Monday, October 20, 2014

Building Our Faith from the Ground Up

#1.  Can we know God exists .... apart from Scripture?   Yes.

Example - Argument from design ==> Belief = reasonable.  If not, at least compelling!!

#2.  IF He Exists ... what can we know about Him?  (also apart from Scripture?
We can know that He is:  (by necessity)   Powerful, Intelligent, Creative, Transcendent (far beyond us)

All of this can be gleaned from General Revelation - fingerprints of God are all over natural theology and design.   End up at Gen. 1:1

BUT, Christianity is based on Special Revelation.  Definition:  knowledge and information from God that is not generally available;  ie. it can't be gleaned from nature or our surroundings.  Example:  the Gospel
Learn things that cannot be learned otherwise.  No amount of study, contemplation, or natural things can reveal that Jesus is God's Son, died for sins, we're separated from God due to sin, etc.

#3.  Is it reasonable to believe in Special Revelation?
YES!!  in light of:  fulfilled prophecy - thousands fulfilled
                           accompanying miracles
                           unity of content - 66 books written over 1500 years
                           universal relevance
                           social impact
                         *the endorsement of Jesus - He said repeatedly that s Word of God.

Since Special Revelation is so crucial to the Christian faith, will be giving it extra attention.

The means of Special Revelation - Heb. 1:1 "various ways"

           Dreams - Daniel
           visions - Peter & sheet
           signs - Gideon's fleece
           angels - Daniel, Mary, Joseph
          audible voice - Adam & Eve, Samuel
          inner voice
          theophanies = visible manifestations - example:  burning bush, cloud by day, pillar of fire
          incarnation - Heb. 1:1-2

The Record of Special Revelation - the Bible - the "written down" record of these special revelations - not all by any means, but LOTS!!

The Message of Special Revelation  "Thus sayeth the LORD"
many subjects, BUT point always = "this what LORD God says!!"

God speaks to us - in our language at our level.

The Purpose of Special Revelation
Same as General Revelation... ie:
    (A)  to Reveal God - He is there.  He is God - John 1:18
    (B)  to Reconcile Man - John 10:10    Luke 19:10

QUESTION:  Is Special Revelation still occurring?
Answer depends on definition and understanding of "revelation".

YES -- He is still Revealing Himself to individuals.
NO -- He is not imparting new information  (additional information)

Illustration:  Does God still speak through nature?  creation?
                  Is God producing additional information?

Compare:  does God still teach, enlighten, further knowledge and understanding of individuals through the Word?
Is He adding TO the Word??

Question:  Could He not reveal Himself more clearly?                                           

Matt.  13:13-15    a couple Latin terms:   Deus Absconditus & Deus Revelatus - Deut. 4:29
He gives free will - don't have to see and hear if don't want to.

Point:  Proof does NOT lead to Persuasion - example:  how many Egyptians saw all the miracles before the exodus?  How many believed in God after seeing them?
          Clarity does NOT lead to Belief    John 11:45-46   Luke 16: 27-31

Yes, He can reveal Himself more clearly, and, when Christ returns, HE WILL!!!
Application:  goes far beyond the non-Christian/ the unbeliever.
ie:  when WE (believers) ..
on one hand, accept Christ, accept the Revelation of Redemption,
BUT, refuse to accept, embrace other Special Revelations - give, forgive, offer soft answer, turn other cheek, seek first Kingdom of God, be baptized, etc. etc. etc.

What makes us any better than the non-Christian/unbeliever???


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