Summary: God loves us and we are His friends
“Theophilus; the beloved of God”
We began our study last week on the Book of Acts and we saw that the “Acts of the Apostles” or rather the “Acts of the Holy Spirit” through the apostles was founded on their belief. The apostles and the first church believed that Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit could and would continue to do all that He said and taught in the gospels.
I cannot express how important it is to believe that Christ can do all he said and taught. Our faith in Christ began with a belief in His death, burial, and resurrection and if we are going to continue in faith we must believe that Christ can continue to do all He ever said or taught through the church.
1 The first account I composed Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,
It is reference to Luke’s gospel. In Luke 1:1-4 he says; 1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. NASB
So we know this is Luke’s second book or letter to Theophilus concerning the works and teachings of Christ. When we compare the first verse of Acts with the first verses of Luke we see a difference. In Luke gospel it is most excellent Theophilus and in Acts, most excellent has been dropped and it is now just Theophilus.
There are three thoughts that I want to give concerning this man:
a. Theophilus was a man of love.
His name means “the beloved of God or the friend of God.
We closed last week with the meaning of the name “Theophilus”. To believe that we are the beloved of God is the first step in walking and living in the power and presence of God. We must believe that God loves us and we are His friends. If we have an honest, true, and confident belief in his love then we can move forward and see God do great things in us and through us.
But let me ask a question: If we believe that we are God’s beloved and we are friends of God then how will that love be expressed in our day to day lives?
Matt 22:34-40; 34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." NASB
Love is verb and therefore demands action. If we believe we are God’s beloved and we have been befriended by Him then that love will be expressed in an outward manifestation of love from us toward Him and toward others. As we read through the book of Acts it is this acting out of love we find over and over again among believers.
The first believers loved God because He first loved them. They loved each other and they loved the lost including those who persecuted them. These believers understood what Jesus meant when He said, “greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend.” It’s no wonder that the first century church did so much for the kingdom of God. Above everything else they believed they were loved by God and because of that love they were able to love others.
We can believe in all the right doctrines; the resurrection Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God, the Second Coming of Christ, evangelistic preaching, we can believe in discipleship, fellowship, and worship, we can even believe in prayer. We can believe all the right things but if we don’t believe in God’s unconditional love for us then we are useless in God’s kingdom work.
1 Cor 13:1-3; 1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. NASB