Evening all. Great to be here again with you. We're turning in the Psalms to Psalm 147 for our reading tonight. Let me just say what a blessing it has been already to be ministering to you. I'm so excited, just with the message on my heart tonight and for next week as well, what the Lord is going to do. It's wonderful to come expecting God to do things, isn't it? To get beyond sermon tasting, and going through orders of service and all that malarkey, and to get through to encountering God and a personal experience of the Lord in church. That's what it's meant to be like, isn't it? That's what it's meant to be like at home as well! It's communion with God - but we're going to believe for that tonight, and I think God is going to break through. This might be one of the most important messages that you will hear in your life - not because I'm preaching it, but because of the truth which somewhere has got lost, I think. Someone was describing to me today that they heard a message just the other night from a young man on 'How to Love People in the Holy Spirit', and this older gentleman said: 'I have never heard that in my life'. I said that the danger with that is that you think it's new - it's not new! It's just got lost! A lot of these things sound revolutionary, but they're not, they're all there - but we have lost them.
So let's come - and if you haven't your phone turned off, turn it off! Sorry, I didn't mean that now, but it would be a good idea to do it - I'll check my own, just to make sure it's off! Psalm 147 verse 1: "Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful" - what a description! "Praise is pleasant and beautiful. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel". Now, this is our verse tonight: "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground".
This series that we're doing these three weeks is called 'Deep Healing', and a subheading, if you like, is: 'Identifying and overcoming hindrances to Christian growth'. These nights I'm dealing with three general hindrances, which might be actually exhaustive if you analyse it: sins, wounds, and demons. Of course we saw that the remedy for each of those is different, therefore it is imperative that we discern what our actual problem might be. I hinted that most of us are probably a combination of all three to lesser or greater extents - but we need to actually discern and treat each of these problems correctly, whether we're looking into our own hearts or whether we're ministering to others, because the remedy for each of these problems is different.
We looked last week at 'Sins', and we saw that the remedy for sins is - who was here? 'Repentance' - yes! The remedy for sin is repentance. The remedy for wounds is healing. The remedy for demons is expulsion, to exorcise them, to cast them out. Therefore we need God's gift of discernment to know - we need revelation, wisdom, and knowledge from God - to know exactly what the issue is, the root problem, and how it can be treated. This is important, because we can get mixed up and we can try casting out sins, and that doesn't work. You can't heal a sin either, you can't heal the flesh, you've got to repent of sin and the flesh must die with Christ on the cross. Wounds must be healed, you can't repent of a wound, you can't exorcise a wound. The same with demons, you can't repent of a demon, and you can't heal a demon - a demon has just got to be told where to go. So this is why it's so important that we come to the Great Physician and we ask Him for the diagnosis and the cure to our problems.
So why not do that just now, just before I say any more. Let's come quietly, and I've been encouraged by some of the feedback I've got from last week, yet I believe there is much more for God to do. Tonight will be a very significant night, and maybe you're already cognisant of your own wounds. Maybe as you sit in the pew just now, you're hurting deeply. Maybe you know something is wrong, but you're not quite sure what it is. Maybe there has been that much in your life, like many people, you wouldn't even know where to start. Well, come and ask the Lord, who is the Spirit who searches the hearts, to reveal to you the most prominent issue - we're not going to be able to solve everybody's life story tonight, but ask God to bring something to you tonight significant that has been holding you back, perhaps the biggest thing that has been an obstacle of you growing as a Christian. Ask the Lord now to reveal it to you, and give the remedy and the answer to you tonight. So let's come.
Abba Father, we thank You for Your acceptance of us in the Beloved, Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You for the cross, and the victory of Calvary. We thank You for the shed blood of the Lamb, and we thank You that we can overcome sin, the devil, death, hell, and the grave through our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You that He is a Prince and a Saviour who is risen, and who is at Your right hand. We thank You that He intercedes for us, and because He is glorified the Holy Spirit has been out-poured upon us. We thank You now, having led captivity captive, He has given gifts to men. Lord, we ask now for those gifts, gifts of wisdom and knowledge and revelation and discerning of spirits - even to ourselves, to know what our own problem is. Lord, we need to have our eyes opened, we need to have our understanding enlightened, to see ourselves the way You see us, and then, Lord, to see You in all Your provision - the Lord Jesus who was anointed to heal the brokenhearted, and to bind up their wounds. Lord Jesus, come to us tonight, come by the Holy Spirit. We pronounce tonight that You have been made Victor over the enemy, and all principalities and powers, and dark ungodly spirits. We proclaim tonight to heavenly realms that the Lord Jesus is glorified and triumphant, and that the devil is defeated. Lord, we want to proclaim that tonight, and we want every ungodly spirit to know it and hear it. Father, we pray that Your Holy Spirit will move tonight in a mighty way in all our lives, that there will be transformation this evening that will impact marriages, and families, and parental relationships, and children, and wider family circles and communities, Lord, and even our fellowship here - Lord, that there will be a real impact from You ministering in our midst tonight. So come, Lord, we pray now in Jesus' name, come to us. Amen.
Wounds. Well, of course sins and wounds - and we might as well say demons as well - are consequences of the fall. Of course there was a fall in heaven, but then there was the fall of man on earth, and our being prey to all these three problems is ultimately a result of falling into sin, Adam and Eve, our first father and mother. Because of the fall there has come not only sin and depravity, but there is a brokenness. Humanity is broken, irreparably broken. You might describe it in other ways: there is a disorder in mankind, or to become more technical, there is a fragmentation, a brokenness that is a fragmentation, or we might say 'a dislocation' even in man himself.
Now we saw last week how important relationship is in overcoming sin in the Christian life. Of course, in the beginning, when there was a perfect situation in the world before the fall, relationship was vital to God and man between them - but we see that through the fall relationship was attacked. Even before Adam sinned, you remember the serpent came into the Garden and he said to Adam: 'Has God really said?'. What he was ultimately doing was not just attacking the Word and casting doubt on it, but he was effectively jettisoning the relationship between Adam and God. 'Can you really trust God?' - do you understand? The relationship was being attacked, and then when Adam and Eve obeyed, and they both fell into depravity, what did they start doing? They started blaming one another. So relationship, the brokenness of humankind, was reflected in the breaking down of relationship not only with God but with each other in the first marriage. You don't have to go too far into Genesis to see that right after chapter 3, when God's relationship with man broke down, in chapter 4 what happens? His relationship with his brother breaks down, Cain and Abel.
So relationship is being attacked, and relationship is becoming broken - but here's another step that a lot of people don't identify, and that is: man's relationship with himself. We have become defragmented and dislocated in ourselves as individuals, with ourselves. Let me try and explain this, and it might sound technical at first, but it really is revolutionary if you can get a hold of it. God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul, and God breathed spirit into Adam - 'rema' is the word, 'breath', but it's also the word 'spirit'. God imparted spirit to us as humankind, so that we have a part in us that relates to God that He has breathed into us. We are made up, I believe, of spirit, soul, and body - I'll not fall out with you if you don't believe that, but I think it is important to understanding many spiritual truths. God's idea was that the spirit in us that He breathed into us in relationship with Him, who is Spirit, would influence the whole of us, soul and body as well. Do you understand? So from this, if you like, 'control centre' where God has breathed into us, and before the fall God was directly relating with Adam, God the Spirit would have control over our spirit, and our spirit in conjunction with Him would control our soul - which is made up of the mind, the emotion, and the will - and then the soul would control, being controlled by the spirit, it would control the body. Do you understand?
So, ultimately, God, in our spirits, influencing us by the Holy Spirit, would control us completely. When man sinned in the Garden, he died. A lot of people misunderstand spiritual death to mean ceasing to exist. Adam did not cease to exist in the garden, neither did he just drop dead on the spot - but what happened was separation, that's what death is in the Bible, it's separation. Adam's spirit was separated immediately from God's Spirit, from God. Do you understand? His spirit didn't cease to exist - that's the reason why people can worship false gods in their spirit, that's why they can worship themselves in their spirit. Most people's spirits might be dormant, but it still exists, it's still there. But what happened when God's life was severed from Adam's spirit was that God was no longer influencing Adam's soul - his mind, his emotion and his will - and therefore not influencing his body. So when the spirit is dead and severed from God, what happens is the soul becomes self-centred, so your mind, your thoughts become self-centred, your feelings are self-centred, your emotions and your actions become self-centred - effectively then your body is just driven by sensual appetite. Are you with me?
Now this part of us, this spirit that God breathed, is essential to our understanding of the human kind. It's staggering that in the 21st-century, and 2000 years after our Lord, that most people don't understand who they really are, and how they are made up - they really don't. The spirit is really our human identity, who we are. You may never have heard this before, you might have thought: 'Well, I thought the soul was my personality'. Well, your identity is your human spirit, the soul rather is what expresses your identity - because we all express our identity in our thoughts, and our words are an expression of our thoughts; our feelings, our words express our feelings as well; and our body expresses the whole lot through our actions. Do you understand? But it's all coming from this deep place of our human spirit.
Now, let's work back a wee bit. When there is something wrong with our minds, when there is something wrong mentally, our thoughts are mixed up, there is a disorder; or when our feelings emotionally are broken, we are cast down, we're dejected, or we're angry, or we're hurting; or when our actions, our behaviour, is ungodly - it is a sign that there is something wrong deep down in the human spirit. That's why we touched last week on sins, and we said that sins must be named, and sins must be repented of - but don't be under an illusion that everything is just a sin problem, and you just need to repent, and there is nothing else needs to be done. A lot of people who have sin problems need healing, deep down, because there is an identity issue, there is a problem deep down in the human spirit. Your soul might express your identity, and your body might act it out, but often the wounds that we have in our mind, in our emotions, in our will, and even wounds physically in our body, are all signals to tell us something is wrong deep down in the control panel of who we are - even physically. It's a well-established fact that stress contributes to becoming sick, physically ill.
The Lancet will tell you this, that mental and emotional and spiritual problems - they mightn't say spiritual problems, but certainly mental and emotional ones - are often at the root of illness and physical disease - dis-ease, it's just another word for disorder, effectively, in the body. A minimum estimate is that upwards of 50% of physical sicknesses can be related to stress. You will see statistics upwards of 75% that say that many physical illnesses are psychosomatic - now that does not mean it's all in your head, psychosomatic means that there are mental or emotional root causes. Now, your doctor will tell you that, but the Bible tells us this. The Bible tells us that the spirit, not the soul - and I know they're very hard to differentiate at times, and as I said, I'll not fall out with you because it's quite complicated, but I do think it's important to differentiate that it is the spirit in us, not God's Spirit now - it is our human spirit, not the soul that sustains us.
Turn with me to Hebrews 4 verses 12 and 13 - wonderful verses about the Word of God. Look at this: 'The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword', watch this, 'piercing even to the division of soul and spirit'. Now there's a distinguishing already - it's hard to distinguish them, that's why it takes the word of God to do this surgical work, but this two-edged sword pierces even to the division of soul and spirit, 'and of joints and marrow', that's interesting, 'and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart'. Now, what is being said here? It's that God searches the heart, and God is able, through His Word, to separate between the soul and the spirit, and He is able to separate between wounds and sins by the way. He is able to show us what is a wound, a hurt, and what is a sin that needs to be repented of - but these wounds can be areas of infection.
Just like a physical wound can be infected with germs, emotional wounds, mental wounds can be seedbeds of infection where sin can breed, sinful ungodly behaviours, and even where demons can exploit and manipulate. That's why confession and repentance is so important: sin must be named - and a wound is no excuse for sin. Do you see what Hebrews is saying? As God's word comes in we start to discern what part of us is sinning, what part of us is hurting, and what part of us the enemy might be empowering and capitalising on - but we must allow the Spirit of God, through the Word, to do His work and to separate these things so that we can deal with them in obedience. You see, wounds often need to be cleansed. Now I know I said sin is repented of, wounds healed, and demons cast out - but sometimes there's a bit of a mixture here and an overlapping. You know, if Noah, my wee boy, falls off his bike and grazes his knee - in all likelihood he will come in and he will need it cleaned, because dirt has got into the grazed knee. In all of our wounds there is usually a separation necessary of sin, sinful coping mechanisms, sinful reactions, and even sinful attempts to fix ourselves.
Now, God does not judge our wounds - isn't that wonderful? But He does judge the thoughts and intents of the heart, that's what this verse says. So it's vital for us to understand what we need to repent of and name as sin, and what needs deep healing, and how we get healing by even cleansing and repentance but also opening up to the healing power of the Lord. I want you to see these two verses now again in relation to the spirit and soul. The writer likens the spirit to marrow, I believe, here - I think that's what he's doing here. Look: 'The word of God divides the soul and the spirit, and the joints and the marrow'. I think he's likening the spirit to marrow, and the soul to joints. If you think about it, the soul is like a joint. The joints of our body express life, don't they, as we move about. But the spirit is like marrow, and the marrow is the source of life in the bone - do you understand? The human spirit is the source of our life, and the soul is what expresses that life. The Word of God - and I don't believe it's just the Bible it's talking about, but the spoken Word of God for the very moment that we need - is coming to us, and it's discerning the issues, these deep intricate issues that need to be separated in order to get healing.
The spirit is the source of life, the spirit is the marrow, it's our identity, it's what sustains us - but here's the problem: if there is brokenness in the spirit, if there is a dislocation in how spirit relates to soul and body, if there is any kind of disorder and dis-ease in that sense, that will be sapping the life from us. Just like if you have a break or any trauma in your body, it will be as if that is an outlet for all the energy just to be soaked out of you, isn't that right? If you have a broken leg or something or a wound, you feel like all your energy is going to that to heal it - but sometimes we feel like it's escaping us. You see, if the spirit is damaged, it will affect the whole person. It will affect your mind, your emotion, your will, and your actions and your body.
Listen to Proverbs, you don't need to look for it, just listen as I read Proverbs 17:22 and then Proverbs 18:14. Proverbs 17:22: 'A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones' - that's Hebrews that we've just read, the life is being dried out, the very marrow is being dried out of the bones. What have you got tonight? Have you a merry heart or a broken spirit? Proverbs 18:14 says, listen: 'The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness' - so even if the body is packing in, if your spirit is right you will be sustained - 'but who can bear a broken spirit?'. Now, I hope you can see how important it is that we are healthy in our spirits - but no one is perfectly so, none of us. All of us are damaged in some shape or form.
I want to do with two things tonight - much more than two, but I'll let you down gently! Generally speaking, two headings: 'Where do we get the wounds?', and 'How do we get the healing?'. First of all: where do we get the wounds; and then how do we get the healing? Where do we get the wounds? Well, the answer is: anywhere and from anyone! If you want to know about that, you read the book of Acts, and find out the life of Paul and some of the apostles, and you see the wounds that they got and who they got them from. We have already mentioned the fall, generally speaking, of humankind, and how we have been broken in that - but there are many more contributory factors to how we are broken as human beings. I haven't got time, it's too vast, to even begin to dip your toe into the edge of the shore of this.
One thing is very clear: a lot of our woundedness and brokenness as human beings comes out of our relationships. Isn't that interesting? Relationship with God and with each other is the answer, but relationship with God and with each other is what Satan attacked in the beginning - and that, in fact, is where we are still being wounded from today. Someone has said: 'The highest points in life and the lowest probably centre on relationships'. Isn't that correct?
Now, I want to deal with at least three sources of wounding. First of all our family and our friends, then I want to look at our experiences, and then finally ourselves - and then we will move on to how we can get the healing. First of all, our family and our friends. Now you might fall off your seat at what I'm about to say, but please hang in there with me, I'm going to try and explain everything I say. I believe that the human being can be wounded from the very moment of conception, I believe that. I believe it's biblical, but I believe it also is sensible and even scientific. I mean, pregnant women are being encouraged to play music to their tummies, and to read to their tummies. Even when a child comes out of the womb, it is said now that he recognises Daddy's voice - if Daddy is about - because he has heard the voice, the child has heard the voice in the womb. So they know that the baby in the womb responds to a positive environment. Now, if that is the case, is it not also equally the case that a child can, like a sponge, detect and soak up negativity?
The circumstances of a conception can affect a child, the circumstances of a pregnancy - i.e. if a pregnancy was not wanted. If the mother continually - whether for financial reasons, maybe she's got 10 children already, and she saying 'I can't do with another baby, that's the last thing we need' - she's continually saying this, and it's not always the mother, it can be the father doing that, and if the child then is born and grows up and feels rejected, is that such a great surprise? Or if you're saying 'I want a girl', and you know you're having a boy or whatever - this might seem far-fetched to you, but our identity is in our spirits, our sexual identity is also in our spirits. Do you want to think about that one for a moment or two? I'm not saying it's the answer to all gender problems, I'm just saying it's worthy of thought and consideration. What if a mother or father is waiting on a child being born, and they're filled with fear and anxiety about the state of the child, how everything will go and so on - is it not plausible that that child could be affected by that?
What I am absolutely sure of is that John the Baptist, in the womb of Elizabeth his mother, leapt for joy encountering Jesus in the womb of Mary, His mother. Now you cannot tell me that John the Baptist was cognisant of the presence of Jesus in the womb of Mary, was he? He wasn't even emotionally developed, so what was going on? That part of him that is God-breathed, that actually detects the presence of God, did so in the womb!
Certainly in our formative years, when we are born and start growing up in those years of infanthood - that's often when the most damage is done to our human spirits. I can't go into it all, we couldn't go into it all, but some people have grown up in those years between, say, one and eight, in positively toxic environments - and it has damaged people's identities, and broken and bruised their spirit. We've got to face up to this. You get converted, praise God for the miraculous things that God can do in the moment of conversion, but don't you think you're the finished article when that happens - there's a whole lot of issues that God still has to deal with. He's transforming, from glory to glory, into the same image as Jesus Christ - that's an eternal project for Almighty God.
Our family and our friends can so affect us, and one of the main sources of damage is our parents. Now praise God for all the good things that our parents have done, and I don't want to be misconstrued as being down on parents tonight - I am one! But our parents, none of them, did a perfect job, none of them. What our parents are meant to do is mirror the image of God to us, particularly fathers - and mothers, but God is Father. So if you have had an absent or a distant father, or an emotionally shut down father, you may mirror God in that way and think that's the way God is. You don't know why you're not getting through to God, but you've never understood what a true father on Earth is, so you can't connect with Abba Father in Heaven. Maybe you've experienced rejection from your parents, constantly shooed away, not listened to, not given time, and so you have grown up feeling rejected. Often what happens to people who feel rejected - and I've seen this so many times - is that the enemy will perpetuate a pattern of rejection throughout their lives, so you're continually being rejected, so that that original wound of rejection gets sorer and sorer and sorer.
Sometimes we have a problem trusting our parents, or we're trying to earn favour with our parents - and then we have a problem trusting God, or we're trying to earn God's blessing. Maybe as a child a parent died, or maybe it was a big family and you were the eldest, and you we're given too much responsibility too soon, and you feel the loss of your own childhood. Sometimes broken parents look to their kids for their emotional needs - you know, where maybe a father dies or walks away, and a wee lad is told, 'You're now man of the house'. It's nonsense, never say that to a child. Maybe - I have heard of this now - you've had a manipulating or controlling mother, it's often that way. You can't surrender to the Holy Spirit, because it's often cliched as 'be controlled by the Holy Spirit', and deep down in your heart there is this attitude: 'I ain't going to let anybody control me. I was controlled all my life, there is nobody going to control me'. Maybe we should talk in different terms rather than 'control', talk about 'the influence of the Holy Spirit' - because when the Holy Spirit comes into your life, He sets you free, He gives you free will, He gives you self-control - that's a fruit of the Holy Spirit. He doesn't make you a robot.
But you can see how these wounds can actually affect us, when our parents are meant to image God, but they can actually damage our image of God - and some Christians now, because they were never taught true love in the home, don't know how to receive true love from God because they don't even know what it is. You see, our parents can cause us wounds. Then our friends, some of us need to be released from heart-ties that we have had that are still intact. People say: 'What's in the past is in the past', that's a lot of nonsense - that doesn't relate to the spiritual sphere or realm at all. Some people have had partners in their past, and they don't realise that they're still joined to them spiritually. There is a lot of ignorance about these things - but maybe you feel a bond still there, a tie, you feel being pulled into the past experiences and memories, and you don't realise what it is. There is a spiritual union in the sexual union, did you know that? I'll not go into it in any detail tonight, but you remember Aretha Franklin, what did she sing? 'Take another little piece of my heart, baby' - remember that one? She didn't know what she was singing, because when we enter into ties - it doesn't have to be sexually, it can be other bonds, and they are ungodly, or they are detrimental or negative to us - it can cause this severing in our identity, it can cause this brokenness, this fragmentation where bits of us get stuck with other people. Do you understand what I'm talking about? We can get stuck in the past with experiences we have had with other people, and we can't move on from them because we feel tied to them.
If there is abuse, that can often be the case, where your free will was taken away from you. Maybe that person still sits on your shoulder, and the abuse is on-going because you've never truly been broken from it and healed from it. Or there is, perhaps, a disordered love in your life - and this is very common for Christians, because we mightn't agree with going round the pubs and clubs, and running around in immoral living and so on, but often what we do is: we bow down idolatrously to other things in our lives, whether it's our families, or careers, or whatever. If we are bent down in our human spirits toward anything, it's idolatry. Maybe there are other people, so many other people, who you've been harmed with - maybe siblings, or even a teacher. So many teachers can be cruel to pupils, say something and you're still living with it today. Many people are damaged from how churches have dealt with them, and how leaders have dealt with them. Some of you tonight might be wounded because of pronouncements that were made to you, about you, from authority figures. What maybe a parent said, or a friend said, or maybe even a Christian leader said to you about yourself: 'You're this, you're that, you're the other, you'll always be...' - or a teacher maybe said to you, 'You'll never make anything of yourself'. These things stick, and they're spiritual.
I'll tell you another thing, and I don't want to tread where angels fear, but in the whole realm of New Testament prophecy - and I believe in it - there's a lot of damage done here. Sometimes it can be closer to divination that is at work, but maybe there is someone here tonight and you're bound because of a so-called prophecy that somebody made over you. It has actually wounded you, it's hindering you, because it was not of God at all, and it was controlling. Prophecy will never be controlling, never manipulating, that's witchcraft. Maybe you need to be set free tonight - imagine saying that in the Elim Pentecostal Church, imagine! You could be set free of a prophecy tonight - we're all wanting prophecies, aren't we? But you could be set free of one, if it's not of God and it has bound you and wounded you.
Parents can wound us, friends can wound us, and then our experiences - our family and friends and our experiences, trauma. You've been stuck in a tragedy in your past, and you need the healing of your memories. Now, lest you think I've really lost the plot here, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the Minister of Westminster Chapel who was also a minister in the Welsh Valleys - he was from Wales, of course. In the 1930s two ministers came to him about their local schoolmaster. They said he used to be involved in a lot of Christian work, but they just described him as being a tragic case. Lloyd-Jones, who was also a Harley Street specialist before ministry, a physician, he asked what was his problem. They said the schoolmaster 'had become very depressive, and he gets headaches and pains in his stomach continually'. So Lloyd-Jones agreed to go and see him if he could help him at all. He sat before the man, and he said: 'What's wrong with you?'. He said just that, 'I have some depressive condition, I get headaches, pains in the stomach, and I can't sleep at night'. Lloyd-Jones asked him some diagnostic questions: 'How long have you been like this?'. The man said: 'Well, for years, in fact, I've been like this from 1915' - this was 1930, he had been like this for 15 years. Lloyd-Jones asked him: 'How did it begin?'. He said: 'Well, war broke out in 1914, and I volunteered for the Navy and was immediately transferred to the submarine corps, and we were sent to the Mediterranean. We were involved in the Gallipoli campaign'. He said: 'One afternoon, when we were submerged in the ocean, suddenly there was a huge thud that hit the side of the vessel. The submarine shook and shuddered, and immediately, knowing it was a mine, we realised that the submarine was sinking down to the bottom of the Mediterranean'. He said: "You know, from that moment, I have never been the same man'. Then Lloyd-Jones said: 'Well, please tell me the rest of the story'. The man said: 'Well, there isn't any more to tell'. Several times Lloyd-Jones asked him: 'But tell me what happened next?'. The man said: 'Look, I've told you everything, that's what happened, and I've never been the same again'. Lloyd-Jones spent most of the afternoon, I think, with him, and he went through everything - you know, the thud on the side of the vessel, went down to the bottom of the Mediterranean and so on - and he said: 'Now, tell me what happened?'. He said: 'There's nothing else happened, that's the end of the story!'. Lloyd-Jones asked him: 'Are you still stuck at the bottom of the Mediterranean?' - and he was, because nothing had happened after it. Now, of course, he wasn't physically down at the bottom of the Mediterranean, but mentally, emotionally - and I would take it further, spiritually - he had got stuck. Some of us can be stuck in trauma of the past. Now that man was healed and released, and you may have been in accidents in the past, and in our 'Troubles' as we call them here in Ireland, many of us have been exposed to all sorts of horrendous things that never should have been the case - and we don't even realise how damaged we are. Our bodies might be fixed, we may have recovered physically, but our spirit isn't.
Maybe it's a bereavement that so many of us pass through, or a loss of some other kind, or it could be the bitterness of unforgiveness - and that's a real serious one. You remember Jesus told in Matthew 18 about the parable of the unforgiving servant. The master forgave him a great debt, and then that man went out and he found his friend who owed him a little debt, and he wouldn't forgive his friend. The master heard it, and he was so angry that he called the first man in, the unforgiving servant, and he said: 'You're going to have to pay every penny for your unforgiveness'. In fact, what Jesus said at the end of the parable was this, listen very carefully, Matthew 18:34-35: 'His master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses'. Our Heavenly Father will do what? He will do exactly what the master did, deliver you to the torturers. What does that mean? Well, some of the most tortured and twisted, bitter Christians that I have ever met are the ones with the chips on their shoulders of unforgiveness. They have been stuck in something that someone has done, and I'll talk next week about how the torturers, I believe, are demonic spirits that will capitalise upon bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart. What I'm trying to point out is: family and friends, and our experiences can wound us. If you've got unforgiveness in your heart towards anybody, it will wound you!
Then there is ourselves, where do we get the wounds? Often we get them from ourselves! We can wound ourselves, you know. Some of us hate ourselves. Some of us can't accept ourselves the way God has made us. Some of us have never forgiven ourselves, we believe God has forgiven us but we have never been able to embrace that ourselves. Some of us are making constant self-pronunciations over ourselves: 'You're no good! You're stupid! You can't do anything right! You'll never measure up!'. Maybe other people have said it to us, but maybe we are now saying to ourselves - and we're bringing, as it were, a cursing upon our lives by these words and wounding ourselves.
Now I haven't got time to go into everything - maybe you think I am this evening! - but these are the wounds that make us weak to resist sin, so we start to engage in sin as a coping mechanism, or to remove the pain of some of these wounds or deaden it a little. These wounds can become a breeding ground for demonic empowerment, but ultimately they are a blockage to blessing, and we need to get healing for them! So, how do we get the healing? Well, praise God, God wants to redeem what Satan has sought to destroy. Can I read to you again what I read from The Message last Thursday night, 1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24, just listen: 'May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole', I love that, 'put you together', now think of what we've been talking about tonight, 'put you together - spirit, soul, and body - and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He'll do it!' - but you have to cooperate with Him.
Now if you're working in an office, everything is so high-tech - and if you're not into computers, you mightn't even understand what I'm going to say here - but if something goes wrong with your computer in the office, and maybe you can do all you need to do on it, but if anything goes wrong you have to go and get the IT specialist to come in. They are technicians who have what is called 'administrative privileges' - do you know what that is? They can fiddle about and fix things, and they have the authority to do it - but usually they need a password. So they have administrative privileges to come in and fix your machine, but they need a password. The privilege is like the authority, and the password is like the clout and the power - and Jesus has administrative authority, privileges, over His children, and He is the password to fix us.
We can't do it ourselves, but praise God Matthew 12 verse 20 says - oh, I love this: 'A bruised reed shall He not break' - is that not the human spirit? If you're broken tonight and wounded, fragmented, and you're hanging on your last sinew of life, Jesus doesn't just come along and just snap you clean and that's the end of you - He wants to heal you, He wants to take you like a little shoot, a plant, and He wants to feed you, He wants to tend you, He wants to pour Himself into you and bring you life and make you strong, and make you stand up straight to Almighty God. That's why He said in Matthew 11: 'Come to me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'. It's wonderful that Jesus is concerned about the whole person.
Let me quickly re-cap on some stories you already know from the Gospels. You remember the paralysed man and his four mates, they pulled up the roof - demolition job - and then lowered him down into the midst where Jesus was. I'm not going to go into it all, there was a whole row over who can forgive sins, and who He thinks He is. Do you remember what He said that man? 'Your sins are forgiven you'. Why did He say that? Was that man looking his sins forgiven? Do you know that? Why did He say that? Now we don't want to read too much into Scripture, but I have a hunch that that man needed to be released on the inside from his sins before he could be released on the outside. You look at the passage and see what you think, but was this a man who was crippled by his past? Was this a man who was paralysed by fear? Why did the Lord say: 'Your sins are forgiven you', and then 'Get up and walk'? I know there's a whole debate that happened with the Scribes and all the rest, but what about the woman with the issue of blood, do you remember her? She touched the hem of Jesus' garment, and immediately she was made whole in Luke chapter 8 - and what did Jesus do? Very insensitive, we might think, this wee woman was so scared that she wouldn't come out in the open, but Jesus called her out in the open. Now why did He bring her into the public? To embarrass her? No! Think about this: this woman's haemorrhage made her ceremonially unclean, cut her off from the congregation and the community, and what Jesus was doing was inviting her to have a voice. She had experienced rejection, and listen to what Jesus said to her: 'Daughter, your faith has made you whole'. Now what was that like saying? It was like saying: 'You're one of the family'. Jesus received her into the community again, when she had been rejected.
What about the leper? Oh I love this one, in Matthew 8, we have to read this: 'The leper came and worshiped Jesus, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean''. Now, this was a leper - what do you think his rejection would be like as a leper? His issues of acceptance and belonging? What do you think his relationships were like? Well, he went about all day out in the wilderness ringing a bell, shouting 'Unclean! Unclean! Unclean!' - it's not a remedy for winning friends and influencing people really, is it? Anybody that comes near you, the disease is floating in the air and they could catch it too. When was the last time you think this man had arms embrace him? When was the last time, if he was married, that his wife kissed him? When was the last time a wee fellow or a wee girl ran up and jumped on his knee? What did Jesus do? Listen: ''If You will, You can make me clean'. Then Jesus put out His hand' - do you see Him? - 'and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed'. Immediately his leprosy was cleansed'. In one touch it dispelled the rejection of a lifetime.
You can't tell me that Jesus isn't interested in the whole person. Wait till I tell you something: the Bible is full - isn't it wonderful? - it's full of normal people, broken people, wounded people, sinful people, people who the devil has overcome. Other holy books and other religious books are often full of super heroes, but the difference between Jesus and those so-called super heroes is: we have a Saviour who was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the punishment of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed! He is despised and rejected - are you rejected tonight? He is despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
'The Spirit of the Lord God has anointed Me', Jesus said, 'to preach glad tidings to the poor, and to heal the brokenhearted'. What are the steps to healing tonight as we close, quickly? Let me give you a few practical things for you this evening. How to get the healing: one, you need to choose to forgive - oh, 'Why don't you start with the easy one?'. You need to choose to forgive. Now there is a lot of misunderstanding with forgiveness, and that's why right away we balk at it. A lot of people think forgiveness means, 'Forgive and forget', that's garbage - you can't forget! Even God doesn't forget, He chooses to remember no more, but you can't tell me He forgot that we ever were sinners - sure, what's it all about anyway? What's redemption about if He forgot we were sinners? He chooses not to bring our sins before Him, He doesn't forget. You can't forget awful things that have been done to you. Forget about trying to forget, just choose by an act of your will to forgive. It's not the same as feeling like forgiving, if you wait till you feel like it you'll never do it! It's a choice of obedience, it's an act of faith - and effectively what it's doing is taking that person or persons off your hook and putting them onto God's. It's you getting out of the way and giving room for God's vengeance. You haven't got what it takes to dish out justice, only God has. The fact of the matter is: you are the one who is being hindered, you need to be released. That person that you need to forgive is still on your back, unless you do let them go to God in forgiveness. Choose to forgive. I can help some of you with that privately, if you want. We need to choose to forgive and there is a great release in that. I believe it's a major key to deliverance in our lives. In fact, Jesus says that if you don't forgive your brother, you won't be forgiven by God. Now that's a complicated one, and I'm not going into it tonight - but one thing is absolutely sure about it: you will not be able to enjoy the lavish love of God if you're not walking in forgiveness with your brother or sister - that's what it means, as well as a whole lot of other things perhaps.
Secondly - one, choose to forgive - secondly, repent of ungodly responses to wounding. What am I talking about? Well, a wound says 'I hurt', but an ungodly response or sin is 'You hurt me, so I hate you, and I'm going to hurt you back'. So the wound is 'I hurt', and God does not condemn that - but the sin is 'You hurt me, I hate you, I'm going to hurt you'. Or, commonly with people who have been rejected, what they do is, they think: 'Oh, there's somebody trying to get close to me, I'll reject you before you reject me' - and that's why rejected people are often prickly pears. Hurt people hurt people, because they're afraid of getting hurt again. Then it can also manifest in sin like this: 'I am hurt, so I will fix myself' - how many of us try to do that? In the flesh, we try to sort the problem out, and it just exacerbates it - it gets worse! So you need to repent tonight of all ungodly responses to wounding, whether it's an attempt to wound others, whether it's wounding yourself, or whether it's trying to fix yourself - just give up and give over to God.
Forgive, repent, and thirdly: break ungodly bonds that have been established - or, to put it another way, you need to remove influences that are perpetuating the wounding. For some people that's boundaries, boundaries are needed. Boundaries are needed, I talked about it, with sin problems that we might have. Now rules don't work, it has to be based on relationship, but we do need boundaries. I spoke to someone who heard a pastor saying that if you have something against somebody, do you know what you should do? You should phone them up and invite them over for a cup of tea - and this person had been sexually abused, and she wasn't from a Christian background. She thought: 'Have I to invite that person round my house, is that the only way I can forgive someone?'. That's not forgiveness, forgiveness is different from reconciliation - there are some people you can never be reconciled with. You can forgive them, but you can never be reconciled. If you're not going to perpetuate the wounding, you need to put boundaries in. Maybe you need to sever relationships. You're saying: 'Preacher, that thing is in the past, that's in the past! That's under the blood'. Wait till I tell you: it's not in the past if it's still affecting you in the present, is it?
Break ungodly ties, fourthly and finally: choose to allow God to bring healing and comfort into the hurts and into the pain. You've got to become present to the wound, you've got to allow Him to bring it to the surface and deal with it. You know, emotions, God created them. I know you know that, but they're created to be expressed, all of them were created to be expressed. Wait till I tell you: the healthy way for them to be expressed is at the time when you feel them, anger and all. Now I'm not saying expressed in a way that hurts someone, but they need to be expressed. You go to the Psalms and hear some of the things that David and the Psalmists said about their enemies - but they were saying it in the presence of God. They were getting it off their chest, not with their Christian friend over coffee, and they weren't venting their spiel in front of somebody to hurt them, they were getting it all out! There might be a need to confront, but they were getting it all out in God's presence - and that's why they often ended up in a praise party, because they got it off their chest.
Some of us have suppressed the wounds, and we have denied that they are even there. There is within us, deep within our spirit, a lake of tears that is overlaid with thick ice. Some of us don't even know it's there. What I'm saying is that you need to allow the Lord Jesus to tap into that, let it rise up and out of you, and give it to Jesus. Some of us need to invite the Alpha and Omega to come and heal our memories, and release us from our memories, and redeem our memories. You need to give God permission to be Lord of your emotion, to be Lord of your pain. You need to come to the cross, where Jesus was wounded, where He was like a ploughed field, and with those stripes we are healed. You need to see that cross, and Jesus on it, as soaking up like a sponge, absorbing all the pain, all the sin, all the guilt. You need to see Him taking it as you give it up, let it come up and let it come out, and let Him and absorb it; and let His wonderful grace, peace, and power, His life, be received into you by faith - the great exchange.
Oh, there's so much there tonight, I know - but I believe God has really spoken to some of you, really spoken to some of you. Maybe your sinful behaviours that you've been struggling with and failing with, deep down there is a hurt, a wound, and that sinful behaviour has been a coping mechanism, or a salve to pain. We'll talk about the demonic, which is very real, next week - but you know, there are people running after demons (and they're there, let me tell you), but they're ignoring the fact that: do you see if you repent of sin, and do you see if you allow the Lord to heal those deep wounds, you become very slippery and it's hard for the demons to hang on. All that has to be said is 'Go in Jesus' name', because some of the rights that they have in our lives, the footholds, are sins and wounds. I was thinking today as I was preparing this that, in the very beginning, God's Spirit hovered over creation and brought order to chaos. That's what God's Spirit does in the new creation, and He's brooding over us tonight - do you sense Him? He wants to bring order, He wants to make you holy and whole - spirit, soul, and body. He is faithful, and if He said it, He will do it - but you need to let Him.
Let's pray. I'm going to hand over to the pastor in just a moment, but I'm hanging around a wee while if anyone wants to talk, if any want prayer. Now I can't listen to your life story, and I ask you to be understanding that we've all got problems, but if you feel tonight that God has just appeared to you and put His finger on a big, big wound or a big, big issue and you need help - please don't be going home without getting help. You can get God's help, the Spirit is brooding here, you don't need me, you don't need anybody - but we are here to help if you need help. You just deal with God tonight. You say, 'David, what do I do?'. Repent of the sin, become present to the wound - tell God what it is. He has told you, probably, tonight - just bring it to Him, forgive that person or people. Now I believe it's good to audibly declare forgiveness, so it might be better to do that in private - but just do what we have talked about here tonight, and allow the Holy Spirit to get deep in healing. If you feel you've suppressed a lot of this pain, ask Him to lift the lid off it, and let it out so that you can get free of it. These are barriers to blessing, and Jesus has the answer - praise His name. He is here tonight, and the nail-pierced hand can touch you and can release you. It's all a process in a sense, but great things can happen very quickly if you just get real with God, and get real with your pain. God bless you.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Portadown Elim Church in Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the second recording in his 'Deep Healing' series, entitled "Wounds" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.
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