Summary: Contemporary Chrsitians are tempted to sit behind the secure walls of the church rather than engage the enemy of sin in the world. But, Christ Jesus calls us to leave the closed doors and open our minds to his gospel by living and sharing it with others.
Luke 24: 36 – 48 Closed Doors to Open Minds
Intro: Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces – people who cannot go outside and spend their entire life closed up inside a house or apartment. I’ve often wondered how these people earn a living or get their groceries. What happens when they get sick? --- There aren’t many doctors who make house calls. --- Is that really living?
I. In this passage from Luke we find the disciples locked away in an upper room. It is their fear that keeps them behind closed doors.
A. The movie, Aviator, depicts the eccentric, Howard Hughes as he locked himself away from the world. He feared germs and contact with other people that could make him sick.
B. Some people would call that eccentric; others would call it plain nuts. --- We have trouble imagining why someone would want to lock themselves away from the world?
C. Yet, when it comes to the church, that is often exactly what we do. We stick our thumbs in our ears and our fingers over our eyes and lock ourselves away from the world in our “sanctuary” not wanting to get involved in the world around us. Believing we can’t get involved, we’re too old, too few, too poor.
II. As hard as the disciples tried to hide, Jesus came to them. Verse 37 - “They were startled and terrified, and thought they were seeing a ghost.”
A. They were “caught.” --- They were found out! I don’t think they were afraid because they were afraid of ghosts. --- I think they were afraid because they knew what they should be doing and weren’t.
B. They were confronted by the risen Christ. Verse 44 – “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you . . .” I believe Jesus implies that they know what is expected of them, so why are they sitting there, locked away? The disciples were A.W.O.L. They weren’t where they were supposed to be or doing what they were supposed to be doing.
C. And you and I, if we are not actively involved in building up God’s church in this place, then we too are Absent With Out Leave! When we follow Christ Jesus we become his called out people forever.
III. Verse 45 – 48 – “He opened their minds to understand the scriptures --- thus it is written . . . “that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. --- YOU ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS.”
A. Jesus is reminding the disciples they are not to be sitting, hiding behind closed doors. With open minds, they are to go from that place to all nations proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins.
B. Open minds would result in open mouths that proclaimed the good news of Christ Jesus. The disciples are to begin from the place where they had failed Jesus and fled. They are to begin where they are and go forward.
C. The church is not a consumer based needs gratification center. It is not a glorified Community Christ club, nor is it a place to coddled, served, catered to and entertained. The church is the army of God called from behind closed doors to do battle with sin and evil in our world.
Conclu: If your car started only once every 4 tries would you say it was dependable? If your wife or husband only came home 1 night in 3, would you say they were faithful? If you only showed up to work 2 days out of 5, would your boss say you were a faithful employee? If you only mailed in 6 out of 12 mortgage payments would your bank say that’s good enough? And if only 1 out of 10 patients survived the operating room would you say that the hospital was reliable? Would you get on an airplane if the stewardess said you have only a 40% chance of making it to your destination? (quoted from “Are We Losing the Battle?” a sermon by Steve Malone)--- If you are not involved in the work of the kingdom, you are AWOL and if not you, then who?