Unit IX The Resurrection of Jesus (3) THE APOSTLES’ TESTAMONY

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Unit 9 The Apostles Testimony

 

INTRODUCTION

In this lesson we want to study the testimony of the apostles as a proof of the resurrection of Jesus. Now in Luke the 24th chapter after the account of the death, the burial , and the resurrection, we have Jesus addressing the apostles at the time of the ascension. And he says in Luke 24;44 ,” He said unto them, “these are my words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you. That all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses. The prophets, and the Psalms concerning me.” then open he their minds that they might understand the scriptures and said, ‘thus it is written that the Christ should suffer, rise again from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all nations beginning from Jerusalem.’ and then he says to the apostles, “and ye are witnesses of these things.” Although they didn’t understand it at the moment, they had been witnesses of these things.” although they didn’t understand it-at the moment, they had been witnesses to what was prophesied in the Old Testament that would happen to the Messiah. He would die and be in the tomb, and he would rise on the third day. The apostles obviously as witnesses to these had seen the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.


 

LESSON AIM:

We’ll see the fruit of the apostles’ teaching reveals their testimony about the resurrection to be one of the grand proofs for the resurrection of Jesus.

 

LESSON PREVIEW:

You will..

Learn that the biblical idea of witnessing is different than the prevalent concept of witnessing for Jesus in the world today.

See that the task of living witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ was reserved for the inspired apostles only.

Discover that the power of the apostles’ testimony is seen in three area,

  1. their number,
  2. their unity, and
  3. their lives

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Now on the day of Pentecost, these men then began to testify that Jesus Christ was indeed the Christ of prophecy. They preached to the Jews that Jesus was the messiah, and they proved it satisfactorily with their own testimony. And 3,000 people at the end of their preaching stepped forward for baptism for salvation and entrance into the church and the kingdom of god. The church and Christianity began. It began on the ground of the apostles’ testimony. What we want to do in this less is to see that the apostolic testimony is one of the grand proofs for the resurrection of Jesus, and these men took their testimony from Pentecost and went throughout the whole world and carried the resurrection message.

And it was believed by the Jews and Gentiles alike. What’s the force for the resurrection that comes from the apostles ‘ testimony?

 

THE DENOMINATIONAL CONCEPT OF WITNESSING

 

First of all, begin  we present the evidence we want you so see that there is a great distinction between apostolic testimony, the kind of witnessing we read about in the Bible,  the biblical idea of witnessing that the witnessing that people appeal to today.

 

  1. Witnessing People Appeal to Today
    Personal testimony of what they think God or Christ has done for them in their life.

 

  1. A Changed Life No Proof of the Deity of Christ
    A changed life could just as well prove the reality of any other religion / false religion.

 

  1. We are working with the type of witnesses that applies to proving the scripture to be the word of God.
    We do expect a changed life when we see a new Christian do a complete about face, in his / her behavior but it doesn’t prove the Bible is a history book, which is our intention in this course

 

THE BIBLICAL IDEA OF WITNESSING

 

Jesus said that the apostles were to bear witness of Him (John 15:27). to bear witness means to testify in behalf of, with a view toward confirming a truth. The apostles’ witness, then was to confirm the deity of Christ to the world.

 

  1. It Is Confined To A Select Group Of Men
    1. Confined to men who have seen something.
      You cannot bear witness to what you have or seen or heard.
    2. The Apostles were appointed to be witness for Christ.John 15:26 -27 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. 

Now Jesus is telling us that the ground of our belief in Christ is the word of apostles. Why the word of the apostles? Because they were eyewitnesses. They were with Jesus three and a half years they saw Him dead. Then three days later they saw Him alive. They handled Him. They talked with Him. They ate with Him. They lived with Him, and then they watched Him go to heaven. Now could they testify that He was resurrected?

  1. This Testimony Is Confined To The Apostles
    1. John 15:26 – 277 Jesus is preparing the apostles for the great work that the Spirit would cause them to do. He said, “When the spirit comes, He will bear witness of me.” but then He says in verse 27, “And ye also shall bear witness because you have been with Me from the beginning.” Now two things are seen there:
      1. First, when the Spirit comes, the apostles would bear witness.
      2. Another reason given was because they were with Jesus from the beginning.
    2. John 17:20 (PLACE VERSE) Now He makes it clear that the apostles testimony is the ground of our faith. Why? They were eyewitnesses. They had been with Jesus from the beginning, throughout His entire ministry. They saw Him dead. They saw Him alive after three days. They handled Him. They walked with Him. They lived with Him, virtually lived with Him, and even watched Him go to Heaven.
  2. Acts 10:39 – 41 – “ we are witnesses of all things which He did, both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem whom also they slew hanging Him on a tree. Him God raised up the third day and gave Him to be manifest not to all the people but unto witnesses who were chosen before of God.” Now watch Him identify who those witnesses chose before were. He said, Even us.” Who? “ who also ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.
  3. Acts 1:1 – 3 Those who were chosen before, Luke opens his second volume to Theophilus and says, “ the former treatise I made, oh Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach until the day in which He was received up, after that He had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom He had chosen.” So, not all the people were witnesses, only those whom He had chosen before to be witnesses. Now then, who were they? They were those who were with Him from the beginning.
  4. Now what is that beginning? We will see now as we are going to investigate the qualifications for a witness. Now there is at least two qualifications.
    1. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, John 15:26 -27
    2. Been with Jesus since the beginning, Acts 1:21 – 22. The beginning from the days of the baptism of John.
      1. They had to see Him dead
      2. They had to see Him alive again.

NOTE:

The purpose for which the apostles bore witness was to prove that Jesus is the Son of God, to show that He was more than a mere man. Now Christ claimed to be the son of God. He claimed that He is going to judge us, that His words are the standard of judgment, that He one day will take us off to heaven for eternity in a wonderful world over yonder. What's the proof of that? Well, the resurrection is certainly a proof of that. If we can show that Jesus was raised, that is a confirmation that he is everything He claimed to be. And that was the work of the apostles.

 

THE POWER OF THE APOSTLES’ TESTIMONY

They were to give their eyewitness testimony. The force of the eyewitness is three-fold.

  1. First of All, The Witnesses Had To Be More Than One.
    There had to be several in order to corroborate their testimony. We have this testimony from twelve men. That’s a pretty good number. Here are twelve men who on the day of Pentecost stood up, all of them together, and they testified they had seen Christ. Now when twelve men give the same testimony, you are going to think that it just might be true.
  2. The Second Thing Is The Unity Or The Unanimity Of Their Teaching
    They were in perfect agreement with each other. They all taught the same thing in every place.
  3. The Third Thing. These Men Suffered Persecution For What They Believed In.
    These men suffered discrimination. And every one of these men lived the lives of martyrs until they all with the exception of John died the death of martyrs, dying for the gospel.

    1. They witnessed though persecuted and killed.
    2. Bible Examples
      1. Acts 2:22 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
        The apostles stand as it were, arm in arm all twelve saying, “God raise Jesus from the dead.”
      2. Acts 3:14-15 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
        And so they offered their own eyewitness testimony as a proof he was raised.
  • Acts 4:18-20     18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.Again they appealed to the resurrection and their own eyewitness testimony as a proof He was raised from the dead. Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

(see also Acts 5:20 – 28: I John 1:1 – 3)

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Our faith today is dependent upon the apostles’ testimony just like Jesus prayed for in John 17:20. And the apostles insist that we are save by faith in Jesus. But we can have no faith apart from the word of the apostles. Even as Paul said, “faith comes by hearing , and hearing by the word of God”, Romans 10:17.

 

You may not believe the Bible is the word of God. But one thing is for sure. It is a history book. And it has in it the testimony of reliable witnesses, men who were with Jesus three and a half years of His ministry, men who watched Him perform miracles, men who saw Him hung upon a tree until He died, men who saw Him dead, and then on the third day they saw Him alive. They handled Him. They ate with Him. They lived with Him. They watched Him go to heaven. And then on Pentecost they began to say so and they said it. And they went into persecution for it. And they lived the lives of martyrs until they died the death of martyrs, Where did they get the ability to stand the persecution unless what they said they saw, they actually did see? What does reason say? It says, “Sit in judgment on the evidence and draw a conclusion that agrees with the facts.” What does reason say? To me it says “Jesus was resurrected from the dead” And one of the great proofs is the testimony of the apostles.

 

 

SUMMARY

According to the new testament, the biblical witness of the sort we read about in acts was confined to those Spirit-guided apostles whose testimony of what they had seen and heard was preserved from error. The purpose of their testimony was to confirm to lost men that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. This could only be done by convincing men that Jesus was raised from the dead. No one since the apostles has had that eyewitness experience, and on one shall.

 

 

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