Summary: The love of God burns so brightly that all is either purified or burned away in its presence.
Love Aflame, Luke 24:13-35
Charles Spurgeon once wrote of the difficult but satisfying calling of Christians.
Commenting on Hosea 6:1-3, where we are admonished to return to the Lord for the binding up of our wounds, that we may ultimately live in His presence, the prince of preachers spoke these beautiful and true words:
“Artificial piety, like flowers in wax, droops not in the hour of drought, but the fair lily of true grace hangs its head if the rain of heaven be denied. True faith, like fire, has its attendant smoke of unbelief, but presumption like a painted flame is all brightness. Like ships at sea, true Christian have their storms, but mere professors of the faith, like pictured galleys on the canvas, ride on an unruffled ocean. Life has its changes, but death abides the same. Life has muscle, sinew, brain, spirit, and these vary in physical condition; but the petrified limbs of death lie still until the worm has devoured the carcass. Life weeps as well as smiles, but the ghastly grin of death does not relax with anxiety or fear. As no weather can give ague to marble, as no variation of temperature can bring fever to iron, so to some men the events of life, the temptations of prosperity, or the trials of adversity bring little change. Yet it would be better to ebb and flow forever like the sea than to rot in endless stagnation of false peace. Better to be hunted by the hounds of hell, and so driven to the shelter of the cross, than to dwell at ease and be fattening for the devil’s shambles.”
What Spurgeon is saying is that in God’s economy often salvation is born of great sorrow; our own greatest gift may be a gift whose beauty is born not of peace but of pain; the treasures of this life are not false comfort, peace yielded only of inactivity, but of the beauty of the Cross, even if we were driven to it by pain.
So it is with the great treasure that is the work of Jesus Christ at the Cross! So it is with most beautiful treasure that we can behold in this life; Jesus Himself, who, when considered alongside even the most dazzling jewel in this life, shimmers like the sun in comparison to a dimly lit and fading candle…
Beloved, today we consider the resurrection of our savior, Jesus the Christ.
As I enter the text, my aim will be to shed light not primarily on the fact of the resurrection, though perhaps we will touch on this, but on the result of the resurrection. We will do this by considering what the fact of the resurrection did to two men walking along the road, on the way to Emmaus.
Today’s text is a favorite passage of my own. In fact, I have a painting in my office of the scene of Jesus walking with these two men and talking with them. I love this passage because it speaks of the reality of the burning presence of Christ.
In His presence the fire of truth burns away untruth. The fire of love burns away hatred, discouragement, doubt, and fear. No man or woman can for long be near the embers of the burning heart of Christ without being affected or consumed!
Here this statement, for it contains a wealth of biblical truth. No man or woman can be near the love of God without being affected or consumed. The love of God burns so brightly that it purifies those things which are consistent with it or burns away like chaff those things which are inconsistent with it.
Does God love those who are eternally lost to His love? Yes, but the fire of His love burns so brightly, so intensely, so immediately, so fervently, that which will not come under its dominion, that which will not be brought into purity by it, is consumed; burned away; ultimately as though it never was.
Does God love those who are brought eternally into His saving grace by Christ, those who receive the treasure of Christ by faith? Yes! The closer we get to the flames of His love, the more pure we become; the more holy we are made.
Let us consider the text. Let us consider the words of the men with Jesus.
What did the men say after having encountered Jesus? Did they say, “Did not we long to affirm a creedal statement while He was with us? Did not we desire to hold a committee meeting as He spoke? Did not our hearts fill a desire to shine a pew with our backsides as we walked with Jesus?” Is this what they said?
While doctrine matters, its ultimate goal is to lead us to the Cross.