The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
October 30, 2011
1) The Certified Gospel (Connie Adams)
2) News & Notes
The Certified Gospel
by Connie Adams
"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of
me is not after man" (Gal. 1:11). In this statement, Paul placed the
gospel he preached in contrast to the perverted gospel which some
had brought to the churches of Galatia (verse 7). He further showed
that perverted gospels were appeals to men rather than to God and
that those who preached such perversions negated their claim to be
the servants of Christ (verse 10). In these declarations, Paul gave
his assurance that his gospel was genuine. He had received it by
divine revelations. The further context of Galatians 1 shows that he
did not confer with those chosen to be apostles before him in order
to determine what he ought to believe and preach. After his
conversion he went away into Arabia. Even when he did meet with the
apostles later in his service to Christ, they "added nothing" to
him. He received his gospel by divine revelation even as the others.
We long for certainty in a world darkened by doubt. We do not want
to eat meat or drink milk unless we know it has met the standards of
purity set by those who regulate such matters. When I get on a jet
plane I want to have someone at the controls who has been
"certified." When I go to the office of a doctor whom I have not
seen before, I always read his diplomas and certificates displayed
on the wall. You see, I want certified meat, milk, pilots and
Is it not strange that in a world where so many demand certification
about so many things, there are so few who want certification when
it comes to the realm of the Spirit? Some do not even think there
are recognizable standards by which spiritual truth can be verified.
Luke wanted Theophilus to "know the certainty of those things,
wherein thou hast been instructed" (Luke 1:4). It was that certainty
which prompted him to speak of "those things which are most surely
believed among us" (Luke 1:1). But how can we know the certainty of
the gospel claims? Have we been gullible? Are we without sufficient
evidence to certify it? Consider now the following three lines of
evidence by which gospel truth is verified.
Certified by Miracles
The whole gospel system rests on the truth or falsity of the claims
of Jesus that he was divine. Were these claims empty boastings, or
were there mighty powers performed by him which could only be
attributed to Deity?
Consider first the reported miracles of Christ. There were three
words which were often used together to discuss both the miracles of
Christ and, later, those of his apostles. These were "miracles,"
"wonders," and "signs" (Acts 2:22; Heb. 2:4; 2 Cor. 12:12). The word
"miracles" referred to mighty deeds and indicated the source of what
was done. The might, or power, which stood behind the deed, was not
human but divine. The second word, "wonders," described the effect
such deeds had on the witnesses. They were filled with awe and
amazement. The third word, "signs," established the purpose of that
which was done. These deeds were divine portents, or evidences of
Deity acting in the presence of humanity to convince humanity of the
fact of divine intervention.
In the four gospel records there are some 38 miracles of Jesus
reported. In the gospel of John there are only seven of these
reported, each falling into a different category and demonstrating
mighty power in each of these areas. John summarized his purpose in
this selection when he said "And many other signs truly did Jesus in
the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God..." (Jno. 20:30-31). How do you explain
turning water into wine, feeding multitudes with a few loaves and
fishes, walking on water, healing the sick, casting out demons,
calming a storm by speaking to it, or raising the dead? These were
"miracles," mighty deeds which could not be attributed to human
resources. Peter said that it was by these that Jesus of Nazareth
was "a man approved of God among you" (Acts 2:22).
Then we must consider the mighty deeds wrought by the apostles of
Christ. They were his chosen ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). Not only
were they officially sent, commissioned by the power sending them,
but their testimony was certified by "miracles," "wonders," and
"signs." These were their credentials or badges of authority. Jesus
promised them that as they went abroad to baptize believers, that
"these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they
cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take
up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt
them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover"
(Mark 16:15-18). What he promised them, he fulfilled. "So then after
the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and
sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached
everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with
signs following. Amen" (Mk. 16:19-20). The Hebrew writer said
"God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and
with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his
own will" (Heb. 2:4). Paul identified such performances as "the
signs of an apostle" and says they were wrought at Corinth "in all
patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds" (2 Cor.
12:12). Paul's gospel (the certified gospel) at Thessalonica
came "...not...in word only, but also in power..." (1 Thes. 1:5).
His gospel came in word, for the gospel cannot be preached without
word. But it was not the word devoid of the necessary divine
credentials to undergird the certainty of what was said. There can
be no doubt that the same "signs of an apostle" which were wrought
later at Corinth, were in evidence here in Thessalonica as well.
Paul and Barnabas appealed to the same line of evidence at Jerusalem
to argue that their work of gospel preaching among Gentiles was
approved by God for they were "declaring what miracles and wonders
God had wrought among the Gentiles by them" (Acts 15:12). By such
astounding evidences both the ministry of Jesus and that of his
apostles were certified.
Certified by Eyewitnesses
The preceding claims do not rest upon the folk tales and legends
handed down from mouth neither to ear nor upon the shifting sand of
human credulity. They were "eyewitnesses of his majesty." Peter
declared, "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when
we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from
God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him
from the excellent glory, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased.' And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we
were with him in the holy mount" (2 Pet. 1:16-18). Peter, James and
John were all present and were eye and ear witnesses to the things
To this we add the words of another witness, John. "That which
was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with
our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of
the Word of life... That which we have seen and heard declare
we unto you..." (1 Jno. 1:1-3).
Every alleged fact of history rests upon four criteria:
(1) That reported was done in the past; (2) It was visible so that
witnesses could attest to it; (3) There was some marker, record or
monument left to memorialize it; and (4) That marker, record or
monument must have continued from the time of the reported event
until the present. If there is any alleged fact of history which
does not rely upon these evidences, I do not know what it would be.
Yet, by the same criteria we certify the claims of Christ upon which
the gospel rests. We are called upon to believe the certainty of
events long past. These events were visible so that they could be
reported by witnesses. When Paul stood before Agrippa to speak of
"these things," he appealed to the fact that Agrippa himself was not
ignorant of these events, for said he "this thing was not done in a
corner" (Acts 26:26). Touching the resurrection of Jesus from the
dead, Paul recounted the list of witnesses and said "he was seen of
above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain
unto this present, but some are fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:6). There
are at least three markers, records or monuments which keep alive
the memory of that done in the past which was seen of witnesses.
There is the testimony of the indestructible word of God. It
survives every attack with a tenacity which cannot be explained
short of divine providence. Then there is the monument of the Lord's
Supper. This simple memorial observance takes place every first day
of the week the world around and "show[s] forth" his death (1 Cor.
11:26). It is a living marker. Then there is the act of
baptism which, when performed, memorializes the fact that Jesus
died, was buried and arose the third day. The sinner who submits in
faithful obedience to this command of God passes through the form or
mold of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is a living
marker. Until the skeptic is willing to discard these criteria upon
which he accepts the facts of history, then he would do well not to
expose his arrogance and inconsistency in discarding the claims of
Jesus and the gospel which rest upon the same kind of evidence.
Certified by Fulfilled Prophecy
After stating that he and others were eyewitnesses of his majesty,
Peter said "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye
do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark
place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts;
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any
private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the
will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:19-21). Prophecy was that ray of light which
illuminated the Old Testament period (the "dark place" of this
passage) until such time as the day should dawn, the time of the
fulfillment of that prophesied, and the day star should appear in
the person of Christ to be the ruler of this era of divine light and
truth. How could the prophets foretell events in minute detail which
were to come to pass far beyond the reach of their own time and
ability to influence the outcome? There are 332 prophesies in
the Old Testament which had to do with the Messiah and his kingdom.
With the appearance of the "day star" these began to unfold with
exactness and precision. Were they unusually perceptive psychics
able to accurately foretell events hundreds of years after their own
time? No, my friends, they were "moved" (impelled, borne along,
driven) by the Holy Spirit. "This is that" spoken by Joel, Amos,
Isaiah or whichever of the prophets, came with a certainty that
challenged every other explanation while, at the same time,
guaranteeing the certainty of those things most surely believed
In this age of theological guess work and blatant attacks upon the
faith once delivered to the saints by moral reprobates and cynical
skeptics which question every major premise of the gospel system, it
is high time that we stand on the promises and with assurance state
our case for the certified gospel. No other spiritual nourishment is
acceptable. Any other has the anathema of God upon it and terminates
in everlasting ruin. There is also a warning here for those who
cling to the certified gospel to be sure what we teach and practice
can be located in that gospel which was certified by miracles,
eyewitnesses and fulfilled prophecy.
-- Via Searching the Scriptures, April 1982
News & Notes
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Glenda Kay Loneragan (June
Farmer's sister) who had recently passed away. Let those of us
who are Christians be praying for all her family and friends.
Let us also be praying for Barbara Lappe who recently
had a serious fall that resulted in breakage of her upper arm and
shoulder socket. She is now recovering well from her surgery.
Here is some good news from R.J.
Evans concerning the prostate cancer he recently had:
"Some of you have asked that I give the results of seeing my doctors
this week. After seeing my radiation-oncologist and urologist,
they both have concluded that, according to all test results, my
prostate cancer is gone. It has been seven weeks since I had
the radiation seeding procedure. While the radiation is still
working (although it has passed its peak), my PSA is below 1.
When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, my PSA was 6.2. The
oncologist wants to see me in six months; the urologist in four
months. While I am so thankful for wonderful doctors and the
advancement of medical technology, I am most thankful for the power
of God through prayer. So many of you have been praying for
me. Thanks so much! We give God the glory for the
results. May God bless each and everyone of you. Love,
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
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