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Sermon No: 825-Touching God



Ken-Paynter/20120304_Touching-God.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: Touching God

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 4 March 2012

Topic Groups: GOD, HEARING GOD

Sermon synopsis: We have looked at hearing God and seeing God, today I want us to look at touching God.
We saw in Scripture that there are those who have ears but don’t hear and who have eyes but don’t see.
Today we will see that there are those who walk in God’s presence but don’t touch him, those who rubbed shoulders with Jesus but were never touched by Him and changed.
Luke 15:22-27 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’


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Touching God.

We have looked at hearing God and seeing God, today I want us to look at touching God.

We saw in Scripture that there are those who have ears but don’t hear and who have eyes but don’t see.

Today we will see that there are those who walk in God’s presence but don’t touch him, those who rubbed shoulders with Jesus but were never touched by Him and changed.

Luke 15:22-27.

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

Touch is vital for us as humans.

Remember your first girl-friend or boy-friend and the first time you wanted to hold hands or kiss.

We touch and children when they are small and are blessed when they grow up and still want to touch us.

Story: Our Dad was not one to hug or touch, except when disciplining and was very remorseful about it in the last year of his life.

There was a 13 year old girl who for the first 8 years of her life, to the best of knowledge, was not touched by her mother, and at the age of 13 can not speak and lies curled in a foetal position on her teacher’s lap.

The Gospel is this, that God took on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and He was able to reach out and touch Humanity….

Going to Israel in two months time will give some the opportunity for the first time, of walking where Jesus walked and going to places where without a doubt God was present in the flesh in human form. Although some take this to an extreme, there is without a doubt a yearning in our hearts to touch in some physical way our Creator and Redeemer.

Sometimes just the magnitude of the universe or the beauty of Creation gives us a sense of awe and an awareness of God’s presence.

Touching God brings faith. (Thomas)

But when they explain to Thomas that Christ is not dead, that he has risen, it’s all too much for the disciple. He can’t believe what he is hearing, so he thinks that they are all crazy with grief and totally insane. But they keep insisting that Christ is alive until Thomas finally shouts out: "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” When Thomas refused to believe the others, there was nothing on earth that they could do to convince him of the truth. And then Christ came back into Thomas’ life, just as suddenly as he had left him. One moment, all the disciples were in the Upper Room praying together on their own; the very next moment, Christ was in the centre of the room.

Touching God.

Touching God brings faith.

Now if Thomas had been initially shocked by Christ’s arrest and crucifixion, this supernatural appearance must have almost caused him heart failure. Jesus was standing before him, just as the others had said. And before Thomas could drop to his knees and ask for mercy, Jesus called to him and said, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Slowly, he reaches out his fingers to touch the nail prints in Christ’s hands and even to touch the wound in His side. All of a sudden, it is too much for Thomas, and he falls to his knees, crying out, “My Lord and my God!”

Touching God.

This is the most important passage from the Gospels about the resurrection for our people today. And I’ll tell you why. In recent years, there has been interest in the so called Gospel of Thomas, which many people falsely believe has secrets about Jesus that the Church wants to be kept hidden. This Gospel was written by a group of people called the Gnostics, who believed that Jesus wasn’t crucified because God had taken Him up to heaven and that it was a ghostly image or a spectre, or what we would call a hologram that seemed to be crucified on the Cross. In other words, Christ’s physical body was never there, so He didn’t suffer any physical torment, excruciating pain, or death itself. This has led many people to believe that the resurrection of Christ was only a spiritual one. This Gnostic garbage was prevalent in North Africa during the 4th – 7th centuries AD. So when Muhammad started to write down the Koran, he was influenced by the false teachings of Gnosticism, so that to this day the Muslims believe that Christ never actually suffered on the Cross.

Touching God.

This is the most important passage from the Gospels about the resurrection for our people today. (continued) And this is further compounded by the fact that even in the PCUSA, we have misguided pastors who do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, but insist that the Gospel of Thomas should be researched, studied, and read in church in order to bring us closer to the real Historical Jesus who, as one of these pastors recently said, died and His body has decomposed and turned to dust in a forgotten cave somewhere in Palestine. When Thomas touches Christ, he is touching a real body that has been miraculously resurrected by God. This whole passage refutes any belief in a spiritual resurrection of Christ. And I would say to you, and anyone in the world, that if you do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, then you are not a Christian. You can be a modern Gnostic, you can be Muslim, or you can be a sceptic, but what you cannot be is a Christian. And where do I get this conclusion from? It comes none other from Jesus Christ Himself, who finally says to Thomas: "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Touching God.

The important truth I see in this passage is that if you have touched the Lord, no argument on earth will undermine your faith, whether it is Gnosticism, evolution, the De Vinci code etc There is no substitute for unless I see Him myself and touch Him myself, I will not believe.

What is your faith resting on, your mother or father’s encounter with God, your spouse or brother/ sister or even your Pastor’s relationship with the Lord. That is not enough, you must see for yourself, you must hear for yourself, you must touch for yourself…

Touching God.

Touching God brings life.

Mark 5:35-43.

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.

Touching God.

Touching God brings healing.

Mark 1: 40-45.

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.

And so Jesus touches this leper because the leper displays two things necessary to be touched by the Lord; humility and faith.

And so what do we say to the Lord when he comes to touch us, we are all like this leper. We have all been marred and disfigured by sin. This leper was lucky in one sense. He could see his sores. He could see he was unclean. We’re not so lucky. Our leprosy is invisible to our eyes. We have to dig to see our leprosy.

Touching God.

Mark 5:21-34.

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Touching God.

Have you ever wondered why after a meeting during which everybody sang the same songs and heard the same sermon, some will say, What a blessed meeting the Lord spoke directly to me, and others will say, “The meeting was long this morning”, or “Did you see what the lady in the back row was wearing”, or “We didn’t sing my favourite song”

I want to look at a few categories of people and suggest a few reasons why so few touch God.

There were many people in the crowd when this woman was healed, some had even touched him physically and looked in his eyes, yet although there must have been many with needs, only this woman is healed in this incident.

Touching God.

There has to be an effort on our part to touch the Lord.

There must be a hunger and a thirst and a sense of desperation on our part to draw God’s attention.

Blind Bartimaeus got the attention of Jesus.

Mark 10:46-52

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Touching God.

Gentile woman asking for deliverance for her daughter.

Mark 7:24-29.

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre . He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

Touching God.

Luke 19:1-10.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Touching God.

We have seen a few examples of people going to great lengths to get the Lord’s attention, yet some people make little or no effort and the only reasonable explanation is that there is no or very little desire.

Do you expect the Lord to come to you or will you seek him out?

If you want to touch Jesus you are going to have to distinguish yourself from the crowd, Bartimaeus shouted, Zacchaeus ran and climbed a tree, the Syra Phoenician women shrugged off an insult, the woman with the issue of blood crawled and forced her way through the crowd.

Now let us look at some of the people that make up the crowd that you will have to push through if you want to touch Jesus.

Touching God.

The curious.

Maybe something will happen perhaps I will bump into Jesus.

Mark 5:30,31. “Who touched me” It was a deliberate action, not a chance happening.

The Self-righteous.

They come to Church to show their face, it is Sunday and that is what you are supposed to do if you are not a heathen.

The critics.

The music was too loud, the song was out of tune, Mr Jones fell asleep etc. The Pharisees criticised Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. If you want to get involved in ministry and do something for the Lord, you will be criticised, rather make a mistake doing something than sitting back doing nothing.

Touching God.

The traditional.

They don’t even notice the absence of the Holy Spirit, as long as things go off the way they did last week, last month, last year.

Mark 7:1-7.

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands. He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

Touching God.

The unwilling.

Someone dragged them along to Church, they would rather be doing the washing or mowing the lawn but their spouse nagged them into coming along.

Or they come because if they don’t they will get a phone call asking where they were.

The bless me type.

They come with empty hands and empty hearts, wanting only to get and not to give. Someone else must do it all, they are here to be blessed.

1 Corinthians 14:26.

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Touching God.

The time conscious type.

Something is wrong with a Christian who can spend hour after hour watching TV, but can’t offer two hours on a Sunday for praising the Lord, hearing his Word and fellowshipping with fellow believers.

Some of the modern day “Seeker Sensitive Churches” have tailored their meeting to suite this type of person and you can set your watch by what is happening in the meeting and what time the service will finish.

“Nice and short” is a phrase we use when we would rather be somewhere else, doing something else. Very different to Jacob who wrestled with the Lord and said “I won’t let you go till you bless me.”

Touching God.

The time conscious type.

Revivals are characterized by long services, often every night of the week.

Perhaps we need to ask ourselves,

Do we really want revival?

Do we really want to touch Jesus?

People camp outside on the pavements in queues to get into concerts or sports events and even sales in stores. Why? Because it’s important to them.

It’s not that hard to see what people value and what is a priority in their lives.

What do they talk about, what do they spend their time on, what do they spend their money on….

Touching God.

The entertainment type.

Gimmicks and interesting programs appeal to this type of person, deep spiritual truths are dull and unappealing.

Sadly in our modern Concert, TV and Movie age this type are in the majority.

The sensitive type.

They are easily offended, and like Cain who was offended with God, they too becomes wanderers, never settling down and putting down roots and dropping their defences to let people get close enough to hurt them.

Bartimaeus didn’t let the crowds stop him neither did the woman with the issue of blood, what about you, will you press through the crowd determined to touch Jesus?

Touching God.

Touching God in worship/ fellowship.

Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Luke 24:28-32.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Touching God.

We can touch the Lord in worship even in our own personal devotions, by listening to songs that remind us of who He is and what He has done for us and how much He loves us.

Don’t you want to hear the Lord?

Don’t you want to see the Lord?

Don’t you want to touch him?

He is waiting for us to show that we hungry, that we thirsty, that we are desperate for Him to touch our lives and heal us of our brokenness and sin.




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