BECAUSE HE LIVES, I CAN FACE TOMORROW
BECAUSE HE LIVES, I CAN FACE TOMORROW
A SERVICE AND SERMON FOR RESURRECTION SUNDAY
ORIGINALLY CELEBRATED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
3 APRIL 1994
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Luke 24:13-35, 51-53
Prelude: “Alleluia! Alleluia!” - Armstrong
Preparation Verses: (Luke 24:51-53)
51. And it came about that while He was blessing them, He parted from them.
52. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53. and were continually in the temple, praising God.
Hymn: Worship Christ The Risen King
Reading: The Christian's Resurrection
We began our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ this morning with our Sunrise Service.
The theme of that service was the early morning visit of the women to the tomb, and of their fear, and of the disbelief that they had and that the other disciples had when they were told of Jesus' resurrection.
The reason we fear and doubt is because God's perfect love is not perfected in us.
This happens because we allow the cares of this world, instead of the glories of God, to dominate our lives.
For the next moment or so, in silence, reflect on the things in your own life that bring you fears and doubts, and confess them to God.
Ask Him to forgive you, and to help you focus upon Him, and to live a Godly life filled with love and joy.
Confession and Assurance:
Sharing of Our Joys and Concerns:
Anthem: “Acclamation for Easter” - Young
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-15
13. And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14. And they were conversing with each other about all these things which had taken place.
15. And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Himself approached, and began traveling with them.
As with Mary Magdalene, who saw the empty grave and talked to the angel, but didn't follow through with what she was told, so it was with these disciples.
They were going off from the brethren because they had lost their hope; for in their eyes, their hope was dead.
They hadn't come to realize that Jesus was to rise from the dead, just as He said.
Thus, in all His love and compassion, Jesus joins them on the road to Emmaus.
Listen to their conversation.
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:16-21
16. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
17. And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad.
18. And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?"
19. And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,
20. and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.
21. "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since things happened.
They are sad of heart, for they looked only to the physical side of Jesus' life, and not to the spiritual side.
As they acknowledge, they saw Him as a prophet, and not as their Messiah.
Thus, with His death they lost the hope of their salvation, when just the opposite was the truth.
And since they couldn't envision His resurrection, they lost their hope of tomorrow.
Without hope, why stay with the other brethren? So they headed home.
They even recognized and said that it was now the third day since Jesus was crucified, and yet they didn't remember that He said He would rise on the third day.
But their lack of faith was even worse than this, as we hear next.
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:22-24
22. "But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning,
23. and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive.
24. "And some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.
Do you see the hardness of heart that prevents them from seeing and hearing and understanding?
How much more do they have to see and hear before they truly believe?
Jesus had told them; but, in the depths of their depression, they forgot.
The women came and told them that He was alive; yet some of the disciples had to go and see for themselves.
And still, they didn't believe.
For nearly 2,000 years we have been told the same thing, and yet most people still don't really believe.
Why do I say this?
Because if we really believed, our life before God and each other would consistently show our belief, through our unconditional love and compassion for God and for the whole of His creation, and through our attentiveness to the things of God.
This is what Jesus tells them next. I pray that we all, likewise, understand that it is being said to us, too.
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:25-27
25. And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26. "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His Glory?"
27. And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
When we really look hard at our own society today, and even harder at ourselves, we also see that we are not too much different from these disciples upon the road to Emmaus.
The salvation message of Jesus Christ is real!
He was born unto us because of the love of God the Father for the whole world.
Jesus died upon the cross to pay the price of our sins, if we believe in him and repent of our sins.
He did this because of His love for us, that none of us would be lost in hell; but we must accept His offer of salvation.
We have been given the Holy Spirit to comfort us and to witness to us of the things of God.
Jesus rose from the dead to prove that everything He said would come true for all who believe in Him.
And He will take all of His followers with Him to heaven.
It's all true.
Give your heart completely to Jesus and share in His glory.
Hymn: Thine Is The Glory
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:28-31
28. And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He would go farther.
29. And they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting towards evening, and the day is now nearly over." And He went in to stay with them.
30. And it came about that when He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.
31. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
Why did it take so long for them to come to truly believe?
Why didn't they believe until He broke the bread and vanished from their sight?
Why didn't they simply believe the Scriptures?
It's because those were words without true meaning to them; they had never really internalized them.
Their faith, if we can call it that, was limited to the physical world.
Real faith must exist in the spiritual world.
But Jesus opened up that pathway past the physical and into the spiritual by making the word of God come alive to them, as I try to do with you, that we can internalize the word of God.
And once we do this, the windows of heaven open up to us.
Additionally, Jesus is always willing to walk with us and stay with us, spiritually, but we must invite Him in: "Jesus, come into my heart and stay!"
So, when Jesus broke the bread, they realized it was His body that was given to them.
Once they realized that, there was no need for Jesus to remain with them in physical form any longer.
So what did they do?
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:32-35
32. And they said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?"
33. And they arose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered the eleven and those who were with them,
34. saying, "The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon."
35. And they began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
These men went away to Emmaus because they were depressed and couldn't face what had happened to Jesus.
In fact, they couldn't face their companions any more; they just had to get away.
They also turned in before nightfall, as was the custom in those days, for there weren't any lights to see properly at night.
Now, not only is the joy of the risen Christ overcoming their depression, it is also overcoming their fears.
Now they are even willing to travel at night, and with boldness to tell the disciples that Jesus Christ was alive and had risen from the dead.
They are able to face not only that day and night, but all of their tomorrows as well.
The power and love of God has overcome all their fears, and it will do the same for us.
Hymn: Because He Lives
The Lord’s Supper:
Presentation and Serving:
Anthem: Easter Song
Have we recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread and in the eating?
Have we received the cup of salvation with a repentant heart and drank His forgiveness?
This is really what Easter is all about.
We add a whole lot of other stuff to it, and we decorate it with plastic grass and colored eggs.
We even fill our hearts and stomachs with all kinds of candy, and there is nothing wrong with that; that is, as long as we leave plenty of room for Jesus.
Every day we are moving closer and closer to the time of His return; and this time there will be only one call, and not many as we have seen and heard that followed Jesus' resurrection.
Are we going to be ready this time, or are we going to be wandering off down some road that leads away from heaven?
Keep Jesus close to your heart.
He's even willing to be inside.
And together walk with Him through all eternity.
Response: The Lord's Prayer
Your Comments are welcome
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