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Summary: Our knowledge and our faith should always be growing, expanding, as we look daily “as through a ‘glass darkly” until that time when God will reveal the answers to all our questions.

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LOVE THE SINNER

Terra Bella United Presbyterian Church August 8, 2010

Luke 11:14-28 1 John 3:11-15 James 1:5 Proverbs 22:6 I Samuel 17:45-46 Romans 12:9

I’m aware that speaking of demons and demon possession isn’t very popular in the Presbyterian Church. I’m also aware that preaching about divine healing and miracles is equally frowned on. Yet, I’m called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ risen. That Gospel happens to be found within the covers of the Bible where we also find much said about some unpopular things. So why are they unpopular?

In his book, “Miracles”, C. S. Lewis says, those whose faith is in science and experiments will learn “what regularly happens in Nature; the norm or rule to which she works. Those who believe in miracles are not denying that there is such a norm or rule; they are only saying that it can be suspended. A miracle is, by definition, an exception.”

In today’s Scripture from Luke 11, there’s no denying that the story tells of Jesus confronting demons. If the man Jesus healed were simply mute and Jesus healed only that condition, the Greek dictionary contains plenty of medical terms which Luke – being a physician and a man of science himself – could easily have drawn upon, but he didn’t. Rather, he said the demon was “mute” and that the demon was what made the man “mute”. He was making what he considered to be “an observation of fact.” In his professional opinion, it was a divine miracle that healed a spiritual sickness manifested in our physical realm.

Were there other mute people in Israel at that time? Of course there were. Did Jesus heal them all? Of course, he did not. Why? Well, that’s a mystery isn’t it; a mystery known only to God. Just as some who are dying are miraculously revived and others are not, only God knows why. What we do know is that God does answer prayers – but not always as we would like. God reveals Himself and His love for the purpose of glorifying His name. He does not ask for our understanding . . . only our faith.

Our knowledge and our faith should always be growing, expanding, as we look daily “as through a ‘glass darkly” until that time when God will reveal the answers to all our questions.

Life is a learning process. Some of it we learn from home, some from church and school, and some from life in general. Personally, I’ve always found that I learned the most after I graduated from school.

Schools can give us the tools with which we can apply life’s lessons. But it’s actually through God in our daily life that we truly learn. Willard Griffin said,

• “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Was it Mark Twain who said something like, “When I was 16, I couldn’t believe how little my father knew, but when I was thirty, I was amazed by how much he’d learned.”

Have you discovered yet that the more you learn, the more you realize how little you really know? James 1:5 reminds us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

James’ advice applies, not only to our understanding of our physical world, but it also applies to the spiritual world around us. If you’re uncomfortable with studying the spiritual world, then you must be very uncomfortable with God. Isn’t it written that, “God is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.”

If we understood everything, then why would we need faith? But we do need faith because that’s what gets us through those painful times when we don’t understand what God’s doing. We see God intervene to save one person but not another, and we’re tempted to cry out, “That’s not fair!” Yet, even as we cry out, we must know that “fair” has nothing to do with it. God’s love is constant, and if we have faith, we know that God is still showing constant love.

Do you lack wisdom? If you answered “Yes”, that’s a good thing; because that’s the first requirement for acquiring wisdom. The second requirement is to realize that God is the only source of true wisdom.

The person who seeks knowledge is generally the person who realizes his/her need for more learning. We may have learned about what’s good from our parents, and that’s good if our parents taught us about Christ and the Bible. But until we actually sit at the feet of the Master and listen, until we do that, we’re not really learning wisdom. Jesus said to Martha, “Mary is doing what is needful.” He didn’t say that she understood all things; but she was learning.

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