The task that Christ gave all of us to do was to make disciples. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
I believe that Jesus wanted His disciples to bridge the gap between the church and the community. Jesus did not expect His disciples to stay inside the four walls of the church building. He wanted them to build relationships, go into the marketplace, and make friends with unbelievers.
The biggest way to do that today is YOU! You is what will help us bridge the gap. On your job, in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, at a restaurant and so on. Don’t wait for people to come to you and ask about the Gospel. You go to them and be the church. Show people the love that Christ shown.
So, how do we do that? It’s actually quite simple. You could pay for a person’s meal behind you in line at the drive through. We hear about people doing this all the time. You could buy someone’s groceries that is in line ahead of you at the grocery store. Get a group together and give out bottles of water at a park. Here is something that might be new to some of you, be friendly.
When driving down the road, don’t cut people off. Some day when you have extra money in the budget, take out $20 in quarter and go to a laundry mat and hand out quarters to the people there washing their clothes. Just Be the church and bridge the gap.
That is what Christ meant by Going into the world. Build a bridge from the church to the community so that people can cross that bridge. It starts with YOU!
In the story of the woman with the flow of blood found in Mark 5:25-34. Not only did this woman hear about Jesus coming her way, not only did she decide in her heart to step out in faith, but this woman put her faith into action.
In any event that you attend there are two types of people: you have participants and you have spectators. The participants are the ones that get involved in the action. They are the performers on stage. The players on the field in a sporting event and so on. The spectators are the people that sit back and watch the action unfold.
This woman decided in her heart that that day she was going to be a participant. She knew that if she could just touch the string of Jesus’ cloak then she could be healed.
So, with all her might she pressed through the crowd and with one last motion she stretched out and grab a string and instantly the flow stopped. Power flowed out of Jesus and into the woman and she received her healing that day.
The amazing thing about the miracle that day was Jesus did not touch her, she touched Him and her life was changed forever that day. This shows that when we reach out in faith Jesus is there waiting to give us our miracle.
Today if you are needing a miracle, reach out to the one that can give you your miracle.
In Mark 5:25-34, we read a story about a woman that dealt with an issue of blood for twelve years. This woman was desperate and needed a miracle. The first step of faith that she took was “She heard of Jesus”. But her steps of faith didn’t stop there. The next step that she took was “She Spoke the Words of Faith.”
I don’t mean that she spoke these words out loud, but she spoke these words within herself. Verse 28 says, “For she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.'”
She had heard about Jesus. She knew of the healing power that flowed from Him and she knew within herself that if she could press through the crowd and just touch the string on His garment then she would be healed.
Words are powerful. There is power in the words that we speak.
Proverbs 18:21(NIV) says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” We have the power, through our words, to speak life and death into our situation. We have the power to speak to our faith.
There are times that we belittle ourselves. We talk down to ourselves and say things like, “God doesn’t care about me.” Or “God won’t heal me.” The truth is God loves us and all He wants is the best for His children.
Part of putting our faith into action is speaking life into ourselves and speaking to ourselves in faith. You need to change the words that you say to things like, “I can be healed.” And “I can receive a miracle.”
The words we speak does matter. We need to speak life into us.
Mark 5:25-34 is the story about a woman that had a flow of blood for 12 years. She was desperate for a miracle. She had gone to doctors. Spent lots of money. She was considered an outcast and was needing a miracle.
There were three steps that this woman went through in order for her to receive her miracle from Jesus that day. Today, I want to look at the first step which was She Heard of Jesus.
What happens if you hear about something special and you don’t respond? You don’t receive that special something do you?
For instance, if I told you that I personally wanted to give you $1000 and all you had to do was come see me, you would miss out on that $1000 if you didn’t come see me, right?
The woman with this flow of blood issue did just that. She not only heard that Jesus was coming but she decided to take action.
Jesus has spoken to us in His word. He has given us instructions on what He wants us to do. All we have to do is follow His word and be obedient to what He is telling us. This woman responded to the news that Jesus was coming, you need to respond to what Jesus is telling us in His word.
A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on John 14:1 which says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” This word from Jesus came at a time when the disciples could see no hope. They had been told that Jesus, their Messiah and friend would be going away. They had been told that He was going to die. They were told that one of them would betray Jesus and Peter was told that he would deny Christ not once, not twice, but three times. The air had been let out of their sails. So Jesus tells them, trust me I got this.
Since I preached this message I have seen God use opportunities to test how much I trust Him. We have seen this through change that has taken place at the church I pastor. We have seen this through people that have left our church. We have seen this through power outages at the church and just recently through my car breaking down on the way to my aunt and uncles 50th wedding anniversary party. Each time it was like God was saying to me, trust me I got this. And each time I have seen God blow me away with how He’s responded and I continue to see His response.
I have always trusted God with my life and ministry but not to the extent that I have recently. I have chosen to not move or do anything until I have heard from my heavenly father that loves me very much. I choose to put my entire life in His hands.
Many times people try to solve their own problems without consulting God and we wait until chaos happens before we call out to Him. I choose to consult with Him before the storm and trust that when the storm comes that that storm is part of the process He using to answer my need. When the storm comes, Jesus says, “trust me, I got this!”
When was the last time you prayed? Maybe it was the other day when you were studying for final. Maybe it was last week when your mother was in the hospital. Maybe it was last year when your sister was in a serious accident. Or maybe it was this past Sunday at church. Whenever it was, all of us at one time or another have prayed. Many of us didn’t know exactly what to say, all we knew was we needed to pray.
Jesus’ disciples wanted more than just a prayer because they needed something. They wanted to know how to continually talk to God and Jesus responded to their question in Luke 11:2-4 when He said, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
How is your prayer life? Do you pray just when you need something or do you have a continual prayer life with the Father. God wants to communicate with us. He enjoys fellowshipping with us. And by the way, He stills answers those other prayers as well.
The Barna Group states that only 3% of churchgoers actually tithe on a regular basis. Think about it this way, if you have a church of 100 people, then only 3 of those people tithe every time they get paid. So, who does this hurt?
Some people will tell you that the church needs your money. To be honest, it helps but as I have experienced in my own church, God has always and will always provide the needs for His church.
I believe that it is hurting the individuals, those who aren’t being obedient to God’s word. Malachi 3:9 tells us that if we don’t give our tithes then we are cursed. Verse ten even encourages us to test God and see if He will not bless us. Verse eleven says that God will not destroy the fruit of your ground and verse twelve tells us that nations will call us blessed. All of this just because we were obedient and gave God the first fruits of our labors, the tithe.
Could this be the reason why so many churchgoers seemed to be hurting; because they didn’t give God their first fruit?
I can honestly say that I am a blessed Pastor with a blessed church and I see blessed people in my congregation. I get to hear amazing stories of how God is blessing the families of my church because they have been obedient to what God is calling them to do. I believe that you too can be blessed if you walk in obedience and tithe.