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How to Come to Jesus | Sunday Message with Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2023 3:00 pm

How to Come to Jesus | Sunday Message with Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 12, 2023 3:00 pm

In this Sunday message from Pastor Greg Laurie’s son, Pastor Jonathan Laurie, explores the Gospel of John. 

Notes 

All miracles were designed by God to point to the greatest miracle. 

“Rise, take up your bed and walk” (John 5:8).

“Take your place at once among healthy men; recognize the responsibilities of life. Find an outlet for the new strength in you. Be no longer a burden, a charge to others, but begin yourself to bear the burdens of others, and be a source of strength to others.” —Marcus Dods

Scripture Referenced

John 20:31 (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV)

John 3:19–20 (NLT)

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners.

I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you. If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. We are continuing in our series, The Seven Signs, a study in the Gospel of John, and it's been great so far. We've covered a couple of the different signs the last couple of weeks. The first sign was when Jesus turned the water into wine at Cana of Galilee. The second sign that we saw was when Jesus cleansed the temple. And today we'll be looking at the third and fourth miraculous sign that Jesus performed that points to the fact that He is the prophesied Messiah. He is the long awaited one that would come to take away the sin of the world.

And the third and fourth signs are number, well, you'll just have to wait to find out. Hey, I want to let you know again, as the host pastor mentioned that tonight we are having a worship night. We really want to encourage you guys to come on out and be a part of this. If you love worshiping like I do, and our team does such a wonderful job leading us in worship, you are not going to want to miss out on tonight. It starts at 5 p.m.

It's here at the Riverside Campus. Last week we had it at Harvest Orange County and it was awesome. It was so great. Honestly, over 800 people showed up and so you guys showed up in mass ready to worship.

I love that. We had a really sweet time of worship together. We had a sweet time of communion. We had people come forward to be prayed over and anointed with oil and we're going to be doing the same thing here tonight at Harvest Riverside.

So if you missed out on last week, make sure you come tonight. And for those of you, my friends at Orange County, come out to the Riverside Campus. A lot of our friends from Riverside came to Orange County last week and showed up and it was so great having all the campuses together. That was probably my favorite part was having all of our ministries represented, all of our campuses there, except for Maui. Maybe they did actually.

I'm not sure. We might have had a person from Maui there, one representing. Actually, I think we might have because we had the women's retreat last weekend and so that's pretty cool.

So what's your excuse, Orange County? You can come to Riverside and so come join us for that. It's going to be an absolute blast. Also want to let you know, Jesus Revolution is still crushing it in the theaters. Over 4 million people have seen Jesus Revolution, over 4 million. And now we just got news that is going to be distributed internationally.

It's going to New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia. And so we're really excited to see what God is going to do with this film. Continue to pray for it. And hey, special kudos to you that showed up to the 9 a.m. service with Daylight Savings Time. It was a rough morning this morning. When I woke up, it was like, whoa, is it 4 a.m.? Like what is going on?

It's dark outside. And so good job. We're glad that you came today.

All right. Well, again, we are looking at the Gospel of John. We're in John chapter 4 and 5 today. John chapter 4 and 5, if you want to turn in your Bibles. And we're specifically, again, looking at the seven signs that John points to that reveal the deity and the prophecies pointing that Jesus, this man from Nazareth, born of Mary, was the Messiah.

We're looking at the miracles. The Gospel of John is a beautiful eyewitness account of the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. John was part of Jesus' inner circle. He was the one that wrote the Gospel of John. And he was part of Jesus' inner circle, which included Simon Peter, it included James, and it included John. And John, in his gospel, it's interesting, this is a perk of writing your own gospel, I suppose. He does not refer to himself as John. He refers to himself in the third person, which is interesting, but he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus did love John, and John makes sure everybody knows that. And if you're just starting to read the Bible, it's good to know that the four Gospels each look at the life and ministry of Jesus from a distinct and unique perspective, each and every one of them, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

It also happens to be the four first books in our New Testament in our Bibles. Matthew was one of the 12 disciples. He's the first gospel in our New Testament, Matthew.

Matthew was a former tax collector, really an amazing story. He would have been considered just an enemy of Israel. The Jewish people would have had a strong disdain for him.

Though he was a Jew, he was working for the Roman government, so he would have been seen as a turncoat, a Benedict Arnold. And so, Matthew, in his gospel though, after an encounter with Jesus and he calls Matthew to follow him as one of his disciples, Matthew writes his account of the life of ministry, and he looks and approaches the life and ministry of Jesus in his gospel from a distinctly Jewish perspective of the Messiah. Matthew quotes from the Old Testament more than any other gospel account, about 60 times from the Old Testament, and at least 15 times he quotes specific Old Testament prophecies about Jesus and His fulfillment of them. Mark's gospel is widely agreed upon by New Testament scholars that it was actually orated, it was actually spoken by Simon Peter. Simon Peter, who was, you know, we all know Simon Peter, he denied Jesus three times, an amazing man, but Mark was written, we believe, and penned by John Mark, who was a cousin of Barnabas, a close associate of the Apostle Paul, and it is also believed again that the gospel of Mark was written as the result of listening to the eyewitness account of Simon Peter recounting his time with Jesus and a member of Jesus' inner circle. Luke, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Luke's gospel was written by a physician that was a close and personal travel companion of the Apostle Paul.

He attended to the Apostle Paul with all his physical ailments that he had. Paul, as you know, was constantly getting beaten up, left for dead, stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, bitten by snakes, all kinds of things, so he needed a full-time medical attendant, and so Luke was that guy, but it's fascinating because in Luke's gospel, he records things with surgical clarity. He records things as a doctor would with really interest in the miracles, the physical nature of the miracles, the physical nature of the resurrection, and so Luke's gospel is written in that manner, and so all of them having a unique perspective. The first three gospels are referred to as the synoptic gospels, which means they all kind of view the ministry of Jesus through a similar lens.

There's a lot of crossover between the three, though they all have unique lenses. They do view the life of Christ through kind of a similar lens because we find that approximately 35 percent of Luke's gospel is unique to his gospel, meaning it isn't recorded anywhere else. Matthew's gospel has around 20 percent unique information and content, and Mark has around three percent unique information, not mentioned in the other three gospels. John's gospel, the gospel we look at today, has close to 90 percent unique information, not mentioned anywhere else in the three gospels. John's book, The Gospel of John, is always the book that we tell new believers this is where you should start. This is where you should start in your understanding, in your research, in your study of God's word, and it is for one primary reason.

John tells us the purpose. He wrote his book in John 20 verse 31. He says, these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. And so we know John's gospel as this book of life, this book that points to Jesus, and so we encourage anybody who's a new believer, anybody who has maybe known the Lord for some time but is trying to dig deeper into God's word or jump in to studying the Bible, John's gospel is the best place to start. So together we're looking at John's gospel and again specifically the seven signs as I mentioned.

The seven signs were water being turned into wine, the cleansing of the temple, the nobleman's son healed, the layman healed at the pool of Bethesda that we'll be looking at today, and then we'll see in the coming weeks the feeding of the multitude, the healing of the blind man, and raising Lazarus from the dead. Again all recorded to prove that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah who would come to take away the sin of the world. All of these miracles that Jesus performed, all of these things were done for a specific purpose.

Yes, to bless the people that were around. He tended to the sick, he helped the poor, he ministered, he preached, he loved humans, no question, Jesus loved people. But the reason that Jesus did all of these miracles was to give evidence to the fact that he is who he said he was, that he really was God in the flesh, that he was the Messiah. The greatest miracle that he did of all was in 2 Corinthians 5 21. It says this, for he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him. All miracles were created by God to point to the greatest miracle, and that is the gospel. That is the forgiveness of our sin.

That is when God took Christ and poured out the wrath of judgment and all of sin and placed that upon Jesus, and he died for us. And we in turn have been given the righteousness of Christ, and so that is the greatest miracle that God sees us. He sees us with the righteousness of Christ, not with the mistakes that we've made, not with the things we've fallen short of and messed up on.

He sees us with the righteousness of Christ. And so I've titled this message today, How to Come to Jesus. How to come to Jesus, and we're looking at John chapter 4, starting in verse 45.

Let's read together. And so when Jesus came to Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also had gone to the feast. And so Jesus came to Cana of Galilee, where he made water into wine, and there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. And when he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him and implored him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

And then Jesus said to him, Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe. And the nobleman said to him, Sir, come down before my child dies. Jesus said to him, Go your way, your son lives. So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, Your son lives.

Let's pause there. Lord, we ask now that as we open up your word, that you would speak to us through it, that you would reveal to us the truths that you want us to take home and apply to our lives. Lord, we believe that your word is alive. It is living.

It is sharper than any two-edged sword, able to divide between bone and marrow and muscle and all these things that are going on inside of us. Lord, you know exactly what we need. You know exactly what we need to hear. And so our prayer, Lord, is that you would speak to us, anoint our ears for listening. Lord, I pray that you would speak through me and you would minister to your people. It's in Jesus' name we pray together. Amen.

Amen. So point number one, character number one that we're going to be looking at is the nobleman and the healing of his son. So point number one, for those of you taking notes, point number one, trial to triumph, trial to triumph. That's what we see happen in this nobleman's life. And so we see this nobleman. What the heck is a nobleman?

I don't live in mid-century, you know, in England. And what is a nobleman? I don't know what a nobleman is. I had to look it up.

Okay. So a nobleman in this context here specifically comes from the Greek word basilikos, basilikos. And it means that this nobleman was likely an important official in Herod's court, making him wealthy, making him influential, making him someone that people would want to serve and please.

He would be known throughout the area. And this nobleman with all his money, with all his medical care, all his essential oils that he might have had, all of those things couldn't heal his own son. Couldn't heal his own son.

His son was at the brink of death. And so he hears that this man, Jesus, is in the local area now. He was living in the Galilee area and he would have heard about what happened in Cana. We also know that he would have heard what Jesus was doing because in verse 45, we read, when Jesus came to Galilee, the Galileans received him because they saw all the things he did in Jerusalem at the feast for they also had gone to the feast. So this nobleman knows, hey, there's something special about this guy, Jesus. I've done everything I can, I can possibly do in my power to make sure that my son heals. What can I do? I'm sure that he thought it would be great if I could get my son to Jesus.

I can't do that. He's bedridden. It'd be great if Jesus could come to me, but that's, you know, 40 miles away from Jerusalem to Cana or to Galilee where this man lived. And so when this nobleman heard that Jesus was just down the street, was just in his own backyard, he knows he's got his sick home, but he decides I'm going to go and approach Jesus and see if I can get Jesus to come to my house. He seizes his opportunity and he brings his trial to Jesus.

I think that there's a principle right there that we can all learn from. He brings his trial to Jesus. So often Jesus for us is the last resort, right? So often the last place that we turn to for help is prayer. The last thing that we do is seek God's opinion or seek God's help in a matter, right?

We go to the internet, we go to our spouses, we go to our friends and we get their opinions on things. It could be a sickness that we're dealing with, a conflict at home or in the workplace. It could be a financial stress that we're facing. It could be our grades in school, right? Oh man, this is so hard. I'm hoping to get good grades so I can get into a college or something like that. It could be that you're trying to find a job, you're unemployed.

It could be that you're being bullied in school. A lot of times the last place we bring these problems to is God. We'll take our problems to our parents.

We'll take our problems to our friends, our spouse, to doctors, social media, the internet. And as a last resort, when every other option has been exhausted, we'll turn to God, right? But when we do that, we're missing out on an awesome opportunity. When we do that, when we put God at the last of the list, we are the ones that are truly missing out to let God work in our lives and to help us see the perspective, to help see the matter from God's perspective. We're missing out on that. Philippians 4-6 tells us to be anxious for nothing, but to make everything known to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving so that we can make our request be made known. And the peace of God, it tells us, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. So we miss out on an opportunity. We're the ones that miss out when God is not at the top of that list.

Bad news from the doctor? Pray about it. You got a call from your wife and she just blew out two of your tires on the car driving the kids to school somehow? Pray about it, right? You find out that your kid got expelled from school? Pray about it. And then punish them, right?

No. We need to take these things that happen in our lives to God first, because we may see something by coming to God in prayer that we didn't see before. God's perspective is eternal.

It's perfect. And so it's only going to benefit us if we get God's perspective on the matters that ail us every day in our lives. And so this man, what does he do? He brings his trial to Jesus. He brings his problem to Jesus. Sir, he says, my son is on the brink of death. Please come and see him.

Come to where I am at. And then Jesus gives him a response in verse 48. He says, unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe. Now, imagine being this nobleman for just a minute. You know, you come, your son's sick, you're frantic, you're concerned.

And Jesus says, unless you see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe. This would not be a compliment, right? You would not take this as a compliment. In fact, it was a rebuff. It wasn't like a full on rebuke, but it was a rebuke. Jesus was saying, the reason you were all here today, and he wasn't just speaking to this nobleman, he was speaking to the crowd that had been following Jesus. And he used this nobleman's request as an opportunity to address the entire crowd. He said, the reason that you're all here today is because you're hoping to get something from me. You're hoping to see some sign or wonder that I might perform, and you're hoping to get something out of it. Was this severe?

Yeah, it was severe. But Jesus was accurately describing an underlying truth about the nobleman, as well as the crowd, and I believe our culture today and our perspective of Jesus. People want the gifts that God gives, but they do not want the giver of those gifts. So often today, people want the gifts that God gives, but we do not want the giver of those gifts.

Does that make sense? We want God's blessing. We want God's providence. We want God to answer our requests. We want God to be our genie in a bottle, but when it comes to him giving guidance to us for life, we're quick to say, ah, I'm good on that part, God.

I just want the good things, the blessings that come from you. No, listen, we cannot accept the gifts and the promises and the blessing that he gives to us and then reject the giver of those gifts. And so we'll see together that Jesus would deal with this son. Yeah, Jesus would deal with the son.

Yes, Jesus would heal the boy, and yes, it would be a beautiful miracle that would be worth celebrating, but before Jesus healed the boy, he needed to address the need of the Father. The truth that Jesus was pointing to was that this experiential kind of faith, this emotional kind of faith that they were pursuing, which included signs and wonders and miracles and emotion and sensationalism. They were excited.

This is crazy. It's like following a guy that's just nonstop, greatest hits, right? They were following Jesus because it felt good in the moment. They were on a mountaintop type of spiritual experience. They were being dazzled, but at best, at best, these things are the ribbon that the gospel comes wrapped in. The true blessing, the greatest part of what Jesus came to do was that he showed us how to live, was that he showed us how we could have eternal life, and these emotional experiences that people were chasing after, man, that was the icing on the cake.

That was just the fringe. It was agony that had driven this nobleman to Jesus. His son was dying. His son was dying. He was on his deathbed, and we can again be sure that he exhausted all other efforts, and so as he brings the son to Jesus, Jesus then turns to him and says, the only reason you're coming to me is because you want to see signs and wonders. You won't believe unless you see these things, and the nobleman, he had a choice in that moment. He could have rebuffed Jesus right back.

You're wrong. Actually, I'm coming to you because I do believe in you. He could have excused himself. He could have responded back to Jesus, but he doesn't. Here's how he responds to Jesus' statement in verse 49.

Sir, come down before my child dies. He didn't correct Jesus' rebuke. He didn't try and stand up for himself or make an excuse. He accepted Jesus' analysis of his faith and brought it back to the need at hand. It was as if he was saying, Jesus, I don't understand, but I know that you have the power, and that's how we should come to Jesus as well.

Jesus, I don't understand. I know my faith is incomplete. I know that I'm imperfect. I know that I'm probably coming to you with ulterior motives, but God, I know you have the power. I know you have the ability to help me in my need. Lord, would you help me, and would you increase my faith?

Would you help me in my faith, Lord? He will always answer that request. When my daughter, Allie, was around three years old, I was hosting service after church on Sunday morning. I was closing in announcements, probably talking for too long, and my dad told my daughter, he said, hey, he picked her up from children's ministry. He said, hey, go run up on stage and give your dad a big hug in front of everybody.

He'll really love that. And so I'm doing announcements, and this little three-year-old kid, Allie, my daughter, she runs up, and she hugs my leg, and then she runs back off stage. I'm like, what in the world?

Oh, so cute. And so I finish announcements, and I walk off, and I find out that while Allie was running off the stage, she cut one of the corners, and she clipped her eyebrow on the corner of our keyboard. And when I got back there, I mean, my kids are pretty tough.

They don't cry unless it's really bad. I mean, she was crying, and she had split her eyebrow right under her eyebrow, right above, like, kind of her eyelid, and it was deep. I mean, it was an open wound, and I've had enough stitches to know this needs medical attention.

This ain't going to be, you know, taken care of by a band-aid. And so I take her home because that's where mom was, and I wanted to get mom involved. It was just down the street.

So we get home, and I realize, you know what? I should reach out to my friend across the street. I made friends with this guy who lives across the street from us who happens to be a doctor. I don't know what kind of doctor he is, but I figure he's going to have, you know, he's going to have some ability to give some insight into what's going on here. Can I put a band-aid on this?

Do I need to take her to the emergency room for stitches? And so he comes over, and he's super kind and gentle and sweet with Allie, and he's talking to her, and he's looking at it very carefully, touching it, and he says, yeah, it looks pretty bad, I'll be honest. She's going to need to go to the hospital, he said, and I actually have some super glue that I could probably close this up with, some medical super glue that I could close this up with, he said, but there's some damage that looks like it could be done to her optical nerve right here, and he says, this is, this isn't good, and so I'm going to, if it's okay with you, ask my wife to come over to take a look at it.

I said, oh, okay. Yeah, my wife's an ophthalmologist. She's an optical surgeon. It's whatever you think, doc. You know, that sounds good to me. So his wife comes over, and she looks at it, and she's again so gentle, so caring and good with Allie, and she says, nope, it looks all good.

There's no damage to the optical nerve. You're good to go there, and she turns to her husband, and she says, so what are you going to do? And he says, oh, well, I figure I just go down and get some super glue from the office and bring it over, and we could close that up pretty good, and she goes, babe, she's going to have a scar if you do that, and he goes, okay, and then he says, you know what I do, right? And I said, no, actually, I don't know what kind of doctor you are. He says, I'm a plastic surgeon.

Hey, perks of living in Southern California, right? I said, I had, I honestly had no idea. Wow, and he said, yeah, I'll tell you what I'll do, and at this point, it's Sunday afternoon. He's off for the weekend. You know, he's got like his, you know, five o'clock shadow going on. He's scruffy, and he says, I'll meet you down at the hospital, go to the ER, get the paperwork all started. I'll call ahead, let them know I'm coming down, and I'll put her eye back together. Wow, okay, amazing, amazing. Oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting this. I literally just wanted to know, can I put a band-aid on this and walk away from it? And so we get to the emergency room, and everybody is like, who the heck is this guy that he's having the plastic surgeon come in to take care of his kid?

Wow, he wants to be somebody really important. I'm getting like the red carpet treatment, and everybody was so kind, and sure enough, he put Ali's eye back together, and what plastic surgeons do is they are masters of putting skin back together, and so he goes with the finest, thinnest sutures, stitches that you've ever seen, and he's putting her eye back together, putting those little jagged pieces of flesh, weaving them back together so carefully, and when we're done with it, Ali's all smiles. She's all great. It's all good.

We're thankful that happened, and today, now that she's 12 years old, if you look at that spot where she had those stitches, you can't see any distinguishable scar whatsoever. It's remarkable what he did. Yeah. And so what's my point with all of this? Well, if you use my name as a referral code in the drop-down menu on his website, I get 25% off on my next plastic surgery procedure. You're like, yeah, you could use it.

No. No, my point is that I didn't even know what I needed. I just knew that I needed help. I just knew that I needed help.

I went to my friend who was a doctor, and what he did was address and clear a concern I had no idea about, the optical nerve that was so delicate and so close to being damaged. He gave the all-clear, and what he did was put her together, back together in a way that you would never know there was any injury. I brought my daughter to a man that I thought could help me, and it turned out there was nobody better to address that need. And see, like this nobleman, you don't need to have a supernatural or theological understanding of your problems, but what you do need is an understanding that God alone can meet the deepest need in your life, that He can make you whole. Yes, God can heal you. Yes, God can restore your marriage.

Yes, God can help you through this trial you might be facing, but until you recognize your greatest need, those are just secondary issues. And so let's look back at our text. Jesus says again to him in verse 50, Jesus says to him, go your way, your son lives. And so the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, your son lives.

Isn't that amazing? How did this nobleman come to Jesus? He came with a crisis. He came at his wit's end. He didn't know where else to turn. Jesus, you're my last resort.

I don't know what to do here. He came with a crisis, and his crisis turned into confidence at Jesus' word. His obedient faith was then confirmed when his servants met him and told him that his son lives. His confirmed faith then became a contagious faith as he shared his encounter with Jesus and with his entire household.

He told them about what had happened. We read in verse 52, then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to the nobleman rather, yes, it was yesterday at the seventh hour that the fever left him. And so the father knew that it was the same hour in which Jesus said to him, your son lives. And he himself believed in his whole household.

Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him. So he went from crisis to confidence to confirmation of his faith to a contagious faith. And so how do you come to Jesus?

Look at the nobleman. You come with your crisis. You come with your need. You come with your misconception, but be prepared to have Jesus recognize and, or excuse me, reorganize your priorities. You see, I used to struggle with materialism, but now I just want Jesus. I used to struggle with drugs, but now I just want Jesus.

I used to struggle with lust, but now I just want Jesus and my wife. You see, Jesus is not a drug. He's not a thing. He's not a means to an end. He's not a genie in a bottle. He is Messiah God who brings people back to life again.

And he loves you. So that brings us to point number two now. Point number two, person number two, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Point number two, do you want to be made well?

Do you want to be made well? Let's read together in John five now, starting in verse one. After this, there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, which has five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water. And then whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was brought to the after the stirring of the water was made well of whatever disease they had.

Now a certain man was there and he had an infirmity for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there, he knew that he already had been in that condition a long time. And so Jesus said to him, do you want to be made well?

The sick man answered him, sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. But while I am coming another steps down before me. And Jesus said to him, rise, take up your bed and walk. And immediately the man was made well.

He took up his bed and he walked and that was the Sabbath. This is the fourth miraculous sign that John records for us. Again, the first one was the water being turned into wine. The second miraculous sign was when Jesus overturned the money changers tables in the temple.

He cleansed the temple. The third is the nobleman's son healed. And now fourth, we see this lame man healed at the pool of Bethesda. So Jesus comes to this pool. He comes to Bethesda.

And what does he do in this area? He sees that there's a great multitude we're told of sick and lame and people with infirmities, all kinds of diseases and things happening that they're unable to help themselves. They're attempting to climb into this pool of water so that they can be healed. And Jesus, like the good physician he is, walks into this emergency room of an environment and he goes to the man with the greatest need. He sees that this man who has been sick for 38 years, a man with an infirmity, it says, a sickness, an affliction of some kind that caused him to be unable to move into the water when it was stirred up by what John said was an angel. Now, whether this was some kind of superstition that this angel came down and moved the water and the first one in the water would get healed.

So whether it was a superstition, we can get into that another time. But the point was that John made that this man could not move on his own. This man had been sick for 38 years. And it's possible that he was fully paralyzed or just partially paralyzed or just extremely weak. And this man now laid by a pool of water surrounded by other sick people and he had this issue for 38 years.

For 38 years he had been unable to take care of himself, to be able to walk. And so we're given this insight in verse 14. After the man had been made well, Jesus sees the man in the temple and he said to him, see, you have been made well.

Sin no more, lest a worse thing should happen to you. It's kind of an interesting thing for Jesus to say, but it appears what Jesus is referencing is that this man's sickness, this man's paralysis was the result of his own sin. We don't know how it happened. Perhaps it was some kind of horrible venereal disease that this man contracted that incrementally destroyed his body.

Maybe it was a drunken stupor he got into one evening and he fell and damaged his spinal cord. Maybe it was none of these things, but we see Jesus telling him, sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. Sin has consequences. Sin has consequences. Galatians 6 to 7 says, do not be deceived.

God is not mocked whatsoever a man sows that he shall also reap. The things that we do have consequences. Sometimes we think that because we did something, God is punishing us. No friend, you got a DUI because you're an idiot and you were driving drunk, not because God was judging you. But listen, the Lord disciplines those whom he loves. And so Lord, maybe we need to ask you for you to discipline us.

Maybe we need to welcome those opportunities to be corrected. This man had sowed some kind of sin and he had reaped this tragedy. We will reap what we sow. If we reap to the spirit, we will reap spiritual fruit.

If we reap to the flesh, we will reap spiritual death. You can imagine the misery of this man laying there for 38 years or however long, staring at that pool of water, waiting for it to bubble up so that he could be the first in the water only to realize that every time that he made an attempt to get into the pool, he had barely moved but a couple of inches. He wasn't able to get there on his own. So many today are like this lame man, unable to help themselves, suffering, miserable, alone, aware of their addiction, aware of their problems. I remember feeling this way when I wanted to be clean from drugs. I remember wanting to be free from my addiction, having a desire for sobriety and making attempts on my own to get there, but never being able to make much progress.

That's why I think that Jesus' question here in verse 6 is so insightful. Do you want to be made well? You know, I would say, oh yeah, I want to get clean. I want to get free from that and I'll do it on my own eventually. I didn't want to be. I didn't want to be free from my drugs.

I don't want to be free from my lifestyle. I wanted those things because you know what? I enjoyed it. I was having fun. I wasn't ready to come to Jesus yet. Not everybody wants to be made well. Not everybody wants to have a life free from drugs or alcohol or gambling or pornography or pride or materialism or whatever bondage people willfully walk into. Not everybody wants to be free from their sin. Jesus says these words in John 3. The judgment is based on this fact, that God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.

All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it, for fear their sins will be exposed. This man who'd been laying by the pool, he'd been there. He'd done that. He was done with his disease. He was done with this affliction. He wanted to be free from it truly and that's when God will work in your life.

When you are ready to fully surrender to Him and fully commit your life to Him. Yes, Lord, I want to be made whole. Yes, Lord, I want to be healed and that's what we see this man doing. Jesus says three things to this layman that I think apply to us today. He says, rise, take up your bed and walk. Rise, take up your bed and walk. The fact that he told this layman to rise, he was telling him, I want you to do something that you can never do on your own and I want you to do it immediately. You once were lame but now I am telling you to rise, to get up from where you have been laying all these years. He then tells them to take up his bed, take up his bed and to me that is saying make no provision for relapse.

Make no provision to go back to the former way of living. Your alcohol, your drugs, your sin, remove any trace of it and put into place any necessary accountability you might need. Porn filters, drug testing, whatever you might need to get free from that, put it into place. You need an accountability partner?

Awesome. Go out and find one of those. You need an alarm that wakes up the whole house when you open up the fridge at 2 a.m.?

Hey, I know they exist. You can put one on your fridge. Do whatever it takes to pick up your bed and make no provision for backsliding or relapsing into old patterns. And then he says walk. He says rise, do the thing that you've never been able to do apart from me now, take up your bed and walk. Exercise your healing and don't expect to be carried.

Exercise your healing and don't expect to be carried. Some might think that as soon as we ask Christ to come into our lives that we're going to be filled with the Holy Spirit and we're going to be completely autonomous and the Lord's going to just direct us into everything and we don't have to worry about anything. We don't have to try because God's going to do everything for us. That's not the case. You might think as soon as you ask Christ to come into your life that you're going to hit the lottery. No sickness or trial will ever visit your doorstep, that it's just going to be a perpetual Disneyland kind of experience.

That's not the case. Jesus himself said in this world you will have tribulation but take heart for I've overcome the world. Jesus cares about us and he cares about what is happening in our lives but like I said about the needs of my kids sometimes I see the deeper need that deserves attention. My kids come to me, dad can I have some candy? It's like 4 30. We're about to eat dinner. Are you hungry? Well yeah but I really want this piece of candy. Okay I'm going to feed you something that's going to satisfy your hunger and then maybe afterwards I'll give you a piece of candy, right? I see there's a deeper need they're responding to.

All they know is they want something that's going to taste good inside of their mouth. Jesus cares about us. He cares about what is happening in our lives but sometimes and always Jesus sees the deeper need and he will address that first and foremost. So live in your salvation. Live your salvation out.

Walk in it. Marcus Dodds, a Bible commentator said this, take your place at once among healthy men. Recognize the responsibilities of life. Find an outlet for the new strength in you.

Be no longer a burden, a charge to others but begin yourself to bear the burdens of others and be a source of strength to others today. And so in closing we see the faith of this nobleman. We see the faith of this of this lame man at Bethesda.

Two men on opposite sides of the social spectrum, right? One wealthy, one influential, the other an outcast of society, poor unable to help himself much less anybody else but they both had an interaction with Jesus. The nobleman came to Jesus with his trial looking for healing on behalf of his son, looking for divine intervention but what he left with was something much greater. His request was granted and his entire household believed as a result.

The lame man, this is a guy who hit absolute rock bottom. He was in a hopeless situation and God himself reached out his hand to have mercy on him. Do you want to be made well? Do you want to be made whole? Rise, take up your bed and walk. I want to tell you today that God can do that for you. God can do that for you. He can heal you. He can free you from your addiction but first you must see your need to be freed from sin.

You need to recognize that the greatest need that you have is not your physical health, is not your mental health, is not your financial situation, is not your grades in school. The greatest need that you have today if you haven't had already met is for you to be made right with the Creator of the universe, a holy and righteous God who loves you so much that he sent his son to die in your place on a cross so that you can have the hope of heaven because the alternative is hell. Hell is a place that was created for the devil and for the demons and anybody who would reject Jesus Christ, that is what awaits them and it breaks God's heart so much so that he sent his own son to die in your place. That's how much he cares about you. That's how much he wants you to be made right with him. He's done everything he can to get you to this place. All you must do is receive this free gift of salvation. So let's close in prayer. Heavenly Father, we love you. We thank you that you have made us spiritually well. We thank you that you see the deeper need in our lives that we often neglect, Lord.

We want the external things. We want the things that make us look like we're doing good and so often we neglect our greatest need, the need of our heart, the need for a relationship with you, the need to have spiritual truth in our lives and spiritual life happening inside of us. Lord, we thank you that you see our deepest need and as a good father does, you meet it and address it. And so Lord, we come to you with our needs today. We come to you with our problems. We come to you with our trials and we lay them at your feet, Jesus.

We ask that you would address each and every one of our issues, each and every one of our problems. Some of us have prodigal children at home. Some of us have strife in our marriage.

Some of us may be facing layoffs at work. Some of us may be facing things that we don't know. It's an insurmountable trial. Lord, nothing is impossible with you. And so we lay them at your feet and we ask that you would respond to each and every one of us, Lord, each and every one of our trials, each and every one of our needs, our hungers according to your will, your holy and perfect will. So while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying here today, some of you might say that you want to be made whole. You have not yet given your life to Jesus. You have not yet come to Him and asked Him to be the Lord of your life.

Listen, if you haven't done that yet, it's a simple thing that you need to do. You need to recognize your need and call out to God, ask Him to be your Savior, and that you would make Him the Lord of your life, that you would put His will in your life first and foremost. And so if you would like to do that today, if you'd like to put your faith in Jesus Christ, wherever you are, whatever campus you might be watching from, wherever screen you're looking at online or wherever, I would just invite you, pray this prayer out loud after me. This is you talking to God.

Not me, not the person next to you. This is you talking to your Father in heaven who loves you and wants to hear from you. You want to know that when you die, you'll go to heaven. You want to know that your sin will be forgiven. You want to know that you'll be a new creation. Listen, these are the promises of God. You can have that today. Just pray this prayer out loud wherever you are.

Pray this now. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner, but I know that Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. And I turn from that sin.

I turn from those old patterns. And God, I turn to you from this moment forward. Would you fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to walk with you and to know your heart and to know your will for my life? In Jesus' name, I ask. Amen. Amen. God bless you that prayed just now. That's amazing. That's amazing. What a beautiful thing that you've done.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 02:22:22 / 2023-03-13 02:40:43 / 18

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