Study # 2
Note: Much of this study outline is a repetition of the first one because the first study bogged down in the actual presentation of it so that I had to simply pick up where I left off.
Thesis: A theophile is a person who has matured to the point that what God wants is more important than what he/she wants..
Introduction: In our introductory study last week, we saw that Luke claimed that he was adding his effort to that of the many, and that he had an audience of one for his labors. We also began to look into the significance of Luke's audience of one. We saw that names have meaning as we looked into the meaning of the name of Jesus. In reference to the name of Jesus, we need to understand that the salvation that He was going to provide was not like a box of money found along the side of the road which had no owner. Rather, the salvation that He was going to provide was a freely given invitation to enter into the relational realm of life. This means that salvation is not about being set free to continue to pursue life as one always has -- sans the negative consequences; rather, it is about being set free to enter into a new and different experience that has a relational harmony with God at its very roots and at its furtherest branches. In other words, the foundation and the objective of God's offer of salvation in Jesus is relational harmony between God and His people and between His people and His people. Any understanding of salvation that does not have this root and fruit is a false understanding. This morning we are going to pursue this reality as we continue to look into the significance of Luke's audience of one.
August 10, 2003
- I. Luke's Audience of One.
- A. Luke wrote both his Gospel and his follow-up record of the Acts of God through the Apostles to one man: Theophilus.
- B. These two records are significantly addressed to this man, whose name was Theophilus.
- 1. Names, in the Bible, are treated as significant.
- a. First, the names of all of the saints have been written by God's appointment from the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8).
- b. Second, the names of biblical persons are treated by biblical writers as having "meaning-significance".
- 1) The name of Jesus was deliberately chosen and prescribed to Joseph.
- 2) Jesus deliberately changed Peter's name from Simon to Peter in John 1:42 [the Aramaic word is the Greek equivalent of Peter].
- 3) In Hebrews 7:1, the inspired author deliberately made a point of the meaning of the name as well as the title of the one named.
- 2. The name, "Theophilus", is not without enormous significance in Luke's record.
- a. First, it's meaning is deliberately tied to the issue of a life of godliness that is accomplished by "faith".
- 1) Theophilus is a combination name that means "friend of God".
- 2) In James 2:23 this is the very title of Abraham in the final stages of his life of victorious faith.
- a) In the context, the issue of friendship is identified in verse 21 as being the issue of giving up the most important "love" for the sake of "obedience".
- b) This is important because of what Jesus said in John 15:14
- c) The historical record of Abraham's development into a friend of God reveals that the development is a process that takes time and experiences, but this development is what is at the root of the original invitation to be "saved".
- i. It should be understood that the invitation to salvation is not free of this objective.
- ii. Grace in salvation does not mean that the invitation is a stand-alone issue that can be accepted without the divine objectives both in mind and embraced [note Mark 10:13].
- 3)In the Lincoln Community Bible Church we are ultimately only interested in being used of God to develop His friends in their friendship with God.
- a) Anyone who joins himself/herself to this body and then proves to not be God's friend, will be put out of this body according to the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 18.
- b) Anyone who wants to be friends with God will find help here, but not perfection.
- b. Second, it's meaning is "prophetic".
- 1) Luke told his reader that he was going to write meticulously and with complete accuracy for one reason: that his reader might develop certainty in respect to the things believed.
- 2) The truth is this: only the friends of God will have the patience and the tolerance for the way the Word will be treated in this Church, for we fully intend to be meticulous and strive for accuracy as we teach line upon line and precept upon precept.
- a) Our past experience has told us that the vast majority of people in this country who call themselves "Christians" have no stomach for being the friends of God.
- i. They are perfectly content with God being their friend.
- ii. But they have no serious interest in being God's friend.
- b) We will be bothered by these so-called "Christians", but we will not be dissuaded from our method and approach.
- c) The greatest challenge we all will face is handing the reins of control over to God.
- i. We are so used to being in control in so many areas of our lives that we will find it hard to give it up to God.
- ii. Our biggest problem will be recognizing that God is really the One behind the "men" who seem to be the ones in control (Romans 13).
- II. The Conclusion of the Matter.
- A. We are adding our voice to the many voices already in place.
- B. Our ministry niche is going to be the development of the friends of God.
- C. Our request is that people give us a hearing that is long enough to give a legitimate basis for evaluation of the question: is God in this work?