Faith in Jesus: The Key to Healing, Restoration, and Eternal Life

BLCF: faith_sees_header

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

Faith in Jesus: The Key to Healing, Restoration, and Eternal Life’

© September 4, 2016 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin September 4, 2016

BLCF: exercise_faith_walk_with_Jesus

Announcements & Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #648 (A Challenge to Faith – Hebrews 11 and 12)r of Prayer; Prayer

Opening Hymn #313: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers                                                      

Today’s Scriptures: Matthew 9:18-26 and Matthew 19:16-22

Message by Steve Mickelson:

Faith in Jesus: The Key to Healing, Restoration, and Eternal Life’

Winifred_Boubert

Winifred Boubert

 

 Let us pray…

Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship for our Communion Sunday Praise and Worship Service on this Labour Day Weekend.

Today’s lesson is about the reward we may expect when we place our faith in Jesus. But before we delve into the lesson, I would like to say a few words about our sister in Christ, Winifred Boubert, known to many of us as Winnie. Winnie was called home by the Lord last Tuesday and several of us from BLCF attended her funeral service, yesterday.

I recall when we first attended BLCF Church, some 20 years or so ago, and first meeting Winnie, a dignified lady with a Scottish brogue. Over time, I discovered Winnie to be a woman of strong faith in her Lord, a caring nature for others especially for youth, and sharp wit.

If there was a need to help within our church, Winnie knew how to best offer her God-given talents. Winnie offered to help serve the congregation at the coffee hour after the church service and her desire to see to it that each member of the congregation was remembered with a birthday card. Winnie would often add her own personal touches by bringing a tea cozy to keep the teapot piping hot and bringing a selection of fine cookies to accompany the beverage, and a small gift for the children to accompany the birthday card. In many regards, Winnie became a friend, mother, and grandmother to our congregation, fostering Christian love and friendship by humbly serving others.

To each of us who knew her, Winnie made a difference and touched our lives in small but significant ways, which brings to mind the lesson of The Starfish Story by Loren Eisely, which you may find on the back of today’s bulletin:

BLCF: The Starfish Story

Thank you, Winnie, for making a difference in each of our lives. Winnie understood the message contained in Micah 6, verse 8:

 Micah 6:8 (ESV)

BLCF: Micah_6_8

 He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,[a]
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Footnotes: a. Micah 6:8 Or steadfast love

We all faithfully express our goodness, when we act justly, encourage kindness, and humbly walk with God.

In Matthew 9, verses 18 to 26, we have for today’s lesson, the account of how faith in Jesus is rewarded with healing and restoration in believers:

Matthew 9:18-26 (ESV) A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

Matthew_9_18-26

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said,“Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly[a]the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said,“Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.

Footnotes: a. Matthew 9:22 Greek from that hour

While he was ministering, a ruler humbly knelt before the Lord, asking Jesus to restore his lifeless daughter, by way of his touch. You will note that the ruler did not ask whether Jesus could do anything for his daughter, but expressed his faith and confidence that the Lord could perform a supernatural miracle.

Jesus left with the ruler, followed by the disciples.

While en route to the ruler’s house, a woman who has suffered from a discharge of blood for some twelve years, reached out to touch the fringe of Jesus’s garment, believing that in doing so, she would be made well.

Seeing the woman’s action, and sensing the faith that motivated her action, Jesus acknowledged that her faith had made her well.

When Jesus arrived at the house of the ruler whose daughter had died, the Lord encountered a skeptical crowd, whom he dismissed, took the girls hand, and restored her from what he called her sleep. For Christians who believe in the resurrection, what the world describes as the finality of death, the Lord views as only a sleep to be interrupted at His bidding.

We see that this Scripture shows how Jesus responds to our faithful petitions made both for our own needs as well as for others.

This brings us to the next Scripture verse, from Matthew, verses 16 to 22, where we see the account of the Rich Young Man, who understands neither God’s expectations nor what the Lord considers to be good, as described in Micah 6:8:

Matthew 19:16-22 (ESV) The Rich Young Man

BLCF: Jesus and the rich young man

 16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

If the rich young man in Matthew 19 was able to relinquish his possessions, he would have been able to not only follow the Lord, but answer the call expressed in Micah 6:8 and do what the Lord expects, as described in Proverbs 31, verses 8 to 9:

 

Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)

BLCF: Proverbs_31-8

 Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.[a]
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Footnotes: a. Proverbs 31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #171: Thine Is the Glory, Risen Conquering Son

Communion: Responsive Reading #663 (1Corinthians 11)

Benediction – (Romans 15:13):

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

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Zacchaeus and Saul – A Tale of Two Callings

BLCF: footprints-in-sand-following-Jesus

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

Zacchaeus and Saul – A Tale of Two Callings’

© August 21, 2016 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin August 21, 2016

BLCF: exercise your faith

Announcements & Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #662 (Freedom from Sin – Romans 5 and 6) Prayer; Prayer                                                                                           

Opening Hymn #553: Morning Has Broken                                                                 

Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers

Today’s Scriptures: Luke 19:1-10, Acts 22:6-21, 1 Timothy 1:12-20

Let us pray…

For today’s lesson, I would like to examine the similarities and differences between the accounts in the Scriptures of two individuals, Zacchaeus and Saul, whom were called by the Lord.

Our first account, about the conversion a tax collector named Zacchaeus, is found in Luke 19:1-10.

Luke 19:1-10 (ESV) Jesus and Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus_and_Jesus

19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

You will note that in order to satisfy the old Mosaic Law, Zacchaeus had to commit to give a fourfold restitution to those whom he had defrauded and give half of his material wealth to the poor.

In the above passage, Zacchaeus finds salvation through Jesus, and Christ acknowledges that he came to seek and save sinners, whom he calls “the lost.” Another example of Christ seeking to save a sinner is the account of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul, we see described in Acts 22:6-21.

 Acts 22:6-21 (ESV) Paul’s Testimony

Paul on the Road to Damascus

Paul on the Road to Damascus

 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand[a] the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

Footnotes: a. Acts 22:9 Or hear with understanding

Both Zacchaeus and Saul worked as a tax collector and a persecutor of Christians, respectively. Zacchaeus was called by Jesus, before the Lord was crucified on the cross.

By contrast, Saul was called by the Lord, after Jesus had ascended to heaven, following the Lord’s resurrection and the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And Saul, now known as Paul, not only received salvation from the Lord, he was baptized in Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit provided Paul, and other believers baptized in the Spirit, with the means of sharing the Gospel of Christ and defending the faith from those who oppose or reject the Word of God.

In his letter to Timothy, (1 Timothy 1:12-20), Paul explains why God chose to demonstrate the power and perfection of His love grace at work in his own life, as a proof and testimony to other sinners.

1 Timothy 1:12-20 (ESV) Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners

BLCF: devil_says_Jesus_says

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.[a] Amen.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Footnotes: a. 1 Timothy 1:17 Greek to the ages of ages

Paul’s conversion, from a life of sin to an Apostle of Christ, is significant because it impacts an individual, but how the Spirit empowers a believer to minister to an Empire and plant seeds of faith that impact the world. Here is a Wikibits biopic of the Apostle Paul, courtesy of about.com.

Apostle Paul

Get to Know the Apostle Paul, Once Saul of Tarsus

(From: christianity.about.com – Updated August 08, 2016)

BLCF: San_Paolo_St_Paul

The Apostle Paul, who started as one of Christianity’s most zealous enemies, was hand-picked by Jesus Christ to become the gospel’s most ardent messenger. Paul traveled tirelessly through the ancient world, taking the message of salvation to the Gentiles. Paul towers as one of the all-time giants of Christianity.

Apostle Paul’s Accomplishments

When Saul of Tarsus, who was later renamed Paul, saw the resurrected Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road, Saul converted to Christianity. He made three long missionary journeys throughout the Roman Empire, planting churches, preaching the gospel, and giving strength and encouragement to early Christians.

Of the 27 books in the New Testament, Paul is credited as the author of 13 of them. While he was proud of his Jewish heritage, Paul saw that the gospel was for the Gentiles as well. Paul was martyred for his faith in Christ by the Romans, about 64 or 65 A.D.

 http://christianity.about.com/od/newtestamentpeople/a/Apostle-Paul.htm

Let us pray…

 Closing Hymn #484: Pass it On

 Benediction – 2 Peter 1:2-3 (ESV):

 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence