You’ll Never Walk Alone 4/19/98

Luke 24:13-32
Page 1548 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ is often encountered in the most unlikely places at the most unexpected times.

He is not only our guide to tomorrow and our ticket to eternity, but our companion on life’s road through the wilderness of bewilderment.

He is the essential clue necessary to interpret the mystery of life.

Do you ever feel like you are all alone? Does loneliness ever engulf you? Have you ever looked at one of these street scenes from a major city with people walking shoulder to shoulder moving like a river of humanity? All crowded together yet many feeling all alone in the crowd.

A sense of frustration and abandonment prevails in many lives. A gnawing sense of emptiness resulting from a feeling of disappointment is the norm for some. Having been let down dejection is dictated by defeat.

If you are ever described in that manner you might have been the companion of Cleopas as he walked the lonely road from Jerusalem to Emmaus the afternoon of the reported resurrection of the crucified Christ. Their great expectation regarding Christ had crashed at the cross. Now they were alone and dramatically disappointed in Christ. They needed a resurrection of hope and guidance for the moment.
They were DOUBTING what had happened.
They were BEWILDERED about what to do.
They were FEARFUL of what might happen.
Do you ever experience those emotions?

As children most of us were intrigued by the idea of supernatural power. That is why Superman, Captain Marvel, Batman, and their companions have thrived. Youth have an innate desire to know secrets and tap into supernatural power. I was that type child and perhaps you are or were. I remember ordering Orphan Annie’s secret decoding ring so I could know in advance what was going to happen to Annie and Corntassel. I ordered Jack Armstong’s magic answer box in order to tell when a person was telling the truth or lying.

As adults we don’t grow out of our desire to believe there is a hidden factor into which we can tap and improve our destiny. Horoscopes are studied by many while others endeavor to engage in ESP, extrasensory perception.

With our annual date with the IRS just passed one husband asked his wife to balance their account and prepare their tax return. After doing so she put the initials ESP at the bottom. When asked why she said, “That stands for Error Some Place.”

Most of us hope there is somebody out there — a force or power — trying to get through to us to improve our life. Unfortunately the last place many think to turn to find this mysterious power is Christianity. An all too well hidden fact is the most powerful force in the universe is present with us.

That is the message of the Emmaus Road story. Cleophas and his wife were walking alone when a third party joined them. After telling the unrecognized Christ of the crucifixion and exposing their bewilderment He explains the Scripture to them regarding the foretold resurrection. Later in their home as they dined together they recognized the risen Christ.

The event we call Easter can’t be reduced to a creed or philosophy. It is not simply believing the doctrine of the resurrection that empowers life. It is meeting the resurrected Christ that changes life. Faith moves us from belief in a doctrine to acquaintance with the person, Jesus Christ. Life takes on a whole new meaning when we can say as they, “We have met Him; He is alive.”

As the two downcast believers walked alone they said, “We had hoped” (Vs. 21).

The good news which was to transcend lost hope was that Christ was there with them though unrecognized.

Many have been blessed by reading the insightful book by Charles Sheldon entitled In His Steps. It is the story of how lives were changed by asking before acting, ‘What would Jesus do? I want to do what He would do if He were here.”

Today many persons wear wrist bands with the letters “WWJD,” meaning, “What would Jesus do.”

Push that a bit further by asking, “What should I do in that Jesus is here.”

What attitude adjustment would that produce?

What dynamic would that add to your life?

GOOD NEWS! He is here. He is your abiding companion.

In math there is the term, “Constant.” It means “a quantity that remains unchanged throughout a given discussion.” It is a principle on which one can confidently rely while trying to solve the mystery of a math problem. It is said to be permanent, unchanged, immutable.

In algebra a variable is an unknown such as “X.” A constant is something that is always what it is. For example “1” is always one. Thus, Christ is a constant.

As in math so in all of life to find the unknown start with the known. Start and stay with Christ.

In life Christ is our “Constant” for solving life’s problems.

There is a moving scene in the dramatic play The Trial of Jesus by John Masefield where Longinus, a Roman centurion, reports to Pilate. After the report is given, Procula, Pilate’s wife, beckons the centurion and begs him to tell her of the prisoner’s death. After hearing him speak of the empty tomb, she asks, “Do you think He is dead?” Longinus answers, “No Lady,I don’t.” Impatiently, she implores, “Then where is He?” In awe Longinus answers, “Let loose in the world, Lady, where … where no one can … stop His truth.”

He is in your world. He wants to be your constant companion and guide.

In our text there are three things that enabled them to realize Christ was with them. These three elements today give us assurance of His presence.

To put their troubled hearts at ease “He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Vs. 27).

Prior to His crucifixion Christ noted an important potential: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you…” (John 15: 7).

Today’s Biblical ignorance is appalling. What are you doing to enhance your Bible knowledge? We say we believe the Bible to be God’s Word, and it is. Be real! How often do you read from it? What systematic program of Bible study do you have personally? Do you have a plan for memorizing strategic passages. For your intellectual and spiritual good you should. The mind is like a muscle, it must be exercised. Memorization is a marvelous way to improve your mental functionality.

Can you say with the Psalmist: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)?

You can’t unless you can also say, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11).

The two said of their experience in Emmaus when Christ opened the Scripture to their understanding: “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scripture to us? (Vs. 32).

God’s word warmed their hearts, illumined their minds, and revived their hope. It still does the same. However, if you don’t know it you don’t know it does.

Christians need a Biblical world view. Unfortunately many have a secular world view shaped by novels, magazines, movies, TV, and carnal commentators. As a result in times of decisions they make a secular world view choice. That is, we act like non-believers.

Much is in the news these days about crime, violence, drug abuse, and immorality in the youth culture.

A recent study by “Whose Who” reveals that school is a very dangerous place.
One-third knew someone who had brought a weapon to school.
Forty-two percent of the boys had access to at least one gun.
Five percent of the students reported there had been a shooting in their school.
More than half reported frequent fights between students.
One-third had seriously considered suicide.

Various laws are being proposed to deal with it. Forget it! Laws won’t change it. The cause must be addressed. You don’t have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to understand why. Yet, society seems oblivious to the cause.

Ten million minors have a venereal disease. 1.5 million abortions occur annually. Many by teens. Could it just be that a contributing factor is that 88% of all sex depicted on TV is outside marriage. The entertainment media flaunts promiscuity and homosexuality as normal. Youth act it out and we wonder why.

Surveys reveal one-fourth of high school seniors get drunk at least once a week. Could a contributing fact be that their heros in entertainment consumed ten times as much alcohol in movies and on TV than other beverages?

Various reports indicate that between 1/3 and 1/2 of all children will be involved in some serious chemical dependency problem. Their idols in music and the media flaunt drug use.

Contrast this with a recent Gallup Poll that reveals 65% of evangelical teens never read their Bible. One in ten is said to read the Bible daily.

To develop a Biblical world view one needs to know the Scripture. Then it is possible to look a life through God’s eyes and make valid choices as a result.

If you want to know WWJD read The Book.

There is a further essential step. There is a difference in studying the Scripture and spending time with the Author. Spend time with the Lord alone.

Some years ago my study was here in the church building in a remote location to afford privacy and quiet. Some person learned where it was and when they wanted me they came knocking. I tacked the following note on the inside of the door addressed to myself: “Don’t answer any knock on this door when you have an appointment to be alone here with the Lord.”

Flash back with me to the statement by Christ regarding His word abiding in us. He continued: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Fellowship with Him and compliance with His word are the two inseparable elements for a good prayer life.

Our Lord, knowing our need for fellowship designed the fellowship of the redeemed called the church. It isn’t a perfect fellowship but it is the best going at the time. It will do until by death we are initiated into the “Society of the Just Perfected.”

Dr. Jean Rosenbaum, psychiatrist and President of the New Mexico Psychoanalytic Association, observed: “Loneliness is one of man’s worst enemies. Since World War II it as spread like a plague. Chronic loneliness, or alienation, nowadays afflicts 75% to 90% of all Americans. It is the major cause of alcoholism and drug addiction in this country.”

Independent sources record that 60% to 70% of all youth seeking medical care are really suffering from stress and emptiness resulting from seeking good relationships. The church must provide a loving receptive place to establish such.

Youth, please hear me, adolescence is a time when cliques are often formed. Please, I beg you, don’t form cliques within the church that excludes people needing your friendship. Expand the circumference of your friendships.

Build your fellowship around fellowship with the Lord. His clique is defined by the word “whosoever” found in John 3: 16.

There is a third element essential for knowing the presence of the Lord.

Christ’s followers had their hoped dashed by the cruel crucifixion of Christ. Every expectation expired with His execution. In the following forty days they would be given a short course in trust — faith. They were being taught to trust Christ in all things. That is the same school in which He has enrolled you. Perhaps you feel you are taking a post graduate course in adversity management. In it all He is there to bless and guide you.

A popular Christian tune by Andrae Crouch reveals this great truth.

“I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow;
There’ve been times I didn’t know right from wrong;
But in every situation God gave blessed consolation
That my trials come to only make me strong.”

“Through it all, Through it all,
O I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it All, Through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”

The word used by Christ was “abide in Me.”

On the road to Emmaus Jesus indicated He was going further when Cleophas and his companion got to their place. However, “they constrained Him, saying, ‘Abide with us…’” (Luke 24: 29).

He has said, “I will never leave you.” Do you ever feel He has? An honest answer will likely be “Yes.” He said, “I will be with you always.” Do you constantly feel He is? This time your honesty answer may be, “No!” Those are secular world view feelings. A Biblical world view keeps us aware He is constantly with us and won’t forsake us regardless of our feelings.

There is a classic poem that has been set to music entitled,

One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life
For each scene, he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand; one belonging to him
and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of His life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned,
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome time in my life there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when I needed
you most you would leave me.”
The Lord replied,
“My precious, precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints in the sand
it was then that I carried you.”

If you as a believer have felt all alone perhaps you have failed to recognize the form in which He has been present with you.

If you have not begun begin today your life’s pilgrimage with Him. He has been there all along. Perhaps you, like the two on the road to Emmaus have just failed to recognize Him.