Miracles and Lessons Repeated (Matthew Sermon 73 of 151)
April 01, 2007 | Andrew Davis
Internal Journey, Jesus Christ
In 1920, a 14-year-old farm boy in Utah was plowing a field back and forth. He went over the furrows again and again. Every time he passed by, the furrow got a little deeper. He'd done this many times before. He's a farm boy. But he's also a genius whose hobby was electronics. His name was Philo Farnsworth. As he went back and forth in these furrows, he got an idea, and out of that idea came television. It works in the same way that he was plowing that field. Repetition, endless repetitions. The stream of electrons hits these phosphorus-coated glass. As soon as it hits and it moves on, it starts to fade. Then the stream comes back and refreshes it and then it starts to fade again. Is that like you? The stream of the word of God hitting you, and as soon as it moves on, it starts to fade. Sometimes quickly. We can be forgetful hearers of the word and not doers. We can read something in the Scripture, and as soon as we put the Bible up, it starts to fade quickly and we need a refresher course. Again and again and again, we need to be refreshed in the word of God.
The Importance of Repetition & Reminding
That's the best sense I can make of why there are two feeding accounts so close to each other in Matthew's Gospel. As a verse-by-verse expository, I'm thinking, "What am I going to do with the feeding of the 4,000 that I didn't do quite recently with the feeding of the 5,000?" You may be wondering the same thing. But what struck me is how God felt we needed it again and again and again and again. For this is the way we are, we forget and we need endless refreshment. We build up habit patterns for good or ill. It either moves us toward God and righteousness or it moves us away from Him towards sin and death. But these habit patterns are built up, it's the way that God designed us.
Someone once put it this way, "Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. If you sow a character, you'll reap a destiny." Every day you're taking a step toward heaven or hell, taking a step toward a righteous character or one that's unrighteous by what you choose to do by repetition, endless repetition. The Lord means to use this mechanism to use this tendency of the human soul for good. He means that we subject our minds to the word of God again and again, that we be refreshed and we be reminded of how powerful Jesus is. We could read again about Jesus's healing ministry and read again about his feeding ministry. We need this repetition.
The repetition is there. I've already mentioned that just back one chapter in Matthew 14, we have the feeding of the 5,000, five thousand men plus women and children fed with five loaves and two fish and they collected 12 basket fulls. This time, we have the feeding of 4,000 men plus women and children with seven loaves and a few small fish and seven large basket fulls of broken pieces collected. It seems very much like the same thing. Some have wondered if it's a lesser miracle feeding fewer people with more loaves, but I think not. Try to do either one and you'll see, either way, it's a great display of power to those of you that are mathematically oriented and you want to try to figure out the mathematics of a miracle. It's no less miracle. The question is, why are there two? And it's not just two. There's actually six miraculous feeding accounts. Because the feeding of the 5,000 is in each of the synoptic Gospels plus John and the feeding of the 4,000 is in both Matthew and Mark. So that's six miraculous feeding accounts.
Why so many? In everyday life, we have these rhythms of repetition, the rhythms of life endlessly repeated. Is there any rhyme or reason? Is there any purpose to it? The Book of Ecclesiastes wrestles with this. In Ecclesiastes 1:5-7, it says, "The sun rises, the sun also sets and hurries back to where it rises again. The wind blows to the south and it turns toward the north, round and round it goes, ever returning to its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full, to the place the streams come from, there they return again." So that's the rhythms of repetition in nature.
We have the same thing in our everyday life. You have your rituals for breakfast, your rituals for lunch, rituals for dinner, rituals in your family life. I remember early in our marriage when we didn't have a dishwasher. I've never forgotten to be thankful for the dishwasher because I remember the years that we didn't have one. And so I was thankful for that. But I remember I held up a dish, I forget what it was, a bowl, a glass. How many times have I washed this dish in the last year? The endlessly repeated rituals of life, washing this dish again and again.
Young children especially thrive on rhythms of repetition of rituals. I noticed that when I put little Daphne to bed, she's 18 months old, and when I put her to bed, I lay her on the back and she immediately starts sucking her thumb. She pulls her special blanket up toward herself and the hem is there. She works her way to the corner of the hem and puts the corner right near her cheek every single time. It's funny though, we're not much different than that. We have our own rhythms, our own habit patterns and we refresh them again and again every time that we do it. And so the Lord has taken this mechanism that He's built into the human personality and He's using it for good in sanctification. That we would use the repetition to build ourselves up in godliness.
The most important repeated habit of the Christian life is Bible intake, that you would take the Scripture in again and again and again, that you would feed on it, that you would be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you would take in the word of God, that you would read those familiar stories again and again. The call of Abraham, of Abram from Ur of the Chaldees, the sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah, Jacob's ladder and the angels ascending and descending, and the birth of Moses and how he is put in that basket and made to float in the Nile River and then his call at the burning bush. All of these are very familiar stories. You've read them before. There's always something new to be learned though and we're always in a little bit different place in our lives when we come to those stories. But they need to be refreshed, they need to be familiar. I think it's wise to try to read through the Bible in a year, every year to keep reading the Bible and taking it in. George Mueller is my hero in this regard. He did it 100 times in his life. If you think there's nothing much to that, you ought to try it sometime. That's going through the Bible about every six months. That's an incredible pace and to keep that up for 50 years which he did is remarkable. But how many times did he read this feeding of the 4,000? Again and again he read it. The repetition is essential to our salvation. Some lessons have to be repeated endlessly until we learn. That's how we learn to be sinners. We did it, then did it again, then we did it again and then again and again until we became sinners like that. Habits of complaining or selfishness or conflicts or other things, we just do it through repetition. We learn how to do it.
In the same manner, God intends that we present our bodies to Him as servants of righteousness, the members of our bodies again and again, day after day to serve Him in patterns of righteousness. We must be reminded again and again. We need to hear the same things again and again. The Holy Spirit has been given to us for that very purpose. It's one of His main ministries, the ministry of reminding. In John 14:26, Jesus said this of the Holy Spirit, "The counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." The ministry of reminding.
The Apostle Paul had a very strong ministry of reminding. In Philippians 3:1, he says, "Finally my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again and it is a safeguard for you." What's a safeguard? The repetition of a simple message like, “Rejoice in the Lord.” But he's not done. In Chapter 4, Verse 4, he says, "Rejoice in the Lord always." "Okay, we got it. It's twice now he said it." Oh, he's not done yet. "Again I say, rejoice." It's the endless repetition. We need it. How much more for something like the basic facts of the Gospel? Every year, we have Holy Week, we have Palm Sunday, we have Good Friday, the focus on the death of Christ. We have Easter Sunday. We celebrate the resurrection of Christ which we do year-round, but we focus on it because these patterns help us to remember the basic facts of the Gospel.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, he said, "Now brothers, I want to remind you of the Gospel I preach to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. For what I received I passed on to as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, that He was buried, that He was raised to life on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter and then to the twelve.You know these things, it's not the first time you've heard it.” Why does he say it again? Because we need to be reminded. Jesus died on the cross for sins. Jesus was buried and Jesus was raised to life on the third day. These are the facts of the Gospel. As Paul is training Timothy to be a good pastor, he says in 2 Timothy 2:14, "Keep reminding them of these things." In 1 Timothy 4, Paul says, "If you keep reminding, you'll be a good pastor and you'll save both yourself and your hearers." It's the ministry of reminding.
Peter had a ministry of reminding as well. In 2 Peter 1:12 and following, he says, "So I'll always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body because I know that I will soon put it aside as our Lord Jesus Christ is made clear to me. And I'll make every effort to see that after my departure, you will always be able to remember these things." It's repetition, friends. It's repetition. We forget quickly and we need to be reminded. Therefore we need to refresh our memories on basic doctrine. We need to read through the Bible consistently. We need to memorize Scripture. The endless repetition of the verses we’re memorizing helps us. It transforms your life by renewing your mind.
As you go through familiar experiences, you need to ask, "Lord, I've been through this before. Is there something you're trying to teach me here?" I remember for a stretch of time, I was in the habit of misplacing my wallet. It just annoyed me. You know how what a big deal that is? You got your credit cards and your driver's license and all kinds of things in there. They're very difficult to replace. As soon as I would note that it was misplaced, I would kind of forget that there was a sovereign God for a little while. I would. I would become very difficult to be around as I single-mindedly tried to find that wallet. I went through this again and again. Then the Lord would answer my prayers and the prayers of many, and the wallet would be replaced. Then I would feel ashamed, and I would determine about the next time that I misplace my wallet, “Lord, I'm going to do better. I'm going to trust you more. I'm not going to get frustrated. I'm going to wait on you. I'm going to ask that you replace this in your good time. What lesson you're trying to teach me by this repeated thing?”
We need to do repetition with each other. We need to tell each other things more than we do. Remember hearing about a surly husband who said, "I told you," to his wife. "I told you, the day I married you that I love you. And if anything changes, I'll let you know." You've heard that before. My feeling is, that's a recipe for a bad marriage. There needs to be constant repetition of, “I love you, I'm glad that God brought you in my life. I'm glad you're my husband, my wife. I'm glad you're my kids. I'm glad you're here.” You have to say these things. You have to repeat them. We have to repeat other things to each other. We have to remind each other about basic things, that there is a sovereign God, He sits on His throne, He is good and loving and wise, and He is ruling over all things for our good. He is working out a magnificent salvation plan that ends in heaven and earth, a new heaven and new earth.
We have to remind ourselves that Jesus died on the cross for us, that His blood was shed in our place, that God didn't leave Him there in the grave, and on the third day, He raised Him to life. Speak these words to each other. We're told in 1 Thessalonians 4 to remind each other about the second coming of Christ. Therefore, encourage one another with these words, “Jesus is coming back in the clouds and we're going to be gathered together and with all the dear departed and the Lord. They're going to meet the Lord up in the air. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” We need to refresh each other's memories.
For me as a pastor, verse-by-verse exposition helps me to go over some of the things that otherwise I might skip. I wouldn't choose to give you another feeding account or healing account. I think you'd had enough, but the Lord ordains it. So we have these two feeding accounts and another account of Jesus's wonder-working healing ministry. Let’s look at that. After Jesus heals, it says in verses 29 through 31 that, “Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountain side and sat down and great crowds came to him bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and laid them at his feet and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing, and they praised the God of Israel.” So we see the location, that he was in a Gentile region. He had healed a woman who when Jesus said, “It's not right to take the children's bread and throw it to their dogs,” she said, “ Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table.” Jesus said "Woman, you have great faith, your daughter is healed, your request is granted." Matthew Henry, in his commentary, said now that he's “let a crumb fall from the table”, He turns back to the children and feeds them. That's a beautiful image from Matthew Henry. Jesus spends actually very little time in the Gentile regions. He goes along the Sea of Galilee. That's his home base, already greatly blessed by the Lord. But there's more work to be done and a huge crowd is following.
Jesus’ Healing Ministry
There's always a big crush of people around Jesus, and it's mostly because of his healing ministry. I'm convinced that it's the healings more than anything that made a huge crush of people. He goes up on a mountain side and sits down. There's a desolate region, there's nothing happening there, no life, but Jesus consecrates it by His presence and by His power. Perhaps He sat down on a boulder or a rock or something like that and it became temporarily a throne of sovereign grace, or the greatest hospital that there's ever been in the history of the world. They bring this huge crowds of sick people, and lay them at Jesus' feet. He has the most effective healing ministry, more effective than the Mayo Clinic or any of the metropolitan hospitals in New York or Paris, or London, or any great city of the world. This was the greatest hospital in history. Isn't it amazing how a scrubby little place on the Earth can be sanctified by the presence of God and by the working of God? Jesus is there, and we see the volume of miracles, look at verse 30. Great crowds came to Him, 10,000, 15,000 people, I don't know how many, 4000 men plus women and children, no idea, but huge numbers were coming. And Jesus' power there is lavish, it's full, completely equal to the task. He's no less powerful after three days of healing than He was at the beginning, He could have done three more days. But notice that it takes three days, it's quite remarkable. Why did it take three days to heal all of these people? I think it's because Jesus wanted a personal encounter with them, He wanted to touch them, talk to them about their souls perhaps, say something, pray for them, do something, there's such a variety of Jesus' healings. He wants a personal encounter. Let's never forget that Jesus is Almighty God in the flesh. He could have banished illness from Palestine with a single word for three years if He had wanted to, and no one would even know why they were healed, they just suddenly were healed, He could have done that. He could have banished illness from the whole world, if He wanted to. He is not choosing to do that, He has no lack of power. What He wants is a somewhat inefficient process where He's dealing with each individual sinner, and it took three days.
Look at the variety of the healings, the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, what a varied wreck sin has made of the human body. Meditate on that. There is not a bodily function, there's not a member of the body, not an organ, not a part of the body that is not somehow in some part of the world, afflicted by disease or sin. You ask any physician, is there a part of the body that makes it through unscathed, in the human race? There is none. There's nothing that hits fingernails. Yes, there is. There are funguses that'll attack them and make them change color, and they'll fall out. There's nothing that attacks eyelids. Yes, there is. There's a parasite that causes a malady called trichiasis which causes the eyelids to turn in, and then the eyelashes abrade the cornea and you go blind, what torture it must be to have all your eyelashes scrubbing the surface of your eyes every time you blink. Who would have thought of that? The liver, the heart, the lungs, circulatory system, the immune system. Everything's fair game, everything's been attacked, not just by one disease but by multiple diseases. What a varied wreck sin had made of the human body. Jesus healed them all, He healed them all without any diagnostic tools or processes. There's no CAT scan, there's no X-ray, there's no blood test, there's no cultures being taken. He just heals them perfectly, the power of Christ.
Now, you may be wondering and some have asked, "Why don't these kinds of healings go on today?" I'm not standing here saying there are no miracles, today, I'm not saying there's no healings today, I'm saying, why not this kind of ministry? If this kind of ministry were going on with someone, somewhere in the world, you would know about it. Great crowds were coming to Jesus. So I meditated on this and I thought about the wisdom of God in all of it. Suppose God blessed me with the ability to cure diabetes perfectly? All I have to do is put my hand on someone's head and pray for them for five seconds and they'll be definitely cured of diabetes. Do you realize how that would change my life? Think about it. Suppose I did it for 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Do you realize it might actually change your life, you might not get a parking place here. As a matter of fact, you might have a hard time getting into Durham. They are 250 million diabetes sufferers in the world. Do you think the word would get out that there was a cure in Durham, North Carolina? Do you think they'd come? They'd come, 20 hours a day. There are 250 million diabetes sufferers now. By the year 2025, in 18 years, there'll be 360 million diabetes sufferers, they project. So I calculated out. You know it's my mathematical side. I figured, okay, how many can I do in a year, 20 hours a day, five seconds each. I calculate in 18 years I could do 95 million people. In that time, there'd be 130 million new diabetes sufferers. I'm not even keeping pace with this one disease. And what about cancer, what about AIDS, what about emphysema, what about all the others? It is not God's purpose to banish illness from the face of the earth. Jesus' miracles were meant to be what they're called in the New Testament, signs pointing to something. You're driving to a city and it tells you 130 miles to Washington DC, that's your destination. It's going to take a little more than two hours to get there. There's a sign that tells you where we're heading. We're heading toward a kingdom where there'll be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, where God's sovereign power will banish it forever. Where you will have a resurrection body and not afflicted in any way, for even the great miracles of Jesus were undone after He performed them. Every single one of them, the feedings first. He feeds people, and the next day, guess what, they're hungry. The next day. Jesus drives out demons, he says, "You know what happens when a demon goes out of a person, it goes to arid places seeking rest doesn't find it, guess what it thinks. I think I'll go back where I started. And when it goes back and finds a place unoccupied, swept clean and put in order, and it says, “I know what I'll do, I'll take seven of my demon friends and we'll go and live there.” And the last is worse than the first, that's how it will be with this generation," said Jesus. “When I go and ascend to the Father, Palestine will be worse off than if I had never come. The demons are coming back, and they're coming back with a vengeance.”
This is the greatest miracle working ministry in history, and it was just temporary. All of the eyes, the blind eyes that Jesus healed, they're now blind through death. All the paralyzed limbs, they're not moving through death. Lazarus, raised from the dead on the fourth day, but he is dead now. These were all meant to be signs. So, if God granted me that ability to heal diabetes it wouldn't change a single thing for the people that came. They might suffer from some other disease as well, but I couldn't help them. But suppose I said,"You know, we actually can cure all diseases including AIDS. We can cure permanently, and perfectly, and we can point to a way that you will never get sick again, that you will never die again, that you will be eternally perpetually happy in the very presence of God and you don't have to go to just one practitioner, you can go to any Christian who knows the gospel, and they'll tell you how. Simply hear that Jesus suffered on the cross, that his blood was shed for you, that God's wrath is thereby averted if you'll simply believe in the Gospel. Not any good works, just believe and you can be permanently healed of everything for eternity. There's plenty of places to sit here, no trouble finding parking.”
But try to get people to come and listen. Isn't it amazing? Such healing is available here and now today. You may be here listening to me and you're not a Christian. You may even have some kind of pain or illness or something. I cannot offer that kind of healing, but I can promise you a far better healing. I can promise that if you simply believe in Jesus, that you'll spend eternity with him in heaven, if you simply repent and believe the good news, that I can promise you. Simply trust in Jesus, that's the power that these miracles are pointing toward, a permanent healing, a permanent feeding in heaven, that's what he's pointing toward. Look at the result, verse 31, "The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing and they praised the God of Israel.”
This is Christ's ultimate goal. He means to make you an eternal happy worshipper of God. He wants to make you happy in His presence, at His right hand forever and ever, that you might worship Him, that you'll be filled up fully with the goodness of God, and that you would flow over and praise the God of Israel. That's what He wants and this is what He intends. This is wonder, leading to worship that is eternal. Christ's true healing ministry was to the human heart and soul. That's his healing ministry.
Jesus’ Feeding Ministry
Look, also at his compassionate feedings. It's the same thing, it's pointing toward an eternal feeding that He wants to give us in the new heaven and new earth. Verses 32-39 gives us the account. First we have Christ's pity declared [verse 32]. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people. They've already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry or they make collapse on the way." Do you know that compassion is the number one most frequent emotion stated of Jesus. Usually the gospel writers speak of Jesus in this way: “Jesus had compassion on them and healed them or moved with compassion, He reached out his hand and touched the man.” "I'm willing," He said, "Be clean.” But this time, Jesus says it about himself. It's one of the few times that Jesus actually describes himself or his feelings. "I have compassion on these people," He says. Why so great an emphasis on compassion? I think we have a misunderstanding of the sovereign God. We think that God in his sovereignty, in his plan, just kind of grinds on fine like that... Like a mindless machine, doing whatever it does. God spinning the planets, and the universe and doing what He does and He is disconnected from what we are going through. It is not the case. He is great enough to spin the planets and to care about whatever it is you're going through. "I have compassion for these people," said Jesus.
We see also Christ's priorities discovered. "They've been with me for three days and have nothing to eat. I think it's time to feed them." Three days. What about three meals a day? We've missed eight meals now. Note Jesus' priorities. We've seen it before, the teaching ministry and then the healing ministry and then, in due time, the feeding ministry. I think all of us would acknowledge that food is too important for us. Would you acknowledge that? Maybe not admit it, not in a public place like this, but privately, you might agree that food is too important for you. If you don't think so, then try fasting for a whole day and think how often you think about food. It's amazing. Food is too important to us. For some people it's even more. The Apostle Paul says of the Philippian unbelievers, "Their God is their stomach, they live for their appetites." But Jesus said, "Do not worry about your life, what you'll eat, or drink, or about your body, what you'll wear? Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you as well.” He means that we focus on the kingdom, those are his priorities. He says, in John 6, “Do not labor for the food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
We see also Christ's forgetful disciples, "Where can we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” Have you heard that before? That was just a chapter ago. That's why we have the second feeding account. How quickly we forget. “What are we going to do, Jesus, what are we going to do?” But Jesus uses them, He calls them and says, "I have compassion on them.” He asks, "How many loaves do you have?" He gave the loaves to his disciples, and they gave them to the people. He has the disciples pick up the broken pieces, He employs them in his ministry, He employs them in his work. We are God's fellow workers with him. And yet we so quickly forget.
We see also Christ's power displayed. Look at verse 36 and following, “He took the seven loaves and the fish and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, Afterward the disciples picked up seven basket fulls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was 4000 plus women and children.” As I mentioned with the feeding of the 5000, this is a miracle of creation, creating matter out of nothing, just material that wasn't there before. And the food was ready to eat. Not the ingredients for the loaves, not the fish uncooked, but everything ready to go, ready to eat, fresh, delicious, I'm sure. Although it doesn't mention it, but think about Jesus making the wine at the wedding and how it was the highest quality. He's not going to give you stale bread. Maybe the best bread they ever ate. I don't know, but it's a miracle of something out of nothing, and I don't know how it happened. It happened when He took it in his hands and gave thanks, when He distributed it to his disciples, when He put a single loaf in the basket and by the time they moved, the basket was full. I don't have any idea. But I know that He created something out of nothing, and the people were satisfied. Look at that in verse 37, “They all ate and were satisfied.” Satisfied. When I die, I'll be satisfied with seeing His likeness. It'll be enough for me to see Jesus to be satisfied with God's resurrecting power. To be satisfied with the new heaven and new earth. It will be enough for you. You'll be satisfied. He knows how to satisfy you. Then it was a pretty homely meal, in my opinion, bread and fish. God has infinitely greater things to give you at his table. He will put his full creative powers on display in the new heaven, and the new Earth. You want to be there, you don't want to miss it. He knows how to satisfy the human heart and soul and body. He knows how to do it. These people ate, and they were satisfied, and there was extra left over. Then Christ dismissed the people [verse 39], “After Jesus had sent the crowd away, He got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.”
How do these miracles apply to our lives? The fact that 2000 years ago, Jesus could do this on a hillside in Galilee. What does that have to do with us today? First of all, these are signs of Christ's deity, so worship him and trust him. He hasn't changed at all, He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, He's the same. There are also signs of Christ's priority, so focus on the kingdom and its work, the advancement of the kingdom, not on your temporal needs or wants, desires. There are signs of Christ's procedure, so get involved in Christ's work. Say, "What do you want me to do?" When He asks, "What do you have in your hand?”, give it to him and see what He can do with it. We should be trusting and not anxious.
We should be focused on the kingdom and not on our health or on food. We should be hopeful of the future heavenly life. Fill up your minds with scriptures on what heaven and earth, the new heaven and earth will be like. Get happy in that. These are the promises of God. And be active in service.
I want to focus on four things in conclusion. First of all, on forgetfulness, do you forget? Will you remember this sermon in a year and a half? Come on, be honest. we forget sermons, we forget what we read this morning in quiet time, we forget, we forget, we forget. Don't forget.
How many times has God challenged us not to forget what he's done, the good things he's done. Remember. Luke 24, “How slow of heart you are to believe all that God has spoken to you, what he has done in your life.” Don't forget. Even worse with sin patterns when you go through a certain sin, you do it wrong, you say or do something wrong and then the Spirit convicts you and you deal quickly and lightly with the sin. “I’m sorry, Lord, please forgive me,” and you move on. Don't do that. Remember, remember what you did, remember how God has saved you, remember and confess, do a deep work, get the root out, find out what Satan did to get you to stumble. Remember, remember, remember, note what he did, so that you don't stumble again.
on temporary needs
Secondly, on temporary needs, it says that they brought all of these sick people to Jesus and laid them at his feet. What a great image. Do that, okay. Take your burdens, your problems, your health issues, your struggles, finances, whatever it is, and lay it at Jesus' feet and see what he can do. He will meet your needs. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you as well. Let him do it. Remember who He is, remember his compassion, remember his great power. Remember what He did here on this, Galilean hillside, He can do the same for you. Remember also his wisdom. If you're lingering in a trial longer than you think you should, it's his wisdom that has you there. Submit to him and let him teach you the lessons He has in mind for you.
Thirdly, on worship, let your heart be moved many times by the greatness of Jesus. We don't think highly enough of Jesus; therefore fill your mind with this account. Go back and read it again this afternoon or another, read of Jesus' resurrection of Lazarus or his healing of the man born blind. Fill your heart with things so that you can think great thoughts of Jesus. Worship and praise the God who sent him, the God who is willing to part with his own son that we might have eternal life, worship him and praise and honor your heavenly father. Fill your heart and your mind. When you come in to corporate worship, come in here ready to worship. Come in here with minds and hearts filled with Jesus, filled with his word, with his promises. Get ready to worship corporately. You have a great ministry to your brothers and sisters in Christ when they look around and they see you engaged in worship. When they see you excited about worship, singing the hymns or the songs, praying the prayers, your body into it, your face into it. Be ready to worship corporately, and the way you do that is worship God privately. Honor him, he's your Lord. Thank him for dying on the cross, stimulate your heart toward worship privately, and then you'll be ready for corporate worship.
on kingdom labor
Finally on kingdom labor. I want to remind you of the kind of year's verse that I'd like to keep in front of you this year: Luke 19:10, "The son of man came to seek and to save the lost." "The son of man came to seek and to save the lost," it's here on a banner in our church. You probably don't look at it anymore because you've seen it eight times or 12 times. That's just the way it is. Just like the television it fades, as soon as a stream goes by, it fades but the verse still stands in front of us, "The son of man came to seek and to save the lost." We are surrounded by lost people. You have within you the message of life. The only one that there is. Share the gospel this week. Invite people to come to worship. Just say, "Hey would you like to come to church with me next Sunday? I'll pick you up. We'll go to lunch afterwards and talk about it." Share the gospel. Get involved in kingdom labor. Jesus involved his disciples in the feeding of the 4000, He wants to involve us also. For He said, "As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.”