Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
At Emmaus, the resurrected Jesus walked with disciples so dejected, so sorrowful, that they did not even recognize him. But their hearts were strangely warmed by this passerby. Inviting him to dinner, they found themselves face to face with the one they loved, but never really understood.
From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, a lot of our listeners are facing their own shattered dreams right now. Dave, it's very obvious that shattered dreams are everywhere. There are those who are listening today who are in a bad marriage. They didn't intend to marry unhappily, but that's the way it ended. There are those who have physical difficulties, financial difficulties.
Well, the list could go on and on. And I want to say to those of you who think that you have made a wrong turn on the road of life, that God always has another option for you. In other words, one shattered dream does not mean the end of everything.
God may have another dream for you. And you know, these disciples are a reminder of the fact that no matter where we are in life, we experience disappointment, we experience depression, and yes, indeed, our dreams are shattered, but Jesus does walk with us even when we don't recognize him. But at the end of the road, he is there for us. That's why I think it's so important, even as we reflect on Easter Sunday, which we enjoyed yesterday, it's so important for us to understand that Jesus Christ is with his people in the midst of shattered dreams, and he's there to revive our hearts.
Let's listen carefully. Let's boil this down where we are today so that we can pick our own shattered dreams up off the floor and understand its relevance to us today. First of all, I want us to realize that when Jesus was raised from the dead in that resurrection, he brought every one of our shattered dreams with him. And he took those shattered dreams, and he will someday give us their fulfillment. Just like you find that God would not create a fish unless he created water so that the fish would have a place to swim, in the very same way, God would not have created these longings for the eternal, these desires. He would not have given those to us unless there was a place where those desires would be fulfilled. What is your deep desire today?
What is your shattered dream? Is it a physical problem? Is it because of the fact that maybe you have been involved in some tragedy? Maybe you are suffering from some illness?
Maybe the doctor came to you and told you things about your body that you thought could only be true of someone else? And you say to yourself, oh, this is the end. I begin to see the end coming.
I will never be able to enjoy life again. I want you to know today that when Jesus was raised from the dead with that resurrection, he gave a promise of health, of beauty, of strength. All that we need to do is to look at how Jesus Christ's body functioned.
With that tremendous power that we spoke about, the ability to say the word and to go from one place to another. And we shall be like him, the Bible says, for we shall see him as he is, like Christ. You want to know what you're going to look like? Just look at the resurrected Jesus. You'll notice in the text, incidentally, that our resurrection body will have flesh and bones. It says in verse 37, Jesus is speaking, look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself.
Touch me. A ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have. We're not going to be ghosts someday.
Aren't you glad for that? We're going to have resurrected bodies. In fact, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they did not scarcely believe because of joy and amazement, he says to him, and this will be of great comfort to many of you, is there anything here to eat?
And he ate with them so we will even eat with our resurrection body. Say, I have one great dream and that is for good food. It's coming. Some of you say my shattered dream is my family. I've been betrayed in relationships. I feel lonely.
I feel as if there's a part of me that is missing. You'll notice that Jesus gathers the disciples here and he eats with them as a sign of fellowship. And you remember what he said to Mary. He said, Mary, don't touch me because I'm ascending to my father and to your father and to your God and my God.
Think that through. He's saying, Mary, I want you to know from now on, God of course is my father, but he's your father too. And that means that you and I are brother and sister. We are now members of the same family. We are brought into the fellowship of believers and this begins already on this earth and will eventually be completed because one of the things that will happen in heaven is this, that the intimacy that you now enjoy with the nuclear family, those of you who have good families, that intimacy is now going to be broadened to include all the people of God so that we will have fellowship not only with Jesus Christ, but with one another. The deepest longings of the human heart for acceptance and belongingness are met by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You say, oh, Pastor Lutzer, my dream has been shattered.
My dream was to have some wealth and some security. You know what it says about those who are redeemed? It says, he who overcomes I shall give to him all things because we are brothers of Christ. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.
And every shattered dream will someday be put back together and fulfilled. But there's a second lesson that comes to us and that is that Jesus does walk with us in our disappointment and our pain. Here along the way to Emmaus, they did not recognize him, but Jesus was there. And after Jesus appeared in Jerusalem, keep in mind that Jesus traveled that distance twice that day, once while he was walking with them, and then a second time where at the split of a second, he went from Emmaus to Jerusalem with his glorified body.
But mark this well, he was just as much with them on the way back to Jerusalem as he was with them on the way to Emmaus. Because the Lord's presence is with us. God will never abandon you.
He will never leave you alone. He walks with us. But sometimes we don't recognize him.
Our eyes are hidden and we don't know that Jesus is next to us. Remember that old story about the man who was walking along and saw two sets of footprints. And then on a piece, he saw only one set of footprints and those were the footprints that were present when he was going through a tremendous difficulty. And so he said to Jesus, Jesus, you walked by my side, but when I needed you the most, you abandoned me. And Jesus said, no, when you needed me the most, I picked you up and I carried you.
He's with his people. Finally, I want to emphasize this though, that if you do not invite Jesus into your life, he will go on by. You'll notice what the text says as they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going further.
And he would have, except for the fact that they constrained him. They said, please stay with us. And so Jesus stayed. I want you to know that the blessings that I've been talking about, the shattered dreams that are going to be put back together, is really only a message for those who trust Jesus as Savior, who have invited him into their lives and who have trusted him to be the one to take away their sin. And the reason for that is very obvious, is that God cannot do all of these things for those who are alienated from him, but only for those who have been reconciled to him by the death of the cross. Suffering must precede the glory.
First the cross, then the crown. I urge you today, I urge you with all that is within me, to realize that Jesus is the only qualified Savior because no one else is able to shield us from the judgment of God. Like that Passover lamb with blood on our door, the justice and the judgment of God goes on by because we've been accepted by one whom the Father has accepted. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is God's amen to Christ's verdict on the cross. It is finished.
It is finished. And he invites you today to believe and to trust him. If we had time, I'd show you in the text of Scripture, it says that their eyes were opened and they realized his presence. And a little later on, it says in verse 45, he opened their minds that they might understand the Scriptures. To understand the presence of Jesus, to understand also the wonder of his purpose. That belongs to those whose eyes have been opened to believe on him.
There are some of you here, God bless you. And you know within your heart that you are one of the ones in whom the Holy Spirit is working and you are being asked, as it were, by the Spirit to open your life and your heart to Jesus, the only one who can reconcile us to God and give us the return of our shattered dreams. Because I want you to know, and I want to say this very clearly, if you do not trust Christ, every shattered dream will become a horrid nightmare of misery and unending regret.
Only Christ, the one who was raised as qualified to give us our dreams back. A little girl was dying in the hospital and the doctor being somewhat negligent thought that she could not hear what he said. And he said to her mother, poor little child, her best days are over. But the little girl was able to hear and she whispered, no, my best days are still to come. And if we trust Christ, our best days are still to come. As a matter of fact, it says, he who overcomes, I will grant to sit with me on my throne even as I overcame and sat with my father on his throne. And we will sing throughout all of the ages, the glory and the hallelujahs of God as we give praise to the one who redeemed us, the one who is Lord, and the one who says, I am the resurrection and the life. Would you join me as we pray? Our Father, we ask that your blessed Holy Spirit would take these words and apply them to those who sense that inner longing for the fulfillment of their dreams. Help them to see the wonder and the beauty of Jesus, the only qualified Savior who can reconcile us to God. And now I'm talking to the congregation that is present. If you here today have never trusted Christ, even at this moment in your heart, you can say, Jesus, I want you to be mine.
I do not want you to go on by. Stay with me. Save me. Forgive me. And Father, because of your grace, we shall sing your praises forever.
Help us to do it effectively. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Amen. You know, no matter how often I hear the Hallelujah Chorus, my heart always rejoices. And of course, we are led in worship and we are led in praise. As a matter of fact, I think that the Hallelujah Chorus is going to be sung in heaven.
After all, if we sing the song of Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the song of the Lamb, why not the Hallelujah Chorus, which of course is based on the teachings of Scripture as found in the book of Revelation? So we rejoice today. We rejoice because of the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. We rejoice because of his resurrection and we are reminded that he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Let me make a suggestion today. Would you spend some time just giving praise to God? Would you spend some time thanking him for all of his blessings, but also giving him praise for who he is and for what he has done for us? Even as we think back to Easter, we're reminded of the fact that the resurrection and the coming of Jesus Christ was for us. He came to redeem us and his redemption is so complete that someday we will participate in his resurrection. We shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.
We too shall have resurrected bodies. Maybe I'm talking today to someone who's going through a time of depression, hopelessness, bitter disappointment, and pain. Would you take time to just give praise to God?
To remind yourself that Jesus Christ is in heaven. He has been crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords and someday he will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords for the entire world to see and all who dwell upon the face of the earth will worship him. Every tongue will give him praise. Let's begin to give him that praise today.
Hallelujah, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. When you say Bible, some feel only one translation qualifies to be called the Bible.
Stephen listens to Running to Win and faces this dilemma. My father and brother are strict King James version only and think anyone else who isn't is terribly wrong and liberal. If I were to tell them that I read and study other translations, they'd lose respect for me and treat me differently. I currently have to hide my other translations every time they come to visit. Should I confront them about this issue and if so, how? Well Stephen, ultimately I can't answer that question for you because only you know the dynamics of your father and brother and family and what kind of a situation would arise if you were to confront them.
I think you should but I mean that's a judgment call that you need to make. Let me say this, there are those who believe that the King James is the only Bible we should use. I believe that they are very wrong. The King James of course goes back many centuries. It was a very good translation. It influenced English literature but at the same time language changes and translations are not inspired by God. Sometimes there is a much better way of saying something, particularly as language is in flux and you have new expressions the King James version of the Bible certainly served its generations but we do live in a different age.
Now there's something else. There are many scholars who dedicate their lives to finding the most accurate manuscripts of the New Testament. By finding I don't mean that they're out looking for them. I mean that they have the hundreds and hundreds of manuscripts that we have and they compare them and they contrast them and they do studies of them to find the very best manuscripts available. What is a good manuscript? It's a manuscript that as far as possible goes back to the original and so the text from which the King James was translated most scholars today believe that we have improved the accuracy of the text through all of these many years of scholarship. That's one reason why we need new translations.
There are minor changes and I emphasize minor changes in the text. Furthermore there are some very contemporary ways to say the same truth. You find this for example if you have a more contemporary translation of the Bible. Now I personally use two or three different Bibles. Some are much more directly, what shall I say, literal from the text.
Others are paraphrases or translations that are much more contemporary and you can benefit from them all. I'm sorry that your brother and your father have made such a big issue of this. I would ask you to be cautious and careful but maybe at some time after you've read a book on the subject and there are many of the books that are out there that are good, after some time maybe what you should do is to sit down with them and have a long talk. But that's your judgment Stephen. God bless you. Thank you Pastor Lutzer.
If you'd like to hear your question answered you can. All you have to do is go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click there on Ask Pastor Lutzer or you can call us with a question at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Next time don't miss a message on how the resurrected Jesus is now the keeper of the keys of death and Hades. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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