Matt Hagee - Just Say the Word
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Today, we turn to Matthew's gospel, the 8th chapter, and we see where this kind of life of hope and confidence comes from. And by God's grace and the anointing of his Holy Spirit, give you the opportunity to leave here today living this life that Christ came for you to receive, life more abundantly. If you found Matthew 8:5, say, amen. Let's read together:
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, pleading with him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented". And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him". And the centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word", say that again, "But only speak a word and my servant will be healed. For I am also a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'go,' and he goes: and I say to another, 'come,' and he comes: and to my servant, 'do this,' and he does it". And when Jesus heard this, he marveled, and he said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel".
Heavenly Father, let this sanctuary today be a place that is filled with great faith, because we put our great faith in a great God who never fails. Let us hear the word today and do it, because in putting our faith to action, we can move mountains of impossibility and receive answers beyond our ability to contain. In Jesus' name, we ask these things. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. Of all of the miracles that you read in the gospels, I believe that this miracle is the one that is most univerSally applicable. When you read of certain situations and circumstances, it's easy to see how Jesus did what he did for those to whom he did it. It's easy to see why he healed the blind man who happened on the same road that Jesus was walking on. And therefore, you take yourself out of the equation, because you're not on the road and you're not blind. It's easy to see how he healed this person or that person, and immediately say, "Well it was the circumstance that caused the situation to occur the way it did". But this miracle is something that you can have in your life today. Why? Because this miracle was created by great faith. And great faith is something that you need to know about. Why? Because we read in Matthew's gospel that when Jesus heard this, he was absolutely astounded. The Bible says, "He marveled".
Now let me tell you something. When you impress the Son of God, you're kind of impressive. I mean, it's one thing to impress a natural man. But when you impress the man who made all things, who can do all things, who knows all things: I mean, when you do something that makes Jesus go, "Wow". You know, there are times when I know people think that they've sinned big enough to cause God shock. But I mean, I don't know anybody who knows that they've done anything like this. And here Jesus looks and he marvels. Wow! "I have not found so great a faith". Now why did Jesus call it, "Great faith". In several of his miracles, he said to individuals, "Your faith". But here, he does not call it just faith: he says, it's great faith. Why was it great faith? What you need to know about faith is that everybody has faith in something.
Every one of you who are sitting down have faith in the chair that you're sitting in. You believe it's going to hold you up. That's why you have put your faith into action and you are on your posterior. Otherwise, you'd be bouncing up and down, waiting for it to break. Everybody's got faith in something. But great faith only comes when you put your faith in a great thing. It's not your faith that makes it great: it's the object that you're faith is in that makes it great. So when you put your faith in the fickle things of this earth, indeed that's your faith, but it's not great faith. But when you put your faith in the Word of God that does not return void, now you have great faith. Why? Because the Word of God is alive, and it is powerful, and it was sharper than any two-edged sword, and it will not fail you. If you want to have great faith today, put your faith in the Word of God.
So let's understand a little bit about the interaction between the centurion and Jesus. A centurion soldier is a soldier who is in charge of an entire legion of Roman soldiers, up to a thousand soldiers under his command. Rome has sent this man from Italy, across the Mediterranean to Israel, and his purpose is to come to this region and make sure that nothing disrupts Roman law and Roman rule. Jesus Christ is an orthodox rabbi. He is living according to the law of Moses. This Roman is a pagan. He believes in many Gods. He's got idols on his mantle. He throws incense into fires and sacrifices to graven images. This guy is not the guy that you want to interview for a deaconship in your church. But here in Matthew 8, the centurion and Jesus have an encounter. And at the end of it, Jesus says this man has great faith.
Matthew 8 is at the end of a very long day's work for Jesus Christ. Why? Because Matthew 8:1 says that when he had come down from the mountain, a great multitude followed him. Matthew 8:5 says, "When he had entered Capernaum". So the mountain that he had to be on had to be within walking distance of Capernaum. And when you go to Capernaum, you see mountains and hillsides all around. So when did Jesus go up on the mountain? Well, you have to go all the way back to chapter 5, because in Matthew 5, the Bible says, "Jesus, seeing a great multitude, went up on the mountain and was seated, and he opened up his mouth and he taught them".
So in Matthew 5, Jesus wakes up, he sees a bunch of people who want to hear the word. He walks outside the city of Capernaum. He goes up a hillside. He sits down and he talks to these people. He turned a hillside into a sanctuary. We call it "The Sermon on the Mount". It was just one lesson. And in this crowd, in this multitude, is a Roman centurion. Why? Because Israel has constantly rebelled against Rome. Israel believes, "Behold, o Israel, the Lord our God is one". Rome has many Gods. So Israel is going to resist Rome because they have very different biblical beliefs, and it is a political problem. Have you ever heard this story before? And so the oppressive government that has sent its agent, a Roman centurion, to the region is very interested in why this rabbi can get such a crowd together.
Why is he so persuasive? What is it about him that people want to know more about? And is he a problem that we have to solve? Or is he just somebody who's doing his own thing? So there in the crowd at the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5, 6 and 7, is a Roman centurion with his arms crossed, staring at the audience. And he begins to hear the word. It's wrapped in flesh. It's called Jesus. But the word starts to say things that the Roman can't reconcile. He hears, "Blessed are the peace makers". "Do not be angry without cause". "Do not look at a woman with lust in your heart". "If anybody slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other cheek". "And if they ask you to go one mile, then go two". "Love your enemies and bless those who curse you".
Trust me. If Jesus was trying to start a riot, he's doing a bad job. His message is so unorthodox that rather than rally the crowd against Rome, he tells them, "Love your enemies"? "Pray for those who persecute you"? This is why Pontius Pilate, whenever they brought him for trial, said, "I find no fault with this man". He's done nothing wrong. When he draws this message in Matthew to a close, he says something that resonates in the ears of the Roman. He says, "Seek first the kingdom", the what? "The kingdom". The Roman says, I may not have understood everything that he had to say before, but I know something about a kingdom. You see, I'm the agent of the kingdom of Rome in a foreign land. I don't have to hear Caesar to obey Caesar. I don't have to see Caesar to obey Caesar. I've been sent by Caesar with the authority of Caesar to do what Caesar wants done over here.
And so when Jesus says, "Seek first the kingdom," suddenly, the Roman finds a point of connection that he can understand. And what Jesus says is, "Seek first the kingdom... And his righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you". What he was telling the audience is do what the king says to do and you can have what the king has promised to give you. Now when Jesus finishes the message, he says, "Blessed is he who hears, and does", say that with me, "Blessed is he who hears, and does these sayings of mine". And then they will the story of the two builders. "For he will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock".
One of reasons why so many people live lives on sinking sand is not because they haven't heard the Word of God: it's because they haven't done what they've heard with the Word of God. James said it this way: "Faith without works is", what? "Dead". It doesn't exist. But when you put your faith to action, when you hear it and when you do it, that's when you receive the power from it. Oftentimes, people don't do the Word of God, because they say, "Well I just can't understand it," which is nothing more than a cheap, lame, and arrogant excuse. And if that offends you, good. Change. Why? Because the Bible is not to be understood: it is to be believed and obeyed.
Isaiah tells us, "As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways above your ways," which means you can't even begin to fathom why God does what he does, how he does what he does, when he does what he does. He's God: you're not! It's what I call "The because-i-said-so principle". When I was a child, I was the "Why" kid. Dad would give a directive, and I would go, "Why? Why? Why"? And some days, his patience was longsuffering, and he would give me about three why's. And some days, he was a little short-tempered, and he wouldn't give me a why. But any time it came down to the "What," you know what the what was? "Because I said so". And my understanding had very little to do with my obedience. My obedience was complete, because the consequences of disobedience were strong. But I could stay stupid and alive.
So if you don't understand it, that's just fine. Just make sure you obey it. Hear it and do it. This is where the centurion makes his case. He comes to Jesus and he says, Jesus, I don't understand everything about your kingdom, but I know what authority looks like, and you're a man who speaks with authority. You've been sent by someone to this region, you have the authority to do what he has sent you to do. Therefore, I have a servant who's at home and he's sick. And Jesus says, "I'll come and I'll heal him". And the Roman says, look: you've had a long day. You've been up there on a hillside. You don't even have to show up. Obviously, I'm paraphrasing, because some of you are looking for these exact words in your Bible. In the king's English, he says, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou should come". But the important thing that he says is "Just say the word".
If you are who you say you are, then you can do what you say you can do. So all you've got to do is just say it and it's done. And Jesus marvels. Jesus marvels. He says, "I haven't found such great faith". Why is it such great faith? It's great faith because the object of this great faith is the greatness of the Word of God. This man doesn't even want the flesh suit that the word is wearing. He didn't say, "Oh, please come quickly before my servant dies". Mary and Martha, when Jesus showed up at the grave of Lazarus, what did they say? "If you had only been here". If we'd only seen you. If we could have only touched you, if we could have only heard your voice, "Then Lazarus wouldn't have died".
This centurion's faith is greater than theirs, because he says, I don't even need you to take a step my direction: just open up your mouth, and whatever comes out of your mouth, that's what's going to happen at my house, because there's something powerful in the things that you say! Where did this faith come from? That's easy. The book of Romans says, "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God". All day long, he's been listening to the Word of God. And then he sees what the Word of God can do. And he puts his faith into action. And he simply says, "Just say the word".
Do you believe like that? Have you heard what the Word of God has to say? Have you seen what the Word of God can do? Have you seen the impossible made possible? Have you seen the broken restored? Have you seen the sinner redeemed? Then you've seen the power of the word, and now all you have to do is put your faith to work and allow the word to go to work for you! We get our focus on the flesh of Jesus rather than the word of Jesus. Understand when it says, "The word was made flesh," it wasn't the flesh that did the miracle: it was the word that did the miracle! That's why this is great faith, because he said, I don't need your skin: I need what's inside of it.
How many times have you heard people say, "Well, if I could see God"? You don't need to see God. You just need his word. Do you believe like that? If he says it, it's done. All he's got to do is speak the word over you, and whatever he says, you can have. If you believe like that, then this is a great day in your life, because I can tell you, based on what the Bible says, that Jesus Christ is right now seated at the right hand of God on the throne, and he is advocating for you. What does that mean? That means he's talking to God about you. He's saying things in heavenly places on your behalf today.
The book of Hebrews says that his blood is up there speaking a better word. The prophet said, "He calls those things that are not as though they were". That means that if you're sick today, and in heavenly places, he calls you healed, then sickness is defeated. That means if you're weak today, and in heavenly places, he said you're made strong, that weakness has to flee. If you're poor, and he calls you "Rich," then you have the wealth of heaven on your side. Child of God, if God says it, that settles it! If he said it, he'll do it! Give him a shout of praise!
And here's something that you need to understand. The word is constantly being sent, constantly. And the problem is not with its power. The problem is with the one who is intended to receive it. Isaiah, "My word that comes forth from my mouth will not return void". It has the power to do what I send it out to do. If it does not do what he sent it to do, it's because the one he sent it to didn't receive it.
How many of you've ever spent any time watching football? Go ahead, ladies, raise your hand. You watch a football game, and something happens in the defensive coverage, and there's an offensive player who's down field, and there's nobody within 20 yards. And he's going, "Throw me the ball". And the entire stadium sees him wide open. And what does the stadium do? They look at the quarterback and they go, "Throw him the ball". Throw him the ball. And you can't hardly stand it, because the quarterback's running for his life, and he's dodging this guy, and he's ducking that guy. And finally, he sees him. And he steps up and he lets it go. And when he lets it go, what does the stadium do? "Y-e-e-e-e-s"! And this wide-open guy is standing down here. And because he plays for the cowboys, he drops it. And what does the stadium do when he drops the ball? "Ah".
Now what was the problem? Was the problem with the sender? Or was the problem with the receiver? Now why do I use that analogy? Because the book of Hebrews says that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. That means that in heavenly places, there is a multitude watching the word get sent out from Cornerstone today. They're hearing the word about God's power to heal. They're hearing the word about God's power to provide. They're hearing the word about God's power to move mountains and conquer powers and principalities.
Whatever need is represented in this room today, the word is being sent out into your life. Now the question is: are you wide open to receive it? Are you going to drop it when it gets there? It's not God's job to get you to catch the ball! Don't drop what he's sending your way! You need healing. "He sent his word and he healed them". You need provision. My God shall supply all of my needs according to his riches in glory. You need deliverance. If you bind it on earth, it's bound in heaven. If you loose it on earth, it's loosed in heaven. Child of God, the word is being sent! Open your heart! Open your mind! Open your mouth and receive it today, in Jesus' name!
Psalm 107 says, "He sent his word and he healed them". He sent his word and he healed them. That's Psalm 107, concerning God's faithfulness to his children when they were in the wilderness. "He sent his word and he healed them". How consistent is God? Matthew 8, the centurion says, "Just send the word and it will be done". And the same word that was sent to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and the same word that was sent to the centurion's house in Matthew is the same word that's being sent into Cornerstone Church today.
So what am I saying? I'm saying, if it healed then, it'll heal now. If it moved then, it'll move now. If it broke through then, it will break through now. The word is being sent your way. Do not allow it to fall through your fingertips, but receive it today, and say, "God, this word is for me. God, this moment is for me. This touch from heaven is for me. I came in here with a diagnosis, but I'm walking out of here set free. I came in here underneath a heavy burden, but you've lifted that burden. You've broken that yoke. You've shattered that chain. I came in here lost and confused, but you're not the author of confusion. You're a God who makes a way where there seems to be no way". I don't know what you're facing today, but I know who's sending a word your way. And what he wants to tell you is if you'll believe in this word, if you'll obey this word, then you can leave here today set free: for whom the son sets free is free indeed! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!
Would you stand to your feet? With every head bowed and every eye closed here in the presence of the Lord, you say, pastor, there's a place in my life where I need the word to go to work. It's in my physical body. It's in my marriage. It's in my finances. There's something in my life where I need God to send his word today. And today, I'm going to put my faith into action and I'm going to ask him to do it. If that's you, would you raise your hand right where you are? So you've already admitted to me: pastor, there's a place where I need the word to go to work.
Now I'm challenging you. Put that faith into action and do what the Bible says, "Come into agreement with somebody in prayer". Somebody says, "Well I don't understand how that works". I've got good news. You don't have to understand it. God said so. All you have to do is obey it. But if you won't obey it, it won't work for you. We want you to know that today the Word of God has been sent and it's here to be received, in Jesus' name, in Jesus' name.