But as men get close to God, they begin to find out that the
problem is this, and this is subtle, but important: they are not sinners
because they sin; instead, they sin because they are sinners. There is a
condition of sin: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned
every one to our own way,” that root of sin that makes us want to be boss
rather than God. (Isaiah 53:6) There is a “bent” in our nature; we are
born out of fellowship with God. We not only don’t do right, we can’t
even think right. In the Old Testament they had to have a sacrifice to
cover even the sins of ignorance; we were so far from God we could not
walk in His way. So God gave them two kinds of sin offerings: for the
sins they knew about, the trespass offering; and for the condition of sin,
the sin offering.
But as men get close to God, they begin to find out that the
It is the difference of the Bethany household in Luke’s Gospel:
Martha is serving; Mary is with Jesus. The word translated “with” is the
same Greek word that opens John’s Gospel where we read, “In the
beginning the Word was with God.”
It means adoration; fixed, focus of attention; the difference between the work of the Lord and ministry to the Lord Himself. Martha is working; Mary is sitting there appearing to do nothing and Martha gets disturbed about it. “Make her get up and help me.” She brings up the subject, and she gets what’s coming to her.
Jesus says, “Martha, you are encumbered with much serving; but Mary has
chosen that better part, and it will not be taken from her.” If there is a
priority, it is in here.
Faith is hanging your body in action on what the mind has seen
and the heart has responded to. In the English language we have a nifty
separation between faith, as we define it, as just belief and obedience, so
we can sit in a congregation and say, “Well, that’s obvious. Amen, sure
it’s true!” and march out the door and promptly hang our body on
When we come to God, our problem is not the sins we have
committed. When you dig deep into the theology of this book, you find
that man is not a sinner because he sins; he sins because he is a sinner.
When God outlines the laws to the people in the Old Testament, He lets
them start where they are.
But when He unravels it in His book, He starts where He is: He always defines the burnt offering first and ends with the trespass offering; but in giving the people their orders, they had to start with the trespass offering and come to the burnt offering.
The burnt offering dealt with man’s condition; the trespass offering dealt with specific sins that the man knew he had committed. From the trespass offering, God moved to the sin offering, which was a little deeper. Eventually man started to ask himself, “Am I a sinner?”
When he thought he was a sinner, he would then catalogue what he had done or hadn’t done. If you ask any man if he is a sinner, he is going to start calculating: “Have I robbed? Have I stolen? Have I murdered?” Then he gets a little more subtle as he comes to an understanding of the sins of the spirit as distinct from the sins of the flesh. But eventually, if he comes to God’s view, he will see he sins
because he is a sinner. There is a “bent” in our nature; there is something
wrong with us. We suffer because of the fall of another.
When Saul’s kingdom was tumbling, Mephibosheth’s nurse was
running, and she fell while carrying him. He was crippled because of the
fall of another, and he was lame in both feet and unable to help himself.
No man can come to God save the Spirit draw him. That is why God
goes to you!
It does not matter whether you were raised in the church or
out of it. Don’t let the devil beat you over the head because of your sins.
But don’t pat yourself on the back as though it doesn’t apply, if you think
you are a little better than some.
Because of the fall of another, the father of this race, Adam, we
were born out of fellowship with God. We were crippled in our ability to
come to Him, unable to even know God’s will, much less do it. Yet God
on His throne, able to speak the universe into existence, kept that
covenant He made because of what was agreed to in the councils of
Heaven. Clear back in time, when the worlds were founded, the Lamb
was “slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8) Because
of that covenant to be written in His blood, He sent for and fetched you.
That is why we are here.
Shameful things…in Lodebar. If you are there, you don’t need me
to define it.
Ever-seeking, never finding. Lodebar: a place of no
When Mephibosheth came, “David said unto him, Fear not.”
David said, “Mephibosheth.” God knows your name, shameful thing.
But David didn’t need an introduction: Mephibosheth. I don’t know
where you are today, but God knows your name. Slipping into God’s
presence, wearing a mask in the presence of the saints, hoping that no one really knows what goes on inside. Listen to God. David said unto him,
“Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s
sake.” Will you write it down? “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven
you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
I want to narrow the topic of faith down to one subject today: divine healing. I would like the message to go to those who are well; the well who are strong enough to follow the admonition to lay the framework for the day when weakness comes. As Christians, we are too dependent upon sources of faith other than the One that never changes.
The reason my faith left when circumstances changed was that my faith was dependent upon the circumstance: the sight of a miracle, the atmosphere of a service, the presence of a person. The Word is with you all the time.
So please get a pencil and write down these verses I am going to give you. I am going to give you keys to unlock doors and enable you to walk into the sphere of faith. If you are sick, will you remember you have written these down? If you can’t call on anybody, get to any atmosphere, or see a miracle; then be one, and start by planting the seed.
There are so many doors through which you can walk to plant the seed of faith in divine healing; if you don’t get faith by walking through the first door, then take the next key and unlock the second door. Somewhere, before you get through all of the doors, I will guarantee you that, in your moment of weakness, faith will come. Don’t try to “work it up,” just plant the seed. The promise is “Faith cometh by hearing.”
They were still there when the Pharisees were gathered around in Jesus’ day. God Himself, the Word of God incarnate was there. They said, “Show us a sign.” The sign hunters!
Do you know what it says in 1 Corinthians about speaking in tongues? I am very much for it; I want the world to know that. But do you know what it means when it says that tongues are a sign to those that believe not, to unbelievers? It is the exact same Greek word that you find in Hebrews 3. It is the exact same Greek word that you find when God describes those who simply would not believe Him and would not accept what He was doing unless He gave them a new sign. Tongues are a sign, not to those that believe, but to those that believe not. But to those that believe, prophecy suffices. (1 Corinthians 14:22)
Now let me tell the world, I think this tongue is the most unruly member in our body. An inevitable accompaniment of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that that which is capable of being used to God’s glory comes under God’s control. When man is filled with God’s Spirit, this most unruly member is going to come under His control and the Spirit will give the utterance. But I have to be true to God’s Word and say it is those weak ones who forever want a sign, those with a persistent heart that will not accept from God what is clear in His Word, unless it is accompanied by some new sign.
Pastor Melissa Scott continues, Abram didn’t say that. He didn’t say, “Give me a sign.” God said, “Arise, and walk,” put your legs on it, “from the place where thou art;” now, not tomorrow, not the next day, not when the circumstances change. Get up and start walking right where you are!
Go to Acts 23. Here is the one “born out of due time.” Paul had felt led of the Lord to go to Rome. He had written from Corinth that he was not ashamed of the gospel; it was the power of God unto salvation.
He had sent a letter to Rome to assure them that he intended to come. He set out on his way, and he stopped at the house of a man named Philip. A prophet named Agabus bound Paul with cords and prophesied that he would be bound if he went to Jerusalem.
Pastor Melissa Scott continues, the Christians didn’t want him to go. Paul was sure he was in God’s will and that was the way to go. When he arrived, he was brought before the chief priests and the council.
In Acts 23:10, there arose such a dissension, the chief captain feared “lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them.”
Have you been sort of pulled in pieces and pulled apart in your circumstance in the last few days or weeks? Tune in on this man, in the will of God, with much of his work still lying ahead. “Fearing lest Paul
should have been pulled in pieces of them,” the captain “commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.”
Verse 12 says, “When it was day,” the next day, “certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.” Paul went from facing a mob to being the target of a murder conspiracy.
To repent is “to turn from, to.” To be sanctified is to take this vessel, lay it on an altar and say, “Here, God, I’ve run this show long enough. You take it and see what You can do with it.” That is all that Elisha did; it’s just that ordinary. God’s claim reached into his life, and he could never be the same. He could say no, but he was never to be the same. He said yes, and he turned from his way to following the master.
He separated from the old way, and that is the meaning of the word sanctification. He cut himself off; he turned so completely from it that he slew the yoke of oxen and eliminated it. He didn’t keep the old way around to prove his sanctification; he separated from it. The root word for sanctification is hagios in the Greek. Anybody , a priest, whether he was a priest of the God we serve or of a heathen god, could make a “saint” of something, including himself, if he turned loose of it and gave it up completely to the use of that deity. The city of Corinth was full of saints to Aphrodite, people who gave themselves over to that heathen goddess. The word sanctification comes from the same root.
Pastor Melissa Scott concludes, you are turning loose of yourself and cutting yourself off from the old way. Now wouldn’t you say that Elisha had a pretty good start? I would say he is pretty high-quality material for God up to that point.
Let me tell you something: you don’t bring any needs into the inner court.
That’s all taken care of in the outer court. Human need is adequately met at the altar of sacrifice. In the inner court, God is the Recipient.
You come in here to kindle an altar of praise to Him. If in the last few days you have not found a place to pray, and tuned every pressure of your need and every other need out, and done only one single thing: lift praises to Him, then you have not moved into that inner court. Every prayer is, “Give me this and give me that” and “Worry with me about this.” Leave it in the outer court! You don’t take anything into the inner court! You bring yourself to God. That’s not just Old Testament doctrine; Luke 5:15 says, “So much the more there went a fame abroad of him,” speaking of Jesus, “and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.”
Now they needed to hear, and they needed to be healed. Nobody can challenge that. He had the words of life, and He could heal them. A conjunction is in the Gospel: “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and there prayed.”
He made the very press of the crowd and its needs an excuse to go pray, and He was the Son of God. You turn away from the line of people with their needs.
Pastor Scott continues: The second item is no more glamorous than the first: “They shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me,” in that Old Testament sense of “stay there a while.” “Well now, wait a minute, God! I’m in here now. You’ve created the world in days. I’m here, I am ministering to You; bless me quickly because the crowd is out there. While I’m in here, there are at least 15 ‘while you were out’ messages on my desk. The world that You sent Your Son to die for is begging for attention. Get it over with!”
“David was in the wilderness” in trouble and Jonathan went to him there “into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, Fear not.” Jonathan encouraged David. “The hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee.” Jonathan puts himself down under David. “And that also my father knoweth.”
Jonathan was a friend in need; he was a believer, one who expected to make it in. “And they two made a covenant before the LORD.”
But here is the tragic word: “And David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.” He loved David, but when the crux of the decision came, “David abode in the woods, Jonathan went to his house”: he went back to the house of Saul. He wouldn’t make that total, complete, 100 percent commitment and identification with David in the wilderness where he was. He went back to the house of Saul; he died with Saul on Mount Gilboa.
I am not talking about the man Jonathan’s eternal position in the Kingdom. I am talking about the drama God made him play. The friend in his friendship wasn’t enough. He wouldn’t make the 100 percent commitment. Yet he made it in.
Read 1 Samuel 22 closely: “David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam.” Now focus in on the second verse: “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented….” Isn’t that a miserable band.
In every dimension He won’t have anything less. You can’t bargain with Him. You can’t hold back. It is 100 percent or He will take the lame and the halt and the distressed and the debtors and the discontented who have nothing to lose but giving their all. That is the way it is. That is the tough side. Turn the coin over for the bright side: all He wants is you. The thing I fight as a preacher across this land is some inherited perfectionism out of Puritan New England. I have got friends all over the country who say, and it is admirable on the surface, “When I come to God, I’m going to live it.” They are going to be worth what they think they should be if they give themselves to God. If God demanded us all to be of the caliber of Jonathan or the rich young ruler it would eliminate some of us, wouldn’t it? But when I see Him build His Kingdom on these Adullamites and on those disciples, I say we all have a chance!
All He wants is you. All He wants is you 100 percent. The terms will never change. Bring your problems! Bring your faults! Bring your sins! Bring your doubts! Bring you!
Are you going to let Him abide