Editor: An Open Letter to a Christian Friend

Most excellent Theophilus:

There are not many believers among us, like you, who are high ranking government officials in the Roman Empire like yourself. You have a unique opportunity to be a powerful testimony for God. I want to encourage you to be one hundred percent convinced of the truth you have recently embraced. To this end, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, I have written two books to you. Similar in several ways, they will also have a marked difference. Together, they should help you steer a steady course in your Christian life, come what may.

First of all, I have dealt with “The Acts of the Holy Spirit in and through Christ.” Book Two is about “The Acts of the Holy Spirit in and through Christians.” Notice the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ at the beginning of Book One. Permanently filled and uninterruptedly controlled by the Spirit, the life of Christ brought infinite pleasure to the heart of God. Book Two begins with the Spirit’s descent upon Christians. The Spirit permanently indwells believers but because of their weakness with the flesh it does not always fill them. Much of Book Two has to do with Paul, an amazing servant of God, who probably best imitated Christ with regards to being controlled by the Spirit. Paul was also a dependant man, constantly in prayer, which is a salient feature of Christ in Book One.

Trace the journeys in each book. After His humble birth in Bethlehem, Christ is seen in Book One on a journey to Jerusalem to die, in order to provide salvation for all. Book Two begins with the birth of the Church in Jerusalem and then describes the journey of Christians to the rest of Judea, to Samaria, and then unto the uttermost part of the earth in order to preach salvation to all. Some were willing to die for the cause of Christ. Each book covers a period of a little over 30 years. It is thrilling to trace the full extent of this movement, beginning from insignificant Bethlehem, all the way to Rome, the capital of the empire! In both journeys there are tremendous trials, pitfalls, and obstacles, but nothing and no one could stop God’s purposes. If this movement is of God (and it is) it will continue undaunted as it spreads across the earth and flows down through the centuries.

Notice the important order of the two volumes: first I wrote about Christ, then about Christians. In Book Two you will read of great believers, like Stephen, who kept a wonderful testimony right to the very end. Others, unfortunately, marred their personal testimony and became a reproach to the gospel, so much so, that God quickly removed them from earth. Christians are not perfect. Sadly, one could become disillusioned with the behavior of even the most prominent Christian leaders in Book Two.

Book One is all about your Savior and Lord. He was a perfect Man on earth. He was tempted in all points, but without sin. He ate with publicans and sinners; He even touched the leper, but He was never negatively affected by sinful people around him. He was attacked by the Evil One but never succumbed. He was not racist, nor disregarded widows. He never lied, robbed God, or turned back. His manner of life was the perfect example of any exhortation to godliness that He ever preached. He is now in heaven and lives to help and bless you.

Keep Book One within ready reach. Read it over and over again. Keep focused on the holy, perfect life of Christ.

Your brother, Dr. Luke