Finding What Is Lost: The Sheep – (Luke 15:1-7); The Coin (Luke 15:8-10); The Son (Luke 15:11-22)

23 Psalm

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘‘Finding What Is  Lost: 

The Sheep (Luke 15:1-7); The Coin (Luke 15:8-10); The Son (Luke 15:11-22)”

©October 20, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin October 20, 2013 

BLCF Call to Worship:

Responsive Reading #598 (The Shepherd Psalm – Psalm 23r of Prayer); Prayer                       

Opening Hymn #288: Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound

Let us pray…

Amazing Grace was our opening hymn this morning is a testimony in song authored by John Newton whose faith conversion was as dramatic a change as the apostle Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Here are the Wiki bits of John Newton:

“Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn with words written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807), published in 1779. With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed (forced into service involuntarily) into the Royal Navy, and after leaving the service became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748, a violent storm battered his vessel so severely that he called out to God for mercy, a moment that marked his spiritual conversion. However, he continued his slave trading career until 1754 or 1755, when he ended his seafaring altogether and began studying Christian theology.

Ordained in the Church of England in 1764, Newton became curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire, where he began to write hymns with poet William Cowper. “Amazing Grace” was written to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773. It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses; it may have simply been chanted by the congregation. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and Cowper’s Olney Hymns, but settled into relative obscurity in England. In the United States however, “Amazing Grace” was used extensively during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to a tune named “New Britain” to which it is most frequently sung today.

Author Gilbert Chase writes that “Amazing Grace” is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns,” and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that it is performed about 10 million times annually.  It has had particular influence in folk music, and has become an emblematic African American spiritual. Its universal message has been a significant factor in its crossover into secular music. “Amazing Grace” saw a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s and has been recorded thousands of times during and since the 20th century, occasionally appearing on popular music charts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace

For the Trekkers out there, Amazing Grace was piped by Commander Scott at the funeral of First Officer Spock in the movie The Wrath of Kahn.  If you are not a follower of Star Trek, the point is that Amazing Grace has become synonymous with the life testimony of Christians, often sung at a believer’s funeral to praise and express gratitude in the promise of the resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ.

But John Newton, not to be confused with contemporary singer Olivia Newton John, before his conversion, lived the life of a lost sheep described in Ezekiel 34, without love for God or fellow man. He became wealthy at the expense of the lives and freedom of others. But like Saul of Tarsus, the Lord had a plan for Newton: a plan of conviction and conversion of faith that led John Newton to become a minister of God, spreading the gospel of Jesus.

But more than gathering together His lost sheep, the Lord will send the lost sinners a new Shepherd and reclaim from a life of sin and destruction His beloved human sheep. Ezekiel 34 (ESV):

   Prophecy Against the Shepherds of Israel

34 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

The Lord God Will Seek Them Out

11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.[a] I will feed them in justice.

17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue[b] my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.

The Lord’s Covenant of Peace

25 “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. 30 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.”

Footnotes: a. Ezekiel 34:16 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate I will watch over b. Ezekiel 34:22 Or save

This love that our Lord for us is so great that He rejoices every time a lost human sheep returns to His flock, as is expressed in the three parables we have printed in today’s bulletin. The first is found in Luke 15:1-7 (ESV):

The Parable of the Lost Sheep                            

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.    

The Lord is my Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd

 

We all have experienced the loss of something valuable. We worry and fret over what is lost. But like the lesson from Ezekiel, the Lord will go out and seek the lost sheep, bring it back to the fold and celebrate its return. For every lost soul or sinner that is saved, there is a celebration in heaven.

For those who may not identify with the sheep in the first parable, we have the parable of a son that is lost in Luke 15:11-22 (ESV):

The Parable of the Prodigal Son     

 11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to[a] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[b] 22 But the father said to his servants,[c] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.

Footnotes: a. Luke 15:15 Greek joined himself to b. Luke 15:21 Some manuscripts add treat me as one of your hired servants c. Luke 15:22 Greek bondservants

The Parable of the Prodigal Son, not only teaches how the Lord desires us to return to Him, but how He has compassion for us and is willing to forgive us all of our transgressions.

And just in case we still do not understand what the Lord has told us, he teaches us the lesson again, in Luke 15:8-10 (ESV):

                                        The Parable of the Lost Coin

8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Footnotes: a. Luke 15:8 Greek ten drachmas; a drachma was a Greek coin approximately equal in value to a Roman denarius, worth about a day’s wage for a laborer

By teaching the same lesson three times in three different parables, the Lord indicates how much He cares for His lost sheep and the priority He places returning sinners back to a righteous place.

I remember some years ago, how Sophie had lost her engagement ring at a church function. Sophie looked everywhere in her pockets for the ring. She had retraced her steps through the evening. Eventually, Sophie received a call from a friend that the young daughter of one of the ladies had found her ring. How relieved and happy she was when it was returned.

And when a sinner returns to the flock, he has the confidence and peace of mind as well, that he is safe at home with the shepherd, as we see in Psalm 23 (ESV):

The Lord Is My Shepherd – A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely[
d] goodness and mercy[e] shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[
f] in the house of the Lord
forever.[
g]    

  Footnotes: a. Psalm 23:2 Hebrew beside waters of rest b.Psalm 23:3 Or in right paths c. Psalm 23:4 Or the valley of deep darkness d. Psalm 23:6 Or Only e. Psalm 23:6 Or steadfast love f. Psalm 23:6 Or shall return to dwell g. Psalm 23:6 Hebrew for length of days

And to reaffirm how Jesus fits in the picture let us again review Jeremiah 23:1-8 (ESV):

 The Righteous Branch

23 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. 3 Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.

5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

7 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 8 but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where hehad driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”                                                     

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #49: A Pilgrim Was I and A-wandering

 

BLCF: Be the church

Benediction Hebrews 13:20-21(ESV):

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,  equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

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The Parables and the Miracles of the Ministry of Jesus Christ

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

Jesus performs the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

 Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday: 

                                                                         

         The Parables and the Miracles of the Ministry of Jesus Christ’   

    ©September 22, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin September 22, 2013

 

BLCF Call to Worship:

 Responsive Reading 664: About Spiritual Gifts (1Corinthians 12); Prayer        Today’s Opening Hymn is #200: The Church’s One Foundation inspired from 1Corinthians 3:11(ESV): 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Let us pray…

IN THE HEART OF TORONTO

IN THE HEART OF TORONTO

Every Wednesday since January 2008, at the BLCF Cafe Community Dinner, we have been challenged to prepare for, serve to, minister upon, and clean-up after a gathering of to as many as 150 to 200 guests. Many of our volunteers, though attending post secondary schools are ESL students. That is to say that they grew up speaking another language and have volunteered at the cafe to hone their English skills as well as to serve a compassionate cause. I have observed some of the tricks used by Sophie to communicate how to run the dinner a complex set of activities in a short period of time.

George Brown volunteers with Sophie at the BLCF Cafe

George Brown volunteers with Sophie at the BLCF Cafe Community Diner in the heart of Toronto

 

Sophie will demonstrate of how we prepare to serve our guests, in what order, how to demonstrate friendship and respect, how to deal with unacceptable behaviour from guests, when to take breaks, what to do during the message portion of the dinner, when we serve dessert, how to avoid serving a guest twice before all guests have been served, and even how to serve the dinner. To avoid misunderstanding Sophie will demonstrate the process by example and often will pair experienced volunteers with new ones so that the new volunteers may observed and learn by following the example of their respective assigned partner. A simple, but effective approach to both acquainting new volunteers with the processes involved with the running the dinner, while forging a team bond among the dinner’s volunteers.

Prior to his crucifixion on the cross for our sins, Jesus ministered for some three and a half years.  Jesus was challenged with teaching matters of a spiritual nature to people who have yet to experience Pentecost and before they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit to understand God’s expectations and plans for His people.

To meet this challenge, Christ’s used a number of miracles and parables performed to reveal power of faith in the Holy Spirit and to help teach God’s expectations, promises and plans for His children. To emphasize God’s compassion for our needs and teach how He can overcome the seemingly impossible, He would perform a miracle. The miracles of Jesus are the supernatural deeds of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels.  A miracle, being supernatural by definition, is action which defies the laws and rules of nature and is beyond the abilities of the common person. The miracle demonstrates the fact that the power of the Lord exceeds the laws and rules of science and of the world. However, in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke), Jesus refuses to give a miraculous sign to prove his authority. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is said to have performed seven miraculous signs that characterize his ministry, from changing water into wine at the start of his ministry to raising Lazarus from the dead at the end. We find a good example in the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude in the gospel of Mark 6:30-44 (ESV) Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand:

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Footnote: a. Mark 6:37 A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

Miracle of Feeding the Multitude

Miracle of Feeding the Multitude

The miracle of the feeding of the multitude happened because Jesus felt compassion for the multitude who seemed like sheep without a shepherd and having taught the multitude with his sermon, Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes so that those who heard the word knew that it had come from the Father Who is both in heaven and in Christ.

Over the centuries Christian authors have reviewed, discussed and analyzed the miracles attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. In most cases, authors associate each miracle with specific teachings that reflect the message of Jesus. Miracles performed by Jesus are mentioned in two sections of the Quran (suras 3:49 and 5:110) in broad strokes with little detail or comment.

Christian authors also view the miracles of Jesus not merely as acts of power and omnipotence, but as works of love and mercy: they were performed not with a view to awe men by the feeling of omnipotence, but to show compassion for sinful and suffering humanity. And each miracle involves specific teachings.

Since according to the Gospel of Johnit was impossible to narrate all of the miracles performed by Jesus, the miracles presented in the Gospels were selected for a twofold reason: first as a manifestation of God’s glory, and then for their evidential value. Jesus referred to his “works” as evidences of his mission and his divinity, and in John 5:36 he declared that his miracles have greater evidential value than the testimony of John the Baptist. John 10:37-38 (ESV) quotes Jesus as follows:

37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

We see the miracles of helped teach us Jesus plan and the manner by which it would be achieved. While the miracles were self evident, the Lord, also made use of the Parable as a teaching aid to teach his purpose and plan. The parables of Jesus can be found in all the Canonical gospels as well as in some of the non-canonical gospels but are located mainly within the three Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke). They represent a key part of the teachings of Jesus, forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings. Jesus’ parables are seemingly simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and each conveys a message. Scholars have commented that although these parables seem simple, the messages they convey are deep, and central to the teachings of Jesus. Christian authors view them not as mere similitude’s which serve the purpose of illustration, but as internal analogies where nature becomes a witness for the spiritual world.

Many of Jesus’ parables refer to simple everyday things, such as a woman baking bread (parable of the Leaven), a man knocking on his neighbor’s door at night (parable of the Friend at Night), or the aftermath of a roadside mugging (parable of the Good Samaritan); yet they deal with major religious themes, such as the growth of the Kingdom of God, the importance of prayer, and the meaning of love.

Still the disciples had a problem understanding the purpose of the Lord’s use of the parable. So Jesus explains why in the gospel of Matthew 13:10-16 The Purpose of the Parables:

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

Now we return to our outreach ministry at Wednesday’s BLCF Cafe Community Dinner. To non-believing guests and volunteers, our actions of serving and fellowship are a living parable of the love and sacrifice of Christ. And by the miracle of the power of the Holy Spirit, those who accept our unconditional gift can relate to God’s unconditional love for His children. And this understanding through the power of the Holy Spirit helps non-believers understand and by Grace of the Spirit, accept by faith, God’s unconditional gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross at Calvary. And by conviction of the Holy Spirit, believers may preach and teach others the love of God by similar acts that are a living parable and testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit.

In that regard, Wednesday’s Community Dinner is regarded by many of our guests and volunteers as their church. For the church, God’s holy temple, is not the mortar, wood and bricks of this building at 1307 Bloor Street West, but rather the people who gather here to study His word, who sing and praise His name, to glorify God as a body of believers who are God’s holy temple: Ephesians 2:19-22:

19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

The church or temple of God is not a building that contains a body of worshipers, but rather it is the body of believers that contain the Holy Spirit. By sharing the gospel of Jesus in word, thought and deeds to others, we invite them to join His church and share grace of his gifts of salvation and the Holy Spirit through faith, and thus becoming a part of His Church. And the miracles of the Spirit are described in 1 Corinthians 12:1-12 (ESV) Spiritual Gifts:

12 Now concerning[a] spiritual gifts,[b] brothers,[c] I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

Footnotes: a.1 Corinthians 12:1 The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians’ letter; see 7:1  b. 1 Corinthians 12:1 Or spiritual persons c. 1 Corinthians 12:1 Or brothers and sisters

While on earth Jesus performed his many miracles to demonstrate that God the Father is within him and that he is in the Father as John 10:38:

38 “but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

There are four additional miracles that Jesus performed which form the foundation of Christ’s church:

The first is the miracle by Jesus was assuming the judgment of sin on behalf of all humanity and freely giving his life on the cross. The second miracle by Jesus was the resurrection from the grave. The third miracle of Jesus was his ascension to heaven to assume the role of our advocate beside God the Father. And the fourth miracle of Jesus is to send the Holy Spirit to reside in the heart of all believers, so that like Jesus God may be in the body of believers as the believers are in God thus forming the church of Jesus our redeemer and shepherd.

I would like to conclude today’s message with prayer for the new year by reciting the following poem by Bobbie J. Davis:

Jesus is a Miracle Worker

He healed the blind, He raised the dead.   

5000 hungry souls He fed.  

He only had 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.  

He stilled the storm on the raging sea.   

He gave His life for you and me.     

He walked on water and even turned water into wine. 

He did all of this in His short life time.  

He healed the sick and even raised the dead.   

He did everything that he said. 

He cast demons out of possessed souls.  

Can I tell you our Lord Jesus was bold.     

He performed these many miracles for you and I.      

Now we need to do our part before we meet Him in the sky.       

We need to lead others to this miracle man.       

We need to all just take a stand,                     

And let others know they can have eternal life too.  

For this is what He wants all of us to do.               

Yes, Jesus is still a miracle worker for you see,    

 He worked a mighty miracle in you and me.

-authored by Bobbie J Davis
Bobbie J Davis’ Main Page

Let us pray…

Today’s Closing Hymn is #12: Praise the Lord, His Glories Show

Benediction: Romans 15:5-7 (ESV):

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

– Go in  Peace of the Lord!

BLCF: BLCF Cafe