Summary: Build your faith on facts, not feelings.
Breaking the Silence
Rev. Brian Bill
December 8-9, 2018
[Transition from “Crazy, Busy, Peaceful, Holy Night”]
How many of you feel like the Christmas season is crazy busy? It sure seems more hectic than holy, doesn’t it?
My guess is the nativity has been knocked over in some of your lives [sit on couch and pick up pieces].
I wonder how many of us are stressed simply because we’re focusing more on our feelings than on the facts of Christmas. When I posted what the sermon is about this week, an Edgewood member made this statement: “If there has ever been a time that truth is needed, it is now. We moved from the Bible is truth, to science [is truth], to there is no truth, to feelings are truth.”
Postmodernism is the prevailing philosophy of our day, which is the belief there is no such thing as absolute truth. Rather, truth is personal and subjective – I have my truth and you have your truth. This philosophy is not only “out there” but also in the evangelical church. Barna claims that 53% of born again believers do not believe in absolute truth.
As evidence of this, I listened to a one-minute video testimony of a Christian explaining her walk with God this week and counted the phrase, “I feel” four times. That comes out to once every 15 seconds where she appealed to her feelings. Sadly, she didn’t mention the Bible once.
Here’s what we’re going to learn today: Build your faith on facts, not feelings.
Grab your Bibles and turn to Luke 1:1-4. Let me remind you while God used human authors to write Scripture, this is not a human book. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” All Scripture is inspired, inerrant and authoritative.
Please stand as we read God’s Word together: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”
Here are few things about the human author and his approach:
• Luke was a respected doctor. Colossians 4:14 refers to him as “the beloved physician.”
• He was personally acquainted with firsthand eyewitnesses.
• Luke was the human author of the Gospel of Luke as well as the Book of Acts. That adds up to 52 chapters, making him responsible for about one-third of the New Testament.
• This prologue is written in the most polished Greek of the New Testament, which would make it appealing to the highly educated Gentile reader.
• Luke devotes more space to the birth and infancy of Jesus than any other gospel.
• He goes out of his way to show the gospel is for every class, nation, race, generation and gender.
• Luke uses the word “sinners” 16 times, more than the other gospel writers combined
• He refers to Jesus as “Savior” twice.
How do we know that any of this is even true? Can we have any confidence that Christmas really happened? Can we know with certainty that the Savior has come? Is it really possible to have peace and live a holy life in the midst of busyness and craziness?
Luke’s prologue gives us four facts about our faith.
1. Christianity is historical. We see this in verse 1: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us.” Luke begins with the word, “inasmuch,” which conveys accuracy and can be translated, “Since now.” He acknowledges a lot of people “have undertaken” the task of putting together material about the Messiah. The word carries the sense of a difficult undertaking and occurs frequently in medical language. Hippocrates begins one of his medical treatises with very similar language: “As many as have taken in hand to speak or write concerning the healing art.”
I love that Luke refers to this as a “narrative” because it speaks of the historical facts about our faith. Notice there are not multiple narratives but one narrative. In that sense, there are really not four gospels, but one gospel as told by four different human authors. Would you also notice that this is not a story or a legend or an allegory? Incidentally, I try not to use the word “story” when referring to the Bible because I don’t want to inadvertently imply that it’s make-believe.