[Act 1:1-3 NKJV] 1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Now when I read through this the first time what stood out to me was the phrase by many infallible proofs
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus wanted to prove to the Disciples, and to everyone else, that he is the Messiah?
Jesus didn’t ask his apostles for blind faith He was willing to demonstrate the certainty of what He was asking them to preach.
What was true for the disciples I believe is true today. God has provided a series of infallible proofs for us that Jesus is the Messiah and the salvation is found in nothing else but his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.
I believe that God wants you to know these infallible proofs so that you can be a better witness for him in this world.
I don’t know if you guys have noticed but secularism in on the rise. Atheists are as vocal as ever
In fact Atheists are waging an all-out campaign on Christianity specifically. If you don’t believe me start reading the comments on a well-known Christian teacher on Facebook or Youtube.
The comments section will be filled with nasty and vulgar comments from Atheists who are incredibly evangelistic and zealous for their worldview.
These are just the layman Atheists that we encounter on a regular basis
There are also many famous professional atheists that are actively seeking to disprove God. Such as Richard Dawkins Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher and Stephen Hawking
And frankly they are gaining ground as are other religions and worldviews that are contrary to Christianity
You see the world is evangelizing like crazy. They are evangelizing through television, radio, internet, billboards, meetings, politics, Public and higher education
And not only are they evangelizing and winning new converts they are educating, equipping, and empowering those converts to be effective at overthrowing the faith of Christian who don’t have a proper foundation in the fundamental truths of Christianity.
Take Britain a place that historically has been overwhelmingly Christian now only has 10% of its population going to church at least once a month.
Their churches are being sold and turned into nightclubs, bars, theatres, mosques and Sikh temples
I believe the churches response to the rising tide of secularism has left something to be desired. Now there are exceptions of course,
But was has been the response of the church? Skinny jeans and a little bit of compromise
The groups that are growing are the ones that stick to their convictions and boldly proclaim their message
Okay Jonathan, I get it. The church is in trouble but what does this have to do with Acts?
I believe the key to revival and a healthy growing church is found in the book of Acts
We are going to start going through Acts on Wednesday night and I think if you stay with us you will see that if we return to the model laid out for the church in scripture the church will again
Now I am not trying to overstate the decline of the church. The church is not doomed. In fact several times in history the church has been in worse states of decline but has come back as a result of amazing revivals
I just want to take an honest look at the overall state of the church so that we don’t repeat those mistakes at Faith and Victory or in our own walk individually
Back to the passage
This book was written by Luke a physician and traveling companion of Paul’s
Here Luke references the Gospel that he wrote previously to the same man, who was clearly a government official of some kind. We know that because of something he said in Luke Chapter 1 he used the title Most Excellent which was reserved for those in authority
Let’s turn there
[Luk 1:1-4 NKJV] 1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 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, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
In this passage we get to see the reason why Luke wrote his gospel and the Book of Acts. He wanted Theophilus be certain of the things he was told.
When we look at the opening passages of Luke and Acts I think we find one of those keys that the church has been neglecting
You see Luke and these Apostles even Jesus himself knew that when they were making a claim as extravagant as the one that they were making it was their duty to provide evidence. The burden of proof was on them
The great news is that the early Christians were great apologists. They knew the scriptures and were able to present the truth to the Jews when needed and they were also able to present proof to the gentiles when needed
But most in the church today will scarcely, if ever, memorize a single scripture and most haven’t even felt the need to share the gospel, let alone prove it.
And those who do share their faith usually have not adequately prepared themselves for the objections that the culture has
Yet we are all commanded to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us
- [1Pe 3:15 NKJV] 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
- [Col 4:5-6 NKJV] 5 Walk in wisdom toward those [who are] outside, redeeming the time. 6 [Let] your speech always [be] with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
We are all called to be an apologist. An apologist if you don’t know is not someone who is sorry for something but it is someone who gives a defense or an answer in support of something
Now I used that word called and some of you might be thinking I know what my calling is and it is not to be an apologist.
I am not talking about what you do professionally. We often say when we see someone happy and excelling in a job that “He has found his calling” but I object to that
Your calling is so much more than your career no matter how prestigious a career it is. You have an eternal purpose and calling to be a light to this world. God has given you special gifts to fulfill your calling and you may be able to fulfill you calling in a particular profession but that profession is not your calling.
We are all called to be ministers. Not a paid pastor per se but a minister. We are here to promote the gospel and present Christ to as many people as we can.
One of the barriers to people coming to Christ, are all of the lies that they have heard and taken to heart about Christianity
- [Jude 1:3 NKJV] 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
We need to equip ourselves to contend for the faith. A soldier that lacks the right tools and equipment is going to get shot
We need to stand up for the truth even on facebook. It may seem a pointless thing to engage in a debate on social media after all how many of us have argued someone into the faith?
But I think that misses the point. rarely is the heckler won over but others are watching to see if your beliefs can standup to the objections that people bring
If we stay silent then we are surrendering without even a fight and that is not contending earnestly. What is the devil is trying to overthrow the faith of a brother in a weak moment?
Shouldn’t we come to the defense of Christ when he is mocked and slandered? A timely word can bolster the faith of someone wavering.
- [Pro 15:23 NKJV] 23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word [spoken] in due season, how good [it is]!
- [2Ti 4:2 NKJV] 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season [and] out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Luke was a great apologist look at the language he uses in his introductions. He what Theophilus to know that he had complied eyewitness accounts and that he had a perfect understanding of the content he was presenting,
he wanted it to be an orderly account, so that Theophilus could know for certain what he had been told.
Luke is trying to convince Theophilus intellectually. He is appealing to his reason.
Unfortunately the modern day church frowns this sort of approach deeming it unspiritual
Ignorance is seem as some kind of spiritual virtue but if we look at how the apostle approached those they wanted to save. They don’t seem to share this sentiment
- [Act 18:4 NKJV] 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
- [Act 19:8-10 NKJV] 8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
- 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. – Acts 9:29
Over and over in Acts we see Paul reasoning with people in the synagogue, in the market, even in college
Knowledge can puff up and Seminaries can be places that preach falsehoods but there are two types of knowledge worldly and godly
God want us to be smart spiritually
Luke spent a great deal of time gather all the material and eyewitness accounts to reach this one man Theophilus
This man may have even been his boss, because physicians in those days were often slaves, many Bible teachers think Theophilus was Luke’s master.
Think of that Luke probably spent decades writing these accounts to convince his owner. This probably represents his life’s work.
Could you imagine doing this for your boss? Most of us don’t even like our boss, but Luke spent his life trying to win him to the Lord, isn’t that awesome
Some might think that kind of investment is a waste of effort after if we spent decades trying to win one person then many more people had been born and died in the time it took to win that one man.
But here we are reading an account that Luke wrote for one man 2000 years later. Think of all the souls have been touch by these accounts?
Most of us give up trying to convince someone the first time they reject us.
I want you guys to know that it is biblical to defend your faith. The Church has always needed apologists and all of us should be as great an apologist as we can be.
Christianity is not a spectator sport we need to stand against the lies of the devil and the good news is that there are a host of great proofs for Christianity
Great Historical evidence
- Such as Dead Sea scrolls
Great Philosophical arguments
- Moral Argument, Kalaam Cosmological Argument, Teleological Argument, Ontological Argument
Great scientific evidence