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Summary: 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.

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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.

I want you to muster up all the imagination you have after a long winter and picture with me a beautiful, sunny summer day with temperatures in the 80’s. After church you’re across the street at the park with your little child swinging on the swings and playing in the sand box. Suddenly you here the clanging of a bell! You look up, and lo and behold there is a an old fashion ice cream truck selling ice cream cones, fudge and cream sickles. You look over at your little one and tell them you’ll be right back as you make your way over the 30’ or so to the truck, while keeping that ever watchful eye on your child. You hand the man the money for the two treats and make your way back to the sandbox where your little one is happily playing.

But as you bend down to give the delicious treat to you child you see that their mouth is full of sand. Where you intended to put a delicacy, they have put sand.

The question however is, do you love your child with sand in their mouth? It’s a silly question, isn’t it? Of course you love them! Are they any less your child with sand in their mouth? Of course not! But your next step is an obvious one; there is no way you’re going to allow them to keep sand in their mouth. You love your child right with sand in their mouth, but you refuse to leave them that way. So you carry them over to the water fountain and wash out their mouth. Why? Because you love them!

God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain and says, “Spit out the dirt, I’ve got something better for you” And so he cleanses us of the filth, the immorality, the dishonesty, the prejudice, the bitterness, and the greed. We don’t enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream, “I can eat dirt if I want to!” we pout and proclaim.

Which is true, we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. God has a better offer and if you are going to grow in your walk, you must be willing to allow God to help you to get the dirt out of your mouth so He can give you something so much better.

After being baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 3:22), Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil and then returns to his hometown of Nazareth in Galilee in the power of the Spirit. His family, friends, and neighbors were anxious to see Him, because news about him doing miracles had spread through the whole countryside, and He was now somewhat of a celebrity. And so on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom and He stood up to read.

Now there was probably an air of expectation and a sense of anticipation.

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him”. Luke 4:18-19.

And then He said something that literally blew their socks off, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." V.21

They went ballistic! Both Matthew and Mark record their response;

"Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" 55"Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" 57And they took offense at him.

But why? If we look at what Jesus said to them, we can begin to see that they likewise had dirt in their mouths and God wanted to help them get it out.

By using this text out of Isaiah, 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. In fact the word for “poor” is the same word Jesus used in the first beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matt. 5:3 (In other words, those who see their need) We might say that these people went to church, but that they were morally and spiritually bankrupt; praising God on the outside, but doing totally ungodly things on the inside.

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