Saturday, February 29, 2020

Jesus the Healer 5 Days in the Life of Christ Part One - “I Will!”


What would you think about someone who went around breaking arms or infecting people with diseases on purpose to teach them a lesson? First of all, only someone evil would do anything like that. And second, sickness, disease, infirmity, pain, kidney stones, cancer, migraines … they don’t teach anybody anything of value. They just hurt and degrade life and kill people.

People aren’t stupid and God’s not evil. Good people may show just how strong and capable they are and they may even learn something under the pressures and the pain of some unwelcome disease, but the disease didn’t make them good or loving or kind. And, I don’t know any sane person who is praying for more sickness to come to them or their children so they can be more like God. God is not sick, and sick is not God.

Don’t get confused about the eternal and the temporal. God’s eternal will, and His temporal will, are the same. What God wants for us throughout eternity is the same thing He wants for us right now. However, this world is not the place that we will fully realize the eternal will of God. Everything Jesus did, He did to secure our eternity on a New Earth without sin, sickness, poverty, defeat or death. Thank God the eternal truth has power in the right now.

These eternal realities can grant blessings we get to enjoy in a temporary measure during our mortal life. We must fight the good fight of faith to get a measure of our inheritance in this life and we must fight to keep it. However, Every mortal blessing of God is temporary. (Clothes; houses; money; cars; power; fame)
·       If you become prosperous in this life by faith, you won’t take it with you.
·       If you become famous in this life by God’s grace, you won’t take it with you.
·       If you get healed in this life by the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit, you won’t take it with you.
·       Eternity has its own set of rewards.
·       Every person who Jesus prayed for to be healed in this mortal life, died of something later.
·       Jesus became a man so He could defeat sin and teach us about His Father and what His Father has planned for us.
·       Just because bad things happen to good people does not mean God’s will is bad.
·       Your life on earth, even life lived by faith, is not the measure of God’s will for mankind.
·       Without God’s intervention, life would be hell!

Now, let’s begin this healing series …

John 1
1 ¶  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

17  For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18  No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Jesus came to show us the Father … to declare Him to us … to teach us about God and show us God in the flesh.

What do you see when you see Jesus? What did He show us?

Mark 1
40 ¶  Now a leper came to Jesus, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
41  Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

I believe it is the Will of God to heal … but it does not matter to you what I believe near as much as it matters what you believe.

The Bible is the Word of God. The Word of God is the Will of God. God’s Old Will and Testament and God’s New Will and Testament. What does God’s Will and Testaments say about the subject of healing? Here is the Will of God in a thousand words: Jesus said:

 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (Luke 4:18) 

And Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. (Luke 6:17-19)

 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38) 

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Jesus to touch Him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” (Mark 3:10-11)

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise. (Jeremiah 17:14) 

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. (Psalms 107:20)

When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. (Luke 4:40)

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-22)

Then the blind and the lame came to Jesus in the temple, and He healed them. (Matthew 21:14)

Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:1-5)

Then Jesus healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him. (Mark 1:34)

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8)

Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: (Mark 3:14-15)

 “So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.” (Exodus 23:25)

Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and Jesus healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. (Matthew 12:22)

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)

And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” (Matthew 8:7)

Then great multitudes came to Jesus, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. (Matthew 15:30)

And great multitudes followed Jesus, and He healed them there. (Matthew 19:2)

Then the blind and the lame came to Jesus in the temple, and He healed them. (Matthew 21:14)

And when Jesus had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. (Matthew 10:1)

He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:2)

So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. (Luke 9:6)

And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them. (Mark 6:13)

And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. (Acts 28:8-9)

The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)

Sicknesses, diseases, infirmities, injuries and pain are very important subjects to all of mankind. I imagine physical and mental health are among the top concerns every individual will face at some point in life. It stands to reason that Jesus would tell us and show us how God felt about these issues. And He did.

An exhaustive search of the life of Jesus shows that never, not even once, did Jesus make any person sick or give them some sickness or disease. Seeing this is one of the main and most important topics of life it stands to reason Jesus addressed these issues and gave a very definitive conclusion to the matter.

God does not make His children sick … God heals. That’s what Jesus showed us and it is unmistakably the will of God to heal. However, this mortal life is temporary and so are the mortal blessings of God. One day I will leave this mortal body behind. Until then, God knows, and I know I need it to function correctly, according to His divine design. With that in mind, God has given us all great advantages over sickness and diseases.

Healing in this life begins when our mortal bodies begin to respond favorably to the measure of attention we give to any sickness or disease that attacks us. Healing can be achieved and/or received in measure or in full. We should be engaged in every avenue provided by the goodness of God to affect healing.
·       God created us to heal. We were designed by God with an immune system – and sometimes it needs to be healed.
·       God blessed us with the healing arts, research science, doctors, nurses, medical technicians and nutrition experts.
·       God designed the biological elements of the human body to respond to faith, confession, touch, attention, and attitude.

It’s the message we hear from Pastor James … faith without works is dead. But … we must also realize that works without faith is dead as well.

It is impossible to believe for something you don’t believe in.

Let me challenge you today just as I challenged myself in 1980. Decide to accept the fact that God’s Word clearly defines that it is God’s Will to heal. Ultimately His will ends with us being eternally healed in Christ however, we can plainly see that God still heals His children on earth, even if it’s only a temporary blessing.

This series: Jesus the Healer - 5 Days in the Life of Christ, will help us to discover and pursue a balanced approach to divine healing as God intended.
              First Lesson: “I Will!”
                     Recognize the will …
              Second Lesson: “Roots and Fruits”
                     Repent of you sin …
              Third Lesson: “Naked and Afraid”
                     Rebuke the devil and every foul spirit of infirmity
              Fourth Lesson: “A Virtuous Touch”
                     Resolve to press in by faith and confession
              Lesson Five: “So What?”
                     Reach out to others in need of prayer

Promises are made by God to individuals, nations and generations. When we look at a promise given by God to someone else in the Bible, it helps us to define the character of God, discover His intent and understand His process. Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday and will be forever. What harm can it do to trust God’s Will and Testament, and ask Him to heal.

This morning I am going to lead us in a corporate prayer acknowledging the fact that God is a good God with peace and good will towards men and that He is a healing God.

I’m going to challenge you to consider making this prayer your profession of faith in God’s will. This prayer will not make God your servant or give you the right to tell Him what to do and be upset if you don’t get what you want when you want it. This profession of our faith is a declaration in support of the revealed determinate will of our Father in heaven. The position you take today will make a difference to God, to you and to many others.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Wayside


Mark 4 NKJV
26  And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.”

Mark 4
1 ¶  And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea.
2  Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
3  “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
4  “And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.
5  Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth.
6  “But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.
7  “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
8  “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

“Some seed fell.” The hope of the sower was that it would fall on good ground and produce some fruit. But it seems, in this parable, that the sower was unable to determine where the seeds fell … seeds fell everywhere. This type of sowing is referred to as broadcasting. It’s what Jesus said in His Kingdom analogy: “As if a man should scatter seed on the ground.”

There are four types of people Jesus refers to in this parable and He likens them to differing types of soil conditions found in the field.
1.  Wayside – hardened by the traffic of life. The seed never gets below the surface. The preached word of God is no better than noise bouncing off a hard head. The seed never gets in, it only falls on … might as well be concrete. Lying there without acceptance, the birds devour it.
2.  Stony ground – shallow soil with not much depth to allow for a healthy life-sustaining root system to develop. There is no relationship between the soil and the seed, no personal contribution to the process … the soil has no investment in the seed. The heat and hard times make demands beyond the soil’s ability to nurture the seed so the seed withers away.
3.  Among thorns – God’s Word is just one more of many other things competing for time and attention. Wild weeds and thorns sown by the enemy can grow at an alarming rate, demand attention, overshadow and choke out the good vines so that they cannot produce the fruit intended.
4.  Good ground – An open heart and a willing mind - not hardened by life; not a surface acceptance of the seed; given priority attention; the seed produces its potential in the unfolding season.

9  And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The disciples did not understand the parable’s application to their lives and so, later when they were alone, they questioned Jesus and asked Him to explain the parable to them.

10  But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.

13  And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

Jesus explains
Mark 4 NKJV
14  “The sower sows the word.
15  “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16  “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17  “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
18  “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
19  “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
20  “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

These four people have one thing in common, just like all of you here today: They all heard the word. The broadcasted word of God was sown in their minds with the intent of producing fruit in their lives. Remember:

Mark 4:26  … “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter (broadcast) seed on the ground.” Allow me to ask you:

Where are you today?
·       Are you by the wayside, hardened by the traffic of life?
·       Are you that shallow listener - unmotivated, uninspired to make a personal investment in God’s Word today?
·       Are you too busy this week to take on one more thing and so something has to give, and it will have to be God’s word  … it’s just not your number one priority right now? Or …
·       Are you paying attention hoping to hear something this morning you can put into your life to bless, guide, direct, protect, encourage, increase, or inspire you to be a greater blessing to God and others this week?

You see Satan is walking about like a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour. God is broadcasting seeds of His hope, faith and love. They are falling on you and all around you. Don’t let the devil find you along the wayside, hard, or shallow, or not listening or too busy to receive the Word and give it a permanent home in your heart.

Wayside Saints … listen to me …
·       The sower is scattering seeds for the kingdom of God today.
·       Seeds of life and joy and peace and fruitfulness.
·       Seeds of direction, refreshing and encouragement.
·       Seeds of revival and renewal.
·       Seeds of relationship.
·       Seeds of divine intervention and divine direction.
·       Seeds of hope and love and faith and grace.
·       Seeds of salvation and forgiveness of sins.
·       Seeds of abundant life and seeds of eternal life.

Don’t be like concrete … Don’t be shallow … Don’t be too busy …

How can the seed of God’s Word fall on us and not penetrate our hearts and change our minds? Some people, when they hear the Word, like the Word today, they:
·       Slap it away
·       Push it aside
·       Turn it towards others
·       Excuse themselves from its implications
·       Remove themselves from its authority
·       Justify themselves and their sinful actions
·       Override the conviction
·       Over-talk the message in their minds
·       Devalue the seed of God’s choice for their lives
·       Deny the challenge it affords
·       Turn it off

This is like an automatic response to the good Word of God for some people. It’s just the way they are … not the way they have to be … just the way they are. They need to change but the very thing that will help them is the one thing they aren’t open to. When the seed falls on anyone’s ears, it will endeavor to take root in their heart and mind. Jesus said, take heed to the seed …

A hard heart is like concrete. Can you imagine trying to grow a garden by casting seeds on concrete? An unrepentant heart is like fallow ground, (Useable, but unused soil; Tillable, but untilled land), hard, crusted over, impenetrable, resistant and unreceptive … like the top layer of ground in a garden after a long hard winter. So full of promise underneath that hard unbroken exterior and covered with thorns to keep the plowman at bay. Fallow ground sits idle, gaining a wealth of potential that will never be realized unless and until it is broken up and receptive to the seed.

Break up your fallow ground.

Jeremiah 4:3  For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns.”

How does a person begin to break up that fallow ground? How does a man keep himself from the habit of slapping the seeds of God’s Word away from his mind and making them bounce off the hard heart he’s protecting? How? By seeking the Lord!

Hosea 10:12  Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

You’ve got to do this for yourself … no one can do it for you. You’ve got to do it for yourself and you’ve got to do it until God comes and rains righteousness on you. In other words, until you experience breakthrough because you finally broke through that fallow ground and opened your heart and mind the Word of God.

A broken and a contrite heart the Lord will not despise. God forgives a broken and open heart. God restores righteousness and rains right standing down upon the man who falls on his knees before Him. It’s time …. It’s time to seek the Lord!

The remedy:

Mark 3:24 Then He said to them, “Take heed (pay attention to; value) what you hear …”

2020 is a year of increase. The devil doesn’t like it and if the devil can’t make you bad, he will try his best to make you too busy for God, family or Church.

The devil has two main ways he tries to manipulate and control people:
1.  Make something bad happen in their life so they will be consumed with hurt, sorry, worry or pain.
2.  Make something really good happen in their lives so they will be so busy enjoying the good that they forget God.

Blessings and cursing is all he has to work with. How is the devil trying to control you?

Relationships are under attack by the devil today. Don’t let him fool you. Division is not God’s best. Hear the word of the Lord. It’s the devil who benefits from division and name calling and accusations and arguments, no matter who is doing it … it’s wrong to try and hurt someone or to divide them from their family, their church or their friends.

Be kind with your words and don’t believe everything you hear about others and certainly don’t repeat the bad stuff. Maybe they will return the favor sometime in the future.

I’m just the sower, scattering seed today … which soil will you prove to be?

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Let’s all just decide that we are going to believe.
·       Believe in God and in His Son Jesus.
·       Believe He is good and loving and kind.
·       Believe God’s Word is true and just and right.
·       Believe that God is bigger than my current problem.
·       Believe that nothing is impossible with God.
·       Believe that if we ask Him, He will hear and answer.
·       Believe we can and should make a difference in life for Him.
·       Believe that when we don’t understand what happened or why it happened, we can still trust in His love and goodness.

I believe! I’ve made up my mind … I believe … How about you?

Jesus was 30 years old when He preached His first sermon in the synagogue in which He grew up in Nazareth. One of my favorite sites to visit is the Synagogue Church in the old city market in Nazareth. This traditional historic site claims to be built on the foundation of the synagogue which existed during the time of Jesus. Somewhere between 200 to 400 people lived in Nazareth during those days. For the most part they were all construction workers known for their hard lives, hard work, and hard heads. Everyone knew everyone in the village and outside the village it was said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

After being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptists that year, Jesus returned to Nazareth and when He went to the synagogue that next Sabbath, He was asked by the elders to be the one who would read from the Bible that day. After reading, Jesus began to make some commentary which infuriated the listeners and they subsequently seized Him. They drug Him out to the edge of the city and were going to throw Jesus off of a cliff to His death but instead, Jesus turned and passed through the angry crowd and walked about 20 miles down the valley to the city of Capernaum along the northern shore of the Galilee Sea. He picked that city to be His new home and that next Sabbath, Jesus was found once again in the synagogue as was His custom. (Luke 4:16)

After a couple of weeks, teaching in the synagogue and along the shore, people were astonished at His doctrine for He taught as one having authority. Many who were sick were healed and those with unclean spirits were delivered. Jesus’ fame spread quickly throughout the region. It was evident there was something very different, very powerful, and very promising about Jesus. Many of the Jews were looking for the Messiah and there was no small stir among the people thinking that Jesus might just be the One.

This is where we pick up with Luke’s account, in:

Luke 6 KJV
12 ¶  And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15  Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
16  And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
17  And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
18  And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19  And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

As I said, everyone knew there was something special about Jesus. Verse 19 says, “For there went virtue out of Him, and healed them all.” Of course! That’s what it was … He was full of virtue! After all … He was the Messiah, Jesus the Christ! This morning we are going to take a brief look at:

The Seven Virtues of Christ

1. Salvation

Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (NKJV)

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (NKJV)

2. Restoration

Psalms 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (NKJV)

Not only to save a soul from hell but to restore a soul from the hell they have experienced in this life … that is a virtue of Christ!

Galatians 6:1 ¶ Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (NKJV)

3. Revelation

1 Corinthians 2 (NKJV)
9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. (NKJV)

Ephesians 1:17 That … the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him … (NKJV)

We can know about God, but we cannot know God without the revelation which only comes through Christ.

4. Healing

1 Peter 2:24 Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. (NKJV)

James 5 (NKJV)
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

5. Provision

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (NKJV)

Provision, like salvation, restoration, healing and revelation, is a virtue of Christ and found only in Christ.
·       The fields will not yield their harvest without Christ …
·       Cattle will not give their milk but for Christ …
·       Trees won’t furnish their fruit if not for Christ …
·       Provision comes from the Lord! It’s a gift from God …

6. Empowerment

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (KJV)

Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (NKJV)

7. Regeneration

Matthew 19:28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (NKJV)

Salvation; Restoration; Revelation; Healing; Provision; Empowerment; and Regeneration … these are the virtues; these are the powers of Jesus the Christ. Only Jesus has:
·       The Power to Save
·       The Power to Restore
·       The Power to Heal
·       The Power to Provide
·       The Power to Fill Us with the Power of the Holy Spirit
·       The Power of Immortality

John 17:2  You have given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

How can I benefit from the virtues of Christ? How in the world does a person qualify to receive the power of Christ in their life? What can we do so that the virtues of Jesus Christ might prove their reality in our lives?

Only by faith can we receive this grace. The provisions God made for mankind through Jesus cannot be purchased by good deeds, grand gestures or great mountains of gold. The grace of God is free to all who call upon the name of the Lord.

Today you can be saved and receive eternal life.

If you are saved, you can be restored; healed; blessed; and filled with the power of God providing you are willing to believe and receive.

Faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus will begin your journey and faithfulness to Him and His plan for your life will guide you along the path or righteousness. You can receive every good gift of God found in the virtues of Christ as you call upon His name every step of the way.

Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Let’s just believe!

Believe in Him and call upon His name! He will save; restore; heal; provide; empower; and regenerate us.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Acts 28 Missing the Point

Sometimes God sends us down the road to get to the end of the road and at other times God sends us down a road to get to the fork in the road … We cannot know which it is unless and until we go down the road. 

• If not watchful - We can become so focused on what we know God wants for our lives that we miss what God is doing in our lives. 

Tonight I hope to conclude our study of the Book of Acts with a discussion of a powerful life principle from the 28th chapter. We will begin this evening by re-reading a brief passage from the previous chapter to help us set the stage. Remember, when we left the Apostle Paul last week, he was on his way to Rome, sailing on a large ship when a storm overtook them and the best they could do was to let it take them wherever the winds blew.

There were 276 people onboard the ship when it began to break up and people jumped into the rough seas finding anything that would float to help them make it to shore. A few days earlier, in the middle of the storm, Paul had told everyone that he had received a word from God. He said: 

Acts 27
23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 
24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 
25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. 
26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

Make no mistake, the messenger of God said, you must be brought before Caesar … but don’t imagine your destiny or final destination is all God has in His plan. 

• Wouldn’t it be terrible to reach your God given goals only to realize later that you missed the point? 

I think of the story of Jacob & Leah … 
• Jacob lived his whole life thinking Leah was the wrong person … but she wasn’t!
• Even though Jacob accomplished the will of God for his life, he missed so much of the joy God intended for him. 
• The Bible says that Jacob loved Rachael and hated Leah.
• Leah was the right woman – Leah is the mother of Judah and therefore the grandmother of Jesus. However, Jacob reached his God given goals but missed the point. 
• When we are on our way to our God given destiny and things happen which are beyond our control … we should not always count them as a distraction sent by the devil … sometimes they may be things God intended all along.

God does not first have to seek our permission before He upsets our plans. 

What may seem like a surprise to us, may be a plan to God.

God does not want us to miss the joys of the journey …

Allow me to set the stage for Acts 28 … At the end of chapter 27, Paul and his companions have just made shipwreck. They had no idea where they were, but it turns out they had landed on the Island of Malta.

The island of Malta was inhabited by a superstitious people in that day. They had been influenced by the many cultures who had previously conquered and ruled the island. Today you can visit the remains of Megalithic structures left over from the prehistoric Neolithic culture that existed on the island as far back as 4000 BC. 

Some of the oldest and largest free-standing structures in the world can be found around the island as a testimony to who ruled the centuries. From the Phoenicians to the Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, the Knights of St John, the French and the British … Nations of peoples throughout history have found Malta to be a strategic asset in the central southern European Mediterranean and a stepping stone between Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. 

It is no wonder why God included this strategic island and the current leaders in the group of the people He wanted to be saved and brought into His serviceMalta, and by extension the Maltese people, continue to be a strategic asset for the nations of the world in that all-to-often unsettled region.

There is no doubt the Apostle Paul had an appointment with destiny and was bound by the Spirit to appear before Emperor Nero and the highest rulers of the Roman Empire … but … We can be so focused on the future that we miss the point of the present. 

We read in Acts 27:26 that the angel of God told Paul that he had an appointment with the Emperor but first … you must run aground on a certain island.”

Let’s continue our study of Acts from Acts 28 and see if we can imagine why God allowed the storm to detour Paul’s ship.

Paul did not want to fall short of his final destination but neither did he want to miss the point of the problem he was having getting there!

Acts 28 NKJV
1 ¶  Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.
2  And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.
3  But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
4  So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”
5  But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
6  However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

Superstitious people are wishy-washy … they change with the wind. When things are going good … you’re good … when things are going bad, everything’s bad. 

He’s a god! He’s a murderer! He’s a god!

Acts 28 
7  In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days.
8  And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.
9  So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.
10  They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.

• This man was evidently a good man
• There is no doubt God wanted to reach this family and these people
• All it took was a little storm

Paul could have spent his time moaning and complaining about the weather and the hardship of the shipwreck. He could have held prayer and warfare meetings, binding the devil for disrupting his important journey to Rome. Paul could have wasted his opportunity to embrace the present gift of God and spent his days at the dock trying to catch every ship bound for Europe. However, instead of being so focused on his destiny that he missed his opportunity …and the joy in the journey.

Paul spent the next three months ministering to the Maltese people, Jews and Gentiles alike,teaching them concerning the Word, the Will and the Way of Jesus the Christ.

Then, in about the spring of AD 60/61, Paul arrivein Rome and was placed in his own rented house (Wonder who paid the rent?), where he received guests and ministered to those in Caesar’s government and household for at least the next two whole years without restrictions

This chapter concluded the account of the book of Acts around the years AD 62. Many, as do I, believed Paul was released from prison in about that time and continued his Apostolic ministry,strengthening the churches before being re-arrested in AD 64/65, taken back to Rome where he wrote more of the New Testamentbefore being beheaded under the order of Nero in AD 67.