Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
Mathew 1:17
Mathew 1: 18-25 Mathew 2: 1-23 Mathew 3: 1-17 Mathew 4: 1-11 Mathew 4: 12-25
Matthew 5:1-12 Part 1 Matthew 5:1-12 Part 2 Mathew 5:13-16 Mathew 5:17-26 Mathew 5:27-37 Mathew 5:38-48
Mathew 6:1-8, 16-18 Mathew 6: 7-15 Mathew 6:19-34 Mathew 6:25-34 Mathew 7:1-12 Mathew 7:15-23
Mathew 7: 24-29 Mathew 8: 1-17 Mathew 8: 18-34 Mathew 9: 1-13 Mathew 9:14-26 Mathew 9:27 - 10:31
Mathew 10:32-42 Mathew 11:1-31 Mathew 12:1-21 Mathew 12:22-50 Mathew 13:1-23 Mathew 13: 24-43
Mathew 13: 44-52 Mathew 13:54 -14:12 Mathew 14:13-21 Mathew 14:22-36 Mathew 15:1-20 Mathew 15:21-31
Mathew 15: 32-39 Mathew 16:13-23 Matthew 16:24-28 Matthew 17:1-13 Matthew 17:14-27 Matthew 18:1-14
Matthew 18:15-20 Matthew 18:21-35 Matthew 19:1-12 Matthew 19:13-30 Matthew 20:1-16 Matthew 20:17-34
Matthew 21: 1-11 Matthew 21:12-17 Matthew 21:18-22 Matthew 21:23-46 Matthew 22:1-14 Matthew 22:15-46
Matthew 23:1-39 Matthew 24:1-31 Matthew 24:32-44 Matthew 25:1-46 Matthew 26:1-13 Matthew 26:14-54
Matthew 26: 54-75 Matthew 27:1-26 Matthew 27:27-66 Matthew 28:1-20    
           

 

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Matthew 9:14-26

 

“Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?  And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.  Neither do men put new wine into old bottles [wineskins]: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.  While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.  And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.  And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: for she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  But when Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.  And the woman was made whole from that hour.  And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, he said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn.  But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her hand, and the maid arose.  And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.”

 

“‘We look to you as we continue.  And Lord, you know this evening, Lord, you know this evening well, you’ve waited here for us as it were.  You go on before us, you’ve accompanied us, and Lord, as we have opportunity to sing your praises this evening Lord, and to worship you, we pray that Father, you are blessed, Lord because we worship you.  And as we Father, have opportunity to look into your Word, it’s your love and your power, your grace that we desire to behold, that we might grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And Father we believe we’re praying according to your will.  So Lord, open the pages of your Living Word to our hearts, do your surgery on us Father.  We welcome your hand, your power, your love, your gentleness.  And renew us, and fill us with your Spirit and give us fresh vision, Father of Jesus, and of his love, we pray in His name, amen.’   

 

About fasting

 

“Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’  And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:14-15).  We have followed Jesus back into Capernaum from the Gaderenes, he’s called Matthew from the receipt of custom, and gone with Matthew to his home to eat with Matthew’s friends, which are publicans and sinners, and has been criticized by the Pharisees, the Pharisees had gone to his disciples and said ‘Why does your Master eat with sinners?’.  And the Lord answered that he was a physician.  He wasn’t spending time with them because he enjoyed hanging out with sinners, he was spending time with them because they were infected with something that he himself was the cure for, he was the physician, and he saw them not as castaways, he saw them as curable.  He saw them as the reward of his suffering, and ministered to them, spoke to them.  And in verse 14, it says “Then came to him”, now these are the disciples of John the Baptist, which are braver than the disciples of the Pharisees.  The disciples of the Pharisees go to the disciples of Jesus, not directly to Jesus, but they go to the disciples of Jesus and complain.  Jesus overhears and deals with them.  But the disciples of John came directly to Jesus, because John had been saying of Jesus, “he must increase, and I must decrease” and his own disciples had been witnessing this.  His own disciples, the disciples of John the Baptist, had watched John point the finger at Jesus, saying “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”  He had said that he was only the friend of the Bridegroom, but that Jesus was the Bridegroom, and that it was his delight to serve, and to accompany the Bridegroom.  And Christ certainly was there to collect you and I, his Bride.  Now the disciples of John, they come to Jesus saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but thy disciples fast not?”  Now I don’t know if they’re wondering, ‘Boy, this seems like a better organization to join, because they don’t fast and we fast all the time, this is the eat’n worship fellowship, we kind of like that, eat’n and meetin’ better than fasting and meeting.’  Ah, maybe a little scandalized, because here’s this one that John had pointed at, John was austere, John lived in the wilderness and fasted and ate locust and wild honey, and was a man of solitude, and of power and of great demand in regards to righteousness.  And now here are the disciples of Jesus sitting with tax gatherers and sinners, and eating and drinking, and maybe they’re a little bit scandalized by that, not understanding.  And they come directly to the Lord, asking, you know, ‘Are you guys allowed to have this much fun?  You know, John, we followed him, he didn’t make it this much fun, what’s going on here, why so different?  And of course, Jesus answers them, and he says “Can the children of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?”  And they would have recognized that, because John the Baptist said that Jesus was the Bridegroom.  “But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, then shall they fast.”  So then shall they fast, nothing wrong with fasting.  If you ever do take the time to fast, if I do, and I know more about not fasting than I do about fasting, I fast in my heart all the time, and my flesh occasionally.  But when I do fast, I’m not trying to get something, ‘OK, give’, like it’s a hunger strike, you know.  ‘Lord, you give or I’m going to die and it’ll look bad for you, pastor starved to death, so you better say uncle here’, ah, that’s not it here at all.  It says here, Jesus says ‘Can the children of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom’, you know.  When I’m fasting, I usually bring my wretched old self before him and say, ‘Lord, you know best what needs to happen in my life, this is just a time I’m setting myself aside for you, for your purposes, and you know what that means, and I don’t, but I know I need to be closer, and I know I need to be more like Jesus, so Lord here’s my life, and give me whatever I need, and you know best the medicine I need during this time’, and it’s just a time to set yourself aside for him.  Now fasting is just a spiritual diet.  You see all these diets on TV, all kinds of diets, Hollywood diets and celebrity diets, and normal people diets and high protein diets and high carb diets, and you do all that for your flesh, to keep yourself in shape.  Well this is to spiritually stay fit, to stay in shape, to set yourself aside.  You can fast, I know some people that have hypoglycemia, they have diabetes, or work a very rigorous schedule, but you can fast from television, go on a TV fast, I guarantee it won’t hurt you.  You can go on a chocolate fast.  I know I’m touching some sensitive areas [laughter], but I mean.  Go on a gossip fast, that’s great.  We’d all appreciate that.  Let it be a long one.  There are things that we can set aside in our lives, just the same, not trying to earn something, not trying to get God to give, but just to say ‘Here I am, Lord.  And I just want to be a little closer.  Ah, you could do it just skipping lunch for a week, just spend that time praying, instead of talking about all the insane stuff that people might talk about at lunch wherever you are during that hour [what’s he mean hour, most jobs now only give half an hour].  But they’re saying ‘Lord, we do this all the time, why don’t your disciples do it, isn’t this part of what is necessary?’  And of course, the only fast really required spoken of in the Old Testament was Yom Kippur, there was a whole-day fast, but there was nothing longer than that really required.  He says ‘The days will come when my disciples will fast.’   Certainly the early Church in Christ…fasting was part of church life, and it is in many places today.  And if you can, I think it’s a great experience.  It’s almost like if you can do that, if you can go three days without eating anything, you may be just on juice, you may just be on water.  Buy a little paperback, “God’s Chosen Fast”, it covers some of the fasts in Scripture, but it makes everything else a whole lot easier.  If you can stop eating for three days you can stop watching things you shouldn’t watch.  Anything’s easy after that.  And it’s a funny thing, after a couple days you start to look at things you don’t normally look at, like, ‘That orange looks so good.’  You know, three days before, you needed a Whopper or something, but if you’re a couple days into it, it’s like ‘Carrots, I’d love to eat a carrot.’  [laughter]  So anyhow they’re asking, ‘Why is there a more austere religious practice amongst the disciples of the Pharisees and us, and your disciples don’t even fast?’  And Jesus says ‘Look, this is not a time for that right now, we’re moving, we’re working, it’s a time of rejoicing, the Bridegroom is in their midst, the one that they would later seek fasting is walking in the middle of them, they don’t have to fast to find him, to look at him, to hear his voice, I’m here, I’m here with them.’  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/fasting.htm]

 

The meaning of the old garment and the new fabric, and the new wine and the old wineskins

 

And he says “No man putteth a piece of new cloth on an old garment.  For that which is put in to fill it up taketh away from the garment, and the tear is made worse” (verse 16).  Ah, just for you young whippersnappers, in my generation, ‘60s, ‘70s, we wore out our own jeans, we would buy our jeans new, and wear our own holes in them.  You know, today you just go to the store, and you buy your jeans pre-washed, worn out, half-gone.  I’ve actually seen jeans in a store with holes, already, in the knees for you, in the rear.  You know, I’m thinking…’and they’re more expensive?’  [laughter]  You buy your jeans worn out for you, what a generation.  But we would do it ourselves, we were proud that we could wear out our own jeans.  And the thing is, when you wore out your own jeans, we all knew, you didn’t take a brand new piece of denim and sew that on your jeans, because then when your Mom washed it, you see, you still wore holes in your own jeans, but you still had your Mom wash ‘em for you.  But when your Mom washed them, it would shrink, and it would look like a bear-trap on there, just looked funky.  So you had the jeans that were beyond wearing, that crawled by themselves, and you just locked them in the closet so they couldn’t get away, so that when you wore holes in your latest jeans, you could take the old material and put it on there.  And you could be creative and even put a piece of leather on there if you had a good needle and thread or some type of tapestry thing.  But you never, ever put on your jeans those big dark blue iron-on patches that your Mom wanted to put on there, because they were like the most un-kool thing in the world.  Here you would have a nice pair of bright-blue worn out jeans with those big giant oval dark things just ironed right on there.  You didn’t do that.  But even in Jesus’ day, you don’t have something that’s old, a worn piece of cloth, and put a brand new piece of cloth on there as a patch, because when it shrinks it tares, and Jesus says ‘I’m not here to patch up the old system.’  [Now don’t think for a minute that this is why Gentile Christianity is the way it is today, and that Judeo-Christianity was ‘done away with’.  Back in the days of Paul there was both a Jewish branch of the body of Christ, and a Gentile branch.  And both of those branches were entirely different in religious practices, such as days of worship, than what we see today, and both of these branches were vibrant and active in their day.  Check out http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm for some interesting proofs of this.]  I’m not here to put a new patch on an old system.  I’m not here to patch up Judaism, I’m not here to patch up the Law.  I’m here to bring an entirely new system into being.  I’m here to introduce Grace, I’m here to fulfill, I’m not here to patch up, to make some patchwork quilt of religious structure.’  And he says “No man puts new wine” King James says “bottles”, it’s “skins” “into old skins, else the skins break, the wine runneth out, and the skins perish.  But they put new wine into new skins, that both might be preserved” (verse 17).  The goat-skin was kosher, and they could take a goat-skin and put wine into that.  Ah, the new wine when it was placed into the skin would ferment, it would produce gases, so that had to be put into a new skin that was still flexible, that still had the ability to stretch.  If you put it in a used skin that you had emptied all of the wine out of, normally that skin had become more brittle and inflexible and couldn’t stretch, and the new wine, if you put it in there, if it did ferment and demanded flexibility and change, that skin would rupture, and both the wine and the skin were lost.  And the idea is also, Jesus is bringing new wine.  [If you don’t believe that one, read http://www.unityinchrist.com/galatians/Galatians1-1-24.htm   through to the end of Galatians 6, that document.  That is the new religious system Jesus brought, designed to fit both Jewish and Gentile parts of the body of Christ.  The Judaizers described in that document are part of the old religious system, they are old wine-skins, they are the old part of the old garment (and amazingly, they are not believers).]  And he says Judaism is an old skin, it’s not going to contain, it’s not flexible enough, it’s not going to be able to contain that which he is bringing.  Now this is misapplied in some ways, of course.  The wine is always the same.  The wine that Jesus brought was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it was the Biblical faith of the New Testament. 

 

Spiritual Danger Zone: Denominations can and do become “old wine-skins”

 

Jude said when he sat down to write concerning our common consolation, he said he was going to write about our common faith, and the Holy Spirit impressed upon him that he would write “to defend the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.”  Already in Jude’s day it started to be undermined, the truth of what Christ had delivered and the apostles had delivered.  Book of Revelation, by the time Jesus is speaking to Pergamos and Thyatira, they had already become ‘old skins’, they had all become ‘hardened and inflexible’ and were unable to contain the wine, which is always new in every generation of the Truth of the Gospel of Christ.  Look, we look at the Church today.  Denominational America in many ways is in a post-Christian era, and you’re not allowed to say ‘There’s only one way to be saved.’  It’s not inclusive.  You’re not allowed to say ‘There is Biblical purity, and this particular lifestyle and this particular sexual activity is not acceptable by God’s standard, but there’s forgiveness, and Jesus loves, and he can set you free from those sins.’  But you’re not allowed to say that [in these older denominations] because the skins have become inflexible.  And what happens of course when the old “wine-skin”, denomination becomes inflexible, there’s a movement of God.  And through the centuries, Church history, you can study it. [Comment:  The older major denominations that are on this site’s Church History section have become inflexible like this, they have “liberalized” so much so that they have let in this evil world into their midst, they’ve “liberalized” so that there is very little difference between them and the society outside their churches.  What were they like when they were “new wine-skins”, and fresh?  Check it out at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/saga.htm and log onto any one of the upper nav buttons leading to the older denominations.  See how they started out as new wine-skins.  They are not like that now.  What would Elder Brewster recommend, if you are in one of these ‘old wine-skins’?  Log on that link and read for yourself.  The Separatists, which he was a part of, were in the process of separating out of an ‘old wine-skin’ of their day, the Church of England.  Also a good description of the life-death cycle of denominations and the different ways they can start up as revivals is found at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm, giving a little bit more complete picture.]  And when a new revival springs up, people are saved, and the Word of God is held out to the people again.  And yet as that movement then goes on, it gathers it’s own traditions, it gathers it’s own momentum, then it begins to gather its own inertia, and it begins to run on its own momentum instead of on the moving of the Holy Spirit, and ultimately it becomes stiff, and it becomes inflexible.  And God will then start a movement outside of the established systems, because they are no longer able to contain the new wine, which is the fresh pure Truth of a Biblical Gospel of a virgin birth, of Jesus, who is of the tribe of Judah, of the fact that all of us need a Savior, that there’s only one name given among men for us to be saved, and that’s the name of Jesus.  The fact that Jesus died for the sins of us all, the fact that he’s risen, the fact that he’s returning, the fact that the Book tells us about all of this is inerrant, inspired.  And the old systems can’t contain the power and the truth and the simplicity of those things, because they’ll rupture, because the new wine doesn’t fit into their system, and traditions would have to be pushed aside, and church dogma would have to be pushed aside.  So it isn’t that we have to do something, like there’s some kind of ‘new wine’ kind of thing we have to do.  Somebody just sent us here at the church a ridiculous new testament, with pictures of ‘how do you find the guy you want to date’, it’s like a new testament comic book, it’s the most carnal ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  And people do that, ‘We have to this to be contemporary, we have to do this to reach this group, we have to do this to get to this generation, we have to act like this…’  You know, we’re not called to entertain, we’re not called to entertain, and there’s power there.  And if you gather a crowd by entertaining, you have to continue to entertain to keep the crowd.  We can gather a crowd anytime we want, we’ll give away $100 bills at the front door, we’ll be jammed from now on.  Everybody who comes in gets a $100 bill.  I’m coming [laughter].  We gathered a crowd the night the building was on fire, you should have seen the crowd.  But when there has to be entertainment to gather them, there has to be entertainment to keep them.  I like the fact that next week we move to the next chapter, and proclaim the whole counsel of God.  And if it’s about what people want, they can go be entertained somewhere else.  But if the Lord tarries ten years we’ll still be here with the Book open, having a great time, saying ‘I know Jesus is coming this time’, on the way through.  The wine is always the same, it’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s the Good News, the Truth of Scripture.  Skins change as decades and centuries go by, they become brittle, they become dried up.  But God’s Work, when there’s revival, it is the awakening of something that used to be alive, it is RE-VIVAL , it’s not called VIVAL, it’s called REVIVAL.  It’s the awakening of old truths and old purity, and there’s brokenness and there’s tears, and we’re praying to see that in this nation before Jesus comes, so to be called back to that.  So, can’t put new wine in old skins.  Sadly, once in a while I’ll have somebody come and say “I’m attending in this church down the street, and you know, 82 years ago when I first went there they were still preaching the Gospel, but since then none of that, I’ve stayed for the last 50 years praying for the pastor, praying for the church, praying for them to come…what do you think I should do?”  And sometimes I can only say, “You know what, if the Holy Spirit is putting it on your heart, stay there and pray, but the  general rule is, you can’t put new wine in old skins, it’s tough.” 

 

 Woman with 12-year ailment healed, Jairus’ daughter raised from the dead

 

Well, “While he spake these things”, OK, “While Jesus is saying these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler and worshipped him, saying, ‘My daughter is even now dead.’, she’s as good as dead, ‘But come and lay thy hand upon her and she shall live.’  And Jesus arose and followed him and so did his disciples.”  This young ruler, this is not the rich young ruler.  Now he may be rich, and he may be young, but he is not the rich young ruler, this is a man named Jairus who is the ruler of a synagogue, and it’s the synagogue in Capernaum.  Again, the synagogue was an interesting structure, it had to be ten Jewish males, supposedly there were no synagogues until the Babylonian Captivity, because everybody lived within traveling distance of the Temple, ah, worship was centralized in Israel [Judah] and the Temple.  When the Jews were carried away in the Diaspora, to worship in Babylon and Assyria and other places, they would gather into synagogues.  And where there were ten Jewish males, adult males [over 13] they named that place a synagogue, a gathering place, and they would gather so that they could worship.  And when they returned after the Captivity the synagogue remained a prominent institution in Israel [which at this point in time is only made up of those from the tribes of Judah, Levi and part of Benjamin.  The ten “lost” tribes of Israel, the northern kingdom, was carried to Assyria 130 years before, and they never built any synagogues that we know of, and they never returned to the land of Israel, any of them.  The Jews to this day still debate about where they could be.  The ten northern tribes were “historically lost from view.”  To learn all about this Jewish period of time and how the synagogue was developed check out and read Oskar Skarsaune’s “In the Shadow of the Temple.”]  So there were synagogues in the main cities.  And then in this synagogue in Capernaum that was built by the Centurion that we met earlier, there was a ruler.  The ruler of the synagogue was basically the custodian, he was in charge, he had the keys to the building, he made sure it was open on time, that it was locked up when everybody was done.  He would make sure it was clean.  If there was a traveling rabbi or speaker, he would make sure that he was invited and had the place to speak.  And no doubt this man Jairus had invited Jesus to speak at this synagogue in Capernaum.  There was another man there, and I never remember his title, but he would be in charge of the donations, that a proper portion of those were given to the poor.  He would oversee the finances as it were of the synagogue.  And then there was the Hasan, he was a man who was strictly in charge of the Scroll that was there in the synagogue, and in opening up the cabinet where the Scroll was kept, and he would be in charge of that.  The Hasan was also in charge of what was called The School of the Book.  In every synagogue, when your son turns 6 years old, after school he didn’t get to play sports or come home every day, once he was 6 years old he went to the synagogue, and he sat in what was called The School of the Book with the Hasan, and he taught these young boys the Bible.  So imagine the Hasan in Nazareth every day having young Jesus [Yeshua] come sit in his class.  He must have had some experience with this young kid, answering his questions and talking to him and having this young student in his class.  By this time, the men in the synagogue would sit in the synagogue facing west inside the synagogue, because they took to heart the verses in Ezekiel that talked about facing the east, worshipping gods from the east.  So the males would sit facing the west because they believed God had a new work, so they believed that was the horizon for God’s new work, of course which is very prophetic, interesting.  But this ruler of the synagogue was no doubt familiar with Jesus.  He was probably there when Jesus had healed the man with the withered hand, had been an eye-witness to that.  He was probably there to listen to some of the teachings of Christ, and he knew Christ was healing in Capernaum, was probably eye-witness to some of those things.  But, because his position was a position that was esteemed, he was held in great esteem by others, it was a position normally of somebody who was notable, that was very successful, held that position.  And he knew that there was mounting opposition to Christ rising up in Jerusalem and the Temple.  So he hadn’t come.  Now his daughter who is 12 years old, Luke tells us, that it’s his only daughter, has come to the very point of death.  Now remarkably, this man, Jairus, had not come the day before, or the week before.  He hadn’t come.  He must have a wife at home that is saying ‘You are so stubborn!  Are you worried about your dumb job at the synagogue or are you worried about our daughter?’  He finally breaks.  Now his name, Jairus, means Jehovah Enlightens, and certainly that’s what was about to happen in his life.  And he finally looked at his daughter and knew she was at the point of no-return, and said, he took inventory, 12-year old daughter, 12 years of joy.  Those of you who had a 12 year old daughter in that society, when a young girl reached 12 she was considered a woman.  I’ve had 12-year olds, I know that’s when they start with hair-spray, and curlers, and no lipstick, but lip gloss (you know, your lips are chapped).  I know it’s an interesting era.  And the young men were considered men at 13 and a day, not 13, but 13 and a day.  I’ve had two 13-year old sons, and a day doesn’t make a difference, so I’ve never understood that either.  But she’s 12, she’s flowering, she’s their only daughter.  In a culture when you got home from work there’s no TV, there was no telephone, there was no internet, there was no distraction, your kids were your entertainment, and they were the center of your life.  And you looked in their faces every day, and laughed at them and played with them and spent time with them.  And now she’s 12, and her life is being dismantled, and so is her father’s.  And he is so desperate, he realizes there are much larger issues in life than success.  And isn’t it sad, sometimes, that that has to come across our path before we take inventory and say ‘Money is not as important as I thought it was.  Success is not as important as I thought it was.  What everybody else thinks about me is not as important as I thought it was.  What’s really important is life and death, love, tenderness, someone to embrace [yeah, that’s why I keep praying for a wife], forgiveness, grace.’  And he comes to Jesus and he falls down in front of him, kneels down and worships, and says ‘Lord, my little girl is at the point of death, and I know enough about you that all you need to do is come and lay your hands on her, and she’ll live.’  And Jesus in all three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, does not hesitate, he heads off to the house of Jairus.  He doesn’t say ‘You have guts, your kid’s been dying for a week and a half, you could have come yesterday, now it’s the big emergency’, we think that the Lord’s like that sometimes.  Don’t we?  You know, desperate Christians pray desperate prayers, don’t they.  And like you say, ‘Nooow you’re comin’ around, oh, nice to hear from you again.’  No, there’s none of that, there’s none of that.  And the Lord immediately goes with this guy and they head towards his house, it tells us.

 

Jesus’ compassion on the sick and misjudged

 

“And, behold” consider this, “a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years” so this woman has been suffering since this child was born, not because of the child, but the same length of time.  She has had an issue of blood for twelve years, “came behind him, and she touched the hem of his garment, for she said within herself, (in the Greek, “she continued to say within herself”) ‘If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.’”  So, this woman comes, ah, the Book of Leviticus chapter 15, says that she is “unclean”.  It goes through the instruction when a woman was in her menstrual cycle, and all the cleanliness things that she had to go through.  But it says that if there is a continued blood flow, that then she had to be outside of the home, outside of the camp.  She couldn’t sit on something that other people sat on, she couldn’t be where someone else was.  This has gone on for 12 years.  We don’t know the age of this woman.  We’re figuring she has to be in her late twenties at the youngest, maybe she’s older.  But she has been bleeding for 12 years.  Now try to imagine how anemic she is.  Her hemoglobin is down, her spirits are down, the religious community said ‘This kind of an illness was because of immorality, that she had been immoral and thought she was getting away with it, and because of that God made her bleed, because nobody gets away with it.’  So, the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes have looked at her and pronounced upon her not just a physical uncleanness, but a moral uncleanness.  And she’s had to live with that.  It’s interesting, Luke is the physician, he’s pretty gracious about it, says that she had spent all she had with physicians and was none the better.  Mark, whose not a doctor and is not as favorable to doctors, says she spent everything she had on doctors and not only wasn’t she any better, she was worse for it.  Now, you have to understand what she’s been going through.  The traditional medicine in that day for a woman with a continued blood flow, as prescribed in the Talmud was the first thing she was supposed to do was she was supposed to get some Gum of Alexandria, that may have been myrrh, a particular gum from Alexandria in Egypt, she was to get the weight of  silver coin of that gum, to mix it with crocus and alum and wine, and when she had that all mixed together, she was supposed to drink it.  If that didn’t cure the blood flow, then, she was supposed to get three pints of Persian onions, boiled in wine, she was supposed to drink that, and somebody was supposed to pronounce over her, “Arise from thy bloody flux.”  If that didn’t work, this is the Talmud, she was supposed to go somewhere where two roads met, where there was an intersection of two roads, she was supposed to hold a cup of wine in her right hand, and then someone was supposed to sneak up on her [chuckles] and scare her, sneak up on her and yell from behind her “Arise from thy bloody flux!” and scare her.  [laughter]  If that didn’t work, now this is prescribed by religious Israel, we haven’t gotten to the doctors yet, she was supposed to take a handful of cumin.  Cumin’s pretty powerful, you just put a little bit on a dish of food.  She’s to take a handful of cumin, handful of crocus, handful of fenugreek, and boil that in wine and drink it, and someone was supposed to say “Arise from thy bloody flux.”  She’d been through all that.  And those religious people then pronounced upon her some immorality, some disfavor with God, because all of their quackery didn’t straighten out the problem.  Then it said she went to physicians, and spent everything she had on doctors.  Traditional medicine in that day was you took strips of your clothing, you tied them to a tree, and you stood there and watched your clothing, and when your clothing, strips of your clothing fluttered in the wind, the strength of the tree would come into you, and your disease would go into the tree.  I don’t know how much you paid a doctor for that. [laughter]  [Native Americans had better remedies than that.]  If that didn’t work, you were to take an ostrich egg and burn it, and take the ashes of the ostrich egg, and put it in your loincloth, Cotex, which had to be made of linen in the summer, and cotton in the winter, and you used ostrich egg ash.  If that didn’t work, and I never was able to find the end of this, and I don’t want to know, you would have someone who would find whole barley corn, whole grains of barley corn, found in the dung of a white she-ass [laughter].  And I don’t want to know what they did with those.  Of course, by this time she had drunk so much wine she probably didn’t care what they did with that [loud laughter].  Now try to imagine what she’s been through.  We’re laughing.  This is 12 years.  In that 12 year period, she’s been divorced if she was married, she is of course unable to remarry.  She’s not allowed to be at temple or synagogue, not allowed to be around family, she’s ostracized, she’s broke, she’s sick, she’s tired, she’s anemic.  And people are telling her, ‘It’s because of your sin.’  Church history, which is just tradition, says her name was Veronica, and that she was from Caesarea Philippi, and that when the Lord healed her, and she got back to her business, to her means, she prospered again, and she made a bronze statue of herself on the ground with Jesus standing over her.  Eusibius said at the beginning of the 2nd Century it was still there in Caesarea Philippi.  We don’t know that, that’s just tradition.  What we know is that there are a lot of Veronica’s around today.  There are a lot of women and men who have suffered for 12 years, and more, and no one has been able to cure what goes on inside of them.  And we’re going to find out it’s more than just physical.  The emotional plague of ‘This is your sin.’  How many people do we see in the church and try to counsel that have been sexually abused, that all the time since they were a child, blamed themselves---this is your sin.  That’s the plague that’s been put on them.  And so much quackery and so much nonsense around it.  And they’re tired, and they’re worn out, and they carry every day a bleeding heart that never heals.  And I’m sure there are people here tonight that have carried something in your hearts for 12 years, in your frame, that has left you broken and tired, and warn out---and going everywhere, drinking, drugs, whatever, trying to anesthetize, trying to cure your brokenness, and you’re left with nothing.  She comes up behind Jesus, she’s heard about him, and she says within herself ‘If I can just take hold of the hem of his garment’, very interesting phrase, it’s the craspedon [have no idea how to spell it, so did it phonetically].  Ah, the Book of Numbers speaking about the craspedon says, “And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, that they put upon the fringe of the border a ribbon of blue.  And it shall be unto you a fringe, that you shall look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you seek not after your own heart and your own eyes which you used to go a whoring, that you may remember and do all the commandments and be holy unto your God.’”  They were to put a ribbon of blue, the Jewish male, on the edge of their garment, to remind them that their lives were to be holy unto God.  Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You hypocrites, you like to broaden your phylacteries and make wide the borders of your garments.”   But this woman looked at Jesus and saw somebody who was holy, who was set aside to God.  And that ribbon of blue meant something to her.  She didn’t understand it perfectly, she didn’t know as much about Jesus as you and I do, but somehow in her heart she was willing to press through the crowd, to press through her fears, to press through all of the lies she had heard about God.  In her weariness and in her fatigue she was willing to reach out, to take hold of the border of the garment of Jesus Christ.  And some of you maybe need to do that tonight.  And she kept saying in her heart “If I could just take hold of the border of his garment, I know that I’ll be made whole.”  “And Jesus”, verse 22, “turned himself about, and when he saw her he said, ‘Daughter, be of good comfort, for thy faith hath made thee whole.’”  Now, Matthew gives us the abridged version.  We’re told in Mark and Luke that Jesus “perceived that power had gone out of him”, that this woman had been healed.  He says “Who touched me?”  His disciples said ‘Ah, Lord, you’re in the crowd, you’re on the way to Jairus’ house, ten thousand people have touched you, what do you mean ‘Who touched me?’.’  What did he say to them?  And it says, “Jesus looked around”, Luke says, “to see her.”  He knew who it was.  It says when she took hold of the hem of his garment, immediately the blood-flow stopped, and immediately she perceived that she was healed.  She felt something in her body she hadn’t felt in 12 years.  And she tried to slip away in the crowd because she had just defiled the Master, she had just made him unclean.  And she had thought ‘If I just come to him openly, he won’t have anything to do with me.  But if I could just touch the hem of his garment.’  And she was so wrong.  And Jesus said “Who touched me?”, stopped the whole crowd.  Now, you know what Jairus is doing [thinking], ‘Oh great!  What do you mean ‘Who touched me?’, my daughter’s dying, I fall down on my face, I’m willing to give up everything for Jesus, and now what is this, this is a detour, my daughter’s dying, what do you mean ‘Who touched me?’, why does this always happen to me, here I am, I pour out my heart, I put my reputation on the line to come to you, Jesus, and what are all these detours?’  But it says “She”, the woman, “came trembling, and falling down in front of him”, and told the whole story out loud in front of the crowd, they were all listening.  ‘Lord, I’ve been bleeding for 12 years.  I’ve spent every cent I had with the religious leaders and doctors, and I am broke, and I was sick, and I was tired, and I was empty, and I was told that God was punishing me, and I saw you, and I listened to your gracious words, and I heard you talk about forgiveness, and I saw you eating with tax gatherers and sinners, and I saw the ribbon of blue on your garment, and it was a brighter blue than any ribbon I ever saw on any religious man’s garment before.  And I thought, maybe this one, maybe this is the one who really has a relationship with the Living God.  And as soon as I reached out and touched your garment I felt my blood-flow stop, I felt healing in my body.’  “And she trembled before him.”  And I love what Jesus does, “Jesus turned about, and when he saw her he said, ‘Daughter, be of good comfort,”, don’t be afraid, “thy faith hath made thee whole.”  “Daughter”, she’s the only woman in all four Gospels that Jesus calls “daughter”.  This is a diminutive term, this is what I would call my youngest, my 14-year-old, or you would call your 8-year-old, or your 3-year-old, ‘Honey’, ‘Sweetheart’.  She looks up into his face and she pours out her heart, and thinks ‘I’ve defiled the Master’.  And what was the look in his eyes?  What did she see in his face and the tone of his voice?  He looked right in her face and he said ‘Sweetheart’, the whole crowd heard that.  You see, he was healing so much more than her physical frame.  He was re-instating her in society.  He was re-instating her in her relationship with God, he was making her whole again.  And a human being is not whole just because they’re not sick.  The human being can’t be whole if their heart is broken, even if they’re healthy, they work out every day, they don’t have anything wrong with them physically.  If they’re tortured mentally, if emotionally they’re tortured, if they’re carrying something inside them, that’s bleeding and sick and broken, they can never be whole.  And Jesus saw that, and he brought her then in front of the whole crowd, not to humiliate her, but that her story might be told before all and that they might all hear him say “Daughter”.  He owned her.  She hadn’t heard that since she was a girl.  She hadn’t heard anyone say to her “sweetheart, darling”, she hadn’t been treated like a woman in over a decade.  She got sick again before she died.  She lived into old age, she died somewhere.  The thing that stayed with her was not the healing of her womb.  What stayed with her was the voice of the Savior saying ‘I love you, daughter.’  She stepped into eternity saying ‘I can’t wait to hear that again, “Daughter, don’t be afraid, your faith hath made thee whole.”  Literally, he says in the Gospels, “Go into peace”, not just “Go in peace.”  That was what was ahead of her for the rest of her life, that encounter of looking into his face.  And that can be in front of you, the most broken person here, the rest of your life, ‘Go into peace.’ 

 

“Don’t fear, only believe”

 

Well Jairus is thinking ‘Daughter?  Great, that’s what I came here for is to get my daughter fixed, now she’s his daughter.’  Was she less important to Jesus than Jairus’ daughter was to him?  And you know what Jairus is thinking, ‘Daughter, daughter, daughter.’  Now it tells us that while this is happening, people come from Jairus’ house and say “Jairus, don’t trouble the Master, your daughter is dead.”  And for any dad to hear that, and have to think ‘And I wasn’t even there when it happened, my 12-year-old, my kid died, and I wasn’t there.’  Any of you who have ever lost a child and it’s come through a phone call or message and you’ve heard it, not expecting it, it was a surprise, know there was a bomb that was dropped on this man at this moment.  “Don’t trouble the Master, your daughter is dead.”  And Luke and Mark tell us Jesus spun around to Jairus and he said “Don’t fear, only believe.”  In fact, the tenses are, “Don’t be fearing, but be believing.”  Good bumper-sticker stuff, huh.  “Don’t be fearing, but be believing.”  And we’re going to see why.  “And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, he saw the minstrels and the people making a noise.”  Now, these were the mourners.  When someone died in that culture, in that climate, they were buried the same day, if not, the next morning, and the mourners came immediately.  They were professional.  And because Jairus was wealthy, I’m sure there were a lot of mourners there.  The Talmud said for each single mourner there had to be two flute players.  So there’s a lot of noise there when Jesus gets there.  And if you’ve been in that part of the world, Middle East, I’ve been there many times, you hear people sometimes wailing away, they’re very vocal, they’re crying, they’re carrying on, the women and men sound differently.  And this is a big scene, this pandemonium, as Jesus comes, and there’s people piping, playing flutes, and all of this is going on, and “there was a great noise” it says, weeping, carrying on.  “And he said to them, ‘Give place’, ‘look out, step aside, get out of my way!’, ‘Give place, for the maid is not dead, she’s asleep.’  Now to Jesus she was asleep, because he could say “Get up” and she was going to get up.  “…She’s asleep’, and they laughed him to scorn.”  They mocked him.  ‘She’s sleeping?  Buddy, we do this for a living.  Hello, we’re professionals, we’ve seen a thousand stiffs, saw a stiff this morning, going to see another this afternoon, she’s not sleeping, she’s dead, we see this every day.’  You know, professionals, here they are, the professionals, one minute they can weep, and the next minute they can laugh.  There’s no heart, no emotion, professional mourners.  They laugh Jesus to scorn.  He’s going to put them out, Proverbs says you put out the scorner and contention will cease.  Sometimes in our lives we need to put aside those who are scorning and mocking what we say Jesus is doing in our lives, because we won’t grow around them.  Not disown them, but step aside from them.  [Often the biggest scorners can be those you love the most, those in your own family, flesh and blood or even adoptive.  I’ve seen it in my family, my son, daughter-in-law, one of my adoptive daughters, my mother and sister.  It’s more commonly found in immediate family than our worldly friends even.]  “‘Give place, for the maid is not dead, she’s sleeping’, they laughed him to scorn.  But when the people were put forth, he went in”, now we know he took Peter, James and John and the Mom and Dad with him, “and when he went in, he took her by the hand, and the maid arose.”  We’re told in Mark that he went in, and this little girl was dead, and it says “he took her by the hand, and he said, ‘Talitha cumi’” , it gives us the Aramaic, the exact phrase.  [The whole corresponding passage of the healed woman and resurrected little girl is found in Mark 5:21-43, and is a bit more descriptive.]  Peter would use a very similar phrase in the Book of Acts when he prays for Dorcas, and says “Tabitha cumi”, “Gazelle arise”.  Dorcas was older, she was a gazelle, not a little lamb.  But this is “Talitha cumi”, “little lamb, arise.”  Or it’s the same, it’s diminutive again, ‘Darling, sweetheart.’  Now imagine this, this is God Almighty, he had created the world, spun the universe into its place, come in human flesh [Yahweh-shua], and comes to a little girl, Almighty God, and bends over her, and looks into her face, and says “Little lamb, honey, get up”, and takes her by the hand, and he lifts her up, and she comes back to life.  Luke says “she returned”.  Where was she?  Her body was there, no soul sleep, her soul was somewhere else.  [There are two major beliefs here within the body of Christ, “soul sleep” verses “the soul stays conscious upon death”.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm for a full explanation.]  What distance is that?  And wherever it was, the Lord of the Universe only has to say “little lamb”, and wherever she is, whatever distance that is, she heard him loud and clear, and comes back in, and she gets up.  Jesus says, “Give her something to eat.”  ‘Feed her, you know, she’s 12, she’s growing, she’s hungry.  Remarkable how practical, when she rises the parents are amazed, he said ‘Give her something to eat’, and I don’t know if he said ‘Get your money back from those mourners, they’re not so professional after all’, but he says ‘Give her something to eat.’  Now it’s an interesting scene.  There’s only three places in the New Testament.  You know, you try to find a funeral service, I think it was D.L. Moody who said, he was headed to do somebody’s funeral, and he said he decided to look into the New Testament and look at a funeral service that Jesus did for ideas, and he says as he scanned the Gospels he realized Jesus didn’t do any funeral services, he fixed all the funerals he went to. [laughter]  There was this little girl, “Talitha cumi, Little lamb, arise”, she comes back.  How long was she dead, an hour?  We don’t know how far Jairus was, the crowd, the woman, how long that took to take place?  We don’t know.  You know, with our technology today, you think maybe 911 could have rushed up, “Clear!” bump!, you know, the paddles, and maybe could have got her back.  She was fresh, she was warm.  Nobody could have said to her though, “Little lamb, get up.”  And she’s the only daughter of this man.  Now there’s another situation, the widow, and it’s her only son, again it’s an “only.”  He’s gotta be dead a number of hours, because they’re already carrying him to the tomb.  And Jesus takes him by the hand and tells him to get up, and he gets up.  Now that’s more impressive, somebody whose gone for hours.  But the Coupe de Gras of course is Lazarus [John 11:38-44].  Because somebody could say, ‘Ah, that little girl, could have pounded her heart, mouth to mouth resuscitation [but you’re forgetting, she was sick unto death, she had to be healed of what killed her as well as bringing her back to life].  So he saves the best for last, Lazarus is dead long enough, it says “he stinketh” [laughter], there’s no question about this one, this guy’s been dead for four days.  And Jesus said the same thing, “Lazarus our friend is sleeping.”  He said the little girl was sleeping.  Because when Jesus tells somebody to get up, they get up.  So it’s just sleeping to him.  And they said, ‘If he’s sleeping, let’s let him alone, you know, when your sick you get a good nights sleep, you feel better.’  He says ‘Oye vay, he’s dead’, you know, he had to tell them, ‘He’s dead!’.  Then Thomas says ‘Let’s go to Jerusalem, then we can all die together.’  You know, here comes the happy crew to Jerusalem.  And Lazarus, dead four days, write is out, remarkable scene, rigamortis sets in within an hour and a half to two hours, stiffening up, then it wears off, everything goes loose again.  Four days, the eyeballs have collapsed in the socket, nothing, four days, all of the serum and blood corpuscles have separated into clear serum and everything else is sunk to the bottom of the body.  Four days, his whole back is blue and purple, his front is green and yellow.  Four days, he’s swollen up, his organs have dissolved.  Four days, you can paddle that all day long, he’s not coming back.  That was the whole point, you see.  Because Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!”.  And when he came jumping out of there, something really happened.  You got somebody with authority that tells that guy to get up.  Because there was a miracle of regeneration of cells and blood and organs and eyeballs and muscle tissue coming back to life, they had dissolved and turned to nothing.   This was Creation!  Now isn’t it interesting, we only have record of Jesus raising three people from the dead.  I wonder why?  And where did he call them from, where were they?  Little girl, I believe was in the presence of the Lord, I think where he called her from, what he called her back to.  She got old, her body wore out, she died again.  Bummer.  You gotta do this twice.  The widow of Nian’s son came back, he had to watch his Mom, who was a widow, get old and die, before him no doubt, the heartache of that.  But I’m sure salvation came to those homes [i.e. they probably all became members of the early Judeo-Christian churches in Jerusalem and Judea].  Lazarus came back, and it says the Sadducees wanted to kill him, because in their theology they didn’t believe in resurrection, he was bad theology, so they want to kill him for coming back to life again.  [Lazarus (and Jesus) destroyed their pet theology about not believing in the resurrection of the body, angels or spirits.]  What a bummer.  And none of them knew the chapter.  I mean, Jairus, if he was in the crowd, and he knew that, if he’d said ‘I read this chapter, OK take your time with the woman with the issue of blood-flow, because I know the end of the chapter, wait till we get to my house and see what happens with my daughter, wait till you see this.’  He didn’t do that.  The Widow of Nain didn’t do that.  Mary and Martha did their best, ‘Oh yes Lord, we know he’ll live again in the resurrection.’  ‘No, honey, I AM the resurrection and the life.’  Well what if Mary and Martha knew the chapter, you know, if your daughter’s going to be dead for an hour, OK, I know the end of the chapter.  She’s going to get up again, I can endure this for an hour.  What about for four days?  What about if Mary and Martha knew John chapter 11.  Could they have said ‘Alright, this is going to be amazing.’  You see, but what about if it was four weeks instead of four days, they would have still said, ‘We’ll miss him for a month.  But he’s going to get up again.  What if it was four years?  Would have been painful, but they’d have been counting off the days, ‘Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait, it’s coming, it’s coming, four years, can’t wait.’  But you see, it is written for us, and whether it’s forty minutes, or four days, or four years, or four decades, the ones that you love that have gone on, they are getting up again.  We do know the last chapter, and we have read the story, and Jesus said “the day is coming when all who are in their graves are going to hear the voice of the Son of man, and come forth, some to everlasting life, some to everlasting shame and contempt.”  Those kids who have gone on before us, they’re sleeping, and the day’s coming when he’s going to say “Get up” and they’re getting up.  Your husbands and wives that have gone on before you, they’re getting up.  Your friends, they’re getting up. Not just that we’re going to go live in some spiritual ethereal realm, we believe in resurrection, we believe that Jesus is risen from the dead, we believe there’s an empty tomb in Jerusalem, and that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you and dwells in me, he’s also going to resurrect our physical frame.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm]  And we believe when we see our loved ones again, we’re going to throw our arms around them, and embrace them, just like Mary and Martha did with their brother Lazarus.  That’s what we’re looking forward to.  And that’s what’s at the center of all of this.  And I don’t know what you believe tonight, I don’t know what hope you have.  But this Jesus, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life, it doesn’t matter how broken you are inside, it doesn’t matter what people have told you about God, we want to tell you about God.  If you want to know who God is, you can see him in the pages of the Gospel, walking among us, loving us, healing, raising the dead, feeding the hungry---that’s who he is.  He came to reveal himself [i.e. who Yahweh really is, Yeshua haMeshiach, Yahweh-shua].  In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  Jesus said “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father, henceforth say no more ‘Show us the Father.  I and the Father are one.’”  And wherever you fit in these stories this evening, you may be that abused person, 12 years, 12 years and nobody understands the pain of those 12 years.  And there may be a lot of stuff you have to push through to get to the hem of his garment tonight, emotionally, mentally, but I encourage you to do that.  At the end of the service I’m gonna have the musicians come, we’ll sing a last song.  But if you can do that tonight, and just press through and say “Lord Jesus, here I am, I want you to forgive me and you to love me, I want to know you.  I want you to be my Lord.”  And maybe you’ve had 12 years of joy, and thought nothing could ever go wrong, and all of a sudden life is falling apart in an instant.  And you’re thinking ‘He doesn’t want anything to do with me, because all those years I was drinking, I was drugging, I was carrying on, I was sleeping with my boyfriend, my girlfriend, and now all of a sudden I’m a mess, and I’m some sort of hypocrite, and now I’m going to come crawling to God…’  You come, you come, that’s who he is, that’s the Good News.  You come as you are, you come with your brokenness, you come with your sin, and you say “Lord, I’ve screwed my whole life up.  But if you’re who you say you are, take the broken pieces tonight, and forgive me and cleanse me, I will turn away from my sin, and I’ll walk with you for the rest of my life.  Give me hope, give me a future.  Let me know that one day you’re gonna call my name and I am coming out of the grave, and I’ll live forever in your presence.”  Let’s stand together, and let’s pray.  And if this evening those things are stirring on your heart, I just encourage you as we sing this last song, to get out of your seat, come here, and stand here, and we’re gonna give you a Bible, we’d love to pray with you.  Tonight if you’re grieving over a loved one whose gone on before us, a Christian, and look, it doesn’t make any difference for me to say something, I’m just a man.  But let God’s Word say to you, ‘Hey, we know the last chapter.  We’ve read it already, we know the story.  And that loved one is getting up, and there’s a reunion.  And the day they get up is gonna be unlike any other day, there’s ever been, ever.  And it’s gonna be a day without end.  Man, oh man.’  And I encourage you to put your heart before him tonight and say ‘Lord, heal me with that power, with that love, give me hope again, take away the brokenness.  Fill me with hope, life, and faith.  Let me say O death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy victory?’…[expository sermon on Matthew 9:14-26, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116.]  If you want to ask Jesus into your life, right where you sit, you can do it.  It is not necessary to be in a big crowd and make an altar call, you can do it right where you sit.  To see how, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm and scroll to the bolded title “How to Become a Christian” and read from there to the end of the paragraph.

 

Related links:

 

More about fasting:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/fasting.htm

 

Jesus brings a new religious system from the old Judaism:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm

http://www.unityinchrist.com/galatians/Galatians1-1-24.htm

 

“New Wine Skins vs. Old Wine Skins, life-death cycle of denominations:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm

 

Elder William Brewster’s advice to you if you’re in an older denomination:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/saga.htm

 

Various beliefs about “soul sleep” verses “the soul is conscious upon death”, and what Hell is:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm 

 

The resurrection from the dead to immortality:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm

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