Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Another in a series concerning our church purpose statement; this one about the church as a place where healing (spiritual and otherwise) can take place.

“…Ministry That Heals Hurts,…”

Matthew 8:1-7

July 29, 2001


I don’t know if it’s pride, or just a sense of being awed by the fact that God would use someone like me, but I like to tell people that I’m a minister.

Maybe it’s because I’m a walking testimony to the fact that God can use absolutely anybody who will allow himself to be made usable.

I like telling people that I’m “in the ministry.”

The danger with talking like that, however, is it reinforces a faulty notion. And that notion is that “ministry” is for the professionals.

It’s faulty because nowhere in Scripture will you find ministry being defined that way. In fact, Scripture is filled with the idea that all who call themselves Christians are to be involved in ministry, and it is one of the stated purposes of this particular church.

Please take your bulletins one more time and read aloud with me our purpose statement printed there on the front.

Our purpose is to bring unchurched people into God’s family, and to offer worship that lifts up God, ministry that heals hurts, a home for fellowship, and instruction in Christian living.

Today, in our series of messages based on our statement of purpose here at Aberdeen Wesleyan Church, we are going to discuss ministry that heals hurts.

In doing that I want us to examine a portion of Scripture that illustrates a bit of how Jesus did ministry.

Before we get into the passage, I want to make an effort to define what ministry really is, so we will be on the same page, so to speak, about what it is we are discussing.

The purpose statement gives us a clue to what ministry is about. It says, “ministry that heals hurts.” And I think that is a fine definition, because it covers a rather broad spectrum.

There are emotional hurts, mental hurts, spiritual hurts, and physical hurts.

The dictionaries basically define ministering as not necessarily doing professional clergy duties, but rather “bringing aid.”

The idea of ministry is not being a “high and mighty professional” minister, it is people, hopefully including the “professionals,” getting involved in the lives of people, to bring aid and comfort, both within the family of God and outside it.

At its most basic level, ministry is helping hurting people.

And my hope this morning is that after looking at how Jesus acted, you will be desirous of extending the same type of ministry to others.

With that, please turn with me to Matthew 8:1-17, which can be found on page 686 of the Bibles in the seats.

Please follow along as read:

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, "See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."

7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."

8 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one,`Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it."

Skip down to verse 13.

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

"He took up our infirmities

and carried our diseases."

First, let’s briefly note the three…

I. Episodes

And First, let’s look at…

A. The Leper.

Here Jesus ministers to a man with the most terrible affliction known to the Jews, or anybody really, at that time, leprosy.

Leprosy is basically a nerve disease, and one of its manifestations is the killing of nerves so you feel no pain. This allows you to injure yourself and not even know it. Rotting flesh and disfigurement often accompanied leprosy.

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