Faithlife Sermons

Empowered to Witness

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:33
0 ratings
· 7 views

Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in our study of Scripture? Are we letting Jesus empower us to witness? His work is still being done at the end of this age

Files
Notes
Transcript
EMPOWERED TO WITNESS Sermon for April 18, 2021 This week's theme is about being witnesses of the Lord. The Gospel text finds the disciples being confronted with the reality of the risen Lord who calls them to be witnesses to all nations. Today's reading is from LK 24:36-48 LK 24:36-48 36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Have you ever been with a group a people who were talking about another person when suddenly that person walks into the room? * It can be an awkward moment, depending on what was being said. * That is roughly the situation that is taking place to begin our sermon today. Today's text follows immediately on the heels of the story of Cleopas and an unnamed disciple who encountered Jesus on their walk to Emmaus. * They were talking about Jesus and all that took place in Jerusalem leading to his crucifixion. * They were talking about how Jesus was now dead and buried. * As they were talking "Jesus himself came near and went with them." At the beginning of our text for today, we have these two disciples gathered with other disciples sharing their experience and discussing the strange reports that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Notice Luke's words: LK 24:36-37 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. (NRSV) * The scene took place at night or late evening of the very day of the Lord's resurrection. * It was a dramatic scene. Jesus had already made at least four appearances to: * Mary Magdalene • the women visiting the tomb • the two walking to Emmaus • Simon Peter The apostles (minus Thomas) and some other disciples had rushed to the known meeting place. * The very air was electric, a sense of intensity. * Excitement was in the air and minds were grasping for understanding. * Wonder was beginning to overcome sadness and despair, and hope was stirring. * Reports of sightings of Jesus were being buzzed about and argued about. * Then all of a sudden out of nowhere, into the very midst of all this, "Christ Himself stood." * The first words Jesus spoke to his disciples after his death were "PEACE BE UNTO YOU." * The disciples needed peace - the peace only He could give them * Remember the words he spoke to them days before; JN 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." * There was a pattern developing, * When they gathered with others to talk about Jesus, he has a tendency of showing up to join the conversation. * But he DOESN'T come to us to SHAME US or catch us in some AWKWARD CONVERSTATION seeking to embarrass us. * He comes BRINGING PEACE * The disciples needed to hear these words * There he is their DEAD FRIEND TALKING TO THEM. * Maybe they were thinking is this a GHOST * This can't be real, dead people don't talk, they were deeply troubled, startled, frightened. * They were trying to understand what was going on. NOTICE HOW JESUS RESPONDED TO THEIR FEARS. * He begins by asking them a probing question: * "Why are you frightened", and * "Why are you doubting? - after all I told you a number of times this was going to happen." * The idea that a man could rise from the dead is beyond their comprehension. * IN REALITY if we were living in that day, we would responded with the same fear at see a dead man walk again. JESUS ALSO OFFERS US THOSE SAME WORDS - PEACE BE UNTO YOU. * Jesus however offers peace to their chaotic world just like offers us peace in our messed up world. * This peace is not some sentimental nice thing to say - BUT REALITY. * As we look around us, we may be tempted to think Jesus' pronouncement of peace is a mirage. * We may not see a lot of peace in our world and therefor draw the conclusion that Jesus' peace must be some vapory form of peace, shallow and "ghost-like" but nothing of substance. * So, we remain in our fears. WHAT LIES AT THE HEART OF OUR FEARS? * Is it not a lack of trust in Jesus' words to us in scripture. * What is more real to us, what the WORLD PRESENT TO OUR EYES, or * What the WORD OF GOD tells us in SCRIPTURES. * We are called to faith, to believe and cast all our cares upon HIM, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. * When Jesus brings PEACE, it is REAL, it is not an ALLUSION, not a PHANTOM, not an HALLUCINATION or any figment of mans imagination. Notice the next thing Jesus does after getting the disciples to ponder the reason for their fear. LK 24:38-39 38 He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." (NRSV) * He moves to help them see the reality THAT HE IS REAL * He DOESN'T CHIDE them or throw up his hands in frustration. * He simply meets them when they are at and helps grow their faith. * He lets them know He Jesus their friend. * He had physically risen from the dead and his body was real. * Yes his body was different, but it was His body which was perfected and no longer subject to the limitations and frailties of the physical universe and its laws. * It was glorified by the power and spoken Word of God. * Christ's risen body had the appearance of the physical body, but it was not bound by the physical world and its material substance. * The body still had the nail marks from the cross. * The body could travel an appear anyplace, unhampered by space, time, material or substance. (Going through walls locked doors) * The glorified body differed enough that it was not clearly recognized at first until it was closely observed. * Mary Magdalene thought he was the gardner * The two disciples walking toward Emmaus thought he was a traveler * The disciples who were fishing did not recognize Him standing on the seashore. * However after close observation the Lord was recognized in all these situation. When we are resurrected and receive glorified bodies we too will also change. * True believers will also receive a spiritual body * It is sown in corruptions; it is raised in incorruption * It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. * It is sown in weakness; It is raised in power. * It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. * I Cor 15:52-53 talks about that body I COR 15:52-53 In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. Getting back to Luke's account we see Jesus is content to work with their present fears and culturally conditioned responses. * In that culture, it was not an uncommon belief that a dead person could appear as a ghost. * They had some tests to validate whether the person was a ghost or not. * Make sure the feet touched the ground and person wasn't floating * Examination of hands to see if they were solid with flesh and bones * See if the person had teeth and could eat. * Jesus is addressing their concerns * Lk 24:40 LK 24:40 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. (NRSV) * Jesus allows the disciples to put him through the ghosts test as they are struggling to believe. * Jesus is committed to bringing them the reality of the good news, HE IS RISEN. * This seems to be the thrust of Luke's telling of the story. * Jesus is simply trying to establish for the disciples that he is real, not a ghost. * He is Jesus in the flesh, risen from the dead. This account of Jesus appearing to his disciples can bring us great comfort in our times of fear and doubt. * With us also Jesus WANT TO MOVE US BEYOND OUR FEARS so we can embrace his PEACE. * Me meets us where we are MOVES US BEYOND OUR LIMITING HUMAN CAPACITIES. * He DOESN'T come to us with disappointment or annoyance at our weakness of faith. * If that were so, he would not be living in the peace he is holding out to us. * But Jesus is living completely in THE PEACE HE PROMISES. * JESUS DOE NOT HAVE OUR FEARS AND DOUBTS and he is NOT ANXIOUS about our culture's influence on us. * HE KNOWS THE OUTCOME of this messed up world we live in. The last test Jesus applies to himself is eating. LK 24:41-43 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence. (NRSV) * You have to wonder what was going through disciples minds in v41 * WHILE IN THEIR JOY - THEY WERE DISBELIEVING * WHILE IN THEIR JOY - THEY WERE WONDERING HOW TO INTERPRET SEEING JESUS. * Notice how he involves the disciples in what he is doing. * He asks for a piece of fish - ghosts don't eat. -maybe brought back memories feeding 5000 Jesus is being consistent in how he relates to the disciples. * He takes what they give him and uses it to reveal himself further to them. * And Jesus IS STILL DOING THAT TODAY. * God often asks us to give him something that he then turns into a means of revealing himself to you in a deeper way? (YOUR TIME, YOUR SERVICE, YOU MONEY ETC) * Maybe he asks you to give over some stinky fish of COMPLAINING only to find that God shares with you his overflowing joy. * Maybe he asked you to GIVE HIM THAT OFFENCE from another you have been unable to forgive only to find that God has forgiven you completely, setting you free to forgive others as you have been forgiven. * Maybe Jesus asks you to give just a little more in the offering basket and you find that God is a generous God who OFTEN GIVE TO US MUCH MORE THAN WE HAVE GIVEN AWAY. * God takes what we give him and uses it to further his blessing to us of knowing him and of GROWING IN THE RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE WITH OUR TRIUNE GOD. * We go on to Lk 24:44-48 LK 24:44-48 44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. (NRSV) V 44 Jesus tells them all these things had to happen according the what was written in the law, prophets and psalms. * Jesus had told his disciples a number of times what was going to happen to himself, but NOT ONE OF THE DISCIPLES understood what he said. * This account was the probably the third 3rd time Jesus foretold his disciples about his death and resurrection * This was before hid death and resurrection LK 18:31-34 31 Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. 33 After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again." 34 But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. * He will be handed over to the Gentiles * He will be mocked, insulted and spat upon * He will be flogged * He will be killed * On the third day after his death he will rise * The disciples heard all this this more then once yet they were IN SHOCK WHEN CRUCIFIXION WEEK HAPPENED * WE HAVE TO REMEMBER - THE DISCIPLES DID NOT YET HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. * Their minds were still CARNAL * What does scripture tell us about our human natural or carnal mind I COR 2:11,14 11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God....14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. * After Jesus death, back to fishing * Peter cut off the mans ear at Gethsemane * All of the disciples fled, Christ's trial * All argue over wanting chief seats in kingdom * Their understanding of scripture was limited yet until PENTECOST Going back to our text for today LK 24:45-48 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 YOU ARE MY WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS. (NRSV) This was before the disciples had received the Holy Spirit, so FIRSTLY - WE SEE how important a role should the Holy Spirit play in our lives. SECONDLY - WE SEE how important is our role is SEARCHING and STUDYING the SCRIPTURES. Jesus here wants them to know who he is beyond all their fear and doubt and he directs them to the Scriptures to do just that. But he goes further: * "Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures." * Let that sink in. * When we DO BIBLE STUDY and STUDY THE SCRIPTURES, we can trust that Jesus is right there with us BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, opening our minds to understand further who he is. * We see HOW IMPORTANT it is to CONTINUALLY BE SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES, reading along with Jesus who is OPENING OUR MINDS to understand WHO HE IS-. Not only did Jesus open their minds to understand what the Scriptures are saying about him, but he used the Scriptures to open their eyes to who they WERE in Christ-HIS WITNESSES. * When Jesus appeared to them to show HE WAS ALIVE AND REAL, he was also preparing them for their CALLING OF BEING WITNESSES. * The HOLY SPIRIT, INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE PLAY A KEY ROLE IN OUR WITNESSING. * Sometimes when we talk about being witnesses or EVANGELIZING as if we are DOING IT ALONE. * MAYBE THAT IS WHY OUR WITNESSING IS OFTEN UNPRODUCTIVE. (JESUS, THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND SCRIPTURE all make our WITNESS TO NOT FAIL. * You see Jesus is the true Witness, and HE CALLS us along to JOIN HIM. * Through Scripture with the help of the HOLY SPIRIT, He is preparing us for our calling to WITNESS about HIM and who HE is and WHO his Father is.. There is no way we can be witnesses outside of HIS witness to us and his continuing witness to the Father by the Spirit for the sake of the world. * Jesus also makes them more than just "eyewitnesses" of Jesus after the resurrection. * He links their witness with the Scriptures as they are to be "witnesses of these things"-the things that he just opened their minds to in the Scriptures. * The calling to proclaim the gospel will entail being "MINISTERS OF THE WORD." * Being a witness will be a natural response of seeing the Lord. * So, our text has come full circle. * It begins with disciples TALKING ABOUT JESUS who, after being ENCOUNTERED by the LIVING, RISEN LORD, are SENT OUT to talk about Jesus. As you go out today, back to your families, your neighborhood, your work and wherever you find yourself, I hope we can be encouraged by the reality that Jesus comes to you. * He comes to you to bring you into his peace. * He comes to you to reveal himself to you further, so you can know him and his Father more deeply. * He comes to you to build your faith in him so you can go into your world * living in the reality of God's love for you, * living under his grace * Knowing you are forgiven and loved by Father Son and Holy Spirit. Can you remember a movie you watched that left such an impression on your mind that YOU JUST HAD TO TELL OTHERS TO WATCH. * When we truly come to understand Jesus as HE REVEALS HIMSELF TO US IN THE SCRIPTURES - WITH THE HELP OF HOLY SPIRIT, WE CAN'T HOLD IT IN WE HAVE TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT HIM. * In this name, may we go out talking about Jesus, sharing with others who Christ has revealed himself to be to us in the Scriptures. * Jesus comes into our messed up world and offers us true peace. * And in his name, may you go out and share his words of peace with others. * Lets turn to Acts 1:8 ACTS 1:8 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." The Holy Spirit Christ gives us will also help OPEN OUR MINDS to the SCRIPTURES and we too will be HIS WITNESSES in our * JERUSALEM (neighborhoods, homes, work places, families, those in our inner circle of friends) * In our JUDEA & SAMARIA (in our outreaches to our cities, serving our communities, in Canada) * And to the ENDS OF THE EARTH as we reach out to help people in other countries around the world. Remember we are called to be his witnesses but we are not alone, HE IS WITH US BEARING FRUIT. Jesus is the one doing the work Notice the disciples were not to act or do anything until the received the power from on high. Then the real work began with coming of the Holy Spirit. LK 24:49 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." WAITING FOR THE POWER Trying to drive a car without the keys, operating a power tool without electricity, a hydroelectric plant without any water source-all of these futile actions make as much sense as trying to minister to others without the power of the Holy Spirit. Believers can do nothing good without his power, yet how often they try! Christians schedule revival as if God ran on their schedule, they launch evangelistic efforts without praying that God will prepare people's hearts, and they run churches and ministries as if God were more interested in marketing and management techniques than people's souls. How tragic-and how foolish! Take a page from the first church's strategy for growth: wait for the power from on high. Sometimes we need to go back to the basics like this? * Only with the power of the Holy Spirit can we be the witnesses of Jesus. * He alone will open our eyes to the scriptures to proclaim him as needed. * Final scripture MATT 28:19-20 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE END OF THE AGE" * Remember those words as we FAITHFULLY WITNESS * I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS - NEVER ENDING. * TO THE END OF THE AGE - THAT IS US HERE TODAY --- HERE NOW OUR WORLD CLOSING PRAYER
Related Media
Related Sermons