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Summary: A Message of encouragement & charge to a church at the church’s 5-year anniversary

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There have been times when we have been tempted to be discouraged. Oh, but during those times the Lord has asked us, just as He did His disciples in the boat that day, “Where is your faith?”

You see my friends, more than 2000 years ago Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!” And when God starts something, He finishes it!

Ask Abraham. Ask Moses. Ask the people of Jericho what God is capable of. Ask Noah about God’s faithfulness. Ask Elijah, or David. Ask Daniel about God’s strength. Ask Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego if God is able. They will all tell you the same thing that all the saints who have gone before us will say, “GOD IS FAITHFUL.”

Yesterday, Gladys and I were talking to Drew about today being the church’s birthday. He said, “You mean all of these people wouldn’t have known each other if the church hadn’t been started?” We said, “That’s right.” My friends, look at what God is doing.

Jesus said, “I will build My Church,” and He continues to do so today. But, He is doing so for a reason.

Look there with me please at verse 26.

- Read Luke 8:26-39

In this passage we read why Jesus crossed the lake and why the Devil wanted Him stopped so bad. In the area of the Gadarenes there was a man with a need.

Picture the scene with me that day as Jesus and the disciples arrived. As Jesus and the disciples arrive, they see before them a very small beach with cliffs immediately beyond the beach. In the cliffs, there are caves and tombs for burial. The shadows from those cliffs stretch out across the beach, reaching almost to the water’s edge.

Suddenly, even as the disciples pull the boat onto the shore, a man comes running from the edge of the cliffs toward Jesus.

On the plateau above the cliffs, a pig herder calls to his buddy, “Hey Joe, come look at this.” As his companion joins him, they watch the scene unfolding below, together. They both know the man who lives among the tombs and the caves. They have seen him many times before. People have tried to help him, but now he seems beyond hope. He has killed. He has left his family and his home. He tears off his clothes so he goes around with barely anything on. He cuts himself with rocks. He is out of his mind.

My friends, that is why Jesus crossed the lake, because this man had a need. In the first sermon Jesus ever preached, He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Jesus came on a life-saving, hurt-healing, life-changing mission.

My friends, all around us are people just like this man. All around us are people with hurts they can’t handle, people with pain they can’t stop, people with lives out of control.

Many of them have tried everything the world has to offer to find release, with no success. For you see, Jesus is the only true answer. Jesus says, Come unto Me all ye who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

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