Jentezen Franklin - You Haven't Seen God's Best Yet
Open your Bibles with me to the Book of Luke, the 24th chapter. Luke, chapter 24:36, "Now, as they said these things, Jesus Himself," meaning this was post resurrection, this is after the resurrection, he's rose from the dead and they're in there having a discussion, and suddenly Jesus Himself, "stood in the midst of them and said unto them, 'Peace to you.' But they were terrified and frightened and supposed that they had seen a ghost. And He said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why did doubts arise in your hearts?'" Listen to these words, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself". And what an amazing challenge. "'Handle me and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones. As you see, I have.' And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still did not believe for joy and marvel, He said to them," I love this part, "Have you got any food"?
Isn't that beautiful? Jesus said, "I'm hungry now. Cross wore me out. I need something to eat". You know, Jesus said, "As I am, so shall you be". And we're going to eat in heaven. And it was not a vegan meal that he ate. I'm sorry for you who are from California. There will be no vegan meals in Heaven. And if you are a vegan, you sit at your own table. Me and Jesus, He said, "I want some meat". And the Bible said, they brought him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb, and he took it and ate it in their presence. In front of them, he ate it. I love what He said. He said in verse 39, "Handle me and see". Handle me and see.
And quickly, in the next verse, He showed them His hands and His feet. I want to preach on, "Handle me and see". Handle me and see. Then He showed them the nail prints in His hands and His feet, and He said, "I know I that you thought it was over, and I know you thought that it was finished, but it's time for you to get a fresh revelation and handle me and see and look at my hands. Look at my hands". And what he was saying was, "Look at my feet. Look at my hands and see what I can give you now. Presently, not what I've done in the past. You saw these hands healed lepers, raised the dead, be laid on people with fevers and diseases and sicknesses, and they were healed instantly. But now, post crucifixion, I want you to look at these same hands and just when you think you've seen it all, look at my hands and look at what I can give you. And look at my feet and see where I can take you".
How many of you have been given things by the hand of God that you never dreamed that you would give? If you were to be honest, you would have to say, "God's nail scarred hands have provided things in my life that were not even in my wildest dreams or imaginations". Let me hear some noise right now if you know that's the truth. And how many of you have had God show you His feet and take you further than you ever were supposed to go, ever was it predicted you would go? You've gone to places that only God could have got you there. Only God could have opened that door because that's the kind of God He is.
You see, the only way that we can accept the challenge that Jesus offers us as He stands here, see it in your mind, in your eye of faith this morning. The Master standing here saying, "Look at my hands. I have things that you can't even imagine. I have things that I want to give you, and I want to bless you and your family with. My hand is a blessing hand. And you've not seen the best yet". What I'm preaching today is you've not seen God's best yet. You've not seen what He could really do. Just when you think He's done it all, they thought it was over and he appeared suddenly and gave them this great challenge. "Handle me and see. Handle prayer, handle worship, handle hunger and thirst for me, and handle this thing called faith again and believe and risk again that I can do something even greater in this season in your life".
The one risk that this church runs, as God has done so much for us, is to get comfortable and get to a place that we think that because God's been so good, that we become satisfied and not continually handle Him and see through prayer. Through seeking Him. Through being passionate about Him. See His hands again and know there's more he wants to give us. And see His feet again and know that there's more places he wants to take us and carry the message of the cross to. Never settle for good when you know God has the best. We must not be lethargic. We must not ever cease from handling Him and it becoming more than just going to church now that we've got our life straightened out.
Revelation 3. He warns that the end time church would have a curse on them, and this is what it sounds like. They will say, "I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing". But that's not going to be this church. We're going to continually handle Him and see. We're going to look at His hands and see He still has good things that He wants to give us and our children and our children's children. And we're going to look at His feet and realize that when I put my life in God's hands, He can take me anywhere. He can open doors no man can shut. He can cause you to go into places that will make you scratch your head and say, "How in the world did this happen to me, and did I get here"? Handle me and see.
Blind Bartimaeus would have stayed blind for the rest of his life. He was called Blind Bartimaeus because he was named by his hang up and his handicap. Challenges are not supposed to become your calling card. You're not supposed to settle into him. He could have settled into his blindness and never hungered and heard Jesus was passing by and never reached out and cried out to handle Him and see. But when Jesus came marching by, he started crying out aloud because he said, "I have not lived so long in darkness that I want to stay here".
Some people have lived so long in mediocrity and in this place of darkness in their life that they don't even dream or believe to ever go any higher. Never learn to live with less than God's best. Don't learn to live in darkness. Don't learn to live in disadvantage. Don't learn to live in shame and disgrace and feel bad about yourself and your past the rest of your life. Don't live in that. You don't have to stay in that. "Handle me and see. My hands still can give you". Even if you've gone through something so bad that it's almost tried to define your life, He says, "Look at my nail scarred hands. I can give you a good life. Look at my feet. I can give you divine appointments. Look at the places I want to take you. You don't even know what's in you. You don't even know the talent you've got. You don't even know how high I can take you if you just handle me and see".
Nothing you've done has disqualified you. People will label you by you mistakes, but Jesus does not define you by your mistake. He defines you by these nail scarred hands. And He says, "You don't deserve it, but here I'mma give it to you and you can't get there but follow my nail scarred feet and let me walk you past all your critics right into greatness". Woo! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I hear the Lord. I feel this challenge hanging over this building. Hanging over somebody listening to me right now.
And Jesus is saying, "Come on, handle me and see. You don't know what I have in store for you and I'm gonna give it to you. I'm gonna give you the kingdom. You don't know where these feet, these nail scarred feet are going to take you, but you got to want it. Never learn to live unless handle me and see. You don't have to live in failure. You don't have to live in disappointment. You don't have to live in defeat and in bondage and in addiction and in guilt and in shame. You don't have to live like you're less than damaged goods. What a lie from hell. Handle me and see. Handle me and watch how I'll recycle even what the enemy meant to destroy you, what he meant for evil. I'll take it and I'll mold it and I'll make you into such a beautiful thing that you'll be the envy of other people".
Well, I don't know where this is coming from, but I feel like preaching this morning. I'm telling you, I'm telling you, we serve a Savior who recycles evil. He recycles evil. He recycles bad decisions. He recycles mess ups. He recycles failures and bondage, fear and depression. He can take it and make something beautiful. Look at His hands and see what he wants to give you. Look at his feet and see where he still...
The other day in my study, I wrote these words down on a piece of paper. And I was so frustrated because I felt such pressure, and I felt like I didn't have the message. And I was just, I was sweating. It was aggravate, it's this feeling that comes on you when you don't have the words and you don't have the message and the clock is ticking and all of y'all are coming, and you're like a bunch of hungry birds, and I'm supposed to have the worm. And I was stressing out. I was tense, I was upset. Nothing was speaking to me. Nothing was going off in me. Nothing. And I looked up in my office and I said, "God, why did you choose me? I'm not this, I'm not that. I'm not smart enough to do this". He said, "You've only been doing it 40 years, dummy". But I'll never forget what the Lord told me. I wrote it down. He said, "I chose you because you are you. I didn't need somebody else. I didn't want somebody else. I'm not interested in somebody else doing what I've called you to do. I chose you because you are you".
And here I am. This is all I am. This is all I have. But what you are when He touches it oh, when He gets you from His hand, when He slips into your shoes and He says, "Let me take you somewhere that you never dreamed. I could get a PhD. I could get somebody with so many degrees they're like a thermometer. But I'd rather have you". Don't you look at me funny like I don't know what I'm preaching about. I've seen those hands give to me things that I never dreamed I'd have. I've seen those feet usher me right in. I've seen them walk me right into the Oval Office and sit down and preach to a president. Don't tell me God can't use you. Don't tell me God can't reach through you. Don't tell me God can't take your weakness and make it His strength. Somebody give God a praise right now. Woo! Hallelujah! Somebody shout, "Hallelujah". At every campus, shout "Hallelujah".
I Want you to turn to somebody, and if you don't do it, I want them to get a camera and put it on you. I want you to turn to somebody and say, "You have not seen God's best yet". Grab him by the arm and shake them and say, "I said, you have not seen, you need to handle him and see. You have no idea. Eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard, neither has it entered into your thoughts what God has planned for them that love him. He wants to give it to you. He wants to take you to it". Well, I feel the call of God in this room on somebody who's listening to me, and you have no idea what God's about to do in your life. But we're gonna look, we're gonna see the before and after shot of you and you're going to stand there and scratch your head and say, "it all happened when I heard him challenge me, Handle me".
Get ahold of the word again. Get ahold of prayer until tears are strea... get ahold of fasting again. Get ahold of worship. I mean, not just in church, but in your car and in your house, in your apartment, in your workplace. "Handle me and see". Because anything He's done before, He can do again. If he's ever brought you victory before, He can do it again. If He's ever set you free before, He can do it again. If He's ever opened doors for you, He can do it again. If He's ever healed your body, He can do it again. Anything that He's done before, He can do again.
Three things, two or three, depending on how long I feel like preaching. Number two, anything He's done anywhere else, He can do it right here. Because He's standing right here. The Holy Spirit, through the eyes of faith, are standing in every church, right at the front of it, and He's saying, "Come handle me and see what I can do with that family. See what I can do with that mistake. See what I can do with that bad choice. See what I can do with that busted marriage. See what I can do". And anything He's done anywhere else, He can do it right here. And anything He's done for anybody else, He can do it for you.
Every once in a while, you need to step back and remember, and I want to close with this story. It's one of my favorite stories in preaching that I tell. I've told it before. "Well, I've heard that before". Well, you know, if you go look at the Mississippi River, I saw it 30 years ago when I preached the Natchez, Mississippi, in different places. I went by and saw the river. I ate on a riverboat one time. But just because I've seen the river, if I go back today, I could say, "I see that. I see the Mississippi River". But really, it's not. It's all fresh water.
And just because you've heard this little part of the sermon, don't sit there, "Well, I've heard this part". Well, all the water has changed around you. And maybe you weren't open to what I'm saying then, but in this very moment it might be, the angel has touched the water again. I said all that so I can use the same thing again and feel good about it. Well, you get up here and try to come up with something new every week. Let's see how you do. I'll be glad to change. But this is one of my favorite mind pictures. A little boy goes into a candy store. There's a big barrel of candy and the owner watches him and sees a little dirty face, little dirty hands. It's pretty obvious the kid is by himself, and he doesn't have any money. He's just staring at her, looking at the candy in the candy barrel. The owner walks over, and the proprietor says, "Son, do you want some candy? Just reach in here get you a handful".
The little boy just looked up, little smutty face with dirt all over, looked down, didn't do anything. He said, "No son, I know. You don't have to pay me. It's okay. Just reach in there and get you a handful". He just looked up, looked at the man, looked back down at the barrel. Finally, the owner just kind of got frustrated with him and reached down, took his hands, picked up all the candy and said, "Hold your hands out". He held his hands out and he filled his hands. Candy dropping everywhere. He's having to put in his pockets and his hands and just turns around and starts to leave. He says, "Wait a minute". The owner said, "Wait a minute". He said, "Why didn't you take the candy out of the barrel when I told you? I told you could have, it's free". He said, "Your hands are bigger than my hands, mister".
I'm tired of dipping my little hands in the favor of God and in the blessing of God and in the provision of God and in the power of God. I've seen what my hands can do, but I'm ready to see what God's hands, He said, "Look at my hands. Just when you think I've blessed you all I can bless you". I feel this challenge hanging over this church. "Are you ready to go to another place? Are you ready to reach like you, are you ready to go to places? Look at my feet. I want to take you to some divine appointments. Handle me and see". Accept and receive the magnitude of what God wants to do for you. And I want to talk to all you silver heads haired and all, you no hairs, and I'm one of you. It would be okay for me right now, at 60 years of age, to just kick back and say, "I'm 60 and sliding for home. And I ought to just relax these next 15 years". But I'm telling you, this message is more than a message for you.
If I'm not preaching to nobody else, the Lord spoke to me this week and he said, "Hey, what you going to do with the next decade of your life? I wish you'd come handle me and see. I wish you'd look at my hands again like you did when you were a 20-year-old evangelist, and you didn't have nothing. Nothing. Nothing. But you started handling me. You started handling prayer and fasting. You started handling worship. You started handling, you spent the night in the church with two or three friends who were musicians, and y'all played all night learning new songs. You turned into, you were crazy. You looked at my hands and you believe that, you started handling faith and you believed that I could take you out of Kenly, North Carolina to the world. I wish you'd get that again".
I heard Him say, "I wish you'd act that way again. I wish you'd quit acting like I've already done my best work in your life, and in your ministry, and in your family. I know some stuff has happened but get a fresh vision of my nail scarred hands. I'm still gonna give. I'm still gonna take. I'm still going to anoint. I'm still going to lead and I'm still going to bless like you've never seen before". Throw your head back, and say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, I receive it".