THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (25)
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled: The Poor in spirit shall experience miracles. This sermon in one in the series called ‘The Power of the Gospel’. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:16, 17).
THE DOCTRINE OF MIRACLES
Miracles are acts of God, by His omnipotent power. For God ‘nothing is impossible’. A miracle is God’s direct work upon His creation, without passing thru secondary causes (the law of nature or the work of man). A miracle results from the direct and free exercise of the supernatural power of God. Some say that miracles do not exist because God who created nature will not disturb the natural laws. But this is a lie. God is sovereign in the way He chooses to operate, directly (miracles) or indirectly (thru nature or the activity of men), for His glory and for His children’ good! Many deny miracles. They call them ‘accidents.’ The greatest miracle: the incarnation of our Lord, the resurrection of our Lord and our salvation. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s grace and mercy, are the basic source of miracles! You cannot produce or buy a miracle. But you can do something that will ‘facilitate’ and miracle: Go closer to Jesus! “Come close to God and He will come close to you” (James 4:8). You go to places where you hear God’s Word and meet others who have faith. You separate yourself from anything that corrupts or damages your faith. Ex. Blind Bartimaeus positioned himself that day begging ‘along the road’. That is not the best place to sit and beg (the sun is hot, the rain may fall, cars may accident him). But that was the closest he could go to Jesus. He then waited for the Master (possibly praying in his heart). He had faith in the mercy of God! His faith made him ‘a nuisance’ to others. But he ignored them who tried to keep him quiet. He shouted louder and louder for Jesus until He called him. Jesus said that his faith made him well (Mark 10:46:52). These are some scriptures to boost your faith in the God of miracles: Job 42:2; Jer 32:17, 27
THE POOR IN SPIRIT
“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… And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 4:23; 5:1-3). To be poor in Spirit is the basic description of the child of God. Some have it more and others have it less, but nobody enters the Kingdom of heaven without this quality. The Gospel’s power and glory is that it changes men, from sinners to saints. The first work of the Holy Spirit is to convict men of sin and to humble them. Once they are totally humbled, the Holy Spirit fills them and lifts them from despair. The Kingdom of heaven (or of God) is the area where Jesus is recognized as King and men submit to His rule and reign. Simeon prophesied that Jesus was born to humble men so that He can give them eternal life. The world will hate His Kingdom’s rule; it is a sign that they will oppose to their own destruction. “Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against” (Luke 2:34). A vessel must be emptied before it can be filled! You must die to self, in humility and shame, the work of the Cross, before you can rise in the power and glory of resurrection! The Cross is before the Crown! Repentance is before saving faith! This is a law of the Kingdom of heaven!
Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs (and only theirs) is the Kingdom of heaven! The word Blessed, in Greek, means to be happy, to be envied, to be congratulated. The poor in spirit are the only happy people on earth! To be poor in spirit is a spiritual quality produced by the Holy Spirit. It is genuine humility. How do you see yourself before God? The world, the unbelievers hate to be poor in spirit. What they appreciate is self-confidence. An unbeliever is proud about who he is, what he has done and what he has: good looks, wealth, education, natural gifts, human connections, place of birth, nationality, race, or social standing. The main description of the unbeliever is boasting about himself! He praises himself! To be poor in spirit it means complete absence of pride. You see yourself as you really are before God, who is your Creator and the Judge of all. In the presence of God, you see the truth about yourself: that you are nothing and you can do nothing by yourself! You discover that all your boasting about yourself was complete foolishness. You discover that to live, you need God’s Grace and Mercy. All men who are poor in spirit have had an encounter with God, with the Lamb upon the Throne. Their pride died and they felt like dead men. God lifted them up by His Grace and power. God humbles men to bless and use them! For example, Abraham was a humble man. He saw himself as ‘dust and ashes’ before God (Gen 18:27). King David saw himself as ‘a dead dog; a flea’ (1 Sam 24:14). Moses was more humble that all men on the face of the earth at that time. God punished Mariam for talking against this humble man (Numbers 12:3). God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble who draws closer to Him! Repent of pride! Humble yourself and God will lift you!
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST is the best example of a Man who was poor in the spirit. He totally depended on God the Father for the words He spoke and the authority He used as a Man on earth (John 5:19, 30; 14:10). Jesus said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30)
THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER
A man sick with leprosy came to Jesus. Leprosy is a symbol of sin. It was an incurable disease at that time, a slow painful death. He came to Jesus. He knelt and worship Jesus. He begged Jesus for healing. In fear, others ran away from him. But Jesus drew closer, stretched His hand and touched this man. In Greek, the word ‘touch’ is to forcefully grab somebody; like an anchor grabbing the stone to stabilize the sheep during the storm. Jesus said: “I am willing!” This verb is at present tense, signifying that He is now and forever willing to touch and heal you. As Jesus spoke, immediately, like a demon disgraced and running away, the leprosy left him. The man wanted simple healing, just to stop the progression of the dreaded disease. But the Lord did more than that. He made the fingers grow back and removed all the ugly scars. He made him whole. He cleansed him! Jesus always gives more than we ask him to do. He healed the man’s body, soul and spirit. This is the Touch of the Master! May you experience His touch. You will never be the same again! Worship the Lord!
Serve God with enthusiasm! ENTHUSIASM is doing something you love; do it with passion, with zeal, with excitement, investing effort, time and resources. The root of the word: ‘enthusiasmus’ (in Greek) means: to be inspired or possessed by God. In used to be a religious word. Now, it means strong emotion compelling action! “Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope … Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord” (Romans 12:11,12; NKJ; 11 CEV)