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We're going to read from verse 15 of Matthew chapter 12, and I've taken the title 'The Kind Of Saviour Jesus Is' - a little bit different from what was announced: 'The Kind Of Saviour Jesus Is'. Verse 15 then of Matthew 12: "But when Jesus knew it", that is, verse 14, that they were plotting to destroy Him, the Pharisees, "When Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying", and this is a quotation from Isaiah 42, "'Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; and in His name Gentiles will trust'".

Let's pray together, and as I've invited you each time I've preached, I want you to pray for yourself now. Maybe you're not used to a format like this, you don't go to church - but this is not a spectator sport. We're here to meet God, and we're here to engage in spiritual realities. I believe that if you should cup your ear, as it were, to God, to Heaven, right now, that God will speak to you in a way that maybe you haven't anticipated or even could have imagined. So can I challenge you on that front, and ask you just now to pray to God. Maybe you don't pray, maybe you don't even believe He is there - well, why not test Him and see? God is big enough to be able to meet your needs, and your questions, and your cynicism - so why not say: 'Lord, if You're there, speak to me now' - and I believe He will come and reveal things that only He could know about your heart, and He will speak right into the depths of your life. Would you do that now? Please do pray for one another, but even Christians: pray for yourself that God will speak to you now.

Though the religious establishment were rejecting Jesus their Messiah, the common people recognised that there was something special about Jesus...

Father, we thank You that we have the Gospels, and we have the New Testament and the Bible that give us the revelation of what Jesus, Your Son is like; the kind of Saviour Jesus is. Lord, we know that He came to reveal the kind of God that You are, a God of love, a God of grace, and yet a God of holiness and justice. Yet we thank You for His great sacrifice on the cross, where Your love was demonstrated to us - that, even though we are sinners and we can't help ourselves, even while we were still sinners, He died for us because of Your great love. Lord, I pray that that grace, that mercy and compassion, that love that is beyond comprehension, that four dimensional love, by the Holy Spirit now would be released in this place - and more so, Lord, personally into minds, hearts, souls, and spirits, that there would be an explosion of the love of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Lord, we need You, there is no sense, Lord, sitting here listening to somebody ramble on, even about the Bible, without Your power and without the spiritual dynamic, without the instrumentality of the person of the Holy Spirit. So, Lord, we give ourselves up completely to Your agenda and to Your mind, and we ask that You will come right now and that You will minister into hearts. We pray that people will be converted right now, we pray that people will be saved, transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. We ask that people who are backslidden and cold in their faith will be restored. We ask that Your people will be revived, and that they will enter into a new dimension with You, Lord, in their spiritual pilgrimage. So, Lord, this is Your time, and we ask You to come and do Your will in Jesus' mighty name, Amen.

If you have been with us, you will know that we have been in chapters 11 and 12 as I've been with you - and, of course, the Lord Jesus was accused in chapter 12 of desecrating the Sabbath. Now He didn't do that, He didn't break any laws in the Old Testament, but He broke some of these additional appendices that the Pharisees and Scribes had added on to the law of keeping the Sabbath. He had broken the tradition of the elders, man-made tradition. Because of that, they were plotting to kill Jesus - that's very serious, but that's often what the religious heart can end up as: a Christ-rejecter. We see that though the religious establishment were rejecting Jesus their Messiah, the common people, the ordinary hoi polloi we might call them, recognised that there was something unique, something special about Jesus. Even when we read here in verse 15 that He withdraws because the situation is so volatile - now that wasn't out of cowardice, but it was because Jesus knew that His Father's time had not come for Him to die - yet as He withdraws from the threat that is over His head of premature death, as far as God's plan was concerned, the crowd still bombard Him, and they follow Him wherever He goes for healing. I think it's very interesting, and an insight into the character of the Lord Jesus, to see that He doesn't become impatient or irritated by these crowds flocking upon Him and preying upon His gifts before God - but He patiently heals them, and it says here in verse 15 'He healed them all'.

Is it any wonder that people were falling in love with Him? I hope that you're in love with Him today, I hope that you see that there is something unique about Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, He has come to display and reveal the heart of God - I wonder have you ever spent much time actually looking at Him, considering Him, focusing on Him, reading the scripture that talks about His life and ministry? What a person Jesus is! Matthew lists for us here, in verses 18, 19, 20, and 21, some of these unique character traits that were prophesied for the long-awaited Messiah, who is called - particularly in Isaiah's prophecy, which is hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born, a big book in the Old Testament - he calls Him 'The Servant of the Lord'. So He is the Saviour, He has come to rescue His own people Israel, He is the Messiah - that's the Jewish name for 'Christ', 'The Anointed One Of God', who has been sent by God for this purpose, chosen of God.

We're going to look at these character traits right now, to see the kind of Saviour Jesus is...

We're going to look at these character traits right now, to see the kind of Saviour Jesus is. But whilst we're going to look at that, and these traits are unique and perfected in Him, we as believers - those of us who are Christians - we are servants of the Lord as well, and we are meant to have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us. So I believe we ought to cultivate these traits also in us. Now I have summed them up, for the sake of time, into two general categories. Here is the first: the power of the Spirit was upon Jesus, and the power of the Spirit contrasted with the energy of the flesh. Look at verse 18: 'Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles'. Of course there are other parts of Isaiah, Isaiah 61, 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me to preach good tidings to the poor', etc. God's Spirit rested upon Him - 'Christ', 'Messiah', means 'Anointed One'. You will know from the chronology of the story of the life of Jesus, that John the Baptist witnesses to Him being the Christ, He is then baptised in the Jordan, and immediately the Spirit of God comes and appears in some kind of form like a dove - but He received, for His earthly ministry, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the unction of God the Spirit from on high for His task.

Then we see further, verse 19, 'He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets'. Now that doesn't mean Jesus never raised His voice - far from it, we know on occasion He did. In John chapter 7 verse 37 we read: 'On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink'' - so He could shout if He wanted to! That's not what this means, what it means is: He was not a rabble-rouser, He was not a political insurrectionist. To put it in contemporary terms: Jesus and jihad are mutually exclusive. It is a discordant idea, it conflicts with everything that Jesus is and taught, that we should ever use force to convert people. Whether it's the concept of forced Islamic caliphate that we hear so much about today, or even Christian Crusades in the middle ages; 'The Servant of the Lord', the One who God has anointed as Messiah, His Only Begotten Son, the One who He sent to be Saviour exclusively to this world - there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved - He does not use violence to convert anybody against their will! In fact, to the contrary, at the end of chapter 11 that we looked at two weeks ago, we read in verse 29, having invited everybody that is burdened and heavy laden to Him, in verse 29 He says: 'Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls'. He doesn't force His yoke on anybody, He invites you to come and take it - and when you take it, you find that He is gentle and lowly in heart.

Isn't that wonderful? That's the kind of Saviour Jesus is. He is not manipulating, He isn't controlling. He is not bombastic, brash, or overpowering. He is not overbearing in either His personality or His speech. But, of course, this attests to something else: His implicit trust and dependency on the Holy Spirit. He was moving according to His Father's will. He was acting in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. He trusted the Holy Spirit and God to do the work, He didn't have to use the energy of the flesh. This is deeply instructive to us who are Christians, and who claim to be the servants of the Lord - we need this more than anything else, and that is the dynamic of the Spirit. If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had to be anointed before He went into His ministry, do we not? If He moved under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and He only did what He saw the Father do, and He only obeyed the commands that the Father spoke to Him in His Spirit, and He only did it in dependence upon the Holy Spirit's anointing upon Him - is that not the way we ought to move in ministry? Of course it is!

Jesus and jihad are mutually exclusive. It is a discordant idea, it conflicts with everything that Jesus is and taught...

I'll be looking tonight at Galatians 3, and of course there is a verse there that says: 'He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?'. We need to know that we are utterly and absolutely dependent upon the Holy Spirit, or at least we ought to feel that. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20: 'The kingdom of God is not in word but in power' - I would love some time to go into that one! That is tremendous, because we have an evangelical, conservative tradition - and I'm not, in any shape or form, diluting the importance of Scripture, if you know me you know I believe that - but Scripture alone, and preaching alone, will not do what needs to be done. You can get a parrot or a robot to recite Scripture, but we need men and women anointed by God, endued by power from on high, and moving under that anointing like Jesus did. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 1:5: 'For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake'. So the early church had received a Gospel that was more than just theory, concept, or some doctrinal dogma, but they knew it was true because of the power that came with it and the anointing that was on those who delivered it.

So the power of the Spirit was upon Him - what a characteristic of the Servant of the Lord - not the energy of the flesh. But secondly, and this is what I want to dwell on, particularly for any of you that aren't Christians yet, you're not born again, you don't have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus - it's the power of love that is described here. The power of love, rather than the devastation of condemnation - the power of love. Look at verse 20, I quoted this verse two weeks ago when we looked at this great invitation at the end of chapter 11, 'Come to me all you that labour and are heavy laden', but we will take time, and it's worthy of looking at again: 'A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench'. You remember I pointed out to you the significance of that. If you were walking down the Lagan Towpath, around one of the loughs, you might see bulrushes. Most of them usually will be strong, erect stalks, strong looking, straight - but there might be the odd one that has been bent over, broken. Not maybe completely severed, but bruised and hanging, and maybe just on a sinew, on a thread, hanging on. So the type of Saviour Jesus is, He is not the type of Saviour that when your life is broken and you just hanging on by a thread, He comes along and He piles a whole load of requirements on you, and loads up guilt and shame, and He just breaks you - that's not Jesus! He wants to restore the broken, He wants to put His nail-pierced hands around your broken, bruised, crushed spirit and restore you to true life in Him.

Or a smoking flax He will not quench, and the image is obvious - the little wick of the candle, and when it's blown out on the table or whatever, the smoke rises because there are still dying embers in the cord. Jesus is not the type of Saviour to come along, lick His thumb and forefinger, and just put out the last dying embers of life that you have. He's not wanting to destroy your life and extinguish life, He's wanting to give you life, and life to the full! Isn't it a wonderful picture? Many of us, even if we believe in God, have a harsh view of God in heaven. That can come through bad teaching, and there has been a lot of that over the years - I have probably been guilty of it - where we have made God out to be someone with a characteristic that He has not. Now He is holy, and He is the God of justice, and He is angry with sin, He is a God of wrath - but how He has revealed Himself, we have misrepresented Him many many times through bad teaching. Also through bad examples - what I mean by that is, particularly the whole truth of 'God our Father'. You may not be aware that your father, and indeed your mother, as parents, were given to you by God as a covering, a protection. Of course, you might object and say: 'Well, my mother and father didn't protect me, in fact my father wasn't even there', or maybe your mother; or if they were there they were distant, disinterested, cold, passive, and they certainly were not a protection for you because you were exposed. Maybe you have been damaged by them - but that, nevertheless, doesn't take away and eradicate the fact of why God gives parents. He gives parents to protect children, that's the way it was in the beginning it creation, but it is only sin that has distorted that. Not only were parents given as a covering, parents were given as a signpost, particularly fathers, to point to what God is like. Now there are no perfect parents, there are no perfect fathers, but if you have had a really stinking rotten Dad or parental structure, that can skew and completely warp your view of what God is like. Even some Christians can't have intimacy with God as their Father because they have never understood what a true father is.

He is not manipulating, He isn't controlling. He is not bombastic, brash, or overpowering...

Jesus shows us what God is truly like. It's wonderfully simple, and the theologians, all the boffins in the colleges, they complicate things so much. I'm not despising knowledge or intellect or anything like that, but they really do complicate things: 'What is God like?', you know? In this syncretistic age of pluralism, with all the different religions that we're exposed to, all the different concepts of God - you know: what is He like? Is He like Allah? Is that what God is like? Or is He like the God of the law, and only law, is that what He's like? Or is He the God of the fire and brimstone, 24/7, long-playing record preacher, and that's all you ever get: that God is angry and He wants to burn you? What is God like? Well, here's what God is like - it's dead easy: look at Jesus! That's it! I mean it's as simple as that, just look at Jesus! That's why He came, He came to reveal the heart of God, that is what God is truly like. One of the lies we have believed is that God will deal severely with us for our sins, our weaknesses, and our failures - now don't misunderstand what I'm saying here: there is going to be a Judgement Day, and we're going to have to answer for the way we have lived, and there is a hell. But on that road to Judgement Day, when you stand before the Judge at the bar, God is giving you every opportunity to receive forgiveness, to receive remedial treatment through the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit, to not only forgive your past and take away your shame and guilt, but to change you so that you won't have to live on in the misery of sin. This is the heart of God for you, this is why a Saviour has been sent! The opposite is true: He doesn't want to deal severely with your sins, weaknesses, and failures; He's not against you, He's not down on you, He's not the kind of God that just can't wait to get to you and drop you into hell!

When we come to Jesus, we see the way God really is. He is gentle, and He is tender toward sinners. Now you may have heard language in church, or somewhere, about 'the fall', the fall of humanity. What that is talking about is, way back in Genesis when God made a perfect world, Adam and Eve disobeyed God - you probably know the story - and then the Bible teaches that everybody fell into sin, there was a fall into depravity. That's why we have a fallen universe, where bad stuff happens and where people get hurt. What a lot of people don't realise is the depth of the brokenness and the disorder that took place at the fall, because there was a fragmentation, a shattering in God's beautiful picture of humanity, a dislocation - if you like - even in mankind. Now we know that man's relationship with God was devastated through the fall and Adam and Eve's disobedience. You remember Satan, he came as the serpent in the Garden, and he questioned God's word. God had told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and Satan had come and cast doubt: 'Has God said that in the day that you eat that, you'll surely die?'. So, right away, when man sinned, his relationship with God was affected and brokenness came in between God and man. But more than that: there was a brokenness that came in between man and woman, man and his wife, because you will recall that when God starts to question them about who is guilty here - it's not as if God didn't know, but He's wanting honesty from them the way He wants it from us - they start to blame each other. 'Well, it was the woman that You made and gave to me, she made me do it!' - that has been repeated a few times over the years, hasn't it? Blame the woman! Then later on in chapters 3 and 4, we find that Cain and Abel, the relationship not only between husband and wife but brother and brother is broken down, and in fact the first murder takes place. Cain slays Abel out of jealousy and selfishness.

So you see the relationship with God breaks down because of sin, the relationship with one another breaks down, but what a lot of people - even Christians - are not aware of is that our relationship with ourselves becomes broken because of sin. There is a disorder and a dislocation within ourselves, in our relationship to who we are. Let me explain that: when God created man - try and stay with me, I know it's a bit complicated, but it's essential - He breathed into Adam, who was a clay form that He made with His own hands, He breathed breath (and the Hebrew word is 'ruach', 'wind', 'the breath', 'the spirit' - it's the same word for 'spirit'), He breathed spirit into Adam and He became a living soul. So the part in Adam - and there's a part in all of us that comes directly from God - and this is the way God envisaged it: that that part of Him in us, or that came from Him in us, through His Spirit would influence who we are. It would influence, from our human spirits, our soul. Our soul is made up of our mind, our emotions, and our actions, our will. Through the spirit and the soul, our bodies would be affected, so that we would execute the will of God through the influence of God's Spirit in our lives. Are you with me? God breathed His Spirit into us, His Spirit upon our spirit starts to direct our mind, our emotion, our will, and even our body to do the will of God and glorify Him.

The relationship with God breaks down because of sin, the relationship with one another breaks down...

Now when man sinned, something happened. Our spirits died, Adam's spirit died. Now that does not mean it ceased to exist, because you've got a spirit now - we've all been born with spirits - and Adam still had a spirit. But death in the Bible means 'separation'. So when he sinned, his spirit got cut off - it's like a telephone line being cut off from God, and sin and iniquity had separated him from God. This is what happened: because the part of him, the control centre that is being influenced by God, had now been cut off from God, his soul - which was meant to have been influenced by God - his mind, his emotions, his will became self-centred, selfish. Consequently, his body became sensual, and rather than obeying the woos and the will of the Holy Spirit, he began to obey the passions, lusts, and appetites of the flesh. Do you see how broken we are? I hope you followed that, but it just means you're broken deep inside in a place that you maybe don't even realise is there.

Another thing that many are ignorant of is this, even Christians: your identity resides in your human spirit. Now some will disagree with that, but I believe the Bible teaches that your identity resides in your human spirit - not so much in the soul, but in your human spirit. So if you've got a brokenness in your spirit - now, come with me - it will manifest and be reflected in your soul. So if there is something wrong deep within who you are, your thoughts will be affected, your emotions will be affected, your actions will be affected, and - surprise, surprise - your body can even be affected by what is going on way deep down in your identity. You will act it out in your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. Maybe you're having problems up here, mentally, or your heart is broken - these expressions that we use, they are not throw away: 'My heart is shattered'. Maybe the wounds that you have deep within you are manifesting in your body. The spirit, I believe, not the soul, sustains us. We don't have time to look at this, but in Hebrews 4 the word of God is likened to a double-edged sword that divides both the soul and the spirit, the bone and the marrow. You can look at this, it's Hebrews 4:12-13, go home and look at it - the word of God discerns what is wrong with us, it's like a surgeon's knife, but it is so so accurate and incisive that its sharpness can distinguish between spirit and soul. It's very often, if you know your Bible, difficult to distinguish. Why does he use this analogy: 'it can separate the bone and the marrow'? Here's why, I believe: I believe that spirit is being compared to marrow, and bone is being compared to soul - I believe that's what's happening. What relevance has that? Well, here's the relevance: the soul is like the bones in that the bones and the joints, they move about, they give expression to our lives, isn't that right? But the spirit is like the marrow in the bones, it is the life - are you with me? So if there is something wrong deep within, that will be expressed in the movement of our soul, how our minds are, our hearts, and our actions - and I believe Scripture bears this out. Listen carefully, Proverbs 17:22: 'A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones' - an interesting analogy, isn't it, considering Hebrews 4 - 'a broken spirit dries', the life goes out of, 'the bones'. What it's saying is: if the inner part of us is damaged, the whole of us, body, soul, and spirit, will be struggling - it affects the whole. Listen to Proverbs 18:14: 'The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness' - so even if your body is broken, and that's part of the fall that comes, but if your spirit is well you will be sustained, 'But who can bear a broken spirit?'. It implies that if there is brokenness deep down within you, everything will go wrong potentially.

I want to tell you today: God wants to redeem what Satan wants to destroy...

Well, I want to tell you today: God wants to redeem what Satan wants to destroy, isn't that good news? You wouldn't think it to look at some of you, I'll tell you. Smile - it's wonderful, isn't it? Do you know what 'redemption' means? 'To buy back', 'to restore' - He wants to fix you! In fact, there is a wonderful rendering, and I know 'The Message' isn't an accurate translation, but I love how it paraphrases some of the things, listen to how it paraphrases 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 - listen: 'May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, 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!'. Isn't that marvellous? He wants to make you holy, but He wants to make you whole, and He wants to put you together: spirit, soul, and body. He wants to fix you, that's what 'a Saviour' means, 'a Rescuer', 'a Deliverer'. I love the fact that the kind of Saviour Jesus is, is one who is interested in the whole person - isn't that wonderful? He's interested in everything about you.

Let me give you a couple of examples quickly. The paralysed man, some of you will know, Luke 7, his four friends brought him to the house were Jesus was - and everybody was crammed in, again everybody wants to see Jesus. They go to the roof, I think it's such an intriguing story, I think I preached on it last time I was here - they break up the man's roof, it may have been Peter's roof, they just trash it! They put the fellow on the bed down, and Jesus thinks this is wonderful. He heals the paralysed man because of the faith of the four friends, that's very interesting - but anyway, before He heals him, He says: 'Your sins are forgiven you'. Now I can't prove this, okay, so don't nobble me at the door, I can't prove this - but I have a hunch that there was something to do with that man's paralysis that related to sin. Now I'm not saying all disease comes from sin, don't hear that, but some illnesses and afflictions are the consequence of our sins - there is no doubt about that. Sometimes we can be paralysed on the inside through bitterness, or some kind of grievance or hurt, and it affects our outward - the manifestation, as I've been saying, of what's going on deep within our spirit. Jesus, of course, knew - he had release on the inside, and healing on the outside, there's no doubt about that, because Jesus forgave His sin - and then he got up and walked. Release on the inside and healing on the outside. Maybe he had been crippled in his past, maybe he had been immobilised by fear, I don't know.

What about the woman with the issue of blood? She had had a haemorrhage for twelve years and couldn't get help anywhere. She gets into the crowd - again another crowd round Jesus, everybody flocks to Jesus, He's wonderful. She just reaches out incognito, nobody knows she is there, nobody knows she is doing it, and she just reaches and touches the hem of Jesus' garment, believing by faith that if she could just touch His clothing she would be healed - and she is healed instantly. But Jesus knew that healing power had gone out of Him, and He turns round and says: 'Who touched me?'. The disciples say: 'Are you mad?' - not quite saying that, but that's what they were implying - 'Sure everybody is touching You, everybody is brushing up against You! Who touched You?'. But He knew someone had touched Him by faith, the way the rest of the crowd hadn't touched Him. This wee woman who wanted to hide, she comes forward, and He calls her out - now why did He do that? Does Jesus like to embarrass people, single people out? No, I'll tell you why He did it: because this woman was ceremonially unclean because of her haemorrhage of blood, she wasn't allowed to be in a crowd, and she wasn't allowed even to be in the congregation of God's worshipping people. She had been cut off from the community of worship in Judaism, but she had also been cut off from her family and community. Do you know what Jesus did? He called her out, and He invited her into the centre of that crowd, and do you know what He says to her? 'Daughter, daughter, your faith has made you well'. Why does He call her 'daughter'? Do you know what He's saying? 'You're back in the family, you're in the family' - isn't that wonderful? Jesus wasn't just interested in forgiving her sin and giving her some kind of ticket to heaven when she died, but Jesus was interested in restoring this woman's dignity, in placing her back into a community of loving people.

The kind of Saviour Jesus is, is one who is interested in the whole person - isn't that wonderful?

Maybe that's you here today: you've been separated, you've been cut off from society because of certain things that you've done, you've been estranged from even your own kith and kin. Well, Jesus wants to say to you today: 'Come to Me, and you're back in the family, and you've God as your Father, and I'm your Elder Brother, and you've the Holy Spirit as your encourager. You've got a family, the family of God - even if father and mother forsake you, Lord will lift you up. He will be a Father to the fatherless, and a Husband to the widow'.

Then there is the leper, I have to get you to look at this one - Matthew 8, look at the leper. You must have covered this, verses 2 and 3: 'And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean'' - if You are willing, have you ever said that? 'Lord, if You are willing'. 'Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed'. Immediately his leprosy was cleansed'. Now this is lost on us really, to a large extent, if we don't know the context of what it was to be a leper. Again, to be a leper was to be an outcast - you're meant to be out in the wilderness somewhere with a bell ringing, and shouting 'Unclean!'. You're not meant to be in the community, or in the vicinity of anybody who can be infected. You're ceremonially - not only socially, but you're ceremonially, religiously unclean. You're disqualified from coming into the community of worshipping people. What does Jesus do? Something He's not meant to do, He's not meant to touch a leper - but He touches him, why? Because when Jesus touches lepers, lepers are cleansed, He is not contaminated! That's the wonderful thing about this Saviour, when He touches sinners, sinners are cleansed; because He goes to a cross and He takes our sin. The miracle of it all is: there is the great exchange, where He takes our filth, and He remains the pure Son of God, though He becomes the sacrifice for sin. It's not His sin, He is undefiled, He is separate from sinners, but He takes the place of the sinner, and takes the judgement of the sinner. As He takes our sin and is judged as if He did it, and becomes sin, is made sin, we get His goodness, we get His righteousness, we get His holiness and purity! I hate asking for 'Hallelujahs' - I shouldn't ask for them, but is that not wonderful?

Let's look at the personal aspect of it, I'm almost finished. When was the last time this fellow was touched? Maybe he had been a married man, we don't know, but if he had and his wife wasn't a leper, that was the marriage over. Maybe he had kids, imagine not being able to take them on your knee, with their arms thrown round your neck and giving you a kiss. Yet Jesus comes to this man who hadn't been embraced, who hadn't been touched, and one touch from Jesus dispels years of rejection - one touch! There's a song: 'One touch of the King changes everything'. You know, you're maybe rejected here today, but wait till I tell you: look at the rejection - this is a message, this Messiah is coming to Gentiles. 'In His name Gentiles will trust', verse 21 of our reading, and they were rejected by the Jews - they were dogs, they were unclean. Yet this Saviour, this is the kind of Saviour, He comes even to the Gentiles - but I want to ask you: is He your Saviour? This is the kind of Saviour He is.

The Bible is full of broken people, normal people. Other religious books are full of super-heroes, but not the Bible. The difference between the Bible and these other religious heroes is, we have a Saviour who was wounded for our transgressions, 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 of men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. In other words, we can face and be real with our own brokenness, because we have a Saviour who took our brokenness upon Himself, so that we might be made whole. So when our lives appear broken and good for nothing, Jesus can change it all with one touch.

The Bible is full of broken people, normal people. Other religious books are full of super-heroes, but not the Bible...

Let's pray. Now, I hope some of you did pray before we started, but I believe that some of you have been given a glimpse by the Holy Spirit of the kind of Saviour Jesus is. Do you not love Him? Do you not want to fall at His feet and worship Him? I know you've got problems - who hasn't - I know you've got issues, but He invites you to come with all the baggage, and He will embrace you, baggage and all. Now you've got to be willing to leave your sin, there's no point coming to a doctor if you're going to persist in something that is harming you. You've got to follow doctor's orders. He wants you to repent, that means change your mind and turnaround from the things that are hurting you - your sin and your selfishness - and He wants you to turn to Him. But He wants you to believe in Him, and that's the only way you can ever have victory over sin; that's the only way you can ever have that brokenness deep within you healed; that's the only way you can ever have true peace of mind and heart; that's the only way your actions will ever, your behaviour will ever be tempered and controlled - if you say 'Jesus, be Lord, be Lord of my life. Be my Saviour and take over'.

Is there anyone here this morning, and that's what you want to do? I want to invite you now to pray this prayer with me, just from your heart. You've got to mean it and believe it, it's not magic words, you've got to mean it from your heart and God will hear you. Just say these words: 'Father, I come to You in the name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I confess I am a sinner, and I turn from my sin and turn to You, and ask You to cleanse me, forgive me, and release me. I renounce Satan and all his works, and I confess Jesus Christ as Lord. I ask You, because Jesus died for me, to be Lord of my life, and to come in and live within me by the power of the Holy Spirit. Fill me now. I thank You that You have heard me, in Jesus' name'.

Maybe there is a Christian here, and you have had a warped view of God through bad teaching or through a bad example. Maybe you need to forgive somebody who gave you that misleading perception of God, you need to forgive them before God right now. You need to ask healing, and you need to ask God to straighten out in your mind what He is really like, and embrace Him as He really is. Why not do that? If you're a Christian that appreciates anything I've said, just thank God and worship Him for it.

Father, thank You for a little bit of a glimpse - and that's all it has been - of the type of Saviour Jesus is. Lord, may people here not just hear about Him today, but may everyone know His touch upon their lives, and they will never be the same again. Thank You.

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Transcribed by:
Preach The Word.
January 2015

This sermon was delivered at Scrabo Hall in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording, titled "The Kind Of Saviour Jesus Is" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.

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