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Summary: Surprised by Joy - (Character Study Cleopas) (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

They talked with each other (vs 14, 15 & 17)

They welcomed a stranger (vs 15).

They shared the story of Jesus (vs 18-23).

They were willing to learn (vs 25-27)

They practiced hospitality (vs 28)

SERMONBODY:

Ill:

• The newspaper The Independent on Sunday (5 September 2004) reported the true story

• Of a Brazilian businessman called Alvaro Weyne.

• He had £10,000 in cash and cheques and was worried about it being stolen;

• So he decided that the safest place to hide it would be in his office waste bin.

• He figured no thief would think of looking in there.

• He was right.

• But... while he was away from his desk seeing someone in another room;

• The cleaner came in and…you guessed it;

• Emptied the bin and his money was thrown away - lost forever!

• TRANSITION: Life is like that sometimes, isn't it?

• You think you've got something precious and all of a sudden it's gone.

Ill:

• Now here's another story, this time it may or may not be true,

• But sometimes it’s good to use your imagination.

• Enrico is a Brazilian pauper,

• Who scrapes a living by scavenging the rubbish tips of the city;

• His life is spent using or selling what he finds.

• One day while rummaging through a new pile of refuse;

• He picked up a small plastic bag.

• He opened it up, and to his great surprise and joy,

• There inside the bag was £10,000!

• He ran home to his wife and family, bought them all new clothes,

• They had a celebration meal;

• Then they put down a deposit on a house far away from the slums.

• TRANSITION:

• You see, sometimes life can do things like that to you.

• You think you've got nothing precious at all,

• Then out of the blue your circumstances change for the better!

• And without any warning, you are surprised by joy.

You could put both of those illustrations to the story of Cleopas & his friend:

• You think you've got something precious and all of a sudden it's gone.

• You think you've got nothing precious at all,

• Then out of the blue your circumstances change for the better!

• The story of Cleopas & his friend:

• Is a story of two people who are suddenly surprised by joy!

• At the start of the story they are two men defeated;

• They thought they had something precious, and all of a sudden it was gone.

• Then as they walked down the road feeling like they had lost everything;

• Their circumstances change for the better

• They were two people who were surprised by joy!

Ill:

• That expression, Surprised by Joy,

• Was coined by the 20th-century Christian writer C.S. Lewis.

• He made it the title of his autobiography,

• Where he talks about his early days as an atheist,

• Someone who disbelieved in God and went out of his way to avoid God.

• But God was after him, he said, looking back.

"You must picture me," Lewis wrote, "alone in [my room], night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet."

• Gradually he came to admit that God was God,

• And he knelt and prayed:

• He said that: "perhaps, that night,

• [he was] the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England."

• He began to attend church and to read the gospels.

• They started to make sense to him.

• Lewis had acknowledged God; now God was after him to acknowledge his son.

• The subject was on Lewis's mind constantly.

In a now famous passage of Surprised by Joy, Lewis related his final step into real joy:

"I know very well when, but hardly how, the final step was taken. I was driven to Whipsnade one sunny morning. When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did."

• The journey to Whipsnade Zoo was Lewis's Emmaus Road.

• It was the time Lewis encountered the living Christ!

• Lewis’ story is a good reminder that Emmaus Road experiences still happen in our day.

• They might even happen to us afresh this morning!

Cleopas & Friend:

• Everything we know about Cleopas & his friend:

• Come from this passage in the gospel of Luke.

• All we can be sure of is Cleopas & his friend;

• Were two followers of Jesus;

• Men who encountered the risen Christ during the Road to Emmaus.

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