Ezekiel 1.26–28a Something Above the Expanse 
    1. Having heard the voice from above,
      1. the preacher looked up there and
      2. saw a throne
        1. that resembled a sapphire, a gorgeous blue stone and
        2. he saw what appeared to be a Man on the throne!
    2. From His waist up,
      1. Ezekiel saw what looked like glowing metal
      2. mixed with fire all around and
        1. from His waist down,
        2. Ezekiel saw bright fire all around.
    3. Then Ezekiel noticed a bright rainbow all around.
    4. With the fire and brightness the appearance of the Man mirrored
      1. the appearance of the living creatures or rather
      2. the living creatures mirrored the appearance of the Man.
    5. The One on the throne had the appearance of a Man, but
      1. Ezekiel said this was the appearance of
      2. the likeness of the glory of the Lord, that is, of Yahweh God Himself.
  7. The Identity of the Enthroned Man 
    1. First, I believe the living creatures represent the four Gospels.
      1. The lion is Matthew,
      2. the ox is Mark,
      3. the man is Luke, and
      4. the eagle is John.
    2. What carries the four Gospels throughout the world?
      1. The church does, and
      2. the Spirit inhabits the church even as He does the Gospels.
      3. Thus, the wheels are the church.
    3. Who then could the enthroned Man be?
      1. He has the glory of the Lord, the glory of Jehovah or Yahweh,
      2. He has the appearance of a Man,
      3. He has with four testimonies that go through the earth.
        1. There is only one answer.
        2. This is Jesus of Nazareth.
          1. As the Hebrew writer said of Jesus,

            3 [He is] the brightness of [God’s] glory and the express image of His person… (Heb 1.3).
  8. Ezekiel 1.28b Ezekiel’s Reaction 
    1. As John did in the opening chapter of the book of Revelation, and
      1. as Isaiah did in chapter 6 of his book, and
      2. as Daniel did in chapter 10 of his book,
      3. Ezekiel saw Jesus in His glory, and
        1. did not have the power to stand
        2. just as John, Isaiah, and Daniel did not.
          1. Ezekiel fell down.
          2. God commanded the prophet to stand in chapter 2 and then
            1. delivered the message of the book of Ezekiel and
            2. the Holy Spirit has preserved it for the benefit of Christians.

Exhortation

  1. People who deny the historicity of Jesus have no idea what they are doing. 
    1. What do you think of what Ezekiel showed us?
    2. Does not the world need to know these things?
  2. Therefore, we need to know 
    1. the claims of the Gospels and
    2. how to defend or demonstrate those claims.

      Why We Need to Know and to Defend the Significance and the Historicity of the Gospel Accounts 2 

      Do you know how to defend the veracity of the Gospel Accounts?

      First Peter 3.15

      Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • June 17, In the year of our Lord, 2015

      Prelude

      1. I have discovered 
        1. that man likes to say the opposite of what God says,
        2. that man thinks he knows more than God does,
        3. that atheism, evolution, humanism, skepticism, and secularism are all about
          1. affirming what God denies and
          2. denying what God affirms.
      2. Man values what God abhors and 
        1. man abhors what God values,

          15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16.15).
        2. Man does this with the Lord Himself.
          1. Man despises the Lord.
          2. So much so that many people now affirm that Jesus never existed.
            1. This means that they believe the Gospel Accounts are fraudulent.
            2. They seek to spread this lie to our young people and America.
      3. Now, think about what I showed you from Ezekiel 1
        1. that Jesus is the Lord, and
        2. the four living creatures represent the four Gospels.

      Persuasion

      1. The Bible Says Jesus Has Always Been, Man Says Jesus Never Existed 
        1. John 8 shows what Jesus said about His existence,

          56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8.56–58).
          1. What does it mean that Jesus is the I AM?
          2. Jesus connected Himself with the One who revealed Himself to Moses
            1. as the I AM.

              14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exo 3.14).
            2. What does that mean?
              1. He has always existed.
              2. Yet, man customarily denies that He exists.
                1. Think of it: The very One who has always been,
                2. man says, No He has not.
                  1. The Lord says we have been here about 6,000 years, but
                  2. man says we have been evolving for millions of years.
        2. What are the consequences of denying this truth?
        3. What are the blessings of affirming it?

      Exhortation

      1. First Peter 3 teaches us to be ready to provide answers for people,

        15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed (1Pe 3.15–16).
        1. How can we be ready,
        2. if we
          1. do not know the facts, and
          2. do not know how to defend the Gospel Accounts?
      2. The first Wednesday in July, 
        1. I want to begin training you
        2. on how to defend the credibility of the Gospel Accounts, because
          1. all the Bible points to what those Accounts say, and
          2. if they speak the truth,
            1. man who denies the existence of Jesus
            2. is in a lot of trouble, but
              1. if we can persuade some,
              2. we will turn them to the true living One.
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