The Words of Jesus
I. I continue to be amazed at the lengths people will go to justify a belief.
A. We all know the story of Martin Luther’s decision that James 2 did not belong in the sacred text because of one small phrase in James 2:24.
1. It contradicted everything that Martin Luther had come to believe about God’s word.
2. Instead of re-examining his beliefs he decided to discount the passage.
B. So many people do this to God’s word. They approach with the goal of proving what they already believe instead allowing the word to teach them what they ought to believe.
1. When passages are shown to conflict with their beliefs, they seek some way to remove the passage or alter them to match their belief.
2. An example of the latter is the Jehovah Witnesses who developed their own translation so as to justify their false teachings.
C. Unfortunately, these same attitudes of making the Scriptures match what they believe occurs among the brethren.
1. Let me show you a statement I recently received.
2. Notice what Robin claims: “We have scripturally decided that Jesus’ words which were restricted to Old Testament Israel will not judge New Testament Christians on the last day.”
a. Now I strongly disagree that they had scripturally proven anything, but these are his words, not mine.
3. I then had to ask Robin how he could call himself a Christian, which means “follower of Christ,” if he did not feel he had to obey Christ.
a. He was very irrate in his response, but the key point he made was that he did follow Jesus’ teachings, but only those he made after his resurrection and before his ascension.
b. “Oh.” Unfortunately for Robin, Jesus said something different - John 12:46-50
c. Of course, Robin doesn’t believe this because Jesus said it before he died on the cross.
4. Perhaps you are wondering how could a person come to such a strange belief.
a. It started with the fact that Robin and others like him hold a belief that is easily disproved by the teachings of Jesus.
b. Rather than change that belief, they decided remove themselves from being accountable to Jesus’s teachings in the gospels.
c. To remain objective in this lesson, I won’t even mention what belief they are trying to justify.
D. Let us examine the reasonableness of the claim that teachings of Jesus before his death on the cross were only for the Jews and were not meant to be followed by Christians.
II. Let us first apply common sense
A. It is a fact, undisputed, that the four gospel accounts were written after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The accounts themselves contain events which happened after Jesus’ resurrection, so they had to be written after that time.
B. We also know that the Old Testament ended with the death of Jesus on the cross.
1. Col 2:13-14 - The law was nailed to the cross.
2. Heb 10:9-10 - He took away the first to establish a second, sanctified through the body of Jesus
C. If the life and words of Jesus were only for those under the Old Law, then what are the purposes of the four gospels?
1. Why would Christians write books after the end of the Old Law about things that only apply to those who lived under that law?
2. According to Robin, it would not benefit any Christian, other than as history.
3. It would not, and has not been, accepted by the Jews as part of their Law.
D. Yet, these Gospels do state their purpose
1. Mark 1:1 - The good new (gospel) of Jesus Christ
2. Luke 1:1-4 - So you will know the exact truth of the things you were taught.
a. Notice Theophilus was taught the things contained in Luke
3. John 20:31 - So that Christians might believe and through that belief have life in Jesus’ name.
III. Were there teachings by Jesus in the gospels that the Apostles bound on Christians?
A. The plan of salvation is fully taught in the Gospels, but not prior to them
1. John 6:45 - Must hear and learn
2. John 3:16 - Must believe to have eternal life
3. Luke 13:3 - Repent or perish
4. Matthew 10:32-33 - Confess Christ
5. John 3:5 - Must be born of water
B. The Lord’s supper was instituted prior to Jesus’ death on the cross
1. Luke 22:19-20
2. Paul quotes Luke’s account (it is the only one to mention the new covenant) and says I received from the Lord - I Cor. 11:23-25
C. Jesus’ new commandment
1. John 13:34-35 - A new commandment to love one another so all may know they are Jesus’ disciples.
2. I John 2:7-10 - A new commandment, which is really an old one they had heard from the beginning.
a. Notice that Jesus’ teaching then is the beginning.
3. I John 3:11 - The message from the beginning that you love one another.
4. II John 5-6
a. The new command from the beginning to love one another
b. And another command from the beginning, that love is keeping his commandments (John 14:15)
D. Were there teachings by Jesus that dealt with the Old Law?
1. Yes, but it is a fallacy to conclude that ALL of Jesus’ teaching dealt solely with the Old Covenant
2. Jesus’ teachings about the coming church or kingdom
a. Matthew 16:18 - 19 - Jesus would build his church. Peter would have the keys to this kingdom
b. Matthew 18:15-17 - Disciple within the church
c. Matthew 13:10-11 - The disciples were granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
d. Matthew 13:16-17 - The prophets longed to know what the disciples were learning
(1) Sounds just like I Peter 1:10-12
3. Jesus contrasted His teachings with the Jews
a. Matthew 23:1-13 - Jesus instructs the crowd not to be like their leaders and tells the Jews that they were not entering the kingdom and keeping others out.
4. These are just brief samples
IV. When did the Apostles teach that New Testament doctrine begin?
A. We already noted that John puts the beginning with Jesus’ teaching of the disciples (I John 2:7-10, I John 3:11, II John 5-6)
1. Look further at I John 1:1-4 - The things from the beginning which the Apostles witnessed.
B. Hebrews 2:3 - Salvation was first spoken through the Lord
C. Acts 10:36-37 - Jesus preached peace starting in Galilee after his baptism by John
D. Mark 1:1 - The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
V. Truly, God has spoken to us through His Son - Heb. 1:1-2
A. Christ is the firstborn. He is the beginning - Col. 1:18