Archive for June, 2012
No, no, I don’t have the gifts of healing, but I have the Holy Spirit, who has the gifts of healing, who manifests that through me whenever He chooses. But He doesn’t just manifest it through me; He manifests it through many others. I’m not the only one. I’m just one. But I am one.
Okay, so we find the nine gifts of the Spirit. And instead of just listing them, let me break them down into three categories. Write these three categories down: First of all, the revelation gifts, the revelation gifts, and there are three. I’ll break these down into three different categories, three gifts each.
The first gift of the revelation gifts would be the word of wisdom. The word of wisdom is one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. The word of wisdom is the gift that operates by the Holy Spirit, giving a believer a certain piece or bit of information or direction about what to do in a given situation.
Now I dare say that virtually every one in this room has had an operation of the gift of the word of wisdom in your life. You may have recognized it, you may not have recognized it. You may have done what most Christians do when something like that begins to operate by the Holy Spirit. You say, “Wow! What was that? How did I know that? Where did that come from?”
I’m sure that all of you have faced some kind of situation where you suddenly knew something about somebody, or you knew something about a situation, and you couldn’t explain how you knew it. You just knew it. Haven’t you all had that kind of experience?
In my experience, that is the operation of the word of wisdom operating in your life. Now many times people will kind of play it down. They’ll say, “Wow! That was strange! That was unusual. Where did that come from? That was out of the blue,” we say, you know. Or, “Wow, what’s that all about?” Or, “That was weird.”
Don’t get offended. Don’t let some person come in and ruin your day. Don’t say, “Well, that person, man, they came over and said something to me and it just ruined my whole day.”
Is your Christianity that flimsy and that weak that you could allow one human being to spoil your whole day? Instead of letting that happen, just say, “God, bless them. Forgive them because they don’t have any clue what they’re doing.” That way you don’t carry that ought in your heart. And you know what? They’ll be impressed by it, because half of the time they know they’re wrong. And then they’ll just kind of see what you’ll do.
Learn how to cross over that cultural barrier and recognize that people are different. Some are tall, some are short, some weigh less than others. Some smell different than others. Some have different customs and different tastes.
But you know what? We’re all card-carrying members of the human race. And God loved every one of us enough to send His only begotten Son. What’s the song we sang as little kids? “Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight.” Okay. To Him, you see, in Christ there is no Jew, no Greek, no male, no female, no black, no white, no red, no green, no yellow, no purple. And I add the purple because of some of the hair colors I see lately.
We’re just human beings, and God loves us and loved us enough that He did something by giving His only begotten Son so that we would not perish but have everlasting life.
Give them a break. Okay, they do some things that you don’t understand. Just smile and love them, care for them, and God will give you an opportunity to be a witness.
So she took that thing off, but it would have been so easy for her say, “Look, I’m an American. I’ve worn fingernail polish all my life. I’m not going to take it off.” She didn’t do that. She just took it off.
The first night we went out on a date—I’ll close with this—she was a law student here, and I’m seven years older. I was 30. She was 23. She’d come from Florida to go to law school. She graduated from Rollins College, which is one of the most prestigious colleges in America, and had gotten 4.0, and it was way out of my league, you know, in trying to date her.
And I went to pick her up, and she had just run three miles—she was in our law school—and she had just run three miles in the Aerobics Center. And she was late because of running, so she had run back to her apartment. She was living in an apartment at the time because she was a graduate student. And I went to pick her up, and I heard her, she said, “Just a minute, just a minute, just a minute.”
And she came to the door, and her hair was still wet because she’d taken a shower and was trying not to be late for the date. And she had piled it up on top of her head and she’d gotten dressed to go out.
So we go to a restaurant to eat dinner. And right in the middle of the dinner, I don’t know why I said to her, “What would you say if I told you I wanted you to take your hair down?” I don’t know, maybe I was just testing her. I don’t know. I just wanted to know.
Do you know what she said? She didn’t say anything. She just reached up, took it down, kept on eating, never said a word. I said, “Wow! This one’s a keeper.”
The next thing you know, she is telling the people in the whole area about Jesus the Messiah because Jesus was willing to cross a cultural barrier.
Now when you come to that moment of decision, when you’re faced with it, it’s hard to step over the line. But if you’ll do it, you’ll have an opportunity to touch somebody for God.
I didn’t know, but I was touching that little boy in my class that nobody wanted to be around. I didn’t realize I was touching him, but there was something about God in me that made me go sit down beside him. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t have told you what I’m telling you today. All I knew was, he was hurting, he was lonely, he was being ostracized. It seemed like everybody hated him. And you could see that look in his eye. So I just sat by him. I don’t remember if I ever said anything to him, but I just sat there. He appreciated it. That’s crossing a cultural barrier.
John 4:39-41. Just as a P.S. on this, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus because of this woman’s testimony.” Okay? So His crossing that cultural barrier caused people to believe in Him. It’s not the accepted thing to do.
Now let’s look at some of the disciples and their doing the same type of thing. Acts 8:7-8, Acts 8:7-8, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. And Philip went down to a city in Samaria.” Okay, you see, he’s doing the same thing that Jesus did. “He went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed Christ there.” Now this is after the death, burial, and resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
He goes down to Samaria, and he preached Christ. “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs and wonders,” saw all the healings, “they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks,” the Bible says, “evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed, so that there was great joy in the city.”
“To the weak I become weak, so that I might win the weak: I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save (or bring salvation) to some.”
This was a theme throughout Paul’s ministry. Paul learned how to adapt himself to cross cultural barriers. And I want to give you some scriptural examples of people in the Bible who crossed cultural barriers, and I want you to write these scripture references down. You can study them out on your own.
First of all, Matthew 15:21-28. Matthew 15:21-28. “Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
“A Canaanite woman (or a Lebanese woman, from what’s known today as modern-day Lebanon, from that vicinity) came to him, crying out, Lord, son of David, have mercy on me; my daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.
“Jesus did not answer her. So his disciples came to him and urged him, Send her away, for she keeps crying after us.
“He answered, I was not sent but to the lost house of Israel.
“The woman came and knelt before him and said, Lord, help me.
“He replied, It’s not right to take the children’s bread (which is healing) and toss it to dogs.
“Yes, Lord, she replied, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters’ table.
“Then Jesus answered and said, Woman, you have great faith: your request is granted.” Another translation says “so be it done to you, even as you have believed.” “And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
This is an example of Jesus crossing a cultural barrier. He was there in the area of Tyre and Sidon, when a woman who had a demon-possessed daughter came to Him for prayer, for healing. And Jesus said, “I was not sent to you.”
Now that could have very easily have been interpreted as a racial slur. Jesus said, “I was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The woman could have, you know, contacted the ACLU. She could have gone to the local newspaper. She could have gone to the local radio station and said, “This preacher, you know, has slammed me because I am of another race. I am a Lebanese woman from the coast of Canaan.