St Luke’s Enmore Patronal Festival 2004
a sermon by The Right Revd Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney
St Luke, a Saints Day?
There are two ways that being a Christian invariably involves you with other people. Not just me and God in our own little world.
First way is that when you come to Christ you get al the other Christians thrown in. God building a people a community not individuals on own path. We belong together with all who are in Christ. The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Second way is that even to come to Christ though other people.
Quote from Leslie Newbigin missionary in India
[God’s purpose for the world] necessarily requires that men’s salvation should be not by an unmediated act of God directed to each individual human soul in isolation, but by the operation of a love that works through the plane of human history, mediated by the concern of man for man into a visible community.
- What saying. Not each individually discover but learn from others, passed down.
- The Christian faith is not a universal truth available to all (philosophy of life) but an announcement of something happened and will happen. Gospel= news flash.
Jesus Christ raised from the dead. God acted in Jesus. Will act to restore his world
- This wonderful truth must be witnessed and then passed down by others.
This is the church St Luke’s Enmore.
Christchurch Enmore 1880.
Became St Luke in 1963. (amalgamated St Augustine’s Stanmore 1963)
Why Luke? Every year St Luke’s Day a special celebration.
What is this Saint Luke?
- “Saint” means “holy one”
Important sense all those in Christ are holy. Dedicated to him set apart for him. The main thing. Not because every Christian is “holy” in the sense of virtue but because of sharing in Christ.
- But “saint” also used to pick about particular Christian Great Ones of outstanding faith and character. Models to us. Inspiration. Reminder that we share with such. Custom of naming churches after Christian great ones.
Examples and inspirations of heroic faith and action.
- Luke twofold value to us. (1) Belong to Christ you belong to the wider community. (2) We come to Christ though others, in this Luke a crucial.
Who is this Luke?
My grandson thought a while when I told him I was talking about Luke. “Ah he said, Starwars!”
However I have in mind a figure of the New Testament time. In the New Testament.
But in peripheral vision just on the edge, often out of the camera, in fact often holding the camera.
Two places he catch a glimpse of him. Letters of Paul. Luke’s own work
- First is the letters of Paul 3 references
- Paul in a time of loneliness and threat Paul writes to his friend Timothy 2 Tim 4:
Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me.
Here is the figure Luke important but in the background.
One of the three brief references to one “Luke” in NT The other two briefer
- There are the greetings to church at Colossians a list of names then, 4:14
Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you.
Physician = doctor
Beloved = something special about him
And as earlier in the greetings Aristarchus, Mark the cousin of Barnabas, Jesus who is called Justus “these are the only ones of the circumcision (Jews) among my co-workers for the kingdom of God” Then moves on to others and Luke, this suggests Luke is not a Jew but Greek. Possibly a god fearer.
- And finally at the end Philemon
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
Fellow worker =shared with the apostle in his great mission.
Who was he? probably Greek. Believer.
Later authors suggest he was from Syrian Antioch (One of the largest cities in the ancient wield, where followers of Jesus first called Christians”)
This Luke fellow. Co-worker, beloved stalwart. The last one to hang in there.
- Luke’s own work
But a more significant role. Than that.
Although not name himself very good evidence from others writing just after the NT that this Luke the author of two significant NT books.
The Gospel according to Luke: Jesus life
(and Vol 2) the Acts of the Apostles:
key events and people in the next after Jesus Resurrection
Luke’s gospel a careful reporter and sifter
1 Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
He is not the first generation but a second writing for his contemporaries
- Jesus Christ “the events that have been fulfilled among us”
- those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
- I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account
- for you for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
Begins with the announcement of Jesus conception to his raised from the dead to his teaching from the Scriptures that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Second volume The Acts of the Apostles begins
- In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
Tells the story of the spread of the word of God
30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Though really “the Acts” is about the story that continues and includes us here this morning!
In the Acts unusual
Most interesting the “we” passages in acts. Three times.
First Paul in Modern Turkey Troas near Dardanelles
16.9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. 11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. . .
Luke joined Paul’s company at Alexander Troas at in the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia. Acts then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate Luke was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul left Philippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey.
In Acts 20:5, the switch to “we” tells us that Luke has left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They travelled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem. There Paul found trouble an arrest.
Third time Paul a prisoner on way to Rome to appeal to the Emperor. Acts 27
1 When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.
If you want to read the most vivid account of a shipwreck in the ancient world then go to Acts 27. (Theologians often worry about what deep theological reason Luke had for including what he wrote in Acts. But I think that Luke included the shipwreck because he had been there. He was writing more like a Daily Telegraph reporter at that point in my view!)
Vivid story of shipwreck off Malta finally
28.14 And so we came to Rome.
So we see Luke as One who stands in the shadows.
Though whom “the truth concerning Jesus Christ” spelt out.
- Thank God for Luke and all we share with in Christ. In his case not just for his example but also his bring so much of Christ to us in his writings.
- Follow Luke’s example of humble service. Luke like all the Saints does not want to get in the way of Christ but through his life and work points us to Christ.
- Therefore with and through Luke come to and live for the Lord Jesus Christ.
ALMIGHTY God, who called Luke the physician to an evangelist, and physician of the soul: Grant that through his teaching we may know the certainty of things that belong to your kingdom and that all the diseases of our souls be healed; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.