- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2002

Excerpts from a sermon given by the Rev. Emil M. Thomas at Zion Baptist Church in the District.
We are striving to be a Bible-based church, a purpose-driven church. Beyond that we also need to be spirit-filled. The spirit works through us. That is why we don't call ourselves "Jesusians." Jesus means Savior, and there's not a person here that could save anybody else. We are called Christians, for Christ means anointed, and the anointing on Jesus Christ is the same on us. If we are His children, we are filled and anointed by His spirit.
In the Bible, we see many gifts come by the spirit. Today, we will look at the gift of knowledge, given by grace. When we receive this revealed knowledge, we want to retain, contain and maintain it to do the will of Christ. This gift of knowledge is a supernatural gift. God does not give it just to everyone, but to each individual as He chooses. And in Luke 2, we see that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was given this. And she had the ability to hold on to what God said.
The priest Zacharias also received information from God. The angel said his wife would bear a son named John, but he responded with, "How in the world could this happen to an old man?" The angel came to Mary and said she was going to give birth to a child. Mary did not say, "How is that possible?" She said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord." She said yes because God gave her this knowledge.
Mary was a young virgin, but Zacharias was an old person who should have known. Sometimes, those who are in ministry, those with seminary degrees, when God tells them something, we are too smart to say, "Yes." Now, the angel said to Zacharias, "Your prayer has been answered." Sometimes the preacher and the church go on worshipping, but never know the revelation from the Lord. Mary "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
On the day of her wedding, people noticed her stomach was poking out. They didn't want to be associated with this family.
Mary and Joseph had relatives, but had to stay in a hotel. There was a problem inside the holy family, but Mary put her faith in God. That hotel was a stable with cows, and germs and flies. When the shepherds told about the birth of the child, "all that heard it wondered." They were amazed. But Mary "kept all these things."
There are so many things in church that are irrelevant. What he wore or she wore. Who was in the aisle, who spoke and who didn't. That is irrelevant. What words did God have for you? That's the question. How do we receive revelation? Sometimes, when I have an inspiration, I write it down. It want to retain that revelation.
Mary put her knowledge into her whole thought process. I wonder how many of you go home and ponder the Scripture, investigate the word of God? Meditate on the revelation morning and night and you will be like the tree planted by the river. In other words, pray over the revelation. Many times, what God tells you may not make sense right then, and so you need to investigate.
We are limited, so God gives us little pieces. Our staff met for a barbecue recently, and the host brought out not those small chicken-fried steaks, but those big rib-eye steaks. I could only eat a little at a time. I had to take some home. God doesn't give you no little chicken-fried steak, he gives you a revelation you have to work on.
Praise God that He has so favored you and blessed you with a revelation. Take time to celebrate that grace. And, like Mary, keep it in your inner heart. If you can figure out a revelation completely in your mind, then it may not be from God. For the knowledge God will give you calls for faith. God requires faith and a leap into the dimension of trust.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of thing not seen."
Next week: a sermon by the Rev. Gary Charles at Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria


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