In the last couple of years our sermon series have covered portions of both the Old & New Testaments. Most recently, we have studied:
Gems From The Prophet Jeremiah
The Acts Of The Apostles
The “Joseph” Chapters of Genesis
The Life of Solomon from 1 Kings
The Letter of Paul To The Philippians
The Prophet Obadiah
On this first Sunday of Advent we return once more to the heart of it all – to the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from one of the 4 Gospels. We shall take in our hands The Gospel According To St. Luke.
To quote an old children’s classic, The House At Pooh Corner, “An introduction is to introduce people.” So without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Dr. Luke, doctor of medicine, historian, evangelist and missionary companion of the apostle Paul.
We met Luke a while back in our sermon series on The Acts Of The Apostles. Luke wrote Acts as a sequel or follow-up to his Gospel. Whenever the little pronoun “we” occurs during Paul’s missionary journeys, it is Luke’s modest way of indicating that he was along for the ride at that point.
Evidence from the letters of Paul seems to suggest that Dr. Luke was a Gentile (non-Jew). In Colossians 4, Paul mentions “our dear friend Luke, the doctor.” Luke’s name turns up again in Paul’s letter to Philemon. And by the time Paul writes his last letter to Timothy from death row in Rome, there is the touching line toward the end of the letter: “Only Luke is with me.”
Luke is a historian. That is because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is history. It is not a philosophy. It is not a “twelve-step” program of rules to live by. The Gospel is the history of how God Himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, stepped on to this planet, lived the perfect life in our stead, died the death that should have been ours, and rose triumphantly to redeem the world.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Dr. Luke has been called the greatest historian of all time. He names provinces, places, rulers, geography and climate. In Acts he names 110 people and many names of groups besides. The 27th chapter of Acts is the most accurate account of an ancient sea voyage ever penned.
It is the Holy Spirit’s way of saying that none of this happened “once upon a time.” It is real history.
Luke’s Gospel has the longest account of Christ’s birth. Christ’s love for the lost shines through in accounts that are unique to the Gospel Of Luke – the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Pharisee and the Publican, Zacchaeus, and the dying thief.
In an age of instant gratification when people whine for spiritual junk food, pop-psychology from the pulpit, and “feel-good” placebos, Dr. Luke prescribes meat and potatoes – 24 chapters of “the greatest story ever told.”
Today we begin. God-willing, we shall arrive at the account of our Savior’s birth in Bethlehem on Christmas Day. And we shall continue on through the entire Gospel. We hope you will join us…and meet not Dr. Luke…but Jesus Himself…all over again.