Come and Touch the Hem of My Garment. This is the sermon I preached at New Life Center last night after a life changing experience at the Women Ministering to Women Conference in Miami, Florida.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Lord. I listened quietly, and the voice of God said, “If you will touch the hem of my garment, you will never be the same.”
The woman in the story had been sick. For years she had tried doctors and those who thought they could help. For twelve years she struggled with her health. For twelve years she was burdened by what she could not understand.
I am sure there were moments when she cried. I am sure there were moments when she felt betrayed. I am sure there were moments when she asked God “Why?”
It is in our suffering we come close to God. It is the pain our lives God is revealed. It is in these moments we want nothing more than the healing power of God’s presence. God does not cause the suffering, but God can be found in the suffering.
But this was not her story. God did not answer her with healing. Maybe the first year she prayed for healing everyday. Maybe she wondered if God was listening. Maybe she grew worse and worse, wondering if the time would ever come, wondering if her healing was ever possible.
And then one day, she heard that Jesus was going to be in town. She heard about the miracles. The stories were everywhere, no internet in those days, but news still traveled fast. Jesus would stop in the towns with the disciples, and miracles, signs, and wonders followed him everywhere. A man lowered into a roof was healed. A crippled danced. Fishermen became prophets. It was a new day. It was a new time And so she wondered if maybe he could help her.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever needed God? Have you ever needed a miracle. Who’s report will you believe?
In the back of her mind there might have been doubts. Maybe she went to healers before or other places of worship. No doubt, the mystics had promised what they could never provide. The world will promise what it cannot give, and will leave you empty.
And what about her friends? Maybe they had let her down. Maybe they said “Just live with it. ” “Just get over it, that is the way it is.” And maybe she believed them. I wonder if she felt isolated? I wonder if she felt alone?
And when she was alone…Maybe in the midnight hour she cried out to God…. “Where are you? Where is my miracle? God I need you…” I feel forgotten. I am weak. I need strength. I never thought this is how my life would be. I didn’t plan on this sickness.
And then the day came. She looked out her window and saw the people walking toward the town square. She put her sh’all over her face and followed the crowd. She was hiding in her suffering.
When she arrived there were too many people. She looked around and saw the followers, but she also saw the haters. She wondered if she should just go home. Maybe it was another magic worker, or someone carrying bottles with healing water which never worked. She did not know this one whom they called The Christ.
But She had tried everything else. She had tried her way. Day in and day out she carried her burden. It was her life. It was heavy.
God please, if you are real, if you are still listening, if you are still there make a way for me to see Jesus. I think I believe.
But the crowds did not move. People were yelling and screaming. Over here. Me. Me. Me. Please help me. She couldn’t even see his face. There were too many people. Pushing and shouting and screaming. A great commotion.
And then something happened. She felt a boldness. She felt her faith. It started as a quiet surge of energy within. “Excuse me…please, I must see him.” A few moved, but others kept pushing. “Please…I must see him. Please I need a miracle. I am sick. Please.” But no one saw her.
Very few moved. And so she raised her arms and began to push. ” I must see him. I must.” She pushed her way forward as others gave her a look. They did not understand. They did not her story. They did not how sick she was. They did not know the cost she paid every day to live in that kind of pain. And no one knew why. They did not have the answers.
She pushed and suddenly the energy of the crowd shifted its direction, and she fell to her knees. It hurt. The pain was trying to hold her back. All she could see was his garment. Determined, she reached with all the strength she had. (Reach out hand)
And then, she touched the bottom of his linen by his feet. No one had done that before.
Immediately virtue flowed throughout her body. All those years. All those fears. All the tears. Gone. Healing. Victory. Freedom. Power.
She crawled back behind the crowds and felt something in her soul like never before.
Then, there was a quietness. A hush in the crowd. Jesus turned and shouted with boldness. “Who touched me?”
She was scared. “Oh no.” Now everyone would know what she had done. They would see her. Would they stone her? What would happen? She could no longer hide because of the pain, because it was gone. He had taken it away.
Jesus stopped, because he did not want his presence to be hidden. He wanted everyone to know she had been healed. This was not a silent miracle. This was victory. This was freedom. This was Glory.
The glory of God cannot be hidden. It is too strong. It is too powerful. It is too miraculous. It is wonder and awe. No box or boundary or culture can contain the Almighty.
And so she came to him. “It was I Lord, I touched you.”
You see, this woman is not alone in this story. We all have been in the dark places in life. We have been tested. We have been hurt. We have endured suffering and heartache. We have carried sin. We have carried shame. We have carried guilt. Oh God…..
But when you touch the hem of his garment, you will never be the same. When God’s glory touches you, it will change you forever. And it will change those around you.
When Abraham touched God, he became the father of many nations. When Jacob touched God in a wrestling match, he never walked the same again. When Esther touched God, her whole kingdom and people were delivered from a massacre. When Ruth touched him, she became a part of the biological lineage of Jesus Christ. When David touched God, he danced and became a mighty worshipper and man after God owns heart. When Mary touched God, she gave birth to the savior of the world. When Saul touched God, he became Paul a great apostle. When Priscilla touched God, she planted a church in her home with her husband Aquila. And when a working class blue collar Peter touched God, a mighty Pentecostal revival began that still flows today for all who are hungry, for all who are thirsty. Come to the well. Stand at the gate of the pool of healing waters. Men and women. All.
You see, when you reach out, God will reach back. When you step out in faith, God will step up in wonder. Your miracle is today. Your healing is today. Your salvation is today.
What will hold you back? Paul said ” Nothing.” Romans 8:38-39. Neither life nor death, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing….because I am persuaded. I am persuaded that nothing can hold me back from the Love of God. Are you persuaded?
Today, I preach Jesus Christ to you. I preach the power of the cross. When we repent, and truly repent, God will touch us, and we will be changed forever. God is faithful to forgive us of our sin.
I preach to you the power of God. You can touch the hem of the garment. There is no veil between us and God. You can touch the hem of the garment. There is no situation impossible for God. You can touch the hem of the garment. The presence of God is yours today.
God is calling you. God is reaching for you. Whether you have been here for sixty years or it is your first day, Our God is reaching for you. Step out in faith. Believe God for your miracle.
The presence of God transforms. I remember when I was nine years old and I raised my hands at an altar. Tears rolled down my face. God filled me with his spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. And then my pastor lifted up a door which was on the platform and put on some rubber trunks. And we stepped down into the cold water. And he said in Jesus name! Salvation is yours today.
And my life has never been the same. I have been changed forever by the presence and touch of God.
But the presence does not stop at salvation. The well of refreshing is here for you faithful saint of God. Like the first day you were filled, a God desires a new work to be done in your life. It is a double blessing. It is a new altar.
This weekend I traveled to Miami for a conference and God spoke to me and said ” If you will touch the hem of my garment, you will never be the same.” I touched the garment. I touched the garment. I am changed. I am not the same. A new work. A new altar. And so it shall be for you.
So what do you need? What is your story? God is able. Increase your faith. God is able.
Touch the hem of his garment. Speak Lord. Speak to your people. “I have heard your travail. I have seen your works. I have felt your pain. Come to me my children. Come and see the nail print scars in my hands. Come and be filled with my spirit. Come as you are. Come and touch the hem of my garment.”
Sermon Text: Luke 8:43-48
Song: Worthy by Anthony Brown
Copyright 2015 Crystal Schmalz Ministries