Damariscotta Baptist Church
Monday, May 21, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

05/08/11 Sermon

Luke 24: 13-35

 
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight o Lord our strength and our Redeemer, Amen
 
 
When I say the word “heartburn” what normally comes to your mind?  You probably think of the condition known as acid reflux----when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus. It’s an uncomfortable thing when it happens and if you’re like me you act as quick as you can to go get relief.  And of course there are a number of different options----Heartburn is a big business----- Tums, and Rolaids, Pepcid AC, Maalox or Nexium or Prevacid or Mylanta, or Zegrid….the list goes on and on.
 
Of course heartburn is nothing new….I mean we read about heartburn in our scripture today---we see 2 disciples who had supper with Jesus and afterward they had heartburn.  I wonder what they took to get rid of it??? Maybe they had some home remedies---honey or pickle juice or peppermint???
 
Of course I’m being facetious---while these 2 disciples did have heartburn, it didn’t have anything to do with acid reflux that we want to get rid of as soon as possible.  Their heartburn was actually a true heart burn. It had nothing to do with their stomachs and what they ate.  It was instead about their hearts being on fire because of their encounter with the resurrected Christ.  These two disciples had resurrection heartburn, an Easter heartburn; a heartburn they didn’t want to get rid of; a heartburn that changed them and opened their eyes.
 
Today we are 2 weeks past Easter Sunday. And as we move forward into the Christian year, we’re being called to reflect on our Christian lives and ask ourselves if we have resurrection heartburn.
 
You know I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Luke tells us who one of the disciples names here and not the other. One of them is Cephas but the other is unnamed.  Perhaps Luke is saying that the other disciple is either you or me.  And so we’re being called to put ourselves in the other disciple’s shoes and ask if we have encountered and experienced the risen Christ.
 
And that’s an essential question for all of us who are followers of Christ.
 
You know what’s interesting about this passage is that these 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus are aware that Jesus’ body was missing and that he had been raised from the dead.  They knew it up in their head, but they hadn’t experienced it in their hearts; they hadn’t really believed it.
 
And the same can be said for a lot of church people today. People can know of the resurrection, they celebrate Easter and they believe IN the resurrection, but they really haven’t yet experienced the risen Christ.
 
There’s a big difference in believing IN something than actually believing something.
 
We know in the scriptures that even demons believe IN Jesus but to believe Jesus is more than knowing in your head.  It’s experiencing what these 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced. They encountered the risen Jesus; they believed Jesus was raised because they knew him and it was evident in their resurrection heartburns.  Their lives were forever changed because of their encounter with the resurrected Christ.
 
And that’s what Jesus wants you and me to experience as well. His resurrection is more than history lesson that we believe in.  Jesus wants our hearts to burn because that’s life changing; that’s passion and commitment.
 
So the question we have before us is “do our hearts burn because of our relationship with the risen Christ? Has Jesus come to us personally and opened our eyes and warmed our hearts?”
 
Well today, if you haven’t yet experienced the risen Christ, if Easter Sunday was just a day of affirming what you believe in, then today Jesus is coming to you just as he was those 2 disciples to invite you to a living relationship with him.  He wants you to experience that he is indeed risen and wants to be walking with you and talking with you in all aspects of your life.
 
So how do you go about encountering the risen Christ? How do we have this “resurrection heartburn?”
 
Well when we look at this story--- one of the first things we see that happens to these 2 disciples is that they first encounter Jesus in their brokenness.   We read that their heads are downcast. They are sad, brokenhearted. They have feelings of hopelessness, life has lost its meaning…………
 
And that’s a necessary place for us to be in order to experience the risen Christ.  To have resurrection heartburn we first have to be in a place of vulnerability, where we’re broken; where we’re empty or suffering.
 
In the January issue of Leadership, John Ortberg spoke about this in a survey on spiritual formation that he took part of.  Thousands of people were asked when they grew most spiritually, and what contributed to their growth.  Well the number one contributor to spiritual growth was not transformational teaching. It was not being in a small group. It was not reading deep books. It was not energetic worship experiences nor finding meaningful ways to serve.  The biggest contributor of spiritual growth occurred when there was suffering.  It’s in this place of vulnerability, of loss and pain or crisis that we are in a place where we can see Jesus; where he can come and warm our hearts and give us new life.
 
Now this happens both as individuals and corporately as a congregation.
 
You see, when we are humbled, when we come to the place where we are broken and can admit that we can no longer depend on ourselves, that’s when Jesus is able to come to us and set our hearts on fire.
 
Jesus is always before us, but when we are depending on our own strength, trusting in ourselves we can’t see Jesus because we don’t need Jesus. And if we don’t need Jesus then how could our hearts burn?
 
So today ask yourself, “Where am I really heartbroken? Where am I covering it up, trying to be strong, depending on my own strength?
 
And as a congregation we should ask where are we refusing to admit our brokenness? Where are we depending on our own strength?
 
Where are we refusing to let Jesus come to us in our humility and dependence?
 
Jesus is ready to open our eyes and set our hearts on fire to new life if we will come to him in our brokenness.
 
Now another way we experience “resurrection heartburn” is when we receive his message of salvation.
 
After the 2 disciples had shared their brokenness and loss, Jesus went on to share with them the entirety of the Good News.  Jesus tied together the whole story beginning with Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament and how they pointed to him.  The whole story was about how Jesus was to suffer for our sins, die and be resurrected to give us freedom from the bondage of sin.  Jesus was sharing with them the message of salvation and the assurance it brings us.
 
Now that’s essential in order for us to have resurrection heartburn. We can have all the head knowledge there is, but unless we have received the assurance of God’s grace in our hearts we will be missing the true meaning of the resurrection.
 
I’m reminded of the story of John Wesley, the leader of the Methodist movement.  Wesley had grown up in a Christian home. He became a preacher and left England to come to the United States to preach against slavery in the South.  On his way back to England, their ship encountered a terrible storm. Wesley was terrified that the boat would sink. He looks over at some Christians known as Moravians who were just singing and smiling on that boat while it tossed up and down.  Wesley knew that he was missing something.  He believed IN Jesus but he didn’t believe Jesus and the assurance of salvation. He wrote in his journal that he was afraid he was lost.  Well, they survived the storm and when he was back in England he went to a worship service on Aldersgate Street.  And at this service someone read Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Romans that speaks to the assurance of salvation thru faith.  And as Wesley heard the words, he wrote this in his journal: I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
 
Wesley experienced a resurrection heartburn because of the assurance that Jesus had saved him from his sins; from his fears, from his guilt, from despair, from trying to prove himself or earning approval from others….you name it, he was saved from it.
 
When you and I put our faith in Christ and receive his message of salvation we are given a burning heart that puts a smile on our face even when times of despair come to us.
 
With this assurance we have nothing to fear, nothing to prove and nothing to pay. Our hearts are set on fire with the freedom we’ve been given and the eternal life that is confidently ours.
 
Now the final way we receive a resurrection heartburn is seen in the 29th verse of our scripture. In this verse we see that Jesus is invited into their homes.
 
Now most of the time we envision Jesus inviting us into his house instead of the other way around.  And perhaps that’ explains why there are so many uninspired, uncommitted Christians whose hearts are cold and lifeless.  Because if you aren’t letting him in, to come and set your heart on fire, then Jesus will be only lukewarm at best in your life.  If we don’t invite him in, he’ll only be a companion to us--- (Hey how you doin’, see ya later)
 
But as we see in our story here, Jesus is not only invited into their home, he also becomes the host as he breaks the bread.
 
For us to experience the living Christ, for our hearts to be burning, Jesus is to be our host, our leader-----And that means Jesus becomes the head of our everyday life, in charge of everything.  He’s not just a companion; he’s our soul mate who we honor as the host, who we share everything with.
 
For many of us, we carry Jesus around like a pack of Alka Seltzer-----Instead of opening up our hearts and letting him take charge, there is no resurrection power in our lives.  But Jesus’ resurrection is not some event we celebrate. Easter is about a burning heart, transformed and changed.  Those 2 travelers were changed. They left Emmaus different than they had come. They now had a purpose.  And it’s the same purpose we have when we have burning hearts---------That purpose is to tell others that Jesus is risen.  When our hearts are on fire because of the light and hope we’ve experienced, when we are living with grace and freedom because of the assurance of salvation that Christ offers, we can’t help but want to share it.  
 
Now I’m not talking about going out trying to make people see how we see or trying to convince people they are going to hell if they don’t believe like we do.
 
No---when our hearts are really on fire, it’s plain to see in the way we live.
 
Our attitude is hopeful, we live in grace and offer it to others. We hunger to read scriptures and learn. We see the story of God’s salvation in all of our life. Our life becomes a prayer.  We witness to others with fire in our hearts speaking to the truth that we live by.  We also become a blessing to others as we become salt and light to the community we live in.  
 
And an amazing thing happens as we live with our hearts on fire--- the flame actually grows stronger and brighter. Grace upon grace. (Collierville Rehab)
 
This coming Saturday…..Help Your Community Day, serving unconditionally working alongside other Christians…..
 
Jesus wants to be the host of our hearts----and as we allow him, he will reveal himself to us more and more. And as he does, our hearts will become a roaring inferno that will give us more joy than we could ever imagine.
 
In closing today….we're being asked if the resurrection on Easter Sunday has made a difference in our lives.
 
Is Jesus' resurrection something we only commemorate or does it have power in us?
 
The living Christ wants to come to us personally that we might experience hope in our despair and the assurance of our salvation. Will we receive him and make him the host of our lives?
 
Today open up your eyes and see the resurrected Jesus walking with you.
 
Hear his words of comfort and assurance, welcome him into your hearts and make him the host of your life.
 
And as you do----- be ready to experience a resurrection heartburn.
 
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen