This morning we're looking at Luke chapter 1, beginning to read at verse 39: "Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord'. And Mary said: 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever'. And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house".
Now each time I speak, I always invite you to pray, and I'm going to do that just now. I want you to come to the Lord and ask Him to speak to you. I don't know whether you were here or not last Sunday morning, and you prayed that prayer, but I want you to do it again - and I believe that the Lord has something to say to all of us. I know that there will be a sort of evangelistic edge to the message particularly on Sunday mornings here in Scrabo, but I think there's something for everyone here today, and I want us all to receive it. So let's come with open hearts and with willing lives, and ask the Lord to speak into our situations.
Father, we come to You as our Abba Father in the name of the Lord Jesus. We thank You for the children's story even this morning that so graphically describes how we're meant to learn from our earthly relationships, our relationships with our families, what our Heavenly Father is like. But Lord, it has to be said that so many of us perhaps have not had good relationships with our father, but we thank You that in Abba Father, Heavenly Father, Holy Father, in You we can find everything that a father should be in who You are. Lord, that delights our hearts today, in fact the Spirit of Jesus rises up within us and cries: 'Abba Father' - that spirit of adoption. Lord, we want that to be the experience of everyone gathered here today, we want them to know You as their Father through Jesus Christ, Your Son, the Saviour and Lord. So we pray now, as they open their hearts even to You and say 'Lord, speak to me', that You will speak to them, that You will give them a revelation to their spirits of their need and of their sin, and of Christ as the sufficient Saviour to cover them, as we already heard. Lord, come, we pray, and minister to all of us through the enlightenment of Your truth, in Jesus' name we pray - and help me, Lord, and give me the Holy Spirit for this task. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Now, last time, last Sunday morning if you were here, I pointed out primarily that God is not to be known in the mind. Now if you weren't here, I'm sorry, I haven't too much time to go into explaining that, save to say that we as human beings were fearfully and wonderfully made - but that does not just apply to the body. We are, as theologians put it, tripartite beings - that's a bit frightening, but it just means we are made up of three parts. In the New Testament, in the book of Thessalonians, Paul tells us that we are made up of spirit, soul, and body - and actually that's God's order. Our order, we talk even about 'body, soul, and spirit', don't we? But God speaks of 'spirit, soul, and body', because the spirit is very important in knowing God. You see, the spirit is the part that was breathed into Adam, and he became a living soul. God formed his physical physique out of the soil and dust of the ground, and then He breathed the ruach - the Hebrew word for 'spirit' - into that form, and Adam became a living soul, a living being. So there is an immaterial part of all of us that is spiritual, and it is that part that is the God-conscious part. The body, the physical frame, is the world-conscious part, it's the part we relate to our surroundings with. Our soul is the self-conscious part. We might say that it's made up of our mind, our emotions, and our will - what we think with, feel with, and do with. But there is that part of us, and for many it's so deeply hidden that they're not aware of it, even Christians: our spirit that is to be God-conscious, the part that we are to worship God with, the part, often, that we find our conscience in.
Now, of course, the story of the Bible goes that this connector with God has been broken off. I said last week that it's often described as being like the line being cut when you're on the telephone. Our line to God, our communication, our communion with God has been severed because of sin right in the beginning in the Garden of Eden, when man broke God's laws. So we're separated from God - this part of us, spirit, that's meant to be connected, is cut off. Now don't make the mistake that many make in thinking that because we have sinned that our spirits don't exist any more. The Bible does say that our spirits are dead in trespasses and in sins, but death in the Bible does not mean ceasing to exist, it means separation. Now I know this might sound complicated, but when Adam died in the Garden of Eden when he sinned, he didn't drop dead physically, but spiritually he was cut off from God. When you die physically you don't cease to exist, though the soul and spirit are separated from the body - it's separation. If you die eternally, which is spoken of in the Bible, that means you are eternally separated from God for ever in a place called hell, rather than being united with God forever in the joy of heaven. So death in the Bible means separation, and when we are spiritually dead: our spirits exist, but we are cut off from God. So often our spirits find satisfaction in other places. They might worship idols, they might worship cars, they might worship football teams, they might worship churches, they might worship themselves - which is very common - but they are cut off from God.
What man needs, and this is what I emphasised last week but it's worth repeating: man needs an encounter with the supernatural - that's what you need. Jesus called it, in John chapter 3, 'the new birth', the birth from above, a spiritual rebirth where you are reconnected with God. You need to be born-again. Now, just as a baby exists before it is born, your spirit exists before it is born-again - but just as a baby is delivered into a new environment when it's born, when you're born-again you're transferred from a kingdom of darkness, cut off, hidden from God, into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of His dear Son. But you've got to understand that without this new birth you cannot know God. Jesus said in John chapter 3: 'You cannot enter the kingdom of God unless you're born-again'. In fact, 'Except a man be born-again, he cannot even see the kingdom of God'. Just like a baby, before birth, cannot see the external environment, you cannot see what God's kingdom is all about until your spirit is born-again. In fact, to a large extent, you can't even understand many of these things - that's why I emphasised last week that it is largely pointless trying to struggle and grapple in the sphere of the mind only with these spiritual matters. You will never contemplate them alone in the mind. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:14: 'The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned'.
Now listen, that might be double-Dutch to some of you, or most of you, but really what I'm saying is: if you're trying to understand everything merely in the mind before you trust Christ and repent of your sin and believe Him as Saviour, you will never know God. You will never know Him if you're only seeking Him in the mind. We saw last week that Mary embraced what God had told her with her heart. She couldn't understand it with her head, but she embraced it with her heart. Now here again this morning we see the realm of the spirit in action, I believe. Again the realm of the spirit is beyond the natural or the intellectual. We see here in this account that we read, verse 39 and following, that the unborn Jesus and the unborn John the Baptist meet, in a roundabout way, in the wombs of their mothers. We would have to say that they were not self-conscious or aware, and yet we read that John the Baptist, prenatally in the womb, John the Baptist leaps in Elizabeth's belly - he leaps. The only interpretation we can take from that is that John the Baptist somehow perceived the presence of his Lord.
Now I want to ask a question here: how did John the Baptist, in the womb of his Mum, Elizabeth, perceive the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the womb of His mother, Mary? How? Maybe the question would be better posed: where did John the Baptist perceive the presence of his Lord? Did he perceive it in his body? Well, the obvious answer to that is: no, because there was no physical contact at all. Was it in the realm of the mind that John the Baptist made this computation and leapt for joy? Well, mentally he would have been underdeveloped. So where was it that John the Baptist perceived the presence of his Lord? It must have been, surely, in John's spirit. Now, of course, that makes sense because we know that the spirit is the place where we are meant to have God-consciousness - but that, perhaps, is not what surprises us most about this account. Rather it is the thought that perhaps an unborn baby could have spiritual perception. Now some might say: 'Well, I think you're reading a bit much in here', and you might conclude that this was just the kind of special miracle. It is correct that John the Baptist was a unique individual, probably the greatest prophet, apart from our Lord Jesus, who ever lived. Of course we read in verse 15 of chapter 1 that he was 'Filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb'. But I would like to suggest to you that there is something very instructive here that we can learn about the human spirit.
Now we know, don't we, that children are very sensitive to many things, but particularly - I would say - the spiritual things. Even things that they don't understand and, for that matter, can't understand, they cannot grapple with all the issues involved in certain truths, but we know for a fact that they can and they often do believe at a quicker rate than adults do. Of course, the Lord Jesus bears this out when He said in Matthew 18 verse 3: 'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven'. Jesus saw a positive trait in children, an advantage that children had over adults - and I want to suggest to you that the advantage was that they are sensitive in their spirits, and everything doesn't have to qualify in their minds first and foremost.
It's not right to put all this down to naivete of children: 'They just believe anything!'. It's not enough to say that they are ignorant, and that when they learn more, well, they'll make different decisions in their life. That cannot be the case for the simple reason that many children who have spiritual perception as children, and embrace Christ by faith and simple belief, they do grow up - did you know that? They all grow up! They do mature mentally and emotionally, and many of these same people confirm what they received spiritually as children, and declare that something actually happened to them. They may need to reaffirm it, but many of them do - it still lives with them because, even though they did not understand it all, or grasp it even emotionally, something happened!
Now I've got another question: is the spirit of a child outside the womb sensitive, but the child inside the womb isn't? What do you think? Is it possible that, though the unborn may not have the ability to interpret things in the outside world like young children don't either, that yet there still remains a sensitivity in their spirits to things that are going on around them? Now I think recent medical studies - I can't speak dogmatically on this - but I believe that there is increasing tendency to believe that children in the womb are receptive in one way or another. That's why, and I don't want to be facetious, but you know mummies are talking to their tummies, and rubbing their tummies, and dear knows what else they're doing to their tummies, playing music to their tummies, and reading stories to their tummies! I don't know much about that, but what I do know is, and what I believe is that even the unborn have spiritual receptors that can pick up things. Let me give you an example: a woman falls pregnant, and this baby is unwanted. The mother constantly expresses through her thoughts, but also her feelings and perhaps even her words: 'I don't want this child'. Now, is it possible that the spiritual receptor of the unborn baby in her, though it doesn't understand the sentiment that's being expressed, then grows up with a feeling of being rejected? Would that surprise you? Do children pick up things that are going awry in the home? Children who don't understand why we're having a row - they mightn't understand, but do they pick up on it? Of course they do, they're like little sponges.
Now you're not going to tell me that that happens outside the womb with a little six-month, nine-month, year-old baby - they don't understand what's going on, but they pick it up, you can see it in their faces - and the unborn does not pick something up? I think it's a given that we need to pray for our children, but what about our unborn children? We need to pray, Mum and Dad, you need to pray from that very moment of conception, because it's likely that from that moment we have a spirit, a receptor that reacts to things going on that it doesn't understand, but in the environment. It may even explain certain problems that people grapple with throughout their lives and don't understand why, because they don't have the knowledge of it - but it certainly would go a long way to illustrate that the spiritual realm is a whole different area than the mere physical, intellectual, and emotional. I hope you're not restricting yourself to the mind or to the emotions when you're seeking after God. You've got to be open to the spiritual realm.
Now, the other thing that happened to Elizabeth this time, not to John the Baptist but to Elizabeth, the mother, is in verse 41. We read that she was 'filled with the Holy Spirit'. Now, we read in Ephesians 5 of the 'fullness of the Holy Spirit', and that appears to be a constant continuous state of being filled with the Holy Spirit. I was talking to, actually counselling, a lady last night at the meeting who grew up, we might say, in Brethren circles. She had been given this conception that when you're born-again, you receive the Spirit of God - that is correct - and that you are indwelt by the Spirit of God - and that is, to a measure, correct - but she had confounded this with the idea that she had actually been filled with the Holy Spirit, and all she had to do was be a good girl, and do things right, and that would be maintained in her life. That is utter nonsense! It is unbiblical and it is unwarranted. There is an experience in the Christian life - whilst, when we are born-again, we receive the Holy Spirit as the gift of God, He resides in our human spirit, but He wants to get out! He wants to invade into the area of the soul, to control your mind, your emotions and your actions - and He even wants to fill your body as the Temple. Very simply put, it happens by surrendering all those areas to Him, and then He floods the whole being. It can be quite dramatic, and it can be quite a non-event in a sensual sense - but it's certainly something that happens by faith as we surrender, and then it must be - correct - it must be maintained, the fullness of the Spirit. It's a constant life condition of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, and asking the Holy Spirit to be in control.
But there are other times within the New Testament that we find people being filled with the Spirit for a specific special purpose. For instance, our Lord, going from His baptism to His temptation, we read in Luke 4: 'Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness'. There is a sense there that, as He was facing the strongman, the devil, that there was a special anointing of the Holy Spirit that was given to Him for that task. This is borne out particularly when we go to the Acts of the Apostles, and we read there several times - for instance, Acts chapter 2 verse 4: 'They were all filled with the Holy Spirit', at Pentecost, 'and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance'. In chapter 4 and verse 8 we read: 'Peter', standing up to preach, 'filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, 'Rulers of the people and elders of Israel'', and so on and so forth - but you can see that for the special task of preaching boldly in this very threatening environment, he was given a special filling of the Holy Spirit.
We see the same thing here in verse 41 with Elizabeth, look at it, she 'was filled with the Holy Spirit', and then we read in verse 42: 'Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!''. Incidentally, and I know we'll come to it, in verse 67 the same thing happened Zacharias, her husband: 'Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying'. So this was a special filling for something actually that was going to be spoken by Elizabeth - we might call it a prophetic blessing upon Mary. Look at it in verse 42: 'Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!''.
Now, let's look at Mary. She was the most blessed woman ever, to bear the Christ. It was the dream of every Jewess to be the divinely chosen vessel to carry Messiah, and to deliver Messiah to the world. So Mary was chosen of God for this purpose, and not only was she chosen but I would go as far as to say that she was a choice vessel, she was unique among women. Sometimes, I feel, Protestants have denigrated Mary because Roman Catholics have elevated her above what Scripture allows - but we must have biblical balance. She is blessed above all women, but what does Scripture actually declare of her? Well, it clearly says she was special and chosen, but nevertheless she was an ordinary woman who needed to exercise faith in God.
Now Elizabeth's declaration over Mary tells us several things. First of all it confirms to us that Mary's response to the angelic message that we saw last week was the correct one. Do you remember I started off with an exam question: compare and contrast two interviews with an angel. Gabriel had come to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and told him that his wife Elizabeth, who was barren and older, and beyond the years of bearing children, was going to bear a son - and he wouldn't believe. He heard but he wouldn't believe, and he was struck dumb because of that. Yet the same angel comes to Mary and tells her a more difficult thing that God is going to do, because she didn't even know a man. It wasn't that she was barren, it was that she was a virgin, not even married! She didn't understand - here's the realm of the spirit again - she didn't understand, like Zacharias didn't understand, but she embraced with her heart what she didn't understand. Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit here, filled, tells her she made the right call. She put faith and belief in what God said in His word, for nothing shall be impossible with God - whereas Zacharias, her husband, expressed unbelief.
Look at verse 45: 'Blessed is she who believed', Elizabeth says, 'for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord'. Listen: without faith it is impossible to please God. You see if you're trying to intellectually grapple with things - and I'm not saying don't do that, that's part of who we're made to be, we need to have a measure of understanding - but if you're trying to understand it all, you'll never get there. If you're trying to feel good about it all, you'll never get there - blessed is the one who believes.
Now then Mary is moved by God, by the same Holy Spirit, quite prophetically to declare what has come to be known as 'the Magnificat', because this term is used in verse 46: 'My soul magnifies the Lord'. Now I'm not sure why people call it a song, I don't think there's any evidence of that, but she certainly declares this in praise: 'My soul magnifies the Lord', verse 47, 'and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour'. Now note, just because I'm following this theme, that Mary reiterates the spiritual nature of mankind in this statement. Look at it in verse 46: 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour' - soul and spirit in praise to God! Now what follows, and we don't have time to look into this of course, but it resembles Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel. It would be good for some of you to look at 1 Samuel 2 at your leisure and see the similarities in this prayer and hers. She, incidentally, was another mother of a miraculous baby.
Now there are at least twelve allusions in Mary's Magnificat to the Old Testament, and it's a prayer of praise. Now that shows us that she was a woman steeped in God's word, God's word was on her heart - and Jesus said: 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks'. Because this godly teenager - now teenagers, grasp that - this teenage girl was so steeped in the scriptures, whenever the Holy Ghost came on her, all that came out of her was the word of God. Incidentally, if you want the Holy Spirit to bring out Scriptures that you need whenever you need them, it's wise to put them in when you don't need them, then the Holy Spirit has something to bring out. It's simple computers: input, output. But look at her praise, it was expressed from the heart of a sinner concerning her need of a Saviour, and the One whom she knew was her Saviour, the Living God - that's vital. Her praise expressed herself as a sinful woman: 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour' - and as you read through this prayer of praise, you will find other references to her need for mercy, and being elevated, and being lowly.
Now I must refer to this, because it is very relevant to what we're talking about today. In 1854, Pope Pius IX pronounced the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and I'm sure most of you have heard it, and probably as many of you have misunderstood it. Many people falsely think it's got something to do with Jesus being born without sin - it's got nothing of the sort to do with that. It, in fact, is a doctrine that teaches that at the moment of Mary's conception in the womb of her mother, that she was kept free from all taint of sin. It's about Mary, not about Jesus. This was a new teaching in 1854 that confused many in the church, because they knew enough to know that the Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death, and the reason why we have graveyards and people are being buried is because we are sinners, and the consequence of our sin is mortality. So they reasoned: 'Hold on a minute, if Mary was not a sinner, did she or did she not die?'. Now that was a question that needed an explanation, and so it was necessary - it took them a while mind you - in 1950 for Pope Pius XII to pronounce what was called 'The Doctrine of the Assumption of Mary'. This taught that Mary was assumed to heaven at the point of death. Some believe that she didn't pass through death, she was taken to heaven alive. Others believe she died and there was no corruption in her body, and she was taken to heaven at the point of death. Whatever you believe about it, they had to come up with this conclusion - but of course, some on the back of this have elevated Mary to the point where they worship her, and they look to her for redemption. They actually look to her almost to do favours in bringing them to Jesus, because Jesus is a bit more sterner and harsher than she would be as a woman and a mother.
Now listen: Scripture is completely at odds with teaching like this. In fact, as we see here, Luke chapter 1, Scripture presents Mary as special, but as a sinner like the rest of us who need a Saviour. She declares here, and in fact even after the birth of Jesus later on she goes to the Temple and brings a sin offering for cleansing, because she was a sinner that needed cleansing after the birth of Jesus! Now, why am I labouring on this? Because the Bible is very clear that we are all sinners, every one of us, even someone as good and godly as Mary was a sinner who needed a Saviour.
Paul expands on this in Romans 3:22 and following: 'For there is no difference', he concludes everyone, whether they be Jew or Gentile, religious or irreligious, he concludes them all under sin. There is no difference, 'for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. That expression in the original language means 'we have missed the mark'. Playing darts and you miss the board completely, or maybe even miss the wall, that's what we are like morally. Before God we have completely missed the mark, we are falling far short of the standard, we don't even hit the board. Because of that Paul goes on to say that we can be justified freely by God's grace, in other words: because we are bankrupt morally, we cannot earn our own salvation, we can't get to God or go to heaven by doing good - because no matter how much good we do, most of it, if not all of it, is tainted with sin, and our bad always outweighs it. So we need a free gift, something gratuitous, something that comes from God not because we are worthy or we have earned it, but because He is giving it. And that is, Paul says, 'the redemption that is in Christ Jesus' - that's how we can be bought back from the slavery of our sins - 'whom God set forth', and this is a big word, 'as a propitiation by His blood'. I'm not going to go into that, save to say that what was taught to the children this morning covers some of that: that Jesus is the covering that covers over our sin, that allows us to come to God. In other words, what we could not do, Jesus has done on the cross.
Is there anyone here today who has a sort of pipedream that, through good things that you might do - you know, being a nice neighbour, helping the old lady across the road, going to church, maybe praying and partaking of certain rituals or sacraments, whether it's Protestant or Catholic it doesn't matter, whether it's belonging to a particular church, or group, sect - that you in some way will earn the favour of God. Now I want you this morning to banish that thought completely, for that is an utter impossibility - but apart from that, it's not necessary, because Jesus Christ on the cross is the covering. He bled and died, and rose again, to make a covering for all our sin - but He doesn't just cover it like sin was atoned for in the Old Testament. The New Testament truth is: He takes it away! He actually vanishes it!
I know of men in this world that would give all their billions to know that all their sins were gone, and yet they don't have to, because Jesus gave His precious, priceless blood. Do you know this? That all are sinners, and there is only one Saviour and one way to God. Paul said to Timothy: 'There is one God and one Mediator' - that means one go-between - 'between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time'. Mary is not the Saviour, Mary is not the Mediator. For that matter, neither is any saint, however godly they might be. No church brings us to God, whether it be a Protestant church, a Roman Catholic Church, the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses would tell us 'You need to be in our gang to get to God' - they don't give a guarantee, by the way, that you'll get there, but if you're going to have any hope you need to be in their band. There is no Pope, no priest, no pastor, no clergyman to bring us to God - Christ and Christ alone, through His cross, through His resurrection, and through embracing Him by faith and repentance, that's the only way that you can come to God.
Verse 48 just to finish with, Mary said: 'God has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed'. Sadly many generations have remembered Mary inaccurately, but Scripture records her as a woman who, though good and godly, knew she was a sinner in need of a Saviour. Can I ask you: what will history record of you? Like Mary, a woman of saving faith, a sinner who knew their need of a Saviour, and didn't spend their life exhausting themselves intellectually to answer every question in the book, or cripple themselves emotionally trying to work through these issues, but came to Jesus as they were: weary, worn, and sad; and found in Him a resting place. Maybe some of the issues I have touched on, even about the spirit of an unborn child in the mother's womb, or what you observed as a child in infancy in your home that has affected you - maybe you can't remember it all, but it has affected you - and you need to come with that burden. Isn't it wonderful that we have a Saviour, and we can come and bring Him everything: 'Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'. That's what this world is crying out for: mental rest, emotional rest, physical rest, spiritual rest, and they'll go everywhere to find it. They'll go and get acupuncture, they'll go to homoeopathic medicine, they'll go to gurus, and Yoga, and Reiki - and they will sell their soul to the devil to get it, even Christians. Yet Jesus has it.
Will you come to Him today? Repent of your sin, that's important, you must repent of your sin, and embrace Him by faith in your heart. Let us pray. Just while our heads are bowed I want to invite you to come to Christ now. Is there anyone here, and God has spoken to you? You prayed that He would do that, and He has. Whatever your circumstances, will you come to the Lord now? Say from your heart, just where you're at, He can read your heart, say: 'Lord, I'm sinner', just say that, just now, repeat it after me. It's not the words, it's the meaning of the heart that matters. If you mean this from the depths of your being, and believe God will hear you, and He said He would, this means everything: 'Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner, and I confess my sin, and I repent of my sin' - that means you change your mind, you're having a heart-change about your sin, and you're turning from your sin - 'I'm turning now, Lord, from my sin, and I'm turning to You. I'm believing in You as my Saviour. I embrace You by faith, because You died for me, You took my sin, You took my curse, You took my shame, You took my pain. I ask that You will save me'.
Maybe if you're someone who has been affected by inner hurt through some of the things that I have mentioned, ask Him not only to save you, ask Him to heal you, heal your spirit, heal your soul. He can heal the body as well. Ask Him to heal those things as a consequence of your sin and pain, to touch your spirit. Some people have a wounded spirit, there has been violence done to their human spirit - even Christians, and they cannot get through to God because the Holy Spirit is hindered because of the pain and hurt in their human spirit. He wants to use your human spirit as a channel to bless you and to bless others, but it's hurt, it needs healed, it needs restored. Come to Him, all you who are burdened - He said that to religious people too - 'and I will give you rest'. Say: 'Lord Jesus, I'm coming, and I give You my life, I give You my all. Come and take up residence in me, and be my Saviour, and be my Lord'.
Let's just ask God's blessing as we go: Father, we thank You for speaking through Your word and by the power of the Holy Spirit today. We just ask now that the seed will remain and bear fruit, and that the enemy will not be allowed or permitted to snatch away the good seed of the word. We pray, Lord, that people whose lives have been touched this morning, Lord, we pray that they will not stay there - going away with some kind of diagnosis on them - but that they will get the cure, and meet the Saviour, and their lives will be not only saved and restored and redeemed, but changed, transformed, and renewed - mind, soul, and spirit - and their body filled with the Holy Spirit of God. To the glory of Jesus we ask it, Amen.
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This sermon was delivered at Scrabo Hall in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording, titled "A Young Woman's Faith" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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