Speaker: Pastor Burly Williams
Series: April 2015
Date: Sunday, 12 April 2015
Scripture: Proverbs 18:13-14; Isaiah 1:5-6; Luke 4:18
As the visiting minister, Pastor Burly Williams of North Carolina, United States of America, read the scriptures he highlighted the role of the spirit of a man. According to the book of Proverbs, the spirit has the ability, in its normal condition, of supporting man in his own infirmities. But when that spirit becomes wounded, the situation becomes unbearable. There are many portions of scripture which describe wounds and bruises, and in Isaiah see how the head can get sick while the heart gets faint. Yet there is one who was ordained to take wounds and bruises for ourselves, the one who was wounded for our transgressions, the one who was bruised for our iniquities, the one upon whom the chastisement of our peace rested, the one by whose stripes we are healed. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, whose ministry it is in Luke 4:18 to mend broken hearts and set captives free. It is a healing ministry. Unlike us, the Lord Jesus Christ was wounded and bruised and managed to act right. Let a mortal man, an ordinary human being, get wounded and bruised and watch whether they will act right. It is impossible for wounded man to act right. The Lord Jesus Christ succeeded because it was the Holy Ghost in Him doing the work. A wounded spirit is easily provoked. A wounded spirit cannot be rebuked. The spirit of liberty which we have in Christ Jesus cannot be exercised in the presence of a wounded spirit. It sees danger and wrong where there is no intention to cause any harm or evil. That is why each one of us needs a real experience with God. A personal burning bush experience is needed by each and every one of us. Imagine the situation of these two young women. One of them studies medicine, specialises in anatomy and can tell you every thing that a pregnant mother goes through in order to birth to a child. The other one has no such knowledge, but has just given birth to a child. The difference between these two women is the contrast between information (knowledge) and reality (experience). The medical student has information while the young mother has practical experience. The devil has set up a trap for our young children. Because they feel that they have no experience with the Lord, they feel that they have to go out into the world and look for that experience. They feel they need to come back with a testimony of how the Lord delivered them from the serious depths of sin. They fail to realise that the same God who gives others testimonies of deliverance from the bondage of sin is the same God whose hand protects them from being enslaved by sin in the first place. God can allow someone to go through the path of alcoholism and drugs and still deliver them. The same God can protect someone from not even drinking and taking dangerous substances at all. It is the same God, and both testimonies give Glory to God. Again the devil loves to bargain with God’s children. He came to Moses with bargain to go and worship God in the desert and leave the children behind. The devil was giving a proposition to allow only parents to go to church while the devil takes control of the children. But Moses refused the incomplete deal. Again Pharaoh tried to persuade Moses to go and worship their God but leave their animals behind. Again Moses refused, saying that not even a hoof of any cattle would remain behind. After all, Jehovah’s sacrifices have to be done through offering those animals which Pharaoh wanted to keep behind. When people fail to deal with wounds, they tend to resurface later on. They begin to control the life of the victim. They create bias, which is wrong. The entire history of the church is actually a history of wounds and bruises. Beginning with the messengers to the 7 church ages in the gentile dispensation, we see that the messengers are just sent by God to bring a healing portion, through the Word of God, to the bride in their respective ages they lived. The sources of wounds and bruises in the church can be numerous. The pulpit itself can inflict bruises and wounds on the congregation. The congregation can also cause wounds and bruises on the pastoral ministry. The husband can wound the wife while the wife can similarly bruise the husband. Children can hurt their parents while parents can harm their own children. There is no one exempt from this. Using the example from medical science, the Prophet says that a cancer is a wounded cell that backslides because of the wound. It then causes other cells around it to die also. The cancer itself begins in the spiritual realm before it becomes a real manifestation in flesh. The cancer, in the physiology of diseases, lives by diverting the supply of life meant for the cells. It hijacks the source of life for cells and directs to itself. It takes advantage of the natural bloodstream and extracts life out of it for itself. In the church of the living God, one can find the same cancer growing. It takes from the life source, and causes gossip and disorder in the church. Such things can go unreported in the church for a long time. By the time the news reaches the Pastor, the cancer would have done its fair share of damage among the flock. It is therefore a good principle to always strive to deal with wounds and bruises instantly. This helps overcome the deception which the devil brings to the wounded spirit. It is the tendency to think you are right when you are actually wrong. The wounds and bruises have the tendency to produce those kinds of delusions in the victims. God does not operate a kind of grading system for his ministers where they are ranked according to how long they have served him. That is why Peter, having walked with the Lord Jesus Christ for 3.5 years in the flesh, could stand correction at the hands of Paul, a man who never physically came across the Lord Jesus Christ while in His earthly ministry. Similarly, the man who have been with the Prophet in our day have no higher claim to spirituality than the people that came to the Message of the Hour after the Prophet’s death. Saul was in such a position of having sat on the throne for many years than David, but failed to kill Goliath. Yet when the women sang about Saul’s exploits, Saul was pleased. But when the comparison came to the numbers of Saul’s victims being in thousands while David’s ranked in tens of thousands, that is when the spirit of jealousy came up. And Saul gathered a lot of people who just got caught up with him, most of them without even knowing whom they were pursuing. But when Saul was dead, the people realised and actually saw David for who he really was, their deliverer. It was only when the bad influence of Saul was removed that the people saw in the right way the reality of David as God’s ordained ruler among them. When we come to church, let us have this attitude that the sanctuary is actually an emergency room like the hospital’s operating table. In order for the operation on our souls to be successful, we need to be dead to ourself. We need the anaesthetic of a positive attitude which takes every thing as the Word of God. If we are awake during a major operation, we will panic from the mere look of the instruments which doctors use to prick us and attend to us. But real major procedures are done while the patients are under a deep sleep. The apostle Peter was wounded by his rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why on resurrection, the Lord told the women to tell the disciples and Peter (singled out) that the Master is risen from the dead. Peter must have been suffering from that guilty conscience of denying the Lord three times before the cock crowed. But God bypasses and overlooks man’s mistakes. That is why God went ahead to give Peter the opportunity to deliver the inaugural sermon on the day of Pentecost. God did not remind him of the betrayal and rejection that happened a few weeks before that. In the presence of God, we cannot keep remembrance of the wrongs done to us. Can you imagine the thief on the cross who went to paradise? He must have met some of his victims right there in paradise. But there was no question of who this man was. The minister then gave the story of his life as a testimony of how wounds and bruises were inflicted upon his young soul. One day when he was six years old, brother Burly was sitting at his mother’s lap. Then he vividly remembers seeing his mother lying in a pool of blood. She was dead. She had been shot by his father. The father was jailed and they had to grow up without mother and father. The grandmother took over the burden to raise the eight children left behind – four boys and four girls. As he grew up, the young boy noticed how he was hated by his aunties who felt that his father had killed their sister. When clothes were bought for little children, for example, at Christmas time, other children would get brand new clothes while he was relegated to wearing second-hand clothes. He did not like that. The young boy, at 10 years of age, found a way to acquire brand new clothes for himself. He started pick-pocketing. He would steal anything from toys to clothes. Then he later got caught up in a gang. As a gangster, he found a sense of family and belonging within the gang itself. He warned parents to keep the bond of love with the children strong because children who turn to gangsterism frequently lack love from their homes. Furthermore, he gave his heart to worldly music and became a disc jockey (DJ) in the process. He believed it was a gift from God that he could mix 4 songs into one although he was actually devil possessed by the music. The minister warned parents to watch what their children listened to. He recalls how he became the scapegoat for everything wrong done in the home. His own cousin named Jero knew that his own mother hated brother Burly. Jero would be beaten if found in the company of brother Burly. The two young boys were fond of each other, being cousins and having identical facial features except for the fact that Jero was a little bit lighter. They went to the same school and played together. Jero would accompany brother Burly to his home first, which was a long way from school, before going to his own home which was just a stone throw away from the school. Jero chose the winding route in order to avoid being seen by his mother walking with brother Burly. One day Jero explained the reason for taking the winding route to his friend. He said I know that my mother will beat me if she sees me walking with you. That is the reason why I have to use this winding road to avoid her. And that was the last conversation brother Burly had with Jero. For shortly after, Jero was knocked down by a car. It affected brother Burly so much. He confessed the partying words of his friend to his grandmother just before she passed away. When this father came out of jail, the young man was determined to kill him as a way of avenging his mother’s death. And when the father moved them away from the area called Project to stay in the more rural areas, brother Burly thought it was a ploy by the father. He imagined the father wanted to kill them one by one out there in the country, where no one would be able to easily tell what has happened. Although he was subsequently converted, he still failed to see the signs his father was giving him showing him he was really sorry for killing his wife. The father would tell his friends how proud he was of his son, and would even express his remorse to him, but brother Burly failed to see all these gestures. It was because of the wounds and bruises that he failed to see the actions of his father. The minister warned parents to be extra-sensitive when dealing with their children. They need to know that children grow, and when they are more mature, they should be treated differently along the different stages of their lives. They should not remain kids in the eyes of their parents. Especially parents should avoid rebuking their children, especially teenagers, in front of their friends, as this grieves them and causes wounds and bruises. Parents should not allow children to go into any environment they want to. If they are too weak and fail to resist the temptations of a given environment, they should not be exposed to it. Otherwise they will be swallowed by whatever is taking place in those places. There is no other way out of atmospheres – it is either we influence the atmosphere or we are influenced by the atmosphere around us. Therefore we need to be in control as Christians. But if we are not in control, then we do not need to be in those surroundings. As a DJ, brother Burly could not give up his thirst for worldly music until God spoke to him in an audible voice as he was to go into a club one day. He had been going to church and still playing his music after service. But on this particular day a voice said, Don’t you dare to go into that club. When his friends saw the change in his life, from masterminding gangster activities in his neighbourhood to being a Christian set free from the things of the world, they repented too, and are serving the Lord to this day. The minister warned breadwinners from taking spirits from work and spreading them in the home and also the home-based parent from venting their anger and frustration at their spouse respectively.