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Luke and the Reason to Believe. Acts 1:1-3

28/09/2019

Luke and The Reason to Believe

Text: Acts 1:1-3. Cf Luke 1:1-4

We’re moving from an OT book to a NT book, from a prophetic book to a historic book, from a challenging book to an exciting book.  We won’t be able to study it in great depth, but we’ll get the the main themes and characters and developments, and that should give us a flavour on life among the very first Christians. So, we begin with our introduction, and we look at the first three verses of chapter 1. 

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Luke – The Beloved Physician

Let’s see:-

 

1 The Writer and the Writings. The former account I made,

The Book of Acts was written by Luke.  As we all know, he was a Doctor, and a disciple, and a companion of many who were eye witnesses of the ministry of Christ. Luke 1:1-4  Colossians Ch4:14  Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you). Ligonier: Luke shared in instructing people in the Christian message and possibly in performing miraculous healings.  So this was not the first book Luke had written, – he’s already got a book under his belt, a history of the Life of Jesus, that we know as ‘The Gospel of Luke.’  Here, at the beginning of his second book, Luke recaps what his first book was about.  He’d written about:-

  • The Ministry of Jesus. of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.   Luke has researched thoroughly the woks Jesus, his healings, the miracles.  He has carefully chronicled his doctrine and teaching ministry. 
  • The Life of Jesus. until the day in which He was taken up, His understanding of the life Jesus, the history of the times of the Messiah is extensive – right from the events surrounding his birth, until the death, resurrection, – and at the very end of his Gospel and the beginning of Acts, the ascension of Jesus.   
  • The Followers of Jesus.   Look at bow he described the followers of Christ… Indwelt by the Holy Spirit. after He through the Holy Spirit.  With obedience. had given commandments to the apostles. As Elect Saints! whom He had chosen. 

Luke may not have been one of those eye-witnesses but his research is immediate, it is thorough and it is extensive and accurate.  It is an example to all those, even today who would seek to inform others about the Saviour!  2 Timothy 2:15.  

 

2 The Readers. 

So, who is this book for?  

  • Theophilus.  O Theophilus, Initially of corse, the book is written to someone called Theophilus.  We have no idea who he is, except that he holds a position of rank or status in society, for he is addressed as Excellency.’  The name is Greek, so he’s probably a gentile, and a seeker after the Lord.  His name means ‘Lover of God’ – and in that sense he is symbolic of every believer, even…
  • Us!  The BCP has a prayer: ‘ALMIGHTY God, who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist, and Physician of the soul: May it please thee that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’  Luke’s Gospel, and Acts was written by the Doctor as strong medicine for our souls.  It will do us good!
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Luke’s work – medicine for the soul

As we study Luke’s work, may it please God to use his writings, given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to cure all the soul’s diseases, as surely as it must have benefited its first reader.

A WORD OF CAUTION.  Luke is a HISTORIAN.  He is not a prophet.  He is not a teacher.  He is not a theologian.  He is recounting a series of events as they happened in his day.  There are parts of the book, where the DISCIPLES or JESUS himself will give us didactic, teaching commands, which we must obey, but that is not the primary purpose of the book. 

 

3 The Rationale. The reason to believe!  

Right at the beginning of the book Luke asserts the truth that Jesus is risen from the dead. How do we explain this belief to unbelievers? If the only proof of the resurrection that we have is personal experience, then that is no proof at all, and it won’t convince anyone but oneself.  So, what are the reasons to believe in the risen Jesus? 

Evidence

Evidence

According to Luke…

  • The testimony of the first believers. 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering.  Remember that Luke is a thorough researcher.  He has spoken to the witnesses, who were still alive.  Imaging how they would have spoken about their evidence of the living Jesus!  How would they have replied to his interrogations?  

Mary! Luke 24:10  Peter!   John 20:3  Thomas!   John 2024  Paul,  Galatians 1:3  

  • The many INFALLIBLE proofs! by many infallible proofs,  The proofs are infallible, they are indisputable, they would stand up in any court!
  • The existence of the Church!  being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  Now, did you notice that when Luke speaks of the earthly ministry of Christ he uses the word, BEGAN. of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. The earthly life of Jesus was not the end of his work, his ministry.  It continues!  Jesus is still among his people, in the person of the Holy Spirit, still doing the Father’s will, still interceding for the saints, before the Throne of Grace.  And his sphere of work, and where that work is seen is in the church!

There are VERY good sound factual reasons to believe in the resurrection of Jesus!  

So, we have an author, who has done his work, extensively researched the facts and collated them in a book to inform us about the followers of the risen Jesus, and reading it together will do us much good, for there is verifiable, empirical evidence for the staggering, cosmic event that underpins the foundation of the church, and the scene is set for Theophilus and us to enjoy the story of the early days of the Christian church.  

BobMcEvoy September 2019

From → Acts, Bible Study

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