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"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

Reaching Out to the Sick

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on July 13, 2014

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 A sermon given on Luke 10:1-20

Reaching Out to the Sick Transcription

Reaching out to the sick

The Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

Happy feast of the apostles! We celebrated yesterday the feast of the apostles.

So lately I've been, when you watch the news is all this (like) drama going on in the news about immigration and what's happening in Iraq and Syria and all the stuff and the headline almost of every news article is being humanitarian: like it's inhumane to allow all these kids who were at the border kind of living there and the country is being inhumane. And then it talks about people who are inhumane at what's going on in Iraq and they're slaughtering people's heads at doing all kinds of crazy stuff and every title of every news article is how people are inhumane. And I began to think like “What about the church, what about the church?”

Let's imagine that you were dying of cancer and somebody introduced you to a special doctor who had a special medicine and this has been the only discoverable medicine for this type of cancer. And all of a sudden, all those who were around and you yourself have given up on life, you’ve despaired even of life and all of a sudden you take the medicine and you begin every day to get better, and change, and get healthier and stronger.

Now imagine if you could buy that medicine and just keep it with you just in case. And you buy the medicine, you keep it in your pocket and you go about life and you go to work and you see other people with the same type of disease. You look at them, you say “They're dying”. And then you go to your neighbors, and your neighbors invite you over for dinner and you hear they have the same disease and you look and you say “Man, this disease is terrible!” And then you go to the supermarket and the person that's there is trying to help you and they're starting to tell you about how their life is empty and they’re depressed and they're anxious and all these things and you say “What a shame!” And you go home, you cook dinner, you eat your dinner, you go to sleep. You go back to work, you meet new people with the same disease and you keep on going every day and you’re encountering people with the same disease and you just look at them and say “What a shame that there's no healing for this disease!”

But you had the disease! You had the disease and you’ve been healed of the disease: the disease of sin in your life, the disease of death, the sentence of death is in each and every one of us and anybody, who has accepted Christ has been baptized into Christ, you eat of His flesh, drink of His blood, has been healed!

But yet we have this medicine we keep in my pocket and they look to the whole world? That's inhumane. To me, that's inhumane that you could find a whole church of people with the medicine in their pocket seeing everybody perishing and you have the medicine! The medicine is in your pocket and you don't give it to them. That's inhumane!  That's inhumane! Unless you don't believe that you're healed, unless you don't believe that that medicine can do anything for you or for anyone else, of course you keep it in your pocket! But if you knew that you had this potion that could heal someone, you’d give it to them knowing that there is an endless supply of it you’d give it to everyone. And it's cheap, actually it’s not cheap it's free! It's FREE! You say “No, I can't do it.”

Why is it that the church doesn't preach? I'm not talking about the church and here I preach every Sunday but I'm talking about the church, we are the church, we are the church. You know recently God has been bringing a lot of people to the church. Maybe in the last month we baptized maybe six, seven, eight people, adults. “Wow!” And I began to think is it really wow? We have three thousand members. Three thousand members brought eight people?

No, that's not wow. That’s “Shame on us!” What do you mean only eight people came to the kingdom of God? What do you mean only eight people came to the kingdom of God? What does that mean? Somebody's not doing their job, somebody's not doing their job that only eight people.

What's amazing is that the gospel said today “The harvest is truly great but the laborers are few” “The harvest is great but the laborers are few.” Do you know what that means? It means that there are thousands and thousands and thousands of people outside of these doors that are waiting to knock down the doors of the church and there are not enough people to manage the traffic to bring them in! But it’s the opposite!

We have thousands of people within the church and we all believe that (like) there might be one somewhere out there that might believe in Jesus. Maybe someone in the world is going to believe in Jesus. What's wrong with us? Is your Jesus (like) weak? Is your Jesus dead? Is your Jesus poor? Is your Jesus (like) not divine? Who is your Jesus that God is calling seventy two disciples and He sends them out and He says “Don't worry, no one's going to harm you. And I will give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions.” He’s saying you’re going to go and you're going to trample them. You’re going to go look for them and you’re going to trample the enemy. “I've made the enemy this big (small). Go destroy him. Go on the offense go out and destroy the enemy that when the whole world looks and they say “There is light coming out of this building!”

The harvest truly is great but I think, I think that possibly the church might believe that there really is nobody out there that would accept Jesus, there's nobody out there that would do it so we won't do it. The amount of people that are hungry to know God in this world (like) just because of the way I look people stop me in the middle of the mall and just tell me their world their life’s problems. Look lady, I don’t even know who you are. I'm a crazy guy, I look weird I know! But she wants to tell me her problems. Why? Because the world is thirsty!

And so now Christ is saying I’m coming to quench the thirst of the world! People looking for love in all types of ways, physical love in all types of ways, emotional love, through the internet through whatever you like. Really, is that love? People are finding love through chat rooms on the Internet! There's no other love in the world to be given other than chat rooms on the Internet? You know why? They have the Silent Generation. They have the Silent Generation. Everybody’s silent. There's a silent way to preach but that’s not the way that we're preaching. St. Anthony - one great hunter came before him, and he told Saint Anthony give me a spiritual word. St. Anthony didn't say anything. He said this is the great St. Anthony that everybody talks about?! He says “If you can't learn from my silence you'll never learn from my words!”

And he's talking about the virtue that is (like) radiating out of him, the glory of God that is seen even in his quietness. But I don't think we have that quietness. We have the quietness of fear. We have the quietness “I won’t share with anybody because what if somebody rejects me?” If they reject, even Christ said, “If they reject you, they reject Me… Don't be afraid, I'm with you.”

And you read this whole passage and the whole passage is as if Christ is talking to people on his team: and we have a goal, and we have a mission and we're all on the same team together and I am going to give you special powers, you will cast out demons in My Name. What? Me? I was just a Joe Shmo, (like) fishermen. I (like) I never did anything in my whole life and all of a sudden I'm going to cast out demons? I was just an average guy who doesn’t know how to do anything.

“I'm going to give you power!”

We have a whole hungry world out there. You know we you say “But Abouna, I don't have (like) the gift of preaching.” All the readings had the word of preaching in it today. I don't have the gift of preaching, it’s a special gift. Some people have a special gift. I’m going to read a passage from Saint Paul. Saint Paul went to Corinth and the people of Corinth were intellectuals they were all people of philosophy and they all had big minds and they all were very intellectual. And Saint Paul when he went there in 1st Corinthians chapter two he said this,

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.”

So if you feel like you're weak, perfect, you’re at the Saint Paul level. And fear and trembling? You're like Saint Paul! St. Paul would (like) stutter when he’d talk to these people who are (like) very intellectual, very knowledgeable, very he would just be like - You know, Jesus Christ, He died on a cross. Of course, to tell people that Jesus Christ died on a cross and you’re going to tell me the worship Him? What foolishness is this? But then He says what?

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

You want to experience the power of God in your life? Go out on a limb. There's one person in your life that needs to hear the gospel. There is one person. I am not going to tell you go to the world, there's one person that needs to hear the gospel. And that one person that your eyes have caught and are aware of is going to be, their name is going to be in your book of life. Whether it be they heard the gospel and they responded or they heard the gospel and didn’t respond or they didn't hear the gospel from your mouth. And it's going to be held, we are going to be held accountable.

“That person, why do you think I gave you a promotion and put you in that office? You have no qualities to be in this job but I put you there to be a testimony to the whole world.”

Do you have to be a great preacher? St. Paul says “I came to you in weakness, in fear and in trembling.” If you have no talent you're hired. I want you. Why? Because in demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God. Then you don't say “Wow I have a gift, I’m very convincing.” No, no, no. Even St. Paul says “We weren’t peddling the Word of God. We weren’t trying to (like) manipulate you with the Word of God.” I'm going to give it to you as it is and I believe that God is willing to use any person any “dumb-dumb”, any person that doesn't know anything, if you just spit it out it’s going to come, I promise. People will accept.

You want to know what’s so sad is that the whole world doesn't know is like misjudging Christianity? Because it doesn't know any Christians. The world isn’t seeing Christians. It doesn't feel like anybody's been healed of any disease or has been saved of anything. Like, what's the big deal? All you people you're not even convinced about your own Jesus and you want me to do it and you’re going to give me bunch of rules to follow? Keep it for yourself.

But if you have received new life, if you've been set free, if you've been healed, if you've been given life, something different. The church is telling us why did you fast the apostles fast in this last 35 days? It's called the fast of the Holy Spirit the fast of the Holy Spirit where you were fasting and denying yourself and praying so that you would be filled with the Holy Spirit and then you would go out. And then when you go out, look out world, Christians are coming through! The Christians are coming through!

It was a time in the early church where people would say “I met a Christian today.” Like, it was a big deal. I met a Christian today. It was something like somebody smiled at me now I got to experience what it means or to meet a Christian. It was something so precious. I didn’t meet a judge. I didn’t meet a hypocrite, I met a Christian, somebody that wants to be like Jesus, someone that wants to follow Jesus.

The church is sick. The church is sick. That we could possibly have thousands of members and we rejoice over 10 converts in a year. What is that? What is that? What is that? Somebody is not doing their job. Somebody doesn't believe in their Jesus, somebody is not working alongside the power of the Holy Spirit. Somebody's got to have it. Don’t tell me out of three thousand people somebody doesn't have it. Somebody has it in this church.

I believe it. I believe it that when I read the book of Acts and your normal people who are running away from persecution were preaching the gospel, those people we're preaching the gospel. What about us filled with the Holy Spirit, educated, safe in these walls? Nobody is going to kill you when you walk outside of this church. But yet I keep my medicine in my pocket, shhh, mums the word! Nobody's going to hear, nobody's going to know.

I pray that the church would be healed of this sickness. This is a sickness. You agree or not? Is it a sickness or not? It's a sickness. We should repent. We should repent at this altar that the whole world is perishing, shhh mums the word, I’m not going to say anything. We should repent.

Today in the liturgy we're going to be before the altar, Christ on His throne, Holy Spirit descending upon us, you're going to receive a Pentecost. When Abouna changes the bread and the wine he says “May your Holy Spirit descend upon us and upon these gifts.” So if you believe that the bread and wine is going to change into the body and blood you should believe that you will change, the Holy Spirit will come upon, and then go.

Let's spend this liturgy repenting. We need to repent. You agree or not agree? You agree or not agree? We need to go out, we need to preach the Word of God. The whole world needs to be breaking down our doors and say “A fifty thousand-person church isn’t big enough!”

There's a church in North Korea, one million people. They're all Buddhists. The church has one million people, 1 million believers and they're very ascetic. They have something called the prayer mountain in North Korea, people just rent caves and they spend weeks in these caves praying for the world. A million people in one church.

But we're celebrating that five people were baptized, arggh, and I think Jesus is saying the same thing arggh! Everybody should say give me Your Spirit. If I preach, not with my words, I preach with my virtue, my life. And if I don't have the tools and I can't do it I will bring people to the people that can do it. I’ll say “You know what, come speak to this person I want you to hear something they have to tell you. I love you and I want you to hear the secret that Abouna has to share with you or these servants have to share with you. I want you to hear the secret.

Go and do the will of God and Christ is sending you and he says nobody will hurt you. You’re on my team and I'll give you authority. Do you know what authority means? Authority means what I say goes. My authority, what I say goes. Devil you be quiet, you have no power here! You have no power as long as I'm here you have no power. That's what we have. That's what we have as the church. Let's wake up. The church needs to be healed. Let’s come in repentance. Ask God really to receive the Holy Spirit. The tools are here. Let's be transformed!

 Glory be to God forever and ever. Amen.