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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - God's Twin Mercies

Chris Hodges - God's Twin Mercies

Chris Hodges - God's Twin Mercies
TOPICS: You Asked For It, Mercy

All right, all right. Anybody love Jesus tonight? Oh, yeah. It's awesome. So good to see all of you, and welcome to all of our locations that are joining us now. I hope you had a fraction of the amazing night that we had in this room. If you did, it was incredible, because we had just an amazing time in the presence of God here, and I know you did at your location, as well. God bless you guys today. And I'm ready to jump into the Word of God. We are gonna kind of flip the services normally, we would have Communion right here, and we're actually gonna leave it toward the end, because it kind of fits into my teaching tonight, and then I'm gonna end earlier than normal, as well, so that we can pray for the sick and for those who need a miracle in their lives. And I just want to know if there's anybody at any of the locations that are expecting God to do something amazing tonight, amen? Amen. So, get your Bibles out. Let me pray for you.

Father, in the mighty name of Jesus, we just make room in our hearts for your Word and, God, for you to do more than just appeal to our minds. God, we want to believe in our hearts. God, we ask you, Lord, to write the truth of Scripture on the tablet of our hearts, Lord God, that we might be closer to you and understand you, Lord, and have your ways on the inside of us. Lord, we ask you to transform us, by the power of your Word. Renew our minds. God, increase our faith, Lord. And, Lord, for everything that takes place, Lord, we promise we will give you all the glory, all the honor, in Jesus's name. And everybody said... amen.

Come on, one more time, give God some praise, everybody, yeah. Awesome, all right. And I do want you to get your Bibles out, get something to write with and on. You'll want to take some notes tonight. I am gonna teach you about healing and about just how God moves in that way, and I am gonna give you a very unique, I think a very unique teaching on Communion. Again, I'd like to just formally say hello to all of our campuses. I love you. I pray for you every single day. Thank God for you. And every one of you that are watching us online somewhere or around the world, God bless you, as well. I want you guys at every location, especially the ones here at Grants Mill, to say hi. We have about 40 pastors who've been with me for the last couple of days. So, we've just been in a round table studying and growing, and it's just one of the joys of my life not only to pastor you, but also to pour into some of the leaders that are here.

Would you do me a favor and say the biggest hello to all these pastors over here? Oh, I love you so much. All right, I think you guys have probably noticed not a shift, but an increase in something that we've always believed in, but I really feel by the Spirit of God that it's time for us to kind of step into more of a move of God. I like actually making room for God to move. And the last thing I want is for that to be anything manmade or anything like that. I just really am hungry for something incredibly authentic, and I really believe we're living in a generation and we're living in a culture that it really just can't be business as usual. Can I hear a good amen, everybody, right? I really think we need everything that God promised in his Word. And so you probably have seen that a little bit more lately in our church and wondered what's going on.

That's just what's going on. There's nothing more than that, except that I'm hungry for a move of God. I mean, I enjoy preaching well, and putting series together, and having programming like conferences, and Christmas, and at the movies and all that. But honestly, I think we need more than that. We need, really, the demonstration of the Spirit's power. And so I've really been on my own personal journey for us, to be very honest with you. I've visited some churches that I deeply respect. They're dear friends of mine and just watched how God's moving in some of these churches and kind of been getting infected with it, and been spending some time with my staff, as well. I've been training our staff. I spent some time this past week with all of our campus pastors. And just, hey, here's what I think this might be, might look like.

You know, here's where I want to give you some permissions and allow God to speak to you and through you in our services. In fact, I'll show you a line that I gave our team this past week when we had an all staff, and it was this one, and that is that we can't let the people come to our church looking for God and only find us. They need to come and then not just be amazed by great coffee and the best preaching in the whole wide world. I mean, it's gotta be...stop. All right, it's gotta be more than that, right? Paul said, "When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and in fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words", and he could've done it. He was trained as a rabbi in the Pharisees' ways, and he, a very, very smart guy, obviously. He says, "But I didn't come with my superior wisdom or my persuasive words. I came with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on man's wisdom, but on God's power".

And if you look at the ministry of Jesus, in my opinion, and I'll say this to all you pastors that are here, too, if you really think about it, our job is to really keep going with the ministry that Jesus had on earth. We're here just to continue his work. We are products of the Lord. And, really, he's our model. He's the one that we want to follow. And if you look at Jesus's life, he had an even dispersion of what the Bible calls preaching, teaching, and healing. So, preaching would be like for the lost. Teaching would be more for discipleship, for those who already know the Lord, but want to grow in their faith, but healing over the issues of our life, Matthew says it this way: "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness".

Acts says it this way in chapter 10, that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power". So, even though he was God, he was still anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. And watch what that Holy Spirit anointing and power did, and that is "he went around doing good and," say the word out loud, "and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Jesus". He was God, and he still needed God to be with him. He was anointed by God. 1 John says it this way, that "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work". That's what he came to do. And you say, "Yeah, but that was the ministry of Jesus". Well, I kind of beg to differ. In fact, in Matthew it said, "Jesus called his twelve disciples and he gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness".

In Matthew 10, Jesus's own word says, as you build churches, as you go, as you go to work, as you go to school, proclaim the message that the kingdom of God has come (say the last word) has come near, meaning it's not a fairytale. It's not a Sunday School story. It's not a flannel, y'all remember the flannelgraph stories in Sunday School where they, and they just kind of told you stuff that used to happen? No, no, no, the kingdom of God is right now. We have a right now kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is not far away. It's not an Old Testament story. The kingdom of heaven has come near. So, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons". Why? "Freely you've received, freely give". And the Bible says that the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them. And I've been asking God to do this. "Lord, would you work with me? I'm good at what I do, to a degree, but it's not, I'm fully aware that it's not good enough. I need, Lord, you to work with me to confirm your word by the signs that accompany it," the Bible says.

So, God's motivation for this is not only because he cares about hurting people, and sick people, and people that are going through difficult things. His motivation also is there to say, "And I'll prove to you that this is real, that this is true," is to confirm his Word. Like, we have the right one, right? Amen, everybody? You understand that? That's his desire. So, the problem is, is that a lot of people just simply don't understand a lot of the things that we believe here at Highlands, that God still has available for people. So, the last question is like, well, then why didn't God do it more? And if that's his plan, why don't we just all just head over to children's hospital and empty the thing, right? Pray for everybody.

And I just don't understand. And I'm gonna do the best I can tonight to explain to you some of that, some of the myths, some of the, honestly, the things that people believe that just simply are not true about how God works or why God works in some ways and not in others, and I'm going to do the very best I can, as we say down in south Louisiana, to 'splain it to you, everybody, all right? Did I ever tell y'all the joke, y'all want to hear a Boudreaux joke? Yes or no? I've got time. Okay, it's been a while, and I think you could, well, I think I had five pastors say, "You haven't told one since we've been here".

So, this is for you, everybody. But Boudreaux is actually, Boudreaux is your stereotypical Cajun, and we call these Boudreaux jokes, right? And Boudreaux is a common name in south Louisiana, like it's Smith down there in south Louisiana. I mean, everybody is a Boudreaux. And so, anyway, Boudreaux lived during the time when there wasn't a cash, it was actually before currency. So, whenever they actually did any kind of work, they traded goods for goods. So, when the first time came around that he did some work, someone actually gave him a check, and he'd never seen a check before, and it just kind of come out. And like he said, "What that is, heh"? He said, "Well, that's a check". He says, "What a check do"? And he said, "Well, you take the check to a bank and whatever is written on the front of the check, you can bring it to the banker, and he'll give you the money that's written on the front of it". He goes, "Man, I like that".

So, he went to the bank with his check, and he walked up to the teller, and he said, "Here's my check. I want my money". And so the teller says, "Well, that's fine. We've got money back there in this thing called a vault, and we gonna give you whatever is written on that check". He said, "But you're gonna have to endorse". And he said, "What's endorse mean"? He said, "That means you've gotta sign that check". He said, "Man, I ain't signing nothing". And he said, "Well, if you don't sign the check, you're not getting nothing". He goes, "That's fine. I'll go to another bank". So, he grabbed his check, went to another bank. And he said, "Look, I have my check. I want my money". And the teller said, "No problem. We've got money in that thing back there called a vault, but you're gonna have to endorse". He goes, "What endorse means"? "That means you've gotta sign that check". He says, "I ain't signing nothing".

Well, that teller didn't have the patience of the first one. He grabbed Boudreaux by the chest, and he slapped him upside the face. He said, "Sign that check". And Boudreaux said, "All right". And he turned it over and signed his name and got his money. And he walked over to that other bank. He said, "Look here, I got my money". And that teller said, "You sign that check"? He said, "Yeah, I signed that check". He said, "I told you, you was gonna have to sign it". Boudreaux said, "Yeah, but you didn't 'splain it to me the way that other guy did". There you go, all right? Okay. Well, I'm gonna do the best thing I can tonight to 'splain it to y'all just a little bit, because there's some myths out there that I just want to set the record straight before we talk to you about how God works in the area of how he heals people. God still heals people. He's in the healing business. He is the Great Physician. Amen, everybody?

But there are things, some people think that God makes people sick. He does not make people sick. I had somebody even just recently say to me about a friend of theirs, who had cancer, and he said, "Yeah, God gave him cancer. God gave him cancer". And I said, "No, sir, that's not how this works". If God gave that man cancer, then God's responsible for every rape, he's responsible for every murder. No, no, no. Every good and perfect gift is from above. God is only capable of good. There is no badness in God. There's only badness in the devil, everybody. And you've gotta be very careful of assigning something to God that was not God. God does not make people sick. The thief, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He came for one reason: that you might actually have the opposite of death, that you might have life and have that life to the full.

Here's another teaching or thinking or belief by some, and that is that if you're sick, you're in sin. So, you have this old, I call it, it's the confession people. Like, and so they just like, you know, name it, claim it, blab it, grab it, it's yours. You know, they just say, "You can have this. And if you don't have it, well, you don't have faith, or you're in sin". And so something's wrong with you, if you don't have that. And Jesus cleared that up 'cause "he went along, and he saw a blind man from birth, and his disciples said, 'Rabbi, who sinned, that this man: was it his parents or was it the guy who's blind?' And Jesus said, 'Ain't neither one of them. It wasn't this man nor his parents, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in him.'"

So, to be very clear, as I've talked to you this past week about the god of this age, the devil, this is his domain, the earth. He was cast to the earth, and it has his curse all over it in a variety of ways. And what God did is he came on a rescue mission. And from time to time, God does work, he does work on earth, but honestly his ultimate plan is to get us out of here. Some glad morning, when this life is over, I'm gonna fly away. Amen, everybody? And so he intervenes. He does work, and we believe God for it, but it isn't because of that. The third one that I love to address, because it's the opposite of like kind of a confessionist's approach, I kind of created that word, confessionist's approach, but some say, "Well, God doesn't do it anymore. That's why it's not happening like we expect. God doesn't heal anymore".

And they are what in theology we call Cessationism. And it's actually a teaching that is in some churches that the miracles in the Bible were real, but God doesn't do it that way anymore, and they even go so far to say that when the last apostle died, all the miracles stopped. The only problem is there's not a single verse that would say that. In fact, the Bible actually talks about this gift of the Holy Spirit and how he's poured out in his gifts and miracles is for you, for the next generation, and all who would call on the name of the Lord. It's the very opposite of that. In fact, you know it's not true, because if he's just done one miracle in the last 2,000 years, then it hasn't stopped. And all it takes is one, and every one of you know, you've heard stories of how God's moved in people's lives. It's not at the frequency that I would like it, honestly.

And I've searched my own heart and soul. And, Lord, I just say, "Lord, can I lead better? Is there something that we can do"? And I seek God continually for... and that's why I'm actually studying places where in my mind it seems that God may be moving in that way in different places, and I'm just hungry for it. I don't complain, and I don't blame. I just stay hungry for it. Amen, everybody? I want God to move, but we've seen miracles here at Church of the Highlands. We've got a man who had leukemia, given a death sentence, said, "You've got months to live," and that's been about six years ago. He's still sitting on the front row at the 8 o'clock service every Sunday morning, worshiping God. Can I get a better amen, everybody?

I mean, we've seen it, doctor-confirmed miracles. I remember in the early years of the church, some of y'all know this story, in the earlier years of the church, we had this little office complex we called it, for lack of naming it a better thing, and it was back behind, if you're from Birmingham, you know where Lloyd's is on 280. And Lloyd's is like a Walmart, and behind the Walmart is a little skating rink, and behind the skating rink was this little strip mall where we had our very first offices. We had like four offices, and we had a little 230-seat auditorium, and that's where we did Wednesday nights, and that's where we trained leaders, and eventually it actually became one of our first video locations, and it wasn't even like a video location. We had a guy on a motorcycle bringing a CD of the service, of the 8 o'clock service at the high school.

And so, anyways, those were the days. And we used to do 21 days of prayer in that little storefront, 230-seat. And if you know how I pray at those morning prayer times, I'm usually a pacer, and I was just pacing, and everybody has their different prayer posture. Some were kneeling. Some were sitting. And I'm just praying. And we had a lady in our church and we were, again, only a few hundred people. And she had asked me to pray with her because four doctors told her that she was not going to be able to get pregnant. She had something going on in her womb, that her womb was completely shut. They said there's surgery, "There's nothing we can do. You'll never have a child". And she was really distraught about that. And I told her, man, "Just pray about it".

Well, she came to every morning at 21 Days of Prayer, and I'm just pacing, and I'm just minding my own business. And about, I forget what day it was, but right in the middle of this, about 6:30 or so in the morning, she was kneeling right over in the, kind of this section, and she just popped up, ran up to the front where I was, and grabbed me. She goes, "I just got pregnant". I'm like, "I didn't see nothing". She goes, "No, I'm telling you God just healed me". And I said, "Well then I want you to go to the doctor today and let him confirm that. I want you to", and I believed with her. I knew it was true. She just knew she got pregnant. I was like, "Go, I'm with you, girl. Go get a doctor to confirm this thing". Well, I'm happy to report she not only was pregnant. They have four boys, everybody. Yeah. She didn't have one. She had four, right? 'Cause here's the point. Jesus Christ is the... same. Yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn't change.

All right, well then the question is then why doesn't God heal everybody? All right, you ready for it? Y'all get your notepad out. Get the answer. Here it is: "I don't know". And I'm not as bent out of shape about not knowing as some people get. I just pursue the things of God. I believe every word of Scripture, and I don't have the peace that I think he wants me to have. I definitely don't have the patience that I think he wants me to have. And I would say, you know, I just don't believe in patience. I just think that was a typo in the Bible, you know. You're not really even supposed to pray for it, you know. No, there's a lot of God as a believer, and as a child of God, that I am growing in, and I'm pursuing. And just by the fact that it's not working in my life to the degree that the Bible describes does not make me less hungry for it.

And not only that, I just know, and I want you to look in my eyes in here. This is a pastoral moment right here. God's ways are not our ways, his thoughts not our thoughts. And until you become comfortable with pursuing with all your might and believing that God heals, I believe God will heal everybody. And when he doesn't, I don't complain about it. I just don't. And if you can get to that place where you have this trust in God, 'cause I am completely convinced there's gonna be this moment in eternity where our, 1 John chapter 3 describes this. When we appear before him, our eyes will be opened, and we will see things that we've never seen before. And I think the first sound in heaven is not gonna be the hallelujah chorus. I think everybody thinks we're gonna get up there, and it's gonna be this giant choir going, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah". And we're gonna walk down this thing, and Jesus is gonna be, I think the first sound in heaven is gonna be, "Oh. Oh, oh. You were right. You were right".

And it's not verses that people like to study, but we like to read the, you know, I believe in the faith God, but there's times when God doesn't do what people thought God should have done. In fact, you know, there's a chapter in the Bible known as the Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. Go read it. It'll encourage you, 'cause it talks about how he parted the Red Seas, and how he raised the dead, and the miracles, and it celebrates the heroes of the faith. It names the different people like Abraham, and Moses, and Noah, and all these different heroes of the faith. But if you keep reading to the end of the chapter, it lists another group of people who were sawn in two, who were stoned to death, how they had hoped it would work out in earth. It didn't work out that way. And it says of those people, you know, well, they just didn't have faith like Abraham did. No, all these people earned a good reputation.

So, they're still considered Hall of Fame Faith people. They earned a good reputation because of their faith. Yet, none of them received all that God had promised. And I would add, as a commentary, on earth, 'cause they did receive all that God had promised. It just wasn't the way they wanted it to be. "For God had planned something better in mind". And a lot of people just aren't comfortable with that side of God. I am so comfortable with how God just does things, and I pray, I believe; and if it doesn't work out, I'll do the funeral. You know what I'm saying? I understand that's just how I believe. In fact, the verse that I've used in many occasions to people who have been in tragic death situations, I read them this verse out of Isaiah, that "Good people pass away, the godly often die before their time". And I would say how we see it, it's before their time. But no one seems to understand that "God's protecting them from the evil that is to come".

In other words, he has something in his heart or mind that is just beyond what we can see. Are y'all following this, everybody? And one of my favorite verses is the last letter that Paul wrote. It's not the last one in your Bible, because your Bible's not chronological, but the last letter that Paul wrote, 'cause it's the only one he writes and he's saying, "I'm finished, I'm done, I did it," kind of language. It's the only one, and it's 2 Timothy, and in 2 Timothy he has this kind of as a benediction. He says, "The Lord will rescue me, end of story. He will. Hey, the Lord will rescue me from every evil attack, and he'll bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom". To which you're thinking, "Well, then which one are you gonna do? You gonna rescue me, or am I going to heaven"? And the answer is yes. It's both. He puts you in a win-win situation. "To him be the glory forever and ever". Yeah.

So, yeah. And so I'm just a, yes, he will rescue everybody. And yes, everybody, you know, and he brings us safely into his heavenly kingdom. I tell people all the time, Lazarus died again. You see, and so it's just, it's a faith position that I would like for you to believe, because I think it's what the Bible is, I think, is the balanced teaching on this area, and that God will heal you. You're healed, in Jesus's name. And he will bring us safely into his heavenly kingdom. Now, I had to actually live this out in my life. If you've been around forever, you know this story. But when we moved here, when we moved here, I moved here a little over 21 years ago, and I was so nervous to tell my parents 'cause all the family's in town. You know how that is. And any time somebody's saying, "Guess what, mom and dad? We're leaving".

And I just knew they were gonna be so upset with Tammy and me. And so I went to my mom and dad. I said, "Look, we're moving to Birmingham". And mom and dad said, "Great, 'cause we were thinking about leaving all of y'all". And they had both just retired, and they wanted to buy a fifth wheel trailer and go live in the parks of America the rest of their life. They were gonna be what's called a full-time trailer, that's what they were gonna do. They were so excited. Like, "We're selling the house. We're getting a trailer". And they said, "Great, you move to Birmingham and start a church. We'll give you like the first 3 months. We'll go live at Oak Mountain State Park for 3 months, and we'll help you get the church started". And mom says, "Yeah," 'cause she was the secretary to the chancellor at the LG Law School. She goes, "I'll do all your secretarial stuff". And my dad was the legislative auditor for the state of Louisiana. He goes, "I'll get the church incorporated, do all the taxes, set all the procedures. I'll do all the procedures of how money is counted, who touches it, who handles it, how many people are in the room".

And they were just all excited how they were gonna organize all this part of the church, and it was just really a gift from God. So, I moved to Birmingham, so did they in a trailer in Oak Mountain State Park. After about 3 months, they didn't go anywhere. They stayed. And so 6 months, they're there. They're still there, and now they're loving the church. And so a year goes by. They're loving the church. And after about a year, they decided to sell their trailer, bought them a home in Chelsea, and that's where they lived, and they spent every moment of their life serving our church. And my dad is the reason, by the way, 'cause he was so meticulous, and he liked everything done exactly right, and he said, "Look, we'll have green grass 12 months out of the year. We're gonna oversee, we're gonna, something will be blooming in every location". And if you look around at all the meticulous side of Highlands, that is not me. That was my dad, and I honor my dad, everybody, for just the way he set up our church.

So, well, in about 2008, dad got cancer. My dad smoked when he was in his 20s, and he had renal cell carcinoma, which is a kidney-based cancer, and so when he got diagnosed, I mean, it was like a punch to the gut. And so they removed his kidney. They did some chemo, and they thought they'd got it all. Then all of a sudden, this knot like the size of my fist ends up on the right side of his temple, not in his brain, but on the outside of his skull, this giant, I mean, it was just this big, and it was cancer that had reappeared, one of the stray cells had gotten into that part of his body, and the cancer was going into his jaw, where there was a blood supply, and he had cancer all down his face, and it was in the form of this knot. And so he went to the hospital to have surgery on this. And I'll never forget, me, and my brother, and my sister, and I walking into that room after the surgery. And the doctor looked at us. He said, "Look, I've got good news and bad news, and the good news is he's gonna live. We got it all. We got it all".

And but the bad news is there was a scar that started right here and made a giant C all the way down his face, and they basically just peeled his face back, got all the cancer out, and they took fat from his side and put it in his face so it wouldn't look hollowed out. But he says, "He has no muscles, no nerve, no nothing in his face. He'll probably never be able to eat on his own or speak on his own, but he'll live". And I was thinking, "Praise God"? You know, you're not sure with something like that, okay. And so because I'm a pastor, he was in ICU. Because he was a pastor, I got to go into his hospital room 'cause I told them I'm his pastor. And so anyway, that's a true story. I didn't tell them I was his son, you know. It's because we had privileges in those places that even family doesn't have sometime 'cause they really can't refuse us, you know.

And so I said, "Yes, I'm his pastor". And so it was after visiting hours and everything. And I go into dad's room, and he's sitting up in the bed eating scrambled eggs. And he had this giant, well, I've got a picture. Show them the picture. That's his picture. And I said, "Dad, you're not supposed to have any movement of your face, or be able to talk or smile". And he goes, "Oh, I can smile". And he went, and that's the picture I took. And I said, "Do it again". And I took a picture of it. Well, the surgeon, the surgeon that did the operation goes to our church, and I said, I caught him right there in the hallway of the ICU room. I said, "Dad's eating scrambled eggs, and he's smiling and talking". He goes, "He's not possible". I said, "He's," and I said, "Here's a picture". I texted him the picture, and three doctors at Brookwood deemed that a medical miracle. Said, "There's no way".

And all the nerves and muscles that they took out was supernaturally back in his face. And he had full movement like they never did anything. And two years later, the cancer came back, and he died. And I live this, because he rescued dad from every evil attack and brought him safely into his heavenly kingdom, and I did the funeral, told the story. And I've never questioned God for one moment. I've celebrated the healing, and I'm almost sometimes jealous of my dad already with Jesus, 'cause my dad was in a win-win situation, everybody, amen. To God be the glory. Now, I want to close this out. I'm a little behind, because when you start to storytelling, you get a little behind, but he's here and playing. I'm halfway through my message, and he's already playing. All right, okay. I want to teach you this principle really quickly, okay? That sin and sickness are Satan's twin evils. And salvation and healing are God's twin mercies.

And every place you see, just about every place you see salvation, you'll always see it coupled with healing. "Praise the Lord, oh, my soul. Forget not all his benefits", don't just get one of them, get all of them, "who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases". Isaiah, "He was pierced for our transgressions". That's your sins. "And for your iniquities". That's the condition of your heart. That's your old nasty heart before you found Jesus. "The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and then by his wounds we are healed". You don't ever hardly ever see them separated. When Jesus, remember the guy who they lowered the paralyzed guy through the roof of the house in Mark chapter 2? What did they want? They wanted him to walk. They brought him to be healed. Jesus's first words were, "Your sins be forgiven you. Now take up your mat and walk".

You always see them together. In 1 Peter he said, the Bible says, "He bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness," comma, not period, "by his wounds you have been healed," and that's the word "rapha," which means cured or mended. You're cured. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, seek my face, turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land". They're always together. So, Pastor, then why doesn't everybody get healed? And really, honestly, I want you to hear this. Then why doesn't everybody whose sins are forgiven stay free from sin? The truth is we're working all this out. This is the process. Because we sin again after he forgave our sins doesn't make him less a Savior.

So, if he's my healer, and I get sick again, that doesn't make him less a healer either. You're making it too hard. You're just making it too hard. So, he is just as much a healer as he is a Savior is what I'm trying to say. And so as my faith and my Scripture journey goes into motion, I am, by the grace of God, attaining more and more righteousness, while all of my sins are forgiven, and I'm still working through some of my sin issues, and the same is true with healing. God is my healer, and he has healed all of my diseases, as I am working through his healing in my body, my mind, my emotions, my health, every part of my life. And with that in mind, I'm gonna read you an interesting verse that people stop too quick to finish, and this is the last one. "For I received," Paul said, and he's teaching the Corinthian church about communion, 'cause we're getting ready to receive it. "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you".

So, in other words, Jesus himself taught him this. Now, Paul didn't know Jesus. Like, Paul didn't know Jesus pre cross or resurrection. Paul knew him post. He had encounters with God. He talks about it in 2 Corinthians, where he went to the third heaven and had encounters with Jesus. So, Jesus personally discipled Paul after the resurrection. Just think about that. And that's where he says, "I received this from the Lord, and so I'm passing it on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night that he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance.'" That's the purpose of Communion, to remember. "In the same way, after supper he took the cup, and he said, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'"

And that's where most people stop. But it's just this wonderful place to remember the body and the blood of the Lord. But watch what it says next. "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner..." Now, that doesn't mean you're to ponder your unworthiness. All of us already are. That's not what the word means, and it's one of these places where the Greek translation really helps us, because it's the word "axios" in the Greek, and axios means weight. And it literally would read this way. If you eat the bread and drink the cup and don't realize the full weight, you're guilty of sinning, and that's not the sinning like you're a bad person.

Another word for sin is to miss the mark. In other words, you didn't go far enough. There was more. You didn't realize the full weight of the body and the blood, and so you missed the mark against the body and the blood. You didn't receive everything. "So, each person ought to examine themselves before they eat the bread and drink the cup". Lord, how? "For those who eat the bread and drink the cup without discerning..." Notice which one he mentions. Not the body and the blood, just the body, because the blood is for salvation. And he took his stripes on his body. That's where we're healed. Remember, the two always go together.

That's why there's two parts of communion. The blood is salvation, the body is healing. He spilled his blood for your sins. He took the stripes on his back for your healing. And so when he says when you examine yourself, notice he doesn't say without discerning the body and the blood, 'cause most Christians get the blood. Like, he saved me. I'm so grateful he saved me. And Paul said, "Yeah, but you're doing it in an unworthy manner. You're not recognizing the full weight. You missed the other benefits".

There's more to what he offers than just the salvation of our sins. Are you seeing that, everybody? So, he said, "So, examine yourself to see if you really are discerning the body part. Don't forget what the body represents, the bread represents. And discerning the body of Christ, and eat and drink judgment on yourselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick and a number of you have fallen asleep". God said, "I didn't do it. You did. You didn't realize there was something there available for you".

And that's why tonight, when we take Communion, three things. We remind ourselves of the twin mercies of God. We do this in remembrance. And then we recognize the full weight of what Jesus did on the cross, the full weight, the full benefits, and then receive them all. He saves you, he heals you, he delivers you, he'll transform you. He wants to bless you. There are benefits of the cross, of the blood, of what Jesus did in his body, and that's what Communion is all about, and that's why, without fear, I say:

Lord, tonight, I thank you my sins are forgiven. And, God, by the stripes of Jesus, we are healed, in Jesus's name.

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