Friday, April 02, 2010

Imperfect Faith Can STILL Bring You Face to Face with Jesus!! - Part 1

Over the past year or so I've been struggling to keep up transcribing the various preachers and teachers, apostles and prophets that I love. To some it may not be a big deal - but I should make it clear I always transcribed sermons for my own spiritual benefit. I tend to absorb truth and revelation far better when I type it or write it than merely listening. My hyper-active imagination doesn't listen very well alone. However with my changing jobs, new daily routines and the various other interesting things that life has chucked at me recently, transcribing has been ... hard.

However Pete Day and I were able to meet (another regretfully too-rare occurance) recently in London at his church and we expressed our mutual frustration with life. We re-committed to living and breathing the gospel of grace. Nothing is more vital! My fierce grace-warrior friend Julie made quite a startling statement the other day that really stuck with me. She said on Facebook;

"The devil hardly bothers tempting me with 'sin' anymore...because he knows that even if I give in, I won't give in to condemnation!".

Some may disagree with previous discussions on indwelling sin etc - but what if Julie was right? What if the devil had a SOLE aim when tempting and attacking Christians? What if that aim was nothing to do with luring them into lust or into murder or into homosexuality - or all the other sins that the church loves to hate? What if the SOLE "main thing" of the devil's campaign was to cause Christians to lose their faith in a loving and gracious God?

I felt a key sermon of Rob Rufus's to begin transcribing was one entitled "“Imperfect Faith Can Still Bring You Face To Face With Jesus” that he preached at City Church International in November last year. So many of us believe that to encounter Jesus in manifest glory or to see signs and wonders and miracles following our ministry, we need to have the faith of a Paul the apostle, of a Kathryn Kuhlman, a Terry Virgo or a Rob Rufus.

Here's Part 1:

"Let’s open to 2nd Corinthians chapter 1. I am so excited about this message that I have just got to control myself. We are getting an increasing number of emails from around the world from people thanking us for our stand on grace and some emails you think are exaggerated. The gratitude has shifted from simply thanking me to thanking the people of City Church International. There are tens of thousands of people out there realising it is not simply about preaching a message but a message being embodied and incarnated in a people.

The price you pay to stand for a message of grace when there are anti-grace spirits – grace-hating spirits that want to discourage and confuse us and cause difficulties are realising that the price we are paying is producing life for the churches out there.

There is an apostolic thing Paul speaks about where he says; “We die daily that you may experience life”. We are experiencing life here in abundance but there is a price in our stand that is causing thousands of people around the world to take hope and come out from guilt, condemnation, law and bondage into freedom of grace in Christ Jesus. People are moving from a mixture of Old and New Covenant through the finished work of the Cross into the liberty of the blessing of the New Covenant. So they are getting revelation – a theological revolution. Churches and regions are being changed! Our 5 and a half years has literally impacted nations around the world. I can’t read all of them to you because they speak of details and I don’t want to reveal their names. Years of pressure, performance and guilt – and they all speak about coming into the freedom found in Jesus Christ! And they all mention you guys!

I want to talk about how imperfect faith – even imperfect faith – can bring you face to face with Jesus, into supernatural encounters with the Presence and power of God.

I want 2nd Corinthians to be a foundation to what I say;

2 Corinthians 1:2-4; “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort … that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”.

Within your sorrow is a seed that becomes the life and key that unlocks other people out of the pain of their problems.

If we don’t understand that the pain we go through and the sorrow we experience are to gain deeper intimacy with the comfort of God, that we would see our calling is to comfort people in their troubles by the comfort we receive in our troubles. If we don’t understand this then sooner or later we will allow our troubles and sorrow to define us. When we allow trouble to define us we become melancholic, morbid and very negative people.

The way to make the devil pay for the trouble he puts on you is to see your troubles as becoming a seed of grace that you can sow into someone else’s life.

Many people are within you that will benefit from the comfort you experience in your trouble and your understanding of the goodness of God to bring that comfort into their lives.

When a woman has a baby, she forgets the pain because inside that pain is a treasure that is given to someone else.

If we forget this then we think that pain, sorrow and difficulties are there to just to talk about all the time. That is like a mother getting off the birthing table and disregarding the baby there and going to the phone and calling all her family and friends and relatives and telling them about the terrible pain she has been through without once mentioning the baby! She has forgotten that the pain is not about trouble itself, but within the trouble is a seed of grace for someone else. In your trouble there is a life-saving seed of grace for someone else.

I have been counselled in the lowest moments of my life by two groups of people. Those who have ideals, never been through trouble or pain and have lots of Bible verses to quote and lots of inexperienced knowledge. When you have come out of their presence you feel worse! The other people bear the scars of pain, disappointment and difficulties and when they comfort you they sow seeds of grace into your life so you are freed up from self-pity, discouragement, deception that was trying to take you out in your disillusionment.

We are a people that don’t teach that if you have faith you will not go through trouble. Paul the apostle went through all kinds of troubles but he said; “These are working for me an exceeding weight of glory! Compared to the weight of glory they are building up for me – these troubles are light and momentary afflictions”. So we don’t say if you have faith, you won’t go through trouble. We are saying if you have faith you will find the God of all comfort in your trouble that will make you a humble, tender-hearted person that will sow grace into other people’s trouble.

Turn to Mark chapter 5. Let’s bow our heads in prayer – I can really sense the Presence of God here and the presence of angels. When Glenda was getting up to give the announcements I could feel the angelic presence in this room.

“Father we want to thank You for assigning angels to minister in this room – the ministers of winds and fire – we ask they would refresh the people of God. We want to thank You for Your greatest and most wonderful gift – Jesus Christ Your Son. Every spiritual blessing we have is in Christ Jesus. We thank You that every promise you have made to us are YES in Christ Jesus. Holy Spirit we invite You to come and reveal Jesus in this place, reveal Your glory – that we would know that abiding place of intimacy – that we in our sorrows would be able to discover the seed of grace to sow into other people’s lives here in Hong Kong and around the world”.

I want to read this passage in Mark 5 because it is my favourite passage for speaking on the transference of the anointing. But I don’t want to look at it from that point of view today, but a different point of view and I believe some gold nuggets will come out of this today that will bring you into a greater place of intimacy with Jesus Himself. I will draw your attention to certain phrases and words and will comment on them.

(v21); “21 Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. 22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. 25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse”.

The Bible honours doctors as do we but here it didn’t work for this dear one.

27 “When she heard about Jesus”

That is the pivotal phrase for this message. She had never met Him or been in His meetings, she had just heard about Him.

She came behind Him”.

Also very important – she didn’t come in front of Him to His face. She came behind Him.

“In the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him”.

She came behind Him but now was before Him.

34 And He said to her, “Daughter”.

That is identity.

“Your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

The Greek is literally; “Go into peace”. “Soterio” – completeness, salvation, protection. Go into peace – you have been made well. God wants to make your emotions, your soul, your spirit, your finances, your relationships well. Go into soterio “daughter”. Your faith has made you well!

35 "While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James".

Very pivotal – only Peter, James and John.

39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” 40 And they ridiculed Him.

What does Jesus do with people who ridicule His faith?

“But when He had put them all outside He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age”.

The lady who had the bleeding, had it for 12 years. The little girl was 12. It is not a coincidence.

“And they were overcome with great amazement. 43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat”. (chapter 6:56); “Wherever He entered into villages … they begged Him that they could touch the hem of His garment and as many touched Him were made well”.

Now in the previous chapter we saw thousands touching Him and none were healed or experienced what this one woman experienced. The seed of her 12 years of sorrow became a sowing of grace into multitudes of thousands of people that found a way to touch Him differently to the way they had touched Him before. God hasn’t caused any tragedy or trouble in your life – it is the devil behind that. He turns that sorrow into a seed of life that unlocks someone else out of the pain of their problems. She had never met Him or been in one of His meetings. Many who read the gospels (and I have thought this) if only we could have been on the earth when He walked it and could have been in His meetings and heard His gracious words from His mouth or seen His face as He spoke of the love of His Father and the Kingdom coming to earth! Oh if only I could have heard Jesus speak and been on the front row within touching distance!

This lady was in none of His meetings and had never met Him – only HEARD about Him! What could she have heard? Never anything about the Moses law concerning Him. John 1 says the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Leviticus 15 says any woman any woman with an issue of blood is forbidden from going into a public place. The sentence is immediate stoning and Jarius – the synagogue ruler – had authority to exercise that and he was right there next to Jesus. Leviticus says a woman going into a public place makes everywhere she goes unclean and everything she touches she makes unclean. But this woman touched Jesus in her unclean state and was healed! What did she hear about Jesus?

She would have heard that this rabbi was touching unclean people.

Lepers were being touched by Jesus and being healed. Under the law leprosy was considered unclean. Jesus touched lepers and laid His hands on lepers and they were immediately healed. Jesus went into the synagogue where a woman was bound over for 18 years with a demonic spirit and the synagogue rulers were teaching the law to her – and the law was telling her you are crippled because you failed the law. Jesus came in and called her a daughter of Abraham – because 430 years before the Law Abraham was a covenant of grace! He said; “You are a daughter of Abraham – you ought to be healed on the Sabbath day”. He laid His hands on her and she straightened up. She would have heard that Jesus laid His hands on a prostitute called Mary Magdalene and when Jesus laid His hands on Mary, the Bible says seven devils came out of her and she was set free from prostitution. She would have heard some marvellous things.

Now – when the crowd was touching Jesus, why weren’t they healed? Why weren’t they changed or benefited? They hadn’t heard about Jesus the way this woman had heard about Jesus. They would have heard He was a rabbi and was demanding you keep standards to earn and deserve.

But when they found out that an unclean woman actively breaking the Levitical law touched Him and was healed, the multitudes from that day began to touch Him in a different way – and you could say that the seed of her sorrow was a seed of grace that influenced thousands of people to get healed in the very next chapter!

The more people that touched Jesus differently, the more people will see that the seed of our sorrow is becoming a seed of grace to touch thousands of churches around the world and touch thousands of people in Hong Kong. It is very important that people hear about the true Jesus. A lot of people struggle to have faith for healing. I am not sure if I even understand faith anymore. Kathryn Kuhlman had a ministry that got far more people healed and some of the worst crippled people and blind people – thousands of them. She said;

“I don’t understand faith but I know my wonderful Jesus suddenly comes and fills the room and people get healed without me even praying for them!”. I don’t think it’s about faith for hearing as much as hearing about the true Jesus.

I believe this woman had imperfect faith – how do I know that? She came behind Him, not to the front of His face. Under the law you couldn’t see the face of God. Moses said; “God – show me Your glory!”. God said; “No man can see My face and live so I will hide you in the cleft of the rock and will walk by and you will see My hind parts”. She had imperfect faith – she came to His hind parts. She heard about Jesus and touched Him and the next minute she was healed, and the next minute He was calling her to His face. Through grace God in Christ came to reveal His face to humanity. Imperfect faith came to touch His hind parts like Moses. But once she was healed, she was called to His face and when she looked into His face the first thing she heard was “Daughter”. God said “Daughter”.

I also know something very special here – we must understand something. What we say about Jesus. People think I criticise everything that moves under the sun and some have called me a divisive man. Someone has to get passionate! Someone has to get stirred up and a righteous anger because multitudes of mesmerised, hypnotised Christians sit in pews having been sold a bill of lies Sunday after Sunday, century after century with arrears of doctrinal deception about God. We have got people saying that God makes you sick to make you more holy! People want to know why we don’t see more healings – we have got hundreds of years of the traditions of men that have deceived people into unbelief and have misrepresented Jesus. The devil is behind it! “Did God really say?”. I have done all the things wrong and have preached things wrong and have misrepresented God in my past.

But when I came to Hong Kong I was determined to faithfully reveal the New Covenant and the true nature of God where the people of God are in New Covenant and no longer under law and are in 100% grace and grace alone with no condemnation to those that are in Christ. I said I am going to do that God no matter how much I am mis-understood and I am going to hold my line".

Part 2 to follow soon I hope!

1 comment:

jul said...

So good!!! Thanks for posting this Dan. I haven't been listening to Rob for a while, or anyone else. I used to get to listen at the gym and haven't been doing the gym thing since I got pregnant but I'm so ready to go back to exercising my body and feeding my soul. A good combo for me. I can see I have a lot of CCI to catch up on, something to look forward to!!!