Just the Facts Theolphilusl Luke 1;1-4 112606
Just the Facts, Theophilus! (Luke 1:1-4)
Intro: It is often believed that Dragnet's Sgt. Joe Friday character frequently implored female informants to provide "Just the facts, ma'am." But, the reality is that, Jack Webb, the actor who played Sgt. Friday never said exactly those words. He would “All we want are the facts, ma’am.”
Luke, like the other four authors of the gospels, gave “just the facts” of the life of Christ. The four gospels are factual biographies concerning Christ. They are not modern biographies that tell every detail (John 20:20 – many signs not written and John 21:25 world could not contain all the books if all the facts were written). Whether you read a biographical account of someone famous or watch one on TV, you probably recognize that you are being given a general biography and not a moment by moment account. Different biographers often will tell the same story of a person’s life in a different way.
Gospel means literally “good news.” In the secular Greek, the word “euangelion” referred to a good report about an important event.
The gospels convey the facts that are most important for people becoming converted to Christ by faith. Therefore, some periods of Christ’s life are not given equal treatment. We know very little of Christ’s life from 0-30. We are only given 4 chapters in two books concerning these matters. The focus is primarily on Christ’s ministry and road to Calvary and the resurrection story.
Four accepted gospels and no more. M, M, L, and John. Many spurious and false gospels, some of which have made their way back into our present time. Each gospel account has a distinct perspective and a distinct audience. M, M, and Luke are very similar often called the synoptics meaning “common eye” or “seeing together.” They focus on Jesus Galilean ministry. John focuses on Jesus’ Judean ministry. The Four Gospels complement each other well. No matter what differences we see in order or stories given the focus is the same. All the gospels focus on the identity of Jesus and the Mission of Jesus. The gospel or good news is the story of Jesus.
Give background context of Luke. Read Luke 1:1-4
Author: Luke – doctor, traveling companion of Paul
Recipients: Theophilus and Gentile Christians
1. The Concern of Luke’s Gospel
Illustration: We all like a good story. Good movies are usually built upon a good story. It is often the case that good movies come from real life stories.
a. “Narrative” (v. 1) The Story – Life of Christ from birth to Ascension cf. Acts 1:1-2
b. “in order” (v. 1) and “an orderly account”(v. 3)
c. Luke’s perspective was to show that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel who came in the fulfillment of the promises of the OT. But, beyond this Luke also wanted to show that Jesus came to fulfill the promises concerning all the nations besides Israel. He also focused on the poor, women and children, the outcasts, making it clear that Christ came to save all kinds of people.
Application: Luke’s concern should be our concern. We should be interested in knowing as much about the gospel accounts as possible. I encourage you to read the gospels. If you are not regularly reading the Bible. Begin with the gospels. Begin with the good news about Jesus. What do you base your understanding of Jesus on? Who is Jesus? You cannot trust everything you hear on TV, or watch in a movie, or read in a magazine, but you can trust what you read in the gospel. Because it is all about Jesus.
2. The Certainty of Luke’s Gospel
a. The Sources make it certain – “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word (v. 2)”
b. Luke’s understanding makes it certain.
Application: You can be certain that we have in the gospel’s all that we need to know about Christ to become a child of God. Believers can be confident in facts presented in the gospels as certain and absolute truth.
3. The Christ of Luke’s Gospel
a. Christ is the focus. “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word” (v. 2)
b. The “Things” are all about Christ –
i. “those things which have been fulfilled among us” (v. 1)
ii. “those things … delivered to us”(v. 2)
iii. Luke’s “perfect understanding of all things from the first” (v. 3)
iv. “those things in which you were instructed” (v. 4)
c. The “Things” include the most important facts needed to understand the gospel message.
i. Jesus came. “God with us.”
ii. Jesus lived. “Perfect Life and Life that Confirmed who Jesus is”
iii. Jesus died. “Sacrifice for Sin”
iv. Jesus rose again. “Defeated Sin, Death, and the punishment of sin.”
Application: Luke focuses on Christ because Christ is the only one who can save sinful men from the dark pit of hell. Luke focuses on Christ because Christ is the only one who can offer you eternal life.
Conclusion: The first few verses of Luke tell us a lot about why God called Luke to write the gospel and it tells us the certainty of the truth of the gospel. But, most importantly these verses point us to Jesus Christ. The promised Messiah who came to fulfill all of the promises of the OT. It points us to Jesus who gave His life, not just for Jewish sinners, but for sinners from every tribe, language, and nation. It points to Jesus who came not just for the strong, rich, the religious, but the Jesus who came for the poor, oppressed, the outcast, the untouchable and unreachable.
Invitation: Will you believe in Jesus today? Jesus was a real person in History and He lives today. He came so you could know God and know God’s purpose for your life.
For the Believer: Our scope is too narrow. Our focus is often on the people who we feel comfortable to have in our midst. We often only want God help us to reach people that look like us, act like us, come from the same social or economic group as us. All I have to say is shame on us. We must reach the lost. We must reach the poor, the oppressed, the outcast. We must reach them with the good news about the gospel.