Little People, Great Revivals

Tampa Storm 2012

I am writing today from the cloudy and rainy Tampa Bay area.

Wednesday’s section of this week’s Sabbath School lesson asks the question,“What does Jesus’ miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes teach us about the sharing of our faith?”

One thing we learn is, the boy who gave his lunch, enabling Jesus to feed the multitude did not have to grow up before Jesus could use him in a great way.

My oldest niece is getting married next month, yet God used her years ago, when she was only 5 to teach me a very valuable lesson. My sister and her family and I were visiting my parents in Tulsa. We were all having lunch at home, after I had just preached in the church I grew up in. Someone’s name came up who we all remembered from a long time ago. I made a comment on how that person used to get on my nerves all the time. My little niece’s mouth flew open, and with a look of shock at what I just said, she exclaimed with her five year old wisdom, “You can’t be a good preacher and talk bad about people!” We all looked at her, surprised that those words flew out of her mouth. You know, if those words had flown out of anybody else’s mouth at that table 19 years ago, I would not be writing this, because I would not have remembered it. Those words were not from my niece, they were from God. God knew the only way I would remember those words, were if they came from a five year old. So while He could have spoken through anyone at the table that day, He spoke threw a five year old so I would have a true revival and reformation that day. Sure, I was speaking in the comfort of my own family, yet it was not just the way I spoke that needed to change. I needed to change the way I thought. You don’t have to worry about inappropriate words flying out of your mouth if you never think them in the first place.

The boy giving up all he had to revive a hungry multitude, and my 5 year old niece, inspiring a revival which led to a reformation in my way of thinking, are not to be isolated cases of God using young people, now and not just when they get older.

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. Joel 2:28-29

By referring to servants and even handmaids, God is telling us He is going to use little children in His great last day revival. It should not be that big a deal if you think about. I mean, if God can use simple pieces of dust in the wind like you and I, it’s really not any kind of a stretch for God to use little children. Remember God spoke though a donkey when He spoke to Balaam, so God does not consider it a really big deal when He speaks through me anyway. He could use the dog next door to write this post if He wanted to!

In order to be humble teachers we must also remain humble students willing to be taught by anyone God wants to use to enlighten us. A true revival will never revive our pride. A true revival will lead us to realize God can use the most humble instruments to crucify our pride and experience a genuine revival of Godliness.

Folks give Eli a bad rap for not controlling his own sons better, but even with all of his faults Eli got something right. When Samuel was sleeping in the temple, he repeatedly thought Eli was calling him. Finally Eli realized God was calling little Samuel, and the humble priest instructed the young child what to say next time he heard the voice of God.

 “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” 1 Samuel 3:9

You know what I find remarkable in that simple story? In Eli’s day, as well as in our day, a lot of priests and religious leaders with fancy titles and letters behind their names, would have told themselves, “That couldn’t be God talking to little Samuel, because if it was God, He would be talking to someone important like me  and not some little kid.”

With all his faults, Eli was humble enough to realize that being the high priest did not make him any more useful to God than a little boy. You can pick and find fault with Eli if you want to, but in the end, Samuel led a revival in his day because Eli was humble enough to step aside and let God work through whatever instrument He chose. Likewise God used a small child to work a revival and reformation in my heart at the lunch table one afternoon 19 years ago. And long before that a multitude was revived because a small little boy did not wait to grow up before he gave Jesus everything he had that day.

Matthew 27; The God-forsaken God

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Here is a sermon I have preached at least 50 times maybe a hundred. I plan on preaching this over and over until I die. I wanted to share it here for this Easter weekend.  It explores the depths of Christ sacrifice for us on the cross. If you would like you can also watch and share it on video. On the list of videos it is the one called “The God-forsaken God”. I have broken it into sections here for those who are busy and don’t have too much time to read.  

   

 
 

 

The Supreme Sacrifice

    

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring” Psalms 22:1 

 

 

 

  What was it that made Jesus’ death the ultimate sacrifice? Many times we think of the physical torture Jesus endured while on the cross, but many have suffered physically just as much. As a matter of fact, if you asked a cancer victim if they would like another year of chemo or six hours on a cross, they will choose the cross over chemo! What made Jesus’ death the ultimate sacrifice goes a lot deeper than they physical pain. He died a death no one has ever died yet. He tasted the second death.      John Huss sang hymns of praise while he was burning at the stake. If Huss could sing as he died for his faith, why wasn’t Jesus singing songs as He died too? Why was He instead crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Because Jesus died a totally different death than Huss or anyone else has ever died. Huss died knowing he was accepted of the Father, but Jesus had to be forsaken by the Father in order for us to be accepted.       “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’ ” {Desire of Ages, p 25}  

 

      Crucified, not Stoned   

   “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And [Pilate] saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify [him], crucify [him]. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify [him]: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”   John 19:5-7      

The law the Jews were talking about is found in the verse below, but notice the law states that one who blasphemes (which Jesus did not do but was accused of doing), should be stoned, not crucified.    

  “And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, [and] all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name [of the LORD], shall be put to death.”  Leviticus 24:16

 

 Notice in the verse below, the Jews were not ignorant of this law. “I and [my] Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.”  John 10:30-31    

   “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:  His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;)” Deuteronomy 21:22-23      If a man committed a crime worthy of death he could still ask forgiveness and have the hope of the resurrection, but if he was hung on a tree that meant he was accursed of God and it was good-bye to life forever. This is what Jesus experienced for you, so you could experience the acceptance of the Father. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:6-7   

 

      Accursed of God  

    And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.  And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.   Joshua 10:25,26    

  By hanging these five kings on five trees, Joshua was saying that they had their opportunity to accept Israel’s God and rejected Him so it was good-bye to life forever. This is the death Jesus tasted for us. He did not taste the death of the righteous as he did not save us from the death of the righteous. He saved us from the death of the wicked, therefore He tasted the death of the wicked. Jesus faced the death of the wicked which meant facing total oblivion Obadiah 1:16.      

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  Matthew 27:46      Jesus had always called God His Father. But on the cross, while He was tasting the death of the wicked, He could not call God His Father. He cried out “My God” and not “My Father.” He was not crying out why have You forsaken me till Sunday morning. You don’t forsake someone when you leave them for the weekend, you forsake them when you leave them forever!      

 

 “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” {Desire of Ages, p 753}

 

 

   

What God did to His Son

 

   

 

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  Isaiah 53:4

 

 

 Isaiah 53:4 tells us He was smitten not by us or Satan, but by God! This verse is about what God did while Christ was on the cross. Jesus loved you so much He was willing to do way more than endure terrific pain for six hours! He was willing to say goodbye to life forever if that’s what it took to save you! The thought of living eternally in heaven without you was Hell to Jesus!       Sure, Jesus could have come down from the cross and saved Himself. He could have thrown down that crown of thorns and taken back His royal crown. He could have ascended back to His throne and the angels would have welcomed Him with open arms. He could have gone back to those mansions He talked about in John 14. But listen to what He says about those mansions, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 

 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.”  John 14:2-3.

 

 

 Did you catch that? “That where I am there ye may be also.”  We always focus on the mansions in that verse, but what Jesus is focusing on is the being with you part.       See, while Jesus had mansions, golden streets, a throne and angels who would bow and worship and serve Him perfectly heaven just isn’t heaven to Jesus without you. So the thought of leaving the Cross and ascending back to His throne without saving you, just didn’t appeal to Jesus. Jesus loves you more than He loves life itself. His feelings for you are beyond love- you are His passion. Do you love Jesus more than you love life itself? Is He your passion?   

   

Tasting Death for Every man

 

 

 

 

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”  Hebrews 2:9

 

 

 Some may say, “How could Jesus have died the second death while prophesying of His resurrection?” Good question. Remember though, feeling and knowing are two different things.  Many people know flying is safer than driving, but you put them on a plane and they sure don’t feel safer! Jesus may have known He would be resurrected but He sure did not feel it! Also the Bible tells us He tasted the second death in the verse above.        Jesus obviously has not tasted the first death for every man, we taste that death ourselves. The first death Jesus does not even call death, He calls it sleep. Jesus did not taste sleep for every man, He tasted death, the second death. Jesus never lost faith in His Father. But His faith was not in His own salvation but in your salvation!       

 

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  Romans 8:32

 

 

 

God gave all when He gave His son! Jesus was willing to say goodbye to life forever to save you! He gave all of His life! Will give Him all of your heart?

 

 

   If you would like to talk to me about giving your heart to Jesus, you may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net    

For more Easter devotionals click here Click here for “Was the Atonement for an Angry God or an Angry Race?”