Summary: The third of four reasons Luke suggests to study the ministry of Jesus Christ - to gain a perfect understanding of His life, death, and resurrection.
TITLE: WHY STUDY THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST
SERIES: THE INCOMPARABLE MINISTRY OF JESUS THE MESSIAH
Introduction: As we continue studying the reasons for examining the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, we discover Luke’s desire for us to have a perfect understanding of all things. Considering the various denominations and cults that have arisen over the years, we can understand why Luke had such a desire. After all, the only reason we have denominations is the fact that we do not agree on various details of doctrine. Even within denominational structures, there are often many varieties of understanding. And even within a local congregation there are various beliefs that stray from the accepted tenets of the faith.
A perfect understanding, then, is not going to be discovered through denominational (or non-denominational) examinations. It will only come by studying the life and ministry of the One who got it all right, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray that He will open our hearts and minds so that we can have the perfect understanding that Luke speaks about.
III. TO GAIN A PERFECT UNDERSTANDING OF HIS LIFE, HIS DEATH, AND HIS RESURRECTION.
3 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,
44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
EXAMPLES OF “MODERN” CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
a. Denies the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures; the writers simply wrote their interpretation of the word of God.
b. Believes the Bible to be a medium of revelation (while orthodox believes it is revelation) and is therefore dependent upon the experience and personal interpretation of each individual.
c. Truth is a mystical rather than concrete fact.
d. Truth is defined as that which is relevant to my experience, compared to the orthodox approach that states that truth is concretely stated in the Word of God.
e. Scripture is not the only form of revelation; but revelation can be directly obtained from God (a word of knowledge).
2. LIBERAL THEOLOGY.
a. Liberal theology includes a number of philosophical religious movements from the 18th to the 20th century that subscribe to the freedom of thought and belief associated with the Age of Enlightenment.
b. Liberal theology questions deeply held Christian doctrines such as Biblical inerrancy and the Trinity.
i. The Bible is considered a collection of documents containing the human authors beliefs and feelings about God at the time of their writing – within a cultural and/or historic context.
ii. The Bible is a collection of narratives that explain, epitomize, or symbolize the essence and significance of Christian understanding.
3. POST-MODERN CHRISTIANITY.
a. Post-modern Christianity is about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward.
b. Experience is valued more highly than reason, and truth is relevant.
c. Truth is not absolute (and the Bible is not a source of absolute truth) but determined by our personal experiences.
i. If the Bible is not our source for absolute truth, and personal experience is allowed to define and interpret what truth actually is, a saving faith in Jesus Christ is rendered meaningless.
ii. We don’t let our experiences interpret Scripture for us, but as we change and conform ourselves to Christ we interpret our experiences according to Scripture.
4. THE JESUS SEMINAR.
a. The "Jesus Seminar" was begun by New Testament "scholar" Robert Funk in the 1970s.
i. It was Mr. Funk’s desire to rediscover the "historical Jesus" that had been hidden behind almost 2000 years of Christian traditions, myths, and legends.
ii. The Jesus Seminar was created to examine the biblical gospels and other early Christian literature to discover who Jesus truly was and what He truly said.
iii. The Jesus Seminar was (and still is) comprised primarily of "scholars" who deny the inspiration, authority, and inerrancy of the Bible.
iv. The agenda of the Jesus Seminar was not to discover who the historical Jesus was.