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Showing posts from June, 2018

Why did Jesus die on the cross?

One of the most startling things about the Gospels is that they focus most, not on what Jesus taught, but rather on the last week of his life and specifically upon his death. Two-fifths of Matthew’s Gospel focuses on this. Three-fifths of Mark does the same. One-third of Luke is devoted to the last week of Jesus’ life. And most startling of all, one half of John is devoted to the end of Jesus’ life. Thus, the Gospels beg the question: why did Jesus die on the cross? The fact that he did die on a cross is a matter of history. Tacitus, a Roman historian writing in AD 112 refers to the death of Jesus under Pontius Pilate. Lucian, a satirist of the second century, who spoke scornfully of Christ and the Christians, refers to Jesus’ crucifixion in Palestine as a historical event. As F. F. Bruce has summarized, “Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased histo

Who is Jesus?

Last Sunday I ended with a question:  If we think of God as the author of a great play, and we think of this universe and its history as that play, then could not God write himself in as a character? I think the answer to that question is that it is eminently possible. And that is precisely what Christians claim God  has  done. Christians claim that God became a character in his own play, and the name of that character is Jesus. What evidence is there to support this claim? Well, there is direct evidence and indirect. Let’s look at the direct evidence first. Jesus constantly referred to God as his Father. This was something unheard of among the Jews. No other Jewish rabbi ever spoke of God as his Father. In the Gospel of John, we see a confrontation between Jesus and some Jews because Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. In his defense, Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too, am working.” Then we read, “For this reason the Jews tried all the

Is there a God and what is God like?

Today we are beginning a new message series entitled  Ultimate Questions . And today’s question is perhaps the biggest one of all: is there a God?  Now I realize I am preaching to the choir. You probably would not be here today unless you believed in God. But even those of us who believe, have questions. And so I hope I will touch today on at least one question you may have had or still have about God. Let me acknowledge from the outset that I do not believe we can prove the existence of God. C. S. Lewis once wrote in a letter to a young agnostic, Sheldon Vanauken,  I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like Euclid) of Christianity, nor of the existence of matter, nor of the good will & honesty of my best & oldest friends. I think all three are (except perhaps the second) far more probable than the alternatives…. As to  why God doesn’t make it demonstratively clear: are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which wd be a compelled lo

The Power of our Triune God

Many years ago, my father, Jim Vaus, wrote the following words… All of God’s power is invested in the person of His Son JESUS CHRIST. He said, “All power is given unto me” and He proved it. Not only in the miracles He performed and His victory over death, but centuries before in the creation of matter. “Without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3b The Physicist sets forth two basic principles within the realm of physics. Briefly stated they are these: 1.      Conservation of matter:  You cannot destroy matter. You can only alter it in form. 2.      Conservation of energy: You cannot create energy. You cannot destroy energy. You can only alter it in form. Mr. Einstein, the noted Mathematician, linked these two principles in his formula E equals MC 2 .  Following Einstein’s formula, if we take two and two-tenths pounds of matter (a kilogram) and we reduce it to fragments, or as we say until our chain of fission is complete, we will end up with 25 billion k