MY PROGRESS IS EVIDENT TO ALL (3)/ WHO TOUCHED ME?

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled My Progress is evident to all (3)/ Her main scriptures were taken from the Book of 1 Timothy 4:12-16 and Mark 5:25-34

MAY YOUR PROGRESS BE EVIDENT TO ALL

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:12-16)

Prophetic word: We declare that in Christ, we have entered our Promised Land and our progress is evident to all!

Here we see that spiritual maturity manifests as ‘progress’ that can be seen by others. Progress is defined as a slow forward movement towards a goal, to an improved condition in life, on the path to perfection; it also means to increase knowledge, to develop your skills and gifts so that you can apply them better. It means to advance in life, closer to the place where your dreams are fulfilled. The opposite of progress means to go back, to become worse, to sink, to lose benefits, or to waste away. May we pay the price for godly success! In the world, the general progress in life is seen mostly thru material gains. You feel that you make progress when you graduate from school, marry, buy a house, and have children. But in the spiritual realm, the progress is measured by greater faith and more authority. It is heard in your voice and seen in your behavior. It is also called fruitfulness, increase or profit. It affects all who see and hear you. A leader in the home or in the church is expected to make progress. The faster the progress, the more God will use you to mentor others. No leader should remain satisfied to stay stationary, comfortable to be in a place of no growth. In that case, the leader loses the respect of his followers. By leader I mean, all believers, husbands, wives, parents, pastors, teachers and all who have a platform to influence others. Progress or lack of it cannot be hidden for long. It will soon be manifested. Honor or dishonor will be the result. Let us be faithful in the secret place. God will reward us openly!

GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:1-11). “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet 3:17, 18)

BONDSERVANT AND APOSTLE

Apostle Peter was a fisherman. He was not an educated man. When you read His letters you appreciate the Grace of God upon his life. He wrote with deep revelation and passion of intimately knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He does not teach men how to go to the river and catch fish. He speaks as a true man of God, and a teacher of God’s Word telling men about eternal things that will benefit their spirits and not just their bodies. This is always the effect of God’s grace upon a believer. His desire is to encourage the brethren in the early church and to warn them against spiritual dangers, especially the false teachers. Time has no effect upon these words. Two thousand years later, we can still learn so much from him. He introduces himself as ‘a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ’. He is a servant first before he is an apostle. The word ‘bondservant’ means a slave. The word Apostle describes Peter’s calling to ministry. In Greek, the word ‘apostle’ means ‘the sent one’. An apostle is a personal representative of Jesus, chosen by Him to do a special work for Him. Like Apostle Paul, Peter imitates his Lord who came as Servant/King. This is the pattern of leadership that God blesses. Serving God always leads to progress in life! There is no exception to that!

Lesson: God’s promotion comes when you humble yourself before God and you serve The Lord Jesus, the Living Word. Jesus said: “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (Jn 12:26).

PRECIOUS FAITH

Apostle Peter writes this letter to those ‘who have obtained like Precious Faith with us by the Righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ’. This is the definition of the Gospel and the foundation of the Christian life. Christianity always starts with faith in the Gospel. The sinner must believe that he is a sinner and that Jesus died as his substitute. The perfect righteousness of Christ is now imputed to him. This precious faith means to have total confident trust in Jesus and to be faithful to Him. This faith is living, active, and wonderworking. Therefore, it is precious. In Greek, the word ‘precious’ means to be privileged and honored to believe. Something called precious has great value; it is very expensive because it is rare, hard to find; it is loved because of the sacrifice needed to obtain it. Because it is so special, a precious gift is never wasted or used carelessly. This faith is ‘obtained’ or received. It is the Gift of King Grace. Many people hear the Gospel. But not all believe with this type of faith. The Grace of God works in the elect and they believe unto salvation. Others hear the Gospel but do not mix the word with faith. These become religious unbelievers. They claim to be saved, attend church, but they are not born again. Why is the Christian faith so precious? One reason is that living faith is found in Christ alone, the Master of the universe. There is no saving faith in any other religion. Christ alone is sovereign over this faith. He distributes it as He pleases, by His grace alone. We are justified by faith in Christ crucified and resurrected. We are sanctified thru faith in Christ, in the written word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are glorified and receive miracles by faith too. We make spiritual progress also by faith. God is not a respecter of people but He rewards faith in those who believe in His Son, who seek to know Him better. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). Faith is obtained as a seed. We need to water it with the Word and prayer, and it will grow!

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IS POWER. IT MANIFESTS AS MULTIPLICATION OF GRACE, PEACE, TESTIMONIES, AND SPIRITUAL PROGRESS

“Grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be multiplied to you in the [true, intimate] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet 1:2, 3; AMP).  

“The word ‘grace’ means the unmerited favor of God because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The word ‘peace’ is more than the absence of war. It means the unity of the Spirit that produces progress and prosperity in life. Grace and Peace can be multiplied, increased, and made more fruitful. This increase of grace and peace comes with a better, more intimate understanding of God the Father and God the Son. Jesus describes this spiritual knowledge as ‘eternal life’. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). This knowledge is not just an intellectual ‘head knowledge’, gathering some facts about God. It means to draw closer to God and learn who He is by worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth. This knowledge increases thru the study and meditation upon His Word and prayer. The false teachers Peter is warning about, they teach a wrong knowledge of God. They are a hindrance to knowing God in a real and deeper way. The spirit of religion has always been the primary obstacle against knowing God thru the revelation of His Word. You become saved thru the free gift of faith in Christ. But to mature as a believer and make spiritual progress, there is a price to pay. Humility and faithfulness are basic attitudes. God gives grace only to the humble. Pride and rebellion are serious hindrances in the path of spiritual progress.

At the point of salvation, the Holy Spirit plants the seed of life in your spirit. That seed is filled with the power of eternal life.  Only God can do that. No man can save another man. Salvation is God’s work. This first deposit will always be there, in your spirit. In it you have everything you need to become like Jesus. Nothing is missing. After that, you need to take responsibility for making the seed grow, until it produces fruits. That is your work. God will help you by His Spirit but He will not force you to grow. You grow and make progress exactly how much you desire it.

The believer is commanded to start ‘adding’ to the basic faith. In Greek, the word ‘add’ means to contribute, to furnish. God builds the house, but you must furnish it. Progress is made when God and you work together for His glory and for your own good! As you can see, there is a price to pay. Spiritual maturity is not easy and not cheap. That is why different believers are at different levels in their spiritual journey. See that the multiplication of peace, grace (favor with God and man) and the manifestation of a godly testimony, these all depend on your deeper knowledge of one Person, Jesus Christ, our Lord. God’s Word must be manifested in your life as godly character, and ministry done in love!

WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING

“So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure. Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result” (Phil 2:12-16; AMP). “Therefore, my beloved… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:12, 13; NKJ).    

To achieve spiritual progress, God does some things, and we do other things. The harmony between these two works will manifest as spiritual progress. This progress is like a light shining in the darkness of this world. You cannot hide progress. Salvation is not gained by religious works. Salvation is by grace, thru faith in Christ alone. But after you are saved, you must work out (not for) your salvation with fear and trembling. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He is your guide into truth and into the manifesting of God’s destiny for you. The Holy Spirit is grieved by doubt, pride, rebellion, and murmuring. You must fear God the Holy Spirit. You tremble in His presence, being careful not to grieve Him. The power of God deposited in you ‘works in you’, in your mind and will, so that you make all decisions based on His Word. A stable Spirit-led will is a great achievement in the road to spiritual progress. Once you arrive at the place when you honestly long to please God in all your decisions and actions, then you are a mature Christian. The process of sanctification continues unto you arrive to heaven. Spiritual maturity is greatly rewarded by God. Christ has finished His work for you on the Cross. He said: “It is finished” (Jn 19:30). Having faith in the complete work of Calvary, not waiting for any other addition to that, you now apply this work to your personal life. God has begun the work. You must now furnish it! It sounds simple on paper, but few believers mature spiritually to the place of truly pleasing God in their ministries.

Apostle Paul was writing to the believers at Philippi. They knew that he was arrested, and he was on a death row in prison. They were worried for his life and for the progress of the Gospel. Paul writes this letter to encourage them. He directs them to Jesus, not to himself, to themselves, or their circumstances. He is not just appealing to their emotions. He directs their minds to Jesus. He tells them that the Gospel cannot be stopped because it is God’s work. Paul wants them to remove their attention from himself. He is their pastor and mentor but not their savior. The Gospel he brought to them is not a human idea. It is God’s word that will work in his presence or in his absence.

Lesson: thank God for pastors and Bible teachers in the church. They are God’s gift to the Body of Christ. But we should guard ourselves from being too close or overdependent on people. God used a man to preach, and you believed the Word. But it is God’s Word and not man’s word. We submit, honor, and respect all human authority in the church. But know that salvation does not depend on man. We should learn to keep a holy healthy distance between us and men. That applies also to the husband and his wife. They help one another in the journey of life, but none can save the soul of the other. That work belongs to Jesus alone! Each should depend on God for his/her spiritual progress! Selah!

Many Christians have been confused about this scripture. What does it mean ‘to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’? First we must make it clear that it does not mean to do good religious works so that God will reward you with heaven. Many people have been deceived to believe this false doctrine. Salvation is a gift of grace. It comes by faith in Christ Crucified and Resurrected. It is not a reward. According to the Bible, salvation has three parts: justification, sanctification and glorification. Justification is the act of God. It is God in His position as Judge of all men who proclaims that the sinner who believes in Jesus is set free from the condemnation and guilt of sin. Because God is Holy and He hates sin, Justification is possible only because Jesus died as the substitute for the sinner. Justification is received by faith. It is an one act in time. It cannot be repeated and cannot be lost. Salvation received is eternal. Justification declares that God has forgiven the repentant sinner and has adopted him as His child. Sanctification is different. It is the lifelong process by which the salvation received once, is made manifest in the Christian’s character and behavior. Glorification is the final stage when the Christian goes to heaven. One day his body will be resurrected and glorified. In other words, we have been saved (justified); we are being saved (sanctification); and we shall be saved (glorified in heaven).

In the scripture above, Paul is writing about sanctification and not about justification. God does His work, and we do ours. We are co-workers with Him. We work out our salvation that we have received when we first believed. God starts the work of salvation in your spirit. He then helps you thru faith in His Word and thru the power of the Holy Spirit to make this salvation real and visible. That is manifested progress in life. Paul said: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). In other words, because God has started His work in you, you now continue to work it out with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Before you got justified by faith in God, you were dead in trespassing and sins. A sinner is a dead man. He cannot work any spiritual work. You have seen that you were totally helpless in the matter of salvation. You need God to save you, or you perish. When you surrendered your life to Christ, His grace manifested to you. This is how you become saved! Now that you are made alive in Christ, you must use all your strength to work out your salvation. To become strong, to become a champion, you must pay the price and work out what God has planted in you. Like in the natural, spiritual muscle will be seen in you if you exercise in the spiritual Gym. Spiritual strength manifests as higher fruitful faith and greater authority.

The first thing we see here is that sanctification, is an active work. It takes spiritual and mental energy to study God’s Word, to pray, to behave like a Christian. Many Christians relax after they became born again. They think that as they were justified by faith, so they will automatically mature by faith. Sanctification is by faith in God but it is not a passive faith. You cannot be lazy or careless with your testimony and expect to see changes in your life and circumstances. It is hard work to see progress in life! What is that internal process? The sinner hates God and the things of God. He hates the Bible. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be“ (Rom 8:7). Once God’s grace manifests and the sinner is declared justified, something happens. The dead man becomes alive. The first thing he does, like a newborn baby, he now hungers after God’s Word. He wants to know God and His Word. This change is deep. No man can produce this change. This is what it means to be born the second time, or to be born again. The baby Christian desires to grow. He starts to pay the price for that growth. He starts to make progress. Have you asked yourself, why do you like to read the Bible? Don’t you know that this is a miracle? There was a time the Bible made no sense to you and you saw it as foolishness. Now things have changed. You now work out what was worked into you by God. You want to manifest this internal change so that others may see Christ in you. God has initiated a work in you. Let this work manifest thru you! God still works in you. He affects your desires and will. He gives you power to love God’s Word and to see its practical application in your life. All godly desires to read the Bible, to pray, to fast, to attend church services, to serve God in anyway at all, are given by God. This is a proof that you are God’s child. God does not give these holy desires to unbelievers. Some unbelievers are religious and attend church. They may read the Bible and pray. But they always use their own strength to do so. They force themselves ‘to make heaven’. They do not feel God’s power working inside them to change them. Eventually, they get tired of pretending. These religious unbelievers are not saved. They are fake Christians. They are many in the churches. But the true child of God never gets tired to read the Bible, pray and attend church. The power of God pushes him on even when he is tired. Praise the Lord!

These are other translations of the same scripture: “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear… So, work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved… Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation (Phil 2:12; NLT: CEV; GNT)”. To work out your salvation it means to continue what God has started in your spirit. Practically, what do I do? First, you must desire to be like Jesus! You must imitate Christ who submitted His will to God the Father, even unto death. You must reject every form of independent rebellious type of thinking. You must have the mind of Christ! The command to work out your salvation comes immediately after Paul describes the life, death, and exaltation of Christ (Phil 2:5-11). Secondly, desire to hate sin! You must love Jesus and stop loving the world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn 2:15-17). All unbelievers love the world which is the system of men who live like there is no God. The devil is the prince of this world. By the power of the Holy Spirit, you must kill your desire to love the world. God has to be acknowledged in every decision you make. The world must fade away from your heart as you move on towards the glory of heaven. It is only the true believers who are able to die to the world. This is a proof that they abide in Christ forever! This process is done with fear and trembling. I do not fear that I lose my salvation. But I fear God enough to abandon sin. “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding increase as I die to sin, and to the world. A true Christian is a mysterious contradiction. He is filled with joy, and he is also a sober man. That is why he fears not to offend God in his Christian race. This is the royal way of the Cross, the only way of true spiritual progress that will be manifested to all!

SINS THAT HINDER PROGRESS: MURMURING, QUESTIONING, DOUBT AND UNBELIEF  

Some unrepentant sins block the way to progress. Murmuring or complaining is a private, almost quiet expression of discontent. You are not happy with the way God leads you. This lack of contentment is a silent ungratefulness and rebellion. Your will is not submitted to God’s greater will. The second sin that hinders spiritual progress is ‘questioning’ God’s providence. In Greek the word means to think, to analyze, to reason and to debate with God in your mind. This questioning is related to doubt, to having a double restless mind. God warns us that He will not answer a prayer of doubt. You must trust God even when you do not understand His leading. See doubt as a temptation to sin and backslide.  “Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (Jam 1:6-8). If you do not see visible manifestations of your prayers, it may be that there is an interference of sin, especially, murmuring, questionings, and doubt about God’s providence. Both murmuring and questioning are sins against God and not against man. These sins manifested in the people of God in the wilderness. They resisted God’s will and moved along grudgingly. It makes man to be ‘stiff necked, resisting the Holy Spirit’ (Ac 7:51). To be stiff necked it means to be stubborn, difficult to be led. In their minds, hearts and wills, these people always oppose the Holy Spirit. They always see God as the enemy of their progress. They are ignorant that their sins are the hindrance to progress, and not God! Selah!

WARNING AGAINST UNBELIEF

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So, I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest” (Heb 4:1-3)        

The people who hear the Gospel but remain in unbelief are described as ‘falling short’ of God’s promise to enter the Promised Land, or unto salvation. The words ‘falling short’ mean to fail to experience the promise, missing a wonderful opportunity, or coming too late for the reward. This is a warning against taking God’s Word, His promises, His Grace, and His glory for granted. To take for granted it means that you use something carelessly, without showing appreciation for it. For example, you call the name of Jesus, pray, read the Bible, and go to church with an ungrateful, bitter heart. The Word of God has not opened or changed your heart. The sin of unbelief is still reigning inside. The seed of faith cannot enter into such a heart. We are told that the Word ‘did not profit them’ because they did not ‘mix’ the word with faith. The word ‘profit’ means to help, to add to value, to be useful for something good. The word ‘mix’ means to unite with another, to assimilate or co-mingle. A religious unbeliever has no profit from hearing the Word of God. He stays in the same spot of unbelief. God’s Word cannot help him to do something good with his life. He makes no progress, and his heart is not changed. He heard the Word but refused to mix it with faith. Knowing that many people go to church and hear God’s Word for nothing, makes us to appreciate God’s grace and the gift of this precious living faith!

THE WOMAN WITH THE ISSUE OF BLOOD (Mark 5:25-34; Lk 8:43-48)

This woman has suffered for 12 years from bleeding from her private parts. This was more than a sickness. Mark calls it ‘an affliction or a plague’ (Mk 5:34). In Greek the word means to be flogged repeatedly. She spent all her money and strength on doctors who failed to cure her. This bleeding made her ceremonially unclean. Like a leper, she had to stay away from human society. She could not marry, have children, go to the temple, or attend the synagogue. We are told that ‘she heard about Jesus’ (Mk 5:27). This is how faith starts. “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). She was told how kind Jesus is and the fact that He has the power to do miracles. Jesus was going to the house of Jairus, to heal his dying daughter when this woman came to touch the hem of His garment. Her healing is called ‘a parenthesis miracle’. Her healing was instant. Only two people knew that the miracle happened: Jesus, who felt power leaving Him and the woman who felt the power entering her. The transfer of power connected the Savior and the sinner in a special way. She was a cursed woman. She now became ‘a daughter’ of Jesus. She was healed in her body, and she received salvation and peace in her soul.

This is God’s Law: “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean… Whoever touches those things shall be unclean; he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening” (Lev 15:25, 27).

The woman knew God’s Law, that if she touches a man that man will be unclean that day. She needed faith that by touching Jesus, she will be healed. She was taking a great risk by walking in public, in the crowd. For her to arrive at Jesus she has to push her way, touch many men who were around Him. They could stone her to death for spreading ‘the plague’. This gives us a glimpse of how Jesus sees the Law. He was born under the Law. He obeyed the Law. But the Law could not convict Him of sin. After she touched Him, she wanted to hide so that Jesus will not know that He is ‘unclean’ by touching her. If Jesus is unclean, He cannot enter the house of Jairus to perform the miracle of healing on his daughter. This is to show us the power of sin, which spreads like a virus and becomes a plague.

It is possible that this woman was once wealthy and had many friends. Then she got sick. She “suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse” (Mk 5:26). Like with the prodigal son, once the money is gone, all her friends are gone. She is now a hopeless case: sick with an incurable disease, poor, lonely and rejected by men. Who can help such a one?

In her despair, with her last drop of strength, she decided to take the risk of being stoned to death. She encouraged herself. She thought in her mind and kept talking to herself that if she can only touch the garments of Jesus, she will be healed. “For she kept saying, If only I touch His garments, I will be healed” (Mk 5:28; Berean Standard Bible). She did not say just once. She kept saying to herself again and again. This is true persistent faith. The word ‘touch’ means to lay hold of someone, to attach herself to Jesus. She had only a second to do that. This is God’s Precious Promise: “He sent forth His word to heal them and snatched them from the grave” (Ps 107:20; NAB).  

Lesson: How can you touch the Word and be healed? How can your faith become a testimony? The answer is this: You must touch Jesus, who is the Living Word by touching the written Word of God! But how? Draw closer to God and to His Word! “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jam 4:8). Repent of doubt and of any hidden sin! How do I draw closer to God? I desire to have a relationship with God. I do it by chasing Him and by submitting to Him! “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good“(Ps 73:28; NASB). This is a spiritual law: if you need God’s help, you need to seek God, to draw closer to Him. “The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (2Chr 15:2). Any effort to study the Bible and pray will be rewarded by God!

This woman’s faith was desperate, free of doubt and fear of rejection. She believed two main things: That Jesus is God and has all power. ‘Power belongs to God’ (Ps 62:11). She also believed that Jesus could change her body. “Jesus will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under his control” (Phil 3:21; NLT). She acted and received her miracle even before Jesus spoke a word to her. In a way, she ‘stole’ the miracle from Jesus’ hand. She was disappointed by many physicians. But she now believed that the Great Physician will not disappoint her. Encouraged by no man, she stepped in faith and touched the garment of Jesus. Just the way you touch live wire, power left Jesus and entered her. Her faith was amazing! At the same time, her faith was not balanced. She thought that the power of Jesus flows thru His garment. She did not know that Jesus Himself is the Healer. Many people believe that if they touch the pastor’s handkerchief or are sprinkled with olive oil by a man of God, they will be healed. This woman behaved like that. But Jesus did not rebuke her. He encouraged her faith. By calling her ‘daughter’, He repositioned her faith to His Person. Lesson: many people mock the Christians who believe in secondhand touch of faith. Weak unbalanced faith in miracles is better than unbelief!

In Jesus alone you see this wonderful combination: Power and Pity! He was the most accessible Teacher and Doctor. No ‘middlemen’ to see Jesus! He was rejected by Jews. He preached and did miracles on the streets. See how Gentle the Savior is by calling the woman to come to the open. He did not want the woman to receive the miracle ‘by stealing’. That could have left a shadow on her healing testimony. He commended her faith. He healed her body and saved her soul. From now on, there is no need for her to hide from God or man. Jesus felt ‘virtue’ leaving Him. The word describes God’s power to produce miracles. Her great need and His greater Grace met, and the healing occurred. Lesson: Many people come close to Jesus but do not touch Him with faith! They see worship and miracles as religious entertainment. Faith does not produce the healing. Faith is the hand that takes hold of Jesus who saves or heals you. This healing was immediate and complete. It was also provided freely. How many so-called healers exploit sick people and waste their time and money? But Jesus never did that. Jesus is the Savior and the Lord! He died to save sinners. Salvation is the same! It is by grace and thru faith in Jesus Christ! Worship the Lord!  

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