Sermon Title:  Withstanding a Breeze

Summary:  We should take the time to learn about and anderstand out heritage
so that we will have a solid foundation for integrating our faith our lives and to
share it with others.

To know:  That it is important to know your own heritage and history in order to
strengthen, live out, and share your faith.

To Feel:  A sense of humble pride in our Christian heritage which will motivate
us to want to dig deeper and share our faith.

To do:  Reflect on how we fit into God’s overall plan both collectively and
individually and commit to it.

Text:  Luke 1:1-4

Scripture Reading:  Col 2:6-10

Intro:  Have you watched the political debates on T.V.?
1.  There has been more debate, speculation and opinion and Jesus
	a.  No longer in mostly acedemic circles
		- Used to worry about losing faith in college
	b.  Not it has entered the mainstream
		- Constant string of books - example:  The Davinci Code
		- More movies about Jesus - Some accurate, some not
	c.  Can have an effect on church going people
	d.  Are these the sorts of things that cause Christians to fall away?
2.  No - The underlying cause is something from within
	a.  Analogy:  Our tomato plants in backyard
		- Grew, had lots of fruit
		- Blew over, had to put it back up
	b.  Usually think of storms wrecking faith
	c.  In this case of this plant, it was just a small, gentle breeze
		- Sometimes, it is something so subtle
	d.  Problem:  It wasn’t supported, which made it easy for the breeze
3.  The breeze comes in many forms
	a.  Start a new school, sign up for sports, drama, or something
	b.  Fill lives with activities, get a new job, start career
	c.  Find boyfriend, girlfreind
	d.  If you are not supported properly, these harmless breezes with destroy
4.  Will reflect on that support from introduction to Luke 1:1-4
	a.  Luke’s purpose - To know the “exact truth”
	b.  “asfaleia” - Firmness, convitiction, foundation
		- Our english word “asphalt” comes from this word
		- Idea is of having a firm foundation, or “support”
	c.  How do you lay that foundation, that support?
		- Understand heritage
		- Making effort to understand heritage
		- Seeing the big picture through your heritage
	d.  Text:  Luk 1:1-4

I.  Understanding your heritage (v.1-2)
	A.  In verse 1, Luke speaks of things “accomplished” among us
		1.  Lit:  plhroforew - “fulfilled”
		2.  Same word in 2 Tim 4:5 - “Fulfill your ministry”
	B.  Why this word instead of something like “poiew - to do”?
		1.  Brings O.T. prophecy into the picture
			a.  Either quotes or alludes to in throughout Luke
			b.  More subtle than other Gospels, but more plentiful
			c.  First four chapters especially.  Examples:
				- Birth of John,  1:17/ Mal 4:6
				- Birth of Jesus, 1:32/ Isa 9:7;  1:33/ Dan 2:44
				- Lk 4:18ff - Jesus ministry begins with prophecy
		2.  So Luke is not a new story, but a continuation of the story
			a.  From book of Genesis, an air of expectation
			b.  Bible a story of how God unfolds his plan
				- Eden, Abraham, Israel, Promise of restoration
		3.  Hebrew Bible closes on a note of expectation
			a.  In Greek Bibles, it ends with (Mal 4:1-6)
				- Sending Elijah for restoration
			b.  Hebrew Bibles (different arrangement) (2 Chr 36:22-23)
				- End’s with Cyrus decree
				- Ability to return and “build a house” in Jerusalem
		4.  This is being fulfilled in Luke
			a.  Elijah is coming -- John the baptist
			b.  A house will be built -- The kingdom of God
	C.  With one word, “fulfilled” Luke includes all of this
		1.  To know where you are going, must know where you came from
		2.  Don’t know history, doomed to repeat it
		3.  A good chunk of our Bible is historical narrative, not epistle
		4.  Every week we are reminded of significant part of our history
			a.  Lord’s Supper
			b.  Bread - Jesus became human, established church
			c.  Juice - Blood, we cleansed, gave his life
			d.  Didn’t stay dead, he arose and coming back
	D.  Jesus did that to remind us of most significant event
		1.  Knowing our heritage keeps us supported
		2.  When breeze comes, doesn’t blow us over
		3.  When storms come, we just get stronger
		4.  But that support doesn’t come easily

II.  Takes effort to understand your heritage
	A.  Luke says many have tried to compile an account
		1.  v.2 - They were “handed down” - Rabbinic style oral tradition
		2.  Others apparently wrote something
			a.  We have 4 that are authoritative, inspired
			b.  Nothing else from the 1st century
		3.  Later years, some wrote pseudo-Gospels
			a.  Myths, odd stories, strange sayings
			b.  These may have floated around orally for awhile
		4.  Luke says there was a lot of “Jesus material” out there
	B.  ILL:  Have you ever had to do a research project before?
		1.  At ACU did research on social setting for Proverbs
			a.  Comparative studies on wisdom movements, sages, 
			     other proverbs in the ancient near east
			b.  Involved works in other languages
			c.  Primary and secondary sources only - for accuracy
			d.  Lot of work
		2.  If doing research on history of a famous person
			a.  Primary sources as much as possible 
			       - Letters, documents, interviews
			b.  Would visit sites of importance
			c.  Make sure you separate fact from fiction
		3.  Luke probably did same sort of thing - Investigated
		4.  A lot of work went into this
	C.  Why was it important for Luke to do the hard work?
		1.  Lot of “Jesus material” floating around
			a.  Eventually, had lots of Pseudo Gospels from 2nd century
			b.  Gnostic Jesus, fully human Jesus, full divine Jesus,
			      the Philosopher Jesus, etc.
			c.  Luke had to sift through these and do his homework
		2.  Do you have any of this sort of thing today?
			a.  Just go to the bookstore
				- Not just academic shelf, but on popular level
				- Everyone has opinions about Jesus
			b.  Just turn on the T.V.
				- Movie about Noah and the Ark
				- 5 yrs ago, an inaccurate movie about Jesus
				- Movie about Judas, the brains behind Jesus
				- The Passion - Accurate, and people complained
		3.  Cinema is a powerful, subtle form of communication
			a.  Most are not aware of amount of theology there
			b.  It is bad, heretical theology, but it is there
	D.  Answer to this:  Know your heritage
		1.  Luke, along with Matthew, Mark and John compiled an account
		2.  Takes time, effort and work - But worth it
		3.  When breeze blows into life, won’t blow you over
			a.  Whether on T.V., in a book, in a classroom
			b.  Among family, freinds, at home
		4.  But there is another benefit to knowing your heritage

III.  See the big picture through your heritage
A.  All of us are a peice of a larger puzzle
	1.  When you don’t see the big picture, you just a lone puzzle piece
	2.  When begin to stand back and look at other pieces
	3.  They come together, and you can see how you fit in
B.  This apparently what Theophilus needed - So Luke gave him a Gospel
	1.  He already instructed, but now needs asfaleia - support, firmness
	2.  Way Luke gives that firmness - Show the big picture
		a.  Showed how Jesus fit into God’s overall plan
		b.  Redeemer, savior, Lord
	3.  Also shows how we fit into God’s overall plan
	4.  How does Luke show how we fit into God’s plan??
C.  Look at features of Luke’s writings
	1.  Luke has more of non-Christian world around us than others
		a.  Show’s more interaction with Gentiles/ Roman officials
		b.  Uses the style of secular history writing
		c.  Geneology goes back to Adam and God - Universal perspective
	2.  He continues on with book of Acts (an additional book)
		a.  Story didn’t end with the ascension
		b.  The church continues on with his mission
	3.  Movement of travel in Luke/ Acts
		a.  Chap 9 through rest of Gospel, Jesus traveling to Jerusalem
			- Climax of the story is in Jerusalem  (Lk 24:53)
		b.  In Acts, movement is away from Jerusalem
			- Christianity spreads through the world
	4.  Jesus came to save YOU Theophilus!
		a.  Theophilus is part of God’s plan!
		b.  What the church does in Acts, is what Theophilus is to do
D.  Look at how Acts ends  (Acts 28:28)
	1.  I believe Acts is intentionally an unfinished story!
	2.  That is how you get the big picture
	3.  We are a chapter in God’s story
	4.  You are a part of the big picture!  God wants you in the world 

1.  You are a part of a long, rich heritage
	a.  Take time to investigate it.  Our kids are doing Bible Bowl
	b.  This will add support to protect against breezes
2.  But don’t just look to the past
	a.  Story is not over, you are writing the next chapter
	b.  What are you going to write?
3.  What does God want me to do
	a.  Know your history
	b.  Reach outward
		- Acts moved away from Jerusalem
		- Someone reached out to you
		- We are to reach out as well

Questions for Small Group Discussion