Made for More (Your Part in the Story) pt. 1
All Scripture taken from the New Living Translation
We are starting a new sermon series today. This sermon series is titled, “Made For More,” and it is designed to help us understand how we can join God in revealing His Kingdom to those around us.
All of us are in different places with our faith. Some of us are doing the stuff, and we’re almost embarrassing to our friends because wherever we go, we see opportunities to join God in revealing His Kingdom to others.
And some of us are so timid in our faith it would take a miracle of God to get us to step out of our comfort zone.
These are the “book ends” of the spiritual spectrum… And then there is the in between… And that’s where most of us are…. Somewhere in between.
I believe the in between is where we are more apt to hear God’s voice.
So, for the next several weeks, we are going to discover that we are all made for more than what we are doing.
And today we will start the series by looking at how we can play a part in the story… The story of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Let’s just jump right into it and read a story from the Gospel of Luke. Many of you may be familiar with this story…
Luke 8:40-48: On the other side of the lake, the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come home with him. His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying. As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, "Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you." But Jesus said, "Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me." When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. "Daughter," he said to her, "your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
Picture this with me. Prior to this story, Jesus was on the other side of the lake, the Sea of Galilee, and he delivers a man from demon possession… So many demons were tormenting this guy that Jesus sends them away and they enter a herd of pigs and jump off a cliff into the lake and drown…
This freaked the entire town out that they beg Jesus to go away and leave them alone. The people were more concerned with what happened than they were with the man being delivered from demon possession…
So now Jesus returns… Crowds of people are waiting for Him. And a man named Jairus, who is the leader of the local synagogue falls at His feet and pleads with Jesus to come to His house because his 12-year-old daughter is dying.
As Jesus follows Jairus to his house, crowds of people surround him… What are we talking about here, 50, 100, 200, or more people? It’s chaotic… filled with excitement and anticipation… Can you picture this scene?
Then, a lady appears with some sort of issue involving bleeding… We don’t know exactly what the issue was, but we do know she couldn’t find a cure. Some versions say she spent all her money on doctors… For twelve long years, this lady had been physically unhealthy.
This medical condition meant that she couldn’t attend the synagogue, go to the temple, or participate in any of the Jewish festivals. She had to announce her uncleanliness to those around her. She was an outcast, suffering immensely.
However, she doesn’t try to get Jesus’ attention, nor does she cry out for help. She manages to get as close as she can amidst the chaotic crowd and reaches out to touch the fringe of His robe, the hem of His garment. Immediately, she is healed!
Many sermons have been written about this story, but did you know that many people were healed just by touching Jesus’ robe? According to Matthew 14:35-36: “When the people recognized Jesus, the news of His arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. They begged Him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of His robe, and all who touched Him were healed.”
Can you imagine dealing with a severe health issue for twelve years and suddenly feeling healing come upon you? You’ve gone unnoticed until now, and suddenly you’re healed. Jesus, amidst a chaotic moment, stops everything and asks, “Who touched Me?” He says, “Someone deliberately touched Me, for I felt healing power go out from Me.”
This is a powerful moment. Shaking, she falls at Jesus’ feet and the whole crowd listens as she explains to Jesus why she touched Him. Imagine the life of humiliation she led up until this point, and in her mind, it’s probably getting worse as she explains her story.
But His response is, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
We don’t even know her name, and we don’t need to. Because Jesus just restored her dignity. He gave her back everything she lost, and in front of the entire crowd of people, she is now referred to as a daughter of the King of kings.
Some of us in this room already know where the rest of this sermon is going. All we need to do is get close enough to Jesus so we can touch His robe, and we too can receive our healing. This is true. However, that’s not our focal point today.
We live in a world where humanity is broken – hurting, lost, and confused. Like sheep without a shepherd. And all they need is to touch the robe of Jesus. But do they know this? Do they know that Jesus is what they need?
Furthermore, who is going to point them to Jesus? Essentially, we are the robe. By pointing people to Jesus, by being a people who represent Jesus, we are the ones who usher in His presence, so the lost and hurting can have the same experience as the woman in the story.
So, they can now experience the kingdom of God like the woman in the story.
Acts 5:15-16 states: “Sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.”
The power of God was so rich that healing was found in Peter’s shadow. Jesus wasn’t even physically present, yet all who came to the apostles, to the early church, looking for a touch from Jesus… All who came were healed!
Church, this could be us. This should be us. The church ushering in the Kingdom of God in a way that all who experience it are healed and delivered. We are called to be a people who are not so consumed with ourselves that we can step away from our agenda for a minute and recognize when someone is literally reaching out to touch the robe of Jesus.
So, what’s keeping us from being the people we are called to be? Could it be because some of us are just as broken as we were when we first came to Jesus?
Some of us are accepting, loving, and forgiving… Full of joy and hope, and reconciliation. And some of us are full of doubt, bitterness, and unforgiveness… Full of anger, judgment, and hurt. How do we mend our brokenness so we can be the person others see as an invitation to Jesus?
Proverbs 4:23 states: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” We are both natural and supernatural beings, and whatever is in our heart affects everyone around us.
“Well, you don’t know how bad that person hurt me. You don’t know the things that have been done to me… You don’t know how unfair life has been to me.” You’re right, I don’t know. But everyone around you are the recipients of the supernatural power that comes from within you.
We cannot hold onto past hurts and think we are going to introduce others to Jesus. When Jesus is saying, “You have a broken heart and I have been trying to bring the healing, but you will not let go of that hurt.” Everything about the kingdom of God hangs in the balance when we hold onto past hurts. Allow Jesus to bring the healing, and then guard your heart above all else.
1 Peter 5:7 states: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”
I believe that this desire is given to us by God, as it is His wish that we join Him in reconciling a broken humanity to their Creator.
Ephesians 2:10 states: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
Some of the good things He planned for us long ago include us joining God in the adventure of reconciling a broken humanity back to Him. This is how we become part of God’s story!
The Value of Money (Inspiring Short Story about Self-Worth)
At the beginning of a new school year, a class teacher stands up in front of her students holding a $100 bill. She tells them, “Put your hands up if you want this money.”
Every hand in the room goes up, to which the teacher says, “I am going to give this money to someone here, but first, let me do this.”
She takes the bill and crumples it up in her hands, before asking, “Who still wants it?”
The hands stay up.
The teacher then drops the bill on the floor, stomps and grinds it into the ground, and picks it back up. “How about now?” she asks again.
The hands stay up.
“Class, I hope you see the lesson here. It didn’t matter what I did to this money, you still wanted it because its value stayed the same. Even with its creases and dirtiness, it’s still worth $100.”
She continues, “It’s the same with us. There will be similar times in your life when you’re dropped, bruised, and muddied. Yet no matter what happens, you never lose your value.”
Moral of the story: Life’s hardships are inevitable and we’ll all be put through the ringer at some point, often through no fault of our own. Don’t let these challenges alter your feelings of self-worth. You’ll always be enough; you have something unique and special to give and offer the world.
When you’re hanging on by a thread, make sure it’s the hem of His garment.Anonymous
Please enjoy some content from some our guest contributors. Be blessed to be a blessing!