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Easter AM 2004 Open mindedness

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Open Mindedness

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. “

                                                                                LUKE 24 44-48

45 τότε διήνοιξεν αὐτῶν τὸν νοῦν, τοῦ συνιέναι τὰς γραφάς·

In our final study in the Lord’s use of Scripture we come again to Luke 24.  Twice Our Lord refers to “what is written” – once to underline His words to the two on the Emmaus road and once to commission His disciples to take that word into the world.

This morning we considered the way Jesus warmed their hearts – tonight he opens their minds.  Both ministries underscore the place of Scripture in the early church and bring our series on the Bible to a fitting close this Easter Day.

This evening’s narrative follows on directly as the two from Emmaus join the other disciples and share with them their experiences.

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

In the closing verses of his gospel, Luke completes the lesson that the two learned on the Emmaus road by sharing with us the experience of the gathered disciples as Jesus dramatically enters the room.

It is clear from Luke’s language that what he wants to leave with us is a picture of a body of the Lord’s followers who are witnesses of His resurrection and are empowered for world witness by the Scriptures and the promise of the Holy Spirit.  I want to concentrate on the place of the Scriptures in that strategy.

I was struck by the phrase :  

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 

 

HE OPENED THEIR MINDS

 

I guess we are familiar with people who have CLOSED MINDS.  They share some of the qualities we were examining this morning when we looked at SLOWNESS OF HEART – but it becomes extreme in them. They are obstinate in their resistance to any real understanding of the truths as presented.

We live in a world of closed minded people.  People whose vision of the world is materialistic and selfish – where even the best of them who have a real concern for their fellow men – have great difficulty accepting that God has any part in the modern world.

But this condition infects the believing community too.  For a variety of reasons we demonstrate that attitude of mind which characterised the Pharisees and the religious leaders of Our Lord’s time.

We may have difficulty coping with a new slant on a familiar passage – a change of emphasis or a challenge to views we have held precious since earlier days.  

Whereas we acknowledge that we should be OPEN to the Word of God and the Spirit of God – in actual practise we resist such new ideas and cling in mock security to the views we are familiar with.

One of Christ’s greatest gifts to His church was the OPENING OF THE MIND TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES.

Sadly since that day it seems that many believers argue about what they believe to be the significance of the words!

This OPENING OF MINDS IS ROOTED IN THE RESURRECTION.

We see the effect of it in Luke’s second volume – The Acts of the Apostles – where the abiding emphasis is upon the RESURRECTION WITNESS.

I believe that you want to have a mind opened and receptive to what God is saying – and one of the wonderful implications of the resurrection of Christ is that glorious fact – that God wants to speak to us: that He wants to entrust us with a word so powerful and so significant that it can turn the world upside down – and give us a remarkable ministry amongst our friends and associates.

As we examine this passage this evening we recognise that the OPENNESS OF MIND

involves at least a THREEFOLD openness to these aspects of Christ’s work:

·       Open to the REAL JESUS

 

·       Open to the WRITTEN RECORD

 

·       Open to the RESPONSIBILITY OF FOLLOWING

 You will find these truths in the passage before us:

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

1.  Open to the Real Jesus      36,39,43 & 44

Although our emphasis in recent weeks – and in these Holy Week sermons has been upon the way in which Jesus uses the Scriptures – and therefore upon the significance of the Scriptures to the believer and his life and witness – the first point of emphasis here this evening concerns the IDENTITY OF THE RISEN CHRIST.

We love to be regarded as the people of The Book.  We happily remind all and sundry that our beliefs are thoroughly based upon Scripture – but we do not worship Scripture or preach a book – however sacred – we PROCLAIM CHRIST!

We remind you tonight that our HOPE our CONFIDENCE our WHOLE FAITH is in a Person – Jesus Christ Himself.   Our notice board and our statement of faith both reinforce this :  We believe that Christ who died is risen – and that there is salvation in no one else!

In those early muddled days just after the crucifixion there was much confusion amongst Christ’s followers – but on every occasion He appeared to them, He was demonstrating to them that the same Jesus who had suffered and died upon the cross was the One who was now alive in their midst.

This is a crucial component of the OPEN MIND – that it is OPEN TO THE PERSON OF THE REAL JESUS.

Luke’s account leaves us in no doubt:

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

JESUS HIMSELF stood among them

And His presence was accompanied by both a familiar greeting “Shalom” – and a message of profound significance.

JOHN 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.

JOHN 16

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

and JOHN 20 v 26

Peace for troubled hearts – peace that reflects His triumph overcoming the world!

38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

Jesus is determined that they will recognise Him – that they will see that, despite a resurrection body which enables Him to come in where doors are locked – He is the SAME JESUS and that HE HAS A REAL RESURRECTED BODY

It bears the marks of His passion.   This crucial identification was the heart of the witness that those early apostles bore to the truth of His resurrection.

We who have not seen but still believe – have this hope that one day in glory we too will see and RECOGNISE the living Jesus. We shall see Him face to face.

This is not negotiable :  if it is not true then we are “of all men most miserable and most deceived”.

Christ who died IS ALIVE

When the Holy Spirit brings new life to a believer He brings the recognition of that LIVING SAVIOUR

And finally to dispel any lingering doubts:

40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

It is a central doctrine that The Living Christ who sits in the presence of the Father to mediate for us is LIKE US IN EVERY WAY

Jesus demonstrates His humanity by eating in their presence.

Once again – but for a different emphasis this time – he shares a meal with them.

Do not be surprised by the detail of Luke’s account – it is a vital record that the same Jesus whom they had known – the same Jesus who had died (see His hands and His feet) was alive and still the same Lord Jesus.

True there are aspects of His presence that remain supernatural – but I find great comfort in these words – and great reassurance about the nature of my own being when one day I am “changed in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet” – and will be like Him.

2.  Open to the written record  44, 45 46

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

Notice how Jesus describes the written record:

“This is what I told you…”

“Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law.. Prophets ..Psalms”

“This is what is written … suffer … rise  …”

See how the WRITTEN WORD FOCUSES ON THE WORD MADE FLESH

Jesus describes the RECORD:    It includes His own words   “what I told you”

It includes Law .. Prophets … Psalms

See how the WRITTEN WORD MUST BE FULFILLED

 

See how it focuses on THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION

He leaves His disciples in no doubt that the word includes what we call the Old Testament and also His own words

He gives them an expectation that the Word of God is powerful and must be fulfilled

He reinforces the RELIABILITY of its PROMISES and PROPHECIES

He centres the written word in HIMSELF.  

he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

3.  Open to the responsibility of followers

47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

 

Jesus then demonstrates in His risen person the truth of all that was written beforehand about Him

He reminds His followers of the centrality of His words and the words of Scripture

and that they are understood in reference to Himself

He concludes WITH APPLICATION:

If these things are true…

If Christ be risen

If it be the same Lord Jesus who died and fulfilled Scripture

THEN His followers have a responsibility

It is two-fold:

·       YOU ARE WITNESSES

·       REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS WILL BE PREACHED IN HIS NAME TO ALL NATIONS

===

We need OPENNESS OF MIND

This comes from knowing Him – about whom all Scripture attests

Open to THE REAL JESUS

Open to THE WRITTEN SCRIPTURES

Open to THE RESPONSIBILITY OF APPLYING IT

        in FAITH AND REPENTANCE                 and     IN WITNESS TO OTHERS.

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