Well, good evening everybody. Mark chapter 1 is our reading tonight, and we're going to look at several scriptures this evening so have your fingers ready. Mark chapter 1, and we're going to begin reading at verse 21. Let's just pray before we read the scriptures, OK? I want you, please, to pray for yourself - would you do that? - that God would speak to you now. Please do that, just say: 'Lord, speak to me', that's all you need to do, and that's enough for Him to come and meet with you.
Father, we thank You that You've been very much with us last night and then again this evening in our praise and our prayer. Lord, we just welcome You to come, we really need You so desperately, Lord. We've got nothing of ourselves, and we thank You for giftings and all the rest, but Lord we really need that Divine breath, we need the Spirit of God to breathe upon us this evening. We ask You to come now, Lord, and minister to each of our hearts. We are so different in so many ways and, Lord, we need You to come to us in so many different ways. We pray that You will do that tonight, and whatever our need might be that You will meet it through the word and the power of the Spirit. Lord, do greater things than we could ever imagine, because that's the way You are, Lord - greater than we ask or think, You can do that, You are able to do that! Lord, we want You to do that. We don't want to go through life talking about what You're able to do, and asking You to do what You're able to do, and never seeing it. We want to realise that tonight, we want to encounter You this evening. So come, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit into this place tonight. Lord, come, in Jesus' name. Amen.
I want to preach to you this evening on 'The Disruptive Messiah'. Verse 21 of Mark chapter 1: "Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, 'Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are - the Holy One of God!'. But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, and come out of him!'. And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, 'What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him'. And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee".
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, tongue in cheek, on one occasion: 'Fancy upsetting the clock-like mechanical perfection of a great service with an outpouring of the Spirit, the thing is unthinkable!'. But that's exactly what happened here in the synagogue at Capernaum, God's Spirit was poured out and the disruptive Messiah was manifested. Dr Michael Brown puts it like this: 'Consider the synagogue in Capernaum: everything was so peaceful there, the services were so predictable, so reverent, so orderly - then Jesus came. It was a madhouse! One of the nicest men in the community fell on the ground shouting - it was so distracting, let alone distasteful and somewhat disgraceful! It disrupted the prayers, there wasn't even time for the sermon. How nice it was before Jesus came to our synagogue, then we could do things our way, then things were comfortable'.
We are so familiar with the Gospels, aren't we, that we fail to appreciate the impact of what it was for Jesus, the Son of God, to come unto His own, and for His own not to receive Him - to be rejected. I want to give you a proposition tonight that will flow through everything that I say, and it's this: wherever Jesus is at work, there is big disruption. He comes with upheaval. Indeed, when He was born, you remember Simeon spoke over Him that He would be a sign spoken against so that the thoughts and intents of many hearts would be revealed. A sign spoken against, He would be an offence. In Matthew 2:3 it says King Herod was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him, because of the birth of the Messiah. Why was Herod disturbed and the whole holy city? They were disturbed at the coming of the Deliverer - that's incredible, isn't it? Their Saviour had come, but He would deliver them, and in order to deliver them He had to disrupt them.
E. Stanley Jones says of Herod and of all Jerusalem at that time: 'They were naturalised in their lostness'. I believe the church today, in the West anyway, certainly in our province, has become naturalised in their traditions, in conformity. Indeed, Christians have become naturalised in the culture of our wider world, and indeed naturalised in their own personal comfort zones. The problem is: we are asking God to move - aren't we? In the average church prayer meeting or Sunday gathering, at least the congregational prayer if nothing else will be asking God to come and be with us, and meet with us, and touch our lives - but we are not often cognisant of the fact that our God demands a lot of room for manoeuvre. Our Saviour is the Saviour who turns the tables up on us. Of course, literally, He did that twice at least we believe in the Gospel record, probably at the beginning of His ministry and right at the end just before He went to the cross. He went into His Father's house, the Temple, and He upended the money-changer's tables, He took that plaited whip and He drove out the livestock from that place and declared: 'My Father's house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves and robbers'. He upends things wherever He goes! Right throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we see this - sure, even the funerals He attended, He wrecked them with resurrections! What I want you to see tonight is disruption coming from Jesus, and reaction that comes from people.
I want you to turn a couple of chapters to chapter 5 of Mark, this is a very graphic illustration of this truth - Mark 5 verse 15. Now, you will know - we'll not read the whole story - a lot of you will know that the context of this is the deliverance of the demoniac, the maniac, the madman (he's given very flattering names, isn't he?) of Gadara. He is demon possessed with a legion of demons, some believe that may be up to 6,000 demons, because that was a Legion in the Roman army - but certainly the demon or the strong man was called Legion. Here we see the reaction of the people because he is delivered - they couldn't handle this guy, they had put him into a padded room, their equivalent, up on the hillside in the graveyards, and they had thrown away the key. They had no answer for him, but he came and fell at the feet of Jesus and now he is clothed and in his right mind. Look at the reaction of the people in verse 15: 'Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demonpossessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid'. Their first reaction was fear: 'And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demonpossessed, and about the swine', because Jesus cast the demons into the swine and they fell headlong into the water. 'Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region'. Wow! Matthew tells us that the whole city came out. Luke 8 tells us that the whole country of the Gadarenes came and begged Christ to leave them alone! Staggering, isn't it?
What was this? What motivated them to shun Jesus after such an incredible miracle? I'll tell you what it was: fear. That's what it says, they were afraid. But what kind of fear was it? It was fear of the unknown. I read a quote today of a horror author in literature, a horror author, and this is what he said, H.P. Lovecraft was his name, he said: 'The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown'. He should know, writing horror literature! Fear, but the oldest of those is fear of the unknown. Now, you've heard me say here before that God gives us natural fear, that is a gift from God to protect us as long as it doesn't get out of proportion and the enemy starts controlling it. So we look both ways going across the road in case we get run over, isn't that right? Natural fear. Then the Bible talks about the fear of God, and we are admonished to fear the Lord - that's an awe and a reverence, an obedience and submission to the Living God. But the Bible is absolutely clear that we are never to obey any other fear than those. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind. Listen to me: it is demonic wisdom that tells us to fear the moving and acts of God. If you want to know what demonic wisdom is, when you go home read James 3:15-17, that is the wisdom that is not from above - it is demonic wisdom.
Let me show you this. Look at the chapter we're in, chapter 5, this account of the demoniac. Look at verse 7, Legion speaks out of him, the spirits speak out: 'He cried out with a loud voice and said, 'What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me''. There is the demonic word expressing the demonic thought that shuns Jesus, that shuns the supernatural power of the Spirit of God - do you see it? Look at chapter 1, where we were at the very beginning, and verse 24. This incident of the man with the unclean spirit in the Capernaum synagogue, verse 24, what does the spirit say there? 'Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are - the Holy One of God!'. So where does this motivation of fear come from that shuns a divine work of the Spirit? It comes from the demonic realm. Fear of the unknown is one of the greatest spiritual thieves. I want you to think about that for a moment or two: fear of the unknown is one of the greatest things that robs us of the destiny and the blessing that God would have for our lives.
Why is that? Well, unless you are omniscient of God and His ways - that means unless you know everything about God and how He works - unknown quantities will be your staple diet for the rest of your life and all eternity. Do you understand me? If you're a know-it-all about God and how He moves, you're God yourself! The only One who possesses that attribute of omniscience is the Living and the True God, the All-Knowing One. Moses, who had an insatiable appetite to know God - go and read Exodus 33. His great prayer was: 'That I might know You, I want to know You, I want to see Your glory', and he says, 'Show me Your ways' - so he wanted a personal knowledge of the living God intimately, but he also wanted to understand more about how God moves, because he knew there was more to experience.
Lloyd-Jones again says: 'The greatest sin of the evangelical church is that we want to put God in a little box'. Many doctrinal or procedural perimeters that we have, have ultimately restricted what we can recognise as being movements of God. We panic if anything unsettles those perimeters that we have put in place. Well, I want to announce to you here tonight: Jesus will unsettle them! He is the disruptive Messiah, and wherever He comes He will demand room to manoeuvre, wherever He is at work there is big disruption. The sad thing is, many are motivated in the church by this demonic wisdom; that is, the fear of the unknown. It robs us of God's best. This has been happening for a very long time, you know. Come with me to Deuteronomy chapter 5, did you know that God never intended that we were given law, did you know that? Law came because of our waywardness and our sin. He would liked to have walked with us as He walked with Adam in the Garden, He would liked to have walked with us as He walked with Abraham before there was any law - but do you know why law came? Not only because of the sin and the waywardness of Israel, but law came - wait for it - because of their fear of the unknown. Look at Deuteronomy 5 and verse 25, this is the people speaking, or Moses is attributing this to be the people: 'Now therefore, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore, then we shall die'.
Now, what is happening here? Well, the Mount Sinai is there, it is thundering and smoking with fire because God has come down and He has delivered the Commandments to God's people - but He is inviting them into covenant with Him, do you understand? But what God - and it's a bit subliminal here, but when you delve into it you find it - God is actually offering to His own covenant people His voice. He wants them to be led by His voice, rather than by laws. Or, to put it another way, He wants them to walk in fellowship with Him - not out of fear of rules and rituals, but fellowship; but they turn Him down. Why? Because of fear of the unknown, look at the verse again: 'For this great fire will consume us'. You see, there was fire in God's voice, they didn't like the fire that came with His voice - and, as a result, God was forced to give them law instead. It's fascinating, isn't it? They wouldn't go near the Mountain because of the fear of the fire, so God had to give them religion.
Now don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying we should play with fire. Our God is a consuming fire. I was reminded today of the story of Uzzah, do you know that story in 1 Chronicles 13, where the Ark of God was being delivered in a prohibited manner, not the way prescribed by God's word? It was going to topple off this cart that was its vehicle, and Uzzah - who was a good man - he reached out his hand to steady it, and he was struck down dead. David was very perturbed by how God had moved here, and in 1 Chronicles 13:12 it says: 'David was afraid of God that day, saying 'How can I bring the Ark of God to me?''. Do you know what he's saying? 'How can I ever be intimate with a God like that, because I know how sinful I am!'. Our God is a consuming fire, and I'm not saying that we play fast and loose with God - but here's the bottom line: Moses, the man of God, saw the same fire, but he went up the Mountain! What was the difference? Here's the difference: when your desire for God surpasses the fear of the unknown, then you will ascend the Hill of the Lord!
Which is greater? Your desire for God, whatever it looks like, or your fear of the unknown? You see, Moses disregarded his own life even, he counted his life as nothing. You've got to get to that point where you die in order to live, and your reputation will die along with it, and where all your boundaries, all your restrictions - whether they're self-inflicted or man-made from others - where they die; and it's do-or-die, 'I will go through with God no matter what'. That was the difference.
Now the good news tonight is that we are New Covenant believers. Turn with me to Hebrews chapter 12 for a moment, and it will all be very clear from what we have already looked at in Deuteronomy. Look at verse 18 of Hebrews 12: 'For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: 'And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow'. And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I am exceedingly afraid and trembling')' - now, he said that, but it didn't stop him going up the Mountain, did it? You see, it was a test. 'But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice' - watch this - 'then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven'. Now this, 'Yet once more', indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear'. Amen! Do you see the truth here? That when God comes, there is a shaking; and He shakes in order that things that can't remain will be broken, will disseminate and dissolve, that the things that are eternal will remain.
God is still in the business of shaking. Turn with me again to another passage, this time Mark chapter 6, we're still in Mark's Gospel, chapter 6 verse 45: 'Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray', so He is watching over them, a bit like He is now from His heavenly intercession at the Right Hand of God. 'Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled'. I wonder why He was going to pass by? Was it because He knew they were so terrified? But they saw Him, thought it was a ghost: 'Immediately He talked with them and said to them, 'Be of good cheer! It is I'' - some translate that 'I am' - 'Do not be afraid'. Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened'.
Night again, we are so familiar with these words that we bypass them. Look at verse 49: they thought Jesus was a ghost! Do you know why? I'll tell you why: it's the middle of the night, and probably there was a harvest moon in the sky, a full moon at that. Can you imagine being out in the pitch dark, no light pollution in those days, in the middle of the water, and you see a lit up luminous white figure walking toward you on water - what would you think? But ultimately the reason why they thought this was a ghost was because they had never seen anybody walking on water before - never, it had never happened before as far as I'm aware, and it has never happened since apart from Peter, same incident. Isn't that interesting? Fear of the unknown again, but this time it was the fear of Jesus Himself, He was the unknown quantity. Do you know what xenophobia is? It's the fear of strangers and foreigners, and Jesus was a stranger to the disciples here, He was foreign to them. They were being xenophobic about their Lord. They were so familiar with him, they had been with Him several years now - could this be applied to many of us? That the Lord Jesus Himself can come very, very near to us - He maybe can't come as near as He'd like because we're so terrified, and then we would become cognisant of some kind of presence or some upheaval in our lives; and we get terrified and don't even recognise that it's the Lord!
Well, they probably would have retorted: 'Well, it didn't look like Jesus!'. Ah, it doesn't always look like Jesus, whatever Jesus looks like. You see, John had that problem in Revelation chapter 1, you know, when he saw the Lord Jesus not in the Sunday School children's Bible graphic, but rather in His exalted, beatific, glorified High Priestly persona; with hair as white as wool, and a face like the sun, and eyes of blazing fire, and a double-edged sword coming out of His mouth! John, when he saw this, what happened to him? He expired! It says in Revelation 1:17: 'When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand upon me' - and what did He say? 'Fear not; I am. Fear not'. John could have said: 'Oh, it didn't look like Jesus' - and John knew Jesus, remember John was the most intimate disciple with our Lord. He could have said: 'It didn't look like Jesus', but what was it that reassured him? In fact, what was it that reassured the disciples in the boat that day? It was His voice, when He spoke to them and said: 'Do not be afraid, I am'. You see, that's the key. I want to put all this together here now: that's the key to understanding when there is an unknown quantity in the dealings of God in our lives, and there always will be! There always will be! The thing that will get us through is the voice of the Lord in our fellowship with Him, when He says: 'Don't fear'.
One of the things that man wants above most others is safety. I want to tell you tonight: God is not safe in that way. I'm not talking about being terrified of God in an unhealthy manner, I think you know me long enough to know that I don't believe in that: perfect love casts out fear. What I'm trying to say is: if you want to remain in your little comfort zone, don't be a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is not just something that we see in the Gospels with our Lord, we see it in Philippi with Paul and the apostles. We read in Acts chapter 16 verse 39, listen to this: 'Then they came and pleaded with them', that's the people of Philippi, 'came pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city'. 'Would you please leave us?'. Can you recall what happened in Acts chapter 16? Do you remember? A slave girl who was possessed by a python spirit of divination was delivered - wow! Paul and Silas were incarcerated in jail, and they sang praises and prayed to God at midnight, and God miraculously sent an earthquake and they were delivered from prison. A jailer was delivered from suicide, and his whole family was converted and baptised. Yet the people of Philippi said: 'Please leave us, please go away'.
What was my proposition? Wherever Jesus is at work there will be big disruption. That disruption will be disruptive to the church, the church as it has been established. Vance Havner once said: 'Sunday morning Christianity is the greatest hindrance to true revival'. Jesus, when He comes, will be disruptive to our culture. He will rattle the received wisdom and the accepted norms of our culture, not just in wider society, but our Christian subculture - and, believe me, we have one. He will be disruptive to our convention, He will shake up the way we have always done things. He will even challenge our convictions, what we have believed was always right - He will! Because wherever He is at work, He brings big disruption; and He will always disrupt in these. We have seen it biblically tonight, I could show you it historically. Arthur Wallace, in his book 'In the Day of His Power' on revival, says: 'If we find a revival that is not spoken against, we had better look again to ensure that it is revival'.
I think I've told you here before about Evan Roberts, haven't I? I mentioned it in the message 'God's New Thing', where he was denounced by a local Congregational Minister by the name of Peter Price - and the tragedy about that is that Peter Price, months earlier, had known a move of God in his own church where hundreds of people were converted. But he didn't like Evan Roberts' style, and he lambasted him as, I quote, 'A sham, a mockery, a blasphemous travesty of the real thing'. Wow, that's strong, isn't it? All because he couldn't see the hand of God in what he disagreed with. Dr Forbes Winslow, he had another tack against Evan Roberts, he was a psychiatrist and he said: 'He's mad! I would have men like Evan Roberts locked up'. This is the man God used unusually in the 1904-1905 Welsh revival that, in fact, spread over much of the known world. Roberts was once preaching with great difficulty - we've all experienced that - and his spirit was very sensitive to any opposition that there was in a meeting, and he could detect that there was something going on. He actually stopped mid-flow in his preaching and he said: 'There is wilful opposition here to the word of God, and to the Spirit of God. It hinders His manifestations in our midst, let us all go to prayer and ask that those who oppose the Holy Spirit will either repent or leave the service'. During the prayer - they all prayed, he prayed - during the prayer four men got up and left. Then Roberts detected a change in the atmosphere, and he continued preaching - but it was noted by everyone in the congregation that the four men who had left were all Christian ministers.
You know Whitefield and Wesley, don't you? Probably two of the greatest evangelists that have ever lived in the English speaking world, 200 years previous to the Welsh revival, and they were opposed. Did you know that? They were opposed, the Great Awakening heroes were opposed by the established church - why? Because they had the audacity to preach in the open air, they were field preachers. They didn't believe that the word of God should be confined to the consecrated chancel of the church, but that they should go out and preach it in the highways and the byways - I don't know where they got that idea from, it must have been Jesus! They were lambasted for it, and of course they birthed the Methodists, particularly John Wesley, even though Whitefield was nicknamed a Methodist. The Methodists just broke all the rules of their day - but do you know what happened a hundred years later? The Salvation Army was born in General Booth, and you know what he was famous for - still what the Salvation Army are doing today - going into the streets and the lanes and winning the broken, the down and out, the addicted. Guess who it was that opposed the Salvation Army? Have a guess. Methodist ministers.
In 1874 there were pamphlets that were posted on public buildings by leading ministers in Sunderland warning against Moody and Sankey. You've heard of D.L. Moody, haven't you, and Ira Sankey his soloist? In Scotland and England this was said, I'm quoting: 'Solo-singing is not worship, it is a parade of human conceit, it is distracting and irreverent. His melodeon', that Ira Sankey's melodeon, 'is a devilish pump machine that wheezes out blasphemy'. Do you know what Moody's response at Sunderland was? He said: 'We know we are doing right. These men are two centuries behind Boston - pity them and keep on singing, Sankey'. Pity them and keep on singing! In the 1940s, Duncan Campbell, who was used of God to bring revival to the Hebrides, he was accused - wait for it - of hypnotising the people of the island. When he preached (which was core to his message) the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he was opposed by the ministers of the established churches on the island. In fact, they even said when he came off the boat as God's messenger, that he couldn't be God's man because he's wearing brown shoes - that's what they said!
Now we need all the scriptural knowledge and discernment that we can have today, that's a given, isn't it? But when God does His new thing, it will be new: ''For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways', says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts'' - it will be new. Can you agree with me here tonight: none of us has seen it all, none of us knows it all, and none of us has it all? Maybe I have said to you before - Alan preached last night about repentance not being a once and for all decision, but it's an everyday experience for the child of God, taking up the cross and following Christ. But you know what the word repentance means, it's a Greek construct 'metanoia', which means a change of mind - when was the last time you changed your mind about God? 'Oh, no, no, changed my mind about God?' - oh, sorry, I forgot, you knew everything about God - do you? 'I am the LORD, I change not', He doesn't change, but we've got to change if we're going to be like Moses: 'I want to know Your ways, I want to know who You really are'. We've got to change the way we think about God, the way we think about how He does His work, the way we think about everything! We've got to change - and some of us will not change! Yet we desperately need something new, do we not? When it comes, let's beware that we are not found to fight against God.
Wherever Jesus is at work there will be big disruption, that was the case biblically, it was the case historically, but it's the case personally. Do you need something new here tonight? Do you? Well, you need to change something; that figures, doesn't it? Have you ever heard of Albert Einstein's definition of insanity? He said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That's what the church does, that's what many of us do in our own Christian experience. Thomas Jefferson said: 'If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done'. To put it another way: you must be willing for God to do something that you have never seen or experienced! Are you? Will you make way for the disruptive Messiah? Will you allow Him to come and turn up the tables of your life, of your heart, of your idolatry? Will you allow Him to scatter the love of mammon, the love of other things? Will you allow Him to come suddenly into His Temple, which is your body, and clear out everything that is displeasing to Him? Will you repent and seek God for fresh wind and fresh fire, for God to touch you in a new way?
You see, if we love the things the way they used to be, or the way they have always been, God can't use you for the next thing. It will be a new thing: 'Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert'. It's a problem, isn't it? We beseech Him to come, and then we beg Him to go. We pray for a visit, but then invite Him to leave. We welcome Him near, and then we drive Him afar. 'Oh', you say, 'Not so, not me!' - really? Can you say here tonight, can you pray this prayer here tonight: 'Lord, I don't care what it looks like, I don't care what it does to my reputation, I don't care if it even changes my doctrine: disruptive Messiah, I want You to come and have Your own way'?
In Luke chapter 11, Jesus said: 'Ask, seek, knock. What father, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? If he asks for fish, will he give him a serpent? If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask'. Do you know what Jesus is saying there? 'Come to God, ask, seek, and knock; have a persistent pursuit of My life and My ways, but don't fear the unknown - because My Father, Your Father, will not give you something to hurt or harm you'. Yet fireless men, down through the years have warned us: 'Oh be careful, be careful what you seek, what you ask for, what you go after' - that's contrary to what Jesus taught. He said: 'Ask, seek, and knock, and trust, but do not fear the unknown'.
Let's pray. Now we will be closing the meeting in just a moment, and let me just say that there will be an invitation for anyone who would like to receive prayer. If you just come afterwards to the front pews here on your left, my right, and we will pray with you. But I just want, in the presence of God, having delivered this word which I believe He gave me today, to respond. I'm not going to ask for anything in a show of hands or anything like that, not that there's anything wrong - I do that often - but tonight I really feel that we need to let this go deep. Some of you need to contemplate some of what I've been saying - are you able to pray tonight: 'Whatever it looks like, Lord, whatever friends I lose, whatever it does to my reputation, as long as it is You, as long as it is You, Lord, only the Spirit that confesses 'Jesus is Lord', I'll go through'?
'Above my own ambitions here
Another voice is sounding clear;
It is the call of God to thee:
O leave your all, and follow Me!'
Lord, I pray that You will help us all tonight to:
'Go through with You, our vows to pay,
Our life upon the altar lay;
The Holy Ghost will do the rest,
And bring to us God's very best!'
'The price is high, severe the test
For those who would enjoy God's best;
Help us, Lord, to surrender all, and then take the road
With those who will go through with God'.
Lord, help us to be a band of men and women ready in the day of Your power. Lord, help us not to miss, help us not to be like the disciples - so afraid of the unknown that You pass them by, almost. Do not pass us by, Lord, do not pass us by. Lord, where are You working tonight? Where are You tonight, Lord? I mean, in all Your power, in Your manifest power, in the glory, Lord; where You tonight? In India, Africa, parts of Asia and South America, Lord? Lord, while on others You are calling, don't pass us by. Would You come, Lord? We're sorry, Lord, for shooing You away through fear, through insecurity, through our comfort zone, through love of the status quo and tradition, and the way things have always been. Lord, come and shake us up, come suddenly into Your Temple, unto Your own things, and have Your way, Lord Jesus. In Jesus' mighty name we pray, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Loughbrickland Mission Hall in N. Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "The Disruptive Messiah" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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