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Notes on Message preached 20 September 2009 at PCF: ”We want to see Jesus”
Today we start a new series looking at the gospel of Luke. By way of introduction we are considering the first four verses:
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1 v 1-4)
During the first few years of the life of the church it was not hard to find someone who had known Jesus personally. As time went on, and the gospel spread quickly across the world those who had known Jesus became fewer and fewer. As stories about Jesus spread it became necessary to compile accurate records of what Jesus had said and done. Luke’s gospel is an inspired, accurate and authoritative record of the events surrounding the life, death and resurrection of the Saviour of the world.
We will look at these opening verses under three headings:
A Special Writer
The man entrusted with this task was not an eyewitness of Jesus. As an educated man, a doctor, he meticulously researched the material available, and, led by the Holy Spirit, produced this inspired record of the life of Jesus. As a Gentile, Luke was uncluttered by Jewish tradition and prejudices and readily presents Jesus as the Saviour of all who will trust him , men and women, young and old, Jew and Gentile.
A Special Reader
Luke introduces his reader to us. Theophilus (also mentioned in Acts 1) was almost certainly an educated Roman Gentile who had shown an interest in the new Christianity. Luke wrote to him, as one Gentile to another. But in fact Theophilus is more than one man. Theophilus represents us: an earnest seeker who has heard of the Christ and wants to know more. Luke is “the seeker’s gospel”
A Special Reason
Luke had a special reason for writing this book. He wanted Theophilus, (and he wants us) to “know the certainly of the things you have been taught”. Luke wanted to show that this Christianity was not based on fables, myths and experiences. The Christian faith is based on un-assailable historic facts, that will stand up to the most rigorous research and investigation. Luke writes as a man who had “carefully investigated everything from the beginning”.
So – what are the main “things you have been taught” that this record from Luke gives us certainly into:
1. God entered the world in human form – more than any other gospel writer, Luke takes great pains to point out the miraculous circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus.
2. Jesus took our sins upon himself – Luke, like the other gospel writers, devotes chapters of his work to establishing the reality of the death of the Messiah, as an offering for the sins of the world.
3. Jesus rose from the dead – Luke describes in detail the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, proving beyond doubt that our sin had been dealt with
4. Salvation is available to everyone – the conclusion in inescapable – salvation is available to anyone, in any generation and in any circumstances who will accept Jesus as the saviour of the world.
As we tale this journey through the gospel of Luke together, lets tell God that we want to see Jesus, we want to be informed more about the Son of God from Nazareth who became the Saviour of the World
Questions for Discussion:
1. What is the relevance of the fact that Luke was a Gentile, a Doctor and a scholar?
2. How is it possible to be certain about our faith? How can we deal with doubt?
3. What are the fundamentals of the Christian message that we need to be absolutely sure about?
4. As we look at Luke’s gospel we want our Sunday mornings to become more evangelistic, and “seeker friendly”. What implications will this have for the way we conduct ourselves as individuals and as a church?