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Best Of- Introduction to Luke Part#1

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
July 13, 2022 12:30 am

Best Of- Introduction to Luke Part#1

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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July 13, 2022 12:30 am

Today's episode is a best of Pastor Russ Andrews introduction to the book of Luke.

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Simply go to Geico.com or contact your local agent today. This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook.

Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Lee Strobel was a Yale Law School graduate and he worked for the Chicago Tribune for 14 years as an investigative journalist. And he approached every crime scene using this principle.

Follow the evidence wherever it leads. And he was very gifted. He had a great mind and he was an excellent investigator and journalist. However, when it came to matters of faith, he had not followed his own principle. Thus at this point in his life, he was an atheist. He believed that God was merely a product of wishful thinking, of ancient mythology, of primitive superstition. He said, how could there be a loving God if He consigned people to hell just for not believing in Him?

Interesting question. Strobel was trained as an expert in examining the evidence at crime scenes. He would examine every parcel of evidence like a scientist looking through a microscope at a virus. However, when it came to Christianity, he only gave the evidence a cursory glance. And that's what so many men do.

They just give Jesus a cursory glance. In 1979, the unthinkable happened to Lee Strobel. His wife walked in the door and told him, announced to him that she had become a born-again Christian.

And Strobel couldn't believe it. He said it was the worst thing that could have happened in his marriage. And he really believed that his marriage was going to end in divorce. However, as he began to observe his wife, he liked what he saw. She didn't nag him to become a Christian. She didn't try to convince him or argue with him about her newfound faith. Instead, she was more kind and caring and loving.

She seemed to exude peace and confidence and hope. And he was attracted to that. Eventually, Strobel decided that he wanted to get to the bottom of what he calls these changes in his wife's life. So he began an all-out investigation into the facts surrounding the case for Christianity. He read books. He interviewed experts. He asked questions. He analyzed history.

And he explored archaeology. And for the very first time in his life, he actually picked up a Bible and began to read it. And over the course of time, his skepticism gave way to a growing faith as he followed the evidence where it led. Prompted by the results of his investigation, at the age of 29, he told his wife that he too was now a born-again believer. If you want to read about how he came to faith, you can read his personal testimony in a book entitled, The Case for Christ.

And it's a great book. Tonight's message is entitled, A Reasonable Faith. We are going to examine the first four verses of Luke chapter 1. And by the way, these four verses in the Greek text are just one sentence. A beautiful and balanced sentence that is considered one of the best composed sentences in the entire Greek New Testament. And here's how Dr. Luke, he's a physician, begins his gospel.

So y'all follow along with me. I'm going to be using the NIV translation. Here's what Luke writes, beginning with Luke chapter 1, verse 1. 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've been taught.

From this one incredible Greek sentence, I want you to understand, listen, if you take away one thing, I want you to take away this tonight. One key truth about Christianity, Christianity is a reasonable faith. You see, many people believe that to become a Christian requires blind faith. In other words, before you become a believer, and I've heard this before, if you're going to become one of them born-againers, you better check your brain at the door.

That could not be further from the truth. The Christian faith is a reasonable faith. That is, a Christian's faith, my faith, Grant's faith is based upon reason. Faith, when properly defined, is personal trust developed through the examination of reliable information, such as that of an eyewitness account.

Reason is the ability of your mind to process this information and use your intellect to come to real, true, and logical conclusions. Hebrews 11.1 in the King James Version goes like this, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. You see, the Christian faith relies upon substance and evidence. It's in the same way that a husband has complete faith and trust in his wife. Listen, the Christian faith is not based upon the unseen.

You hear me? It's not based upon the unseen. It's based upon that which is known. 1 Peter 1 verse 13 says, Therefore, prepare your minds for action. And that's what we're going to do this year. When you come here on Tuesday night, and when you pick up your study guide during the week, you better have your mind fully engaged. We're going to prepare our minds each and every week to study God's Word. And listen, if you do that with an open mind, with an open heart, and you ask God to give you understanding, He will. Martin Darcy, who was a Jesuit believer, once said, There is no salvation saving truth, and the royal road of truth is by the mind.

Martin Lloyd-Jones, one of Grant's favorites, once said, Let us never forget that the message of the Bible is addressed primarily to the mind, to your understanding. God has given us a mind to be used to make reasonable decisions and judgments regarding His existence, the truth of the gospel, and the credibility of the Christian faith. Just like Strobel, all we have to do is follow the evidence. And man, I'm telling you this, the evidence will lead us to the truth. So why is Christianity a reasonable faith?

Let me give you three reasons. First, Christianity is a reasonable faith because it is based upon fulfilled prophecy. Luke, who was a Gentile physician, he was a historian and a theologian. He set out more than, think about this, more than 1900 years ago to carefully investigate every piece of information he could gather concerning the life and death and ministry of a man called Jesus. Notice in verse 1 that Luke informs us of the many who had undertaken the task of drawing up an account of the things that had been fulfilled among them. You see, Luke wanted to make sure that Theophilus and anyone else who read the gospel in Luke, and he didn't know this at the time, but even a group of men who would be sitting here on September the 7th, 2021, that we actually have an accurate account. By the way, drawing up an account refers to the act of writing a sequence of events as they happened in chronological order.

That's what we have. And by the way, we're going to be spending two years in Luke, and we're going to go deep. Luke refers to these events as the fulfillment of prophecy. These events that were happening among them that they were eyewitnesses of, he calls them the fulfillment of prophecy. You see, many of the events that were happening during the years that Jesus walked this earth were prophesied hundreds of years before they ever happened.

Did you all know this? The Bible is the only book in the world that contains fulfilled prophecy. There's no other book that has it. None.

Show me one. The Qur'an doesn't. The sayings of Confucius don't contain fulfilled prophecy.

No other religion has a book like we have. We have the only book in the world that contains fulfilled prophecy. What prophecies was Luke referring to? He was referring to the Old Testament, which predicted hundreds of years, in some cases a thousand years earlier, of one who would come into the world, who would be called the Son of God, who would be the promised Messiah, the coming Savior of the world. And the Old Testament predicted that this one who was coming would do incredible things, could only be defined as supernatural miracles. The prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the birth of Christ, and we have the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. In Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14, this great prophet prophesied, therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign, evidence if you will. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him what?

Emmanuel, God with us. In Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6, he prophesied, for to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He went on to say that his kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom that would never come to an end. The prophet Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. In Micah 5 verse 2, he prophesied, again 700 years before the birth of Christ. But you, right here we're going to see that the Old Testament is so specific that it identifies, did you know there were two Bethlehems in Israel? It identifies the one particular Bethlehem from which this promised Savior would come. Listen, but you Bethlehem Ephrathah, that's the one, the one in Ephrathah. From that one, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come from a one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old from ancient times, referring to his eternality. Isaiah also prophesied that this Messiah would perform many wonderful miracles. In Matthew 35 verses 4 through 6, it says, Be strong, do not fear, your God will come. He will come with vengeance, with divine retribution will He come to save you. Talking about Israel. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. In Matthew chapter 11, when John the Baptist was in prison, can you imagine that if you were announcing the coming of the Messiah, and all of a sudden you find yourself in prison, don't you think you might have a few doubts? Well how could He let me get locked up in prison if He's the Messiah? So He sent one of the disciples to Jesus and said, Are you the one who wants to come?

Or should we expect somebody else? I'd have that question. Jesus replied, Go back and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. He went on to say that no man born of woman is greater than John the Baptist. And John the Baptist, of course, was beheaded by Herod.

You see, I could go on and on if we had all night. There are more than 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in one man, a man by the name of Jesus. Do you know what the odds of that are?

One in ten to the 27th hour, which I'm not going to tell you what that number is because I don't know what it is. It's basically an impossibility, but it happened. And so, men, I ask you, I plead with you, if you come here tonight and you're not sure about your faith, here's what I want you to do. Stick with us. Follow the evidence, and it will lead you to the truth. You see, fulfilled prophecy will lead a reasonable man to Jesus.

That's what happened to Lee Strobel. Christianity is a reasonable faith, not only because it's based upon fulfilled prophecy, but also it's reasonable because it's based upon eyewitness accounts. Look back again with me at verses one through two. Now I want you guys to understand this, particularly you guys. We stick to the Scripture here. See, I get in trouble if I wander away from the Scripture. So I'm going to stay anchored to the text and make sure that we understand it. So here's what Dr. Luke writes. 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. You see, these accounts were handed down in both oral and written form by eyewitnesses. Credible eyewitness accounts are in essence a guarantee of the reliability of the truth claims.

Did you all hear that? Credible, I mean credible, eyewitness accounts are in essence a guarantee of the reliability of truth claims. That's why they are so important in a court of law.

All you need is really one, but in a murder case probably two or three. You know where that came from, that law? The Bible.

Most of the laws of our land, by the way, started with the Bible, just in case you haven't figured that out. So Luke, if you read through the book of Acts, you'll see that he traveled all over Asia, China, and Greece with the Apostle Paul, with Mark, with Timothy, and with many others. He himself had apparently not seen Jesus. Therefore, he relied on the eyewitness accounts of the men that he traveled with. And so as a historian, just you can see this, as a historian, he took notes and he documented all that he heard. These were credible eyewitnesses. Many of them, listen, you know what really made them credible? You know a man's credible that he believes what he's saying if he's willing to die for it. Many of these eyewitnesses later died for what they believed. Just like men and women are dying in Afghanistan right now as we sit here in freedom, they're dying for their faith. I don't know if you all know this, but I got an email from a guy out at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary back when, you know, this whole thing blew up in Afghanistan, and he said, Pray for the missionaries in Afghanistan, because many of them believe that they're going to be seeing Jesus in the next 24 hours. You know what that means? There's only one way they're going to see Him, and that's if they died.

But you know what? Many of them are already dead. Do you think they want to come back? They're delighted that they got beheaded. They're delighted that they were, you know, executed, because now they're with their Savior.

Do you have that kind of faith? In Acts chapter 12, we learned that James, the brother of John, was the first Christian martyr of the early church. He was put to death by the sword on the order of King Herod. Paul, too, was later beheaded in Rome under Emperor Nero for his faith in Jesus. Hebrews 11, verses 35 through 37 says, Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were put to death by the sword. Why did that happen to them?

Do you know why? Because they would not deny their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And guess what? When they crossed through death's door, He would not deny them. Luke listened to their stories when he traveled with Paul and Mark and Timothy. He heard about the miracles, but you know more than anything else, he looked into the eyes of men like Peter and Paul. You know what he saw? He saw a fate that was unshakable. He saw men who were ready and willing to die.

He saw men who were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 1 John, chapter 1, verses 1 through 3 says, Again, this is the disciple John who wrote 1, 2, and 3 John. It's right there at the back of the Bible, right before Revelation. And really, 1 John is written to believers, to examine ourselves to see if we're really into faith.

And here's what he says. He says, That which was from the beginning, who's he talking about? Jesus. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In verse 14 of John, chapter 1, And the Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us. That which was from the beginning, which we've heard, which we've seen with our eyes, which we've looked at, and our hands have touched, this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

The life appeared. We have seen it and testify to it. And we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And then, when you walked in here tonight, some of you don't really understand what it means to have fellowship with a Christian brother. Some of you don't really understand what it means to have fellowship with your Heavenly Father, who we can actually call Abba, which is another term for basically Daddy.

That's how personal it is. Jesus says, I know My sheep. And My sheep what? Know Me. They hear My voice.

I call for them, and they follow Me. Listen, if you don't have fellowship with God, then you'll never see heaven. And the only way that you can have fellowship with God and with the Son, Jesus, is to believe these eyewitness accounts that have been recorded for us in the Bible. Not only do we have Luke, but we also have Matthew, Mark, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude. That's the writers of the, I don't think I left anybody out, of the entire New Testament.

By the way, James and Jude were two of Jesus' half-brothers. You can't get any more eyewitness than that. If you can't believe them, who can you believe?

So let me ask you a question. How many eyewitnesses do you need before you're really willing to believe in God? God has given us so much evidence, it's ridiculous.

All we have to do is follow the evidence, and it will lead us to the truth. Can you see that Christianity really is a reasonable faith? It's reasonable because it's based upon fulfilled prophecy. It's reasonable because it's based upon eyewitness accounts.

And third, it's reasonable because it's based on changed lives. Now I want you to look back again with me at verses 1 and 2. Luke writes, 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. So Luke first points to eyewitnesses, and then he mentions servants of the word. So what does he mean by these servants of the word? Well, this was important to kind of go back and look at the Greek word and really understand what that Greek word means.

And so the Greek word that's used here refers to someone who not only had personal knowledge of the facts, but, listen, had personal experience of the facts. In other words, their lives have been changed. These servants, or really, or ministers, they not only knew the truth, but their lives have been changed by the truth. And that's why they went around the countryside preaching the gospel.

And you know what they were doing? They were testifying about how this gospel had changed their lives. And people could see the change in them. Has your life been changed?

Can people see a change in you or just the same old man you've always been? Listen, you cannot encounter the risen Christ and not have a changed life. In John chapter 4, one of my favorite stories in the Bible, Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well. She was a woman of ill-repute. She had had five husbands, and the man she was currently shacking up with was not her husband. But Jesus knew everything about her. And what did she do? When she realized who Jesus was, she dropped her water bucket, and she went back to her town. The reason she was at this well at high noon, because nobody went there at high noon. So she wanted to be by herself because she was ashamed of herself. When she went back to the town, she told everyone, come see a man who told me everything I ever did.

Could this be the Christ? That's all she said. Do you know what the people did? They flocked out there to meet this man. Do you know why they went?

Because they saw a woman whose life had been changed. When Jesus was arrested in the garden, all the disciples fled in fear, including Peter and John. Peter even later denied Christ three times, basically because of a little girl questioning them. Fear consumed them.

They didn't have any boldness. In Acts chapter 4, we see Peter and John again. And they had been arrested and thrown in jail because they were out there preaching about Jesus. And they were brought before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was a group of religious leaders who had accused Jesus of blasphemy and then condemned Him to the cross. And so, now you can imagine, Peter and John are standing there before this august group who had the power to execute them. Verse 8 says, Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood up before them and boldly proclaimed, Salvation is found in no one else, for there's no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. And then in verse 13 it says, When the religious leaders saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with who?

Jesus. What did these religious leaders see in Peter and John? They saw changed lives. What caused this change in Peter and John? One minute they were running for their lives in fear and now they were willing to die.

Do you know what happened? He rose from the dead and they saw the living Christ with their own two eyes. And their lives were never the same again. Paul's life was changed. One minute he had a letter from the high priest. He was headed to Damascus to arrest Christians. And he encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus and he went on to become the greatest evangelist the world has ever known all because his life was changed because he saw Jesus.

Listen. A changed life is the greatest evidence of the validity of the Christian faith. People can argue against your truth claims. They can try to refute the Bible.

But the only response to you when you tell them about your changed life is silence. No one can argue with your personal testimony. Consider the blind man in John chapter 9. The religious leaders questioned... you ought to go read this story tonight. The religious leaders... he was healed by Jesus and then the religious leaders summoned him and questioned him. And they said, who was this man that healed you? And he really didn't know. He said, maybe a prophet. And he was liberating his parents with excommunication. Then they summoned the blind man a second time and at this point they're so angry they accused Jesus in front of him of being a blatant sinner like everybody else. This is coming from the religious establishment. Do you know what the blind man said?

He said, whether he's a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. Once I was blind, now I can see. Can you say that? Can you say, once I was blind, but now I see?

Has your life really been changed? Have you surrendered your life to the risen Christ? I mean, that's the only way you get to go to heaven.

There is no other way. Jesus said, I'm the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local triangle men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 13:24:07 / 2023-03-25 13:34:41 / 11

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