Trusting the Word of God
(Luke 24:32-47; John 20:24-29)

Rev. Jim Bogle, given May 3, 2008

Over the past few Sundays we have been walking with Christ from the Garden of Gethsemane, to the judgment hall of Pilate, on to the Cross of Calvary, and to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning.

Last Sunday we shared with you the great Bible study Christ had with two of His disciples as they walked along the Road to Emmaus. The disciples, though they did not recognize Christ at the time, were so moved by His teaching they invited him to “abide” with them. After the breaking of bread, Christ revealed Himself to them, and then He vanished out of their sight. The Bible says...

Luke 24:32-37

32: And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

33: And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34: Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

Everybody’s talking about Jesus. Warren Wiersbe says, “The best evidence that we have met the living Christ is that we have something exciting to share with others...What a difference it would make in our church services today if everybody who gathered, came to tell about meeting the living Christ!”

These two disciples from Emmaus had wonderful news to share, and yet everybody else was sharing the same powerful news that Christ was alive. And finally when they got their chance, the Scripture says they spoke up!

35: And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

36: And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

37: But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

This coming and going so swiftly and miraculously was disturbing to the disciples. They knew it was Christ...and that they were sure he was alive. But appearing out of thin air suggests the spiritual...and thus they thought he was a ghost.

Did you know that the rapture of the church will take place just as quickly as Jesus’ appearing and disappearing in the Scriptures?

1 Corinthians 15:52

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

And the Bible tells us that we will be caught up, in that instant, to meet the LORD in the air. And when that day comes, we, too, will be able to come and go as miraculously as Christ does, because we will be like HIM.

Philippians 3:20-21

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

The Old Pilgrim writer Thomas Watson wrote “Christians were like little birds always leaping upwards but pulled back to the ground by an invisible string attached to their leg. But one of these mornings the string will be cut and Christians, just like the free bird, will fly away to be with Christ!” I’m looking forward to that day!! Christ is not subject to the natural laws of this earth. He doesn’t have a string bound to His leg, and neither will we, some day!

The disciples thought Christ was a ghost!

Luke 24:28-43

38: And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

39: Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

40: And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

41: And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

42: And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

43: And he took it, and did eat before them.

Here in these verses are answered some of the most puzzling questions of the church...

Will I recognize my loved ones in Heaven?

They recognized the Lord Jesus.

And when the disciples went upon the Mount of Transfiguration, even though they had never seen Moses and Elijah, they still recognized them.

I believe we will know and recognize our loved ones when we see them in heaven.

When Abraham died the Bible says, “he was gathered to his people.” When Isaac died the Bible says, “he was gathered to his people.” And when Jacob died, the Bible says, he too “was gathered to his people.” In other words, wherever Abraham was after death, Isaac, and Jacob too, upon their death, went to meet him. There was a great and wonderful and peaceful resting place for all of God’s people to go to after their death in the Old Testament days. It was a place where families were gathered together.

Many a mother and father, sister and brother, son or daughter, in Christ Jesus , who have since died and gone on – have gone on to a gathering place in heaven where they expect someday to see their loved ones come and join them. The only way we can go to be with them is by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Will I recognize my loved ones in heaven? Without a doubt, I believe I will!

What kind of a body will I have in heaven? 

Well, what kind of a body did Jesus have? Even though His resurrected body was the same, it was radically different.

Christ’s resurrected body was unhampered by space, time, and matter.

He could appear and disappear at will.

Travel from one place to another instantly.

This is an exciting thing to look forward to. I love to travel, whether to the coast or to the mountains. But can you imagine one day, traveling throughout all of God’s Creation?

How exciting...We will have new bodies just like Christ’s. Bodies that are no longer subject to: pain, decay, or death. Bodies free of weariness, heartache, suffering, sadness, and sorrow.

1 John 3:2

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

What kind of body will we have? We will have the same glorious body as Christ our Lord! Will we know our loved ones when we get to heaven? The Scriptures seem to indicate very clearly that we will.

These are promises of God found in the Scriptures.

Luke 24:44

44: And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Clearly God is pointing every heart to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Luke 24:44-47

45: Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

46: And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

47: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And so Christ appeared to his disciples, but not all the disciples were present. Thomas was absent.

Turn with me to John 20:24…

John 20:24-29

24: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came

25: The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord.  But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26: And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27: Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

28: And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29: Jesus saith unto them, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believe.

Do we need to see God’s face to know He is near? We have evidence of God’s presence all over the place: in the faith and perseverance of our senior citizens, who, despite their aches and pains, will not forsake the worship of their God in his house. They have not been healed, their aches and pains still persist, but so does their resolve to worship God.

I see evidence of God in the remarkable fellowship of this church family – not seeking their own reward, but looking after the reward of others.

I see the evidence of God in the prayers for others of loving, believing people.

I see the evidence of God in an open Bible and an opened church door.

I see, with my spiritual eye, the evidence of God on a cross upon a hill called Calvary.

How much more evidence does one need for the presence of God?

This morning if you are here and have never made a personal commitment to Christ Jesus, you may never get another opportunity. God promises no man tomorrow in this life. But, He promises eternal life to all of those who, by faith and faith alone, come to Him and receive the gift He offers of Salvation.

Matthew 11:28

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Romans 10:9

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Isaiah 45:22

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Don’t be fooled into believing there may be some other way to gain eternal life! There is only One God and Creator of us all, and He has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 4:12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.