Certainty (Luke #1)

Text: Luke 1:1-4

Let’s begin with a little bit of history. If you lived around Israel at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that would’ve been something. Luke was alive at that time. He repented of his sin, trusted in Jesus Christ, received the Holy Spirit, and eternal life, and ministered with Paul after he was imprisoned. Luke had a friend named Theophilus who had been instructed in the LORD, but apparently had questions. Theophilus sounds like a diligent man who has responsibilities similar to the diligence of doctor Luke. And diligent people have reasonable questions about details and facts. Luke chooses to answer Theophilus with two discourses.

The first discourse becomes the gospel of Luke. It begins with the work of the Holy Ghost in the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner to the LORD Jesus Christ. He covers from that point in time all the way to the ascension of the LORD Jesus Christ. The second treatise he writes to Theophilus is what we know as the book of Acts. Luke begins with the ascension of Christ, the pouring out of the Holy Ghost on all flesh, as opposed to just Israelites, to the eventual imprisonment of Paul in Rome just before Jerusalem is destroyed by Titus.

Sometimes biblical writers tell you their purpose in writing. Like John who says he’s writing so that you’ll believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and have eternal life. Then he writes again in a shorter letter and says he’s writing so that you can know that you have eternal life if you have it. Well, Luke does the same thing. He tells Theophilus why he’s writing this account. His purpose in writing the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts is so that Theophilus could know the certainty of the events surrounding Jesus Christ. Luke’s stated purpose is to confirm the ministry and instruction of the LORD Jesus Christ.

Let’s read Luke 1:1-4 then Acts 1:1-4.

Luke said even as they delivered them unto us…it seemed good to me also…to write unto thee. The truth didn’t originate with Luke, he understands he is a participant in it and a vehicle for it. He is a messenger and a preacher. Why is this important? Because your view of truth is your perspective of the world. For instance, American culture says you are the source of truth. Whatever you feel, that is your truth. Not only is that not true, but that’s a dangerous and extremely hypocritical idea. Paul says the method of transmission is from faith to faith. Luke wants to make certain that should any questions arise about the life of the LORD Jesus Christ, these are answered with detailed evidence.

Certainty because of the details

  • Luke’s two books – Luke and Acts – are the longest in the New Testament. He names more people than any other writer. Why? So the accounts could be verified.
    • He starts off with Herod, king of Judea, and a certain priest named Zacharias whose time to minister in the temple was according to Abijah’s course which lasted two weeks. So that gives you the time frame of John Baptist’s conception within probably a week.
    • This is how Luke records information. He anchors details of the work of the Holy Spirit of God to verifiable events.
  • He gives detailed information about titles of officials specific to their locales such as tetrarchs, town clerks, serjeants, governors, and Caesars.
  • Sir William Ramsey was a skeptic who set out to prove the Bible wrong. The best way was to invalidate the most detailed books which were Luke and Acts. On an incredulous archeological journey, he ended up proving the accuracy of Luke’s accounts and in the process became a believer.
  • A personal note of research over 20 years of daily study.
    • If evolutionists ever asked themselves the questions they demand of Christianity, their ideas would fall apart faster than they could say Darwin.
    • If a muslim, and I’m not trying to mean here, but if you ever took your books like the Quran and the Hadith to research and scrutinize them as the Bible has been, you would have more questions than answers.

Certainty from the many sources

  • …many… (vs 1)
  • At the time of Luke’s writing, the scriptures consisted of the old testament. It was authored by over 30 writers in 1500 years and is consistent in its theme and without contradiction.
    • Authors were writing from different times in history.
    • Authors wrote from different stages in life, from kings to priests to prophets to farmers.

Certainty from the variety of records

  • …many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration… (vs 1)
  • There is literally no book published more than the Bible, in any form. Of all the historical records and classic literature, nothing compares to the number of records we have of the scriptures.
  • The bible has been so thoroughly vetted by manuscripts, to ancient hymnbooks, to verses on signs that probably hung in peoples’ houses. The variety of records is enormous.

Certainty because of the consistency of the message

  • …even as they delivered them unto us… (vs 2)
  • What was delivered has been passed down. The consistency of the message over centuries of records and over a broad landscape of people is miraculous.
  • The fact that a shepherd in the 8th century B.C. would speak in the same spirit as an “IRS agent” in the 1st century A.D. is another proof of validity.

Certainty because of the proximity to the source

  • …which from the beginning… (vs 2)
  • Myths and fables are produced years after events because the facts can no longer be corroborated. So the legend grows. The scriptures are reliable because they could’ve been discredited very early on if they were lies because they were recorded by people personally involved in the events.

Certainty because of eyewitness testimony

  • …which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word… (vs 2)
  • Certainty based on Luke’s personal testimony, It seemed good to me also… (vss 3-4)

Certainty because of the pure motive of the authors (vs 4)

  • There was no profit motive to write the scriptures. In fact, in many cases, there was a motive not to put these things in writing.