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I’m going to tackle a delicate subject today, but the Lord told me to deal with this.  Many, many Christians, especially older ones, have to deal with some things which are very hard to handle.  I’m going to start off by just leading up to a verse in Luke.  I’m going to start in Luke 4:16 and read through to verse 24.  Listen closely.  “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.  And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.  And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:  ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.  And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’  So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.  And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’  He said to them, You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself!  Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’  Then He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.’”


I believe that one of the most difficult things that we Christians have to deal with in our lives is THOSE ONES WHO WE HAVE BEEN SO CLOSE TO - FAMILY AND FRIENDS - THE ONES WE GREW UP WITH - THE ONES WE DEARLY LOVE - THE ONES COMING FROM THE SAME PLACE WITH THE SAME WAY OF LIFE -





Now - think about it for a minute.  He was there in Nazareth - the town He grew up in - in the house with Mary, His mother, and Joseph (whom everyone thought was His father), with His brothers  (and I ran across one verse which said He had sisters also).  People got used to seeing Him with His family - and here He is, reading Scripture from Isaiah and saying that that, which was referring to the Messiah, was being fulfilled that day!  Then He says that what they heard about happening in Capernaum wasn’t going to happen there where they all were, because a prophet is not accepted in His own country.


Now this is very common today for all Christians.  We get born again and we study, and pray, and walk with the Lord more and more - AND - THE MORE MATURE WE GET IN THE LORD, THE LESS THE PEOPLE WHO WE’VE BEEN CLOSEST TO BELIEVE US OR UNDERSTAND US.


Now - I’m going to read another portion of Scripture - Matthew 10:34-36 - “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own house.”


Now - let me clarify what this verse is saying and is not saying.  The peace that Jesus came to bring is the PEACE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN.  However, when that peace comes, there is often relationship problems within the family and close friends.  


Now - the reason the Lord wanted me to talk about this is because it is one of the biggest problems in our Christian lives.  Let me say it this way - the closer we get with the Lord and take His Word into our hearts, the more it changes our lives.  We know we are in touch with the God of the Universe and it’s having an effect on the way we think and act and talk and everything.  Now, our church friends see us, IN CHRIST.  We get closer and closer to them and we can be so honest and helpful to them - and they are also the same for us.  It’s like we’re in one accord.  BUT WHEN IT COMES TO OUR FAMILIES, A HUGE MAJORITY OF THEM DO NOT REALLY SEE THAT SPIRITUAL SIDE OF US - THEY DON’T RELATE TO THAT NEW PERSON AND THE WAY WE THINK NOW - THEY STILL SEE US WITH HUGE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN US AND EVEN MORE THAN USED TO BE THERE.


Our Christian friends look at us through the eyes of the Lord (in other words, spiritually) and our kids, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, as well as old friends, often do not see us through the Lord’s eyes - they don’t see us growing spiritually - and it just seems like there’s argumentative attitudes all the time with us.


We go through our day to day lives and many times the Lord is using us to help others - but our family often doesn’t see that going on with us - and they don’t have a clue about the change that has been going on in us.  Often, if we try to talk about it with them, they don’t want to talk about it - and they still see us like we were many, many years ago.


Now, we still love them - but it’s just so hurtful sometimes that they don’t see us like we really are now.


Well - the Lord wants you to know that He understands completely.  HE DEALT WITH IT HIMSELF.  Those people in Nazareth, who saw Him growing up as a little boy, just couldn’t imagine that the Messiah could have been growing up right there among them.  


Then, sometimes, his blood brothers (through Mary) had a hard time through childhood and teen years, and then young adulthood,


There’s another portion of Scripture that deals with this.  It’s Mark 6:1-6 - “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.  And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.  And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get these things?  And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!  Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon?  And are not His sisters here with us?’  So they were offended at Him.  But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.  Now He could do no mighty work there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief.  Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.”


What I want us to get ahold of here is that - here was the SON OF GOD, and yet - because they had known Him as a child and had seen Him with Mary and Joseph and then later, with the other kids, they just could not believe that that was the way God does things.  Why would it be any different for us?  Now - true - we’re not the MESSIAH - THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD - but we have had a wonderful encounter with Him and have become His Father’s children - we have been taken into His family - AND WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN A NEW NATURE - WE’VE BEEN BORN AGAIN!  


People, who have not been born again, and those who may have been, but have not been taught anything about it, don’t have any real understanding about it.  


Now each one of our lives, families, family background, family relationships are all unique and different.  However, I have learned through the years that the difficulties we have encountered with families have become some of the hardest things for us to deal with.  We love them.  We want them in our lives.  But often it’s like a big log is standing between them and us.  We try to talk to them about the Lord but often they just think we’ve gotten all ‘preachy’ on them.


Now there are even some times that the loved ones of ours really are born again - and yet you often feel like they don’t see you like your church friends see you - and even sometimes they don’t ever see you as being A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS.


Now - did you notice back there in that portion of Scripture (Mark 6:5), it said that Jesus COULD DO NO MIGHTY WORK THERE!!  He could not because of the unbelief.  This is an important thing for us to get ahold of.  THE SON OF GOD was limited in what He could do.  Sometimes, the wonderful things that we want to see in the lives of our loved ones, are not happening because of their unbelief.  


I’m not going to teach on it right now, but I have learned that receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the ability to pray in the Spirit for my loved ones is one of the greatest gifts that the Lord has given me - after my salvation.  Pastor Gary mentioned this Sunday in his sermon.  The Holy Spirit Baptism truly changed my life.  I received it, back in the days of the Charismatic Renewal when we were living and pastoring in Colorado.  I talked about it in a teaching in this class several months ago.  I fought against it terribly - then I finally gave in.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made.


Now, I want us all to think about those brothers of Jesus (they had Mary as their mother) - they just struggled with believing that Jesus was the Messiah.  They saw Him as their older brother.  Yeah, they all had thought that he was a lot smarter than the rest of them but they struggled with thinking that His actual Father was GOD ALMIGHTY.  They saw Him, eat, sleep, get dirty, and on and on - and then He’s going around doing all kinds of miracles and preaching to thousands of people.  It took many years for James, one of His brothers, to believe Him, and actually become one of His followers - and then later on, becoming the leader of the church in Jerusalem.


Can you imagine what James went through to come to understand who Jesus really was?  I believe he finally got it by spending time with the Lord and communing with Him - and then, finally, he could SEE, through the enlightenment of the Lord.  But, it was not easy for him!


When the Lord uses you or me to help someone in life, and people show their appreciation, and yet your very own family or close friends have a hard time believing that you had anything to do with someone getting better or being helped, it is often very hurtful.  


The Lord wants us all to know that He understands completely how it feels - and He overcame it - and so can you and me.  Sometimes we feel like we have to explain it to them so they can get it.  Jesus didn’t - and James believed.


Brothers and sisters, Jesus has put the same things in our new born-again spirit that are in His spirit.  Remember Galatians 5:22-23 - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.”


Now, that last phrase, “Against such there is no law,” simply means that ‘the law was never meant for people who demonstrate these qualities,’ or ‘there are no laws which speak against people who live in this way.’  


So - what it boils down to is this.  We have been given, in our born-again spirit, the fruit of the same spirit that is in Jesus Christ.  In other words, we don’t have to rely on the soulish emotions or thinking which we relied on all through the time before we were born again.  Now, we have the same ability to love people like Jesus did, and, at the same time, experience joy, peace, and all the rest of those fruits.  We don’t have to ‘fake’ it - we can actually experience it in our lives.


Now, did Jesus wish that His family and friends from his hometown would see the reality that He really was the Messiah and that He really was doing miracles, and that He really was the SON OF GOD?  YES!!!!  But, He still loved them.  I personally believe that, at those times when He would get alone and spend lots of time in prayer, He prayed for them to be enlightened.


Now - I believe that one of the ways that the Lord wants to use older Christians is to show to all the world around them - (not only their Church family but their flesh family and old friends) what it looks like and sounds like, to be a born-again child of God.  That born-again nature in our spirits can love even when we’ve been hurt, offended, talked to rudely, and on and on.  That ‘New Creation’ can lovingly reply to yelling or harsh statements just like Jesus.  AND THAT CHILD OF GOD CAN LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.  Being like Jesus is what has more effect on people than anything else.


I also believe that spending time praying for them - not so they’ll be nicer to you, but so that they will have an enlightenment from the Lord so that their own lives will be changed.  




Remember, God will not whoosh down and overcome a person’s free will.  So, I have found that the most important way to pray is to ask the Lord to bring people across their path who can have an effect on them spiritually.  God has ways  to bring people together that are just beyond understanding.  I say this all the time but I’m saying it again - GOD HAS WAYS THAT ARE JUST PHENOMENAL - THAT MAN COULD NEVER FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE HAPPEN - HE KNOWS WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW  AND HE HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO REACH INTO THE SPIRITUAL REALM AND ASK HIM TO DO THINGS THAT WE COULD NEVER DO.  AND HE HAS PROMISED TO ANSWER OUR PRAYERS - BUT WE HAVE TO BELIEVE, IN OUR HEARTS, WHEN WE PRAY!!!!!


If He can answer the simple little prayers of a 13 year-old girl, that just got saved, and stop her body from shaking, as she gets in the water to be baptized (you’ve all heard my story) - there is nothing that He can’t do!!  BUT ----- WE MUST BELIEVE, WHEN WE PRAY!


If He can bring a bunch of men, that you’ve never seen before, to your door, carrying boxes of food so you can feed your children - (you’ve heard my story) - He can do anything - BUT -----WE MUST BELIEVE WHEN WE PRAY!


If He can turn a tornado, which is headed toward you, around to go another way, as you command it to do (you’ve heard my story) - nothing is impossible for Him - BUT ----- WE MUST BELIEVE WHEN WE PRAY!!!


If He can instantly heal your lower back (which the doctors said was impossible and that you would be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life (you’ve heard my story) - there is absolutely nothing that He can’t do - BUT - WE MUST BELIEVE WHEN WE PRAY!!!!


I’m using these things to stir up your remembrance.  God wants you and me to be the TOOLS that He can use to bring Him and His power into the lives of all our families and friends.  God loves them.  


Close your eyes - now imagine all your friends and family members who have not surrendered to the Lord yet - see them all together - then see yourself standing with one arm toward the family and friends and the other arm pointed up to God - see yourself as the tool - the intercessor - the one who stands in the gap -  and then say this quietly to yourself - “I BELIEVE THAT YOU WANT TO USE ME, LORD.  I AM WILLING TO BE YOUR TOOL.”


I know that this is a very delicate subject and that each one of our families is unique.  None of them are just alike.  But can you imagine my relatives who knew me as that shy, little introvert, all through my growing up - and then, there I was married to a pastor and I was beginning to teach in all kinds of situations - and THEN I HAD A TEACHING MINISTRY ON A CHRISTIAN RADIO STATION!!!!!  It really was hard for some of them to really believe it.  Then, they knew it was true, but they didn’t ever want to listen to me on the radio.  They didn’t think they could learn anything from me.


That’s just my story - we all have our own.  BUT SO DOES JESUS!!!  Even as we get older, some of those people just don’t understand what really happened in our lives and they don’t want to.  We must love them anyway.  By the way, there were a few of them, back in those days, that began to listen to my teaching on the radio - they were just kinda’ in awe!


Brothers and Sisters - it’s all about living a life like Jesus lived here on this earth - motivated by His LOVE!  It’s about spending time with Him, getting to really know Him - soaking in His Word.  I have pondered and pondered and pondered on this verse and I suggest that you do too.  It’s John 1:14 - “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  We must, as we read HIS WORD, IDENTIFY THE TRUTH OF THE WORD AND SON OF GOD BEING AS ONE.  I know that’s hard - but I just think about it this way.  When I am reading the WORD, I am reading the truth of THE SON OF GOD and I begin to relate the words to the way Jesus thinks, acts, loves, believes, treats people, helps people, forgives people - and on and on.


Jesus dealt with some of the same problems with family and friends as we have - we can walk as He walked, love as He loved, and do as He did.  We can be overcomers!!!!


Scripture used in this lesson              

Luke 4:16-24

Matthew 10:34-36

Mark 6:1-6

Galatians 5:22-23

John 1:14

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