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Knowing "The Truth"
with notes
Acts 17:28 `For in him we live and move and have our being.'

This is a glimpse at my thoughts on these studies - I urge you to read through them and also to check the passages I've listed. Test what I am saying (at the very least there could be typos!)

The Old Testament
Acts 18:24-28, and Luke 24:25-27 Remember how Matthew quotes from the OT about Jesus (Matthew 1:22-23; 2:15, 17-18, 23; 4:14-16; 8:17; 12:17-21; 13:35; 27-9-10), and other well-known passages in the OT about Christ. How does this reflect on the truth about the gospels?
Remember that at the time spoken of here people would have known whether what was referred to really took place - Matthew and Apollos could not have been making things up to fit the prophecies etc. also that this is not a new revelation but a fulfilment of the first one. this is important! so many other religions and cults rely on a new revelation from God (like buddha and mohammed and the mormons etc.) If god has a message for people, why only give it to a few people at a certain time? why not earlier? why not to more people? The point is he does. this is the old message, the old hope the patriarchs looked forward to as Jesus said "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." (John 8:56)

How else can we know the truth about Christ and the accuracy of the testimony about him (or anything for that matter?) Look at 1 Corinthians 2 (yes the whole chapter)
This should help lead into the next few studies on the spirit. From personal observation those who refuse to believe will fail to understand even the simplest, most logical and obvious statement in the scriptures (or any argument you make), while to those who believe he opens up new insights from his word all the time - that serve to further our understanding and reinforce the revelation of Christ. E.g. psalms about David become psalms about Christ etc.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Remember the beginning of John 1? Who is the "Word" referred to by John?
this is getting at the divinity of Christ - there are many who deny this, or say that the spirit of God (or the Christ) came upon a normal man (perhaps at the baptism) and left him when he died. much of the NT epistles are devoted to combat this teaching (which was developed into gnosticism - the NIV study bible has good notes on it in the introduction to various epistles especially 1 John)

Who's son is "the Christ?" What does Peter say in  Matthew 16:15-17, and what did Jesus say was the source of Peter's knowledge?
In Matthew 22:41-46 corrects an error of contemporary theology. What does this imply about the Messiah, and hence, Jesus himself? (Compare what Peter said at Pentecost)
Peter says that Jesus is the Christ "of God," and Jesus says that it is God himself who has shown Peter this. Jesus goes further in the passage from Matthew, explaining that the Messiah (or Christ), while he may be considered a descendant of David, is not a blood descendant, but will actually come from God, and is David's Lord (like God).

John 10:23, Matthew 21:14-16 Mark 14:61-64 What is Jesus saying in these passages, and what did his audience understand him to mean?
In each of these cases the Jews listening to him understood very well that Jesus was claiming to be God. It was a part of popular theology that Jesus would have been completely aware of, and yet he doesn't bother to correct them (like he did in the previous example). He knows very well what people will think, and says it anyway.

Jesus' purpose.
Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10; John 3:16,17; John 10:10
What is Christ's purpose in these passages?

How does believing (or having faith in Jesus) save us? Look at Romans 6:3-10; Ephesians 5:31-32; Ephesians 1:11-14
I have to add 2 Cor 5:14. The idea is that if Christ is in us (through the Spirit - which comes by faith in him) then we are also in him - we are made one with him. So if he died then we (as part of his body) also died and - fair is fair, justice must be done - have already paid the consequences of our sins in Christ. In that case we don't need to die again (and some won't), so its perfectly fair and just for God to resurrect those in Christ who do (as he demonstrates with Christ). While this is the purpose he came I think the purpose of salvation is also the method - to establish some kind of unity with God in Christ - see Eph 5:31-32, and Genesis ("let us make man in our own image" and "it is not good for man to be alone")

1 John 3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
What reassurance then, can we have of this salvation? How can we know that this is the truth?
Look at 1 John 3:18-20 as well for a different take. - not only do others know we are his disciples, but we do too because we desire to love others. Would we do these things except for Christ in us? Could we? (I doubt if I could). The other two passages lead more directly into the next few studies - that we have the testimony of the Spirit to confirm what we have believed - a divine reassurance - a certainty that comes from God that what we think is actually true - that we no longer think, and trust in faith - but having trusted we now know - through the spirit of God in us. I also believe (neither John nor Paul place any conditions on it) that this knowledge is for all believers, no matter their faith, maturity or other manifestation of the Spirit. If you don't have this reassurance, pray for it.

Extra references to check out.
Matthew 24:1-2 (foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 - remember when these were written)

1 The Reliability of the Synoptic Tradition. quoted by Martin Hengel at the end of his Studies in the Gospel of Mark.
2 Eyewitness to Jesus, Doubleday, 1996

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