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July 25, 2021 12:01 am
Can we trust the Gospel accounts to give us an accurate understanding of who Jesus is? Today, R.C. Sproul begins his series in the book of Luke by examining its author, the man considered by some to be one of the greatest historians of the ancient world.
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Dr. RC Sproul begins his sermon series in the Gospel of Luke. Next on Renewing Your Mind as we do recall that we finished our preschool series on the Gospel according to Morgan today we are pleased to begin his verse by verse exposition of Luke. We hope you'll join us over the coming weeks as we make our way through the sermons which RC delivered at St. Andrews Chapel where he copastor for many years I decided to move now in the direction of reaching by way of exposition through the gospel according to St. Luke. It's the only gospel of the four that I have not preached upon since St. Andrews began and this is an occasion where I've already preached on Luke's second volume the book of acts, which is the sequel to his gospel, and so this morning will begin our study of the prequel to the book of acts, namely, the gospel of Luke itself, the longest and most extensive of all of the Gospels, and so this morning will begin with chapter 1 and I will ask the congregation to stand for the reading of the word of God. Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us. Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word just delivered them to us. It seemed good to me. Also, having had the complete understanding of all things. From the very first to write to you and orderly accounts, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certain me of those things in which you were instructed these words come to us from Luke the gospel writer, but he wrote not alone nor in his own power, but as he was moved and superintended by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost so that the words that you have just heard are indeed the very word of God. Please be seated. Let us pray our father as we once again embark upon the study of a precious gospel that gives to us the narration of the person in the work the words the sayings and the teachings of our dear Lord, we pray that you would fill our minds and our hearts with the knowledge of and the love for Jesus, the central topic of this book. For we ask it in his neck.
Then before I began an exposition of the text of the gospel of Luke. I want to say a few words about Luke himself.
Ironically, in my own life before I ever read Luke's gospel.
Or indeed any thing of the Bible before I was even a Christian I became acquainted with this man named Luke, it was due to my lack of performance in the elementary study of the Latin language when I was in high school a study that I ordered from the very first lesson and are gracious Latin teacher gave us the ability to get five bonus points per six weeks testing spirit if we would read certain novels that she kept in her library in the Latin room novels that went over the history of biblical times such as the silver chalice from voicing Douglas or the road. Well read this book called the road to Bithynia in that book I believe was written by Frank slaughter. I'm not sure about that. These latter days, but it was a book tracing the life of the one that the apostle Paul identifies in his letter to the Colossians as the beloved physician, and of course this was a novel with the free use that the author had perfection, but nevertheless, he incorporated everything that he could learn about this historical character from typical sources, as well as the historians of the second and third century, some moving work. If you have an opportunity to read it. It's the road to Bithynia. While we find Luke mentioned in several places in the New Testament, not the least of which is in his own book of acts where Luke served as a come and onion with the apostle Paul in Paul's missionary journeys and so we see that this man was not only a dock for, but he was a missionary, a medical missionary's that was a close companion and friend of the apostle to the Gentiles. Saul of Tarsus, Luke was born and raised in Antioch, Gentile dissent and died in his 80s and peaceful way. Unlike most of the other writers of the biblical narratives and epistles, but again before I look at his tax. I want to direct your attention to the final words given to us by the apostle Paul in the second letter that he wrote to his disciple, Timothy a few weeks ago with the legionnaire tour of the cradle of Christianity. We were in Rome and while in Rome we videotaped several of the famous sites the Coliseum and the church of the Lateran with the sacred steps, but we also made a special visit to the man Martin prison where the apostle Paul endured his second Roman imprisonment and final imprisonment before his execution under that Emperor's neck name in the Roman empire was the case, Nero himself and the holding cell in which the apostle was kept prior to his execution under Nero was situated across the streets from the Roman forum. This was not a large prison as we imagine prisons to be but was simply a large cistern that had been cut out of the rock and had originally been used to keep a supply of water for the Romans. But, as history would have it, it was empty of water and turned into a cell for those who were on death row about to be executed and it is a moving experience to go down the stairs into that cistern. That dying dark cold wet place where the great apostle was held and presumably there wrote his final letter to Timothy, whom he had left behind in Ephesus.
But in that epistle, Paul writes these words that I'd like to call to your attention this morning.
I am already being poured out as a drink offering in the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I finish the race. I've kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that day and not to me only, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Be diligent to come quickly for Dimas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed from Thessalonica Crescent super glacier Titus for Dalmatia only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring them with you, for he is useful to me for ministry and tech tickets I've sent to Ephesus bring the cloak that I left with Carper Citro as when you come in the books, especially the parchments.
Then he goes on to say in verse 17, the Lord has stood with me and strengthen me that his message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear I was delivered out of the mouth of the line and the Lord will deliver me from every work and preserve me in his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Then final greetings to his friends. The last admonition to Timothy. Do your utmost to come before winter come before winter.
Bring the parchments bring my coat bring Mark because I am alone except for the Lord for the beloved physician, Luke, that last statement of the apostle Paul speaks volumes to me about this companion of his who went with him on his missionary journeys and stood next to Paul and all of the trials and tribulations that are recorded in the book of acts, but most significantly, stood side-by-side with Paul in that dreadful dying prison so were all the rest had fled and departed, and so Luke we know was a physician, Luke.
We know was a missionary, but most important about Luke was that he has the merged as one of the most important, if not the most important historian of the ancient world.
If we look back now and how he begins his gospel he acknowledges at the outset that others had taken 10 to give a narrative account of the things that they knew of the person and work of Jesus. We have that to survive to this day the inspired writings of Matthew, Mark and John but presumably beside those gospel writers. There were others in the first century who tried their hand at writing a summary of the history of Jesus and so Luke acknowledges that at the beginning and makes it clear that he is aware that others have gone before him in this venture. Providing a history and sources.
Since many have taken hand to set an order of narrative those things which have been fulfilled among us. Just as those who were from the beginning.
Eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.
That's a descriptive phrase for the apostles.
Those who had been disciples like Matthew, like John Mark, of course, was not one of the 12, but he was considered to be the amanuensis of the secretary for the apostle Peter Luke was not a disciple. He had been converted by the disciples by the apostles and came under the tutelage of the great apostle Paul. So much of what Luke knows he gains from his association with Paul as well as with the others who were among the first disciples. This is those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word leukocyte are not an eyewitness, but I am a historian as a historian I check the sources in a loop gives us more information about the birth of Jesus than anybody else, and it's worth almost total certainty that we know that Luke had the privilege of interviewing Mary the mother of Christ and got all the infancy information from Mary about Elizabeth and the visitation of the Magi and all of that from those who were the eyewitnesses of the birth of our Lord. But he said after we have received things from the eyewitnesses.
It seemed good to me. Also, having had a complete understanding of all the things from the very first to write to you and orderly account, most excellent Theophilus now is a lot of conjecture about the one who is addressed here and in the book of acts Theophilus he said that he has the awful his name and all of the Bible when you go to sleep the course. The name Theophilus if you analyze its meaning. It means friend or lover of God and so some people think that's the person who is mentioned here represents in a Certain Way, Christian, every man, but I don't think so. I think that Luke is addressing his volume as it was commonplace in the ancient world for scholars to dedicate their writings to some person of noble position. He is it the voting you're dedicating this to a man by the name of Theophilus because he calls a most excellent Theophilus, which were titles not given to symbolic characters, but rather to real historical personages and then he goes on to say the reason why he's writing that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed that was his burden that was his passion. I'm writing these things down that you can be sure that the things that you have heard the things that have been preached to you the things that that been declared to you by the eyewitnesses I'm writing and orderly historical carefully documented account to strengthen your faith to give you certitude that you might have the full assurance of the truth of the gospel that you have heard that was his task as a historian near the ancient world had many notable historians, both Roman and Greek and Jewish as well.
You have the historian Thucydides, Xenophon, Herodotus, Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny the Jewish historian Josephus, all of whose works are still red. I have a collection in my house of all of the works of the great Greek historians and there were many, and they were excellent in the work that they did but no historian of the ancient world has been some directed to as much academic and archaeological scrutiny has been Luke, the writer of this gospel. No historian's have sometimes been skeptical about the biblical writers in the early part of the 20th century a British atheist historian set out to debunk the truth claims of the Gospels and so he decided to follow the alleged footsteps of the apostle Paul throughout his missionary journeys going to all those places that the archaeologist said examined in this fellow by the name of Ramsey was converted to Christianity.
On the way because he discovered that every time a spate of dirt was turned over in those days some historical aspect of the Gospels was being verified and authenticated, and Ramsey and others have said secular historians that Luke apart from inspiration apart from the divine assistance that he enjoyed that Luke was the most accurate historian of the entire ancient world. No language changes as time passes and the sculptures go through upheavals and changes I remember of course going through the decade of the 60s and then into the 70s, but in the 60s there was so much attention given to the discovery of hallucinogenic drugs, and Timothy Leary was the great high priest of LSD while he was teaching there at Harvard university in encourages students to to drop out and turn on all of that and they also said that you could not trust anyone over 30 years of age and you recall all that discussion about the credibility gap between generations. At that time and then this skepticism and cynicism about truth telling was then emphasized by colorful sports commentator Howard Cosell who said that we should always do what talent like it is. And so we had this emphasis of telling things the way it actually is simply had a president to raise questions about the what the meaning of is is nevertheless we have this currency known our language of I hear it all the time. To my endless annoyance and is what it is one of the things I do every week is record the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's press conferences where he answers questions from the media about the status of his football team and when critical issues come up about weaknesses displayed by his team.
He shrugged his shoulders and say it is what it is. Think what could be more redundant than say it is what it is, of course, it is what it is they can't be what it is that not being what it is common even Hamlet understood that the beer not to be that the question we can't have it both ways why my talking about that silliness, because not only is it true that it is what it is but even important. More important for us is that it was what it was and look status under God was to set forth for us and for our certain how it really what really space and time in real history Luke set out to record and orderly account of Christ earthly life and ministry because he was inspired by the Holy Spirit we can be certain of its accuracy.
So glad you could join us for the beginning of Dr. scroll sermon series from the gospel of Luke and we hope you will be with us in the coming weeks and months as he guides us through this gospel account and if you do join us were offering a companion resource is RC's verse by verse commentary on Luke with his theological precision in pastoral insights. Dr. scroll guide you through the events of Christ's birth and resurrection. You also learn the meaning of blood parables, including the good Samaritan in the prodigal son. It's all there in his commentary on Luke and will be happy to send you the e-book version for your donation of any amount to look in your ministries. Just log on to Renewing Your Mind.org and click on the tab marked today's offer that this is a web offer only our offices are closed today so that that we can worship and enjoy the Lord's day with our families as well.
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