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Passages Ministries

The Evangelistic Ministries of John "BJ" Hall

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Since January 18, 2015

Of Sycamores and Angels

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

What is it that lifts us up so that we may see Jesus for what He really is? Luke 19:4 (NASB) says, "And he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way."

First, we will look at some “Sycamores” for the Christian. Then we will see some Sycamores for the lost.

God’s Holy Word is the first Sycamore.

There once was a woman who was incredibly nosey. She would sit in her house and watch the mailman leave mail at her neighbor's house.

Nearly every day when her neighbor came home from work she watched as the neighbor anxiously opened a letter. The letter was always in the same pretty blue envelope.

Each day her neighbor would open that blue envelope and she would laugh and laugh. Then suddenly she would cry. Then she would look surprised and invariably she would end in laughter.

The nosey neighbor watched this happen, day after day. One day she decided she just had to know what was in that envelope and who it was from. She watched the mailman close the box, lower the flag and go on his way. Then when he was just out of sight, the lady ran across the street and took out that blue envelope, took it to her house and steamed it open. She read it and didn’t find anything of interest and it was signed with initials only.

She resealed the envelope and hurried to put it back in the mailbox. She just barely made it back in the house when the neighbor pulled into her garage and immediately went out to the mailbox. Standing there she opened the blue envelope and immediately cried. Then she laughed so hard she almost fell over.

Well, the nosey neighbor couldn’t stand it any longer. She opened her door and marched across the street and demanded to know what was so sad or funny in that letter. She said, “I read that letter and there was nothing worth crying over and certainly nothing even the least bit funny!”

Her neighbor said, “But you don’t know the person who wrote this letter. If you did, you would understand."

Scriptures’ inner sanctuary opens only to worshippers. People who say, “Nobody can understand the Bible” do not know the author.

Christ is the great subject of search and research. In the Old Testament, He is desired, foretold, and pictured. In the New Testament, He is shown to be Prophet, Priest, and King.

The second Sycamore is Private Prayer.

Prayer lifts us to Heaven. We have all been invited to spend eternity in a place that cannot be described by mortal human beings. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV) “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” In other words, if Jesus Christ can do nothing about death, we have no hope at all.

Private prayer brings Heaven to us. The old Gospel song says, “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul. When at the cross the Savior made me whole. My sins were washed away, And my night was turned to day. Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.” We can now see things from God’s perspective We can come “boldly to the throne of grace.”

Public Worship is the next Sycamore for the Christian.

God’s house is a place of worship and fellowship. It is a place where we can learn how to live an abundant life. Yet there are those who do not take advantage of this important time. Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”  

It is also a place where we can participate in God’s ordinances. The early church believed strongly in “breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42) Jesus himself told us that as often as we celebrate The Lord’s Supper, we are remembering the broken body and shed blood until He returns.

There is the Sycamore of Personal Trust.

Unbelief and distrust close our eyes in our walk with the Lord. We have all heard the axiom “Seeing is believing.” We need to turn that on its head. Shouldn’t we be saying “Believing is seeing?” I love what it says in Hebrews 11:1 (NASB) “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In other words, Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

The fifth Sycamore is Humble Confession.

Men say, “Confession is good for the soul.” But we must be aware of what kind of confession is good for the soul. Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Later in the same chapter, Paul asks a question. How shall they believe if they have not heard about Him?” He continued, “How shall they hear without someone to tell them?” That someone is you and me. And in telling them, we are blessed.

For the Christian, there is another confession that we must keep up to date. 1 John 1:8-10 (NASB) “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” We must remember that the book of First John was written to those who were already believers.

Complete Obedience is the sixth Sycamore.

Christ does not ask us to do anything that He will not do. He is asking us to imitate Him in our daily walk in, Luke 9:23 “23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (KJV) When people of His day saw anyone carrying a cross, there was only one explanation. That person was going to be executed in the most gruesome way that man ever conceived. There are people all over the world who are obeying unto death. They are dying for their faith.

Faithfulness to Christ in our time is not an easy accomplishment. We are shouted down in the streets if we dare to speak up for what is good and holy. But our faithfulness tells those who observe what we really believe. — John 7:17 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (KJV)

The final Sycamore for the believer is Devoted Service.

Work is a necessity. An old hymn says, Oh land of rest, for thee I sigh! When will the moment come When I shall lay my armor by and dwell in peace at home? We’ll work till Jesus comes, We’ll work till Jesus comes, We’ll work till Jesus comes, And we’ll be gathered home.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (KJV)

Work is a blessing, not a curse. It has been said, “If you can find a job that you love don’t let go of it until you retire.”  — Galatians 6:4 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. (KJV)

These are the things that help us to see Christ for who he really is. They are near us, available, reliable. Use them for His glory. Even so, the Lost world has some difficulties. For them the “Sycamores” are different.

Some “Sycamores” For the Lost.

Individually we can be Sycamores.

There are two necessary features in a tree if one intends to climb. It must be accessible. Therefore, we must be available to those who our message and our help. And it must be strong. Therefore, we must be able to bear the burdens of others.

We can be Sycamores Corporately.

Others must see Christ in our churches. If they are to see Christ in our churches they must be able to see Christ in us. — 1 Corinthians 14:25 “25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” (KJV)

We must show them that we are one with other Christians. John 17:21 says, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (KJV)

To climb God’s sycamore trees — to be God’s sycamore tree is a responsibility, a privilege, and a joy. If we climb — if we are to encourage others to climb — we will each see Jesus and hear His tender voice say: “Today I must abide at thy house . . . this day is salvation come to this house.”

You say, "But what about the angels?" Angels are messengers from God. Some believe that we all have guardian angels. Whether that is the case or not, you and I can and should be messengers, angels of sorts, to those who do not know Him. So the lessons of the Sycamore are the same lessons for the angels.

An Angel By My Side

Everyday hassles build to fear,
Frustrations rise and fall.
Sometimes I feel that there’s no hope,
My life’s about to stall.

Then suddenly when I least expect,
I feel a cooling breeze.
My frustration begins to subside a bit,
My fears begin to ease.

I look around and there I see,
A dear friend by my side.
One to give me good advice,
Whose wisdom has been tried.

I didn’t know that I had met,
An angel sent from God.
Who’d pray for me and care so much,
When through the hurt I’ve trod.

I’ve met an angel in that day,
I’m in their very midst.
Without the trouble, I have known,
Their presence I'd have missed.

Now I must tell you what I know,
You’ve been an angel for me
You took me out of a prison of guilt,
And with compassion, you set me free.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.


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