February 7, 2021
Sermon Title: God Loves You the Way You Are--BUT
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Scripture Reading: Luke 4:18-19
Scripture Text: Luke 4:18-19
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
God loves you just the way you are, BUT He refuses to leave you that way. If you are going to grow in your walk, you must be willing to allow God to help you to change, to be more and more like Jesus.
Jesus hits on 4 main types of people that need God's help.
The 1st are the "poor". Jesus said He came to preach good news to the poor. The word poor can cover poverty of every kind, but in this context, it's referring to something much deeper than financial poverty. Jesus was referring to their moral and spiritual poverty.
The 2nd type of person is the prisoner. Now there were no prisoners in Nazareth, but the word for prisoner in this context means "prisoner of war", and Jesus saw how these people he new well were under spiritual bondage and prisoners of things like money (Matt. 19:1-10); guilt (Matt. 7:41-50) and a whole host of other things. Satan had a stronghold in their lives and they didn't even know it (Matt. 8:26-39).
The 3rd type of person Jesus talks about is the blind. There were not only those who were physically blind, but as 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
In fact, Jesus used it again to explain Paul's ministry to Him: "I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." Acts 26:17-18. Jesus was showing them the blindness they had to see their own need.
The 4th type of person is the oppressed, which means "broken in pieces, shattered and crushed". Jesus came to those whose lives were squashed by life's crushing load and couldn't see a way out.
And so Jesus in one full swoop announces His ministry and proclaims His mission. "I have come for your spiritual poverty, your spiritual bondage, your spiritual blindness and your spiritual brokenness".
One of the most successful programs to help people with their chronic struggles has been the 12 step program. All 12 step recovery programs start essentially the same way:
Step 1: I admit to myself that something is seriously wrong in my life.
Step 2: Is a step of hope, faith and realization.
Step 3: Is a step of letting go and relinquishment.
Sometimes, we get in the way of coming to or relinquishing our lives into the hands of God. Yes, God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.
If you are going to grow in your walk, you must be willing to allow God to help you to change, to get the dirt out of your mouth, to be more and more like Jesus.
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