I think that Pentecostal people and holiness people were trained to pray wrong; they were trained to speak in tongues wrong. It had to be on a crying note to be effective. But thank the Lord He's letting people know that they can be happy even when they're talking to him. One of the biggest areas of education that I have in my office is retraining people to pray with a smile on their face and a smile in their heart. We have been talking about God's golden key. Jesus is God's golden key. "If He loved us enough to give us His own Son how much more with Him will He freely give us all things?" Thank God for Jesus. Praise the Lord.
I am constantly asked on the telephone if it would be ok to ask God for angelic visitations. So I quote them the word that comes from God's heart and that is, "seek not an angel. An angel cannot abide within you. An angel cannot receive your prayers. An angel cannot accept your worship but you have one within you greater than all of the angels. One who invites your prayers, one who desires your worship and one who will never leave you." The Holy Spirit is taking Jesus and glorifying Him in us. When Jesus went away He said when the Holy Spirit is come He will glorify Me. He won't speak for Himself. So when you sense that surge of divine life that's brought to you by the power of the Holy Ghost, Jesus is being glorified within you. His life is being transmitted to you. That's the life of Jesus.
God's highest goal for us is that we be like Jesus. So many have gotten the wrong view for the coming of the Holy Spirit. There are some who think the highest purpose of the Holy Spirit is to give them power to do some things, power even to speak in a way that they could not speak otherwise. But God tells us; Jesus Himself told us that when He, the Holy Spirit has come to you He will give you power to be like Me. You say where is that verse found? Acts 1:8. Is that what that says? Well maybe the words are a little different but that's what He's saying. You shall be witnesses unto Me. Now what He's really saying is when people see you they will know that I am alive because my nature is beaming out from you. My life is within you.
The highest purpose of the coming of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus in our lives. That beautiful fruit of the Spirit that Paul spoke of in Galatians 5:22, he said the nature of Jesus that the Spirit grows in you is this: love, joy, peace, gentleness, longsuffering, goodness, meekness, faith. He refers to these things. He said there is no law on earth or in heaven that's against a person being like Jesus. That is what God wants us to be. To be like Jesus. The golden key that He's given to us gives us power. Literally it's a key to become like Him the Holy Spirit forming and embodying the likeness of Jesus within us. Hallelujah. He's with us, he's within us, He's around us, and he's close to us.
Last night we received a call from Washington D.C. and the planning is going on right now to bring this message of what God is really like to our nation's capital. Praise God. Books are being ordered for all of the congressman and all of the senators. And men in high places are hearing and they're talking about what the Lord is doing and I am to receive a call this week stating what date they have been able to reserve the constitution hall. They say that is the biggest meeting hall in Washington D.C. for this meeting. Praise God.
Did you know that you have a room inside of you where the real you lives. It's a room that your friends cannot invade. It's a room that members of your family cannot go into. It's a room where you face those dark realities that trouble you. And the world today is visiting the little rooms inside of themselves and are feeling pains of emptiness and loneliness. One of the reasons for what God is doing in the world today is to answer that cry within the human heart. If I were to take all of the needs that have been brought to me in my praying with people and counseling, one need would have a stack that would far exceed all of the rest and that would be the condition of loneliness that exists within people. Those that you look at that look like they are the happiest, that have the biggest smile, that can laugh, those who seem to have everything going for them when they retreat into that little room and they look at themselves where the real them lives there's a cry in emptyness.
The world is sick today with a plague, with an epidemic of loneliness. We have talked about the other keys; the other needs that the Lord has ministered to and met. And today we're going to talk about this key for just a few moments here ... this key, God's answer to that loneliness down deep inside. Even believers as they go inside that little room find themselves so lonely even though they have a family around them, they have friends but there are occasions when they cannot even take their family or there friends. The world is dying of loneliness. Thank God for that beautiful word, shall He not with Him also freely provide the answer to this hurting need? Praise God.
I think of some of the songs that have been written by people who have felt the weight and the hurt of these needs. I was thinking of one this morning. "Somebody knows when your heart aches and everything seems to go wrong. Somebody knows when your shadows need chasing away with a song. Somebody knows when you're weary, tired, discouraged and blue. Somebody wants you to love Him and to know that He dearly loves you." There's another one that I'll try out on you. "Does Jesus care when my heart is pained to deeply for mirth and song? Oh yes He cares, I know He cares His heart is touched with my grief. Though the way seems weary and the long nights dreary I know my Savior cares. You'll find Jesus, He's the one who always cares and understands. Standing somewhere in the shadows you'll find Jesus and you will know him by the nail prints in His hands."
And I realize that in our service for God there are many times of tremendous joy, exuberance, times when it seems as though we would explode with the dynamite of God's presence. But following those times like the man Elijah who ran in front of the chariot for 27 miles. And then he just finally started crying before God and he said God let me die. He was so glad God didn't answer his prayer. In fact I don't even think the Lord listened to that prayer. The Holy Spirit changed the wording a little bit and said, "God I'm lonesome, I need your care, I need some help." But the man that was so exuberant had a real let down. I wonder if this is still true today. I wonder how many of you have times occasionally when you wonder where the fire and the flash and the joy have gone. Does anybody here ever have any letdowns? There are a few in the balcony that haven't had but everybody else. That's why they sit up so high. They're on a high all the time up there. But this is the reason why God said I have an answer for you.
I have a key for you, Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. He is the one that can be with us when as those disciples were so exuberant with Him and the songs were songs of triumph but then Jesus was the One also who went with them in those low places. He stood by Mary in the garden when the tears were filling her eyes. She didn't even recognize Him.
I'm going to give you three P's this morning. The first one is the predicament. This whole world is really in a predicament. There's this disease of loneliness. The second point is Promise. God made a promise to us. He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you, therefore even when you may be feeling kind of down you can boldly say the Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man may do to me." Matthew 28:20. He said you're going out to work for me, you're going to get into a lot of problems and troubles but I am with you always. God gave us a key. He gave us the answer to the lonely heart. Jesus never, ever leaves. You may think He does but He never, ever leaves. The third P is for performance. Did He do what He said He would do? Did He perform? We could have a thousand testimonies from people here of how God has performed. You could think of those real low times in your life when you stood by the bedside of one that you loved and you wondered whether He would really prove that as your day is so your strength shall be but He proved it to you He was with you. Mark 16:20, the Word tells us that the disciples did what Jesus told them to do. He said, "go out there into the entire world and preach the gospel and lo I am with you always." So they went out and what do you think they found? Jesus was with them. And that verse Mark 16:20 said they found the Lord right there with them just like He was before working with them performing, confirming His word with signs following.
When Jesus is there signs follow. It's wonderful to have the evidences that He's there. But this is one of the dangers that we have. We know what God can do and we've watched Him at work but so often we turn our eyes towards a sign and we start following the signs and we think that we're just about there, we have learned all of the words and the routine to get that sign to happen and that sign somehow or another turns into the will of the wisp. And we can't get it; it's like a firefly before our eyes. But he tells us if we walk with Jesus, He says don't look now but something is following you, signs of his presence. Jesus is here. Jesus is with you.
Do you know that God would a whole lot rather have you following Jesus and let the signs be where He intended them to be having them following you. It gives you a lot more answers, a lot more of a key to the problems of this life when you follow Jesus. Mark 6:45-52. This is going to be the message this morning right here. He did perform the thing that He said He would do. And if you have a pencil or a pen be sure to do some underlining here because this is some real good stuff, right here. "And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida. And when He sent them away he departed into a mountain to pray and evening came, the ship was in the midst of the sea and he was alone on the land. And he saw them toiling and rowing." Underline that. He saw them toiling. Does that say anything to you? You're out there and you wonder if He's paying any attention to you and the storm and everything to you is contrary to you. And He saw them toiling for the wind was contrary to them. Everything that they tried to do there just seemed to be failure and frustration it was contrary to them. At about the fourth watch of the night He came to them walking upon the sea and would have passed by them, why do you suppose He would have passed by them? Do you think he really would have? He was playing a little trick on them I think. He knows us and He loves to hear us call Help. So He got close enough to them where they could see Him but the disciples were very superstitious and do you know that our biggest problems come by the things that aren't real, things that we just suppose.
Have you ever been troubled by things that you were just supposing and you found out why did I get myself into such a stew? The thing wasn't real at all, I just supposed. And our fears were supposing all the time and here their fears suddenly got so bad. They thought they saw a ghost, a spirit. It's a spirit out here. People aren't afraid of people but they're sure afraid of spirits. So He passed by them and he wanted them to call out to Him. When they saw Him walking upon the sea they supposed it had been a spirit and they cried out, "Lord if you're anywhere within the sound of our voices would you please come and save us from this spirit?"
Little do people realize that Jesus comes oftentimes garbed and veiled in our fears, in our problems. Just like with Mary. He stood there, right before her. She thought He was the gardener. But Jesus came; Jesus came to them when they cried. For they all saw Him and were troubled and immediately He talked with them. And He gave the words to them that could only come from the heart of God. Do you know that this is the same message that God is bringing to the world today, be of good cheer I am in control. He's looking; people thought He had forgotten them but they're toiling with the rowing. Don't worry He's watching. He's watching you and He comes.
He comes oftentimes in what seems to be the dark hour, in the storm, the thing that is hurting and went up to them into the ship and the wind ceased and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure. That means they couldn't quite contain themselves. Measure means you could only hold so much. But they were amazed beyond measure, they were acting like a bunch of silly kids because Jesus was there, the storm was over. But that wasn't all that they needed, they needed to get across. Jesus said, "I want to go across to the other side." But the disciple thought He had changed their orders suddenly and said I want you to go to the bottom. But when He came into the boat they had the beautiful experience of divine transportation. Immediately when He got in the ship, zing, they were there where they needed to go. And we sometimes say oh it's such a long way, the thing that I need to accomplish I just don't know how it could ever happen but when Jesus comes on the scene He has a way of pulling all of the distance out. God's golden key and He's put Him into our hearts. He's around us, He's watching us. Jesus is God's answer to loneliness, the greatest plague in the whole world. God has given us the answer in Jesus.
I think of the time when He came to the leper and the leper was cleansed and he thought I'd never get better, I thought I would never get rid of this stuff. I remember when Sharon was about 4 years old. She came home and we use to like to ask, "What was the Sunday School lesson about?" She said, "It was about that poor man." I said, "What was the matter with him?" She said, "You know that poor man that had seeds all over him." I thought seeds all over him, what kind of lesson is this that the Sunday school teacher is teaching. I couldn't imagine what they were teaching. She said, "There were leper seeds all over him. Well this poor man that came to Jesus had leper seeds all over him." He probably wondered if there would be anytime in this life where he could have this experience. But Jesus the same one that came when He saw those disciples came to the leper and the time frame changed. The circumstances change when Jesus comes. Look what happened at that boat. The sun came out, the clouds pushed back; it was a beautiful day because Jesus came. I think of the blind man as they sat there in a little world of their own because they could not see, crying out, "Jesus, Jesus you've come, do you have a key for us?" He says, "I do," He slipped his key into the latch of those locked lids and they can see. He had the answer.
The important thing is this. He still comes, He still sees you toiling with the rowing, where it's so hard. It seems like you have a rougher row than anybody but Jesus sees. His presence is that beautiful key. That key when you cry out, "oh God are you there?" He says, "I am here, I will answer, I am here." And there are those hard times in your life. Isaiah 43:1-2, he tells us we are not going to escape some pretty rough times in spite of what we'd like to think. He says, "You're going to have some water to go through, you may have some rivers to cross." But when Jesus is with you the real hurt is gone because the real need is having Him there. You read it in Isaiah 43, "When you pass through the waters I will be with you, through the rivers they will not overflow you, when you walk through the fire neither shall the flame kindle upon you because I am with you.
When Paul spoke of it in Corinthians 2, He said, "We're often perplexed because we often don't know why things happen as they do. But we do know this. That though we're knocked down we're not knocked out. We can rise up and keep going again because He is with us. In Romans 8 he said, "I am persuaded that there is nothing that will ever be invented that can separate me from the love of God." Still he comes, oh think of the value of Jesus being with you. Some of you have just experienced the valley of death because of a loved one that is gone but it was such a comfort to David when he could say, "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," had he not been able to say, "You are with me" he would have really been in trouble. He would have said, "Why go into that valley of the shadow of death. All darkness is going to cave in on me and the uncertain sounds of something that I have never known torments and darkness that I have never been through before. But instead of worrying about that he could say, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me."
You know what happens when Jesus is with you? He turns the real fears into shadows. Have you ever considered how little harm a shadow could actually do to you? If I had a sword up here with a light behind it and I swung that sword through Mike and that shadow reached out and went right through his neck, he could twist his neck around and his head wouldn't roll off. He would be unscathed cut clean through with a shadow. A shadow can't hurt you. A shadow of a sword can't cut; a shadow of a dog can't bite you. The shadow of these things that lurk in our lives cannot hurt us. "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no death." Remember this. That you may go through the shadow but it takes something to produce a shadow. It takes light to produce a shadow and as you walk through the shadow, the great light of heaven is waiting for you. Jesus is your light. I will fear no evil for You are with me. Praise God.