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The Power of Faith-Bartimaeus-Nov28

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The Power of Faith Series

Pursuing Jesus

The Ability to See What Others Can’t to Receive What Never Before Existed

Mark 10:46-52

1. Recognize Jesus is Near

Like Bartimaeus, You Need to Have a Fresh Encounter with Him

Something happens when Jesus is near; faith and hope, and the promise of new possibilities arise in the hearts of those who encounter Him.  Here in the story this morning, Jesus, the disciples and a large crowd were actually leaving the city of Jericho (vs. 46) and nearby sat Bartimaeus blind and begging.  The blind man heard that it was Jesus that was passing by and heading out of the city.  His window of opportunity was rapidly closing, what was he to do?  Should Jesus continue on his way, Bartimaeus would remain in the same sorry and tragic state he had spent his entire life.  Yet something was happening in the heart of this blind man – he had heard about Jesus – that by his command the deaf could hear, the dead were raised, and, yes, the blind could see.  And now for Bartimaeus, incredibly that One, the Hope of Israel, the Son of David is walking by – Jesus is near!  Tell someone around you, “You need to recognize that Jesus is near!”

Perhaps you feel like Bartimaeus felt – overlooked, forgotten about by God, mistreated by life, harshly labeled (After all, he is known as “Blind Bartimaeus”- his disability became his name!), in a constant sadness sitting and watching life streak by.  Yet, I declare to you that this same Jesus that drew near to the blind man in our text is passing by you this very day!

How do I know Jesus in near?

Jesus said this in Matthew 18:20, “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” 

Where there are people – the people of God, worshiping Him in spirit and truth, exalting Him to the highest place, there Jesus is.  The Bible declares in Psalm 22:3 that He “inhabits or is enthroned upon the praises of His people.”  I love that great worship song written by Jack Hayford, “Majesty” because it defines what this verse from Psalms means.  Where His Majesty is worshiped and exalted, kingdom authority will flow from His throne unto His own – salvation, healing, deliverance, grace, peace, true hope, faith, love and compassion flow fully and freely throughout His church, bringing life to all who are touched by this flow.  This “flow” is the anointing we read of in Isaiah 61, a passage Jesus quoted in Luke 4: 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--   to bestow on them a crown of beauty  instead of ashes, the oil of gladness  instead of mourning,  and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Hallelujah!  I think by now we know that there is a difference between the omnipresence of God and the manifest presence of God.  Just because God is everywhere does not mean that He discloses himself everywhere.  There are times and seasons determined by the sovereignty of God when He draws near.  Yet, there is one other factor we need to throw in there, that God is attracted by those who passionately pursue Him.  Consider this morning that Jesus taught of three realms of prayer in Matthew 7:7-11; ask, you will receive; seek, you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.  For some of the things we face, it takes more than asking, more than seeking.  Greater levels of crisis and of need require a greater response toward God – here, Bartimaeus had to persistently and passionately knock in order to enter into a new season with God.

Another reason, I think, we fail to recognize the time of His visitation is that there are times that we are blinded in life and cannot see Jesus for ourselves.

 

From God’s Favorite House; Tommy Tenny; pp. 21-24

Bartimaeus Couldn’t See Jesus for Himself

Sometimes the cares of the day and the weariness of life can temporarily blind us or so numb our senses that we can’t perceive the nearness of God.  That didn’t stop Bartimaeus.  Why should it stop us?  When you can’t see, feel, or sense the presence of God, that is the time to find someone you can trust who can sense His presence.  When this witness tells you, “He’s close, He’s here,” take them at their word.  Go for it!  Begin to lift your hands and cry out to Him by faith.

One blind man “saw” more than the entire city and delayed Deity long enough for a miracle!

Today, I want to be the one to tell you that Jesus is near.  This is how you enter into a new season with God – you hear that Jesus is near. 

Jesus is near.  And if Jesus is near, anything can happen.  For as you encounter the One who is near, you will begin to see by faith the possibility of things you only dreamed of or thought could never be possible.  Next we will consider what must be our response.  If Jesus is near, you must…

2. Refuse to let Him pass you by. 

47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Like Bartimaeus, you must cry out until you are heard – even if the breakthrough comes next week or next month.  For out of this breakthrough, from your encounter with Jesus, faith will come that can move mountains – in other words, move out every obstacle that stands in your way.  Here the passion, the pursuit of Bartimaeus is heard, “he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’”

Some have tried believing God without an encounter with Him, without having a visitation.  It is not enough to know that Jesus is near.  You must, like Bartimaeus, refuse to let Him pass you by!  Your pursuit must be with intensity for the Scripture says, “that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).  We have this sure promise, church, that God will fully respond to our active, passionate, intense pursuit of Him.  This is how things work in the kingdom of God.  It is in a passionate encounter, where you pour your heart out to Him perhaps with many tears and finally there is a breaking and His presence and the nearness of His glory floods your spirit.  It is in the encounter with Jesus that faith is conceived and then to your heart comes the reality of the possibility of things coming into existence that never existed before!

In your pursuit of Jesus, You have to close your natural eyes in order to see by faith.

Blind Bartimaeus saw something that the crowd and even the disciples didn’t see.  The crowd and yes, even the disciples were limited to what their own eyes and natural minds could tell them. Another time, Jesus was feeding the five thousand and wanted to see what revelation they were operating by.  He told the disciples, “Go feed them.”  Philip answered, “Where could we get bread out here in this remote place?”  He considered his situation without considering what God could do for them.  You see, his answer was a calculation from a mind that was under a limited understanding.  He made a deduction based upon the limitations of humanity and concluded by his confession that the situation was hopeless.  “Where could we get bread out here?”  That is why the disciples wanted to send the people out late in the evening to find their own food!  But I am sure that Jesus wanted to say to him, “Don’t you know me by now?  Don’t you know what I can do and that all things are possible to those who believe?”  Philip needed an updated revelation of Jesus and that all things are possible to those who believe. 

The woman with the issue of blood said in her heart, “If I only touch the fringe of his robe, I know I will be healed.”  She saw something that others missed.  Do you think she was knocking?  She was in active pursuit of Jesus.  Many touched the Lord in that jostling crowd that day, but only one person touched Jesus with faith and only one went away healed and made whole.  Likewise, Bartimaeus was the only one we know of that received anything from the Lord in that town that day because he refused to let Jesus pass him by!

Seeing by faith is seeing the reality of possibilities of things that have never existed before. 

When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus passing by, in his spirit he saw the possibility of seeing becoming a reality.  He had to see it (by faith) before he could receive his sight!  He saw by faith what others could not see about Jesus, but also saw the reality of what was before impossible – that he, Bartimaeus, the blind man, could receive his sight.  You see, the Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 like this:

Hebrews 11:1 HEB 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Faith operates in the now.  It may take some time for your faith to grow and take root beneath the surface, in the spiritual realm, beyond where the natural eye can see, and even beyond feeling.  But it will come to pass!  Your eyes will see it. 

But even so, faith is a present reality.  (When I got baptized in the Holy Spirit…as the word of God was being preached that night, in my seat I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit by faith, I knew I had it, and then when I went forward at the end of the service, I spoke in tongues for the first time immediately!)  “Now faith is…” Don’t wait until you have it to have it.  You have to have it before you have it.  Jesus said, “When you pray, believe that you have received those things you ask for, and you shall have them.”  It is not enough to pray.  You must pray and believe!  You will know when faith is alive in your heart.  There will be a witness, a feeling in your spirit, an understanding that somehow got dropped into your heart.  If you are not sure than go back to Him again until the distance is closed and faith breaks through in your heart.  The witness of faith will be birthed in your spirit during a fresh encounter with Jesus.

“Refusing to let Jesus pass by” means that You have to persist to overcome the unbelief of the crowd.   

MK 10:48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

The crowd will be against you one moment and for you the next.  Don’t be surprised when others don’t see what you see.  Even well-meaning believers will look at you like you are crazy when they hear your confession of faith, maybe even your wife or husband, or best friend, even your pastor!  The Bible says that the crowd and even the disciples severely rebuked Bartimaeus, commanding him to be quiet.  But this caused Bartimaeus to cry out all the louder by faith.  He became more determined because he knew it was his time for an encounter with the One who does miracles.  Nothing was going to stop him from receiving it.  One translation even says that Bartimaeus cried out, “Have compassion on me NOW!”  Do not quit!  It’s time for a season of knocking.  Do not let Jesus pass by this day!  You and I cannot afford to stay the same another day!  These are days of tremendous things because of His visitation. 

Yet, so many are enslaved to the opinions of the crowd!  Their lives toss violently upon the waves of what others think.  (“Do you want to be a millionaire?”  A contestant can ask the crowd for what they think is the right answer to the question…then it is broken down on a graph in percentages…20% think it is a, 35% think it is b, 5% think it is c, 40% think it is d!)  So many are confused today because they are trying to please so many others; one hears the opinions of mother, and of uncle Frank, of their boss, and of their best friend since childhood, and then there’s the psychic, and horoscopes…Are you enslaved to what others think, to the many voices of the crowd? 

It is time to break free from what others think and say.  Can you see Jesus with faith’s eye?  Do not let the crowd stop you.  Can you hear His voice or do you hear the crowd or even the disciples?  There is only one voice that matters in the end and it is the voice of the Lord Himself!  Oh, Jesus is near – refuse to let Him pass by!

Because Bartimaeus persisted and did not allow the crowd or even the disciples to extinguish his shouts of faith, the Bible says in vs. 49 that, “Jesus stopped…”  Oh, glory to God!  What wonderful words of hope for us this day.  Jesus is passing by, yet the blind beggar touches the heart of the Master.  Not only does he stop, He calls Bartimaeus to Himself.  “Me?  He’s calling me?” 

MK 10:49 Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."  So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

In order to pursue Jesus, You have to throw off your outer garment of excuses.   

Bartimaeus threw off his outer garment, jumped up and came to Jesus.  What does the outer garment signify?  Some have a hard time coming to Jesus because they are wrapped in excuses, reasons and fears, guilt and grief.  You know that you are all tied up when you can explain with great detail how you think it won’t happen.   You are so accustomed to being in this poor condition that you have gotten used to it and you think that it will never change!  You think that you are not worthy to receive anything from God because of your past.  For others the outer garment signifies a natural mindset of unbelief, that what you need God to do is just too difficult, and there are too many reasons why it couldn’t happen.  It’s time to throw off your outer garment!  Throw it off and jump up!  Faith in his belly leaped within Bartimaeus and so he jumped up.  Come on, jump up and down, throw it off and jump up and down!  “This is my time,” yell it!  Rejoice!  He is calling you!

3. Receive the Desire of Your Heart

When you recognize that Jesus is near and refuse to let Him pass by, He will give you the desire of your heart.

MK 10:51 "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."

 MK 10:52 "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

 

“What do you want me to do for you?”  This is what Jesus said to Bartimaeus.  This is the sweet moment!  It is the moment when God rewards persistent faith.  The words gushed out of the mouth of the blind man, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  What is it that you need Jesus to do for you?  “What do you want me to do for you?”  Can you see the possibilities?  Open up your sanctified imagination and begin to see the possibilities of something coming into existence that never existed before, something that you have longed for Jesus to do in your life, something that you’ve given up on or that others told you it could never happen.  “This is your time,” says the Lord!  What is it?  What will you believe God for?  You have His attention.  Jesus is near and He delights to do for you what only He can do. 

“Your faith has made you whole!” Certainly, you will hear these words of commendation, of blessing, when you recognize that Jesus is near and refuse to let Him pass by!  Bartimaeus was given more than sight, but received wholeness in every area of his life –all because he recognized that Jesus was near and refused to let him pass by.  (The Ten Lepers, all were cleansed, only one was made whole)

“Immediately he followed Jesus along the road.” Bartimaeus became a disciple, a follower of the Lord.  His passionate pursuit of Jesus for a healing became a firm commitment of following Jesus.

Conclusion:  From Tenny; God’s Favorite House

Just Tell Me – Is That Him?

As Jesus passed through the gate, the blind beggar on the side of the road turned to someone standing nearby and asked a question:  Is that Him?  Just tell me, is that Him?”

“Yeah, yeah, Bartimaeus; that’s Him.”

“Then you better get out of my way because I’m about to lose my dignity.”

Hear me, friend, you cannot preserve your dignity and seek His Deity.  You can’t save your face and seek His face.  At some point you are going to have to lose your spiritual manners.  You need to forget what you are supposed to do when, where, and how.  You will have to reduce it down to the basics:  “Is that Him?  I think He’s in the building!  I think He’s close.”  I don’t know how you feel, but I refuse to let Him get that close to me and pass me by.  “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Why don’t you forget about your manners right now?  It is time to lay aside your religious protocols, the things that dictate what is supposed to happen and when.  God has always preferred spiritual hunger over spiritual ritual.  Are you going to miss your moment?  If you can feel Him edging closer and closer, then don’t let Him get this close and pass you by, even while reading this book.  Remember that God is shopping for a place to break out.  He is knocking at the door.  I can almost hear Him say, “You know what happens when I visit a church.  You’ve not yet seen what happens when I make visitation.  Open the door and let Me in?

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