Good morning. Happy Sabbath. It's good to see each of you here, and thank you so much for coming. One of the main reasons that we're in the area, as many of you may know, beginning next Friday evening Amazing Facts will be conducting a revival with 3-Angels Broadcasting at the Chattanooga Convention Center. We're hoping that those of you who are able will come and support these meetings that will be broadcast live around the country and the world.
Let me give you a little background. We're planning on doing another net program. I hesitate saying the because we're in the midst of one now. I know that it's concluding soon. In March of 2005, Amazing Facts. Is going to doing the Net-2005 meeting. The title for it is: The Prophecy Code. It's going to be the final events of Bible Prophecy. We haven't said much about that, but we've been planning with the leaders of the church for some time, and as we discuss this and have talked to different people at camp meetings, one of the common things I hear everyone say is, "Almost as much as an evangelistic meeting or another net program, we really need revival in the church." So much that we do is focused on outreach, and of course your messages are tailored a little differently when you are trying to reach a secular world tahn when you're speaking to the church. But there really is a desperate need in the church. The world is not without an effect on our spiritual relationship with Jesus. I'm a pastor. I'm exposed to a lot of the struggles that are represented in the families of our people, and I travel all over the world. As a matter of fact, in the last month I've been on the other side of the world and back. Praying preaching, talking to our church family. And there is an urgent need for revival.
I remember reading in the Spirit of Prophecy where a promise or prediction is made that prior to the Second Coming that there will be a revival among God's people, a primitive Godliness. And there will also be a counterfeit. And I think we're seeing some of that.
I want you to know that I don't think, I'm not presumptuous to think that Amazing Facts and 3-ABN could schedule when a revival is going to happen. That's God's business, that's the Holy Spirit. But I do believe the Bible tells us that we can choose to pick a time to pray. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, that familiar verse, Solomon was dedicating the temple and he said, "If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray Se we can choose to do that. and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." And that's all we're doing friends. We're going to pick a time when we can come together to humble ourselves, to seek His face, confess our sins and ask for revival. I believe if we do that, that God will answer His part. He says that if you do this, I'll do this. And so, that's what this is all about.
I don't know if you have ever longed for that first love experience. I'd surmise that there are people in the church that have never felt that they've been converted. And this is an opportunity for them. So, if you're in the area, then you can come to the convention center. I hope you do. Be praying for these meetings. Also pray for the net program that will begin next March.
How many of you participated in the Net 99 or Millennium of Prophecy? Or you've seen them on TV? Will you give me another chance? Pray for that series. Please pray for these meetings and I hope that you'll come.
It's hard for me to preach the same sermon back to back. I've never done very well at that because I just heard that one just a few minutes ago. [We have two church services and normally the preacher preaches the same sermon for both services.] Whenever I preach, I usually preach to myself. So, I want to make sure I'm excited, or you won't be. During the special music I turned to this passage and felt impressed to talk about it.
Turn with me in your Bibles to Mark 5. I'd like to talk about touching Jesus. Touching Jesus. Mark 5:25 tells this poignant story about a certain woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years. And she suffered many things from many physicians, and she had but wasn't any better, but rather grew worse. Now, I just came back from a medical convention in Gatlinburg. I notice that when Luke tells this story that he leaves the part about the physicians out.
But this woman had a very embarrassing malady that not only spent her strength, it drained her resources, And according to the laws in the Bible, it rendered her unclean. She was not allowed to go to the temple to worship. She may have been a woman of means. It seems to indicate she had no family. You can understand having this kind of a prolonged illness could a problem. She suffered many things from many physicians. She had gone to men and they may have been sincere, very good physicians, but they weren't able to help her. They may have recommended a variety of treatments; some could have been painful, others humiliating, and she spent a lot of money on the treatments.
I have a friend that took her car to the mechanic to find out why it stopped running. After doing an investigation, he called and he said, "It ran out of gas, but I'm going to have to charge you fifty dollars for being stupid." Even some physicians will say, "I'll do the best I can, and even if it doesn't heal you, you still get the bill."
She suffered much. And she spent all. And she didn't get better, but she got worse. Twelve years of being drained is what this amounts to.
But she heard about Jesus. Everything starts to change. She heard a word about Jesus. Somewhere, somebody was talking about Jesus and she heard. Maybe she heard about one of His miracles or one of His parables, but her heart was stirred. She heard that everybody that came to Jesus was healed. You know that the good news in the Bible is that nobody ever came to Jesus and the problem was turned away. I can't find an account of it. There are a few who turned away from Jesus, but didn't turn anybody away. Even the thief on the cross, when Jesus' hands were nailed to the tree, they couldn't keep Him from saving. That's good news. We forget that.
She heard about Jesus and something inside sparked and she thought, "If I could go to Him, If I could talk to Him and explain my problems." Maybe she was hoping for a private audience because, you know, people could come and maybe confess that they had leprosy and some people's problems were obvious. Even Bartimaeus: Jesus said, "What do you need?" "Lord, I'm blind." But he had to ask what he wanted. This woman didn't want to discuss it, but she thought, "If I could go to Him I believe He could help me."
She heard about Jesus. Someone was talking about Him. And evidently the Lord was passing by. Now, in order to get the whole picture, you have to back up to Mark 5:21-23. After Jesus has this experience where He cast the demons out of the Demoniac and he comes across the lake, the first thing that happens is the contingent meets Him. And it says there is a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. This was while He was by the sea. Behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, that she might be healed, and she will live."
Again He's on His way. So, Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.
Now, you see what's going on. The Lord is on His way somewhere when all of a sudden we hear about this woman. He's going from point A to point B, but something happens in between. He's on His way to touch a little girl that is dying. And this woman who had heard about Jesus finds out that he is going by. But twice it's mentioned: "a great multitude and they thronged Him." Now I want you to picture this. It's after Jesus multiplied the bread, and He has performed a number of miracles, and the crowds are gathering. This is the zenith of His ministry. And as He is going up the street, His twelve disciples probably have little earpieces in their ears and black sunglasses and they look like CIA as the President is shaking hands. They're trying to serve as bodyguards, but they can't help Him because it's something like what happens at one of these soccer stadium stampedes where the wave of people behind just press in and squash you on every side. Do you have the picture? The word used is "thronged." The great multitude pressed. What that tells me is Jesus was touching a whole lot of people that day. But that's not recorded because it was a different kind of touch.
She heard about Jesus. She came behind Him in the crowd. Not even where He could see her. Maybe she wanted to have a private audience, but that was hopeless. She came from behind in the crowd.
You know, I've read a number of stories in the Bible where a truth has jumped out at me that I think is worthy of note. Very often there are people who want to get to Jesus, but there is a problem. The problem is the crowd. More specifically, the crowd around Jesus. I want you to notice that it is often a religious crowd around Jesus that gets in the way. Bartimaeus said, "Son of David, have mercy on me." And the crowd said, "Be quiet!" But he cried out louder and he got through the crowd. Mark 2 there was a paralyzed man that wanted to go Jesus. He even managed to rope his friends into carrying him but they got there late and the crowd blocked the door, they blocked the window. They could have turned away but they got above the crowd: they had to get him into the presence of Jesus. What kind of crowd was in the house that day? What religious crowd? Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. What was the problem? The problem wasn't his size. The problem was the crowd. Would his size be a problem if the crowd was not there? No! What kind of a crowd was there? Well the bible tells us there were religious leaders, scribes and Pharisees, the disciples. They were obstructing the view of Jesus. It was the crowd who called, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" That could have been the same religious crowd who were calling, "Hosanna to the Son of David."
I'll submit to you that I think the greatest obstacle to Christianity is those who claim to be Christians. The first time I came to an Adventist church I did not go back for some time. I'm not trying to e critical, I'm just telling you the truth. I was so thrilled with the Adventist message. I read about the message before I ever stepped foot in an Adventist church. I think I knew the Adventist message better than the average Seventh-day Adventist and I had never gone to the Adventist church and I was so excited about the message and I came to the church and people seemed so blas‚ and indifferent about the message they had that it was some time before I went back. Praise the Lord, He had to bring me out to the woods in this little town out in the middle of nowhere where I ran into a church that was largely an aging church, but they were excited about the message. And that's where the Lord put me.
The crowd gets in the way. How many times have you heard someone say, "I would be a Christian, but so-and-so did this to me." You visit people. When you're past, they stop going to church. You wonder why. Do you know what the number one answer is? It sounds like the words to a country song: "someone dun me wrong." And it's not the people in the world: they are usually offended or hurt by somebody in the church. This sermon isn't going to stop that from happening. I'm just hoping that those who are looking for somebody as an excuse to stop going to church, the devil will make sure they find the excuse because he's always got his agents mixed up among the sheep. For those of you who are sincere, pray to God that you will not be an obstacle, that you are not part of that crowd that gets in the way.
She wanted to see Jesus. Maybe she wanted Jesus to reach out and touch her, but there wasn't even time for that. As she saw that he was getting away, in her desperation she had reached the bottom. She had been humiliated. She had been in pain. She was bankrupt. She was exhausted of of all human hope.
She lunged through the crowd between this cage of legs she may have seen, probably being trampled and she just managed to get a fleeting grip on the hem of His garment. But that robe of Christ has great power. And you know, the good news is that the same power the robe had back then, it has today. And the same way she got a hold of the robe, you can get a hold of it today. It wasn't the linen or cotton fabric, it's a symbol of His righteousness that she got hold of.
The amazing thing is that she reaches out and says within herself: . . .she touched His garment: for she said, "If I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." Mark 5:27,28. Does that sound like doubt or faith? She reached out and she touched Him in faith.
You know, many people were healed by the touch of Jesus. Usually He touched them. Here in this case, she touched Him.
You know, I'm troubled sometimes you read stories in the Bible where they would take a handkerchief from Paul or Peter and they would bring it to people, or other would stand in the street and hope that the shadow of one of the apostles would pass over them and they were healed. Before I became a Seventh-day Adventist I went to charismatic churches and I would meet people who were absolutely sincere because the would say, "I went to this service, I was sick, I prayed, and god healed me." How can you tell me there's something wrong with their theology? God healed me in that church.
I sat down a few weeks ago with a former Seventh-day Adventist minister. We had a nice lunch together. I didn't say anything to challenge his beliefs, but he offered it. He said, "Well I know what the Seventh-day Adventist church teaches. I used to be a pastor, but my mother was gravely ill, and she went to a charismatic service and she was healed. I just wanted to go to a church that had that power. I thought, how sad, because friends, Jesus never said "It's My faith that makes you whole," He said, "It's your faith that makes you whole." There are people who went to Jimmy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert's churches and God healed them there because of their faith in God and it had nothing to do with the preacher, it didn't even have anything to do with their theology. Jesus healed people. He said, "Your faith has med you whole."
So, when people come to the Lord and are healed, we try to ricochet the credits somewhere else and we get all mixed up. God can heal you wherever you are. He can talk through a donkey; that doesn't endorse the truth. God can do anything He wants.
This woman reached out in faith and she was healed. Matter of fact, often Jesus, when He healed people, He would clarify that; He'd say, "Go in peace, your faith has made you whole. She reached out I faith. This gets very interesting. And immediately. . . Mark 5:28,29. ". . .If I might touch His clothes, I will be made well." Immediately the fountain of her blood stanched, dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction..
First of all, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I'm not trying to be critical, we are a very cerebral church. We think it is an information-based message, and that's good. That's where it should start. There are other churches that are very kinesthetic, touchy-feely churches. I'm a more cerebral person. When I first began to pastor Sacramento Central we had a lot of huggy- touchy people there. They always wanted to hug the pastor at the door and they could feel me just stiffen up. I'm just not a touchy-feely person. I'm working on it. For a while they had a hu- Doug campaign when I first got to that church. I went to charismatic churches and one of the things that attracted me before I became a Seventh-day Adventist was they were all so touchy- feely-huggie emotion. Everything was feeling, felling feeling.
We sometimes think because we believe it's important to have faith, and faith must be based on logic and understanding, and we forget that feeling is not all a bad thing. But getting them mixed up is where we get into trouble. She had faith first, then she had feeling. And if you believe that God forgives your sins, you will start feeling better. You'll have joy. But you need to have faith first. And because she touched in faith, she felt differently.
Are you going to tell me that when Naaman came out of the water afet having leprosy, an advanced case, and his skin is restored to the skin of a little baby he didn't feel something? Maybe he was missing digits and they started to pop back into place. Don't you think he felt that? Of course he felt something. People that Jesus healed, they felt something. But they came with faith first.
Immediately her blood was dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed. And Jesus immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?"
And the disciples looked at Him indignantly like He's been out in the sun too long. Mark 5:31. But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?' They probably thought He had low blood sugar, He's been ministering too long, He needs a break. Can you picture that? Just getting pushed and squashed on every side so He's almost lifted right off the ground, and then He says, "Who touched Me?" It must have sounded like a mad thing to say. Thousands were touching Him. And they got no benefit. You know why? It was a different kind of touch.
When I was dating my wife, I had been a bachelor before. But I was doing evangelistic meetings. And you shake a lot of hands and touch a lot of people. I remember when Karen, when I first started dating her we were driving somewhere and we must have gotten to the place in our relationship where she felt casual enough to put her hand behind my neck and to just tickle my neck. I almost ran off the road. It was a different kind of touch. It was a touch of love and affection and it was different.
You know, a lot of people like the crowd that day touch Jesus, they go to church, they are very close, and they leave, and they don't know they touched Him because they don't reach out in faith. And the person right next to you can have their life transformed and you won't feel anything.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit left Samson and he didn't even know it. Sometimes we're oblivious to what God is doing all around us. Jesus knew. She had reached out differently. "Who touched Me?"
But the disciples said, "What are you seeing?" He ignored them and looked around to see who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, she thought, "Maybe I've taken some power I was not supposed to have." And so she's not going to run off. Fearing and trembling, "Maybe this thing will be reversed. Maybe I was supposed to get permission first. That would be awful." Can you imagine having the healing taken away? Mark 5:33,34. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.
And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace , and be healed of your affliction." "you've reached out and touched Me in faith. Now I endorse it by saying, 'Be healed. Let it remain. Stay healed.'"
You know, that's one way you often tell the genuine healing of God and some of the temporary healing that might be psychosomatic that people experience in a frenzy, in an evangelistic meeting or one of these healing services. Some people might feel some placebo effect for a while, but it doesn't last. I used to go to these services. People throw away their crutches and throw away their wheel chairs and their glasses and they really do feel better. Check on them three days later.
What she was feeling was not just a feeling, He said, "Be healed." It stayed. Just like when He said, "Let there be light." It stayed. It was creative power. "Be healed of your affliction." His word confirmed what her faith had found.
While He's still speaking, remember he's on His way to the house of Jairus to heal this girl that is very ill. I can picture Jairus is there in the crowd as Jesus stops to have this dialogue with this woman and he's urging Jesus on. "She's unclean anyway. Let's go." He means well, but they're trying to usher Jesus on as yearning for his daughter who is dying. Time is of the essence.
And right then some messengers come. What happened? Why, had He stopped for that woman. Mark 5:35, 36. While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, "You daughter is dead.. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" You know, it's no trouble for Jesus, is it. As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not be afraid; only believe." Before Jairus could lose faith, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Don't be afraid. Don't let this destroy your faith. You came to me for help. Don't let their word destroy your faith that I can help."
Sometimes God is planning on answering your prayer, and the devil is trying to destroy your faith and the answer half-way. The evidence will seem like it's hopeless. Don't give up. Only believe. Again, he's saying, "Have faith."
And now He permits noone to follow Him except Peter, James and John. He tells the crowd to stay.
I also think I should jump back to the point after Jesus healed that woman, he could have let her go, but he wanted her to give a testimony. You know, when God had done something great for you, don't slink away. Tell others what God has done for you. When Jesus cast the demons out of that man He said, "You go, tell what great things God has done for you."
And so He tells the unbelieving people to stay behind. He brings with Him, Peter, James and John. He arrests the growing doubt of the father, comes to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and He sees a tumult. Evidently it was some distance, and in the time when the girl died to the time when Jesus died, they had already brought the hired mourners who are making a pitiful wailing sound. I have heard some of the mourning and music of the east. He gets there and they're already deep into all of the trappings of death. They probably have the servants that are ready to embalm her body, and Jesus gets there just before that procedure. They wept and wailed loudly.
Mark5:39cf. And when He came in, He said to them, "Why make all this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping."
And they laughed Him to scorn. In other words, these hired mourners are thinking, "You're out of your mind. We know she's dead. We've seen her body. She's blue, she' cold. She's not breathing." And she was dead.
It's interesting that Jesus often referred to death as a sleep. And yet, other people in other churches doubt that.
And He put them all out. Why did He put them out? They didn't believe. He took the father and mother, who were desperate to believe, and those who were with them (meaning Peter, James and John) and entered where the child was lying. How many is that? Peter ames and John, 3; Jesus, 4; father and mother, 5,6, and the girl. There were seven. And when He went in, He sent everybody else out.
And He went in where the child was lying and He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha, cumi," which is translated, "Little girl, I say to you, arise."
Immediately the little girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age.
Now we have two examples of faith involved here. The first is about a person being healed because she had faith, she believed that if she could just touch Jesus in any way, she would be healed. And she was. By her faith in Jesus, she was healed.
The other is entirely different. It wasn't the sick person who asked for Jesus' healing power, but her father is the one that had the faith. The little girl couldn't have shown any faith, she was asleep, dead. She couldn't show any faith at all. She was dead.
Jairus was one of the rulers of the synagogue. He was probably a Rabbi, one of the learned men of the synagogue. When he met Jesus by the sea, he had faith that Jesus would be able to heal his daughter, but she wasn't with him. She was home, sick in bed. But now, the servants had told him that his daughter was no longer alive, but dead. "Why trouble the Teacher any further?
But Jesus told him, "Do not be afraid; only believe." You had faith, hold onto that. And so they continued toward Jairus' home.
What could have gone on in Jairus' mind? Is there really hope that my daughter can be restored to health? Can Jesus really do this for me? And he stayed close to Jesus, this man who had no reason to hope for his daughter.
When they got to the house, the mourning processes wer already underway. The hired mourners were hard at it, and Jesus said to them, "Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping." Jairus must have had some hope, some faith when Jesus said that. And when the little girl arose and walked, the parents were overcome with great amazement. Their faith had made their daughter whole
And Jesus asked that they not tell anybody what had happened. He had already told the people outside that the girl was asleep. But the parents knew. And so did Peter, James and John.
Faith. We have so many examples of faith rewarded in the gospels. Today, do we have that kind of faith, Can we, in our busy rushed lives, believe, trust and have faith in our Savior like these did? May the lord help each of to daily depend on Jesus.
I think Jesus is coming soon. And the world needs to hear. And the church desperately needs to know what it means to be real Christians, to have the faith and the feeling, and to be filled with that new life, to be reaching out in faith and touching Christ's robe and have His righteousness, and to be feeding on the Word.
Is that what you want friends? Would you like that experience?
Hymn of Praise: #73, Holy, Holy, Holy Scripture: Luke 15:17-19 Hymn of Response: #291, We Have Not Know Thee
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last updated November 5, 2004 by Bob Beckett.