Now this morning I want to preach on the subject on why there are 4 gospels. When we say the 4 gospels we're referring to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first 4 books of the New Testament. Now, personally the 4 gospels are my favorite part of the Bible. I feel like the 4 gospels are the heart of the Bible. Everything leading up to them is just a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Acts 10:43, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins," and then everything after the 4 gospels is just preaching and explaining that which we see in the life of Jesus Christ.
These books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, give us the life of Jesus Christ. They talk about his birth, his ministry, his preaching, his miracles, and of course most importantly they talk about his death, burial and resurrection. But the question is, why are there 4 gospels? Why did God not just give us one account of this great story? First of all the obvious answer is that it's such a great story that it's worth telling 4 times in a row. Not only that, there are different things that are emphasized in each of the 4 gospels. They have different themes, you get a little bit of a different viewpoint of the life of Christ by reading them.
Not only that but if you think about what the 4 gospels represent, they also represent eye witness testimony, telling us that these things really happened and that they really are true. Especially the Book of John emphasizes the fact that he is a witness and that he's bearing record and that he's giving a testimony. If you go to a court room and there were only one witness to something, that's not supposed to be enough to convict anyone because that one person could be lying. Often what you'll have is corroborating testimony. Now corroborating testimony is someone else's independent testimony that supports the testimony of the other person and shows it to be true.
If we were to walk into a courtroom and we had 4 witnesses get up and testify to something, and they both gave the exact same testimony, and they included the same details, and they left out the same details, we would say, "These witnesses have gotten together and gotten their story straight. They're not independent witnesses." It wouldn't be as credible, it would seem like, "Wait a minute, something's fishy here," where these 4 different people are remembering everything exactly the same way and giving the exact same testimony because that is not the way that the real world works.
See, when you go into a courtroom and you hear a different testimony from different people, they'll give different testimony, but that testimony corroborates the testimony, or it could contradict. If it contradicts then there's a problem, somebody's lying, or somebody's not remembering properly. The thing about the 4 gospels that's so amazing is that they are 4 accounts of the same story and they are 4 corroborating testimonies in the sense that they don't read exactly the same. In fact many people when they read them will even think that they see contradictions in the 4 gospels and say, "This appears to contradict," but then once you study a little further you can see that there is no contradiction, that they do corroborate one another.
But the fact that they are so different from one another proves that they're not just feeding off of one another. That Matthew didn't write his gospel and then Mark comes along and says, "I'm going to write one now and just make a few changes but I'm pretty much going to say the exact same thing," and then Luke does the same thing and John. No, they're all clearly different. Even worldly secular scholars who don't even believe in the Bible actually state that these are 4 independent works and that none of them has copied from the other, that they did not have access to the other and copy from it. They'll actually admit that. They try to of course have all these theories about how they could have been so consistent yet they were independent by saying that there's this other document, document Q, that they're all borrowing from that's been lost to history. No, document Q is the Holy Spirit revealing things to the author.
The 4 gospels are actually a perfect eye witness testimony giving different details appearing to contradict on the surface only to the unlearned, only to those who haven't studied. Once you do study it out you see that they corroborate. For example you'll find that the timings given in the book of John are completely different than the timings given in Matthew, Mark and Luke. People will point to that and say, "Which one was it? Was it the sixth hour or was it the ninth hour? Was it the third [hour 00:05:09]?" They say it contradicts, but then once you learn a little more you realize that in Matthew, Mark and Luke, he's using a Jewish reckoning of time, where the day starts at 6am. The third hour would be our 9:00am. In the book of John he's using a more universal reckoning of time where the day starts at midnight, like they do it in most of the world, like we do it here in the United States when you look at the different time.
Once you learn you can see how it all fits together so perfectly, but they're definitely not copying each other. These are 4 independent witnesses. Of course we know that they're all inspired by the Holy Ghost and that it's the word of God. There are 4 different gospels, number 1 to give 4 corroborating testimonies, not testimonies where they all got together and got their stories straight, but 4 corroborating testimonies, which is the strongest type of evidence. Then secondly in order to emphasize different things.
In Revelation 4 we have a symbol of the 4 gospels. Look down at your Bible there in Revelation chapter 4 verse 6, "And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."
You don't have to turn there but back in Ezekiel chapter 1, Ezekiel has a vision of similar creatures. The Bible calls them living creatures, but these particular creatures that he saw back in Ezekiel, they each have 4 faces. The 4 faces that they have are the same 4 faces that we see here, the lion, the ox, or the c calf it's mentioned in Ezekiel, the man and the eagle. These 4 faces, these 4 beast, they actually provide a symbol of the 4 gospels. In fact the 4 gospels are in your Bible in the same order that the symbol is here in verse 7, because the Bible says in verse 7, "And the first beast was like a lion," that represents the book of Matthew. "The second beast like a calf," or an ox it's recorded as in Ezekiel 1, "and the third beast had a face as a man," that would be the book of Luke. "And the fourth beast was like a flying eagle," that would be the book of John.
There we have prophetically Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Now you say, "Why would God represent Matthew with a lion, Mark with a calf or an ox, Luke with a man, and then John with the flying eagle?" Why would he choose those representations? Because each of the 4 gospels has a different emphasis. In the Book of Matthew, the fact that Jesus Christ is the king of the Jews is the emphasis, he's the lion of the tribe of Judah, king of the Jews. That's represented by the lion. In the Book of Mark it's emphasizing the fact that Jesus Christ was servant, and it emphasizes the work that he did, and an ox is a beast of burden, not a glamorous animal but one that accomplishes a lot of good work. It's a very useful animal.
The Bible says, "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: yet there is much increase by the strength of the ox." It emphasizes the fact that Jesus made himself of no reputation and that he was just working hard doing the works of his father. Then thirdly, the book of Luke portrays Jesus Christ as human, as the son of man. Over and over again that term is used to describe Jesus. Then fourthly in the gospel of John he's portrayed as the son of God and it really emphasizes his deity. We'll get to more of the symbolism of the eagle a little bit later in the message.
Let's talk about each of the 4 gospels. Turn if you would to Matthew chapter number 1. Matthew chapter number 1, why are there 4 gospels? It's for corroborating testimonies and it is also that we might learn different things and have different things emphasized unto us in each of the 4 gospels. You see if you crammed it all into one gospel, you'd lose the flow of the story. It makes more sense to tell the story 4 times from 4 different angles. Look at Matthew chapter 1, and let's start out with the first thing in the Book of Matthew which is a genealogy. Look at the first verse of Matthew, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Now, right away we see Jesus being portrayed in the Book of Matthew as the king of the Jews, because it brings up the fact that he's of Abraham, and it brings up the fact that he's the son David. David was the great king of Israel and the kingly succession descends from David.
If you go through this genealogy it actually goes through the kings of Israel. If you jump down to verse number 6 it says, "Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; Solomon begat Roboam; Roboam begat Abia; Abia begat Asa; Asa begat Josaphat." These are all king of Judah, all the way down to Josia, Jechonias, and then you get into Salathiel, Zorobabel et cetera. These are the kingly lineages of Jesus Christ through Joseph. Because the Bible says in verse number 16, "Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
This is not a physical genealogy of Jesus. It's a genealogy of Joseph who was Jesus' stepfather, that he was in the kingly line and Jesus as his adopted son was the rightful heir to the throne of Israel to be able to sit on the throne of David his father through that kingly line on his stepfather's side. But the Bible is always very careful not to call Joseph Jesus' father but to say Joseph was the "husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." That's the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew for a reason. Then we get into chapter 2, we have the wise men coming from the east, bestowing really expensive gifts upon Jesus, gold, frankincense and myrrh, the types of gifts that you would bestow upon a king.
He is portrayed as the king of the Jews, not only that but when you read the book of Matthew more than any other of the 4 gospels it quotes the Old Testament constantly. Over and over again in Matthew it's saying, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet," "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet," "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet." Over and over again, virtually every chapter that's being hammered in. Also Jesus when he preaches in the book of Matthew is constantly making reference to the Old Testament, quoting the Old Testament more so than in Mark, Luke and John, because that's the emphasis of the book.
Now of course all of the 4 gospels are going to have crossover. Of course we see Jesus being a servant in the Book of Matthew, of course we see his humanity in Matthew, of course we see his deity in Matthew, but the thing that's being emphasized is Jesus Christ as the king of the Jews. Listen to Genesis 49, you don't have to turn there, but in Genesis 49 verse 9 the Bible says, "Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." Back in Genesis 49, each tribe had an animal that represented that tribe. The animal that represented Judah was the lion and it talked about him being the king because the lion is the king of the jungle, and the lion represents the tribe of Judah.
You say, "Why would Jesus be represented by an animal?" But he's the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. He's represented often times by an animal in the sense that he is likened to a lamb, a sheep that was brought to the slaughter. He's like a lion in the sense that he's the great king of the Jews. Over and over again you'll see that. Now when you get toward the end of the Book of Matthew though, after Jesus has been repeatedly rejected by the leadership of the Jews and by most of the house of Israel, you'll notice that a big theme in the book of Matthew is how God is taking away the kingdom from the Jews and giving it unto the Gentiles. Now the reason that's emphasized is because it's a book that's being directed at them more than any other book, this is your king, this is the king of the Jews. Quoting all the Old Testament to show them that.
Of course there's a lot in the Book of Matthew about the fact that Israel is going to be rejected by God as a punishment for rejecting the messiah. Really all throughout the Book of Matthew, you think of the famous verse where Jesus says, I believe in Matthew chapter 8, "That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Why does he say, "the children of the kingdom shall be cast out?" He's talking about the kingdom of Israel. He says, "many will come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom," meaning the earthly kingdom of Israel, shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," because by and large they rejected him.
But when you get toward the end of Matthew that becomes a theme in literally every chapter. For example in Matthew chapter 20, you don't have to turn there, but verses 1 through 16 tells the the parable of the laborers that are hired at the sixth, either third hour, sixth hour, ninth hour, and then at the eleventh hour. Remember the people who had been working all day long were bitter about the fact that they received the same payment as the people who were hired at the eleventh hour. But what's interesting is that the wording that they use is this, "you've made them equal to us," the people who are hired at the beginning of the day say at the eleventh hour worker, "You've made them equal to us," see here's what that represents, Israel who had been serving God for centuries, and then the Gentiles are the Johnny-come-lately, the eleventh hour, in the last days. They become God's great to reach the world. They become His tool sent out into the harvest.
Let me ask you this, who is doing the work for God today? Is it primarily physically speaking Jews or Gentiles? It's obviously the Europeans and other peoples of the world that picked up that torch, the Greek as it were, that became the great missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel, not the Jews, not Israel. They came in at the eleventh hour and became a servant. Notice, the Jew is bitter that the Gentile has been made equal unto them, and we see that all throughout the Book of Acts, that bitterness and unwillingness to accept the fact that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile. We're all one in Christ Jesus. They don't want to accept the fact that we're all one in Christ Jesus. "But we've been worshiping him longer." It doesn't matter, we're doing it better. You know what I mean?
Anyway, that's what's shown in Matthew 20. Then you get into chapter 21, you have the parable where Jesus curses the fig tree and it withers and it's going to bring forth fruit anymore, which again, the fig represents Israel there. Then in chapter 21 a little later, the parable about the son who said he was going to work in the vineyard and didn't do it, and then the son who said he was not going to do it but then he actually went, which represents the Gentiles and then the Jews, the ones who gave lip service but their heart was far from [him 00:17:39]. Then you get into a little later the parable of the vineyard where he lets out the vineyard to his servants and the servants don't bring in the fruit of the vineyard and when he sends his servants to collect the increase they beat one and kill the other, which represents God sending the prophets and the children of Israel beat one and kill another.
Then finally at the end of that parable Jesus says, "This is about you." He says, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Then in chapter 22 we see the great wedding for the son of God. Everyone who's invited makes excuses and doesn't show up, which represents the children of Israel who got the first invitation and don't come. Then he just goes out of the high ways and edges and just invites anybody, just homeless people, just anybody they can find, which represents going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature, the gospel going to the gentiles.
Then we get into chapter 23. If you would flip over to Matthew 23, turn to Matthew 23. We have a very strong rebuke given to the Jews, because again Matthew is a book that is primarily portraying Jesus Christ as the king of the Jews and it is a message primarily intended for the Jews. See, books in the Bible often have a certain target audience. For example the Epistle to the Thessalonians, there's a target audience there, people living in Thessalonica. The Epistle to the Hebrews for example, or the Book of Revelation was sent out to 7 churches in Asia Minor, there's a specific audience there. Where people get into false doctrine is where they say it's only for those people. The whole Bible is written to all of us. The Book of Hebrews is for us. The Book of Colossians is [inaudible 00:19:38]. The Book of Timothy, first Timothy, just for Timothy. Just for one guy? Get real.
Just because that's who it's addressed to all scripture is profitable for doctrine. These were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, even if they were specifically written to someone else. But they still can have a target audience. The Book of Luke is written to one guy, Theophilus. The Book of Acts is directed at one man, Theophilus, but obviously it's written for all of us. When we say that Matthew is written to the Jews we're not saying it's only for the Jews, that's ridiculous. But it has that emphasis of quoting the Old Testament and emphasizing Christ as king of the Jews.
Look what he says there in Matthew 23 verse 37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." We see here that Jesus is upset with Jerusalem. He's rebuking Jerusalem and saying, "Look, you've killed the prophets. Your house is going to be left unto you desolate." That's the punishment.
Then we get into Matthew 24 and they're all of the sudden God's chosen people that can do no wrong, just kidding. Then chapter 25, the theme continues on and on. Look at the last chapter of Matthew 28. The last chapter of Matthew 28, remember this is book that's geared to the Jews, it's portraying Christ as the king of the Jews. Look how it ends, this is a perfect ending for the book. Matthew 28 verse 18, "Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations," see he's specifically gearing a book to the Jews, he wants to make sure they know, don't just hang out in Jerusalem and keep preaching to the same Jews over and over again. Go teach all nations. This is something that the early apostles struggled with, they all wanted to stay in Jerusalem and not leave.
"Teach all nations," he said, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Turn the page into the gospel of Mark. Matthew is represented in Revelation as the lion and it's obvious why, Jesus is portrayed as the king of the Jews. Now let's get into the Book of Mark. This would be the representation of an ox, or a calf, which are basically the same animal, just 2 different ages. It's called a calf as a baby and then it grows up to be an ox. Let's look at the genealogy of Mark chapter 1, there is no genealogy in Mark chapter 1. In fact the Book of Mark does not discuss his childhood whatsoever. It just starts out with Jesus being 30 years old, out of nowhere.
It says in verse 1, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Now why does Mark skip his childhood, skip his genealogy. It doesn't tell us, "Hey the son of Abraham, the son of David," because of the fact that it's portraying Christ as a servant. Flip over to Philippians chapter number 2, one thing that you'll notice when you study the book of Mark is that it emphasizes the works of Jesus. If you ever read [letter 00:23:09] Bible, where the words of Christ are in red, you'll notice that in Mark you have less red letters than in the other 3 gospels, because it's focusing more on his deeds, his works and it emphasizes him as a servant.
In fact let me give you a theme scripture for the Book of Mark, Mark 10:43 says this, "But so shall it not be among you: for whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." That's a theme for the Book of Mark, Jesus as a servant, as a minister. If we want to be great he said we will be a servant. Look at Philippians 2 verse 5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
We can see why Mark just starts out with him as an adult, because he's there as a servant of no reputation, and he's there to minister not to be ministered unto. Go to Luke chapter 2, now let's talk about the Book of Luke. The Book of Luke portrays more than any other book the humanity of Christ. It talks about him as the son of man. Of course all 4 gospels refer to Jesus as the son of man, that's a common theme, but this book especially emphasizes his humanity, that he is that seed of the woman, that son of man, the human being of Christ. Now when we talk about the humanity of Christ we're not taking away from the deity of Christ at all. Of course we know that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. The Bible says in Hebrews 1:8, "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
The Bible says, "Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." The Bible clearly tells us in many places that Jesus Christ is God and that's a whole sermon in an of itself, just to give all those scriptures that teach that. But we also know that Jesus Christ was a human being as well. This is the miracle of Jesus Christ and his incarnation. How could God, the creator of the universe, all knowing, all powerful, how could he become a human being and be born as a baby? It's really an amazing thing. It's one of the most wonderful things in the Bible in fact.
Think about how Jesus Christ when he was born, he didn't just come out of the womb and start talking, and just start preaching. He's walking around as a newborn. No. He actually went through the whole process of life. He said, "Mama," "Dada," or actually he would have said, "[Aba 00:26:17]." But he would have gone through that whole process of learning how to walk, learning how to talk and growing up and going through all the struggles that we go through. The Bible says that he was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. I think sometimes we lose sight of that because we get this idea, "Oh yeah, Jesus is God in the flesh, of course he didn't sin, of course he just blew through life. He made it look easy."
Here's the thing though, Jesus was human and so he did have to work hard and struggle and endure suffering, it wasn't just easy for him, it was difficult for him. You say, "How do you know that?" Because of the fact that when he's in the garden of Gethsemane he's sweating great drops of sweat that are falling from his brow like drops of blood. He's basically begging God that if there's any way possible that the cup that he's about to drink would pass from him. He endured the cross, despising the shame, the Bible says. We see him going through pain and suffering. We see him experiencing anger, sadness. We see the times that Jesus wept. We see his humanity over and over again in the Bible.
But some people are not comfortable with this doctrine, just because they're too small minded to wrap their mind around it. They just say, "I don't like that. Don't talk about that." But it's true. Jesus was both man and God, he was 100% man, 100% God. That's the amazing thing about Christ, that's what makes reading the 4 gospels, that's what makes it reading the greatest story ever told. It makes me love him more when I realize that he's human and that he went through the things that we went through, and that he is not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feelings or our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like us yet without sin.
Here's the proof. You say, "I don't like that." Look at the proof, Luke chapter 2 verse 52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." You see that? He increased in wisdom and stature, that right there proves that Jesus Christ is learning, if he's increasing wisdom. It starts out, it's talking about him when he's 12 there. If Jesus didn't know everything when he's 12 kids, neither do you. When they get to 12 and 13 is when they start thinking they know everything. You say, "Why did God tell us that when Jesus was 12? Why didn't he tell us that when he's 8 or 15?" Because he knows every 12 year old is like, "My thirteen birthday is coming up, I'm about to know everything." It's like, no, Jesus is still increasing in wisdom when he's 12, how much more you mortal man? This is a great verse for teenagers.
But notice, he increased in wisdom and stature, he's growing physically but he's also learning. Not only that but it says that he increased in favor with God, what does that mean? He's more pleasing to God when he's 13 than when he was 12. He's more pleasing to God, because remember God said, "This is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased." God became more and more pleased with him. Why? Because he's growing. Now Jesus Christ never sinner, ever of course, he's the sinless son of God, but he still learned and grew and gained wisdom and increased more and more in his favor with God and with man. That's what the Bible says.
Flip back to Mark 13 because some people would say, "You're reading that wrong." Okay, tell me if I'm reading this wrong. Go back to Mark 13 verse 32 and look what Jesus said to Mark, 13:32, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." To say that Jesus Christ knew everything while he walked on this Earth is false, because here's one thing for sure that he didn't know, even when he is 33 years old, he did not know the day or the hour of his second coming. He said the son doesn't know, only the father knows.
Now, he may know it now. Obviously he's up in heaven glorified. It's possible that he knows at this time, that's debatable, but he didn't know it then. That's for certain. We see that Jesus Christ really was human while he was on this Earth. Can you imagine being God and then putting aside basically your power, your omniscience and becoming a human being? That's quite an experience to downgrade like that. It's hard to even wrap our mind around it but we believe it by faith. That's what the Bible says, it's really fascinating when we study that.
Now go to Luke chapter 3, just a few pages to the right in your Bible. We see the humanity of Jesus Christ, increasing in wisdom, he didn't know the hour. You know what's so funny about that? Is that Jesus said, I don't even know the day or the hour of my second coming, and then people think that they've figured it out. Is that ridiculous? "Yeah, we figured it out." I just recently saw somebody saying, "Yeah, we've calculated," because they have this foolish theory that says Jesus Christ is going to come after 6,000 years of human history. 6,000 years of human history and then 1,000 years of millennium. They have it all figured out and calculated. What's funny about that is that the world's been around for more than 6,000 years already and Jesus isn't here.
But here's the thing about that, if he would have come after 6,000 years, isn't that a little predictable? How could say, "I don't even know." Was he not smart enough to figure out what these guys claim that they figured out? It doesn't even make sense folks. But they say, "After 6,000 years." No, it's a fraud. There are all these false alarms about Christ coming, that way people will say, "Where is the promise of his coming?" All the false alarms are preparing people to say that, like, "Yeah we've heard this before, he's never coming back." He is coming back, but we need to patiently wait for it and not try to set the date of his coming. We have no idea. It says, "at such an hour as you think not the son of man cometh." Whenever somebody sets a date I cross it off on the calendar and say, "That's one day he's for sure not coming." He may come any day, except that one. Obviously we know that first other things have to happen prophetically, the tribulation et cetera.
It's amazing to me how they doctor the numbers. They keep doctoring the numbers, because first it's the year 2,000, or whatever. Because if you look in Scofield Bible it says that the world began in 4,004 BC. If it started in 4,004 BC then 6,000 years would be what? Like 1996 or something? Then it's like, "Okay, that didn't happen. Well it's 2,000." They were rounding, and then 2,000 comes and goes. "Oh he was off by a couple of years." It's 2012, it's 2014, it's ... No. By the way, saying that the world began in 4,004 BC is way off. Because you know what? That number is based on the children of Israel being in Egypt for 215 years, you know how long the Bible says they were there? 430, which means that we're ... There are a few other errors.
I have calculated the age of the Earth to be approximately 6,300 years, shortly or a little bit less than, 6,300 years. If that was the theory it would have happened 300 years ago. But there are people who are still to this day saying, "Actually the Earth is only 5,960 years old." They found ways to shave off here and there, and trim and chop and change, in order to make it add up. It's a false kind of science and a false kind of math, where you decide the outcome and you're like, "Let's find evidence to prop up this outcome." They want it to be less than 6,000 years old, and they want the Earth to be less than 6,000 years old so badly that they basically will doctor numbers until they get there.
Okay, it's like 6,300 years old. I know it's not millions and millions of years old. That's a whole nother sermon, but look at Luke chapter 3. In Luke chapter 3 there's a genealogy in the Book of Luke. This genealogy actually emphasizes the humanity of Christ, it's his human genealogy. Remember in Matthew 1 we had the genealogy of Joseph and it went back to the kings of Judah? If you look at Luke chapter 3 verse number 23 the Bible reads, "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph," notice, it's very careful to tell us that he was not literally the son of Joseph but that he was supposed to be the son of Joseph. Everybody got that? "(as was supposed) the son of Joseph which was the son of Heli, Which was the son of Matthat," on and on.
Now here's the difference between this genealogy and other genealogies in the Bible. Throughout the Bible when we see a genealogy the wording is begat, "Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat ... " Good night I'm losing my mind. Isaac begat Jacob, Jacob begat Judas and his brethren. We see the begat, begat, begat in Matthew chapter 1. This one's worded differently, the son of. The word begat is a very strong word of the fact that basically it's a physical descendant. Abraham begat Isaac, that's his physical child there. Isaac begat Jacob, Jacob begat Judas and his brethren, Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar. It's a physical begetting that's going on, whereas this one just uses the loser term, the son of.
Because the son of is used throughout the Bible about an adopted son, someone who is figuratively the son of, or someone who's the grandson or the great grandson. Begat can sometimes be referring to a grandson as well. The son of, is used more loosely in the Bible. The reason for that is because this is not Joseph's genealogy, we already got Joseph's genealogy in the Book of Matthew. This is actually the genealogy of Mary. Why? Because we're showing the humanity of Christ and Mary is his human mother. It makes sense in the book showing that he's the seed of woman, that he's the son of man, it's going to give Mary's genealogy.
That's why it starts out with, Jesus was "(as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli." He's not really the literal son of Heli, he is the son in Law of Heli. Heli is basically Mary's father. Joseph is the son of Heli because he's married to Mary and only because he's married to mary, not because it's his physical dad. Then it goes and gives that genealogy of Mary. Luke chapter 3 we have the genealogy of Mary, in Matthew chapter 1 we have the genealogy of Joseph. When we look at this genealogy we notice that it does go back to David, and it does go back to Abraham, but it's a different son of David, it's not through Solomon. God chose Solomon to be the king after David, and then Solomon begat Roboam, Roboam begat Abia, et cetera.
This is from a different son of David named Nathan, who is not in the kingly succession. This is showing that Jesus is the physical son of David and the physical son of Abraham, but he's not in that kingly line, it's through a different route, it's through a different line of people. Then notice this genealogy doesn't stop at David or stop at Abraham, it goes all the way to the beginning. Look at verse 38, "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God." It goes all the way back to the beginning showing his descent all the way back to Adam. Because back with the story of Adam and Eve there's a prophecy about the seed of the woman that would come and conquer Satan and conquer the serpent and conquer death. Jesus Christ is that seed of the woman of Revelation 12, or Genesis chapter 3. He's the son of man, son of mankind, he's what the Bible's teaching there in Luke chapter 3 with that genealogy.
If you would flip over to John chapter 1. John chapter 1, quick review, we have 4 animals, or 4 beasts that resemble different things. The first beast had a face like a lion, the second beast had a face like a calf or an ox, the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. Those represent the 4 gospels, Matthew the lion of the tribe of Judah the king of the Jews. What's the genealogy? The kingly legal genealogy. If a guy adopts a son, that's his legal heir. The fact that Jesus is the adopted or, stepson of Joseph, makes him legally the king of Israel.
Then we see Mark, oxen are used as beasts of burden, servants all throughout the Bible. For example it says, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his hire," again showing Christ as a servant, ministering, making himself of no reputation but taking on himself the form of a servant. No genealogy. Luke chapter 3, his humanity is emphasized. He's the son of man, the face like a man. In it we see more pictures of Christ's humanity, he's constantly referred to as the son of man and we have his human genealogy back to Mary.
Let me mention something else about the Book of Luke. The Book of Luke is not in chronological order like the other [gospels 00:41:08]. Matthew, Mark and John give it to us in a perfect chronological order but if you study carefully in the Book of Luke, or if you look at, sometimes in the back of your Bible you'll have a harmony of the 4 gospels. Who's ever looked at that in the back of the Bible, the harmony of the 4 gospels? You'll notice that the Book of Luke puts things in a different order. Why? Because Luke is giving things by topic and by subject. It's giving priority to subject matter than to give a strict narrative where it goes in perfect chronological order.
There are differences between the 4 gospels, but they're all true. Everything in them is true. They are corroborating testimonies of 4 independent witnesses. Then we see the Book of John lastly. This was represented by the eagle. Now you say, "Why would the Book of John be represented by the eagle?" This is the book that focuses on Christ's deity, so here's his genealogy. Look at verse 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." There's his genealogy right there. "The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Verse 14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Now, when we think of an eagle and when we study the Bible's teaching on eagles, let's say you were to just look up every time the word eagle's mentioned. We will notice certain themes about eagles. They're often referred to as flying, or dwelling in the heavens, dwelling on high, and a picture that we often think of with an eagle is of being up high and then swooping down and grabbing something and then carrying it up again. You see those things where they have the eagle eye, and the eagles is flying and it can see some little fish or something swimming and it just swoops down and grabs it and brings it up.
Now one thing that's emphasized over and over again in the Book of John is the fact that Jesus came down from heaven. Look if you would at John chapter 3 verse 13, over and over again, look at John 3:13, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." Look at verse 31, "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all."
Look at chapter 6. Just as the lion is the strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any, the lion is the king of the jungle. The eagle is sort of the king of the air. The one who dominates the heavens as being that powerful creature. Think about how many people wanted to use that a symbol, the United States has wanted to use that as a symbol, or all different coats of arms throughout history. The eagle represents power. But look at John 6:33, "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." Verse 38, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." Verse 41, "The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?"
Verse 50, "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." How many times is he repeating this, that he came down from heaven, came down from heaven, came down from heaven. That's the emphasis. Now if you would go to John chapter 14, I'm going to read for you from Exodus 19:4. You go to John 14.
Listen to this verse from Exodus 19:4, "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." Notice this verse that says, "I carried you on eagles' wings," "I bare you on eagles' wings, and I brought you unto myself." Look at John 14 verse 1, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again," watch this, "and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." In Exodus he said, "I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself," and in verse 3 here he says, "that I will receive you unto myself," talking about taking us to heaven in John 14.
Go to Luke 17. Luke 17, and then we're going to go to John 20 if you want to get your finger in a couple places. Luke 17 and then John 20. What's interesting about this is that it uses the eagle as a representation both because Jesus came down from heaven like an eagle would come down from the heavens as in the sky, symbolizing Christ's divinity, the fact that Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God, he was God, and that he didn't just come into existence in Bethlehem's manger, but that rather he came down from heaven. Over and over again that's taught. Not only that, he is the one that will take us to heaven, is what's being emphasized with the eagle. He will carry us on eagle's wings to heaven.
Look at Luke chapter 17 verse 34, this is about the rapture, "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." Notice the eagle is again being invoked when we have the picture of the rapture, of where the eagle is, where the carcass is there will the eagles be gathered together. He said, "I'll receive you unto myself. I bare you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself."
Look at John chapter 20, why is the eagle the perfect symbol for the Book of John? Because the Book of John is the book that tells us how to get to heaven. Think about it, what better symbol if the eagle is the symbol used for the rapture, if the eagle is the symbol used when he says, "I bare you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself," in Exodus 19 verse 4, the eagle represents the fact that he will carry us to heaven. He is one who came down from heaven and he ascended back up to heaven, and he said, "I go to prepare a place for you and I will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Of course the Jehovah's witnesses don't believe that. They don't think we're going to heaven but what does the Bible say? "I'm going to prepare a place for you, I'm going to receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Look at John 20 verse 30, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book," notice what he's saying here. There's a lot of other stuff that Jesus did that's not written in this book. Aren't some of those things in the Book of Matthew? Aren't some of them in the Book of Mark? Some of them are in the Book of Luke. But if you were to write all the things that Jesus did," the Bible says, "the world itself would not be able to contain the books that should be written." But it says, "There are many other things which Jesus did truly, "in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book," look at verse 31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
The Bible is telling us that the works that were chosen in the Book of John, the preaching that he did, the things that he did, the things that he said, were specifically hand picked for the Book of John to show you how to be saved. Think about that. You say, "Why does John leave this out, where Mark included it? Why did John leave this out where Luke included it?" Because John has specifically hand picked preaching stories that you would believe on Jesus Christ and that believing you would have light through his name. That's the purpose. Now this is the only book that makes that claim. The only book that claims to be a book written to get people saved. Matthew, Mark, they don't make that claim.
John says this gospel is specifically written to tell you how to get saved. Don't you think that's pretty significant? We shouldn't just ignore this verse, John chapter 20 verse 31. This is a significant verse. It's written that you might believe. Now, the Book of Luke doesn't make that claim. The Book of Luke says that it's written, it tells us why it's written at the beginning of Luke. It's says it's written that you might know the certainty, go back to Luke 1 quickly, and I'll show you why Luke has written. Luke chapter 1 says in verse 1, "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us," he's saying right there, other people have written gospels, other people have tried. Many people obviously tried and failed because it wasn't God's will because they weren't the chosen vessels, the holy men of God that would bring forth inspired scripture."
He says, "Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus." Why? Why are you writing to me Luke? "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." See, Luke is a book that's being written to people that are already saved. He's saying, "Look, these things are already most assuredly believed among us. Look, Theophilus, you already believe Jesus is the Christ. I believe that. We all believe that. But this is written that you might know the certainty of the things that you've been instructed [of 00:52:13], to give more details of some of the teachings and the doctrines, to show that these things are things that truly were taught by Christ."
Is Luke the book that's written to get people saved? It simply is not. That's not the primary [purpose 00:52:27]. Now could you use verses from Luke to get people saved? Of course. But is that the primary purpose? No. The primary purpose of John, it's written to an unbeliever telling them how to be saved. That's pretty significant, right? Here's the thing about that, did you know that John says the word believe 90 times in it? 90 times in the Book of John it says believe, believe, believe.
Think about it, when you go soul-winning where are some of the best salvation verses in the whole Bible located? John. I mean, John 3:16, that's the verse that the most unsaved people know of any verse. You go out soul-winning and you start quoting, "For God so loved the world ... " and people can finish it for you. You go to In-N-Out Burger, it's on the bottom of the cup, John 3:16. At a football game, somebody's holding up a sign, John 3:16. That is the famous verse. How many verses, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." You've got John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
When I was a child, when I got saved at age 6, I was shown the verse John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life," John 5:24. The list goes on and on, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." " I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" Over and over again John hammers the gospel, eternal life through faith in Christ. You want to talk about a book that tell you about how to be saved, it says believe 90 times.
People don't emphasize that, they don't think about that. Many cases it's because they have another gospel. They have a false gospel, it's a works based gospel, and here's the thing, John's the hardest for them to twist. Now look, the whole Bible teaches that salvation's by faith. None of the Bible teaches works based salvation. It all teaches that it's by faith, every book, all the prophets. Remember, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him," whosoever believeth in him, whosoever believeth in him, whosoever believeth in him. He said, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive the remission of sins," Acts 10:43.
But the book that really is geared toward that is John. James too is not written to tell you how to get saved. That's why it starts out by saying, "My brethren." He's talking to people that are already saved, trying to get them to do some work. Look, sometimes I want to some people that are already saved and tell them to get off their butts and go do some work, but that's not how to get saved. You don't work to get saved, you believe to be saved. But people who have a false gospel, they avoid John, or they de-emphasize it. "John's not anything special. John's not special." Yeah it is special. It's the gospel that's to get people saved.
To sit there and say, "Well Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all [equally 00:56:00]." No, he said things were included, things were left out, based on getting people saved. That's the claim that's made in John 20. That's why I remember when I was in Germany and I went to high school in Germany for one week, because I was 18 years old and I'd already graduated from high school but I could still kind of pass for a teenager. I basically went to high school for a week and was a guest of different Baptist church members that I was with, because I wanted to experience what it's like to go to public school in Germany for a week. I went to 3 different schools. I did a couple days here, a couple days here, I [wanted 00:56:43] something to do while I was in Germany.
I went to a religious education class in Germany. In Germany they have religion classes in the public school that are either taught by the Catholic Church or the Lutheran Church, depending on what part of the country you're in and depending upon what your denomination is. Because most people in Germany are either Catholic or Lutheran, it's pretty much the 2 denominations. You can opt-out if you want and you can take an ethics class instead, which a lot of students choose to do, but religious education is mandatory unless you opt-out and do ethics.
I went to a religion class in Germany and they handed us out a paper. It was a comparison of the 3 gospels. The 3 gospels, all right? Matthew, Mark and Luke. Basically the teacher was trying to teach us how they contradict each other. He's supposed to be the religious education teacher, promoting Christianity, promoting the Lutheran doctrine, but actually he's denying scripture. He lacked understanding and he's trying to show us the contradiction or whatever. He was just saying a bunch of stupid blathering for an hour, wasting everybody's time. I talked to my wife about it, because my wife grew up in Germany. She said, "Oh yeah." She said, "Whenever you went to religious education class they only teach you out of virtually Matthew, Mark and Luke. That's what they want to talk about all day long, Matthew, Mark and Luke."
She said that she was taught her whole life that John is too hard. The gospel of John's too hard. Read Matthew, Mark and Luke because John's too hard, which is funny because when you grow up Baptist you're taught the exact opposite. You're taught John's the easiest book, and they always start new converts in the Book of John. If somebody gets saved give them the Book of John. If you're taking the gospel to some deep dark jungle tribe, what do you do? You get John and Romans, you start them out with. Start with the gospel of John.
By the way, even the language of the Book of John, whether you're reading it in the original Greek or reading it in the King James, the language of the Book of John is the simplest language in the New Testament. Why? Because God wants everyone to be saved. He wants it to be simple. It's amazing how the Catholic Church though taught my wife that John's hard. It's too hard to understand. I mean, it is hard to understand, he keeps saying believe and we know that's not the way to heaven. You know what I mean? You've got to do the works. It's interesting how they do that.
Let me close on this, we're out of time but I want to close on this thought, is that there's an application that can be made from this. Go to first Peter chapter 2. There's an application that can be made. It's great to learn about the gospels, and I hope more than anything that you walk out of this sermon with a love for the word of God and a desire to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That's really the purpose of the sermon. You say, "Why are you teaching us this? Why do you preach about this? Why on a Sunday morning all of the topics you could preach on, why do you pick this topic?" Because I want you to walk out that door and I want you to love the Bible and I want you to love Jesus and I want you to go home and read the Book of Matthew, and I want you to have a greater appreciation for it. I want you to read the Book of Mark and read the Book of Luke, and read the Book of John, because, "my people is destroyed for lack of knowledge," the Bible says.
We need to be people of the book. We need to be Christians that dig in and study the Bible and search the scriptures daily. You know what? There's one thing that will make you read your Bible every day. Is it character? Is it discipline? Well, that could make you do it. That's one way to get there. But you know, most of us don't have that much character and discipline. Here's a real easy way to get you to read the Bible every day, love the Bible. Love the Bible. See, nobody has to remind you to do the things that you love. When you were a kid your mom didn't have to get on you, "Did you play outside yet? Have you played video games yet today? You get up there and you play video games." Nobody had to remind you of that. If it was stuff that you like doing you do it.
You know what? If you like it, you'll read it. Love it. I think God wants us to read it because we love Him, even more than just to read it because we have such great discipline and character. Look, discipline and character are important but loving Christ is more important, so love him, and you know what? Just by preaching the sermon I love him a little more, it makes want to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John more. I hope you feel the same way.
Another application we could take for own lives is, that the Bible says in first Peter chapter 2 verse 21, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." God gives us an example in the life of Christ also. What's the example of the Book of Matthew the lion? He wants us to be bold as a lion. The Bible says, "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion." That's why some of Jesus' hardest preaching is in Matthew. The sermon on the mount, Matthew 23, these are hard sermons. The boldness of Jesus is something that we can learn from. We can be like a lion, spiritually.
He's also, "made us kings and priests unto God and his Father," the Bible says. But secondly, what do we learn from the Book of Mark? We learn to be a servant. We learn to be hard worker. What did the Bible say? "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men."
What do we learn from the Book of Luke when we look at the humanity of Christ? We learn that Jesus Christ was human being, yet he resisted temptation, and that we can resist temptation as well. The Bible says, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Jesus proved that because he escaped all temptations.
What do we learn from the eagle representation. First of all the Bible says in Isaiah chapter 40 verse 31, "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." We can learn that from the eagle. We can learn also to set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth, and to do the will of the Father in heaven.
This is what we learn from the 4 gospels, in addition to getting the salvation of our soul we also get a role model on which to pattern our lives. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for these 4 wonderful books, Lord, even if the Bible just consisted of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and nothing else it would be the most amazing book on earth. It is truly the greatest story ever told. It's most assuredly worth reading 4 times, and 40 times, and 400 times. Lord please help us to study the whole Bible, but Lord I pray that we would have special love in our hearts for these 4 books that would increase as a result of this sermon. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.book on earth. It is truly the greatest story ever told. It's most assuredly worth reading 4 times, and 40 times, and 400 times. Lord please help us to study the whole Bible, but Lord I pray that we would have special love in our hearts for these 4 books that would increase as a result of this sermon. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.book on earth. It is truly the greatest story ever told. It's most assuredly worth reading 4 times, and 40 times, and 400 times. Lord please help us to study the whole Bible, but Lord I pray that we would have special love in our hearts for these 4 books that would increase as a result of this sermon. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.