"TO DEMONSTRATE THE POWER OF GOD"
(A Series on Jesus)
C.R.4/26/87p.m. John 9:1-41
PROPOSITION: God's purpose in His church is to
demonstrate the power of God through miracles, through agape love, through life and through loot.
- I NEVER leave Cedar Rapids but what God has a refreshing treat for me while I am gone....and brings me back with my spiritual batteries recharged.
- THIS time He used District Council and, specifically, Pastor Glen Cole of Sacramento, California.
- HE is from a church that has been experiencing tremendous revival in the past 9 years...and just had to move from a downtown location to a 5,000 seat facility on 68 acres.
- AS he shared some of the miracle of their most recent history, like how they got their land, that I couldn't help but rejoice in a similar story of what God is doing here.
- WE cannot afford to lose sight of the miracle of what God is doing....or let it go stale on us....or take it for granted. He mentioned the same thing that we have experienced here, with people leaving for other cities and visiting 18 Assemblies of God churches in that city only to find them all dry and dead and formal.
- WHAT is God doing here?
- HE is reviving His church one more time before He comes back again.
- DOES it have anything to do with us? Have we deserved any of His blessing these past 4 years?
- NO! I don't know why He chose us. All I do know is that there is nothing better than being chosen and I don't want us to miss one step that He has for us.
* If it is repentance....then let's repent.
* If it is holiness....then by His grace let's be holy.
* If it is prayer...then let's never give up praying.
* If it is the harvest....the let's get out in the fields while it is still day.
* If it is the priesthood of the home, dad's, then let's take out place.
* If it is missions...then let's get our sleaves rolled up.
* If it is a downtown mission....let's begin.
* If it is signs and wonders, then let's get before Him in persevering, deliberate faith and not leave until we have heard from Him.
- WHAT we need, more than any other single thing, in the church of today is the demonstration of the power of God.
- I AM not going to presume to tell God how He is to demonstrate His power today....but I believe the pattern for it and the neccessity of it is clearly spelled out in scripture.
- IT is not that we need a demonstration of God's power in addition to the ministry of the church today......THE FACT OF IT IS THAT ALL WE NEED TODAY IS A DEMONSTRATI0N OF THE POWER OF GOD.
- WHEN the world mocks the word of God...what will it take to turn their heads back to home? Only a demonstration of God's power.
- WHEN so-called believers in the church condone and excuse sin in their lives (lying in the church, immorality in the church, divorce in the church, people stealing from God His tithe, marriages crippled, lives in depression)....what will it take to save them before the judgments of God roll? Only the demonstration of the power of God.
- WHEN the church is commanded to go out into the harvest and take a city for the Lord, the way we have been commanded, how will we ever accomplish the task? Only by the demonstration of the power of God.
- WELL, Pastor Cole shared some things in last Tuesday night's message on the subject of the demonstration of God's power.......I knew I was going to have to share them with you sometime....I just didn't realize that they would fit so perfectly with tonight's message......so I am going to weave them into the text.
- LET'S read together from John 9:1-41.
- THERE are several interesting things about this story.
- JESUS took the initiative in approaching this blind man.
* The area around the temple was usually teeming with blind and crippled beggars.
* And most people in the temple precincts just ignored the beggars and went on their way.
* But not Jesus. He saw this man and He stopped.
- IT was widely believed by the Jews that all suffering was because of sin in the life of the sick person....man likes to have neat and clean explanations for his circumstances...it helps us feel like we are staying in charge of things.
- BUT this case presented a difficulty for their normal explanation. This man was born blind. Now, there is a wrinkle.
- WELL, after the disciples put their minds to it they came up with a logical alternative. His parents sinned while he was still in the womb.
- THERE......all nice and neat. A perfectly logical explanation.
- EXCEPT it was the wrong explanation.
- SUFFERING isn't always a result of sin in the life of the sufferer or his family.
- JESUS said, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned...."
- WELL, so much for human reasoning.
- JESUS goes on in verse 3......"....but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
- THE word used in the Greek for "but" in verse 3 is the strongest Greek word possible. It means "on the contrary.......far from sin in the life of the blind man."
- ON the contrary, the reason that this man was born blind from his mother's womb, was so that the work of God may be displayed in his life.
- ISN'T it funny. We always look for causes...some place to put the blame. (It is because he sinned...and we point the finger.) God looks for a purpose. (So that the work of God may be displayed in his life.)
- I LIKE the way the Living Bible puts it, ......this man was born blind "to demonstrate the power of God."
- THE whole reason for the man's suffering was to demonstrate the power of God.
- JESUS was getting ready to demonstrate the power of God...but before He did and the excitement of it all hit the temple area He took the opportunity to teach them something related to the demonstration of power.....He said, "As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me."
- THERE is a compelling neccessity that we do the works of Jesus in the demonstration of power...while it is day.
- AND if Jesus said night was coming.....2,000 years ago....then how much closer is night today....and how much more compelling that we do the works of Jesus in the demonstration of power.
- PAUL said something very similar in I Corinthians 2:1-4.
"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power,"
- REMEMBER that these words were written by an extremely articulate, extremely intelligent, university graduate.....and he puts little or no value on the persuasiveness of his words.
- PAUL changed his world through a demonstration of the Spirit's power;
* In Acts 9:22 Saul "grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews by proving that Jesus is the Christ."
* In Acts 13:2 he and Barnabas are set apart and sent out under prophetic anointing and direction.
* In Acts 13:11 he comes against the demonic opposition of Elymas and, in the power of the Spirit, brings blindness on him for a season.
* In Acts 13:44 an entire city comes out to hear the gospel preached by Paul.
* In Acts 14:3, in Iconium, the "grace of God enabled them to do signs and wonders confirming the Word."
* In Lystra a crippled man is healed and a whole town turns to God.
- YOU see, when the power of God is demonstrated, hard-hearted, resistant, complacent, belligerent people melt in the presence of God.
- OUR hope for revival is not a program for evangelism....it is not more worship.....it is not a better education ministry....it is not better preaching.
- OUR only hope for revival is the demonstration of the power of God.
- WE need it in three ways
II.A DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE
- WE need a demonstration of the power of God in love.....agape love.
- WE live in a country that is going to be held hostage by AIDS....and sooner or later it is going to touch our fellowship. (AG pastor and wife in Florida)
- WHAT are we going to do? How do you think Jesus would answer us tonight if we asked Him whether the homosexual was sick because he sinned or his family?
- OR would he say, "So that the power of God in love may be demonstrated at First Assembly."
- EVEN now many needy and hurting people are stumbling into this place......immoral.....undisciplined.....alcoholic......poor, depressed.....suicidal.......suffering.
- WHAT will they find here? A group of religious zealots or a demonstration of love?
- WE have to have unconditional love here for the unlovely.
- IN an atmosphere of love anything can happen.
- THIS community must know that this is a congregation that will do anything for them.
- (Tell story of lady who was hurting and sister called her and told her to go to a pentecostal church. She did and was told that of she came back, please to wear a dress. She didn't own a dress.)
- I BELIEVE there is agape love here....we just need a baptism of it in the demonstration of the Spirit's power.
III.A DEMONSTRATION OF LIFE
- THE next demonstration we need is a demonstration of life....of involvement in the life of Jesus.
- WE need a demonstration of kingdom zeal.
- WE need a hunger for God that consumes all the dross and excess in our lives.
- WE need a hunger for the Word that is stronger than the Newpaper, TIME magazine, Sports Illustrated.
- WE need lethargy and complacency consistently routed from our lives.
- WE need a new baptism of kingdom priorities in our lives.
- IF Jesus is coming back soon, what are we doing in the rut we're in?
- (Tell story of Glen Cole's brother.)
- WE are going to have about 8 or more of our young people in Bible College next fall....we need more.
- WE sent four men to Africa last winter...and we're sending 10-12 young people to evangelize in England....we need to be sending more. (Philippines)
- WE need a demonstration of life....if we are going to get the job done....people who live for God and His kingdom.
- PEOPLE who are willing to pour their lives out for God.
- PEOPLE who are willing to let the world see their excitement.
- BUT we run too quickly....give up too soon when things get a little rough....quit when things don't go our way.
- WE need a demonstration of life.
IV.A DEMONSTRATION OF LOOT
- LASTLY, we need a demonstration of loot.
- I HEARD Swindoll preaching this week on the location of your treasure showing where your heart is.
- WE all glibly sing "Jesus be the Lord of all"....in a congregation where only 30% of those who come even tithe to the storehouse.
- HE isn't Lord of all if He isn't Lord of your finances.
- I UNDERSTAND that this week Howard Hendrix said that he didn't think you could be saved and not tithe.
- AND we are just talking about a measely tenth.
- YOUR giving is a measure of your anticipation concerning what God is going to do in revival power in your family and this church.
- HOW sold are you on us feeding the starving in the South East?
- HOW committed are you to a Christian school?
- HOW soon should we start telling the Nursing home resident of this city that Jesus has gone to prepare a home for them?
- HOW soon should we fix up some buses to bring them to the services?
- HOW many vehicles should we get hold of to give rides to the MANY who call us at our homes on the weekends and ask to be picked up for church?
- HOW soon should we send some men to the Philippines to add a dorm to the Bible School there...and teach while they are there?
- HOW quickly should we put some 30 second adds for the gospel on prime time TV?
- HOW soon should we add parking spaces for those who are having to park on the driveway?
- WHAT is standing between us and the work that must be done while it is still light? LOOT.
- IF Jesus is coming soon and we stand on the brink of revival......we need a demonstration of loot. (Tell story of Brother Tyler.....the McElreath's....my Morgan.)
- THE greatest days of the harvest lie ahead of us.
- BUT we have got to gather it in like Jesus did and like Paul did....in the demonstration of the power of the Spirit...and nothing else.
- THE Pharisees were unwilling to accept the miracle.
* They argued that it was a different man....even fetched his parents to testify.
* They said that he was not really blind.
* They questioned Jesus' methods.
* It didn't fit their theological grid.
* They even dismissed the evidence...and threw the healed man out of the Temple.
- BUT what they were unable to dismiss was the demonstration of power....once he was blind but now he can see.
- THAT'S the proof that we are praying for and seeing here....we just need more, much more.
THE ANOINTING OF THE LORD