Sermon 4/25/2021: Resurrection Instructions from Luke 24 (Eastertide IV)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/541140261

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crfTVTVebaV

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of The Centering Prayer:

Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.
I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life.
Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not.
Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature.
Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted.
Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood.
I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN 337 Only Trust Him
Only Trust Him with Lyrics by Alan Jackson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2pW71L6ymc

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN 462 Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus (Gerri Molina)
‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus – a capella by Acapeldridge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCtQMiNlTKk

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Resurrection Instructions from Luke 24
Text: Luke 24:36-49, Philippians 3:9-10
Series: Building Bridges from Easter to Pentecost

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Kinmundy UMC 9 am Audio … Wesley UMC 10:45 Audio

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SERMON NOTES

Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Luke 24:36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. 37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 * [No text] 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, 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.
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words which 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 and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”

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HYMN 600 Wonderful Words Of Life (Pat Hebron, Cathy Wilkins)
Allison Durham Speer, Wesley Pritchard, Sue Dodge, Larry Ford – Wonderful Words of Life [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q499q89HOpM

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Resurrection Instructions.

As Philippians 3:10 says, Paul’s goal, among others, is that “I may know Him,” Jesus Christ, “and the power of His resurrection.

Why are sermons too long? I can tell you in great honesty, as Sunday morning worship comes to a close, the first thing I do when everything is finished is I look to see how long the sermon was. And if it’s longer than it should be, I feel a sense of disappointment that I have failed the people of God. I have talked too long.

Why are sermons too long? Well, one reason is when the pastor attempts to communicate too much— and sometimes that’s my problem because I have more to share with you than will fit into the time that most people are able to listen.

In most larger churches, mega-churches, the sermon will be 45-minutes long, 50-minutes long, very long, basically, for two reasons. First of all, the pastors of these very large churches are such excellent preachers, they can hold your attention for 45 minutes.

But the other reason is because, in these churches, quite often, there’s no Sunday school. And so the sermon, in order to communicate the truth about the Bible, has become both a sermon and the Sunday school lesson. And that’s why it takes so long in these churches for the sermon to conclude. If sermons are going to be shorter, we need to offload some of the Bible teaching from the Sunday morning worship service.

That Bible teaching, that thinking about what the Scripture means, has to take place somewhere. Perhaps it takes place in Sunday school. Perhaps it takes place through your regular Bible study at home. Perhaps it takes place at a Wednesday night Bible study. But if the sermon is going to be shorter, the people of God will need to study the Bible outside of the Sunday morning worship service.

And so how do we do this? How do we share everything the Scripture has to say to us, everything the Scripture says that we need to hear? It occurred to me today as I was thinking about this that a good Sunday morning sermon is a little bit like sourdough starter, where when you’re making a loaf of bread, you put the starter into it, and it begins to work, and the dough begins to rise. A good Sunday morning sermon makes you curious enough about a scripture that you’ll take the Sunday morning bulletin home with you, and you’ll read the Scripture, which is listed on the back, and you’ll ask the questions there to deepen your understanding. A good sermon will make you curious and will cause you to think and to pray about the scripture. But if it’s a shorter sermon, all it can do is start the process of us understanding what Jesus wants us to do.

At this time, we’re talking about the time between the first Easter and the day of Pentecost when the church came out of hiding and into view. And I’m suggesting to you that we are in a time that’s just like that. We are getting ready to come out of hiding. We are getting ready to come out of sheltering in place. And everything that Jesus said to them after Easter is something that Jesus is saying to us today just as well. And something that will help us to come out of sheltering in place.

So let me simply make a few simple observations to help us to begin the process of trying to understand what Jesus is saying. “That I may know him,” Paul says, “and the power of his resurrection.” The goal for us in this time after Easter, just like for them in those early days, was to understand how to live their lives in the power of the resurrection, to understand how to know Jesus, and then share the truth about Jesus with others.

Our goal is no different. What’s next? Well, here’s the reality, friends. You have something to learn, and I do, too. We pray every Sunday morning: Guide me to all that is good. Cleanse me from all that is not. How does that happen? We let the Bible teach us what the truth is. In this prayer we ask Jesus, teach me Your ways, form in me Your nature. How does that happen? When we take the words of Jesus into our lives, they grow within us and they become a wonderful harvest of Jesus’s words and teachings.

So how will we be guided as we move out of Easter into a new time of activity in the church? What does Jesus want from us today? I want to suggest to you again that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And what he wanted in the scripture back then described it very clearly. Those instructions he gave to them are instructions for us today as well.

So what did the disciples do? Well, Jesus appeared to them in different resurrection appearances. He gave them specific instructions. But then they went back to the Upper Room and they prayed together and they thought about what Jesus said. And they asked themselves, “What does this say? What does this mean? What does this say that I need to obey and who needs to hear this?” And they began to think together about what Jesus was saying. And as they spoke to each other, they were sharing their memories of their own personal experience of Jesus. When we went over here, when we went over there, Jesus said this, Jesus did that. They shared their testimonies with each other. We need to do the same thing.

They were reading in the Old Testament. We have the joy of reading in the New Testament. And they were quoting scripture and considering what that meant.

And in addition to that, they were asking questions not because they doubted, but because they wanted to understand what Jesus was saying more deeply. And they spent these forty-nine days in this kind of discussion. Friends, if you and I spent forty-nine days trying to understand what Jesus wants us to do, the entire world around us will completely change! What’s next? Understanding what Jesus wants us to do.

When you look at Luke 24, you find some very specific instructions. Luke 24:36, as they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, but they were startled and frightened and supposed that they saw a spirit. They thought that Jesus was a ghost. Verse 38 and he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings arise in your heart?” See my hands and my feet that it is I myself; handle me, touch me and see. For a spirit, has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.

The reason these words are here is to remind us today of the very first Christian heresy, which is known by the name of Gnosticism. Based on Gentile understandings of spirituality and non-Jewish understandings of philosophy, they believed that the flesh was evil. They believed that human beings were trapped in a body and that the goal was to be set free from the body, to be entirely nothing, but spirit. So the Gnostics said that there was no such thing as the resurrection, but that when people saw Jesus, what they actually were seeing was his spirit, his ghost. And so these words are here to remind us of the truth of how they understood it. Even to the point of these next few verses, and while they still disbelieved for joy and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” Because, of course, a spirit doesn’t get hungry. A spirit doesn’t want to eat anything. A spirit is unable to take a piece of fish and lift it up and chew on it and eat it.

Verse 42, they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it, and he ate it before them, proof that what the Gnostics were saying could not be true. Then he said to them – and here are the instructions from Luke – “These are my words, which 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.” As Jesus said to the two men walking on the road to Emmaus: Was it not necessary for the Christ to die? and he showed them in the scripture the reasons for everything that they were debating. Everything is explained in scripture.

Verse 45, please look at that. That’s our instruction for the day. Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. Jesus Christ is able to open your mind to understand the scripture. Now, if you never open the Bible and never read it, you won’t be able to understand it, but that’s not because Jesus did not give you a mind to understand the scriptures guided by the Holy Spirit!

Verse 46. And Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and, on the third day, rise from the dead.” Everything that we need to know is explained in scripture. And therefore, verse 47, that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. When you understand the scripture, the next thing is to share your understanding of repentance and forgiveness of sins. And the preaching of these truths is to spread out from the center beginning from Jerusalem.

“You are witnesses of these things,” Jesus says. And, friends, you and I are too.

Verse 49. “And behold,” Jesus says, “I send the promise of my Father upon you, but stay in the city until you’re clothed with power from on high.”

These are the instructions for the disciples to live a resurrected life following the day of Easter. And they are also instructions for us because what’s in the Bible for Christians to do is still true for Christians like us today.

I want to ask you to consider this window. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you had a window that looked out into the world of the Bible? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a window in your house, and you could go to that window, and you could see what Jesus is doing? You could go to that window and understand what Jesus is saying. When you think about it, the scripture is a window into these days when Jesus was alive on this earth, teaching His disciples directly. And when we open the Bible, it’s a little bit like opening that window. We can see and hear and understand the world of the Bible, and we can see and hear and understand Jesus. Because Jesus is the one who opens our minds to understand the scriptures, and what we want to understand is this.

We want to draw a frame around what we are understanding so that what we understand is understood within a context of scripture. We want to let scripture be the boundaries for our understanding so that what we understand is within the boundaries of what scripture says. In addition to that, we want to understand within a hierarchy of scripture. If Jesus said it, then our understanding of Paul needs to agree with Jesus. If Jesus said it, our understanding of the prophets or the days of Moses is subordinate to the boundaries of what Jesus said. What Jesus said is the most valuable and important part of scripture for us to understand.

Because Jesus wants to open our minds to understand the scriptures so that we have a window, we have a world view which corresponds to the world view of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. A world view that desires that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem.

So if you think about it with regard to your own worldview and your own understanding of reality, in a sense, you have three windows. There’s the window that shows you a view of the Bible. There’s the window into your own mind and understanding that shows you what you understand. And then there’s the window that looks out on the world around you. And what a blessing it is if all three of these windows match up. Especially if they all match up with what the Bible says.

Unfortunately, some of us are so influenced by the world around us that our opinion about what’s going on just shifts from one thing to another to another, depending on who’s shouting at us. We need a worldview that is within the boundaries of scripture. And if what I understand in my mind, what I see out that window, doesn’t match up with what I see happening in the Bible as I’m reading it, I need to make adjustments in my own understanding. And then once my own understanding is adjusted to the Bible, I need to look out the window that shows the world around me. And if the world around me doesn’t show me the understanding of scripture, I need to adjust my understanding of the world around me because I want to live a life that is informed and supported and empowered by what Jesus taught us in the scripture.

So those are our instructions. We need to understand the scripture and apply it wisely in our life. And behold, Jesus gives one more instruction. Behold, He says, I send the promise to my Father upon you, but stay in the city until…

They weren’t supposed to run off. They weren’t supposed to be in a hurry. As we talked about last week, they needed to take some time to be still. And to hear the voice of God and to let the different things that Jesus was wanting to teach them connect together so that they would have a common, wise understanding. Stay in the city. And not only that, stay in the city because God is going to do something wonderful to help you preach that gospel of forgiveness for sin. God is going to empower you through the promised presence of the Holy Spirit.

And behold, Jesus says, I send the promise of my Father upon you, but stay in the city… It doesn’t say that you should stay in the city until June 1st, it doesn’t say that you should stay in the city till you get a college degree in the Bible. It does not say that you should stay in the city until you agree with what the pastor says … but it says that you need to stay in the city until you you are clothed with power from on high because God, the Holy Spirit, wants to live within God’s people. To help us to understand what Jesus is saying. To help us to understand what Jesus wants us to do. To guide us in what we say. To guide us in what we do.

And we need to stay until we feel that power from on high. There are some people who are in a hurry. And it’s hard for them to be still and wait until God says that it’s time to go. In the same way, there are some people who like being still so much (and the older I get, the more fond I am of my lazy boy recliner!) … There are some people who are so comfortable being still that when the spirit comes, they don’t get up and start to go.

But here’s the instruction from Jesus Christ. Everything is explained in scripture. So we need to understand it and we need to stay in this place of examining the scripture and understanding it until we feel the presence where we feel clothed with power from on high. You see they’re waiting between the days of Easter and Pentecost and we also are waiting between Easter and what comes ahead of us, perhaps in summer. We are waiting for God to fill us with power from on high to be the witnesses that God needs in our world today.


Please pray with me. Lord, Jesus, we know that we cannot understand the scripture if we do not open the Bible. But Lord, sometimes the Bible is difficult. I ask that you would help us to have the courage to do something that we know we can do … which is to open the Bible and read a verse of it every day. Indeed, Lord, to read a chapter but if we can’t get through a chapter, Lord, help us to read even one verse. To think about what it means. To ask questions. To ask you to explain it, perhaps to ask the pastor to explain it. To come to Bible study and ask questions and listen to answers. And then, Lord, we also pray that as you explain the scripture to us, that you would help us also to be aware of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the comforter who guides us to serve you. Help us, Lord, in this time between the times to allow ourselves to take into ourselves the presence of the Holy Spirit and to not only be empowered, but Lord, to be aware of the power that is coming to be within us, that is ready to do your will and your work in this world. And so, Lord, we pray that you would help us to hear the instructions for living the resurrection that you have for us in Luke chapter 24. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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