In Matthew chapters 1-4 we see the PERSON of Jesus Christ. We are told of His virgin birth, childhood [Luke 2], baptism, and temptation. And it’s a blessing that Christ truly put on human flesh, becoming a real person, to do for all us other people what we could not do for ourselves.
Chapters 5-7 show us the PRINCIPLES of Jesus Christ. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached practical principles that are life-changing, and He gave masterful illustrations that opened the eyes of our understanding and helped to make it the world’s greatest sermon of all time.
Now in chapters 8 and 9, we are shown the POWER of Jesus Christ, and we see a series of 10 miracles He performed. We saw Him cleanse the leper, calm the storm, and cast out demons. He has power over the physical, power over the natural, and power over the spiritual!
At the end of this book, He said,
Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in the earth.
The same Savior that created the universe, and spoke this world into existence, can not only heal the hurting, and still the storm, but He can save our souls!
Jesus had power over DEMONS, DISASTER, DISEASE, and even DEATH! (Matt. 9:18-25)
In our text, Jesus has left the region of Gadara because they asked Him to. And there’s no record that He ever returned. It’s a very dangerous thing to reject Jesus, for you never know when your rejection will be accepted and become final…you never know when you’ve rejected Him for the last time. If He knocks on your heart’s door today, make sure and answer and let Him in!
Now Jesus is in Capernaum, His ministry headquarters.
There are 3 things for us to see today:
- 1-2 Mark 2 gives more detail. The ‘they’ in Mt. 9:2 who bring in this crippled man, is actually 4 men. And the place where Jesus was preaching was so full that they had to lower this man in thru the roof. We don’t know these 4 men’s names, so I’d like to name them today.
I like to think the first guy was Frank Faith. He said, ‘guys, we gotta get this man to Jesus, for I believe He can heal him and give him what he needs.’ And we’ll never grow as a church until we firmly believe that Jesus can help them. We must be absolutely convinced that He is the only answer for a sin-sick soul.
The second guy is named Larry Love. He said, ‘I love this man, and I cannot quit nor accept anything less than to bring him to Jesus.’ To grow as a church we must fall in love with the souls of mankind.
The third guy is named Dan Determination. He said, ‘let’s stop talking about it and start doing something…let’s get this show on the road and make it happen.’ And when they arrived and saw the entrance crowded with people he said something like, ‘oh no, we’ll find a way…we’ve come this far…hey, let’s lower him thru the roof!’ And I thank God for the people of GBC who see a task and do it, taking initiative. They have the attitude that if we’re gonna go anywhere as a church, then I need to take personal responsibility to see it through!
The fourth guy is Carl Cooperation. He said, ‘we’ll never succeed unless we team up and work together…everyone grab a limb!’ Many people in our lives will never COME to Jesus unless they are brought to Jesus!
The context indicates that this man was sick because of personal sin in his life. Here’s how we know: because usually, Jesus deals with the physical need first before the spiritual. He would heal a person in their body before He dealt with their soul’s need. But in this case, He goes straight to the cause of the physical problem, which sometimes is spiritual in nature. Now, certainly most physical problems aren’t rooted in sin, but sometimes they are!
Jesus went straight to the heart of the matter. He went directly to the root of the problem. This man needed forgiveness of his sins and he knew it. He had faith just as the men who bore him did, and man’s faith leads to God’s grace!
You see, our problem is not our outward behavior…that’s just the symptoms. Our problem is an inward condition of sin. For this reason, we do not need reformation, but rather TRANSFORMATION!
We don’t need to ‘turn over a new leaf’…we need a whole new tree! And that’s only possible by the PARDON which Jesus offers to us.
Many social programs exist today to help people, but sadly, they deal only w/ the effects of sin and the guilt of sin. We need to yank the root! You want your doctor to treat your disease, not just your symptoms. And if you’ll just bring your sins to Jesus today, He won’t rub them in, He’ll rub them out!
Ill.—a little boy was bad / family had a chalkboard by the phone where they wrote messages / he got into trouble and later when alone wrote, ‘dear mommy, please forgive me…if so, please rub this out’ / he was relieved when he checked it later and his mother had erased it clean!
We’ve seen the pardon…
- 3-5 Mark clarifies that the scribes said, ‘who can forgive sins but God only?’ They had a good question but came up w/ the wrong answer. They were right that only God can forgive sin, but they were wrong in that they didn’t believe Jesus was God in the flesh. You cannot be a Christian simply by believing in God…you MUST make a decision about Jesus Christ…there is no middle ground. You cannot be neutral about Him.
- 4 Only God can read our minds. Our naïve culture believes in psychics and mind readers, and they’ll pull up to their little shacks, even though the sign out front reads – “Madame Zonga-Sees all, hears all, tells all…honk so we’ll know you’re here!”
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
We all come to God’s house carrying burdens of sin, but will we admit it to the One Who already knows? He wants us to admit it. Let’s do something different when the invitation is given and instead of just standing there like a pious, pompous hypocrite, let’s remember that Jesus knows our thoughts, and is watching for our reaction! Who cares who else may be watching…God is watching! Some say, ‘but there are so many people here.’ Well, there’ll be a lot more people there on judgment day in heaven!
And remember that sometimes God is not the only One for us to apologize to. If we’ve offended someone or have a hatchet to bury, then we must do that as well.
- 5-7 Jesus says, ok, you cannot “see” forgiveness of sins occurring, so let me show you something you cannot argue with, and he heals the man.
Some people say, ‘I would believe in Jesus if I could just see a miracle.’ Really, ok, here goes…just take a look around this room! The greatest of all miracles are sitting all around this place right now…joy filled lives transformed by the power of Christ!
There are many things in the Bible you can argue about if you like, but you cannot argue with a changed life!
Ill.—a little girl had been praying for her father to get saved / finally he did, and she went around telling everyone, my daddy got saved, my daddy got saved! / an atheist in town heard her and said, aw, that stuff is just a fairy tale, there’s no such thing as being saved / she looked up at him and replied, sir, I don’t think it’s a fairy tale, but if it is, please don’t tell my daddy, because since he got saved he doesn’t come home drunk no more and don’t beat up mommy no more, and I don’t ever have to hide in the closet no more since he believed. Daddy doesn’t waste the money on beer no more…so sir, if it’s not true…please don’t tell my daddy!
If you don’t believe in Jesus, then how do you explain the miracles in this room?
Liars now truthful / drunks made sober/promiscuous made pure/selfish tightwads made generous/self-centred made servants/druggies made into Jesus addicts!
We may not all be all that we ought to be, but praise God, we’re not what we used to be! Now how do you explain that? There’s a miracle in every pew!
Ill.– Charles Bradlaugh was an outstanding atheist in England. Down in the slums was a minister by the name of Hugh Price Hughes. All London was aware of miracles of grace accomplished at his mission.
Bradlaugh challenged Pastor Hughes to a debate on the validity of the claims of Christianity. This challenge perked up the ears of all in London…what would Hughes do? He immediately accepted the debate and in doing so added one challenge of his own:
Hughes said. “I propose to you that we each bring some concrete evidence of the validity of our beliefs in the form of men and women who have been redeemed from the lives of sin and shame by the influence of our teaching. I will bring 100 such men and women and I challenge you to do the same. If you cannot bring 100, Mr. Bradlaugh, to match my 100, I will be satisfied if you will bring 50 such men and women who will stand and testify that they have been lifted up from lives of shame by the influence of your teachings. If you can’t bring 50, then bring 20 people who will say, as my 100 will, that they have a great joy in a life of self-respect as a result of your atheistic teachings. If you cannot bring 20, I will be satisfied if you bring 10. Nay, Mr. Bradlaugh, I challenge you to bring one, just one man or woman who will make such a testimony regarding your atheistic teachings.”
And Bradlaugh withdrew his challenge.
The pardon, the power…
- 8 When you look at what the pardon of Jesus and the power of Jesus have miraculously accomplished in the lives of just those in this room, it ought to lead us all to PRAISE!
Churches have problems, and that’s because of people…imperfect people! But don’t allow the problems which arise to obscure your vision from what God is truly doing right here!
If any church should be excited about what God is doing it’s GBC! [detail] Let’s have the attitude of gratitude and praise the Name of Jesus!
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