There is a new battle for the truth, the authority and authenticity of the Word of God.
There always has been, but it is undoubtedly going to become fiercer as we move into 2017.
I am breaking off from Mark’s Gospel to turn to Luke. The situation has changed dramatically in the past year, in Europe, in the United Kingdom, and in the United States of America – but the Word of God is unchanging and the Word of God is relevant no matter what circumstances are.
We need to know – or have our minds refreshed – as to who the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Son of God, really is. We almost need all of these words because there many various views on who Jesus Christ is and if we have our own personal views that is nothing other than idolatry.
Let us take time, and set aside time, to consider what the Scripture actually teaches regarding the birth of Jesus Christ, as we look afresh and anew in the Gospel of Luke, and share the truth with those around us – and also to know and remind ourselves of who Jesus Christ was and is.
We need to know, and our people need to know the facts, as compared with the rumours and myths and legends and superficial assumptions, which have been received and embraced, and too readily accepted over these past years.
Throughout the past eighteen months or so, there have been events across much of Europe which has surprised and shaken many, but do disciples of Jesus Christ really discern what this is all about? That is why we need to know that the Scriptures are true, authoritative, and authentic.
Our people need to know this too, and the task of Pastors and Preachers and Teachers is to inform and proclaim and herald and instruct, thereby providing a sound solid foundation. That will be so essential over the next months and years.
Turn to these opening verses in Luke’s gospel. Many people had been writing about Jesus, and writing about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We have some of these writings.
There were many rumours going around - many myths - many stories - many fanciful legends growing up. You can imagine! It invariably happens with someone unusual or famous.
Luke tells us, in the opening verses of the Gospel – “I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning”.
Now, this is important. Luke wants to reassure people, that what they believe about Jesus Christ is true. He wants us to be able to rely upon this account of the life and ministry and teaching of Jesus Christ.
Luke was a doctor - a medical man - and he treats the life and teaching of Jesus, like one of his patients - and lovingly investigates, examines and researches - so that he can arrive at the truth. When we read this book we can accept and believe that this is what actually happened.
This Gospel is written by a concerned loving doctor who is born of the Spirit of God, and anointed with the Spirit of God, and Luke writes to someone called Theophilus - one who loves God - a lover of God.
This Book is for those who love God. If you love God, and want to love and serve God, you will love this Book, and you will find this Book full of Good News - you will appreciate deeply what is in these pages.
Luke has examined the facts of the situation, and having examined the facts, he now presents the facts.
Luke is an authority on the subject about which he writes. We like to listen to people who are an authority on their subject, and Luke certainly is.
What we most need is this - the authoritative, powerful, living, and true Word of God.
This is not the philosophy of mere men. We are not dealing with theories here.
These Chapters are much more than just good ideas to live by - this is not simply a moral code - this is the Word of God.
For 400 years God had been silent. There had been no prophetic word since the days of Malachi, and ‘the church’ of the day was pretty dead, lifeless, and unexciting.
Why had God been so quiet? Why were there no mighty prophets? Had God forgotten His People? NO!
Luke roots the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in history - in facts which can be checked.
We read of a priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. They had spiritual roots, but they had more than roots. They had a spiritual reality in a day when there was not a lot of spiritual reality around.
They were both upright and godly in the sight of God - not only before men. Almighty God regarded them as godly and righteous. They were keeping all the commandments, and when God looked at Zechariah and Elizabeth, He saw a couple who were blameless.
We are looking at a rare sight here - a godly couple - a deeply religious husband and wife, with depth of character.
How has our character grown and developed over these past weeks and months? And, as we begin to study and reflect upon how Jesus Christ was born, what does God see when He looks at you and me?
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