Lesson 01 – God Has a Tailored Message for Me Today
In our work, we see the incredible value of having God’s Word written down and available as a tool for discipleship and growth in the church and in believer’s lives. it’s amazing to watch when our missionaries introduce written words to people who have only ever had oral messages. They are amazed that the message doesn’t change. When you write a message, and have that message delivered, the message doesn’t change. Unlike when they tell someone a message to be passed along.
As we introduce God’s Word, we share how God was so concerned about his message being understood clearly and it’s message not changing that he wrote it down! And now, we are taking what He wrote down and sharing it with them! It’s very powerful.
Translation is a big part of what we do here in PNG. But, translation is not an end in itself. Translation of God’s Word provides the tools, the resources for the church to be able to grow. Without the written Word, it is so easy for false doctrines and misinterpretations to derail the church. But also, unless we are utilizing the resources, we will be stunted in our growth.
The Passage: Luke 1:1-4
As the Jewish believers dispersed after the great persecution in the early days of the church in Acts, the church was no longer under the direct influence of the apostles. As a result, a need arose for an authoritative source to which they could refer as they proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews. They no longer had access to the eyewitnesses of his life. So they needed another authoritative source that would be accurate and unchangeable, proving the authenticity of the claims of Christ being the Jewish Messiah and of His Kingdom to come.
In fact, each of the gospel writers wrote to meet a specific need that arose among early believers.
- Matthew to the Jews: Matthew explained more about God’s kingdom program than the other Gospel writers did because a key question for the Jewish mind is, “Where is this kingdom God promised?”
- Mark to the Romans: Mark wrote for the Romans. In the culture of that day and in the context of the Roman Empire, their main interest was action; they were far more interested in action than in teaching. So, Mark was far more interested in recording the deeds of the Messiah than what He taught. Mark presents the Messiah as a man of action. He pictures Him as someone who has received a commission and who is eager to carry it out. Mark portrays Jesus as this ideal servant of the only true God.
- Luke to the Greeks: For the Greeks, an accurate, chronological history would verify a claim. Matthew, Mark, and John the apostle were not concerned with the strict chronological sequence, so they organized the events of the life of Yeshua according to their themes. Luke, on the other hand, was concerned with the chronological sequence of events. He alone stated that he had put his material in chronological sequence.
- John to all believers: John’s gospel was written for the church at large and to unbelievers, so that they could be convinced that Yeshua was the Messiah. Jn. 20:30-31 “but these are written, that ye may believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.”
Reading Yeshua, The Life of the Messiah, Fruchenbaum makes one another important point regarding Luke’s gospel. He said, “Luke was not an eyewitness of Jesus’ life. Luke, became a believer through Paul’s ministry after Yeshua had lived, died, risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven. So why did he feel the need to write an account of his own when he himself had not witnessed the life of the Messiah? The answer is in Luke 1:3: it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto you in order, most excellent Theophilus.
Each of the Gospel writers had to be selective about what he recorded and what he chose not to record. The criterion each one used to decide what he would pull out of the volume of material and record was based on the specific theme he wanted to develop. Luke, on the other hand, was concerned with the chronological sequence of events. He alone stated that he had put his material in chronological sequence (Luke 1:3). Thus, this study will always follow his order.
God knew what each group needed. The Jews needed to know for sure that Jesus was and is the Messiah King. The Romans needed to see and know that Jesus was the ideal servant of the only true God. The Greeks needed the details. They needed to know the order of things. And all of us need to come to believe in the Son of God, so that in believing we can find life in Him!
What is the need in your life that God wants to help you to grow in? What is He speaking to you about?
God has a tailored message for me. As each gospel writer wrote to meet a specific need in a specific group of people, God speaks through His Word to meet specific needs in each of our lives! I am amazed how every day, when I open God’s Word, it is alive. It’s living and active. It speaks to the very things God is dealing with my heart on. There are times when the same topic comes up over and over. Whether it’s my Bible reading, Sunday morning sermon, Wednesday Bible study, etc, God brings out the same theme. But, he does it because He longs to conform us to the image of His son!
But, the resource of God’s Word will not be able to do it’s work if we don’t open it and read it EVERY DAY!
The Power; Declarations of Truth:
- God has a tailored message for me today! His word is living and active (Heb 4:12) and will “teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Tim 3:16 NLT)
- I need a healthy diet of God’s Word every day, just like I need food to nourish my physical body. (1 Tim 4:8)