Having read the comments and weighing them mentally during this last weekend, I am compelled to begin with a gospel account, even the gospel account of Luke which has been suggested. As best I can, I will address the topics requested in the comments; those topics include discipleship, justification, sanctification, and the rest. I appreciate your recommendations and will do my best to cover the other requests in the future and that in due time.
By means of introduction, I want to present some remarks one commentator has written concerning the gospel of Luke:
If ever a man wrote a book filled with good news for everybody, Dr. Luke is that man. His key message is, “For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19.10). He presents Jesus Christ as the compassionate Son of man, who came to live among sinners, love them, help them, and die for them.
In this Gospel you meet individuals as well as crowds, women and children as well as men, poor people as well as rich people, and sinners along with saints. It’s a book with a message for everybody, because Luke’s emphasis is on the universality of Jesus Christ and his salvation: “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2.10).
The physician begins his gospel just as a doctor would begin to write a treatise on medical matters. Indeed, much of his writing is laced with medical terminology. For example, in the first four verses alone (1.1-4), Luke will use no less than four terms that also appear to have been used in the medical field. Further, Luke demonstrates his education and ability to communicate with plutocrats (Theophilus?) with the language he uses in the first four verses.
Luke explains that many have undertaken the task of drawing up (lit. compiling) and account (or record) of the things which have taken place in first century Judea, that is the narrative account of Jesus of Nazareth. He explains that things which are believed among the people have been passed down (i.e. a tradition, probably orally but does not exclude written form) by “eyewitnesses” (Gk. Autoptai, comapre with our word autopsy), which carries the idea that these were men who right alongside the Great Physician as he worked. More than that, they were “ministers,” which carries the idea of one who was an attendant or assistant to the principle physician, or in this case the Great Physician. Therefore, we have men who have the personal knowledge of the ministry of Jesus and also the practical experience necessary to be an apostle.
Luke, working with and collecting data from such men, explains that he has “carefully investigated everything from the beginning.” Luke is not a two-bit historian (Rook Hawkins notwithstanding) who does not research his topic nor know whereof he speaks; Luke has gone to no small measure to compile an account that is as accurate as can be. Therefore, he goes straight to those who were there, just like any modern day journalist would do, to seek out and find the truth and then sets down the things he has gathered in “an orderly account,” specifically for his reader, Theophilus.
The question then arises: “why do this?” Why go to such extreme measures to gather data and collect information? The answer is in verse 4: “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Though originally intended for Theophilus, the principle can be expanded. When we read the gospel narrative of Luke, we are reading sacred history. The data and information has been collected from eyewitness sources, it has been carefully scurtinized and investigated, and the evidence has been recorded in an orderly fashion. Therefore, we too can know the certainty of the things we believe, our faith resting on eyewitness testimony that wouldn hold up in any court of law.
As we study Luke over the following months, keep in mind that we are reading accurately traced historical facts concerning people, places, and events. This is vitally important when we speak of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus…which we will get to eventually.