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Retreat Messages - Joy in Christ

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Session 1: Who is this Traveller?

Intro: Everyone Loves a Good Story

Every one loves a good story!
Some of us have our favourite books, our favourite movies that capture the power of story well!
Stories introduce us to great heroes, great enemies and villains! They build suspense, they introduce us to character’s that we fall in love with and we imagine to be our friends.
We all have favourite character’s in those books or movies that have captured our imaginations and our hearts.
THis morning we look at story! A story i believe to be absolutely NON FICTION. A K A this is a true story! This is History! And what we make of this story is the most significant thing in each of our lives!
We’re jumping into the end of the gospel of Luke and Jesus was crucified and buried only a chapter before!
Now the chapter begins telling us of 3 women who go to the tomb to annoint Jesus’ body and they go and find the tomb open, they find Jesus’ body gone and the see angels who tell them that Jesus is alive!
They say “Why do you seek the living among the dead!”
So the 3 women return to the disciples and the apostles, Jesus followers!
And they tell them what happened and what they were told!
But how do the disciples react? Do they beleive this to be a true story?
Look at vs. 11 Luke says:
Luke 24:11 ESV
11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
This seemed to be an idle tale to the disciples! So they don’t beleive!
Peter goes to check it out, but doesn’t get into the details of what Peter see’s as the other books do.
Instead Luke looks to 2 men on a road to EMMAUS. That’s where we’re going to pick up the story.

1. Ignorance is Bliss

Luke 24:13–24 ESV
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
2 disciples are wakling and talking about what was going on!
Vs. 15 Luke highlights JESUS HIMSELF appears and speaks to them!
Vs. 16 Luke says they were kept from recognizing him!
In vs. 17 Jesus speaks and asks about their conversation!
Look at their reaction, they stood still looking sad! Luke tells us all of the emotions in his account and helps us understand the story and what’s going on with the characters!
so in vs. 18 Cleopas answers and tells Jesus about Jesus
He says he was a prophet, mighty in word and deed! That he was deliverd up to death and crucified!
He says they had hoped that he would redeem Israel!
And then he turns to the story of that day! It’s the third day, and some of our women are claiming that he’s alive! But those who went to the tomb didn’t see him..
In this 1st section Luke gives us the setting!
He introduces us to the drama of the story! The disciples are sad, their discouraged, their perplexed, they don’t know what to make of their own situation.
How many of you are their this morning with them?
You’re not sure what to make of Jesus? Who is he really? What did he really come to do? What is the meaning of his death and resurrection? If he’s real why doesn’t he just show up, why doesn’t God just tell me or show me or give me a sign so that I can beleive, so that I can know He’s real!
These are good questions! And Luke is going to point us in the right direction as we continue, but for now let me warn you!
How you answer this question matters! This matters more than any other question you could be asked:
WHO IS JESUS?
THis is the question burning on the disicples hearts! He was a man, might in deed and word before God and all the people!
BUT WAS HE THE REDEEMER?? WE HAD HOPED HE WAS!
And IS HE ALIVE??
Some of you this morning beleive he is and at this point might be tempted to think, this talk isn’t for me, I already beleive, I already know who Jesus is
so let me warn you, If you truly know who Jesus is, to hear tell of him, to be reminded of his work, to be told about him again ought to give you great joy, ought to produce sincere worship, ought to cause your hearts to be filled and overflowing with love!
So you’re un emtional response may be an indication that you don’t really know him, or that you’re heart has become calloused and you’ve forgotten just how awesome, how beutiful, how glorious he is and so when you hear of his death and rresurrection you have no wonder.
Friends, let me encourage you this morning, to hear tell of Christ and his death and resurrection is the greatest story, the greatest drama, the most signifciant message in all the world, so don’t think you’ve mastered the class of Christ when all of us have only skimmed the surface!
For those who don’t know firmly in their hearts what to make of Jesus, perhaps you’ve never really heard about him, perhaps you don’t know what he’s like, why he died, what he said, and what he has called you to do!
Consider this morning who is Jesus! Is he the saviour of the world, the son of God, who died to save sinners like you and me or is this indeed an idle tale as the Disicples that the resurrection was?
Friends the tomb is empty, He is risen! He is speaking now with the disciples and he’s about to teach them who he really is! So let’s keep reading:

2. Jesus gives them Knowledge

Luke 24:25–29 ESV
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
Jesus takes a turn now, he goes from defense to offense, he stops playing ignorant and innocent and he rebuked the disicples!
He says their foolish and slow to beleive!
And he explains to them who He is!
He brings them to the school of Jesus and says look here, this is who he is! He is the redeemer! He is the Savour! He is the King! He is the one who was supposed to die for his people! This is Jesus!
As Jesus does this it’s shocking where he goes!
We would think that Jesus would say, don’t you rmember what I told you!
OR This is who I am! ANd explain it, that he would tell them straight up and he would do some miracles to prove it!
BUT NO! Jesus goes the the Scriptures! He takes the 2 disciples to the Old Testament!
And he starts with Moses and the Prophets and he interprets the Scriptures and shows them who He is!
Friends, the whole bible is a story about one main character and it’s not you!
The Bible is not a law book, that tells us right and wrong!
The Bible is not a love note where God’s trying to win us over!
The Bible is not an instruction manual for how to live a good life!
It does some of those things but that’s not what it is!
Here what Jesus says to the Pharisees in John 5!
John 5:39–40 ESV
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
The Scriptures, THe BIble is a BIOGRAPHY!
It’s a biography of Jesus Christ! The whole of it! It begins with hints, ideas, themes that will all be fulfilled in Christ!
In Gen, 3 were told of a serpent crushing redeemer that will bring man back into God’s presence!
In Gen. 15 we see God promise that he will shed his blood in order to save Abrahams descendants!
In Deuteronomy we’re told of a NEW Moses! Who will be a greater prophet!
In 1 Samuel we see the promise of an eternal king from the line of David!
In Isaiah we’re told of a shoot of Jesse, a lion of Judah! A suffering servant who whill be periced for our transgressions!
We don’t knwo what verses he used but it’s likely he took them to the scroll of Isaiah and quoted chapter 53. and read verses 4 - 6:
Isaiah 53:4–6 ESV
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Jesus takes them through the Old Testament Scriptures and he shows them who he is!
Friends, if you want to know who Jesus is, what he came to do then simply go to His biography! Go to the scriptures and look for him!
You’ll find his shadow on one page, his reflection on another, you’ll find his words in the psalms, his cries in the songs of the old saints, you’ll find his purposes and place foreshadowed in the places of the Old Testament and his heart revealed in the character’s who are a foreshadowing of who he is and what He is like!
Friends, Christ can be found today! In his word he is revealed!
So look to the Bible, read it, study it, pray and ask God to open your eyes to see it! For there is no greater joy than to behold Christ in the Word and wonder at God’s great love for needy sinners!
So Jesus gives them knowledge, he teaches them from the Scriptures about himself!
Luke then tells us that Jesus acts like he’s going further but the disciples urge him to stay with them!
They were at the table together and Jesus breaks the bread and gives it to them!
And now Jesus gives them not only knowledge, but SIGHT!
look with me at verse 30:

3. Jesus gives them sight

Luke 24:30–35 ESV
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
So Finally, jesus stops playing Kooy with them.
I like to do this with my kids, for those who don’t know Elisabeth and I yet. We have 3 kids, Owen who’s fresh as he is 4 months old, Ezra is 2 and Gracie is 4.
Sometimes when I go to get them out of the car, or go into a room and I want to have alittle fun with them.
I’ll open the back door and sticj my head in, or I’ll walk in the room and say “oh that’s weird I was looking for Gracie or Ezzy and their not hear! Hmm I wonder where they went!”
Then if I really get into it, I’ll start yelling their names and looking around them, GRACIE! Are you here! WHere’d you go!
Sometimes they’ll play along, other times they yell, I’m here, I’m here and giggle as I pretend I can’t see them!
Jesus’ finally stops his secrecy and open’s the eys of the disciples!
But unlike me, the way he does it is actually signficant!
Jesus first revealed himself through the scriptures, this is instructive as it teaches us that we can find him there and we ought to find him there!
But then we breaks the bread and that’s how he opens their eyes!
The Last time Jesus did this was in Luke 22
GO THERE WITH ME IN YOUR BIBLES!
Luke 22:19–20 ESV
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
They realize who he is as he repeats one of the most significant actions in the gospel of Luke! Jesus is taking the Passover meal, which was supposed to be practiced for thousands of years since God had given the Israelites the law!
Jesus takes that symbol and says all of it, this most signficant feast, holiday, moment in the Jewish calendar! This meal! THis bread, this wine, this is about me!!
It’s not about Moses and Pharaoaph and the Egyptians and the lambs who were sacrificed!
No! ALl of that is pointing to my death, my body being broken for you, my blood being spilled for you!
Who Jesus is is most clearly revealed here! His death and resurrection! His fulfilling the Old Testament and all it’s pictures and themes and promises!
So they see who Jesus is and then what happens?
Does he say, ok now that you know it’s me, the real class starts. Now we can really learn about who I am…
NO! He vanishes!
He doesn’t want their faith to be based on his physcial presence! He’s pointed them to the Scriptures and to signs that he’s given! TO the Lord’s supper!
The disicples turn to eachother and say “Did not our hearts burn within us”
They then get up, that same hour, by now it’s dark out! and they returned to Jerusalem! about an 11 km WALK! That walk likely took them 2 hours and they had just left Jerusalem and gotten to EMMAUS!!
Friends, I don’t know where each of you are at with Christ this morning. But here is what I do know!
I know who he is!
He’s the son of God, fully God and fully man!
He lived a perfect life, being tempted in every way as we are and yet never once gave in to temptation, he never sinned but always obeyed God!
He suffered and was rejected by the Jewish leaders, he was false accused and wrongfully delivered to them to be crucified!
He was beaten, mocked, hit, spit on, whipped, tortured, and embarassed!
He was forsaken by God and he died! He really died! His body sagged limp on the corss and was carried to the tomb where he was buried!
The stone was rolled in front, he was hemmed in by death, killed by sinful men because they hated him!
And Yet here we find him!
He ROSE FROM THE DEAD!
And he appeared to the disciples! He tells them where to go to learn about them, he shows them how to interpret the Scriptures and he open’s their eyes to embolden their faith and give them confidence that he is the Messiah!
Let me ask you this morning as we close.
Does your heart burn within you when you read the Bible? Do you find joy in seeing Christ in the Old and New Testament? Do you see him? DO you know him?
ILL: - It’s not always easy, we don’t always have joy in God.
first 6 months of this year… the last 3 months!
So let me encourage you! You were made to know him, to love him, to worship him. So look to the Word, give yourself to bible reading and meditating on the Scriptures to find Jesus and find joy in him!
For those of you who haven’t yet beleived in Jesus, or for those who haven’t had a real love for Him and you see this morning what you could have and you want that.
Let me encourage you, the way to joy in Christ is to repent of our sins, to turn from our own way of thinking and to trust in Him. To trust his ways and his purposes, to trust that he know’s waht’s best for you and more than that to trust that he died for your sins so that you could be forgiven and have life forevermore!
If you’re interested in thinking that through more please talk to me or one of the leaders today and we’d be happy to help!
Let’s Pray!

Session 2: What shall we do?

Intro:

1. He’s Really Alive

Luke 24:36–43 ESV
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit 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 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, 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 before them.
Vs. 36 - Jesus Himself - Same as vs. 15 Jesus Himself
vs. 37 thought they saw a spirit
vs. 38 Jesus says why do you doubt?
He says see my hands and feet, touch my skin! See that it is really me!
Jesus wants them to be sure, He’s really alive and well, it is definitely him! This is not ghost, this is no spooky horror story! Jesus has actually risen from the dead!
Luke puts an exclamation on that by shwoing us that he’s hungry and wants to eat in vs. 42 and 43!
But look at vs. 41! It says they disbeleived for joy and were marveling!
Have you guys ever heard of anything you thought was just too good to be true?
When I was in high school, the cool thing to say was “COOL STORY BRO”
Is that still a thing?
My first newer vehicle I bought 8ish years ago! I financed it so I had a monthly payment but at some point I was switching banks and moving things around and for a few months the money I still owed never showed up and there was no bill’s, no payments coming out. I thought, did it just diappear?
I hoped that somehow the bankers or the finance company who it was through made a mistake and I didn’t have to pay it back!
You could say I disbeleived for joy!
But my situation was different! What i was beleivng in, wasn’t actually true!
here the disciples can’t beleive that this is true!
That it’s really him, that he really rose from the dead! That he’s standing here beside them!
And they marvel at him!
So in this first section Jesus shows them he has really risen from the dead, his resurrection is a physical reality!
Jesus then turns and reminds them that this was always the plan!
Look at vs. 44

2. This is the plan

Luke 24:44–49 ESV
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 and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
He tells them now to remember what he said to them, but you have to love what he does!
He doesn’t say, remember what I said I was going to do!
He says, remember that I said, that everything in the Scriptures written about me must be fulfilled!
and vs. 45 tells us he open’s their minds to understand the Scriptures!
The he gives us the conclusion of the Scriptures in vs 47. That He, the Christ, the Messiah should suffer and rise from the dead!
But now he cotninues in vs. 47
Luke 24:47 “47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
He says, the follow up to the death and resurrection is the procalmation of Repentance and the forgiveness of sins!
Their is a message that’s now to go out from Jerusalem, from the disciples and it’s the message of repentance and the forgiveness of sins!
And He tells them is vs. 48 you are my witnesses of these things! And vs. 49 he promises them that he is sending them power from on high and to wait in the city until it happens!
In Matthew’s gospel we take these final events and charges and label them as the great comission!
Luke in his gospel tells the story a little differently and emphasizes the disciples place as Jesus’ witnesses in the world!
In the book of Acts Luke picks up this theme and says Acts 1:8
Acts 1:8 ESV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Luke continues in the book of acts to trace that out!
In Acts 7 Stephen is stroned and dies and the persecution of the church leads to the Christians be seperated and scattered.
Acts 8:1–4 ESV
1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. 4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
Notice The beleivers are scattered, and Luke notes Except the Apostles!
then vs. tells us those who were scattered went about preaching the word!
Luke is trying to teach us and show us that the role of the Apostles, the role of the Disciples and finally the role of every believer is to be a witness of Christ! To go and preach Christ to those who do not know Him!
After telling the Dsicples that Jesus’ death and resurrection was all part of God’s plan as we see in the Old Testament, Luke turns to Jesus’ Ascension!
Look at Vs. 50-53 of Luke 24!

3. Now what?

Luke 24:50–53 ESV
50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
Jesus takes them our to Bethany and blesses them, and he ascends into Heaven! In Acts 1 we get a more detailed account of what happens so Acts 1:9 says:
Acts 1:9 “9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
So Jesus ascends and is gone until he would return at the end of the age!
And Luke 24:52 tells us they worshiped Him and returned with great joy!
They were then in the temple continually and blessing God!
Their reponse to seeing Jesus, to knowing he was really alive that he was physically risen from the dead and that he left and this time went to Heaven, their respoinse to these events is worship and joy as they wait for the Spirit to come upon them and give them power as Christ’s witnesses!
The Reason I picked this passage and wanted tos pend time here this weekend is that I want us to see that this story should effect us, not just in a small way but it should effect our entire lives!
This is the gospel message, that Jesus died for sinners, that he was buried, that he rose again, and that he is coming back again to judge the living and the dead! And that those who would repent and beleive in him will be saved! All who call upon his name will be saved!
The Word Gospel means GOOD NEWS, this is a message that is considered News and it’s news that ought to effect us deeply!
We all receive news constantly, you see it on TV or on your phone or computer, you see headlines, or hear things on the radio. Some news effects us deeper than others.
Elisabeth and I heard this week there was a shooting in the neighbourhoods where we used to spend time with our kids.
That effects you in a unique way.
Then there’s news that effects you even more personally, imagine you were to find out your house was on fire, or someone close to you was in a car accident.
News is a big deal and some news ought to effect us more than other news!
But the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most significant news in the world!
The news that “the christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead” ought to change everything!
Friend’s Jesus died for you, to save you, to call you to himself and to help you fight your sin and to escape the punishment of sin!
But Jesus died for many more than just you! So let me ask you, what are you doing with this news?
Do you take this news for granted? Is it old news to you, that doesn’t really matter? Or do you realise the signficance of this message!
There is a web site that tracks Churches and Religion in the world called the Joshua Project.
They estimate that there is almost 8 billion people in the world!
Those 8 billion people are broken down into 17,000 people groups!
A people group is a group of people set apart by culture, language, and history. So not a country but a people group!
Of those 17, 000 people groups, Joshua Project says that 7,415 people groups are unreached!
Unreached means there is practically no christian witness in this people group!
It means the people in those groups have no chance to hear the gospel! They will be born, grow up, live, raise children, and die and never once come in contact with the gospel! They will never once come in contact with a church or with a Christian!
Friends, that means there are 3.4 BILLION people who have NO CHANCE of hearing the gospel before they die unless a missionary is sent and goes to preach the gospel to them!
REPEAT THAT ^^^^
The news of Jesus’ death and resurrection is news not just for Jerusalem, for Judea or for Samaria, it’s news for the whole world!
And the question is will we be His witness!
We will worship him with joy and thankfulness and share the good news of salvation in Christ with others!
Of course we cannot all go and be missionaries but many of are surrounded by those who don’t know Christ, who don’t know God’s love, his grace, the forgiveness available to them!
And Jesus beckons us to tell them! Jesus said “that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations!” All people groups!
Oh that we would cherish this message and care so much about others that we are willing to endure the scrutiny, the awakwardness, the uncomfortable conversations and tell others that they can ahve eternal life in Christ if they would repent and beleive in him!
Earlier Matt Read Psalm 63 for us.
The Psalmist says that God’s steadfast love is better than life!
in vs. 5 he testifies that his soul will be satisified as with fat and rich foods! and vs. 6 tells us when that happens. It’s when he remembers God and when he meditates on who God is!
vs. 7 the Psalmist gives us the reason, it’s because God has helped him, God has upheld him and so He sings for joy!
Friends,
You were created to know God, to live with him, under his rule, serving him, worshipping him, loving him, and glorifying him!
You will not find lasting joy in this world, all things will fade away, possessions will wear out or lose their interest, the things of this world cannot solve your deepest problems nor satisfy your deepest desires!
You were created to know and love God and though you may be able to stuff your appetite with the world, it will not ultimately bring you joy!
Joy comes from seeing Christ! Seeing and knowing what he came to do! To die for sinners!
Joy comes from living for him, for giving up small, earthly desires to chase a bigger dream, to live for something that really matters! Something that it eternally signficant!
So as we close, cosnider Christ!
Consider that we ahve the whole of the Bible to find him, to know him, to learn more about him!
Consider what he suffered for you! Consider that he died for you!
Consider that he rose from the dead! That he is really alive, physically alive and well!
Consider that he ascended to Heaven and is coming back again!
Consider that he cares for you, he knows you, he knows your weaknesses, your failings, your highs and your lows and he wants you to come to him and find joy and life!
Consider that the message of his death and resurrection is the only way to life and give yourself to be a witness, to procalim repentance for the forgiveness of sins!
Consider Christ and find joy for your soul and give yourself to spreading that joy to the world! To the billions who will never hear unless we share, unless we send, unless we go!
Friends, consider Christ today and repent of your sins, put your faith in Him and resolve to be his witness in this world!
Let’s Pray!
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