FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
26 April, 1998
Before we get started on this weekís message please let me correct an error from several weekís back. You see the Lord has had it on my mind ever since the 15th of March, so I just gotta do what I gotta do. Because it was in Vampires In The Church part I that I said, "By the way, just in case you didnít know, the word purtenance means innards (guts). So the lamb they were to sacrifice for this feast would have his throat cut, he would bleed to death, and then he would be skinned. That was all they did to him before putting him on the grill." Thatís what I said but it wasnít entirely correct, because in part II I found out what the word purtenance really meant. Because as I wrote, "Then they would take this perfect little lamb, skin it, remove itís digestive track (stomach and intestines), cook it over an open flame until done (head, feet, heart, liver, and kidneys), and then chow down."
You see I was partially right but not completely right. Godís chosen people did cook the passover sacrifice with some of its innards still intact but not all of them. So I was wrong but now Iíve made it right by pointing out that I was wrong. And likewise we can now get on with the rest of the story.
So what did you think about the sermonet last week? Well for most of you out there I can only imagine that it was pretty hard to digest. But hold on just a minute! What am I talking about "digesting it?", most of you couldnít even swallow it. In fact I can just hear my friend from Charleston, S C, saying right now: "Bruster McCloud, Need a good therapist? Call 1-800-PICKLES. Clinging to reality yours truly, RT."
Laugh at me, poke fun at me, do what ever makes you feel good, but if youíve got any sense youíll think real hard about what Iím about to show you from the Word of God. You see this life that God has given us is very short lived, then we die, and then we stand before The Judge. And since God is The Judge, and He demands that we know, understand, and obey the Word of God (Him), it only makes sense to me that we do everything within our power to do just that! And what Iím going to show you in this weekís sermonet is the very good reason why we should all be believing in the present day miracle working power of Jesus Christ.
Now it was only last week that I told you the story of our youngest sonís miraculous healing, and because of the fact that so much was happening during those very short Spirit filled days I didnít even think to ask Arthur about the details of his healing experience. Well it was Monday night that I finally remembered to ask him that big question, and this was what he told me. It was during the Friday night service when Sister Ira and her party of two laid hands on him that he felt "something funny" going on inside his head. You see God was working this miracle a little at a time. But it was during the Saturday 10:00 service, when Brother Swaggart laid hands on him while asking the entire congregation to believe for this healing, that there was a much stronger "funny feeling" going through his entire body. That was what it took, that was the end of that, and we wonít see the problem anymore.
You see what Arthur experienced a little over a week ago was the miracle working power of Jesus. His power is the same today as it was some 2000 years ago, and this week weíre going to take a little trip into the past to see just what it was like. So reading from Matthew 8, starting with verse 1, "When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."
Now for those of you who might not understand what this disease called leprosy is all about, please allow me the opportunity to tell you. Leprosy was a very dirty rotten stinking disease, and the best way to describe it is that it was a very bad case of athleteís foot all over the body. You see the skin of the person infected with this grotesque disease would get all white and stinky, and eventually just fall right on off. But it wouldnít stop there, it would just keep on going. Not only would the skin fall off but so would the ears, fingers, nose, lips, and etc. It was not a disease that anybody in their right mind would even want to think about having. So this man had it but he believed Jesus could heal it and thatís exactly what He did: "And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."
Now keep it in mind that all of this took place very early in the ministry of Jesus. In fact this was the very first recorded healing by Jesus as found in the book of Matthew, and it was only five chapters earlier that Jesus received the power from on high that was necessary to do these great and awesome miracles. You see as much as we would like to believe it, Jesus was not just born with this ability; He actually acquired it. And just how did He acquire it, you might ask? Well, if you will turn with me to Matthew 3:13-17 Iíll be glad to show you.
And reading, " Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Now since this particular part of Jesusí life was so very important for us to understand, the Lord made certain we saw it from all different angles. So once again reading about this same glorious event but from a different reporter, reading from Mark 1:9-11, "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
And in Luke 3:21-23 we can read yet another account of this same great event: "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."
And last but not least, reading from John 1:29-34, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."
You see what happened in these particular Scriptures was that Jesus the son of Joseph, the Son of God, was not only submersed in water (baptized in water) but also submersed in the Spirit of God (baptized in the Holy Spirit). Now the part about being dunked completely under the water (baptized in water) is not so very difficult to understand. That oneís easy. Itís the one about being baptized in the Holy Spirit that has me stumped? That oneís just a little bit tougher to grab hold of. I mean, would you please tell me how in the world you can dunk someone in the Holy Spirit?
Well in order to help us all understand, including me, we need to look a little closer at the Scripture we have just read. The word upon is used in all four of the accounts to describe Jesusí baptism in the Holy Spirit. And if we look up this word in our Strongís Concordance Of The Bible we will see that it comes from the Greek word epi which means superimposition. So do you understand now? Probably not, but we are getting closer. You see the Spirit of God came down from Heaven (as gentle as a dove), and totally surrounded Him (enveloped Him, superimposed Him) just as the water did. The Holy Spirit completely covered Him just as the water did but in a much more powerful way. You see the Holy Spirit is allot like electricity. And as most of you should know if any part of your skin comes in contact with electricity you will feel it through your body all the way down to your toes. It will soak through, from the outside to the inside, so that you will not only be covered but also filled. And thatís exactly what happened to Jesus when the Spirit of God came upon Him.
Jesus not only got covered with the Spirit of God but even more importantly He got soaked through and through. And likewise, because Jesus became supercharged with the Spirit of God, He had what it took to do the miracles that He did. And as we read on into Matthew 8, verses 5-13, we will see that this miracle working energy Jesus had could only do good things for those who believed it could (had faith that it could). So once again reading the facts for ourselves, "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."
Now just in case you didnít know it a centurion was a pretty high ranking soldier in the Roman army. In fact you could rank this man right on up there with what we might presently call captains. But anyway, this guy was a big shot but he wasnít so big that he couldnít humble himself before the Son of God. And since he believed (he had faith) that Jesus could take care of his problem (his sick servant), he was about to get what he was believing in. In fact he believed what he believed so strongly that he didnít even think it necessary that Jesus pay the sick man a visit. This centurion believed that all Jesus had to do was "speak healing" and it would be done.
And just what do you think Jesus had to say about that? Well reading it for ourselves, "When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so it be done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
Now I can already see that this is going to be at least a two part message, and it will probably be in part II that we get into the nitty gritty of what this message is all about (what "no faith" will do). But in this Scripture that we have just read we can get a pretty good hint of the fact that all is not well if we donít have faith enough to believe that Jesus has the power to do great and mighty miracles. Because here was a Roman captain who was not of the nation of Israel (Godís chosen people) but yet he was believing in the Son of God. He was believing while way too many of Godís very own (children of the kingdom) were not. And it was these very scary wordís of Jesus that made this problem of "no belief" known. You see He said that although these people (nation of Israel) might be His chosen people, they would not make it into Heaven unless they changed their attitude. Unless they changed their unbelief into belief they would end up in Hell!!!
And thatís where we go right on into Jesusí next healing. Because in the very next verse we read: "And when Jesus was come into Peterís house, he saw his wifeís mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them."
Thatís what we find in Matthewís writings, but in the book of Luke we can pick up on a few more details. Reading from chapter 4, verses 38-39, "And he arouse out of the synagogue, and entered into Simonís house. And Simonís wifeís mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them."
As you can see itís Lukeís account that gives this story a lot more punch. Simonís mother in law was not just sick with a fever but she was overcome with a great fever and the future didnít look any too hopeful. But because of the fact that they believed, Jesus was able to take charge of the situation and the rest is history. It all happened as quick as that! One minute Peterís mother in law (the mother of his wife) was laid up on her death bed and the next minute she was up and around. She had an instantaneous healing and you had better believe that she didnít waste any time getting back to her normal job of taking care of the guest.
But these guest didnít have much time to relax because it seemed as though Jesusí popularity was catching on. He was fast becoming known as "The Healer", and it was only in the very next verse (at the end of that very same day) that we read: "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
There ainít no doubt about it that the healing power of God will work in people if they will only believe in it. And just why is it so hard for people to believe? Well there is really no "good" excuse because as we will see in Matthew 8:28-34 even the demons from Hell have enough sense to believe in the Holy Ghost power of Jesus. Because, "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts."
Now ainít it amazing how unbelieving demons (devils) have enough sense to believe in Jesus. I mean take a good look at the story we have just read. In fact letís turn to Mark 5:1-20 and get another view of how these demons treated Jesus. Reading, "...And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit... But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not..."
See what I mean? Just picture it all in your mind: here comes Jesus walking down the road, the demon in the demon possessed man runs up to him, falls down and worships him, and continues on by begging Jesus not to torment him. I mean this demon was not a whimp. He was totally in control until Jesus walks in on the scene. And it was at that point in time that this powerfully mean and nasty demon showed total and complete faith (belief) in the power of God. He knew without a doubt what Jesus could do (cast out demons; cast him out).
And thatís a perfect example of believing (even if it was the enemy). But letís not stop there. Going on into Matthew chapter 9, and reading from verse 1, "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought into him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arouse, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."
Now this verse could get off into a sermonet of itís own, because itís just as the Scripture said, "...Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy...thy sins be forgiven thee...Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." You see the man was sick because of his sin, but because of his faith in the healing power of Jesus he was healed. And this all goes back to what we read earlier, "...he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Boy this is powerful stuff!!! You see Jesusí ability to heal was all based on future events. The devil and his demons had the legal authority to cause sickness, diseases, demon possession, and even death. Because of sin they had the rights to do what they were doing but Jesus was in the very near future going to take care of that problem. You see Jesus was acting on something that hadnít even happened yet. Jesus was looking to the day that He would carry the sin of the world with Him to the cross of Calvary. He took on our sins and through His death He paid the price. He gave His life so that we might be set free... and likewise our freedom can only come about through believing... and thatís how those who got healed got healed.
Jesus was a walking non stop miracle maker; miracle after miracle after miracle. So how about just one more? Picking it up in Matthew 9:18-26, "While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be made whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the rulerís house, and saw the minstrels and the people making noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land."
This story is one you could call a double whammy. We start it off with a man (ruler) who believes Jesus can bring his daughter back from the dead. I mean this is what you would have to consider one of the more difficult circumstances for healing. You see his daughter was not just sick but stone cold dead. And as Jesus was on His way to the rulerís house it was yet another sickly woman who reached out in faith and received her healing. So by the time Jesus finally got to the rulerís house the funeral for his daughter was already in full swing. All the mourners were really getting with the program until Jesus walks in and tells them they were wasting their time. Now they didnít take it at all too kindly that this man called Jesus was telling them that He was about to shut down their party. But it also didnít take them long to see it His way, because itís a well known fact that you canít have a funeral for someone who is no longer dead. Glory!!!
Now since this message is concerning why we should believe in miracles, that has to mean there are some who donít believe in them. And thatís why we read in verses 32-35 the following: "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people."
And just so you will understand the importance of those verses, it was the Pharisees who were one of the major denominations of that time. They were important, they were very influential, and they were saying that Jesusí healings were really no healings at all. But Jesus didnít let that stop Him. In fact this was that point in time when He just went right on and spread the power of the Holy Ghost around. You see from here on out it was not only going to be Jesus doing the healing but His twelve disciples along with Him. Things were getting ready to heat up in this battle of good against evil and it was Satan who was going to feel the heat.
Because as we read on into the remaining verses of chapter 9 and the beginning verses of chapter 10 we find, "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease... These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
And thatís what the gospel says... but of course there are many who donít believe what the gospel says. You see there are many people who choose to believe that this same miracle working power of the Holy Ghost, the same one that came upon Jesus Christ the Son of God Who then shared it with His twelve disciples, is no longer available for our own personal healing. Thatís what they believe but Iíve still got at least one more sermonet to try and convince them otherwise.
So until next week, donít even doubt the miracle working power of God. Believe that Heís the same yesterday, today, and forever... and keep the faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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