Summary: This sermon looks at the factors that inspired Luke to write the gospel of Luke and how God can inspire us to communicate the gospel of Christ.
In the New Testament there are four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In light of those four gospels I want to ask you an unusual question. What is the gospel according to you?
This week I read a story about a new convert who testified that he had been saved by reading a copy of the fifth gospel. No, it wasn’t Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. He was saved by reading the Gospel according to Mike the butcher. Mike was an earnest Christian whose godly life and testimony had been used of God to save this man. (Contributed to Sermon Central by: Bruce Howell) That story illustrates what I mean by the gospel according to you.
What do you need in order to write a gospel? The gospels are the first four books of the New Testament. Four men wrote those four books: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Is it possible that God could have used you to write one of the four gospels? Obviously, those four books were inspired by God for a unique time, place and purpose. I am not suggesting that you or I could duplicate that process. Only God can do that! However, do we have the same material in our hearts that was in the hearts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Could God have used us? Can God use us today?
Many of you have bought copies of Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christmas. Each chapter in that book draws from a different form of evidence to defend the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In each of these chapters Lee Strobel ask the question, can we trust the evidence? Chapter 1 deals with the eyewitness evidence. He analyzes Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as his eyewitnesses. Lee Strobel contends that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can be trusted as witnesses of Jesus life.
It is my contention that all of us who know Jesus Christ can be used as reliable witnesses to share his story. It is my contention that you and I have the same material in our hearts that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John had in theirs. I want to use Luke’s gospel, chapter 1, verses 1-4 to consider this idea. What did Luke have in his heart that enabled him to write this gospel.
I. If you are going to write a gospel there must be a Belief in the subject.
A. Luke had accepted the truth and teachings about Jesus. They became a part of his life. Luke had received three forms of information about Jesus and he accepted that truth.
(1) Luke had read the writings of other authors who wrote about Jesus. In verse 1 we read “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which are most surely believed among us”. We do not know the identity of the authors mentioned in this verse. All we know is that they communicated about Jesus and Luke accepted the truth of their teachings.
(2) No doubt Luke was familiar with the Old Testament prophecies. I am convinced that some of the writings referred to in verse 1 are the Old Testament prophecies.
(3) Finally, Luke was familiar with many eyewitness accounts about Jesus. (vs. 2) In fact, Luke was a traveling companion of Paul. How do we know this? Luke wrote the book of Acts and there are many “we” passages in the book of Acts when Luke testified of being with Paul. For instance, in Acts 16:10 Luke says “Immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Can you imagine what it meant to be the traveling companion of the apostle Paul? You could not help but hear about Jesus. That would be like traveling with a grand parent and not hearing about their grand children.
Luke was not some naïve dummy. He was a very intelligent man. He was a medical doctor. You do not get that degree at the dollar general. In addition, Bible scholars tell us that Luke’s Greek writing was some of the best Greek in the entire New Testament. He was a very learned man. Luke did not accept the stories of Jesus at face value. He had investigated. He gathered all of the available information and wrote an account.
There is nothing wrong with investigating the claims of Christ. The Case for Christmas book was written by a man who investigated the claims of Christ. There are other popular books written by individuals who investigated the claims of Christ. C. S. Lewis wrote a book entitled Mere Christianity, in which he does an intellectual discussion of the Christian faith. In fact, I believe Chuck Colson was saved while reading Mere Christianity. Josh McDowell has written two books, Evidence That Demands A Verdict and More Than A Carpenter. These books are books that defend the truth about Jesus Christ for those who want to investigate the truth about Him.