Topical Sermons

Bible Question Box

August, 2001

(Scripture: Isaiah 8:11-20)

1. Bible study is not for self-justification (cf. Jno. 5:39). It is for learning God's truth so we may have faith & walk in it - Acts 17:10-12.
2. "To the law and to the testimony!" (Isa. 8:20)

#1-A: "Was Matthias considered an apostle? If so, there was at least 13 apostles."

-Yes, Matthias was an apostle - Acts 1:26. (One who is sent.)

  A. How Many Apostles Were There?
    1. 12 apostles were chosen by Jesus while on earth:
      a. To accompany Him during His ministry (Lk. 6:12-16; 22:28).
      b. To serve as eyewitnesses of His resurrection (Acts 10:39-41).
      c. To be ambassadors of Christ to the world - Preach the gospel to all (Acts 10:42; 2 Cor. 5:18-20).
    2. Others were also chosen (yes, there were more than 12 apostles of Christ):
      a. Matthias (Acts 1:15-26) - Fully & completely an apostle of Christ.
      b. Paul:
        (1) Acts 9:15 - Chosen vessel of the Lord - cf. Acts 26:15-16.
        (2) 2 Cor. 11:5; 12:11-12 - Completely an apostle.
        (3) 1 Cor. 15:8-10 - Lit., "abortive" - Exceedingly unworthy (he felt himself vile, guilty & unworthy to be an apostle as a persecutor -- Obtained grace).
  B. Were The Apostles "Canonized" By The Catholic Church?
    1. "Canonization: An infallible declaration by the pope that a person, who died as a martyr and/or practiced Christian virtue to a heroic degree, is now in heaven and is worthy of honor and imitation by all the faithful." (Catholic Word Book, from 1973 Catholic Almanac, p. 7).
      a. Only God writes names in heaven - Not man! - Rev. 21:27
      b. Even an apostle could fall away - 1 Cor. 9:27 (cf. Judas).
    2. Canonization is of man, not God! (1 Pet. 4:11)

#1-B: "Also, who would fill the 'twelfth throne' (Mt. 19:28), Matthias or Paul? (Could we even know - does the Bible offer evidence?)"

  1. Matt. 19:28 - Number "12" represents completeness - all of the apostles (incl. Paul) & all of God's people (kingdom citizens). (For completeness, see Rev. 7:4, where Dan is not named, but necessarily included.)
  2. Matt. 19:28 - Here Jesus establishes the authoritative nature of the apostolic message to govern over the kingdom of God (church) - cf. 1 Cor. 14:37.

#2: "In John 20, after Jesus rose from the dead, in verse 17, Jesus tells Mary Magdalene not to touch him because he has not yet ascended to his Father, but in vs. 27, he invited Thomas to reach his hand into his side, etc., one week later. What was the difference?

  A. What Did Jesus Mean In Jno. 20:17, "Do Not Touch Me?"
    1. "Do not cling to me" or lit., "cease clinging to me" - haptomai - "To fasten oneself to, adhere to, cling to" (Thayer, 70).
    2. Present tense - Mary was already touching Jesus, & He tells her she cannot do that now. WHY NOT?
      a. Not because it was indecent.
      b. Not because He couldn't be touched - Matt. 28:9; Jno. 20:27.
      c. Reason: "The prohibition reminds Mary that the previous personal fellowship by sight, sound & touch no longer exists and that the final state of glory was not yet begun. Jesus checks Mary's impulsive eagerness." (Robertson's NT Word Pictures)
  B. "Not Yet Ascended:" Still Work For Jesus To Do Which Had To Be Accomplished - 20:17. (Jesus has not yet been exalted in heaven.)
    1. Appearances - Acts 1:3 (1 Cor. 15:5-7).
    2. Teaching - Acts 1:3 (prophetic fulfillment, kingdom, commission, etc.).
  C. No Contradiction Between Mary & Thomas - Jno. 20:17, 27.
    1. Mary: A prohibition (v. 17): "Do not cling to me."
    2. Thomas: An invitation (v. 27) - Assess the evidence and believe!
    3. Mary believed (v. 16) and did not want Jesus to leave her.
    4. Thomas did not believe & was encouraged to examine the proof.
-There is harmony in the Biblical account.

     Let us always go "to the law and to the testimony" of God's inspired word for our full & final guide for life and godliness.