Summary: In a world spooning from the advances of the information age, we send and receive so many different messages with so many different devices. So why is God still sending the same old message, the same old way to me? And why does He expect me to pass it on
"GOD LEFT YOU A MESSAGE... DID YOU GET IT?" LUKE 1:1-5
JOKE--- After directory assistance gave a woman her boyfriend’s new telephone number, she dialed him and got a woman.
"Is Robert there?" she asked.
"He’s in the shower," the lady responded. "Please tell him his girlfriend called," and she hung up.
When he didn’t return the call, the woman dialed again. This time a man answered. "This is Robert," he said.
"You’re not my boyfriend!" she exclaimed.
"I know," he replied. "That’s what I’ve been trying to tell my wife for the past half-hour."
INTRO--- We live in the high-tech information age where the key to communication is the ability to send and receive messages. From answering machines to cell phones; from email to instant messaging; from fax machines to conference calls and beyond, we are a society of message receivers and senders.
It would seem preposterous to include the Bible in with all these high tech communication tools I just mentioned. Ah but the fact is the Bible is the highest of all high-tech communication devices! In this world which sends millions of differing messages around the world every second, the Bible has been sending only one message to the world from the beginning: Jesus Saves!
We who received this message (Matt. 28:18-20) are commanded to send it to others.
My friends, if you are a Christian here today, there is no doubt that God left you a message; nor is there any question that you received His message; the question is, "Did you get it?"
TRANS--- Dr. Luke the Physician begins his Gospel with a carefully composed message to a man by the name of Theophilus. On the surface this may seem a somewhat irrelevant part of Luke’s Gospel, until we fully understand Luke’s whole purpose for writing the Gospel to begin with. You see, in his own words, Luke said he wrote this Gospel to send it to Theophilus.
As we share the Christmas message again this year, just the same as we did last year, and as we most surely will do next year, one question comes to mind, WHY?
In order to answer this question, we must first understand why the 12 Apostles gave the message of Jesus to Luke and why Luke then passed the message on to Theophilus and so on.
I. THE MESSAGE WIDENS WITNESSES INTO DISCIPLES
A. In v. 2, Dr. Luke refers to the 12 apostles as eyewitnesses aujtovptai which is the root to our modern word autopsy.
1. The word for eyewitness aujtovptai literally means "a seeing for oneself," and it involves "a critical assessment or examination."
2. Being a witness involves the tools of discipleship.
a. The word "disciple" in the original Greek language means learner.
ILLUSTRATION--- The word "disciple" or "disciples" is used 273 times in the New Testament. The word "Christian" is only used 2 times. And the noun "convert" is not used at all. Could it be that God has put a priority on making disciples instead of just converts? Without a doubt!
3. The sad thing is our churches are chock full of converts!
a. Somewhere in between receiving the Good News of Jesus and learning what God wants you to do with it, most Church people just stop!
c. Lets all do an "autopsy" on our own discipleship this morning. Ask yourself...
1) Am I just going through the motions of church attendance?
2) When was the last time I even touched my Bible, let alone studied it?
3) Do I somehow think I have arrived and no longer need to learn anything more?
4) Or do I know all to well what God expects of me, but I am just too lazy to do it?
I. THE MESSAGE WIDENS WITNESSES INTO DISCIPLES
II. THE MESSAGE DEVELOPS DISCIPLES INTO SERVANTS
A. Also in v. 2, the word for servant uJphrevtai literally means an underling or attendant; one who is subservient to something or someone.
1. THINK ABOUT IT FOR A MINUTE! Why on earth, in the face of such considerable persecution, would these Christian men make it their business to pass on to us this story of Jesus Christ?
a. Because first saw the Messiah with their very own eyes;
b. They studied with Jesus very intently and knew the truth well and they became disciples.
c. And because they not only received and studied the high cost of the free gift of salvation they freely devoted themselves to serve Jesus Christ!
ILLUSTRATION--- Ten years ago, Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, put together a brief comparison of the characteristics of self-service as opposed to Christ’s service: