ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY

Matthew 28:18 “….. all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”

So why are we concerned about sickness ?

May I suggest our concern comes from only 3 possible reasons:

!. Perhaps we really do not believe the verse…. we do not believe that Jesus has such power ?

2. Perhaps even though we believe He has all power… we don’t believe He will fix our situation or miraculously heal our sickness… this is understandable …. even though Jesus has all power He did not get John the Baptist out of prison ….. an angel was sent to deliver Peter …. but James was killed with the sword (Acts 12:1 – 11) … so we can never be certain if we will be helped or not.

3. We are in distress and find it hard to be certain that He will fix our problem….. and we DESPERATELY want it to be fixed as soon as possible….. this is why sickness drives so many people to seek God… all long as they are well and things are going fine God is optional and does not get the attention or respect that He deserves…. but when the doctor tells you there is nothing that can be done at the best you have a few months to live… then all of a sudden God seems to become more important…. but at this time our interest in God is still quite selfish because we are fervently hoping that He will intervene and spare our lives and heal our condition….. and sometimes He does but quite often He does not…. and it is this UNCERTAINTY that upsets us ….. how can we have peace in such circumstances ?

In order to have faith to be healed …. you need a message from God that He is going to heal you….. faith cannot float on thin air….. faith needs a FOUNDATION.

Of course in some cases God heals people without them having faith…. they may expect the worst…. but God heals them anyway.

Far too many people believe that the Devil has more power to do harm than God….. or that God will not or cannot intervene to stop him.

The Bible says “Blessed is the one who puts his trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:4, Jeremiah 17:7 and quite a few other places)

Our problem is the outcome does not always seem to agree from our perspective.

And yet….. and I don’t want you to miss this point…. what are your options ? ….. if God will not give you your wishes what can you do about it ? ….. the point the Bible makes absolutely plain is God…:

1. is merciful and forgiving
2. has ALL power and authority over everything

I leave you with two passages to ponder:

When Job’s wife told him to curse God and die…. his reply was “you speak as one of the foolish women, shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord and shall we not receive evil ?” (Job 2:10)

“and Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceedingly great: YET IN HIS DISEASE HE SOUGHT NOT THE LORD, BUT TO THE PHYSICIANS” (2 Chronicles 16:12)

Clearly these are recorded for our instruction…. just because the doctors are smarter these days and the science is a little more capable of curing various ailments….. the underlying message is clear….. BEFORE you ‘put your faith in modern medicine’ don’t you think it would be a good idea to seek wisdom from God concerning your situation ?….. only if God is directing your life can you have any peace…… putting your life in the hands of man is a fools comfort…. “it is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8)

Many times God uses sickness to get our attention and trust….. to turn us back to Him….. if we do not heed the message….. then even if we recover, there is the probability of more sickness down the road.

Many people do not make the connection between sickness and sin….. but sin can, and often does, result in sickness…. although every illness may not necessarily be the result of sin.

2 Chronicles 21:18-19 tells us that because of Jehoram’s behavior …. the Lord afflicted him with an incurable disease and he died in great pain.

My friend, the message to you is this….. regardless of what situation you are in…. rely on GOD, turn to GOD, whether you are cured or not…. put your trust in God because in the end He is the only One that really has the power to deliver you…. it is totally counterproductive to ‘get angry’ with God because He is your only source of help….. and He cannot be charged with ‘wrongdoing’ by humans…. the Bible makes it abundantly clear that His will is all that counts in the Universe….. you exist because it is His will that you do.

BELIEF BATTLE

The population in general and the academics and scientists in particular take a very dismissive attitude to the term ‘belief’.

They mock and scoff at the religious community for their faith…. they go so far as to say that religion is for fools…. born out of a need for some kind of imagined stability (a false crutch) to explain and comfort people in perilous times of a cruel and hostile world.

They claim that science is reliable and foolproof… and is the salvation of humanity both now and in the future.

The fact that faith results in many miracles across the world on a daily basis is completely lost on them…. as they are quick to cite so-called examples of ‘failed faith’…. while ‘explaining away’ any apparent miracle as simply ‘natural causes’…. mere luck…. or simple chance…. surely this is the product of the pre-conceived notion that ‘the material is all here is’ and ‘there is no God as He is merely a myth…. invented by people for above mentioned reasons’

The only way to ‘prove’ the reality of miracles is to be truly open minded about it and give God an opportunity to intrude into your life…. the Bible clearly states that ‘He that cometh to God MUST BELIEVE that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’ (Hebrews 11:6)

The importance of ‘belief’…. and the need to ‘believe’ is at the very core of life…

Jesus ascribed great power to ‘belief’ … and promised that those who believe would accomplish great feats.

JOHN 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,and that believing ye might have life through his name”

There are a number of ideas floating around that people love to quote…

“It doesn’t mattere what you believe as long as you are sincere”

“One person’s belief is no better than the next person” (all beliefs are equally valid)

But when you actually think about these statements you should realize that they are utter rubbish…

All beliefs cannot possibly be correct because many of them are mutually exclusive and believing thewrong thing can be fatal in the physical world so why should it be any different in the spiritual.

When it doesn’t bother a person whether their belief is correct or not…. it’s a sure sign that the issue is of no importance to them.

Sadly this is the state of many with various spiritual beliefs…. even when it is shown that their belief has to be faulty, they still cling to it and refuse to change.

Having an incorrect belief is fatal to your spiritual state and can affect your physical state also.

What you BELIEVE (and EVERYBODY believes something… don’t let anybody fool you otherwise) determines your mental state, your physical state, your spiritual state and ultimately your eternal state.

So we see that there is nothing as powerful or as important as ‘belief’ …. it’s sad that people are so casual with belief and are willing to dismiss it….. what about you ?

What do you believe ? are you willing to change your belief if it can be shown to be faulty ? …. I urge you today do not take ‘belief’ lightly…

Know what you believe….  and why you believe it…. test your belief…. act upon it ….

A belief that floats in thin air is useless for all practical purposes…. your belief must be grounded with a firm foundation ….. believe in the promises of God, God cannot lie and all His promises are sure…. when you ground your faith in the promises of God then the power of God works for you because He keeps His promises.

It is indeed a wonderful thing when you realize that your faith has power to move mountains… simply because it is backed by God’s Word and there is no greater authority …. He has the power and He has promised to be the resource for all those who put their trust in Him…. not once… not twice…. but many places in the Bible can you find the simple statement….. ‘Blessed is the person who puts their TRUST in the LORD’

Do you want the blessings of God and the power to deal with your circumstances ?…. then DO what the Word says…. and EXPECT the blessing and the victory over your circumstances.

 

SLIGHTING SIGNIFICANT SIGNS

In John chapter 6, Jesus fed five thousand people with only five barley loaves and two small fish……  He then walked on water and translocated the boat to the other side of the sea…… but when He tells the same people that He fed the day before, to believe on Him (verse 29)….  they want a sign in order to believe.

These are the same people who witnessed His miracle with the food and are perplexed by how He mysteriously crossed the sea without a boat…… but they want more signs before believing ?….. don’t you find that incredible ?

In John chapter 8 and verse 58, Jesus claims to be Almighty God…. and it is clear that the people understood that that was what He was claiming because they took up stones to stone Him….. however He demonstrates His power by simply walking right thru the midst of them.

He then heals a blind man and the Pharisees refuse to believe…. therefore confirming their sin (verse 41 of chapter 9)

The final straw for those (who thinks that Jesus is a good man or a prophet) was when He accepted the worship of the formerly blind man……. no ‘good man’ or angel has ever accepted worship from humans….. we are told to worship God alone….

The conclusion is either Jesus IS God …. or he is one of the most evil deceivers ever to have walked the planet and this simply does not fit with the facts…

Similarly people today will do anything but accept the facts….. they argue over perceived ‘inconsistencies’ in the Bible…. they reason that there must be other paths to God for Eastern religions and other people who know not the Savior (because the practitioners are perceived to be ‘good people’)

There is nothing that will convince people like this to believe….. they have simply chosen not to believe and will maintain that position in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

This is why we should preach and NOT argue…… it may sound arrogant or one-sided…. but it is pointless to ‘discuss’ certain things with certain people…… unless God works a work in the soul and the person is truly seeking do not waste your time and energy on unprofitable and vain arguments (Titus 3:9)….. there are many questions that Jesus was asked that He simply did not answer…. either He changed the subject or He simply moved on to other things.

 

 

DISCIPLESHIP DISCIPLINE

One of the hardest things for Christians to maintain is DISCIPLESHIP…. Christians have a tendency to separate their lives into “time for God” and “time for me”…. even Christians who have made Jesus Lord over their lives stray away from such “Lordship” (sometimes without even realizing it) because the pull of the flesh and the “me” is so strong.

Lordship…. the Greek talks about “bond slaves” to Christ… implies no rights whatsoever….. it must ALL be about Christ and not about “me”…. you can have your plans and “serve” God in the machinery of the Church (or by personal witnessing) “when convenient” but that is NOT discipleship.

But you say that is incredible ! …. you mean to tell me, I must be serving day and night doing the work of God and nothing else ? ….. what about “work”, “family” and “recreation” ….. I have to work…. I have family responsibilities…. and I need recreation…. how unreasonable can God be ?

Aaah, my friend, therein lies the real challenge to the ‘self’…… don’t you not think that God knows you need these things ?…… even bond slaves have ‘off time’ to sleep rest and recover ? …… did not Christ call His disciples to come away and rest a while (Mark 6:31) ?

and yet…. and yet…  it is SOO easy …. after having a God sanctioned ‘rest period’ to PROLONG the fleshly indulgence….. a little MORE rest….. a little MORE recreation… a few MORE things that I want or need to do….. more…. money, work, family time, recreation time…. whatever….

Friends…. the ONLY way …. to keep the “living sacrifice” on the altar is to bind it with cords (Psalm 118:27, Romans 12:1)…. in real life this is achieved by the DISCIPLINE of prayer and Bible study (NOT reading a short passage and rattling of a few items of prayer)…. but by spending quality time with God ….. why is this ‘discipline’ ?…. I mean don’t you love God and want to spend time with Him ? ….. believe me, it’s discipline, when a packed schedule of ‘important’ activities awaits…..  as God blesses a Christian their schedule can easily become so ‘incredibly packed with stuff to do’ that whatever time they used to spend with God gets compromised….. and gradually all their ‘good resolutions’ to get deeper with God begin to fade….. the cords stretch and pop and the ‘living’ sacrifice is off the alter again and galloping off somewhere else.

A good test of our condition is this …. are we aware of God’s involvement at all times… in our business…. in our recreation…. in our ‘day to day’ activities…… are we listening for Him to tell us…. ‘enough now, I want you to do this or that’….. this may seem a bit ‘robotic’ to some….. but if God is sharing our day-to-day lives (a constant companion with whom we interact continually…. which is what it actually means , by ‘living in God’s presence’)… AND He is also our Lord and Master….. then we need to take the cue from Him….. and the problem with humans is that either they get a little too cozy with ‘friend’ concept or they get a little too cozy with the Master concept….. meaning they don’t recognize His cue to get back to work OR they don’t recognize His cue to stop working and relax respectively…

In the first case the sacrifice gallops off…. and in the second case the sacrifice dies (victim of self-imposed (rather than God ordained) asceticism…. but the fact is ruining your mental or physical health thinking you are doing ‘God’s will’ serves no beneficial purpose whatsoever unless God has specifically instructed you to do this and He will give you an extra portion of Grace if such is the case…… God NEVER tells people to do what He does not equip them for…..

So if you are dedicated to God …. be wary of being too ‘comfortable’ or of being ‘too overworked’ ….. how do you know if you are overworked ?….. here are the signs that God has NOT called you to ‘overwork’….. you are irritable and miserable…. you think that others don’t work hard enough and you have to do all the work….. you think that your hard work and self-sacrifice entitles you to something (you must be somebody special to God more than all “those happy, lazy Christians who do very little and are always enjoying themselves”)…..  check yourself …. these are clear signs that God has NOT told you to work so hard….. God may have “overworked” the Apostle Paul BUT He gave Him GRACE for it….. meaning, Paul’s spiritual character was not compromised but was enhanced….. Paul may have been stressed emotionally, physically and mentally but He had joy, peace, love and humility…… God gave Him all He needed for the task…. today there are so many examples of ‘stressed’ people who purport to be ‘fully dedicated to God and overworked in His service’….. and yet they have little tolerance for others who do not think like them…. little or no love for the ‘hardened sinners’ they are trying to ‘convert’….. it’s a sure sign that God is not the originator of that ‘overwork’….. they may think they are doing it for God….. they may even think that He ‘called’ them to do it…. but the evidence (personal spiritual character) suggests otherwise.

It is very wise to heed and to read  Matthew 20:10 – 13 ….. and contemplate this parable in the light of your own feelings about other people…. about God…. about other churches… etc.

Beware of ‘exclusivity’ and ‘narrow Biblical interpretations’ ….. God’s free gift of salvation to the human race through Jesus Christ ….. is not limited to particular ‘doctrines’ and ‘viewpoints’……  God is far from satisfied with people who may have the ‘correct’ doctrine but do not manifest ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22 – 23) in their interaction with others of different ideas….

If you have totally surrendered to Jesus Christ may this document guide you as you seek to work in the Lord’s harvest.