Showing posts with label SERMONS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SERMONS. Show all posts
Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Holy Spirit - A Blessing Sermon for Palm Sunday and Easter

the_decent_of_the_holy_spirit_on_to_jesus_disciplesHere is another Sermon titled "The Holy Spirit" which inspires ones mind and body. Jesus says, “I will not leave you orphaned!”.. Lord Jesus will be with us all the time, follows like a shadow and protects us with his spirit.

Sermon Details ::

Sermon Theme :: The Holy Spirit

Time Sensitivity :: Best - end or March, before Palm Sunday and Easter

Courtesy :: Christopher Ian Chenoweth


The final mission of Jesus was to introduce the Holy Spirit into your mind, into your body, and into your life.

John 14:15-21, 23-26. It is the promise of the Holy Spirit to you.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; . . ."

jesus never leave you orphanedHe says, “I will not leave you orphaned!”

Sometimes we have felt orphaned. But it has not been God that has separated from us we ourselves have separated our attention from God. The Bible says that we are children of God. The promise of God is, "I will not leave you orphaned." I am with you at all times.

"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."

The Bible continues, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me."

Jesus is saying, "Listen, the human part of me that you see is not the one talking here. Something's talking through me.

"I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you."

Jesus told His followers that after the ascension they were to go to the upper room in Jerusalem. He says the same thing to you. Today, the upper room is a high, peaceful place of consciousness INSIDE of you. Think of yourself—as our Bible says—"you are the temple of the living God." Where is the upper room? It is inside of you. You can visit the upper room at any time in prayer, and have a high spiritual experience with God. This is where the Holy Spirit comes, where the Holy Spirit descends, (from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet,) upon you and you find new power.

We possess a dynamic power beyond anything we can imagine. A few years ago, Sir Oliver Lodge was quoted as saying this: "There is energy enough in one cubic inch of ether to run a forty-horsepower engine for 40 million years." I like that. The power that is available to us in God is beyond all human conception. It is beyond our comprehension, even for those who are serving in the ministry because as much as we know, there is much more to God. There is more to our realization of this Power that can come to us at any time.

Jesus says to you, that all power should be given to you. This carries with it the idea in your life of unlimited spiritual and human capacity. For mastery and dominion over all the circumstances in your life, you need the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a tremendous, unused potential power available to you at all times. This is the power of the Holy Spirit. It doesn't come into expression, though, until through consenting in your free-will, you call upon it. Now, anyone who has felt the baptism of the Holy Spirit can witness to you that it's a beautiful and extraordinary experience.

Jesus knew you needed a personal helper, a very individual helper. This individual helper is yours this morning. It is the power of the Holy Spirit.

People often ask, "Who is this Holy Spirit? What is this power that has been given to us by Jesus Christ?" The apostles knew the Holy Spirit as the third person in the trinity. The Father is always the first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. God is everywhere present. You have God’s Word speaking in you right now. It has spoken in you in the past. This Word says to you, "My child, with Me you can get through this challenge. With Me, you can be healed." You've heard that Word many times in your life.

The Holy Spirit is the movement of that Holy/Whole activity of God inside of you, outside of you, into manifestation and demonstration. The terms “Father” and “Son” express an eternal relationship. The Holy Spirit is the infinite "breath" of God, as the Son is the infinite "Word." This morning, recognize that you are not alone, that you are not orphaned, that you have a Divine power that is with you. It seals you to a new self identification that forever changes you and who you think you are. It unites you with the idea that you are more than flesh and bones, that you are not out there alone trying to recreate everything and rebuild the wheel. You are immersed in a help that is ever-present and available to you right now.

To the extent that you and I identify ourselves with this Mind of God, the only source of existence, we become Spirit in expression, until finally the union is so perfect that it attains a perfection. That is the time we can say with Jesus Christ, "I and the Father are one." In making your demonstrations in prayer, you work with the conviction in your heart that you are one with God.

In the times of the silence of prayer, you know that you are one with God, and you know that all will be revealed to you.

In the Bible, ideas are sometimes symbolized by fish. Fish are a good simple for God's Divine ideas given to you freely. They are plentiful and unlimited, of all forms and sizes. An idea is an original, a primary, or an unlimited thought of being. In God Mind, it is the eternal word or the logos. In the idea are all the potentialities that are, and can be, evolved through you. Ideas are catching. We are all heavily charged with ideas. You are charged with ideas right now that could change your life; ideas that can revolutionize your existence. You are charged with them. A battery’s power is electric; a human’s power is God's ideas charging the mind with new excitement, energy, and motivation towards higher thought and expression. When these ideas are released, they spring forth and pass from mind to mind, being recorded as they fly. When they are expressed, the whole consciousness of humanity is lifted up.

You cannot find God without lifting up everyone around you because of what you are radiating in your consciousness. The only way to really convert another person to God is to show forth evidence of God within yourself. These true ideas are charged with an uplifting Spirit. You are bringing Divine ideas into manifestation just by your willingness to sit here this morning and accept some of these ideas for yourself.

Jesus said that we are co-existing with God. Jesus said that we are interacting, inter-communicating with God at all times. He also said that there is a highness spiritually of this experience. The highness is to receive the Holy Spirit. "He breathed on them and said unto them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" Listen to the power of the spoken word for you this morning.

In the presence and the power of the Christ, you proclaim your perfection.

Through Jesus Christ, you are the master of every realm of consciousness in your being. Through Jesus Christ, you enter into a full and complete understanding of how to handle all states of consciousness inside of you to the glory, and for the glory of God.

You are illumined with the light of Spirit. You reign in every thought - into spiritual captivity, to the obedience of the Christ. You commit all your works unto God’s good, and your purposes are established. Every plane of consciousness in you is transformed by the renewing of your mind.

And so it is.

The power of the spoken word is spiritually co-create with God, lies within every one of us. We can begin by freeing the little small ideas we have and fill our minds with thoughts of God’s plenty. We must realize that all power is given to us in heaven and on earth, as Jesus said. He told His apostles that they should receive power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them. They were told to go to that upper room, within us we find the upper consciousness where spiritual forces begin the formation of new ideas.

After you get into spiritual consciousness and receive the quickening, speak the word with authority and with power, concentrating the attention on the power of God to do all things correctly. When the soul makes complete union with God, there is always an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is the true glorification, which comes by the acknowledgement that God is with me; true glorification, the acknowledgment of God that the Child is indeed lifted up and glorified.

Thus you can be assured of an inner guide that is willing to direct you. We are talking about you individually; you, the individual sitting here this morning, not just the disciples, or followers of 2,000 years ago. This is more than a theory or possibility. This is an assurance given to you directly by Jesus Christ. There is NOW an inner guide with you, that is willing to direct you, and speak through you. But you must be open and receptive in your mind, and listen to this wonderful helper.

Many choose, for whatever reason, to stop short of the full spiritual experience.

When you let the Holy Spirit come into your consciousness, God's perfect plan will unfold in your life. All the good thoughts, words, and prayers are put into positive action with power and authority. The Holy Spirit is very important to anyone who has a need of healing. We all need to be filled and refilled with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we are renewed, healed, and restored in mind, body, and soul.

Lord Jesus Christ blessing the small childrenSay: I receive Ye, The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will take over when you let it speak through you, lead you, heal you, and fill your heart with love, compassion, and understanding. Since the Holy Spirit represents God in action, we need to use this power to act through us, to heal us, and to speak through us. When we have prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to take over, it's going to flood our whole being, not so much with excessive emotional feeling, but as a warm, loving presence that literally speaks and acts through us.

The person who would have fruit from the tree of life, must reach up and get it. He or she must aspire to it first, and then in prayer and true word, must go right ahead [living] the Gospel, healing the sick, the sick part of ourselves, and helping to heal the sick part of others.

When the disciples of Jesus wanted to forbid those who were doing works in His name, He said, 'Forbid them not.' So everyone who goes ahead and does the very best he knows in the name of the Most High Good, will by virtue of their works, draw down upon himself the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

What is this going to give you? It is going to give you an inner revelation of your power and the possibilities of your own being. It is the light that is going to bring to your notice the inner mechanism of your soul and body. Where your eyes have seen only flesh, blood, and bones, the searchlight of this Holy Spirit discloses the presence of secret springs and living streams of energy and life. You will awaken from your dream of sense consciousness and begin to visit the different rooms in the temple in which you live, but you know so little about with a whole new eye of realization of what this temple is. You are permitted to do so through “the light which lighteth every man and woman, coming into the world."

Let us pray.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit
Listen to these words, because I'm talking directly to your consciousness. I am talking directly to you, your mind, and your body. The Word of Truth in you is not idle, but it is quietly spreading from point to point and the process will continue until your whole consciousness is vitalized by the Holy Spirit. The rejuvenating power of the Holy Spirit is now at work inside of you, in every atom and function of your body. It is making you alive. You are radiant with life and wholeness. There is an inspiration of the Holy Spirit that is right now reaching to the individual depth of your soul, and it satisfies your every need.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit

We pray, this morning, to the Holy Spirit. We turn problems over to the Holy Spirit. We are able to relax and let the Holy Spirit direct the outworking. The comforting, sustaining presence of the Holy Spirit is now uplifting you. It is strengthening you. You are feeling a power, you are feeling a strengthening now, in this place, and it's nothing I am doing or you are doing; it is the Holy Spirit.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is expressing itself through you. It is touching you and all that concerns you. It is bringing order and harmony into your life and work. The Holy Spirit is taking command of your affairs, and you are prospered through new avenues of supply. This loving, powerful action of the Holy Spirit is taking command in your body, and you are renewed and restored.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit

In this acceptance this morning, you accept this power. I pray that it only accelerates and expands in you as this day goes forward. As this service ends, there is a new beginning in you. The experience and the religious service are continuing in the true church of Christ which is the temple of the living Lord, your physical body temple.

In Jesus Christ's name . . .Amen.

Prayer/Meditation____________________________________

As you rest in the presence of God, listen to these words of the Psalmist.

"Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me" [Psalms 139:7-10].

Feel, now, a special leading of the Spirit.

These words of the Psalmist express his faith in the guiding, protecting presence of God. They inspire us even more when we realize that the author was writing during a time of conflict and great danger.

God is your help.

God is your inspiration.

Place yourself, your loved ones, and your friends in God's loving care.

Entrust the day to God's keeping and acknowledge God's protecting Spirit from this attitude of calm, poise and prayer.

Rest in the silence of prayer. . .

This spiritual minute you are gaining new strength and power. You are having the realization of the assurance, a conviction, and a realization that you, your life, and all you hold dear are safe and secure in God's loving presence.

Realize that you live, move, and have your being in God.

This spiritual realization brings you to a sense of peace and security. If you have thoughts of fear or pain this day, realize that you abide eternally in the protecting presence of God.

Rest in the silence of prayer. . .

Dear God, this minute as never before, I am giving myself to You. I am putting my whole trust in You, not only for myself, but for my loved ones and friends. I know that everyone, including myself, is safe and secure. I know, God, that You are watching over us, shielding us, and guiding us.

Fill me now with wisdom to know this, and good judgment to always choose this right and higher way. Fill me with the guidance to bring me safely through every experience.

"Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy Presence."

God's presence is instantly available to me right now. The presence of God, Divine intelligence within my mind, gives an instant answer to every thought. Your mind is poised in God. It is established in a citadel of strength against which nothing can prevail. God's promise of protection is standing in you. God is answering your prayer. There is faith and trust inside of you. The eternal God is your dwelling place.

Underneath are the everlasting arms.

Rest, now, for a moment in the silence and feel the presence of God. . .

You feel a sense of peace that comes from power, the power of God everywhere present, within you, blessing you, protecting you, radiating from you to bless and protect others. You are in God's loving care. Your family and your friends are in the same care. You are all safe in God's loving care, and you are blessed and secure.

The goodness of God is everywhere present in your life. The love of God comes through you touching everyone in your life. The power of God works through you to produce greatness in your world. The presence of God never leaves you. Wherever you are, God is with you!

In this moment, we pray. In this moment, we know.

Through the power of Jesus Christ . . . Amen.


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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bible Message: Why Was This Child Born Blind?


John 9:1-23
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”


One of the reasons I believe the Bible and love the Bible is because it deals with the hardest issues in life. It doesn’t sweep painful things under the rug—or complex things or confusing things or provoking things or shocking things or controversial things. In fact, Jesus sometimes went out of his way to create controversy with the Pharisees so that more truth about himself and about unbelief would come out, so that we could be warned by examples of hardness and wooed by images of his glory.

One of the hardest things in life is the suffering of children, and the suffering of those who love them—especially when that early suffering turns into a lifetime of living with profound loss. Few things in my ministry have given me a deeper sense of satisfaction than seeing God raise up at Bethlehem a heart and mind and vision and a ministry for people with disabilities, especially children. I thank God for the coordinator of our Disability Ministry, Brenda Fischer. And I thank God for the parents who have put their minds and hearts together to trumpet a vision for such a ministry.

The Supremacy of God in Disability

You can go to our website (www.hopeingod.org) and read the vision statement that Bob Horning and John Knight put together—dads who know what they are talking about close up. Here is the core of what they have to say:

Our vision is that Bethlehem would display the supremacy of God in disability and suffering. We want our lives to reflect an unshakable joy in the Lord that allows us to embrace a life of suffering in disability for His purpose and glory. We want to shout that life with a disability and with Jesus is infinitely better than a healthy body without Him. We say, with Paul, that “this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) We want this to be true as individuals and in the church as a body.
Is disability hard? As fathers of children with rare disabling conditions, we can attest to the struggles men in particular face when their child has a disability. Disability is expensive—financially, emotionally, and relationally. It seems neither slight nor momentary. The male myth of self-determination, control, and independence is exploded in the face of needing to turn to medical professionals, social workers and educators on issues we never dreamed of facing. To this we say, thank you, God, for not allowing us to live the lie that there is anything good or worthwhile apart from you. Thank you for showing us how much we need you! The struggles our wives endure is perhaps even deeper.

The Bible: Not Silent on Disability

The issue may be autism or Down syndrome or FASD or spina bifida or blindness or any number of rare and unpronounceable conditions—each has its own peculiar sorrows, its own peculiar way of turning decades into what you never dreamed or planned they would be. Married life isn’t what you thought it would be. Everything is irrevocably changed, and life will never be the same again. And you were not asked.

What would I do as a pastor if I had to face these things—these children, these parents—with a Bible that said nothing about it? What if all I could do is think up ideas on my own about suffering and disability? What if all I had was human opinions? I thank God that this is not our condition. The Bible is permeated with suffering and sorrow. This is one of the things that make it so believable. It is filled with things that God has said and done to shed light on these sufferings and sorrows.

Light Shining in Darkness

We will see that it is not incidental to the story when Jesus says, precisely in this context (verse 5), “I am the light of the world.” We are not left in the dark about the meaning of darkness. God’s light has come into the world, and it is shining on disabilities and on everything else. God has not left us to alone to despair of any meaning, or to create our own meaning.

So ask God to open your eyes, and let’s walk with Jesus, in the light, through this text of God’s word in John 9:1–4.

The Hard-Knock Life of Disability

Verse 1: “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.” He is a man now. But he was born blind. And it did not go easily for him. We will meet his parents later in verse 18. But they were not able to care for him any longer. So he was a beggar. We know that because of verse 8: “The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’” So he was blind and he was desperately poor. Life had been very hard.

Verse 1 says Jesus saw him as he passed by. And the disciples saw that he saw him. Verse 2 says, “And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’” That question is crucial. But notice, the story did not begin with the disciples’ question, or with the disciples seeing the blind man. The story begins with Jesus seeing the man: “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.” The disciples are engaged because Jesus is engaged.

Attentive, Merciful, Moving Toward Disability

And I would just plead in passing—children, young people, and adults—see people with disabilities. And I don’t mean see them like the priest and the Levite on the Jericho Road, passing by on the other side. This is our natural reflex—see and avoid. But we are not natural people. We are followers of Jesus. We have the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts. We have been seen and touched in all our brokenness by an attentive, merciful Savior.

If you want to be one of the most remarkable kinds of human beings on the planet—a Jesus kind—see people with disabilities. See them. And move toward them. God will show you what to say.

Redeeming Awkward Moments

When the disciples saw Jesus’ attention to the blind man, they asked for an explanation of his blindness. Verse 2: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” That was probably not the most compassionate thing to say at the moment. And you will blow it too someday. Yes, you will. But Jesus is merciful (just like our parents of children with disabilities have been merciful when we have said ill-informed and insensitive things), and he redeems awkward moments and callous words.

In this case, what does Jesus do? He answers their question but not in the categories that they are using. They want an explanation for this man’s blindness. And he gives it to them. But they ask for the explanation in the categories of cause. What is it in the past that caused the blindness? But Jesus says that won’t work, and he gives them an explanation in the category of purpose. Not what’s the cause of the blindness, but what’s the purpose of the blindness? Let me try to unpack this.

Not Cause, But Purpose

They say in verse 2, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” In other words, what is the cause of this blindness? The man’s sin? Or the parents’ sin? Is this blindness a punishment for the parents’ sin or a punishment for his own sin—some kind of inherited sinfulness already in the womb?

Jesus says, in effect, specific sins in the past don’t always correlate with specific suffering in the present. The decisive explanation for this blindness is not found by looking for its cause but by looking for its purpose. Verse 3: Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Suffering Not Owing to Specific Sin

Ponder a moment the words, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents.” That is very significant. The point Jesus is making is not that suffering didn’t come into the world because of sin. It did. That’s plain from Genesis 3 and Romans 8:18–25. If there never had been sin, there never would have been suffering. All suffering is owing to sin. And part of the meaning of the physical horrors of suffering is to reveal the moral horrors of sin.

But that is not what Jesus is saying here. Nor is he not denying it. What he is saying here is: Specific suffering is often—I would say most of the time—not owing to specific sin. The disciples didn’t understand this distinction, it seems—that the existence of sin in the world is the cause of suffering in the world, but specific sins in the world are usually not the cause of specific sufferings in the world.

Explanation in the Purposes of God

But that is what Jesus is saying here in verse 3: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents.” In other words, this blindness—this specific suffering—is not owing to the specific sins of the parents or the man. Don’t look there for the explanation.

Then he tells them where to look. Look for an explanation of this blindness in the purposes of God. Verse 3: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The explanation of the blindness lies not in the past causes but the future purposes.

Countering an Objection

Let me address an objection at this point. There are some pastors and teachers who dislike intensely the idea that God might will that a child be born blind so that some purpose of God might be achieved. One of the ways they try to escape the teaching of this text is to say that Jesus is pointing to the result of the blindness, not the purpose of the blindness. When Jesus says in verse 3, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him,” he means, the result of the blindness is that God was able to use the blindness to show his work, not that he planned the blindness in order to show his work.

But there are at least three reasons why that won’t work.

  1. One is that the disciples are asking for an explanation of the blindness, and Jesus’ answer is given as an explanation of the blindness. But if you say God had no purpose, no plan, no design in the blindness but simply finds the blindness later and uses it, that is not an explanation of the blindness. It doesn’t answer the disciples’ question. They want to know: Why is he blind? And Jesus really does give an answer. This is why he’s blind—there is purpose in it. There is a divine design. There’s a plan. God means for his work to be displayed in him.
  2. Here’s another reason that suggestion doesn’t work. God knows all things. He knows exactly what is happening in the moment of conception. When there is a defective chromosome or some genetic irregularity in the sperm that is about to fertilize an egg, God can simply say no. He commands the winds. He commands the waves. He commands the sperm and the genetic makeup of the egg. If God foresees and permits a conception that he knows will produce blindness, he has reasons for this permission. And those reasons are his purposes. His designs. His plans. God never has met a child from whom he had no plan. There are no accidents in God’s mind or hands.
  3. And third, any attempt to deny God’s sovereign, wise, purposeful control over conception and birth has a head-on collision with Exodus 4:11 and Psalm 139:13. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’” “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”

Purpose: Displaying the Works of God

The meaning of Jesus in John 9:3 is not obscure. He is saying to the disciples: Turn away from your fixation on causality as the decisive explanation of suffering. And turn away from any surrender to futility, or absurdity, or chaos, or meaninglessness. And turn to the purposes and plans of God. There is no child and no suffering outside God’s purposes.

“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents.” This blindness came about “in order that that the works of God might be displayed in this man.

This is not the whole explanation of suffering in the Bible. There are dozens of other relevant passages and important points to make. But this passage and this point are massively important. Let me draw out one or two things, and then we will pick it up the next time to see what happens and to ask: Why did he use spit, and why mud, and why the washing in the pool called “Sent,” and why the reference to working while it is day, and why 41 verses of controversy? All that’s coming. But for today let’s not miss how Jesus talks about our suffering.

Ultimate Meaning Only in God

There is one main truth in the words of verse 3: The blindness is “that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

That truth is that suffering can only have ultimate meaning in relation to God.

Jesus says that the purpose of the blindness is to put the work of God on display. This means that for our suffering to have ultimate meaning, God must be supremely valuable to us. More valuable than health and life. Many things in the Bible make no sense until God becomes your supreme value.

For God’s Glory—Both in Healing and Non-Healing

For Jesus, blindness from birth is sufficiently explained by saying: God intends to display some of his glory through this blindness. In this case, it happens to be healing—the glory of God’s power to heal. But there is nothing that says it has to be healing. When Paul cried out three times for his thorn in the flesh to be healed, Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). I will put my power on display, not by healing you, but by sustaining you.

In other words, healing displays the works of God in John 9, and sustaining grace displays the works of God in 2 Corinthians 12. What is common in the two cases is the supreme value of the glory of God. The blindness is for the glory of God. The thorn in the flesh is for the glory of God. The healing is for his glory, and the non-healing is for his glory.

Suffering can only have ultimate meaning in relation to God.

From Healing to the Ministry of Dying

One last observation. Verse 4: “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” This means two things: One is that the works of God referred to in verse 3—“that the works of God might be displayed”—these works of God will be done through the hands of Jesus. Jesus is going to heal this man’s blindness. The works of God are the works of Jesus.

And second, he must do this quickly, because night is coming, and his work will be over. Jesus will turn from a ministry of healing to a ministry of dying. He will turn from the day-work of relieving suffering, and do the night-work of suffering himself. He will finally submit totally to the plan of his Father that the Son be swallowed up by the sin and suffering of the world.

Eyes to See

And if you join the disciples in asking: Why? Who sinned that this man must suffer like this? The answer would certainly be: Not him. We did. That is the cause of his suffering. But it’s not the decisive explanation. The decisive explanation is: He is suffering that the works of God might be displayed in him. The works of wrath-bearing, and curse-removing, and guilt-lifting, and righteousness-providing, and death-defeating, and life-giving, and in the end suffering-removing—totally removing.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). And over every sorrow and ever disability and every loss embraced in faith for the glory of God will be written in blood: “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18).

May God give you eyes to see that the display of his works in his Son’s suffering and your suffering and your child’s suffering are all expressions of his love.


By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bible Message: If You Abide In My Word, You Are Truly My Disciples



John 8:31

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


First part of your post goes here!
Rest of Entry goes here!
If you are a true believer in Jesus today, or if you are an unbeliever, or if you are phony believer, thinking you believe when you don't, these words of Jesus are meant for you. In fact, there is so much here for you in verse 31 that I never got to verse 32. And what I have decided to do is make verse 32 the text for Easter next weekend. "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

I encourage you to bring unbelieving family and friends. Everyone wants freedom. What is it? How do you get it? And how does it relate to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? That's next week.

5 Questions Raised by Verse 31

But today we focus on verse 31: "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.'" And I have five questions that this verse raises—all are crucial for your life:

  1. What does it mean to "truly be Jesus's disciples"? ("You are truly my disciples.")
  2. What is Jesus referring to by the phrase "my word"? ("If you abide in my word…")
  3. What does it mean to be "in" that word? ("If you abide in my word…")
  4. What does it mean to "abide" there? ("If you abide in my word…")
  5. What's the relationship between abiding in his word and truly being his disciple? ("If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.")

1. What does it mean to "truly be Jesus's disciples"?

Verse 31: "Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.'" What this phrase "truly my disciples" implies is that there are disciples who are not truly disciples. The word "truly" means "really"—"really my disciples." In other words, there are real and unreal disciples. There are authentic and inauthentic disciples. There is discipleship that is merely outward, and discipleship that goes down to the root.

The world is not just divided into two groups: disciples of Jesus and non-disciples. It is divided into three groups: non-disciples, unreal disciples, and real disciples—people who make no pretense of following Jesus, people that say they follow him and have a surface connection with him, and people who truly follow him.

Not All Belief Is Real

Why did Jesus bring up this distinction? It's disturbing. It makes us squirm and ask ourselves the question which one we are. He brought it up because verse 30 says, "As he was saying these things, many believed in him." There had been a large response to what he was teaching. And whenever there is a large response to anything you may guess that some are being carried along by the crowd. If your friends are going, it's easy for you to go, even if you wouldn't go on your own. You are along for the ride.

So Jesus doesn't assume that all this belief is real. What he does is give a test that we can use to see if we are real. And in giving us this test Jesus helps us be real. It is not just a test of reality. It is a pathway to reality.

To Create Faith—As Well as Sustain It

So what becomes clear here again, as we have seen several times before (for example, John 2:23–25; 6:26) is what John meant when he wrote in John 20:31, "These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." He meant that this Gospel was written not just to awaken faith in non-disciples, but also to wakeup people who think they are disciples but aren't, and to help those who are real disciples confirm their reality and be stronger in their faith. John's Gospel is written to sustain faith as well as create it.

You are in one of those three categories. And therefore all of you are included here. Let Jesus diagnose for you which you are, and then move toward reality.

Being a True Disciple

What then is a true disciple? Or what does Jesus mean by saying in verse 31, "you are truly my disciples"? Let's be really clear here: For Jesus "true disciple" is the same as "true Christian" or "true believer." Jesus is not saying that "true disciple" is a second stage in the Christian life. First believer, and then later you attain the level of disciple.

There have been ministries who talk that way. First, you're an unbeliever, then you are a believer, then you grow into a disciple, and then you are a disciplemaker. That is not the way Jesus thought. And one piece of evidence for saying this is to notice the words he uses here in verse 31: "Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." He did not say to these professing believers, "If you abide in my word, you will become truly my disciples." In other words, he did not teach that being a true disciple was a later stage after simple belief. No. He said, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." Now that you have believed, here is how you can know what you now are. You can know if your belief is real: You are now my true disciples if you go on abiding in my word.

So there is no thought here about "true discipleship" being a second stage of Christian maturity. True disciple means true believer or true Christian or true follower. It means, for example, truly forgiven for your sins. Look at verse 24: "I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." So he says, if you do believe in me, you won't die in your sins.

Rescued from Wrath

Why not? What happens to them? They are forgiven, taken away. Back in John 1:29 Jesus is called "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" How does he do that? He tells us in John 10:15, "I lay down my life for the sheep." So Jesus takes our place, and receives God's punishment of death which we deserved, which means that the wrath of God is totally removed from us. And instead of getting wrath from God, we get life and adoption from God because of the death of Jesus.

Listen to this amazing word about God's wrath in John 3:36: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." But if you have believed—truly believed, God's wrath does not remain on you. Never again will you taste it. Ever!

Saved from Sin

So a true disciple in John 8:31 ("truly my disciples") is a true Christian, a true believer. His sins are truly forgiven; the wrath of God never again rests on him. He has true eternal life. He is one of Jesus' sheep, and no one can pluck him out of his hand (John 10:29). He is no longer a slave but a son of God (verse 35; 1 John 3:1). He is the heir of ten thousand blessings that come to the children of the creator of the universe.

That's what it means to be a true disciple. To be saved from sin. Rescued from the wrath of God. And already in the enjoyment of eternal life.

2. What is Jesus referring to by the phrase "my word"?

Our second question from John 8:31 is: What is Jesus referring to by the phrase, "my word"? "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples."

The word is singular, "my word," not "my words." This means that Jesus is thinking of the sum of all that he has taught. We could leave it at that: Jesus means "abide in the sum of all that Jesus taught." But my guess is that Jesus wants us to ponder what the sum of that word is. And surely the answer to that is: He is the sum of his word. All his words in one way or another draw our attention to him.

Words like: "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35). "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). "I am not of this world" (John 8:23). "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11). "I am in the Father" (John 10:38). "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). When you take all his words together, they have one great focus—Jesus himself. "These are written—all these words are written—so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (John 20:31). They all point to him.

All Jesus' Words Point to Him

Which is why when you get to chapter 15, Jesus can say, not only "abide in my word," but "abide in me." "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch" (John 15:6).

So the answer to our second question would be: The phrase "my word" here in John 8:31 ("if you abide in my word") refers to the sum of Jesus' teaching which is summed up in himself and all that he is for us as the crucified and risen Son of God.

Knowing Jesus Through His Word



One practical implication of this is that, if you want to know Jesus, you know him through his word. One of the most important convictions you can ever form is the conviction that Jesus, as a real, living, precious person, is known today chiefly through his word. And the only reason I say "chiefly," and not "only," is that in the fellowship of obedience and suffering from day to day, our personal knowledge of Jesus of goes deeper and deeper, but always through his word. But if you want to see the face of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6) most clearly, most surely, you must look at him through his word.

For me, 1 Samuel 3:21 has been tremendously helpful. It says, "The Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord." Himself by the word. And the same is true for Jesus—he reveals himself to us today "by the word of the Lord."

3. What does it mean to be "in" that word?



Now the third question from verse 31 is: What does it mean to be "in" that word? "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." Here's a picture of what I think it means. The word of Jesus, with himself as the center and focus of it, has a kind of force field, like a magnetic field around it. And when you are "in his word," you are in that force field. You are under the sway of that force coming from his word. So, for example:

  • Part of this force field is the truth of the word. So when you are "in" the word, you are in the persuasion of the truth of the word. You are persuaded that the word is true. And you live in force field of that persuasion. You live in the truth.
  • Another part of this force field is the beauty of the word (I'm referring here to moral and spiritual beauty, not stylistic beauty), and when you are "in" the word you in the attraction of that beauty. You are held by that beauty.
  • Another part of the force field is the supreme value of the word, and when you are "in" the word you are captured by the preciousness of the word, and the Savior. You are drawn to treasure the word.
  • Another part of the force field of the word is the power and grace of the word, so that when you are "in" the word, you made peaceful and hopeful by the word. You trust in the word. Because it can do what it promises; and what is promises is gracious.
  • Another part of this force field is the word as the life-giving, soul-sustaining bread of heaven, so that when you are "in" the word, you are in the nourishment of the word. You are being fed and strengthened by the word.
  • And the force field includes the word as living water so that when you are "in" the word, you are being refreshed by the word.
  • And the force field includes the word as light so that when you are "in" the word, you being illumined and guided by the word. You see everything in the light of the word.

So when Jesus says, "If you abide in my word…," being "in" his word means being in

  • the persuasion of its truth,
  • and the attraction of its beauty,
  • and the treasuring of its value,
  • and the peacefulness of its grace and power,
  • and the nourishment of its bread,
  • and the refreshment of its water,
  • and the brightness of its light.

To be "in" the word of Jesus is a whole new life. This is what it is to be a true disciple. To live "in" the word of the riches of the word of Jesus.

But Jesus does not simply say that true disciples are in his word. He says they "abide" in it. So our fourth question is:

4. What does it mean to abide in his word?

"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." The word "abide" is simply the word "remain." It doesn't carry in it any special spiritual connotations in itself. It means remain in his word. Don't leave it.

This doesn't mean that you can't lay your Bible down and go to your work. No. Abiding in the word of Jesus means remaining in that force field of the word. It means not leaving it.

  • Abide means not ceasing to be persuaded by its truth, and never elevating any other truth above it.
  • Abide means not ceasing to be attracted by its beauty and value, and never seeing anything as more beautiful or more valuable or more attractive than the word and the Lord it reveals.
  • Abide means not ceasing to rest in its grace and power—never turning away as though greater peace could be found anywhere else.
  • Abide means never ceasing to eat and drink from the word as the bread of heaven and living water, as if life could be sustained anywhere else.
  • And abide means never ceasing to walk in the light of the word, as though any other light could show the secrets of life.

This is what it means to be a true disciple. "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." And the fact that Jesus puts the emphasis on abiding—remaining—gives the answer to our last question:

5. How are abiding in his word and truly being his disciple related to each other?

"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." Jesus is saying that the mark of the true disciple is lasting, enduring, persevering, keeping on in the force field of the word. Temporary tastes of the truth and beauty and value and power and grace and bread and water and brightness of the word do not make you a Christian. The mark of Christians is that we taste and we stay.

To whom shall we go? You, O Lord, have the words of life (John 6:68).

The Power of Jesus' Word

So if you are a believer in Jesus, may the Lord use this word to confirm and strengthen and gladden your heart in the word of Jesus.

If you are an unbeliever, may the Lord use this word to give life to your spiritually dead soul and give you faith and joy through Jesus who died so that you might have eternal life through faith.

And if you are a phony believer, I pray that the Lord will use this word, to show you what a true Christian is, and wake you up and give you a true spiritual taste for the truth and beauty and value and grace and power and brightness of Jesus in his word. Amen.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hebrews : A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind

Bible articles and sermonsI was reading and meditating on the book of Hebrews recently, when it hit me forcefully that a basic and compelling reason for education—the rigorous training of the mind—is so that a person can read the Bible with understanding.

This sounds too obvious to be useful or compelling. But that's just because we take the preciousness of reading so for granted; or, even more, because we appreciate so little the kind of thinking that a complex Bible passage requires of us.

The book of Hebrews, for example, is an intellectually challenging argument from Old Testament texts. The points that the author makes hang on biblical observations that come only from rigorous reading, not light skimming. And the understanding of these Old Testament interpretations in the text of Hebrews requires rigorous thought and mental effort. The same could be said for the extended argumentation of Romans and Galatians and the other books of the Bible.




This is an overwhelming argument for giving our children a disciplined and rigorous training in how to think an author's thoughts after him from a text—especially a biblical text. An alphabet must be learned, as well as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, the rudiments of logic, and the way meaning is imparted through sustained connections of sentences and paragraphs.

The reason Christians have always planted schools where they have planted churches is because we are a people of THE BOOK. It is true that THE BOOK will never have its proper effect without prayer and the Holy Spirit. It is not a textbook to be debated; it is a fountain for spiritual thirst, and food for the soul, and a revelation of God, and a living power, and a two-edged sword. But none of this changes the fact: apart from the discipline of reading, the Bible is as powerless as paper. Someone might have to read it for you; but without reading, the meaning and the power of it are locked up.

Is it not remarkable how often Jesus settled great issues with a reference to reading? For example, in the issue of the Sabbath he said, "Have you not read what David did?" (Matthew 12:3). In the issue of divorce and remarriage he said, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?" (Matthew 19:4). In the issue of true worship and praise he said, "Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes you have prepared praise for yourself'?" (Matthew 21:16). In the issue of the resurrection he said, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone'?" (Matthew 21:42). And to the lawyer who queried him about eternal life he said, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" (Luke 10:26).

The apostle Paul also gave reading a great place in the life of the church. For example, he said to the Corinthians, "We write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end" (2 Corinthians 1:13). To the Ephesians he said, "When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ" (Ephesians 3:3). To the Colossians he said, "When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea" (Colossians 4:16). Reading the letters of Paul was so important that he commands it with an oath: "I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren" (1 Thessalonians 5:27).

The ability to read does not come intuitively. It must be taught. And learning to read with understanding is a life-long labor. The implications for Christians are immense. Education of the mind in the rigorous discipline of thoughtful reading is a primary goal of school. The church of Jesus is debilitated when his people are lulled into thinking that it is humble or democratic or relevant to give a merely practical education that does not involve the rigorous training of the mind to think hard and to construe meaning from difficult texts.

The issue of earning a living is not nearly so important as whether the next generation has direct access to the meaning of the Word of God. We need an education that puts the highest premium under God on knowing the meaning of God's Book, and growing in the abilities that will unlock its riches for a lifetime. It would be better to starve for lack of food than to fail to grasp the meaning of the book of Romans. Lord, let us not fail the next generation!

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org


Monday, April 11, 2011

Bible Message : True Cost of Discipleship by Rev. K. Sudhakar Rajaratnam

bible message by Rev.K.Sudhakar Rajaratnam, pastor, trinity lutheran church, visakhapatnamBible Message about true cost of discipleship in Telugu by Rev. K. SudhaKar Rajaratnam, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Visakhapatnam.




Bible message by sudhakar rajaratnam part1





Bible message by sudhakar rajaratnam part2

please comment if you like the post
Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bible Message by Rev. K.Sudhakar Rajaratnam, Trinity Lutheran Church

bible message by Rev.K.Sudhakar Rajaratnam, pastor, trinity lutheran church, visakhapatnamBible Message by Rev. K. SudhaKar Rajaratnam, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Visakhapatnam.




Bible message by sudhakar rajaratnam part1





Bible message by sudhakar rajaratnam part2

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bible Sermon by Rev. Michael Phelps : The Magic Is Not In The Faucet

Matthew 17:14-21
14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

"THE MAGIC IS NOT IN THE FAUCET!"
by Rev. Michael Phelps

INTRO:


Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence was born on August 16, 1888 in Wales. Popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence became famous for his exploits as British Military liason to the Arab Revolt during the First World War. The desert raids of British officer T.E. Lawrence and his Arab rebels tied down many Turkish troops who could have been fighting the main British armies in the Middle East. Lawrence of Arabia's struggle against the Turks during World War I was a classic of guerrilla warfare, and his personal account has become a classic of world literature. And, of course, many of you have seen the movie about the life of Lawrence of Arabia.
Lawrence wrote about his Arabian adventures in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

During the war, Lawrence formed close friendships with many of the Sheiks of Arabia. After the war, he brought some of these Sheiks back to England to show his appreciation for their support against the Turkish domination.
They had a wonderful visit, appeared before the Joint House of Commons and Parliament, had an audience with the Queen.
On the last night of their visit, Lawrence offered them anything they wanted to take back with them to their desert homes.
They led him up to the hotel room, into the bathroom, and pointed to the faucets in the bathtub and said that they wanted to take faucets with them that would provide them with running water in the deserts.
They didn't realize that the faucets were superficial. Behind them was plumbing, a hot water heater, an energy source that heated the water, a city main that supplied the water, and from the city main went a line to an outside source of water!


  • The magic is not in the faucet! It is what is behind the faucet that gives the water!
  • The faucet can be 24 carat gold, but if its not attached to a water supply, its useless!
  • The magic is not in the faucet, the power comes from what is behind the faucet! Things that are not visible to the human eye, but are there nonetheless!
  • If the pump, or the plumbing, or the reservoir ever to out of service, the faucet is useless! It's what's behind the faucet that gives it its power!


THE FIRST THING I WANT TO SAY THIS MORNING IS THIS; THE FAUCET IS NECESSARY TO GET THE WATER TO WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE.

  • I don't want to minimize the importance of a vessel! God needs faucets!
  • God has always worked through human vessels.
  • In fact, most of the time, God works through the most unlikely vessels!


God Can Use Anyone
  • Moses stuttered.
  • David's armour didn't fit.
  • John Mark was rejected by Paul.
  • Timothy had ulcers.
  • Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
  • Jacob was a liar.
  • David had an affair.
  • Solomon was too rich.
  • Abraham was too old.
  • David was too young.
  • Peter was afraid of death.
  • Lazarus was dead.
  • John was self-righteous.
  • Naomi was a widow.
  • Paul was a murderer.
  • So was Moses.
  • Jonah ran from God.
  • Miriam was a gossip.
  • Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
  • Jeremiah was a bullfrog;
  • Just kidding -- he was depressed and suicidal.
  • Elijah was burned out.
  • Martha was a worry-wart.
  • Mary may have been lazy.
  • Samson had long hair.
  • Noah got drunk, and that's not all.
  • Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
  • But God doesn't require a job interview.
  • He doesn't hire and fire like most bosses,
  • because He's more our Dad than our Boss.
  • He doesn't look at financial gain or loss.
  • He's not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging,
  • sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need.

A Christian minister once said, "I was never of any use until I found out that God did not intend me to be a great man."

God needs us to be faucets! John 7:38
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
  • God can have all the plumbing in place, have the pump hooked up, ready to pour out blessings on His people, on the world, but He needs us to be vessels! He needs a faucet!
  • In many cases, the only thing that stops a move of God is the lack of a vessel.
  • When Elisha was performing the miracle for the prophet's widow, and the oil was flowing freely, the Bible says:
2 Kings 4:6 

6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
The only thing that stopped the flow of oil was the lack of a vessel!

  • Now, don't ask me to explain why God decided to use imperfect vessels to accomplish His work.
  • It doesn't make sense to me that this God who can do all things would choose to restrict Himself to moving through imperfect, flawed, inconsistent humanity!
  • I don't know why the Creator chooses to move through His creation!
  • But God is always seeking for men and women through which to move!
  • At the day of Pentecost, God poured out His spirit upon all "FLESH"! Was filling vessels!

In Isaiah 43:18 He said, "I will work, and who will let it?"
God needs a vessel to through which to work!

  • Ezekiel said that God was seeking a MAN to stand in the gap and make up the hedge!
  • When the Lord struck Saul from his horse on the road to Damascus, He then told Saul, "Go see Ananias, he will tell you what to do!" GOD USED A HUMAN VESSEL!
  • In the Book of Revelation, John says that God wept because He could find no MAN to open the book of salvation, so God Himself took on the form of man to bring redemption!
  • Do you understand how important you are to the work of God! God will not move without a vessel!
  • God will not pour out His spirit without a faucet for it to flow through - you are that faucet!
  • God needs you and He needs me!

NOW, THE SECOND THING I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS THIS: EVEN THOUGH GOD NEEDS US,WE CANNOT AFFORD TO TAKE THE GLORY FOR WHAT ONLY GOD CAN DO!

  • I am a faucet, but I must remember that there is no magic in the faucet!
  • Its what is behind the faucet that counts!
  • If the power supply ever gets shut off behind the wall, this faucet is useless!
  • I may still look good, may still say the same things, may still appear to be the same, but if my power supply is shut off, I am of no use to anyone!

Romans 7:18
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
  • I must understand that I am only the vessel, the conduit, the faucet!

2 Corinthians 4:7
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
  • The power is God's, I am only the earthen vessel! I can't sing well enough, I can't preach well enough to duplicate what God can only do!

Romans 12:3
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
  • No matter how much God moves through us, remember it is God and not us!
  • No matter how many prophecies we give, no matter how much anointed preaching and teaching comes forth from us, we must never forget that it is what's behind the faucet that makes all the difference!
  • No matter how many good things happen through me, I am only the faucet, there is a power supply behind me, and if that is ever cut off I am useless!
IN OUR TEXT THIS MORNING, JESUS IS TEACHING HIS DISCIPLES THIS VERY IMPORTANT LESSON.
  • They had most likely watched Him cast out devils many times before.
  • They had heard Him teach about going into the Strongman's house and taking his armor.
  • They had probably watched as he sent the legion of devils into a herd of swine.

Numerous times the scripture speaks of Jesus casting out devils, and it is probable that the disciples were witnesses to these events.
  • So, now they come across a situation that they feel very confident that they can handle!
  • They have watched Jesus do this, they have observed His hand motions, listened to what He said, and how he said it!
  • They have the words, actions, motions, and everything else down pat, but there is one thing missing!
  • They have no power! There is nothing behind the faucet, and they fail miserably at the task at hand.

And Jesus takes this opportunity to tell them that there is no magic in the faucet!
  • In other words, if there is no prayer and fasting, there will be no power!
  • There is no magic in the faucet, its what is behind the faucet that makes the difference!
I can:
  • Say all the right words
  • Do all the right hand motions
  • Use the right tone of voice
  • But, if there is no prayer and fasting that has taken place behind the wall, there will be no power coming from the faucet! This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting!

THE DANGER WE FACE IS WHEN WE TRY TO DUPLICATE THROUGH MERE HUMAN EFFORTS WHAT CAN ONLY BE PRODUCED BY GOD!
  • Preachers get into trouble when they learn how to preach!
  • Singers get into trouble when they learn how to sing!
  • Teachers get into trouble when they learn how to teach!
We must never reach the point where we learn how to do what only God can do!
  • I am never going to become so smart that I don't need God!

2312 Simpson's Most Valuable Discovery
In the year 1847, a doctor from Edinburgh, Sir James Simpson, discovered that chloroform could be used as an anaesthetic to render people insensible to the pain of surgery. From his early experiments, Dr. Simpson made it possible for people to go through the most dangerous operations without fear of pain and suffering. Some people even claim that his was one of the most significant discoveries of modern medicine.
Some years later, while lecturing at the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Simpson was asked by one of his students, "What do you consider to be the most valuable discovery of your lifetime?" To the surprise of his students, who had expected him to refer to chloroform, Dr. Simpson replied, "My most valuable discovery was when I discovered myself a sinner and that Jesus Christ was my Saviour."

The most valuable discovery that you and I can make this morning is this:
  • No matter how smart I am,
  • No matter how well I can preach,
  • No matter how well I can organize

  • I am still just a sinner saved by grace!
  • There is no power in me, I am just the faucet, the conduit, the vessel through which His power moves!
  • There is no magic in the faucet - I NEED JESUS!