Summary: A biographical sermon on Luke.
Annual Sermons: Vol. 12 Sermon 1
Bob Marcaurelle 2 Tim. 4:10-11
LUKE - THE MAN WHO DIDN’T BAIL OUT
“. . . Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me. . . Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Tim. 4:10,11).*
1. Two Quitters. This text is about starting and finishing. It is easy to start something. The test comes when the price is high and we see if we have the grit to go on. Illustration: I started exercising three years ago. Now I have a $200 stationary bike to hang my clothes on. I started something I never finished. Mark did the same. He left Paul and Barnabas on the First Missionary Journey and ran home. So displeased was Paul that he absolutely refused to take Mark on the second journey. But Mark shows us, here, that no failure has to be final. Forgiven by God’s love and empowered by God’s Spirit he became a useful servant, one Paul now wanted with him. Demas, who Paul years before called his “fellow worker” (Phm. 24), is here shown to be a quitter also. Why did he leave? Was he saved? Did he come back like Mark? We will look at that next week.
2. The Man Who Didn’t Quit. The man in our text who did not quit was Luke. From the day he joined Paul on his second missionary journey, around A.D. 53, until the words of our text, 14-15 years later, in spite of all the devil threw at him and Paul, he had the grit to go on.
I. A FILTHY GENTILE (Col. 4:11-14).
From Colossians 4:11-14 where Paul lists him with non-Jews and from the style of his writing, New Testament scholars agree that Luke was a Gentile, a non-Jew, a Greek.
1. His Make-Up. To the Jews this meant he was filth. Luke became a Christian and stayed faithful as a Christian in spite of unbelievable prejudice. The Jews and Gentiles despised each other. The Jews said God made Gentiles to fuel the fires of hell and a devout Jew would not let his shadow touch that of a Gentile. The Gentiles returned the hate, and still do. Anti-Semitism is alive and well.
2. His Message (Luke and Acts). Luke, somewhere along the hard road, found that even though these people who called themselves “God’s people” didn’t love him, the God they claimed to know did. He sent His Son, a Jew, to die for him. And Luke never got away from this amazing grace. He could sing, “Gladly I read whosoever may/Come to the fountain of life today/But when I read it I always say/Jesus included me too/Jesus included me/Yes, He included me/When the Lord said, Whosoever, He included me.”
And out of this salvation experience came Luke’s message.
1) It Was Universal (Acts). Luke showed in Acts how Christianity went from Jerusalem to the whole world. He closed Acts with no formal conclusion. Why? Because the Book of Acts, the acts of the church, the acts of the Holy Spirit is still going on. And it is for all men - red, yellow, black and white. They are, says Luke, precious in his sight.
2) His Message Was Individual (Luke). Luke brings God’s love down into the streets and into the homes of individuals and many are individuals like him who were despised by the Jewish church. In his gospel only do we find the Prodigal Son; the sinful woman who, when saved, bathed Jesus’ feet with tears; the little tax collector, Zacchaeus, etc. Luke, despised by the world, but loved by the Lord, wrote his gospel for the underdogs, for those looked down on and said, “When the Lord said, Whosoever, He included YOU!” Luke was also. . .
II. A FIRST RATE PROFESSIONAL
Luke steps into Scripture history as an educated professional of the highest order.
1. Luke the Historian. Luke-Acts, which are part 1 and 2 of Luke’s history book, are outstanding historical works. We know this is because the Bible tells us, it was written because “. . .men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:20). But God did not pour out these Scriptures on Luke like we pour water on someone’s head. He said of his life of Jesus, “I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning” (Lk. 1:3). It was in study, research, prayer, thought, interviews, etc., that God worked the truth through him like sweat. The first sentence in Luke has been called the finest example of Greek in the New Testament.
Illustration: In the middle of the 19th Century, the world famous scholar Sir William Ramsay set out to write a first century history. He was strongly biased against Luke’s book of Acts because it differed from secular historians and Ramsay felt it was filled with errors. As Ramsay began to dig he found ancient sources that also differed with secular histories and time and time again AGREED WITH LUKE. After 30 years of research he wrote, “Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.” Application: We know why, don’t we? It is