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That’s a curious question for Jesus to ask a man who has been sick for 38 years!But the disabled man’s answer is just as intriguing as the question; he replied to Jesus, “I have no one to help me.” Imagine going through an excruciatingly long and terrible illness without anyone to help you.It is difficult enough with medical and family support.What I have learned about the power of sickness is that disease is not the only way to become sick.
Deteriorating values weaken the family unit, the core of our society.The more frail families become, the more difficult it will be to rebound from the sickness in our society.Children should not be taught morality in school, on the playground, or while hanging out with friends.They need the direction of parents who are grounded in biblical principles and who teach them to their offspring by instruction and practice.
How do we deal with crippling sickness in our churches?Strife and pride can rip apart a congregation and leave them beaten up, bruised, and bewildered by the turmoil.
More than a few nations are now overcome by sickness, weakened by the misguided teaching of tolerance toward an ungodly society, stricken by the hand of a dishonest, greedy government.When the bedrock of a country’s faith is shaken by non-Christian laws and practices we suffer the consequences of our immorality.What is the answer to this dilemma?You will find the answer in our scripture lesson for today.
After pronouncing the man at the Bethesda pool healed, Jesus later found him in the Temple where two life changing statements were made:
1.Jesus said, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
2.“Then the man said to the Jews that it was Jesus who made him well.”
If God is ever to heal our families, our churches and our nations, we must first stop the sinning!Repentance is the first step to recovering our relationship with God.Secondly, we must confess that Jesus is Lord and He alone can make us well.Beloved, there is no other way to overcome the non-Christian influence which has spread like a runaway wildfire.If we continue to close our eyes to the problem it will engulf us; every ungodly act must be confronted with the truth of the Gospel.Measure every decision you make, and every decision that is made by people who represent you in government by the perfect standard of God’s Word.If it fails that test, it is a bad decision and will not please our Lord now or in eternity to come.
In 1994, seven year old Nicholas Green was vacationing with his family in southern Italy; he died tragically after being shot in a botched robbery.His Dad, Reg Green said he knew at the time that he could never be happy again.He wrote in the Los Angeles Times:
Maggie — my wife — and I are not gloomy people. And with three other lively children, our home is not a mournful place.
But, as I sensed then, the realization that Nicholas' radiant life was snuffed out still colors all my thinking. I think of all the books he will never read, the friends he will never meet, the sunsets and mountains and starry skies he will never see.
What I never expected was the emotional upsurge around the world that followed our decision to donate his organs and corneas to seven very sick Italians, four of them teenagers.
Telegrams, flowers, even toys for our 4-year-old daughter, Eleanor, flooded in from all parts of Italy. The president and prime minister came to see us and talked to us as if they were old family friends. An Italian military aircraft, with an honor guard, brought Nicholas' body home to California.
Individual gestures of solidarity sprang up immediately and have not ceased. A small bakery dressed its employees in coveralls with "Thank you, Nicholas" logos on them. Parks, bridges, schools and streets from the Alps to Sicily — and the largest hospital in Italy — are named for him.
For years, a school in Sicily has had two clocks in its entrance hall, one showing the time in Italy, the other in California, so that students will feel the connection every day.
Through the death of Reg Green’s son, life was given to seven children and ultimately to countless others by the testimony of organ donation.Because of that unselfish act, the practice of organ donation dramatically increased in Italy and “piccolo Nicholas” or little Nicholas is remembered for it.
Jesus, the Son of God, angered the Jews because he healed on the Sabbath.When He said, “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I, too, am working,” they tried all the harder to kill him.
Through the Son of God, the Bible promised eternal life to those who believe. “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned.”Christians experience life through the Son!And He said that the most amazing thing would one day happen.There will come a time when “everyone in their graves will hear his voice and come out…those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see. What a day…wonderful day that will be!ßCLICK THE WORDS FOR A BEAUTIFUL SONG.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, GLORY!Thank you for the promise of eternal life through the Son of God.We praise you for the gift that keeps on giving forever and ever.Amen and amen.
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." (Acts 2:17-18 - NIV)
Many hear these words and take comfort - even to the point of relaxing - because as they look around the world and become convinced that these are in fact the “last days,” they see no need to worry.God has promised that He will “pour out my Spirit on all people.”Surely, that will set things right.Surely, all the wars, greed, cruelty and hatred will end when God’s Spirit is on everyone…
However, God’s Word also says:
"…There will be terrible times in the last days.People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power.Have nothing to do with them."(2nd Timothy 3:1-5 - NIV)
How can we take comfort and relax based on the words in Acts unless they are reconcile with the words of Timothy?
Do you remember the parable of the sower from the 13th chapter of Matthew?As the sower was scattering seeds, some fell along the path and the birds came and ate them. Some fell on rocky places, where there was not enough soil. Those seeds sprang up quickly; but, when the sun came up, they withered because they didn’t have good roots.Other seeds fell among thorns, which choked the plants.But, some seeds fell on good soil, where they produced a crop.So shall it be in the last days.
God will pour out His Spirit on all people.Our sons and daughters will prophesy, our young men will see visions, and our old men will dream dreams.But, like in the parable of the sower, not all will listen, not all who listen will hear.
Brothers and Sisters, we have been given an enormous blessing.God is pouring out His Spirit and many will receive it with great joy.However, we cannot relax!We are the sowers and we must spread the seeds of His Spirit to all who will listen.Like the sower of the Bible, we cannot determine where the seeds will fall or which seeds will grow - that is in God’s hands.Only He can open the hearts of those who hear.
We cannot relax; but, we can take comfort because He is with us.He is pouring out His Spirit so that we may fulfill His command to, “…go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 - NLT)
What more can we do in these last days?Let’s not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (as some do); let’s encourage one another - and so much the more, as we see the (last) day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
Steve and I were fishing ten miles out in the Gulf of Mexico one summer day when a sudden thunderstorm sat right on top of us.The six to eight inch seas suddenly grew to 6 to 8 feet, more than our fifteen foot boat could easily navigate.Serenity immediately turned to turmoil as the seas began to boil beneath our craft.The wind beat against the canvas top, waves splashed over the bow as the rain fiercely pounded us. The boat began to sink lower and lower into the water.Steve was an expert navigator and checked under the subfloor to notice the submersible bilge pump had stopped working and we were filling up with water.We slowed the boat and began to frantically bail the water out using whatever we could find that would help.Fear gripped both of us as we tightened our life vests simultaneously without saying a word; our eyes met and the desperation of the moment was affirmed in a glance.
Just as suddenly as the storm approached, it subsided and the treacherous waves were silent once again.The surface of the water became slick as glass so we continued our afternoon of fishing as though nothing extraordinary had happened.But my experience of being caught in a storm has remained as one of the most frightening ever.
When the disciples put out to sea on their way to Capernaum, they rowed for three or four miles before they were caught in a dangerous storm.It wasn’t until Jesus appeared before them that their fear subsided and they knew that everything would be OK (John 6:16-24).
Life is like that, isn’t it?We can plod through the days without anything unexpected going on when suddenly we are confronted with danger.Immediately we change into crisis mode, seeking deliverance from the fear and turmoil which confronts us.It may be financial, medical, or some life threatening experience which stops us in our tracks.Now we are bewildered; we don’t know what to do, until Jesus comes into our presence. He has a way of showing up just at the right time; He always will.
David, shepherd/king of the Old Testament, felt physically threatened by his enemies, but he knew God alone could save him, so he called to Him for help.We, too, need deliverance, maybe not from people trying to kill us, but from wickedness and evil.In those moments, cry out to God as the Psalmist did: