Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do You Have Heart Burn?

Do you have heart burn?
Luke 24:13-49
Christ-Centered Everything

Scripture Introduction:

Do you have heart burn? Not the type of heart burn that is caused by eating Mexican food. And not even the type of heart burn that happens whenever a pretty girl holds your hand. I am talking about that type of heart burn that you experience when you “get it”. When the light of the gospel clicks on inside and your heart feels strangely warmed. I am talking about that experience whenever God gives you the grace to see Himself, your hope is revived, your passion is renewed, your focus is regained. I am talking about the experience that a few disciples had on a Road to a little town called Emmaus.


We will be looking today at Luke 24:13-49. I will tell the story and point you to a few specific passages.

It is shortly after Christ has risen from the dead. 2 guys are walking on a road to a little village called Emmaus. On their way a man (who unknown to them is actually Jesus) begins asking them what they are talking about. They of course are discussing what has happened concerning this Jesus of Nazareth. They said they thought he was the coming one to redeem Israel, but he had died. But, there has been hope a few women actually speak of him being resurrected from the dead. At this point Jesus responds. “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Jesus ends up eating a meal with them. And finally Scripture says “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him”…They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened the Scriptures?’” These men ended up going to Jerusalem and sharing this story with the remaining 11 apostles. They began talking about these things and all of a sudden Jesus appeared among them. And Jesus goes through a few steps convincing them that it is actually him and not some sort of ghost or spirit. And they too eat together. After this Jesus says 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.” Then Scripture proclaims, “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. 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.’”

Sermon Introduction:

I apologize that we will not be doing a Question and Answer session like I had been advertising. Perhaps you have questions that really need answered. If so, I want to encourage you to write them down on a sheet of paper and give them to me. I will be addressing them each week on our blog. I apologize for the false advertisement but I feel compelled to preach this message. It concerns the centrality of Jesus Christ in all things…specifically related to interpretation of Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s work, and our task of preaching this gospel. This is one of those weird messages where the people who need to hear it most are probably the ones who are going to ignore it. So if it sounds boring and you plan on ignoring it then perhaps you should consider listening, because it is pertaining almost directly to you. My hope with this message is that you will have a renewed passion for the Word of God (specifically the first two-third of it). My hope is that you will now understand a most effective way to read Scripture and to look at it. I also hope that you learn more about the importance and the function of the Holy Spirit. I hope that you will take this mighty Word of God and proclaim it to the nations. And lastly I hope that you will have heart burn. I am preaching this message because it serves as an excellent bridge between our study on evangelism and our upcoming study on the Minor Prophets.

I. All Scripture proclaims Jesus (Luke 24:27, 44)

Be really honest. Do you find the Old Testament a little boring? Perhaps you would not go so far as to say that you find it boring, but would you rather read the New Testament? Is the New Testament a little easier to understand? Does the Old Testament just seem like a bunch of rules and regulations, with maybe a few stories interspersed here and there? I hope that for those of you who answer yes to any of these questions that you will have a new or perhaps renewed passion for the Old Testament and even for all of Scripture. This is what happened to me, whenever the Lord opened my eyes to see these things. Much in the same way he did to the disciples on the road to Emmaus and the apostles in the upper room. Look with me at v.27 and v44. Notice what Jesus is doing? He is interpreting the Old Testament. He is giving them the interpretive key to all of Scripture—it testifies of Him. It’s all about Jesus!

This means that the Bible is not about what you might think it is about. Have you ever heard that cutesy little song or rhyme that says the Bible stands for B.I.B.L.E., Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. That is not all the way true. The Bible is not merely a “handbook for life”. It does give instruction, it does help us know how to live, it is kind of like an owner’s manual. But it is much greater! As Arturo Azurdia says, “To [read] the Bible as “the handbook for life,” or as the answer to every question, rather than as a revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book…To be sure scripture provides God-centered and divinely-revealed wisdom for life, but if this were its primary objective, Christianity would be a religion of self-improvement by following examples and exhortations, not a religion of the Cross.”

And it is here that most modern preachers falter. This is where the Purpose Driven Life falls a little short, this is where all of the “how to” books, and about 99.3% of the books at the Mustard Seed fall short—they see Scripture as a handbook for life. You want to know how to be presentable to a girl then follow these 7 steps outlined in Scripture. You want to be a good leader, then follow these 12 steps. You want to be a good lawyer—well read the first 5 books of the Old Testament. You have a question about life, open up your Bible, point to a spot and there is your answer…it’s a magical little book that has all of life’s answers. And it is because of this type of thinking that many people find Christianity irrelevant. They come to the Scripture with their question (after having been told—it hold’s the answer to all of life’s problems). How do I get a better job? Maybe Proverbs will have an answer. So I turn there get a neat little maxim, start living by it…and presto changeo my life is different! By following these godly principles and living by them I am now living Christianly.

To prove this very same point Bryan Chapell the president of Covenant Seminary in St. Louis likes to do a little exercise. There is a radio preacher every morning who gives a morning “meditation”. Each morning he uses a couple of Bible verses, and he uses them to give a quick devotion about a various topic, “procrastination, parenting, honesty on the job, etc.” Chapell tapes this mans messages and plays them for one of this seminary classes. Very seldom does anyone spot a problem with the messages. He quotes the text accurately, he stands for moral causes, he is conservative, he encourages good loving behaviors. But what is the problem? The man is not a Christian. He is a leader of one of the largest cults in the St. Louis region.
Their explanation for “not catching the heretic” is often, “he does not say anything controversial”, or that he “hides his heresy beneath right-sounding orthodoxy”. This is why so often we think Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormon’s are basically Christian…because they sound basically good and moral. But what Chapell says is fitting, “The radio preacher, has not hidden his heresy; he exposes it every time he speaks in what he fails to say.” He fails to be Christ-centered—he’s not even mentioning Jesus. Or again as Jay Adams warns preachers, and I would widen that to anyone who is reading Scripture, “If you preach a sermon [or read a text, and interpret it in such a way] that would be acceptable to the member of a Jewish synagogue, [Muslim mosque or Mormon temple] there is something radically wrong with it”. It is leaving out the center of biblical interpretation. How then should we read Scripture, what then is Scripture all about?

As John Calvin says, “The scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them. Whoever turns aside from this object, even though he wears himself out all of his life learning, he will never reach the knowledge of the truth.”

What then is Scripture about? It’s all about Jesus. This is precisely what Jesus is showing the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and the apostles in the Upper Room—all Scripture is about Him. We cannot miss this. Otherwise you will misread the Old Testament. You will not understand the Minor Prophets when we go through them. You will miss the book of Genesis, and you will even misunderstand the New Testament. It’s all about Jesus. I want to briefly show you four ways this is so, then we will begin discussing the role of the Holy Spirit.

1) Predictive (what God in Christ will do)
These are typically pointing to a time that is yet to be fulfilled, but sometimes it is an Old Testament passage that is pointing to something that Christ will fulfill. Take for instance Isaiah 53, Jesus himself stood before a Jewish audience and said “this Scripture is referring to me”. So when you are reading Scripture ask yourself is this predictive. Is this something I can lay my hope on, is it something in the Old Testament that Christ has fulfilled, or is it something in the OT or NT that is yet to be fulfilled, and I can look forward to and place my hope in? Or even more so is it something that is kind of sort of already fulfilled but in the day of the Lord it will be ultimately fulfilled.

2) Preparatory (what we cannot do)
These are place in Scripture that prepare us for the Gospel. It is much of the Old Testament. A good example of this is the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20. They don’t make us holy. They show us that we are not holy. It exposes our sin. It points to our need for a Savior. So whenever you are reading a text ask yourself, is this something that I in my humanity cannot do? Does this reveal my need for a Savior? If it is a commandment then your answer is yes. All the commandments in many ways are preparatory.

3) Reflective (Does it explain God’s nature that provides the ministry and work of Christ, does it tell us about human nature that requires the ministry and work of Christ) Reflective places in Scripture reveal to us who God is, his work and his doings. It also reveals to us certain things about humanity. It compares us to God. Who is God? Who are we? All Scripture is really like this. It reveals to us who God is. Take even that really long list of names that are hard to read and even more difficult to understand—they at least reveal to us that God is a God of a detail, a God who does not forget.

4) Resultant (what God has done…)
This would be looking at many of the conditions in the Old Testament. If we read these commandments or conditions as if it brings about God’s favor by our obedience—rather than saying that obedience itself is a blessing of God. Or to put that another way, “the only obedience approved by God is that which he himself has [made holy] through the work of Christ”. Every aspect, action, and hope of the Christian life finds its motive, strength, and source in Christ or it is not of Christ. That means you look at the text, you look at the commandment, you look at your sinfulness, and you look at the Savior, and you say thank you God for Jesus. Thank you for purchasing my obedience.

I actually hope at this point you are a little overwhelmed. If not you are arrogant and cocky. If you think it is going to be easy to just open up Scripture and see and understand how it points to Jesus Christ then you are ignorant. You are blinded by your pride. We cannot understand Scripture on our own, we are blind to the things of God. We must have a Helper.

II. The Holy Spirit points us to Jesus

I want to try to answer two questions about the Holy Spirit. First of all I want to try to discover what the fundamental problem with chicken-clucking is, or to put that another way what is the fundamental problem with 94.7% of the television preachers. And secondly, I want to try to answer, “Why is it that we know so little of the Holy Spirit”. In answering these two questions I hope that we will come to a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and what He does.

The answer to both questions is found in the role of the Holy Spirit. The fundamental problem with the chicken-cluckers is that they are missing the foundational role of the Holy Spirit-to point to Jesus, to exalt Him. Are people getting slain in the Spirit exalting themselves or even the “work of the Spirit” or is it revealing and glorifying who Jesus is? J.I. Packer says it better than I can, “The Spirit’s message is never, ‘Look at me; listen to Me; come to Me; get to know Me,’ but always ‘Look at Him, and see His glory; listen to Him, and hear His word; go to Him, and have His life; get to know Him, and taste His gift of joy and peace.” The Spirit is like a matchmaker pointing us to Jesus, not a football star celebrating in the end zone saying “look at ME”.

And this also answers our question about why do we know so little of the Holy Spirit? As one person has commented, “it is often lamented that the Holy Spirit is the least understood Person of the Trinity, but surely we see why this is so; for the Holy Spirit comes not to speak of himself, but to glorify Christ. Where [we] are intent on glorifying Christ (and only crucified [people are]), the Spirit is there with all his aid. All true showing forth of Christ is by the Holy Spirit”. That means this…if you are going to understand Scripture, if you are going to be able to accurately see Jesus and that it is all about Jesus it will come with the Holy Spirit’s aid and only with His aid. How do we know this? How do we come to understand the decisive role of the Holy Spirit?

Look with me at 3 things Jesus says in the book of John. John 14:26. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Again in 15:26 Jesus says, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me”. And to further drive the point home John 16:13-15, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” Who then does the Spirit point to? What is his foundational function? TO POINT TO JESUS—TO GLORIFY THE SON!
Now I want to take you back to our original text in Luke. Look at verse 16, 31, and 45. First of all we see in v.16 that their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Even though that was actually done here by the Lord, it is still our foundational problem. We see this is 2 Corinthians 4. Our problem is that we cannot see Jesus. We are kept from seeing His glory. Typically this is the work of Satan. Here it is for a more holy purpose so it is done by the Lord, but the problem remains the same—on our own we cannot see Jesus. This is where v31 and 45 come in. Notice in both places it says, “their eyes were opened, or again he opened their minds to understand the Scripture”. What happens then after he does this? They get heart burn. They recognize Jesus. They see and rejoice in the glory of God! They get it.

Now, is Jesus still here on earth to do that? No. But the Holy Spirit is. And this is what He does. This is called illumination. The work of turning the light on, so that we can see and savor Jesus Christ. We are fully dependent on the Holy Spirit for this. As Luther said, “No man perceives one iota of what is in Scriptures unless he has the Spirit of God…for the Spirit is required for the understanding of all Scriptures and every part of Scripture.” But as we learned from John, the Spirit is there for illumination.

What then do we do with all of this? What is the point of this? What do we do with all of this truth we have been given?
III. The Christian preaches Jesus

I remember at a youth event whenever I had first gotten saved a drama that someone was doing. On one side of the stage a man was starving for a piece of bread, while on the other side a man had tons of loaves of bread. It kept switching back and forth and the one guy without bread was crying, and praying, and hoping to get bread…but nothing would come. Then the spotlight would go back to the gluttonous man who had all this bread and ended up wasting most of it. Bread would keep falling from the sky, and he would get more and more, and fatter and fatter. The point of the illustration is that we do not just get all of this truth given to us for ourselves, so that we can become fat little pew potatoes. Listen to what Jesus says to the disciples in 46-49. “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name [in other words he opened their eyes so that they could see that it’s all about Jesus, and He is the only hope] to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. [But Jesus, I’m scared, how will I know what to say, how will I know what to do, with what power will we have to do this?] 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.”

What is the function then of the Holy Spirit? To point to Jesus, to glorify Him. Whenever you go out to preach the Gospel what do you think the Holy Spirit is going to do? POINT TO JESUS! This is what Jesus is saying, but He is leaving the proclamation of this glorious message in our hands. One beggar telling another beggar where to get bread. But we must go and we must preach Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be our helper, our guide, the power that convicts, the person who regenerates hearts, but we must open our mouths. We preach and proclaim Jesus Christ.


What then about heart burn? I want you to notice what happened again to the people that Jesus appeared to, “their heart burned within them”. Notice with me Acts 4:20. Peter and John had heart burn. They could not hold it in. They HAD to testify. What about Jeremiah the prophet? In 20:9, Jeremiah proclaims, “If I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Can you say that? Does the word of God burn within you? Do you come alive with the though of knowing that all Scripture testifies of Jesus? Does the fact that the Holy Spirit points to Jesus and will be our Helper for illumination and for preaching the gospel inspire you? DO you have a passion for Jesus and a passion for the gospel? IF NOT then something is desperately wrong with your heart.

And I would venture to say that none of us in here have the passion that we ought to? None of us in here are as faithful as we should be to the gospel? Our passion is not nearly where it should be? What then should we do? How can we increase our level of heart burn? JESUS!

It’s all about Jesus. Run to the Cross. Perhaps you are not saved and this is why you have no passion, this is why the gospel does not excite you. Your heart is not burning for the Word of God because you are hostile to God. For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. You either have the Spirit of God or you are of the flesh. Regardless, you need to run to the Cross. Either run to him as a sinner and plead with Him for mercy and he will grant you pardon through the blood of Jesus Christ. (If you need to know more about this talk to me after the service). I would say though that many of us need to run to the Cross and plead with God to set our hearts on fire with His Word. Beg Him to give us a passion for His Word, beg Him to give us a passion for His glory, a passion to spread His glory to the nations, we do not have it! Oh, plead with the Spirit of God! Plead that He might open your eyes and point you to Jesus.