Summary: We sometimes rush to judgment with what we think instead of what we know.
Truth and Certainty
Today, let’s get down to some nitty gritty about what real truth and certainty is all about.
The subject of this message came to me in a most unusual way. We are today in the midst of Hurricane Irma. Everyone who is not evacuating has been ordered to stay home and inside. Passing some leisure time, I began working a crossword puzzle. The clue read: a wind instrument. My mind quickly came up with anemometer. You know, what wind velocity is measured with. What would you think with howling winds buffeting outside? Well of course the answer was oboe, the musical instrument. It really isn’t that rare for me to rediscover that I am not as smart as I think I am. But there is a lesson here. If we aren’t careful, we find ourselves just skimming by with reliance on first impressions and snap decisions.
I encourage you to take notes and refer to these readings to fully understand how we can stand with truth and certainty.
Gen: 32:10a - (Jacob) “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant…”
Jn. 8:31-32 – (Christ) “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.
1 Cor. 5:8 – (Paul) “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Proverbs 22:21 - (Solomon) “That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?”
When Luke the Physician wrote the Books of Luke and Acts, there were a great many writings out there about Jesus the Christ (I am not speaking to biblical accounts but rather of the writings of philosophers and. Luke viewed some of these writings with skepticism and so wrote these books from much research and study. You see, Luke never laid eyes on Jesus. Everything Luke has to say came from interviewing eyewitnesses, family members and trusted associates of Jesus. Luke was very meticulous and his writings were orderly and to the point. Besides that, if we are to believe that the Word of God is His breathed inspiration, then we automatically understand that Luke was also inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
Lk 1:3-4 – (Luke) “it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”
Theophilus – there is no other mention of Theophilus in the bible than by Luke here and again in Acts 1:1.
Who was Theophilus? Do we want to know? Or shall we simply settle for the fact that he is mentioned twice in the bible. Trying to research absolute certainty of who Theophilus was proves difficult. There isn’t too much out there. Luke mentions Theophilus in his opening chapter in the gospel Book of Luke and addresses him as “most excellent Theophilus”. The indication is that Theophilus must have been some person of importance, perhaps even a government official. As we read Luke’s account in the Book of Acts, he is addressed “O Theophilus”. The name actually means: “Friend of God”. With nothing else to go on, we might even think that this was like a nick name for a person known to be a very godly man. Luke writes the gospel to Theophilus, and readers of God’s Word have been reading this personal writing, which is an encouragement as it says: “That you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” Likewise, the Book of Acts was also written to Theophilus. It appears that Luke has become more familiar and in closer friendship with Theophilus as he now simply addresses him as:” O Theophilus”.
Luke uses that word certainty as if to say – without a doubt. Well isn’t that what Jesus wants for us all. We can listen to, we can hear, we can read, and we can either absorb the truth or we can settle for an overview. If we’re going to absorb the truth, it requires study and research. i.e. If I asked you who was Theophilus before starting this sermon, would you know? Did you know that the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts were written by Luke specifically to Theophilus?
I am not proud to confess my study habits from college and seminary. Oh, I made good grades and graduated with honors. But the TRUTH is and with CERTAINTY that I studied to pass the tests not to learn the lessons. Believe me, it places a burden to do much more research even now close to thirty years later.