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Luke 1:1-5 Disciple #beonemakeone

January 8, 2019

The call to discipleship

Luke’s gospel was written to Theophilus whose name means ‘friend of God’. And this is the gospel (good news) of Luke and all the gospel writers that we can be friends of God. This gospel was written so that Theophilus could ‘know this’. So as we begin this series on discipleship know that you are called to be a friend of God. Read this gospel so that you can know that this is what a Christian is – a friend of God. Jesus came to ‘seek and save the lost’ (19:10) to make you a friend of God.

The challenge of discipleship

Theophilus was also a person. He is called ‘most excellent Theophilus’. A term also used by the author in Acts to refer to a Roman Official. (Acts 23:26 & 24:3). So Theophilus is most likely to be a Roman Official. So this gospel was written so Theophilus could live out being a ‘friend of God’, a disciple of Jesus in his challenging situation. It would not have been easy (nigh on impossible) to be a Christian and a Roman Official but this gospel was written so that Theophilus would not full away but follow. The greek word translated ‘certainty’ is asphaleia. This literally means to prevent someone from falling or stumbling. So this gospel was written so that a disciple of Jesus would not fall or stumble in very challenging times. We too, live in challenging times to be a follower of Jesus. Let us use this gospel as a guide and encouragement to prevent us from stumbling, compromising, falling away or back.

The case for discipleship

Discipleship involves believing, learning and living. This gospel was written so that Theophilus would trust and live out what he had been taught. The greek word for ‘taught’ is katecheo the word we get catechism from. To be a disciple is to be instructed, to learn and to live out what they have been taught. When it comes to discipleship today we prefer feelings to learning facts, solace to study and worshipnto work. But the challenge in these opening verses is to be a disciple is to learn, study and obey. How about picking up a bible study or theology book. How about committing to learning the New City Catechism or memorising some scripture as part of your discipleship this year. Or better still try and find a Luke who will take time to disciple you.

Because this gospel needed an author. Although not identified in this gospel from AD 120 has known to be Dr Luke. We know the author also wrote Acts and this author was a travelling companion of Paul (see Acts 16 &20) and therefore we accept tradition that it was Dr Luke as referred to in Col 4:14, 2Tim 4:11 & Philemon 24. We also know that this was wriiten by someone who ‘investigated’ , ‘ordered’ and gave a detailed account – skills of a trained Dr. And so for Theophilus to be discipled he needed a Luke to research, study, share the gospel. And so this year the challenge is not just to be a Theohphilus (a disciple) but also a Luke (a disciple maker). This will involve pray, research, study and preparation but also more than that – the phrase ‘from the beginning’ is translated in Johns gospel as ‘from above’ and I think this perhaps reflects Luke theology better. Luke has seen the necessity to serve the word (logos) but also to have the empowering of the Spirit. And so to be a disciple maker we need to serve the logos (gospel) in the power from above – the Holy Spirit.

So stay in the word and keep on being filled with the Spirit and you will not only beone but also makeone. Let us change our world.

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