Bible Reference: Matthew 4:23-24
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 23 Jesus ministered from place to place throughout all of the province of Galilee. He taught[r] in the synagogues, preaching the hope of the kingdom realm[s] and healing every kind of sickness and disease among the people. 24 His fame spread everywhere![t] Many people who were in pain and suffering with every kind of illness were brought to Jesus for their healing—epileptics,[u] paralytics, and those tormented by demonic powers were all set free. Everyone who was brought to Jesus was healed!
OBSERVATION: People flocked to be in the presence of Jesus, because word got around about His teachings, His healings and the hope of this future home that He taught about. Let’s meditate on our current day situation and consider the things that draw people to Jesus today, and possibly the things that causes people to reject the idea of our Master.
APPLICATION: I once heard a story of a neighborhood kid standing besides the pastor of a church while firefighters fought a blazing fire that seemed destined to totally destroy the church building. The pastor turns to the young man and introduced himself while saying that he had never seen him around the church before. To which the young man gave this response ‘because I had never seen the church on fire before’. A simple, but profound answer, for how many in the neighborhood of our church buildings know that the church even exists there, and secondly, have they heard any results of happenings at the church, or from its services, such as what we read in our focal Scripture today? Is it evident to the attendees and the neighborhood that Jesus is present every time we meet? Will young men, such as the one at the fire (mentioned above), hear about the Holy Spirit convicting people of their sin, causing them to surrender their lives to the holy Son of God? Will the neighborhood hear about the ‘tongues of fire’ that moved in our church service, like it did in Acts 2, and how it convicted hundreds to turn from their sin and accept the love and security of knowing Jesus as Lord? My solemn prayer is that our neighborhoods will hear more of God moving in His church, than they do about the fights and church splits that plague so many churches today. Oh that they may hear about, and see a flourishing church, where people go to visit while steeped in the likes of their earthly leader, but leave as changed men and women, boys and girls. Friends, our churches must be busy about pointing people to Christ, for we could boast of the largest and prettiest buildings, or the expanse of our properties, but it’s not until our neighborhoods see lives being transformed into the likeness of everything they have heard about God, that they will know that the fire of the Holy Spirit is alive and well at our churches. Now, before leaving this thought today, let me quickly remind us that the ‘church’ is not the building where we attend services, nor is it the Pastor to whom we may pay to lead our church, but rather, it consists of each believer that meets corporately to worship God together. So in that context, I pray that we might be more careful to look for how God is at work in our worship services, and that we concentrate on Him wholeheartedly as we go to worship, not the many other people or things that distract us in and around our sanctuaries. In this way, our lives will shine with the glow from the Holy Spirit inside the church building and everywhere we are seen! It’s all about our God, friend!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You did on Calvary, so that we might gain access to our heavenly home. May our relationship with You be so intimate, so personal, so worshipful, and so sincere, that our time together in corporate worship might be magnified by the same Spirit that lives in the hearts and lives of every believer gathered. You and You alone deserve our praise and our worship. Please help us to forget about ourselves and the distractions around us, so that our minds are fixed on You. May our times together in such a setting be so impacted, that our lives outside the church will overflow and shine with the glory of God. May the unsaved see the ‘tongues of fire’ referred to in the early church, prevalent in our churches and in our neighborhoods as we scatter. To God be the glory for all that He will accomplish, even through us! AMEN!