#298 FACES Series# 4, Hot Pursuit

#298 FACES Series# 4, Hot Pursuit
By: Pastor Cheryl Thomas

Don’t worry I wont use any illustrations from smokey and the bandit or the dukes of hazzard 

Not so flattering example of Hot Pursuit–Road Rage— Chante/ Dad on the 404 

Karl—Dori & John/ Pinegrove restaurant/call every Thursday night on Party line/come to Peterborough every Friday nite stay til late Sunday nite/ army surplus/ & vintage clothing

Our pursuit for God and our pursuit for intimacy with Him is a topic often preached about, however, the flip side of this scenario doesn’t always get as much air time.

That is God’s pursuit for man and that he not only chases after us but he never takes His eyes off me.

God is engaged in an unmitigated pursuit of us…

There is a constant wooing from heaven… to call those who are lost… and to call those who got lost in the way…

Pursuing: following or chasing another person (or thing) with the intent to catch.

Throughout Scripture, God reveals Himself as a seeker on a continual pursuit for something.

  • We find the Father seeking those that would worship (John 4:23),
  • Scanning the earth from heaven (Ps 14:2)
  • His eyes running to and fro throughout the planet to find someone he can strengthen(2 Chr 16:9).
  • We find Jesus telling us that He has come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
  • We find Him giving us a deeper glimpse into His heart by comparing Himself with a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep to seek the one lost (Luke 15:4-7),
  • He is like a father who incessantly scans the horizon for the return of the prodigal son (Luke 15:20), He is like a merchant seeking fine pearls (Mt 13:45-46).
  • He is in the Psalmist words when he declares surely goodness and steadfast love will follow my all days of my life. That word translated follow- yirdĕpûnî when used elsewhere has the connotation of hunting, pursuing.

Despite our sin, our waywardness, our piety, our efforts, our failures, despite everything. From the complaining, Moses to the rejection of God as King, from idolatry under the monarchs to the compromise under the Romans, God across thousands of years has pursued His people.

Then God appeared in the flesh to knock on their doors, to sleep in their gardens, to eat at their tables, to call them back to Him.

He possesses reckless/uncontrollable wild devotion to his children.

Scottish Anglican theologian John Macquarrie says,  “We are the objects of a search directed towards us.”  God is always and everywhere reaching out for us, nudging us back into the sheepfold or on into our futures, gluing together shards from what was shattered to offer us something useful and beautiful, usually not on our schedule and not in ways we would imagine.

We have a God who is seeking us.

We have a God who is after us.

We have a God who pursues us.

Psalm 23:6a MSG “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life”    

“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts” ― A.W. TozerThe Pursuit of God

“Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one”
― A.W. TozerThe Pursuit of God

Now there were two men, one of which was named Cleopas, who had been close followers of Jesus. Yet in spite of following Him, in spite of hoping in Him, they now found themselves in spiritual conundrum. They had just witnessed the crucifixion of the one they hoped had been the Messiah. They had been taught as young men in the synagogue that the Messiah would bring about a political, social and spiritual change that would result in Him overturning Roman rule and taking the throne of David in Jerusalem.

They had seen something with their eyes but it did not make sense. None of the disciple could understand what this was.

These two guys were so negatively impacted by what they had witnessed that they turned their back on God’s purpose and headed out for a warm bath.

The hopes, the dreams, the expectations, that Jesus was the Redeemer, the Deliverer, the Saviour, the Messiah, came to a sudden and complete end. This Jesus who was to end the slavery, and rescue the least, the last, and the lost, suddenly and abruptly had died the death of a criminal hung between two thieves crucified on a cross.

They had lost hope

A soul without hope is like a body without food.

Can you identify with these disciples?

Do you know what it’s like to think of hope as a thing of the past?

Have you ever walked a lonely road with sadness written across your face?

We have all kinds of hopes and dreams—

  • The hope that we might meet that perfect mate and get married
  • The hope to have children
  • The hope that our adult children might finally turn their lives around.
  • We hope for entry into a desired college
  • The perfect job
  • To get out of poverty
  • To get out of soul crushing debt
  • To be free of stress and anxiety
  • To be healed of some disease or disability,
  • To be free of addiction that keeps dragging us down.

When dreams go unfulfilled or our hopes are shattered, it’s discouraging, and sometimes devastating.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick…

Proverbs 18:14 A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

So lets look to see how Jesus responds to us when we loose hope and are devastated.

Luke 24:13-33New King James Version (NKJV)

The Road to Emmaus

13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day (what same day? The day that the women went to grave/angels he is risen/ go tell/ come running but he is not there) to a village called Emmaus,( walk warm bath, medicinal springs)  which was seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, (examined, seeking for answers/// What the heck just happened? Shocked, confused, disillusioned ) that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.( some translations say suddenly, out of no where, he pulled a Nanny Mcphee) 16 But their eyes were restrained,(restrained by God/restrained because their disappointment could not allow them to see, hard to see what you don’t expect, so devastated were they by what happened the last thing they expected was to see Jesus) so that they did not know Him. Jesus may walk beside us unrecognized.

How do we know that were devastated? 17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”(sullen, gloomy, mournful) In the NLT and other translations it adds…”they stopped short. (illustrate) 18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, (you must be new, not from here) and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”(the whole world knows what happened, twin towers)

19 And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping (trusting, put all trust in, people had left life to follow Jesus, risk rejection of family) that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, (if that’s not bad enough) today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” (could you imagine the roller coaster of emotion… he’s alive, he’s not at the tomb, where is he, what did the women really hear,  no wonder they were on their way back to medicinal springs, total despondency)

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! (without understanding, dull, slow to apprehend, slow to be persuaded) 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (You can read something and believe in head but until it is experienced in the heart it is hard to apprehend. Jesus was about to give them an experience that would be etched in their hearts forever) 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

He would have proven through a tour of scripture that the Messiah was

  • The seed of a woman whose heel would crush his head
  • The blessing of Abraham to all nations—he is the seed of Abraham
  • The Mechizideck high priest
  • The lion of the tribe of Judah
  • The voice in the bush
  • The Passover lamb
  • The prophet greater than Moses
  • The son of David
  • The suffering Saviour from the Psalms
  • The Good Shepherd from Psalm 23
  • The wisdom of Proverbs
  • The suffering servant from Isaiah 53

28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained (to compel and employ force) Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. (He Nanny Mcpheed them again)

32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together.”

TRAN: Jesus will intercept you. He will pursue you, chase you down and pull you back into your destiny.

Seven observations from our text: Jesus has joined himself to you, he journeys with you, he will engage you along the way, he will enlighten you, empower you, impassion you,  reestablish you and fill you with joy in the midst of our  disbelief.

1. Join himself to us- Verse 14 “He drew near” that word drew near is  eggizo- en/ge/zo— to join one thing to another, to be at hand.

2. Journey with us– Verse 15 “he went with them” sum/po/ryu/o/mi- to journey together- he began to journey with them. (in the midst of their despondency, despair and disappointment) Jesus will journey with you whether you are hot for him or hiding from him

3. Engage with us– Verse 17 “? 17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation isthis that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?

  • He knew
  • I love that says that you are so sad
  • He listened to their sad story///
  • Jesus already knows the source of our disappointment sadness, but he asks anyways

4. Enlighten us- Verse 27 “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”  He illuminated the word to them… divine illumination…The word will come along side and while he journeys with you he will illuminate the scripture. The Word expounding the word…

It was like a floodlight on the word that  brought  clarification, explanation, and revelation and passion

5. Empowers & Impassion us- Verse 32 “did not our hearts burn” : (kah’-yo) kaió: to kindle, burn…, ignite…, light, set on fire, he fills us with great emotion…
Verse 33 “ So they rose up”  NLT – within the hour they went back to Jerusalem— Urgency

After a 7 mile walk one way they headed right back, and probably much faster. When you have good news you can’t wait to go and tell someone.

did not our hearts burn with in us/and our legs move

6. Reestablish us– Verse 33 “so they returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who werewith them gathered together.”
The went back and shared the new with the rest…
Verse 3 35- 36 as they were telling the story suddenly Jesus appeared/// verified their story

7. Fills us with Joy Verse 41 “they stood in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder”

He is our Companion in the Way. The disciples reflected on the fact that it was Christ Himself who talked to them as they traveled along the road. It was the Christ who had risen . In His coming to them in their need and distress, even in their retreat, we learn of His availability, of His pursuit of and sympathy with us as our kindred. He demonstrated that He is our faithful High Priest who is intimately interested in us and interceding for us.

God sees our heart (1 Sam 16:7), He sees the hidden feelings and movements of our hearts, even the ones we are not yet aware of.

God knows who we are, He knows our frame (Ps 103:14). He is aware of our weaknesses and limitations and the frailty of our heart.

Jesus isn’t shocked by our weaknesses.

He was pursuing us before we ever responded to Him.

He has been the jealous, wooing Bridegroom all along.

He won’t relent, even when our response feels weak or when we fail to act.

Jesus is walking that road with you listening to your sorrows and yet he decides that he will join himself to you, he is committed to journey with you, engage you in dialogue, illuminate himself to you, fill you with passion, reestablish you in mission and fill your heart with joy.

No matter how discouraging or depressing life gets, no matter how hurt or heartbroken you are or how lonely you feel; Jesus won’t make you walk that road alone. You may not see him, but he’s there. He will come alongside.

Jesus Will pursue the:

  • Tax Collectors and the Pharisees
  • The Sinners and the Saint
  • The Outcasts
  • The rejected and the Respected
  • Those who need deep forgiveness
  • Those who break the rules and those who live by them
  • Those who loose their way
  • Those who loose hope—–He is right in there, in the midst.

The strength, the quality, the measure and the persistence in our seeking Him won’t ever change anything about His HOT PURSUIT FOR US. 

Yes, it is about our love, but not because of it.

 Illustration: Runaway Daughter Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Multnomah Press, 1986, pp. 158-9.

Conclusion

  • He is the lord our God and he will never forsake us- Deuteronomy 31:8
  • Jesus said behold I am with you always Mathew 28:20
  • When I sit/walk in darkness the Lord will be a light to me Micah 7:8
  • He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever Ps 73:26
  • He the Lord will strengthen us, help us and holds our right hand- Is 41:10-13
  • If God is for us who can be against us
  • Who can separate us from the love of God-NOTHING can separate me from His love toward me- Romans 8:30-39

Nothing can ever extinguish the flame in God’s heart, it is his love for us that fuels his relentless pursuit of us, even when we mess up and get terribly lost.

Appeal 1- if you are lost and have not experience the hidden to your eyes Christ I invited you to join him

Appeal 2- you and I are now Christ representatives on earth, we are little Christs… who are the people in your life that you need to join yourself to, that you need to journey with, that you need to engage, that you need to empower, that you need to reestablish on mission and that you can partner with to see joy restored to?


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