Something Unheard Of!
“Something Unheard Of!”
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 13th December, 2020
Isaiah was one of the major Old Testament prophets. Thousands of years ago he spoke out this prophetic word which is speaking just as loud and clear in this season and this generation right now:
The Passion Translation
“I am doing something brand new, something unheard of. Even now it sprouts and grows and matures. Don’t you perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and open up flowing streams in the desert.”
I’ve mentioned this scripture a number of times recently. Others have taken hold of it from the beginning of the year, with the pandemic turning everything on its head.
As the physical doors of the church closed, we were all wondering what the future of the church would look like. Was God indeed going to do something brand new?
But I maintain, as I always have, that the new thing that God is doing, has less to do with the outward expression, and more to do with what is happening in the hearts of His people.
In 1Peter it’s clear that God says He is building a “spiritual house” – and we are all living stones that form that spiritual building. And wherever we meet – there the church is.
Above all else, it’s what’s going on in here – in this temple of the Holy Spirit – that is the most profound new thing of all.
The Kingdom of God is experiencing, and is about to experience – unprecedented expansion.
I’m so glad we’ve found a new and positive thing to talk about that is “unprecedented!”
So what does the bible say about the kingdom?
New King James Version
The Coming of the Kingdom
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He (Jesus) answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, [a]‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The Passion Translation says: “…God’s kingdom realm is already expanding within some of you.”
I know I quote this scripture often – but I know for myself, sometimes I just have to hear it again and again…. The kingdom of God is already expanding within some of you…
I’m not fluffing around with introductions this morning. This word is something that we need to embrace and run with…. It’s a fire that needs to burn in our own hearts.
There’s a new expression – a new expansion of our faith – a new and fresh passion that I believe just needs stirring up within.
God is going to make a way – He is going to make a path in the wilderness and streams are going to flow in the desert.
And here’s the thing…
I wonder… if some of the most barren places of wilderness and the driest desert places are actually found within ourselves.
Many people, including Christians, are dry – are exhausted – are overwhelmed – are running on empty…
In one sense, it’s the time of year where many of us often do feel overwhelmed and tired.
And let’s face it – it’s a symptom of navigating through and reaching the end of an especially difficult year.
But it’s more than that. It’s also spiritual!
I want to prophesy this morning that God is wanting to do something unheard of in your life…. And like many prophetic words – it means we need to be ready and willing to step into it. We need to be willing to receive it.
And I think there are some keys that I have to share that will provide a pathway out of your wilderness and out of your dry place.
Who is on board for some flowing streams of refreshment right now?
Who could do with some expanding on the inside?
Not literal expansion – Christmas has a way of doing that quite well.
But spiritual refreshing and expanding so that you don’t have to feel so overwhelmed by life’s demands and pressures.
For some – as part of that process – there will be a letting go of certain things…. And I spoke all about that last week. If that’s the case, I think God might be already talking to you about what those things are.
I’ve realised that I rarely bring breaking news – what I often do is bring confirmation of what God is already speaking to you about.
You know, when I think about that woman who desperately and courageously came from the midst of a crowd and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, I think – that woman represents the needs and the heart cry of so many people…
She had been bleeding for 12 years. Can you just imagine how she must have been feeling?
I remember back in my 30’s – I would give blood and it would take me 3 days to get over it. I just felt overwhelmingly tired and lethargic. The reason was because my haemoglobin reading was always low. Even to the point where they would take the reading a couple of times to try and get it across the line for me to give blood.
I’ve started giving blood again recently and I am totally fine.
But me being slowed down for three days is nothing compared to the way this woman must have been feeling constantly for 12 years.
I also remember a while back now when Venese had to have life saving blood transfusions following an operation – heaps of them. And by the time they ordered the blood and did the cross checks and whatever else they do – she would be just about faded out altogether – with hardly enough energy to keep her eyes open.
When the bible says that life is in the blood – it’s totally true. Both naturally – and of course spiritually speaking of the Blood of Jesus.
But coming back to this woman…. It says in:
New King James Version
“And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.”
In her overwhelmed state, she pushed through the crowd – she pushed through her fear – she pushed through her weakness – and she touched the hem of Jesus.
And He said – who touched Me? Because He knew power went out from Him – and she was healed at that very moment.
Did you realise that actually became a thing?
Word got around. People who were sick, weak, tired…. They did exactly what the woman did. As Jesus went on to other parts of the region, his reputation and the miracle stories went before him…
New King James Version
“And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.”
So why am I bringing that up?
Because there’s something really intimate and personal about reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. There’s stuff to push through…. But when you do – life flows in – healing flows.
I really pray this morning for the life giving power of God to begin to flow into you.
We need to see some fresh streams of living water flowing. We need to see some pathways open up before us – because the wilderness is not where we are meant to camp forever.
It’s a very humbling position to place yourself in – touching the hem of Jesus garment. To actually reach down and touch someones clothing as it flows around their feet.
And for those of you who are feeling like you are in a wilderness or a dry desert – or feeling tired and overwhelmed and weak right now – you might not have the physical hem of Jesus’ garment to cling to – but you do have a very personal place of intimacy and humbling and crying out – a place of raw and powerful faith where you can find the same healing and refreshing that all those around Jesus also found.
And maybe this is the new thing – the thing unheard of before – the place that each and every one of us is being called to right now….
Perhaps this is what the expansion of the kingdom within us is all about.
It’s first of all about coming to Jesus in that intimate place – trusting in Him – loving Him – bowing down before Him – worshipping Him from a depth and a place of love that is new and fresh for us.
Worship, with a pure heart of love towards God, is always a way of opening up the flow of streams of living water…
I continue to believe for miracles and supernatural healing – but I am being reminded that it’s not just about the outer manifestations. They will come.
It’s not about the Holy Spirit continually just being there to answer our endless list of needs.
Yes, the Holy Spirit is here to be our Comforter, our Advocate, our Helper…
But He is primarily here to lead us to Jesus – and to bring glory to Jesus.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he says that the light of the gospel is the glory of Christ. (4:4).
And I read something as I was researching this, that basically said – “If you treasure the glory of Christ, you’re going to love the ministry of the Holy Spirit.” (Repeat) Because that’s what the Holy Spirit does – He glorifies Christ!
Holy Spirit ministry flows out of love for Jesus. It flows out of how much we treasure Jesus and His glory!
I’ve shared before how I was impacted by the teaching of the Healing Rooms ministry – and one of the fundamental keys to praying for healing is to first of all minister the love of Jesus.
I’m no expert on Healing Rooms, but I do remember the prayers that would lift up Jesus – declaring His love for the person being prayed for…. It was important to establish the right foundation – and God’s love was the most important thing – treasuring Him above everything else was the key.
When Jesus Himself speaks of the Holy Spirit, He says:
New King James Version
“He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
Other versions say, He will reveal it to you.
So my point here is this: We are short circuiting the way the gospel and the Spirit work together if we think we can just get all super spiritual and pray for miracles and healings and signs and wonders – without the foundation of truly loving Jesus with all our heart – opening our own hearts to His love for us – and making Him the most incredible treasure of our lives. That’s the most important thing.
We need to align ourselves with the Holy Spirit’s greatest desire – which is to make Jesus and our relation ship with Him, the most amazing thing – to shine the light of the gospel which is the glory of Christ!
Glory is about knowing the weight of His presence – the weight of His love – the weight of being in unity and oneness with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – exactly what Jesus prayed for us before He ascended into heaven.
If this isn’t speaking to you – I know it’s definitely speaking to me.
There’s something very deep and intimate that the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us – He wants to proclaim and reveal the Son. He also wants to proclaim and reveal the Father. That’s primarily what He does.
He wants to nurture and mature and expand the life of the kingdom within us, so that our complete focus is not on the great miracles we experience – but on the greatness and majesty of Jesus! Miracles then naturally – or supernaturally – happen.
The Passion Translation
“When you’re placed into the Anointed One and joined to him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love.”
The new thing is about being placed deeper and deeper into the Anointed One – who is Jesus.
Nothing of our religious behaviours and rituals – thinking we are in some way more worthy because we somehow are better because we speak and act in a certain way…. None of that counts for anything in the kingdom of God.
It’s all about the motives of the heart – the depth of our desire to love Jesus – to glorify Him…. That’s what counts – and that’s what the Holy Spirit is always ready and able to help us with.
Living in the faith – and faith is activated and brought to perfection through love.
We will never get away from that truth. Love resides above everything else.
The reason we gather like this – the motive behind our faith – the inspiration for reaching our world for Christ – it must always be founded on the love we have for Jesus first and foremost.
So here we have it. Faith – belief – trust in God – whatever we can do to build ourselves up in faith – that will be part of our newfound place of refreshment.
And love – pure – unconditional – non-judgemental – consistent – overflowing – this is the stream of life for us.
How do we put this kind of faith and love on? By the power of the Holy Spirit! Walking in the fruit of the Spirit.
The Passion Translation
“But the fruit[a] produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:[b]
joy that overflows,[c]
peace that subdues,
patience[d] that endures,
kindness[e] in action,
a life full of virtue,[f]
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.[g]
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”
The Holy Spirit not only calls us to love Jesus wholeheartedly – He also gives us the ability and the anointing to do it.
We have been placed into the Anointed One. Let your mind meditate on that for a moment.
You don’t have to strive in your own strength to build up your faith. You don’t have to strive to be filled with divine love. You don’t have to strive to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit.
Striving speaks of religious duty and self. It speaks of really trying hard to be a good person. But the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and all the other qualities and expressions of the Holy Spirit are freely available to us.
In fact the word here says – they are limitless. There is no limiting law that is able to constrain our ability to freely receive these qualities.
If you say – well I’m just not a joyful person – or I’m not very patient with people – or I just don’t have that kind of love – well I would ask you – why not?
Why hasn’t the limitless power of the Holy Spirit imparted these things to your life? What constraining factor is at work to hinder it?
What is it that perhaps needs to be let go of? An offence? A judgement? A disappointment? A stronghold in your mind? An inner vow?
The love of God is radical – it’s completely self sacrificing – it’s not normal.
But boy is it powerful!
And I want reiterate again – God’s love for you isn’t dependant upon what you have done or not done. It’s not about how much striving and effort you have put into ministry.
It’s about relationship. It’s first of all about being – not doing.
Do you remember when Jesus humbled Himself to be baptised…. Not that He had sin to repent of – but to be an example for us to follow…
John baptised Him in the Jordan River.
The Passion Translation
“And as[a] Jesus rose up out of the water, the heavenly realm opened up over him[b] and he saw the Holy Spirit descend out of the heavens and rest upon him in the form of a dove.[c] 17 Then suddenly the voice of the Father shouted from the sky, saying, “This is the Son I love, and my greatest delight is in him.”
This was before Jesus had even started His ministry.
The Father and the Son already had this intimate and beautiful relationship. The Father’s blessing was already upon Jesus.
Out of that relationship of love and trust, Jesus then began to minister the message of the kingdom – the miracles – the healings – the signs and wonders.
He did only what the Father spoke to Him and revealed to Him.
We have the Holy Spirit within us. We have the Father’s love and acceptance through Jesus.
What I’m talking about isn’t really a new thing…. It’s an old thing that I believe we are being called to nurture and grow to become the foundation for all the unheard of things that God desires to do in us and through us.
The Father already says about you – you are the son – the daughter – that I love, and you are my greatest delight…
Let that be what carries you into ministry.
Let the intimate and deep places of love and faith and relationship be the keys to your refreshing.
Reach out and touch Jesus in a new way today – right now as we worship – really give yourself to Him…. And out of that place – begin to do things unheard of in your world and in those around you.