“He Himself knew what He would do”
10 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed those who had need of healing. 12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” 15 And they did so and made them all sit down. 16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.
When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens wouldn’t work at zero gravity (Ink won’t flow down to the writing surface). In order to solve this problem, they hired Andersen Consulting. It took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on practically any surface including crystal and a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C.
And what did the Russians do? The Russians used a pencil!
Too often we focus on problems and fail to see opportunities right in front of us.
Winston Churchill once said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; while an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Likewise, the Lord tells us to be very careful, then, how we live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.
In other words, “If we want to understand the Lord’s will, let’s be wise by looking for the opportunities He sets before us, especially in difficult circumstances.”
Now for many of us this is a mind shift. If you’re like me… If a problem presents itself, the wheels in my head naturally start to spin and I immediately go into “fix it” mode, what do I need to do, who do I need to talk to and how do I go about fixing the problem. Sound familiar!
Now more often than not, my problem is not with the problem, but with how I go about finding the solution. I have a natural tendency to exhaust all of my resources, all of my strength and all of my ideas before I come to the Lord for His response.
However, the Lord has been teaching me to think supernaturally, instead of naturally. He’s been teaching me to see things from His Kingdom’s perspective rather than my worldly perspective. He’s teaching me to see the opportunities He is placing before me. Perhaps He’s leading you along that learning curve as well. And why not, He did that with His disciples.
Our passage today tells us that Jesus and His disciples withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but a crowd in excess of 5,000 learned about it and followed them. As it got late in the day, the disciples came to Jesus with a problem. There are too many people to feed. But rather than seeing this as an opportunity for the Lord to work, they saw it as a problem, that they needed to fix.
Notice how they approach this problem with doubt and worry. From the book of Mark….
37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”
Same story here. But from our text, the disciples told Jesus to send them away. “the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But I both passages, Jesus told them the same thing, “You give them something to eat.” So, that was the plan of the disciples, “send them away”.
Now church, that’s a reasonable… logical… level-headed… natural approach to the problem. Identify it, assess it, weigh the options and then…act on it. It was a great plan! Except for the fact that they were not making the most of the opportunity… by first understanding what the Lord’s will was. As mentioned in (Eph. 5:15-17)
They dove right into “fix-it” mode and not once asked the Lord… who was standing right there, what His thoughts were about it. So, Jesus looked them right in the eye and said to them, Fella’s, "You give them something to eat." v.13
Now you can almost feel the tightening in their chest, that tingling sensation that creeps up your spine, grabs your neck and sends your brain into panic mode. “You want us to do what?”
However, the Lord wanted to teach them something. He wanted them to start thinking differently. He wanted them to get out of the “fix-it” mode and begin to think in an “opportunity” mode. He wanted them to change the way they think and the way they approached life with its joys and its dilemmas.
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Jesus wanted His disciples to stop looking at problems from their natural perspective and start looking at solutions from His (Jesus) super-natural powers. Jesus is after all the creator of all things!
How can I say that so definitively? I can say it, because Jesus Himself said it. In John’s account, it says that Jesus asked (them this question) to test them, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. John 6:6 (Same story)
6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
Now church, why in the world would Jesus ask the disciples a question that He already had the answer for? Why would He put them through this exercise when He had already predetermined the outcome? Well, the answer is not as difficult as you might think, so let’s look at it.
Jesus wants all of His disciples to be engaging in His ministry of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. That’s why He sent out the 12 in Luke 9:1 and why he will send out 72 in Luke 10 to couple good deeds with the good news. The Lord invites us to join Him in His work and that is exactly what He wanted them to do and what he wants us to learn and do as well. Why?
Because once we come to believe in Christ as Savior, we can’t stay there, we need to move on in making Him Lord of our lives. It would be like being born and staying an infant our entire life. That’s not God’s plan! His plan is for us to join Him in His work, as we come under His direction, authority and leadership.
However, as disciples that come under the Lordship of Christ, we need to start looking at the world and the problems we face from His perspective. The disciples on the other hand were looking at this dilemma from their perspective. In fact, they left the Lord almost entirely out of the equation or in many of our cases we first exhaust all our resources before we come to Him.
How in the world we’re the disciple going to feed all these people? They needed to change their mindset of making the most of every opportunity by seeing that….
Remember, John says that Jesus asked this only to test them, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. John 6:6
Was Jesus testing them? You bet He was! He wanted them to engage in “hands-on” ministry, rather than to just sit by as spectators and watch Him. However, more importantly, He wanted to change the way they thought, the way they process information and the way they dealt with problems. He wanted them to start looking at the world from His perspective.
He wanted them to see the many dilemmas they were facing were really opportunities for Jesus to reveal Himself to people who know Him… and to the people who don’t yet know Him. Jesus wanted His disciples to use this problem as a blessing for people and there lies the problem.
The Lord was asking the disciples to do something they were incapable of doing. There was absolutely no way they could feed all these people without either buying them bread or sending them into town. Jesus was creating for His disciples what Henry Blackaby in His book "Experiencing God" calls: A Crisis of belief. (Just giving you a preview of our next study.)
Now there is no question that this was a God-sized assignment. This was way beyond their capability to accomplish and if the Lord did not intervene, they would fail and fall flat on their faces.
Please understand that this is the place where many followers bail out. The Lord lays a God-sized assignment before them and they say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t”, which leads to what Blackaby calls a “crisis of belief”. If you recall, the word “crisis” comes from a word that means “decision.”
The crisis of belief then is a turning point, a fork in the road that demands a decision. You must decide what you believe about God and how you respond to Him. How you respond when you reach this turning point will determine whether you go on to be involved with Him in something God-sized that only He can do or whether you will continue to go your own way and miss the opportunity He has placed before you.
This is crucial because when we aren’t looking for those opportunities God is placing before us, we don’t experience His presence and power in our life and circumstance. It is vitally important that…
I had to remind myself of this very clear lesson. When God invites, to join Him in His work, we have to trust Him… open the door and let Him lead. By only looking at the problem instead of God’s provision the disciples thought only about how to accomplish this assignment of feeding the 5,000 in their own power and with their own resources. What they said was, ‘how can we fix this, we have only five loaves of bread and two fish v.13.
13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.”
You see…they saw the problem, and they came up with their own solution and not Gods.
They were thinking, “We can’t do this, it’s impossible! There is no way to feed that many people with what we have.” That’s true! Among themselves, this was impossible. But… this was an opportunity for them to see what Jesus can do!
Their problem was not with the dilemma, but with the way they were thinking. They had not yet grabbed onto the fact that Jesus was inviting them to join Him in His work. They thought they had to accomplish this task in their own power and with their current resources. They were thinking, “We can’t do this, it’s impossible!” But remember, Jesus already had in mind what HE was going to do. (John 6:6)
We often forget that when God speaks, He always reveals what He is going to do…not what He wants us to do. We join Him so He can work through us. That’s why Jesus said in…
27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
The disciples had already seen Jesus heal the lame man, the blind man and the man with leprosy. They had seen Him calm the storm, heal the woman who was hemorrhaging and raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, all in super-natural ways. But now, when opportunity knocked, it didn’t even enter into their minds that maybe… just maybe God wanted to do something miraculously super-natural through them.
You see…the Lord isn’t interested in just feeding people’s bellies for a day, He wants to feed their souls and spirits for all eternity. The only way that those people knew that God was at work in and through the disciples was to solve this dilemma in a super-natural way that far exceeded the disciple’s power or resources.
Some people say, “God will never ask me to do something I can’t do.” But, we’re learning that God desires to give us tasks and assignments that are far beyond our abilities and power… in order to not only reveal Himself to us, but to demonstrate His nature, His strength, His kindness and His provision to a watching world. People today need to see the super-natural, visible hand of God working in and through His disciples, so that when something happens there is no question that God had done it.
God told Abraham to father a nation when he and Sarah were well beyond child-bearing years, why? To reveal Himself!
God told Moses to deliver the children of Israel through the Red Sea, why? To show Himself!
God had Gideon defeat the Midianite army of 120,000 with 300 men, why! To make Himself known!
A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She walked around to look at the artwork. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, "I’m drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like. Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute."
Jesus told the disciples to feed 5,000 and to make disciples of all nations. None of these things were or are humanly possible. But when God’s people and the world see something happen that only God can do, they come to know God.
Church…God wants people to come to know Him. That is why He chooses to work through us. People know us. They know what we can accomplish. But when they see things happen that can only be explained by God’s intervention, they will come to know Him.
Our passage tells us that Jesus had the disciples have the people sit in groups of 50 and then…
14 For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” 15 And they did so and made them all sit down. 16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.
Amazingly, there was more left over than what they began with.
The Lord’s hand was all over this. He told them to do something and then He showed them how to do it. When God gives us a directive, we can count on the fact that God has already considered every factor that must be considered. Doesn’t Scripture say, “He already had in mind what He was going to do”. John 6:6
So, as we seek to know and to do God’s will, it is imperative that we clearly know His will and His directions for carrying it out. In Fact, He tells us…
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Like the disciples, our wisdom and knowledge will not be enough to perform a God size task, but God’s wisdom and knowledge are always enough. Why, because He is always able to accomplish all He calls us to do. Ironically, it was Albert Einstein who said…
"when the solution is simple, God is answering."
( POWERPOINT )
So…Let us open our eyes to the opportunities the Lord sets before us. And never doubt the Great Creator!!!
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
There’s no doubt the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood and ignored member of the Trinity. I recognize that we cannot possibly cover everything the Bible says about Him in one message so we’re going to ponder the promises that Jesus gives us in our text. We will be having another Bible Study on “The work of The Holy Spirit”.
The Holy Spirit is often the most overlooked person of the triune Godhead. The Holy Spirit is not a force or power… He is a person. He is God – God, the Holy Ghost. His mission is to bring glory to God the Father by declaring the work of God…the Son. The Holy Spirit dwells within every believer seeking to bring them into full spiritual maturity and empowering them for service.
From our selected text, we’ll lock into four passages that will help us understand and engage with the Holy Spirit. After learning about the person of the Holy Spirit we’ll conclude with ways we can live in the power of the Spirit.
Here’s some brief background to put these texts into context. Jesus has just announced that He will be leaving His disciples and they are now distraught and no doubt disappointed. They are extremely unsettled and so the Savior takes three chapters to assure them that they will not be left alone.
I want to draw your attention to the word “Helper” that is used to describe the Holy Spirit in all four of these passages in John 14:16-17…
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
“Helper” literally means, “One who comes forward on behalf of and as the representative of another, one who is called alongside to assist. It’s meaning is rich and deep and can be translated with words like… “comforter, counselor, attorney, encourager, adviser, pleader, proxy and advocate.”
Notice the entire Trinity is involved here, Jesus asks the Father who gives another Helper, the Spirit of Truth. That in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct… harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
The word “another” means, “one of the same kind or quality.” The idea is that of “sameness.” Jesus is saying the Holy Spirit will be like Himself and will take His place.
The Helper will be us forever. In the Old Testament the Spirit is mentioned nearly hundreds of times and came upon people to enable them to accomplish God-given tasks and then would depart. That’s why David prayed in Psalm 51:11…
Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
We don’t have to worry about that now because the Holy Spirit comes in at conversion and stays forever. In John 14:18, Jesus says, “I will not leave you as orphans.”
He is the Spirit of truth. Those who don’t know Christ cannot receive the Holy Spirit. Believers “know” Him, meaning He is personal, not just a mystical force like in Star Wars or an impersonal power. He’s not a power to experience but a Person to know. Related to this, the Holy Spirit is a “He” not an “it.” Bible uses masculine pronouns “He” and “Him” to refer to the Holy Spirit. He’s not an “it,” He’s a He!
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
Notice the Trinity again – the Father sends the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to teach believers. He brings new truth to the disciples and also helps them remember all that Jesus has said in the past. BTW, that’s why the Holy Spirit was so involved in the inspiration of the Scriptures. We’re taught and we’re reminded as we study the Word of God.
Surprisingly enough, one Jesus’ Apostles would say this…from our bible study…
2 Peter 1:21
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Although the Bible came to us through redeemed men, and therefore displays many of their traits and unique ways of communicating the message…the message is directly from God and relays what He wanted to say. That is why I cannot stress enough or encourage you all enough of the importance of reading your Bibles. Your Bibles are your very source of life in this world. It is through Scriptures that we can know, learn, live, be transformed into the image of Christ.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
The word “nevertheless” is used as a contrast to what the disciples are feeling. Jesus then says something to get their attention, “I tell you the truth…” Jesus always told the truth but it’s as if He’s saying, “Listen up guys. This is really important.”
What He says next is shocking, “it is to your advantage that I go away…” This word means, “useful, profitable or beneficial.” There was no way the disciples were thinking that it was a good thing that Jesus was about to leave them. How could it be to their advantage that Jesus was going away? Of what benefit would it be for Jesus to be gone from them?
Jesus tells them why His departure would be profitable for them, “for if I do not go away, the Helper (there’s that word again), will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” to help the disciples understand that He was about to leave them. But it would be to their advantage because the Helper could then arrive. His going is essential to the Spirit’s coming.
Now, let me be quick to say that that the Holy Spirit will never be taken from us but it’s worth asking ourselves what is it that we’re doing in our own power. Would you notice if the Holy Spirit was no longer in your life? The Holy Spirit will not be withdrawn but we can withdraw from Him. Notice if you will… “We can grieve the Holy Spirit.”
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
So…How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? By continually doing the things mentioned on v31.
To “grieve” means, “to make sad or sorry.” We can grieve Him by holding on to gross stuff in our lives. We can also, quench the Holy Spirit….
1 Thessalonians 5:19
Do not quench the Spirit.
To “quench” means, “to put out a fire.” When we ignore the Holy Spirit by continuously, compromising our morals and biblical convictions, the fire of the Holy Spirit can be reduced to smoldering embers. One of the best ways to make sure we’re not “grieving or quenching” the Holy Spirit is to keep short accounts with God and with others. When you mess up, own it. When you sin, confess it. When you’ve wronged someone, make it right.
We’ve learned about the Holy Spirit and now we must live by the Holy Spirit…
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
This is a military term meaning that we’re to march in a straight line, taking our orders only from Him. As we yield to the Spirit, we will experience His power and people should notice. I like what Francis Chan wrote…
“I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power.”
You see… I just love hearing testimonies like this. A saint, not taking any credit for what he’s done. Or for who he is but gives all glory to God.
Here then are some ways we can keep in step with the Spirit. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s so easy to fill our lives with things that don’t satisfy, isn’t it? Some of us are drinking deeply of substances that end up controlling us.
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.
This is a command that literally means, “Keep on being filled with the Spirit.” I’m reminded of what the great preacher Charles Spurgeon did before he climbed the stairs to the pulpit every time he preached. For every step he would take, he would say these words…
“I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Ask Him to fill you every day and many times during the day.
The presence of the Holy Spirit should have a purifying affect in our lives. Before Christ came, God’s Spirit dwelt in the tabernacle and now… He dwells inside His people and within His church. If you are born again, your body is now the temple of God!
God displays His beauty and glory today through believers, and as such, we must treat our bodies carefully and make sure they are dedicated to His purposes. This is spelled out clearly in…
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
The way we live should declare to the world that the Holy Spirit is present within us. Or to say it another way, the world will learn about God based upon the way we are living. That’s a weighty responsibility and a holy charge. There should be evidence in every believers of the Spirits fruits…
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Don’t be surprised that this is what…to be expected in the lives of every believer. Our bodies are not our own. The life of the believer belongs to God, purchased by the blood of His Son.
I do hope and pray, that this message has given all of us a clear understanding of the Holy Spirit.
Again…the Holy Spirit is not an “it”, but a person of the Godhead. He has a very important role in ones’ salvation, especially in knowing and becoming like Christ!
I want to speak to two different groups of people….
1: Christians who need to surrender. If you’re saved, you have all of the Holy Spirit. But here’s a question, “Does the Holy Spirit have all of you?” Have you been living in your own might and do you think you’re always right? Have you been saved by grace but now you’re trying to do everything in your own grit or through you own wit? Paul addressed this issue of self-praise when he said…
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
It is all the work of the Spirit. By Gods Spirit, one is drawn to His Son. By believing in The Son, the gift of the Spirit is given. By the Spirit, the believer is being transformed into the likeness of His Son.
2: Non-Christians who need to get saved. If you’re not saved, you are in a very dangerous position. There will be a final exam one day and you will fail it if you don’t put your faith in Jesus Christ. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is doing right now according to John 16:8-11…
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Who is the “He” here? the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. The word “convict” means to prove one is wrong and He does it in three main areas.
• Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Jesus. Admit you are a sinner. According to this verse, the biggest sin is to not believe in Christ.
• Concerning righteousness, because I go the Father. Jesus is our standard for righteousness. Admit that you are unrighteous.
• Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. Where sin and unrighteousness meet, judgment follows. If you do not believe in and receive Jesus Christ, you will be judged forever in a place called Hell.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ paid the price for all of your sins and when you repent and receive Him into your life you will be declared righteous and will avoid the judgment you deserve. Believe in Christ and Christ alone!!! No one else can save you!!!
Listen to what Jesus said…our last verse for tonight…
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Cry out to Jesus and be saved!!!
Let us Pray!
Thanks To Calvary
1 Peter 4: 1-6
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit.
We just had just finished our studies in the letters of Peter, so this will be a great reminder of what we had learned. Tonight, we will be examining the change that the believer goes through, thanks to the work of Christ in Calvary.
On August of 2004 everything in my life changed. Of-course it didn’t happen all at once or instantly. That was the day I met the real Jesus of the Bible. The day I was drawn to Christ. I am far from perfect, you have been around me long enough to notice that. Nor did I ever claim to be. I have my weaknesses, and reach failures from time to time, just like everyone else. Any type of victory in my life is all because of Christ. I knew who I was before Jesus came into my life. That is something that I cannot deny. A SINNER SAVED BY GRACE!!!
The Apostle Paul puts it clearly when he said…
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
If you have been saved, then you are a new person. You were lost and now you are found... You have gone from death unto life... You were a sinner now you are a named a saint... You were condemned now you have been set free. And this is possible because of the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. I would like to walk through these verses and consider the thought "Thanks To Calvary”, things are different. The first thing I would like to examine is…
1: Because Of Calvary We Have A Different Calling.
The Christian life begins with a calling. The Holy Spirit calls us unto repentance. Jesus gives us an invitation to salvation! This calling does not end with our conversion. It is not enough to trust Jesus as Savior we must make Him Lord of our lives.
Notice if you will, as Christians we are called to follow the Savior…
1 Peter 4:1
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
Peter says that we should "arm ourselves with the mind of Christ". We are to continually focus on Him. And we are to follow Him each and every day of our lives. Even if this means that we will face some sort suffering from time to time. Christ suffered the cruelty of the cross of Calvary for us. We should be willing to suffer for Him if that is God's will. The Christian life is a constant battle. Here Peter uses the terminology that Peter refers to that battle - "Arm yourselves". Before we will reach a place of willingness to suffer for Christ. We must put Him in His proper place...as our number 1 priority.
There was a time in Peter's life where he professed that he was willing to suffer for Christ. In fact, he was so bold as to say that he would die for Christ. But peter failed, he denied Christ 3 times in one night. But that was not the end for Peter. Jesus did a great work in his life and Peter did suffer greatly and he did so willingly. Even as he penned these words, he knew that there would come a day when he would die for the cause of Christ. Jesus told him that there would come a day when he would be killed for his faith. Knowing what he knew and enduring the suffering that he had endured Peter still faithfully followed his Savior.
Peter was called to be an Apostle. And if you are saved you have been called to follow Jesus. Your life should not be the same as it was before Christ. Your plans, purposes and priorities should be different. Are you faithfully following Jesus each day? Are you willing to continue to follow Him even if it brings suffering and pain? Remember this... the worst that can happen to you and is death. And when you look at what is waiting for you on the other side it is also the best thing that could happen to you!
“Death for the Christian is to fall asleep in the arms of Jesus and waking up and finding out that youre home”.
We are called to follow the Savior… as Christians, we called to forsake/fight sin…
1 Peter 4:2
2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
We have been changed by Jesus and we have been cleansed by His blood. We are not to return or to continue in the sin that we have been delivered from. We are to pursue the Holy will of God. This is not possible if we follow after the desires of the flesh! As I mentioned Jesus is not only Savior, He is Lord. When Jesus is Lord of our life, we are controlled by His Spirit. We cannot forsake sin on our own, but it is possible through Christ! Paul said it clearly, when he said…
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Thanks to Jesus' work at Calvary you have the opportunity for a different life. Do not waste your time pursuing the lusts of the flesh and the pleasures of this world.
1 John 2:15-16
15 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.
Our life before Christ was empty and meaningless. Now that we are saved, we have a purpose. We have been called to be a part of something special. And this is possible “Thanks to Calvary”.
2: Because Of Calvary We Possess A Different Character…
1 Peter 4:3
3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
Here, Peter describes the life of the believer before their conversion. It was a life of sin. Their actions were marked by evil and wickedness. These are the same actions we see in the lost man today. "Immorality, lust, drunkenness, wild parties and idol worship" - Many of Peter’s readers had been involved in such sins before salvation. Here they are told that they must never return to this lifestyle ever again. All of the sins mentioned are results of following the lust of the flesh. Christians must separate from this type of lifestyle.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Because of Calvary we run with a different crowd. In the past I ran with a different crowd of people. By the world's standards they were "bad" people. And so was I. And we were more than acquaintances, we were close friends.
But when I fully surrendered to the Lord these things changed. There were things that I did that I quit doing. There were places that I went that I quit going to. My conduct changed... My conversation changed... My interests changed. Thankfully the Lord brought a new crowd into my life. I don’t call them friends, but my family. The people that I spend the majority of my time with now are born again believers. Ones with the same interests…to follow Christ.
But there are some of those old friends who just don't understand our new life. Consider if you will, why we avoid our old selves, our old crowds…
1 Peter 4:4
4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
Peter says, “They think it strange”. The old crowd does not understand the change that Jesus has brought in our lives. They may become offended or resentful when we refuse to do what we used to do. When we are no longer interested in the wicked pleasures of this world the old crowd may become confused. Not only do they not understand our new life, they may attack us because of it.
“speaking evil of you”. These people who you thought were your friends may begin to slander you. Some will mock you. They will watch you and wait for you to fail, then they will quickly point out your faults. When you refuse to partake in their sinful acts, they will call you self-righteous. When you do falter, they will call you a hypocrite. And, this hurts! These actions may come from people who you have known your entire life. But Peter gives us some encouragement a few verses down.
1 Peter 4:14 (NIV)
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
When we live as faithful Christians in front of our lost friends and acquaintances it will convict them! The question we must ask ourselves is, are we living in such a way? Do we offend the old crowd because we follow Christ? Or, do we still belong to the old crowd, because we never really followed Christ?
Whether we realize it or not, our example leaves an impression on others. We should live as examples in front of the old crowd and we must be concerned about their spiritual condition.
Consider for a moment, the condition of the old crowd…
1 Peter 4:5
5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
"Those who are not saved"... those who are guilty of walking in the wickedness that is descried in verse 3, will one day stand before the Great White Throne. Jesus Christ will preside at that judgment. There they will "give an account to Him". And it is there that they will be condemned to the Lake Of Fire…FOREVER!!!
That old crowd may mock you for your faith, they may blaspheme the name of Jesus, but on that day… they will bow before Him! This should motivate us to live as examples in front of the old crowd, and not join them. Or else we too, will face the same judgement!
“Thanks to Calvary”, We are on a different course…
1 Peter 4:6
6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit.
"Those who are dead", in this verse refers to those who had been saved while they were alive but had died before Peter penned this epistle. Though they were dead physically, they were alive in their spirits. These people heard the preaching of the Gospel and trusted in Christ as Savior. And those of us who have heard the preaching of the Gospel and have been born again can live this life with the same hope that they possessed.
Because of Calvary we walk a different path, we are on a different course. We have a different future and eternal destiny. We possess eternal life through Jesus Christ! Jesus spoke of this in…
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Those who are saved are on the path that leads to eternal life. And this is only possible because of Jesus' work at Calvary.
Some Deacons were questioning young boy who wanted to join church and was asked about his salvation. How'd you get saved? He said, "Well, I done my part & God done His part." When asked about what he meant, he said, "My part was the sinning. God's part was the saving".
That is true for each of us. who are saved, And all thanks to Christ's finished work at Calvary!!!
When Miracles Happen
22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me”? 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
True living faith says, that God is in control. God has given each and everyone of us a measure of faith. (Rom 12:3) “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” And, God expects us to believe it
To overcome our fear and worries.
You see… “faith”, tells us that God is in control. And we need trust in Him fully. Every Christian home has at least three bibles at home. Every Christian…regardless of age has heard of every miracle that God has done. And yet…still, at times we tend to doubt Gods power. We question the Creator of heaven and earth.
People today are searching for many things. Things that would satisfy the need, even if its just temporary….
Some are looking for love. Some are looking for money. Some are looking for opportunity.
Some are looking for answers. Some are looking for fulfillment. And some are just looking for a miracle!! Whatever the reason, they are facing certain situations and their only answer is a miracle.
Webster’s defines a “miracle” as: an event that appears to be contrary to the laws of nature and is regarded as an act of God.
You may find yourself at a place where you cannot solve your problem on your own, you have tried everything and looked everywhere with no success. Through your struggle you have failed to look to the One who can do what no other can do. We serve a miracle working God and nothing is beyond His power. Just think for a moment about all of the miracles that Jesus has performed in the Gospel up to the time of this miracle from our text…
Turned water into wine. Healed the sick. Cast out demons. Healed Peter’s mother-in-law.
Cleansed a leper. Healed a paralyzed man. Raised the widow’s son. Calmed the raging storm.
And many more to mention.
As we come to our selected text, we find one miracle being interrupted by another miracle…
22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
We arrive in the midst of the story of Jairus and his sick daughter. She was young and at the point of death, in fact she did die. Jairus went to Jesus for a miracle and that is exactly what happened, Jesus raised the little girl from the dead. Here is another account of this same story according to Matthew…
18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”
Same story, same characters. God made a miracle happen. As they are headed to Jairus’ daughter, Jesus is interrupted by the lady that we read about in verses 24-34. She is described as a “woman subject to bleeding” This was a lady who was searching for answers …she needed a miracle. Keep in mind, Jesus was on His way to Jairus’s daughter, then all of a sudden, a miracle happened for this young lady. A young lady who was in desperate need of a miracle.
24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
You see, when it comes to miracles, we don’t need answers or explanations on how or when it will happen. We just need to believe in the One that can make it happen. People get real skeptical when they hear that word, (Miracle) Even amongst Christians, they roll their eyes when you speak about God working a miracle. We fail to realize that miracles still happen today just as they did in the time of Jesus.
It is one thing for an unbeliever to be skeptical about a miracle, but if you are saved you have already experienced the greatest miracle of all time, your …SALVATION!!! Some people have to reach a devastating situation before they are willing to open their eyes and see that God is their only hope and to see that God can & will work a miracle in their life.
Now, look at this young woman’s situation. “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.” (An issue of blood) - speaks of hemorrhaging, or bleeding, from some part of the body.
This woman endured a continual flow of blood. Due to her blood loss, she would have been weak and anemic. She would have been pale in appearance and would have had no energy at all. Do you know what it is like to have no energy at all? It is frustrating and discouraging. We can assume that as a result of her illness, she may have also experienced depression and discouragement.
Let’s look at the facts here…she endured her illness for 12 years. Not only did she face serious health problems, but she also found no relief. She had endured this disease for 12 years …over a decade of sickness. This woman would have been considered unclean according to the Law. This would have resulted in social isolation…away from everyone else….
25 ‘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. 26 Every bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her as the bed of her impurity; and whatever she sits on shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her impurity.
Could you imagine 12 years of isolation and separation? Because she was pronounced, “Unclean”. Sad right!!! Not only did she feel all alone, she could not get any help from anyone, not even from any doctors/healers…
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
She’s already suffering from her disease, and doctors/healers, can’t even help. For a long time this lady had been looking for answer but to no avail. The Doctors were no help at all, you can read into this verse that they did more harm than good for this woman. “instead of getting better she grew worse”. And…not only did she not get the help that she needed, she put all her money/all she had, hoping to be healed. (had spent all she had)
The doctors and their useless remedies had not helped her. But they apparently took her money anyways. After all of her searching and suffering now she had spent everything she had. Here she is, sick, separated and broke! Yes, I would say she is in a place of severe desperation!
As I mentioned, sometimes folks have to come to a place of “severe desperation” before they are willing to look to Jesus for a miracle. You may be here and spiritually you are in the same situation as this woman. You are looking for help, hope & happiness. You have searched everywhere with no success, you have tried everything, and still no answer. You have looked to other people and they couldn’t help you.
You have spent much money trying to buy things that will provide you with happiness …it didn’t work. You have dedicated yourself to you career and you are miserable, you have a void that cannot be filled. You thought a new relationship might solve your problem. You thought that more material goods & money would make life better. You turned to drugs & alcohol to numb the pain. You have tried it all AND NOTHING IS WORKING!!
YOU ARE MISERABLE AND YOU NEED HELP NOW!
If that sounds familiar in your situation, then you are at a place of “severe desperation” and that may be the best place for you to find the answer that you need! This woman was at that point in her life and she found the answer… but how? That is the next thing I would like for us to see…
27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Notice her statement… “when she heard about Jesus”. How did she hear about Jesus? There was no such thing as, News, social media, newspaper. She heard of Jesus because there were some excited people in the area talking about the Man (Jesus) who had done so many miracles. We have already reviewed the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. It is possible that she has had a first-hand encounter with one of the people who were healed. Maybe she had heard from someone who witnessed one of the previous miracles. Maybe she heard from someone who heard from someone who witnessed the miracles. Regardless, we know that somebody told her about the healing power of Jesus Christ!
Another clue from this story, is the fact that when Jesus came…a great crowd pressed against Him. No, common man will enter a city, and get such welcome. Now, I don’t know how big or small this young lady was, but she fought her way through that crowd, just to get to Jesus. As weak as she was, she needed to get to Jesus. “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Jesus was her only hope, and she knew it. She didn’t care about the crowd, she had one goal in mind…she was desperate. And in front of her, was the only ONE that can help her! Then, by her efforts of fighting through the crowd, we see a miracle, the whole crowd didn’t even see…
29 Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
This woman showed great faith in her determination to get to Jesus. In past miracles the people were healed by the words of Jesus Some were healed when Jesus reached out and touched them. This lady says, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Her determination is also seen in the fact that she fought her way through the crowd to get to Jesus.
What did Jesus do when this happened. Keep in mind that there is a crowd pressing on Jesus when this happened…
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”31 “You see the people crowding against you,” His disciples answered, “and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched Me”? 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
There was a great crowd gathered around Jesus. This weak, frail, sickly and desperate woman fought through the crowd with what little strength she had. She finally gets to where Jesus is and she reached out and touches “His clothes” We are told that “immediately” she was healed. The miracle that she had been looking for and longing for had happened. The thing that she had spent so much time, money & effort on was wiped away in an instant. This woman who was deemed unclean by the law is now clean/healed, because of Jesus! Let me ask you, ARE YOU AS DESPERATE AS THIS WOMAN? Later on, I will tell you how far you need to go to get to Jesus, and you don’t even have to fight a crowd to get His attention.
You see, here is something many had missed from this story. As big as this crowd was, and as many trying to get their hands on Jesus, only this desperate woman received a great miracle. What happened to the rest of the crowd? They were all pressing on Jesus. What miracle did they receive? Even Jesus’ disciples didn’t see the miracle that happened, look at what was said..
“Who touched my clothes?”31 “You see the people crowding against you,” His disciples answered, “and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched Me”? You see…if you are as desperate as this woman was, only you can/will receive the miracle that is meant for you only! The disciples said “Really, everyone is bumping up against you… LOOK AT THIS CROWD!” You see many bumped into Him, but this woman touched Him with purpose.
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
As Jesus spoke, this woman “fell at His feet and, trembling with fear” She came behind and touched the hem of His garment because, she was afraid of rejection! She must have expected Jesus to rebuke her for touching Him. According to the Law her touch would have made Him ceremonially unclean until sundown. Jesus’ response was far from what she had expected. - v34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” She was not just another face in the crowd… This woman was special. There was a “Special Connection”
With all of the other people there, even “Jairus”, who was waiting on Jesus to heal his daughter, Jesus stops and takes time for this social outcast. Notice this one on one conversation between this lady & Jesus - "Daughter," "Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering" What a beautiful verse… You can have a personal relationship with Jesus as well. A “special connection so to speak”. A miracle happened in her life because of Jesus. Jesus can…and will do the same for you, when you come to Him in FAITH and not in doubt!
Now if you’re wondering what happened to Jairus’ daughter, she also received a miracle her whole family never expected…
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
The whole household lost hope…
38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at Him. After He put them all out, He took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with Him and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
Two very special miracle happened because of their faith in Christ. While many doubted, Jairus believed that only Jesus can heal his daughter. When the crowd pressed on Jesus, a desperate/ill young woman saw her only Healer and fought through the crowd.
Do you need a special touch from the Lord today? Are you in need of a miracle that only Jesus can provide? You have a choice, you can bump into Jesus like so many in the crowd that day or you can reach out and touch Him with purpose. Earlier I had mentioned that I will show you how far you need to go to get to Jesus, without having to fight a crowd!
18 inches! Maybe 15 for me. I’m short. 18 inches is how far your knees are from the floor. In times of desperation, we need to get down on our knees and pray. A lot of the greatest spiritual battles are won by Christians, who fall down on their knees in prayer. It shows great humility when approaching the Lord. Get down on your knees in faith…and not in doubt and see “When Miracles Happen”.
Pastor Richard Santos
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