Thank you, Pastor Gordon and the rest of the pastoral team for letting me speaking to the whole church today.
I really appreciate it!
All of this started out with the blessed opportunity to share a great testimony, which I will share again.
Thursday, April 21, I had a stroke! I am only 41 years old, and I had a stroke! I suddenly had trouble swallowing, and I felt numbness along the right side of my body. When I called 9-11, I could not speak or saying anything intelligible.
But instead of panicking or getting afraid, I remembered God’s Word, God’s promises for me, and I declared in my mind, even if I could not say it out of my mouth:
“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:17)
I have a picture on my door at home, and I declare another promise, that I will live to be 120 years old. That’s a promise we can bank on because of these verses:
“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3)
The second time that 120 is mentioned, as in 120 years, takes place in Deuteronomy, when Moses dies:
“And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” (Deuteronomy 34:7)
We can rest and receive this promise, because of what God has done for us through His Son Jesus!
Consider the last verse in Psalm 91:
“With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:16)
That last word says it all: Salvation!
We can trust and believe for long life, because of Jesus! He is our Life:
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)
So, when I had my stroke, I called 911, and paramedics arrived on scene to assist me. By the time they arrived, all the symptoms were gone. I could talk, I could drink, and I felt no numbness in the right side of my body. They told me to go to urgent care, which I did. The doctor told me “You’re going into emergency. This is very serious. It’s better to have long period of aggravation than to take a chance, suffer later.”
So, there I was in the emergency room. And then they told me that I was going to stay for the evening. They didn’t know why I had a stroke. My blood pressure was OK, and they did some initial scans, and they found evidence of a suspected stroke. But that was it.
While I was in the hospital room, I started praying the first prayer that Paul the Apostle shares with the Ephesians church. That has been a prayer that I have been praying a great deal for the last year and a half:
“15Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:15-18)
I want to see more of Jesus! I want to see Him!
I want to share with you the New Living Translation of Ephesians 1:18:
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:18, NLT)
In these really tough times, when there are troubles on every side, it’s so important to see Him!
Jesus is alive! He is alive in our everyday lives, because He is our life. I feel that many believers in the Body of Christ know that Jesus died for them, but they don’t see Him as a living, moving, active Savior in every day of their walk on this earth.
Now, the question comes up: how do I see Jesus? What is the best way to see Him?
Jesus Himself provides the way!
Turn with me to Luke 24: [Spence, I will tell you how to bring up the verses, one at a time---Luke 24: 13-24]
“13And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.” (Luke 24: 13-15]
Check that out! Jesus HIMSELF! Drew near!
16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
Some people have suggested that Jesus withheld the two of them from seeing Him. I don’t receive that, because Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). I will explain later why I think these two disciples did not recognize Jesus at first.
17And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? (Luke 24:17)
I want to park here for a second. Notice how Jesus, who has risen from the dead, purged all our sins, fulfilled so many prophecies, steps into the life of these two downcast disciples. He cares for your, believers, and now matter how bad the situation may seem, Jesus is there with you!
18And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. (Luke 24:18-20)
Notice how Cleopas refers to Jesus as a prophet. Yes, He served as a prophet during His earthly ministry. But Jesus did not come to earth to reveal God’s judgment against us, nor to remind everyone of their sins. He came to become sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
The fact that Jesus was crucified, the worst death imaginable, was a really crushing blow to the disciples. And why?
21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.” (Luke 24:21-24)
Notice that the disciples major focus is Israel. They saw Jesus as a means to an end. They saw Jesus as a political Messiah who would restore the glory of Israel. Don’t get me wrong. Israel is being restored right now, and when Jesus comes back, He will be reigning from Jerusalem.
But the focus is on Jesus, on Himself!
And Jesus gently corrects them:
25Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)
When Jesus opened the Scriptures to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He taught of HIMSELF!
He didn’t talk about having a good marriage, or how to improve your bank account, or how to get healing. He didn’t even talk about how to have great faith. Jesus is not a means to an end. He is the means and the end. He declares the end from the beginning. It’s all about Him!
He taught of Himself!
We want to be caught up in Himself! We want to see more of Himself! It’s all about Him!
“15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15-17)
Peter’s last words in the New Testament are:
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Paul was really clear about his focus when he ministered to the Corinthian church:
“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)
I used to struggle with this verse, because it seemed to impractical to me. When Paul says that he knew nothing among them but Christ and Him Crucified, I immediately start asking “But how does that help me with this problem or that problem? What I am supposed to do with myself, with my life?”
The mistake that I made was thinking that Paul was talking about Jesus as though He is some static figure. But Jesus is alive, active, working in our lives, working behind the scenes caring for us! When we see Him in the Gospels, we see a living Savior who provides for our needs, who over-answers our prayers! (Ephesians 3:20)
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)
Now, I mentioned above how Jesus taught of Himself. He didn’t teach about faith, did He? It’s not that faith is not important.
But how do we get faith?
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
That’s the KJV, but let’s take a look at the NIV:
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
And here’s the American Standard Version:
“So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
The original Greek reads “Rhema Christou.” It’s the Word of Christ, not the Word of God. We want to see everything in the Word through the Finished Work of JESUS! We need to see everything in the Word, from Genesis to Revelation, through the lens of the New Covenant, in which Jesus has paid for all our sins, and brings us into a New and everlasting covenant.
Let me take a little time to share with all of you what is in the New Covenant. We are all hearing about it, but what does it actually say?
“10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
This new covenant is all about what God does. It’s not about us keeping commandments, following the steps, but believing in Him, that Jesus has taken all our sins and has justified us, brought us into right relationship with God the Father, our Father!
Jesus himself—there’s that “Himself” again!—said to the Israelites during His earthly ministry:
“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29)
We have to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)!
There are some passages in which God declares to the Israelites:
“I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me,” (Deuteronomy 5:9)
But that’s the Old Covenant! We are now longer under law, under the Old Covenant, but under grace, under the New Covenant! (Romans 6:14)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Under the Old Covenant, God will curse those who don’t keep the law:
“Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:26)
But under grace, under the New Covenant:
“10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:10-14)
Whenever we open up the Scriptures, we want a revelation of Jesus, our Messiah, who suffered, died, was buried, rose from the dead for our justification, and who ministers for us after the power of an endless life! (Hebrews 7:16)
Some may counter: How is it practical for us to look at Jesus in the Word? How does that help me?
Check out this wonderful verse:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Notice how Paul writes “we are changed,” or rather we are transformed. We do not transform ourselves. The Holy Spirit transforms us. When we see Jesus, when we receive greater revelations of Himself, He transforms us! God the Father shows us His Son Jesus! When we see Him, we are transformed from glory to glory!
Jesus is the answer to every problem, to every challenge, to every question we face:
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
He is our new identity! We are in Christ, and Christ is in us! Therefore, we want to spend as much time as we can knowing Him, seeing Him in the Word!
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)
That verse is translated in accurately, because it is not our live that is perfected, but His love is perfected among us. That’s the proper translation of the verse there.
To wrap up, I want to get back to a point I brought up earlier. In Luke 24, Cleopas and the wife could not see Jesus, or rather they did not recognize Him. Why?
2 Corinthians 4 gives us the answer:
3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.(2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
And we find the solution back in 2 Corinthians 3:
“12Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-14)
When you show people JESUS in the Word, and stop looking for yourself or at yourself, you see what the Word is really all about!
Cleopas and the wife did not believe that the Messiah would suffer for our sins, and by His stripes, we would be healed. They were focused only the political restoration. They missed the other part. But I would also add, if people are going to the Bible to look for themselves, to look for tips on how to live, how to make ourselves right, we are going to miss Jesus. We are not going to see Him, and we will nto be transformed.
If you look for yourself, you are going to be depressed and frustrated. But if you look for Jesus, you will be transformed from glory to glory, fortified with His Wisdom, filled with a greater revelation of our Loving Father’s love for us, gaining a greater awareness of all that He has done for us, is doing through, and will do with us! AMEN!
And one last thing to tie together the revelation I received last week. I talked about living to 120 years old right? We know that Moses lived to 120 years, and his eyes did not grow dim, not was his natural force abated.
How was this possible? Because He saw Jesus!
“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27)
He renews our youth like the eagle’s!
It’s all about Jesus, and it’s all about seeing Him!