Sermon #1                                                            Luke Sermons


          Title:            THINGS MOST SURELY


          Text:            Luke 1:1-4

          Subject:       An Introduction To Luke’s Gospel

          Date:            Sunday Evening - March 28, 1999

          Tape #         V-19b

          Readings:     Office: Gary Baker Auditorium: Merle Hart



          Did you ever wonder why we have fur distinct gospel narratives, four separate, inspired, historical records of the earthly life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ? Have you ever wondered why one gospel writer includes some things which another omits, or why some events are set before us in different time sequences by Luke than they are by Matthew and Mark? These are things which confuse many. Satan tries to use them to make young, weak believers question the inspiration of Holy Scripture. They are things which the fiend of hell has used to hinder many. But they are questions which are easily answered and cleared by thoughtful consideration.


          Each of the four gospels were written by divine inspiration, each revealing the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, but each one was intended by the Holy Spirit to set forth a particular, distinct aspect of our Savior’s person and work. Neither of the gospel narratives give us a complete view of Christ; but all four, taken together, tell us plainly and fully who the Lord Jesus Christ is, what he did, why he did it, and where he is now.


1.     Matthew was written to show us that our Lord Jesus Christ is the divine Messiah, the Redeemer-King promised in the Old Testament Scriptures.

2.     Mark was inspired to present the Lord Jesus as Jehovah’s righteous Servant.

3.     John’s gospel sets forth the glorious divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ as God the Son, the second person n the holy trinity.

4.     Luke’s gospel was designed and written to show us the perfect and glorious humanity of our Savior. Just as John shows us that our Redeemer is the Son of God, Luke shows us that he is the Son of Man.


          I want us, tonight, to simply take an overview of Luke’s gospel. Our text will be Luke 1:1-4.


Luke 1:1-4  "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."


          As we read the Gospel of Luke, we cannot help noticing that Luke tells us many things, precious things, which are not even mentioned by any of the other inspired writers.


·        The Histories of Zacharias and Elizabeth

·        The Angel’s Announcement to Mary of our Savior’s Birth.

·        Simeon and Anna in the Temple

·        The Childhood of our Master.

·        The Woman with an Issue of Blood

·        The Conversions of Zaccheus and the Dying Thief

·        The Parables of The Good Samaritan, The Pharisee and the Publican, The Prodigal Son, and The Rich Mann and Lazarus

·        The Walk to Emmaus


How thankful we are for these things. For these things we are indebted to Luke, “the beloved physician.”


          Who was this man, Luke? This gospel narrative and the book of Acts were written by the pen of Luke. Both were addressed to Theophilus. In fact, the book of Acts is really just a continuation of Luke’s gospel, as Luke himself indicates in the opening verses of Acts. But who was Luke.


He was a man of such modesty that he never mentioned his own name, even when he wrote about events in which he played a prominent role. Yet, he was, obviously, a man of remarkable usefulness in the early church.


Paul calls him, “Luke the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). Not many of the wise and noble of this world are called, but some are; and Luke was one of them. He was Paul’s constant, faithful companion. He accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey as far as Philippi. There, after the Lord raised up a gospel church, Luke stayed behind, probably to take care of and further instruct the young saints at Philippi in the tings of God.


Seven years later, while Paul was on his third missionary journey, he and Luke joined up again at Philippi. As Paul went on his way to Jerusalem, Luke went with him. When Paul was arrested at Caesarea, Luke was with him. Luke was still by Paul’s side when they sailed for Rome. He went with his friend through the perils of the sea and stayed by his side when he was arrested at Rome. Luke alone stayed with Paul to the end. When Paul was about to lay down his life as a martyr for Christ, he wrote, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim. 4:11).


Luke was a Gentile, as his name indicates, the only Gentile who was chosen of God to write a portion of the Inspired Volume of Holy Scripture.


As I said before, Luke gives us a portrait of the Man, Christ Jesus. All the gospel writers show us both the divinity and the humanity of Christ; but John was distinctly written to set forth our Lord’s eternal deity; and Luke was distinctly written to show us his perfect humanity. Let us never forget that our Lord Jesus Christ lived upon this earth as our Surety, Representative, Mediator, and Substitute the life of a perfect man, completely obedient to the will of God, without sin in nature, thought, word, or deed. Had he not been a perfect man, he could not have been our Savior. Therefore, Luke was inspired of God to show us the perfection of our Savior as a real man.


1.    The Lord Jesus Christ was a Man of great courage.


          He was not a hard, abrasive man; but he was a courageous man. This boldness and courage is seen most distinctly in our Lord’s preaching. He knew that he was his Father’s servant. Therefore, he spoke the Word of God with unflinching courage (chapter 4). When he was advised to flee from Herod, he said, Go tell that old fox that I am doing what I came here to do, and that he can’t stop me (Fortner paraphrase - Luke 13:32).


When the time came for him to lay down his life as our sin-atoning Substitute, our Savor set his face like a flint to go up to Jerusalem, that he might accomplish the will of him that sent him (9:51). Fearlessly and unfalteringly, our Savior steadily walked, step by step, with determinate resolution, up to Mt. Calvary, to lay down his life for us, according to the will of God.


2.    Our Lord Jesus Christ was also a Man of great tenderness, compassion, and sympathy.


          He declared, in his very first sermon, that he came here to preach the gospel to the poor, to set the captive free, and to give sight to the blind. Luke constantly portrays the Lord Jesus as a man full of compassion, drying the tears of sorrow, pitying the outcast, entertaining despised publicans, receiving sinners, healing all who had need of healing.


          Let every man here learn from the Master. Manhood, real manhood involves courage and compassion.


3.    Moreover, and this is very, very important, as the perfect Man, our Lord Jesus Christ was a Man of implicit faith.


          He believed God perfectly. He lived in constant fellowship with God, as a Man. What an example of consecration and faith he gave us! His very first recorded words were, “I must be about my Father’s business” (2:40). His last words before his final breath of mortality were, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (23:46). On at least eight other occasions, Luke describes our Lord Jesus as a Man of faith, calling upon God his Father, our Father, in prayer.


·        At His Baptism 3:21)

·        After Healing The Leper (5:16)

·        Before Choosing His Disciples (6:12)

·        Before Peter’s Great Confession (9:18)

·        At His Transfiguration (9:29)

·        Before Teaching His Disciples How To Pray (11:1)

·        In Gethsemane (22:42)

·        As He Hung Upon The Cross (23:34)


          As God’s servants in this world, we all must confess with, shame and sorrow, that we are often weak, hard hearted, and unbelieving. But, blessed be God, that Man who is our Divine Savior lived before God in the perfection of manhood for us –Perfect In Courage, --Perfect In Tenderness, Mercy and Compassion, --Perfect In Faith! But he is more than an exemplary Man…


3.    Luke presents this holy Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, to us as God’s Salvation.


          He brought salvation to sinners. He won it by his obedience. He bought it with his blood. He secured it by his ascension into heaven. He gives it by his grace. But Luke tells us more. He tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ himself is Salvation.


Luke 2:25-32  "And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."


          The gospel we preach is the good news of salvation accomplished and secured by the obedience and death of the God-man, Christ Jesus. Luke, speaking in perfect harmony with all the prophets and apostles, tells us that this salvation is…


1.    God’s Salvation. --His Work, His Property, His Gift.

2.    A Finished Work.

3.    For Sinners Everywhere, Jews and Gentiles!

4.    A Salvation That Demands Faith In Christ. –A Faith That Only God Himself Can Give, --A Faith That Willingly Bows To Christ As Lord!

5.    A Salvation To Be Preached To All The World!


          Now, let’s look briefly at Luke’s own introduction to his gospel, in Luke 1:1-4. Read the text with me again…


Luke 1:1-4  "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."


          There are four things to be learned from these opening words of Luke’s gospel. I must give them to you with great brevity; but I pray that God the Holy Spirit, whose words they are, will burn them into our hearts.


I.     The first thing to be learned from this text is the fact that There Are Some Things Which All True Christians Believe.


          Luke makes no bones about this. Neither should we. Let men accuse us of being narrow-minded dogmatists, out of step with the rest of the religious world, and heap upon us whatever ugly names they choose, the Word of God plainly declares that some things are vital. Some things must be known and believed. Those who do not believe these things are not saved.


          Luke tells us that he wrote his gospel, “to set forth in order those things which are most surely believed among us.” All who are, like Theophilus, lovers of God love those things most surely believed among us. What are those things?


A.  All men are sinners in need of God’s salvation, lost, ruined, dead in trespasses and sins, under the curse of God’s holy law, and totally incapable of changing their condition (The Lost Coin - The Lost Sheep - The Lost Son).


B.  Jesus Christ is the incarnate God. The Son of God came in the flesh (9:20).


C.  The Lord Jesus Christ has effectually accomplished and obtained salvation for sinners by his obedience and death as the sinners Substitute (1:68).


D.  This salvation comes to sinners by the gift of God, according to his own sovereign, eternal purpose of grace in Christ, as a matter of pure grace (4:25-27).


E.   God’s grace in Christ is so abundantly free that every sinner in this world who needs it has it (9:11).


II. The second thing we see in our text is the fact that Tell What They Know From First Hand Experience, By Direct Experience, By Divine Revelation, As Those Who Are Taught of God.


          Luke describes the apostles as those men who were “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.” I am aware that these words, in their strict interpretation, apply only to the apostles, those who saw the Lord Jesus in the flesh and learned the gospel directly from his lips. But there are no apostles, in the official sense of that word today. Does that mean the text has no meaning for us? Of course not!


          All true gospel preachers, like the original apostles, are also “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.”


1 John 1:1-3  "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."


          Faithful men do not deal in second hand goods, or debate about matters of doubtful disputation. We tell what we know, report what we have seen, and teach what we have been taught of God.


          I take no license with the Scriptures when I tell you that all that Luke says in verses two and three is applicable to all true gospel preachers.


Luke 1:2-3  "Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,"


A.  We preach that which we have experienced by the grace of God, as eyewitnesses.


B.  We are ministers, servants of the Word of God.


2 Corinthians 2:17  "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."


2 Corinthians 4:7  "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."


C.  God’s servants are men who have a God-given, complete, comprehensive understanding of all things spiritual.


          When Luke says that he had “perfect understanding of all things,” he was not suggesting infallible knowledge, but complete knowledge. And every servant of God, every man called and gifted of God has that same knowledge of Holy Scripture. That man who has not yet learned the message of the Scriptures is not yet called and gifted of God to be a preacher. Such a man is not apt to teach and is not fit to teach, because he has nothing worth teaching.


D.  God’s servants are men who get their knowledge, their understanding, and their message from above.


          The words, “from the very first”(v. 3), should be and most commonly are translated “from above” (John 3:31; 19:11; James 1:17; 3:15, 17).


E.   The preaching of the gospel is setting the things of God in order, in an orderly fashion, before men.


III. Third, Luke here teaches us that The Bible Is The Inspired Word Of God.


Luke 1:3  "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,"


          In their strict sense, these words must be understood as a claim to divine inspiration. Most commentators, especially the modern men who love to appear intellectual, try to prove that Luke used this source or that as the historic basis for his gospel narrative. Such speculations tend to undermine our sense of the Bible’s divine inspiration and authority as the Word of God. This Book is he Book of God, given to us by supernatural, divine inspiration.


A.  Let us always reverence it, not as the word of men, but as the very Word of God himself.


1 Thessalonians 2:13  "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."


2 Timothy 3:16  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"


2 Peter 1:21  "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."


B.  Because this is the Word f God, let us always bow to it.


          We must submit our reason, learning, and experience, our emotions, traditions, and prejudices to the Scriptures. If see something in the Bible that we cannot understand or reconcile with some other passage of Scripture, the fault is not with the Word of God, but with our puny brains.


IV. Fourthly, we are here taught that The Purpose Of od in Giving us His Word is to Make us Wise Unto Salvation.


Luke 1:3-4  "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."


John 20:31  "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."


2 Timothy 3:15  "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."


1 John 5:10-13  "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."


          It all comes to this - Jesus Christ is God’s Salvation. This great salvation is the gift of God’s grace. God gives it to every sinner who believes the record he gave concerning his Son. Will you believe God; or will you die in your sins? God help you to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.