Matthew 9:35-38

In these verses we read that Christ had compassion on the multitude. Compassion is one of the key ingredients of the church and we are going to begin today to look at what is available to everyone through the church. 

C= COMPASSION
Compassion is found in the church and is defined as concern or kindness. The best definition is "love." There are many today that say that the church and Christainity are intolerant and do not love people. That is entirely incorrect. The church and Christianity have a mandate from the Lord Jesus Christ to show the same kind of love and compassion that he did. 

The problem today is that disagreement is labeled as hate. In the multitudes that Jesus ministered to, no doubt there were all types of individuals represented--hurting people, hopeless people and helpless people. There would have also been those who were successful, busy, religious, fearful, happy, sad, addicted, pretenders, sinners--you name it, they were probably there. Despite all the circumstance they may have had in their lives, Jesus never told people what they wanted to hear. He always told them what they needed to hear, the truth. The truth about how they should live, what is required to get to heaven, what is acceptable to God and what is not, etc. He told them the truth because he loved them.

Would you like for your doctor to lie to you? Do you want them to tell you that everything is ok when it's not? Do you want them to overlook any obvious symptoms and tell you to just keep on like you've been doing--everything is fine or do you want them to tell you the truth so you can make any necessary changes to ensure your good health?

Do you want the church to lie to you? Do you want ministers to stand behind the pulpit and tell you everything is fine--do what you want, live any way you want to, there is no God, there is no heaven or hell, etc? 

No one would think it's right for a doctor to do that, why would anyone want the church to? Which shows true compassion and love--the lies or the truth? We may not always like what the Bible says or the correction it gives, but God does it out of his great love for us.  GOD LOVES YOU and that is great news my friend. You can learn more about his love for you in the Bible and in a church that preaches and teaches the truth of the word of God. There are a lot of those to be found--ask God to lead you to the one he wants you to attend.



 

John 5:1-9

We are using the word "church" as an acronym for what you can find in church. In our last lesson we looked at the compassion of the church. In this lesson we will look at the letter "H."
H=Help

You can find help in the church.
The setting for this text is in Bethesda. It means "House of God or House of Mercy."
This is an incredible place—Some try to attribute the healings here to some explainable method. Certain minerals or chemicals would seep from the earth and bubble up in the pool and people would be healed. Really?
            The healing took place only when the waters were troubled.
            The healing was instantaneous.
            Only the first person in the water received their healing.
            No matter what the disease or sickness the individual had—they were immediately                      healed.
            It only happened at certain times.
When the water was troubled, the first one in was healed.
            Isn’t it funny how trouble changes things?
The man's situation was a difficult one. He did not have the ability to get into the water before someone else did. He stated the reason for not receiving his healing as—I have no help.
He operates by logic. He operates by his own thinking. He has faith in his sight—he can see when the water is troubled. He has faith in people—if I only had someone who could put me in the water.
The healer is right beside him, talking to him, asking him if he would like to be healed and he is still looking elsewhere.
            Why do we overlook the obvious? Why do we overlook Jesus?

 Jesus Words to Him
Rise, Take up your bed, and Walk.
He is talking to a crippled man. He can do none of the three things Jesus told him to do.
Knowing how the Lord times things, it could be that someone had just gotten their healing. The angel may have just touched the waters and just like always, someone else got healed, but not him. Could it be that this is when Christ chose to ask the man if he wanted to be healed?
The man did not answer yes to the question. He began to tell Jesus why he could not be healed.
            I have no one to help me!!!!
Have you ever felt alone? You have the want to, but not the can do. If I only had a little help.
            What could you accomplish if you only had a little help?
            What would you accomplish if you only had a little help?
He knows miracles happen; He is near a miracle; he sees others receive their miracle; He wants it, he yearns for it, but he leaves time and again in the same condition as when he came. He is tantalized but remains traumatized.
One thing we can say—He has perseverance. He holds on to what little hope he has and continues to come to the pool.
Then, on this day when once again he is let down---He meets the true helper.
Three commandments are given to him:
Rise, Take up your bed, and Walk
By faith he does. He accomplishes what he has never been able to do before. Through Christ he is healed.
 
Reaction
As he hurries to begin his new life, he is met by the religious hierarchy. They reprimand him, 
"It is not lawful for you to carry your bed on the Sabbath."

He responds, "The man who healed me told me to pick up my bed and walk."
In anger they ask him,  "Who told you to take up your bed and walk?"
They didn’t ask who healed him. They didn’t rejoice with him over his healing.
The keeping of tradition was more important to them than the healing. 
The miracle was obvious, but it broke tradition.
Can I tell you, sometimes something has to break? There has to be a breakthrough. Something has to give.
             Whatever is crippling you…Holding you down…imprisoning you, break it.       
Should the man now say, “Oh, I am so sorry. I didn’t know. I’ll lay down right here and go back to being a lame man?”
            Isn’t it odd that somebody had to carry him to the pool that morning?
            Isn’t it odd that somebody would have to carry him back home that evening?
            Isn’t it odd the Pharisees thought that was alright, but his healing wasn’t?
Religion can’t help you.
Don't look for religion, look for a relationship with Jesus.
Don’t look for a religious church. Look for a real church.
The church is designed to be a place of help.
Do you need a little help today? Jesus is our helper. You can learn about him in the Bible and in church.

 
I John 5:20

In this week's lesson, we continue with our acronym of the word "church," by concentrating on the letter
"U."
U=Understanding
In explaining your situation to someone, have you ever had to tell them—                               “You just don’t understand.”
What you are really saying to them is—“You just don’t get it.”
God has given us an understanding.
            Understanding—comprehension, perception, knowledge, insight.                 It means-- "I get it."                          
In our text, John tells us that our understanding comes from God. He gives us the ability to comprehend information.
 
The World’s Understanding
On December 11, 2013, a televised memorial service for Nelson Mandela was held in South Africa. A man stood on stage for several hours translating the words of various world leaders into sign language for the benefit of the deaf community. It was a noble gesture to ensure that the memorial was understood by those who could not hear the spoken words of the important speakers. The only problem—the man hired to be an interpreter was a phony, an imposter who only pretended to know how to translate the powerful words spoken that day.
It went basically unnoticed until the South African Deaf community called attention to the matter. The members of the deaf community were left to decipher what was described as a “mumble-jumble of random signs.”
(Taken from
Rabbi Yehoshua Soudakoff   “The World Still Does Not Understand Us” 12/12/13)
 
They were left without a clear understanding of what was said that day because someone unfamiliar with the language tried to interpret.
 
This is the problem with the world's understanding of Spiritual matters.
 
I Cor. 2:14-- But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned
 
The Most Misunderstood Person
Jesus is the most misunderstood of any person that ever lived.
            The Jews of his day misunderstood his teachings.
            The political leaders misunderstood his motives.
            The religious leaders misunderstood his methods.
            In Nazareth and they tried to throw him off a cliff.                               
            He was asked to leave the city of Gadara.
            His disciples forsook him.
            The world today doesn’t understand him.
            The modern church has betrayed him.
            Jesus asks in Luke 18:8—"When I return will I find faith on the earth?                           Will I find anyone that understands?
           
What Does the Church Understand that the World Doesn’t?
If we look at the text, we find that:
We know:
            What--That the Son of God is come—any denial of this fact is from the                            spirit of the Antichrist.               
            Why--(that we may know). Be acquainted with, have knowledge of, be                              sure of
            Who--(Him that is true). He that is real, He that is genuine--Jesus
            That we are in him that is true—in Jesus. In him states our position, our                            status
            That He is the Son of God, the Christ—the anointed one and the                                      Messiah.                                             
This is Revelation knowledge of the true identity of Jesus.
This is the understanding of who the true God is and this understanding is eternal life.                  
     
Our understanding of who he is allows us to know him.
It prevents us from following false gods.
It protects us from false doctrines and incorrect interpretations of the Bible.
This is what the church can offer that the world cannot—a “knowing” of Jesus.

We also understand:
That everyone is looking for understanding and that everyone needs to be understood.

Believe it or not, the church “gets you.”

We get that you are looking for meaning, for purpose, for happiness, for contentment, for sense out of nonsense, for hope, for direction, for reason, for friendship, for love.

 We get that you don’t always know which way to turn, where to go, what to do.

We get that sometimes you feel helpless, hopeless, lost, and overwhelmed.

We get that you make mistakes and wish you hadn’t.

We get that sometimes you wish life had a “rewind” button so you could fix some things.

Can I tell you that we understand?

Can I tell you that the church is made up of imperfect people that understand because we serve a forgiving, understanding God who is continuously working on us, correcting us, and guiding us to the perfect plans He has for our lives? 

Can I tell you that church is the perfect place to find understanding?
 
Give God a chance and see what He has in store for you.


 
Isaiah 40:31

In this weeks lesson, we are going to look at the letter
"R" in church.
"R"= Renewal.
Do any of these words describe how you are feeling?  Tired, sluggish, run-down, weary, worn-out, drained, exhausted, hopeless, or helpless.

We all experience these feelings at some point. They show up in our daily lives and even sometimes in our spiritual lives. That is where the church becomes a valuable asset--a place you can go to be renewed or revived.

Isaiah 40:31 gives us a timely remedy for these symptoms:


THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH; THEY SHALL MOUNT UP WITH WINGS LIKE EAGLES; THEY SHALL RUN, AND NOT BE WEARY; AND THEY SHALL WALK AND NOT FAINT

To wait upon the Lord means to eagerly look for with hope and anticipation. This hope that we have in Him renews our strength when we find ourselves growing weak.

We shall mount up with wings like eagles. Researchers have discovered that eagles can fly to an altitude of 10 to 15 thousand feet at speeds of over 65 miles per hour and can dive at over 100 miles per hour. This ability places them far above danger from any predator. Our dependence upon the Lord gives us this abililty in the spiritual realm.

We shall run and not be weary.  To run is to move swiftly. Interestingly, it is to move at a pace where both feet are never on the ground at the same time. The pace is quick, but at the expense of stability since you only have contact with the ground with one foot at a time. The quicker movement also tires you faster, but in the spiritual race we are in, the Lord strengthens us to run without being weary.

We shall walk and not faint. To walk is to move without ever having both feet off the ground at the same time. It is a slower pace but provides more stability. Ecclesiastes 9:11 tells us that the race is not always won by the fastest runner. Also, we shall not faint. To faint is to lose consciousness and usually causes a person to fall. The Lord's strength empowers us to move forward in our spiritual journey and not faint or fall.

Refreshing is another word similar to renewal. Notice in Acts 3:19 that there are times of refreshing that come from the Lord. These are times of uplifting and energizing. Times of revival allowing us to catch our breath.

The need for renewal is another reason to make church part of lives. Could you use a refreshing, a renewing, an opportunity for God to meet your needs? If so, give church a try. We would love to see you here Sunday.







 
Mark 4:35-41
 
This week we continue with our study by looking at the second “C” in the word “church.”

"C"=Care
Jesus and his disciples are in a boat on the lake heading to Gadara when a great storm arises.
        We all face storms in our lives at times. We hit rough spots in the road. We          get blindsided by things. We encounter obstacles.
But this storm is different.     
        It is defined as a violent attack of wind, a whirlwind. One with black thunder          clouds, flooding rain and powerful gusts of wind.
The waves are beating on the side of the ship and flowing over into it. It fills with water and is in danger of sinking.
        This storm is a killer—a life ender.
There are seasoned fishermen on board; men who have faced storms before, but they know this one is different.
        Jesus is also onboard, but he is asleep
                As man, he is asleep. He is physically tired from ministering.
                As God, he is wide awake and aware of the situation.
The disciples go to the back part of the ship and wake Jesus up and pose a question:
                "Master, Do You Not Care That We Perish?"
We can actually take the first part of the question into consideration,                                           "Jesus, Do You Not Care?”
 
The Issue of Care
Do you ever feel like nobody cares? Have you ever made the statement, “nobody cares?” Or have you ever been so disinterested in something that you said, “Who cares?”
     Care is defined as--To have regard for, to have concern for.
When you care about something, it has importance to you.
When somebody cares about you—you matter to them.
In the church—people matter.
To the Christian—people matter.
 
The Question
The disciples pose an interesting question: “Do you not care?”
        It is a cry of fear—"We are about to die!"
Yet, it had a measure of Faith—the very fact that they asked the question shows they knew he could do something. The problem was, why wasn’t he?
Jesus is a proven care giver.
They have seen him cast out devils; They saw him heal Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever;  They have seen him cure leprosy; they have seen him make the lame to walk; they have seen him restore a man’s withered hand; they have listened to his teaching; they know he cares.

So, why is he asleep in the middle of one of their greatest storms of life?
 
Jesus Cares
The one who cares was onboard the ship.
Actions declare the level of care—Notice what Jesus did:

     He arose                    
          Note that when a storm arises, so does Jesus.

     He rebuked the wind                    
          He challenged its authority; He restrained it; He took control. 
     
He told the sea, “Peace, be still.”                      
          Peace-- “Be silent.”
          Be Still—In the Greek it means he put a muzzle on it. He took away its                           voice.
 
The Affect
Immediately the wind ceased and there was a great calm
That is the level of care that people are in search of:
        They just want the whirlwind to stop.
        They want everything to calm down.
        They want Shalom.
People who care are Peace Speakers.
People who care, speak words of life into your life.

In the church you will find people who care; people who are in the boat with you; people who can speak life into your situation and do it with love and compassion. Some like to label the church and Christians as “judgmental.”  Caring enough to tell the truth in the same way that Jesus did is not being judgmental. It is the ultimate expression of genuinely caring.
The church cares for you.

 


Luke 6:17-19

This week we use the final letter in our acronym for church:
C-Compassion, H-Help, U-Understanding, R-Renewal, C-Care, H-Healing

H=Healing

Today, there is a need of healing, not just healing from sickness, which is what we commonly think of, but healing that includes:
            Physical, Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, Financial. Relational, etc.
            Our country is engulfed with battling the Corona virus.
            We are dealing with racial issues, rioting, violence, unrest, political upheaval                  and many more.
            People struggle with Broken-hearts, Anger-issues, Hatred, Jealousy, Desire                  for revenge, Unforgiveness, Gossiping, Addictions, and a host of others.

All of these reveal a need for healing.

As you can see by the list above, all healing does not involve medical solutions. Thank God for doctors, nurses, medicines and the gift of knowledge needed to help us with sickness and disease. We also thank God, for He has the power to go beyond the limitations of human ability and knowledge.  I will not begin to address the topic here of why some people receive healing and others do not, that is not the purpose of this teaching. I simply want you to know that God has compassion; He is our help in good times and bad times; He understands what we face in life; He will renew us and give us strength; He cares for us; and He is our healer.

He is also the answer to the issues we are currently facing in our society. One well-known mayor recently stated that the progress made in the fight with Covid 19 has nothing to do with God helping us. I totally disagree. I recently heard a world renowned minister respond to an interviewers question concerning Jesus and getting people saved as the answer to our racial problems respond by replying that Jesus is the answer, but we can't wait for everyone to get saved. While I highly respect this minister, it appears to me that if we can't wait on the Lord, then we run the risk of getting ahead of Him and that could prove to be disastrous.

How does all this relate to the church? The church is the instrument that God has chosen to work through in the last days. The time of the church being the most racially divided place on any given Sunday must end. The church must not be part of the problem, but a source of the solution. Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. He said that He gives us peace that passes all understanding. The church is the place to hear the Lord's teachings, receive insight into the Bible, discover God's purpose for our lives, and receive the healing we, our country, and the world needs.

God bless you.