No Audio recording this week
Job 10:12 (NCV), “You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your care you watched over my life.
Do we seriously think God can’t use you?
- Noah was a drunk.
- Abraham was too old.
- Isaac was a daydreamer.
- Jacob was a liar.
- Joseph was abused.
- Moses had a stuttering problem.
- Gideon was afraid.
- Sampson was a womanizer.
- Rahab was a prostitute.
- Jeremiah was too young.
- David had an affair and was a murderer.
- Elijah had self-doubt and just wanted God to take him home.
- Jonah ran from God.
- Naomi was a widow.
- Job went bankrupt.
- Peter denied Christ.
- The disciples fell asleep while praying.
- Martha worried about everything.
- Samarian woman was divorced.
- The thief on the cross was condemned and died.
- Zacchaeus was a crook.
- Paul was too religious.
- Timothy had an ulcer.
- Lazarus was dead.
But Jesus still had time for them. By God’s grace, David becomes the psalmist again, and a man after God’s heart.
- Abraham had Isaac.
- Moses delivered a nation.
- Gideon led an army.
- Jonah turned a city to God.
- Paul wrote 2/3 of the New Testament.
- Peter denied Christ before he preached the 1st message of the church, and 3,000 people got saved.
The thief on the cross; hell-bent and hung-out-to-dry one minute, heaven-bound and smiling the next.
Story after story, prayer after prayer, surprise after surprise, it seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home—ways for us to work in His house, rather than trying to find ways to keep us out. I challenge you to find one soul who came to God seeking grace and not find it.
I don’t know why (except for the work and lies of the enemy) we allow self-doubt to creep in and we believe other are more qualified, others are called to ministry.
Christ planned to carry on His ministry during His absence by means of the whole Church, which is His Body, not through an obscure member of that Body. Jesus said in Matthew 16:17, “And these signs will follow those who believe…” –THOSE—the Church, not “him”—the individual.
Leviticus 26:6-9, “I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid;I will rid the land of evil beasts,
and the sword will not go through your land.
7 You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.
8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight;
your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.
9 ‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.”
It is not the faith of a lone or solitary evangelist but the Spirit-filled Church as a whole which set the captive free, and healed all who were sick and oppressed in the streets of Jerusalem after Christ had gone away, and had sent the Helper, Teacher and Comforter—the Holy Spirit.
Some do not like public miracle services; but here, God, when He had His way, had multitudes healed and set free right on the streets. Matthew 22:9, “Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’” He wanted His compassion to be made known to the world as a basis for faith. God began His works in this dispensation as He wants them to continue; and that is, through the whole church; with every member filled and kept filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The twelve stood up and Peter spoke, Acts 2:14a, “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them…” I know we give Peter the credit, but they all stood. It was a united effort—each doing his part.
The greatest numbers of conversions, for instance, are brought about by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and through a Church in one accord; and this is the way that all were healed and set free in the streets of Jerusalem.
God’s wholesale dealings with men, both in saving and healing, is by the outpouring of His Spirit and through a Spirit-filled, united and praying Church.
His method is revealed by the promise in Acts 2:17, “…I will pour out of My Spirit…” and the statement in Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” A Spirit-filled and praying Church produces an atmosphere in which it is easy for God to work and hard for the devil to interfere; because this atmosphere is the Holy Spirit Himself, who is more than a match for the devil.
Acts 3:1-16, “Now Peter and John (on the way to the church building) went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, (not yet in the church building) asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.”
5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch(still outside the church building) which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. 12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: (not from behind the pulpit) “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.
14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Peter and John were helpless and uneducated. They had no college education; they had only some training in fishing. But they had been with Jesus. To them had come a wonderful revelation of the power of the name of Jesus. They had handed out the bread and fish after Jesus had multiplied them. They had sat at the table with Him, and they had looked into His face. Jesus often had to rebuke Peter, but He had manifested His love to him through it all. Yes, He loved Peter, the wayward one. Oh, He’s a loving Savior! We have been wayward and stubborn. Maybe even unmanageable at one time, but how patient He has been.
I am here to tell you that there is power in Jesus and in His wondrous name to transform anyone, to heal anyone, save anyone, deliver anyone.
If only we will see Him as God’s Lamb, as God’s beloved Son, upon whom was laid “the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) If only we will see that Jesus paid the whole price for our redemption so that we might be free. Then we can enter into our purchased inheritance of salvation, of life, and of power.
Poor Peter and John! They had no money. I don’t think there is a person in this building as poor as Peter and John were. But they had faith; they had the power of the Holy Spirit; they had God. We can have God even though we have nothing else. Even if we have lost our character, we can have God. I have seen some of, what I consider, the worst people saved by the power of God—and I am one of them.
Paul said in 1Timothy 1:12-15, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
We all have a place where we can minister. (When are you in the highways?) I’m not trying to give anyone an excuse to miss church. But, I am trying to suggest that there is a better way to “be the Church.
Scripture verses are quoted in New King James Version unless otherwise noted