Believe It! See It! – Part 4 (08 Mar 2008)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Matthew West

Special Music

Joyful, Joyful
Have Faith in God/’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
O For a Faith that Will not Shrink
Trust and Obey

Solo/ Anthem
Hayley Westenra - Abide with Me
It is Well with My Soul
Matthew West- You are Everything

The Message

Message by: Robert A. Schuller

Well I am in a unique period in my life where.. well it’s going to last four months, actually. It started on November 19th when my youngest son turned 20. And as a result of that, all four of my children are in their 20’s. My oldest is 29 and on March 30th she will turn 30, so for a period of four months I can say that every single one of my kids are in their 20’s. And that will change, of course, in a few months. But as a result of that, what happens to me is I have a real affection for young people who are in their 20’s. They remind me of my children, and so I have just a natural attraction and an affection for them. So when I hear of somebody like Heath Ledger who passes away suddenly, somebody who has just tremendous potential and a long, an expected life in front of them, it makes my heart ache. It really does because he could have been one of my.. that could have been one of my kids. And it seems like every few years somebody of that caliber passes away that reminds us how fragile life is. You don’t have to go back very far and we remember Kurt Cobain and the way he just tragically disappeared. Before that Roberto Clemente and Janis Joplin, James Dean. That’s just to mention a few. I could mention 20 more because life is fragile.

And the gospel of Jesus Christ is here to be able to revive a fragile life. And the message I have for you today is a message that is designed to help revive your soul and your spirit and your person and your faith. That’s what it’s about: revival. How many people here could survive a catastrophe in your business where you suddenly lost 95% of your income? What would that do to your business? You think you could survive a 95% loss in income? There are people today who are struggling with that. I have a very good friend of mine who is. But the beautiful message is this: that the message and the God we serve is a God of revival. Revival basically means to bring to life, it means to bring to health, means to restore. And so I’ve written an acrostic for revival that’ll help us with our passage today, the acrostic is very simple: Recognize Jesus, encounter mercy, validate your faith, identify His touch, voice your belief and exhort the truth. Five.

Our scripture this morning comes from Matthew 9, and I’m beginning with the reading of the 27th verse. As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him calling out, saying have mercy on us, Son of David! When Jesus had gone indoors, the blind men came to Him, and Jesus asked them, do you believe that I am able to do this? Yes Lord, they replied. Then He touched their eyes and said according to your faith will it be done to you. And their sight was restored and Jesus warned them sternly, see that no one knows about this. But they went out and they spread the news about Him all over the region. Two blind men recognized Jesus. They said Son of David! Now you have to realize that Son of David is synonymous with saying the Messiah! They recognized immediately that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah. That title is reserved for that, and everybody in the time of Christ would know that Son of David is synonymous with Messiah. They were the very first people to call out Son of David! Their eyes were opened before their sight was revived. They saw Jesus and knew who He was before anyone else did, before those who had sight could see what they saw.

The story of an atheist was taking a walk through the woods one day, it was a beautiful day and he was admiring the tall beautiful pine trees and he was admiring the river that flowed through and enjoying the smells of this day and as he walked along, he heard some rustling behind him and he turned around and charging him he sees this grizzly bear. And he took off running as fast as he can, which of course is to no avail, you can’t outrun a grizzly bear. But he tries to outrun him anyway and sure enough the grizzly catches up to him and just as he’s about to swipe him with his claws, he cries out to God, oh God! And with that, time froze. And a light shone and he heard a voice. And the voice said you expect me to save you? You’ve never believed a day in your life. You’ve taught others that it was some other thing that created this world. And you expect Me to save you at this time? And the atheist thought to himself that would be quite hypocritical. And he said yes it would be very hypocritical for me to expect You to save me at this time but maybe You could just make the bear a Christian. And the voice said as you will. And with that the bear did not swipe him immediately. Instead he fell to his knees and he folded his paws and he said dear Lord, for the food I’m about to receive, I give You thanks.

The blind man could recognize who Jesus was. And the question I have for you is can you recognize who Jesus is? The Son of God, the Messiah, the one who comes to save the world, the one who comes to bring hope. He promised fulfillment. And the cry of these blind men was Lord have mercy upon us! Have mercy upon us. You know when we go about and we are quick to point the finger at other people, we see areas and means and ways to criticize and we can point the finger very quickly, but what happens when we point a finger at people? You all know, there’s three fingers pointing right back at ourselves. And the facts are that every time we see sin and disgust and things that anger and frustrate us about other people, there’s three times as much of that within our own souls and our hearts. So it becomes imperative for us at all times to erase our arrogance, and to call upon the name of Christ to have mercy upon us. And to open our eyes that we might see where we need His grace and where we need to grow spiritually today.

Jesus said according to your faith will it be done to you. Do you realize they didn’t go and say Jesus restore our sight. They said Jesus have mercy on us because they recognized who He was, that there was something far more important than having vision and that’s having God’s grace, God’s love.

A good friend of mine as I mentioned earlier, his business a year ago dropped dramatically by well over 95%. Six months ago he said I hardly have enough income to pay the utilities. But I believe in my business. It just so happens, he’s probably in the toughest business there is in America today. It’s not real estate, but its close. I think real estate would probably be second to the mortgage business. He said last month or actually six months ago I wrote only five million dollars worth of contracts. He says that’s not even enough to pay the light bill, my percentage from that. And we’ve been praying for him every month as he’s been struggling with this, he says I believe in my business. I believe enough where I am ready to sacrifice everything I have. I’m going to sell everything I have if necessary to keep this business afloat. His company has just continued to dwindle. He says we’ve been attacked from every side. We’ve been sued by the people we’ve loaned the money to, we’ve been sued by other people who we get the money from to loan, and he says it’s just an unbelievable nightmare. If you’ve read anything about the mortgage business, you know what I’m talking about. He said every single person I know who’s in the same kind of business I am is now out of business.

Since September, what he’s done is every time one of them went out of business, a couple of their employees would come to him and what he’d do is he’d hire their best salesmen. He said so all of a sudden in October my business went from five million to ten million. And this is not income of course, this is the total amount of loans they’re writing. And then this past week, he said God answered our prayers. His main business is writing, what are they called, Sallie Mae, Freddie Mac’s, and Fannie Mae’s and then I think they’re coming out with a new one, Billy Bob’s. And he says you know that’s where he writes most of his loans. And what happened with the new stimulus plan this past week. The stimulus plan is going to take loans from four hundred and fifty thousand maximum in the Freddie Mac’s, up to almost seven hundred and fifty thousand. So suddenly everybody who has a loan between four fifty and seven fifty are going to go out and refinance their loans! And guess what, he’s the last one in business. And why? Because he had the faith. He validated his faith by taking everything he had and just dumping it into his business and hanging on for dear life because that’s all he could do.

Some of you may be there today. You just don’t know if you can hang on for another month. Just don’t know what’s going to happen. And the fact of the matter is that God always provides a way of escape. He sometimes comes in and He diverts and manages to change our course of action but something happens and He revives, because that’s what the message of Jesus Christ is all about, revival; Bringing to life healing, restoration.

And so these blind men came to Jesus, recognizing who He is, they called out to Him Son of David, have mercy on us! And they validated their faith and Jesus reached out and He touched their eyes. He touched their eyes. Interesting thing about touch, especially for the blind is how important it is. You know as a person with sight, I recognize people through simply looking at them. I look at their face and that’s how I recognize people. And I would assume most everyone here with good eyesight does that or even halfway decent eyesight, you recognize people with your sight. People who are blind recognize people through their voice, or through an introduction or in some cases a touch.

What you don’t know is that I was a model once. How many people knew that I was a model? You did? You knew I was? I don’t think anyone ever saw me model, in fact I know no one saw me model. And the reason I know no one saw me model is because I only modeled once and what I modeled was for the Braille institutes fundraiser, so nobody saw me model. The way you model at the Braille institute when you go there is you just mingle with all of the people who are there. And what they do is they come up and the way they determine whether they like your clothes or not is by the way it feels. And that’s all they wanted to do was feel your clothes and that’s how I modeled. I let them feel my back and feel my arms and my shoulders and feel my clothes, and then I’d let them feel my shirt, and that’s the way I modeled. They identify through touch.

When Jesus touched them, He made it perfectly clear who He was. He was clearly identifiable. And they voiced their belief. Do you believe I’m able to do this? And they said yes Lord, we believe and their eyes were opened. What does it take to open our eyes to the reality of the goodness of God who wants to touch us and revive us and bring us the hope we need.

Pastor in the Almighty God Tabernacle, a new church that was in a strip mall, called his home and his wife didn’t answer. He couldn’t figure out why she didn’t answer but he let the phone ring and ring and ring, it was no big deal. He called back a few minutes later and she answered and he had a conversation with her. And the next day, he got a call from a gentleman who said you called me yesterday. He goes, I did? He goes yes, you called me yesterday. My phone rang and rang and I didn’t answer but you called me. He said you have to realize that I was ready to commit suicide. And I said God if You don’t want me to pull this trigger, you have to do something right now and that’s when the phone rang, and I looked at my caller ID and it said Almighty God, the name of his church. He said I was too afraid to answer the phone. But I unloaded my gun and I put it away and I’m calling you now because I need to know where do I go from here?

What does it take for God to reach out and touch your heart and say you are Mine? Throughout the decades, we’ve seen some of the most beautiful people in the world taken away. We all have friends that we’ve lost. Today, God is calling you. Just have a little faith. According to your faith will it be done to you. And He restored their sight.

And then He finally told them to go and don’t tell anyone that I’ve revived your sight, which is kind of silly, isn’t it? Can you imagine being in a small community, you’re blind tapping your way with a stick throughout the community and suddenly you’re walking around and can see? Gee what happened to you? Oh nothing. Just woke up this morning and gee I could see, it was no big deal! He gave them an impossible task and they failed miserably. They exhorted the truth about what Jesus had done in them and for them. And they told everybody. And that’s what happens. When Jesus touches our hearts and our souls and our minds and our bodies and our spirits, you have to tell everybody. When you’re down to nothing, just remember this: God is up to something. No matter where you find yourself today, the gospel of Jesus Christ is here to revive you, to give the ability to see, to see a way of escape, to see a way of victory, to see a way to revive you. And today, that’s what Christ is doing and that’s what Christ is all about. So recognize Jesus. Encounter His mercy, validate your faith, identify His touch, voice your belief and exhort the truth and witness the beauty of Christ’ love in your heart today.

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