Friday, December 13, 2019

2019.12.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 1:1-4

Questions from the Scripture text: What have many attempted to do (Luke 1:1)? What two types of people had delivered these things (Luke 1:2)? What kind of understanding does Luke have as he writes (Luke 1:3)? What kind of account is he writing? To whom is he writing? What does Luke want him to know (Luke 1:4)? What does he want him to be certain about?
Christianity is a religion of facts and reality. Theophilus has been instructed (more literally, “catechized,” Luke 1:4). What does God use to increase his experiential confidence (“know the certainty”) in what he believes? Historical facts: “set in order a narrative” (Luke 1:1) and “orderly account” (Luke 1:3).

God the Son became a man, lived a perfectly righteous life while displaying Himself to be the promised Savior and God-man, then died an accursed death as He gave His life as a ransom for sinners. This is an event of history. He has risen from the dead, and by His Spirit He is bringing sinners unto saving faith in Himself. This is a present reality. And this is the substance of Christianity.

What does Christ use to bring us to this faith? His Word. Some traditions have made much of the apostles—putting them on another level of sainthood from the ordinary Christian, even praying to them and venerating them. This is not what the evangelist does in Luke 1:2. Like John at the end of his own gospel (cf. John 21:24), Luke teaches us to value the apostles especially as “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.” They testify to the history, and their testimony is the appointed instrument of Christ.

In fact, the word translated “from the very first” in Luke 1:3 can mean that with reference to time, but its most basic meaning is “from above.” It sure seems to fit better with a “perfect” (literally, “accurate”) understanding that it has come from above—Luke, here, is telling us that by whatever means he learned these things, he is writing them with an accuracy that is the result of divine inspiration. We can take him not at his word, but at God’s Word.

If our Christianity is just feelings about God, or habits we practice, or even a system of theology, we will not read the Gospel of Luke correctly. Surely, Scripture stirs up to certain feelings about God that it tells us that we should have, and it commands and inspires certain habits that we must practice, and it teaches us a system of theology to which it urges us to hold. But, if we are listening to the Scripture, we find none of these at the center of our Christianity. Rather, at the center we find Christ Himself—what He has done, and who He is.

Is Christ Himself the center of your Christian life?
How important to you are historical facts about Jesus? Who is He? What has He done? How does He increase our confidence in Him? What use are you making of it?
Suggested songs: ARP19B “The LORD’s Most Perfect Law” or TPH170 “God in the Gospel of His Son”

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