Tuesday, September 14, 2010

“It’s All about Jesus!”

Jesus did three things during his whirlwind ministry in Israel: He preached, he taught, and he healed.”

As John Claypool once remarked, “The Church in the Twenty-first Century must be what Jesus was in the First Century.” If we are to be the Body of Christ, we must do what Jesus did when he was on earth.

First, we must preach. And the church, through the ages has done a lot of preaching. One of my favorite cartoons is a simple square with two men on a tiny, deserted island in the middle of the ocean. They were the only two humans there. One was preaching to the other! The oft-heard expression, “Don’t you preach at me!” sort of sums up the negative attitude many have of preaching. Even the Apostle Paul called it a necessary “foolishness!”

Phillips Brooks, a noted preacher of another day, said that preaching is “truth through personality.” God is willing to submit to the filter of our personalities in order to get his message of incredible love across to those who need to hear it.

Dr. Clyde Fant once wrote a book on Diedrich Bonhoeffer’ preaching. In it, he made an astounding assertion. He referred to Philippians 2, the “kenotic” (emptying) passage about Jesus leaving heaven’s glory and deity to become a man. He made the connection to our preaching. Just as Jesus was willing to be limited to the form of a human being, he is also willing to be limited to what we mortal preachers say about him on Sundays at eleven.

Second, we must teach. Jesus was called “Rabbi” (teacher) much more often than “Savior and Lord.” Most Christians are anxious to know him as Savior and Lord but are loathe to let him teach them very much. The Holy Spirit (the Present Spirit of Jesus!) will help us remember the teachings of Jesus if we allow him to. He taught some things hard to swallow: loving one’s enemies, selling out for the poor, taking up a cross, and turning the other cheek. He added that if we refuse to obey him, we cannot be his disciples.

Third, we must heal. I pray with and for the sick, in hospitals and homes. I counsel many hours a month with those who are struggling. But, I don’t know that I’ve ever healed anyone. I have prevented a few suicides, I believe. I have helped some young people get back on the straight and narrow road. What about healing? Jesus touched and spoke and healed sick and handicapped people. Dramatically. Immediately. Repeatedly.

Baptists have been reluctant to have “healing services.” We are afraid someone will think we are being too “pentecostal.” But, Paul tells us that gifts of healing are a part of the arsenal of the Body of Christ. Paul healed people. Peter healed people. I believe we have the procedure to help people get well. It’s basically in James 5. Our church will have a healing service on October 17. Nothing hokey or spooky.

We will simply ask people if they’d like to come forward to agree in prayer for healing—for themselves or others. I have a tiny vial of ordinary oil that I may use if appropriate. Healing, by the way, includes more than physical ailments; it means curing addictions, bad habits, broken relationships, laziness, etc.

Put it on your calendar. Pray for the Lord to be active among us to heal. It could be the greatest event at Bayshore in years!

Marilyn and I are in Dallas this weekend, doing a wedding and a birthday party. We will be thinking of you and Shawn Mahannah as he preaches. See you Monday!

Love to every one of you,

Dan

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