MAKE NO MISTAKE THIS POST IS A SERMON
MAKE NO MISTAKE THIS POST CAN BE TOUGH....THOUGH IT IS OFFERED WITH LOVE
THIS POST EFFECTS ALL OF US WHO IN A SOCIETY ARE DRAWN TO LABELS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE HELD ON TO DEFINE AND VALIDATE US....
THIS IS A REFERENCE I USE OFTEN IN MY OWN LIFE TO RE-GROUND MYSELF....
THIS IS A MESSAGE OF LOVE....
oh yeah..it's long also.... <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
When I was a chaplain for soldiers in Basic Training, I learned to use a counseling technique called "Soloution Focused Therapy. One of the main questions that the counselor asks with this technique is, "What are you going to do?"
Almost always the first reply would be be "I need someone else to do something for me" My Drill Sergeant, My wife, the Army, God. Soloutions to my problems are the responsibility of anyone but myself.
I think that’s a typical human response. It’s far easier to look for a rescuer than to take responsibility. That’s one of the reasons I like soloution focused counseling. It reminds people of their role as a participant in their lives, not an innocent bystander as life goes by experiencing hurt, rejection, dissappointment, but unable to do anything about it. It focuses attention on individual responsibility.
Go back with me for a moment to the pool of Bethesda. Here is a place where sick people congregate because they believe that they can be healed by getting into the water whenever it is stirred. Jesus approaches a man obviously crippled. He has about him the paraphernalia common to cripples who begged for a living in those days--a mat to lay on, a collection plate for the alms of those who might take pity upon him, perhaps he had crutches if he was able to use them.
Jesus was speaking to him and had learned that he had been this way for 38 years. Add to this the fact that he was hanging out at a pool that was known for healing and we can begin to get some sense of how crazy it must have sounded for Jesus to ask, "Do you want to get well?’"
What kind of a question is that? Does a crippled man want to get well? That’s a question that rivals one of my Dad’s all time favorites: "Do you want a spanking?" "Well Dad, I’ll have to think about that one. The answer to the question seems obvious.
But maybe, just maybe, the question isn’t as shallow as it seems at first glance. Let’s just consider that for a moment. Here is a man who had been crippled for 38 years. All of that time he had relied upon the kindness of others to make his way in life. If he were to "get well" he would have to earn his way for the first time in 38 years--perhaps the first time ever. He would no longer have an excuse for what his life was. The responsibility would be his.
So maybe the question "Do you want to get well" wasn’t such a crazy question at all. Maybe it was a question that pierced to the very center of the man’s heart and exposed the motives that lay deep within.
And what about us? As Jesus looks at us crippled by problems, crippled by circumstance, crippled by sin, what does He say to us? Could it be that he asks us the same question he asked of the cripple at the pool " Do you want to get well?"
Do you want Jesus to heal the parts of your life where you’ve been damaged or is it easier to hold on to the hurt? Is it easier to let bitterness fester and to wallow in the hurt and betrayal, licking and liking our wounds.
All too often we hold on tightly to the things that paralyze us spiritually. Jesus can heal us of those things but when he does we will be left without excuse for our lives and the choices we make. We will no longer be able to cry "My life isn’t my fault, others are to blame"
So the question isn’t crazy at all and it echoes down the ages to each of us today, "Do you want to get well?"
To the one crippled by past hurts, Jesus asks, "Do you want to be healed?"
To the one chained by secret sin Jesus asks, "Do you want to be loosed?"
To the one battling addiction Jesus asks, "Do you want to overcome?"
To the one who has not yet asked Him in Jesus asks, "Do you want to be saved?"
To all of us who need His healing touch in any part of our life He asks "Do you want to get well?"
To receive the healing He has for us we must desire to be changed. We must answer, "Yes, Lord, I am ready to put the past behind me." The man’s response to Jesus’ question brings us to the second part of this conversation, it involves...
A Lame Excuse (v. 7)
No pun intended. Look with me at verse seven: "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
The man did not answer Jesus’ question at all, but offered an excuse for why he hadn’t been healed yet: "I’m all alone, there is no one to help me"
We can’t help but feel sorry for the man, alone in the world, his family having died or deserted him, crippled and lonely. "Sir, I have no one to help me." It really is a tragic cry. But it’s still didn’t answer the question, "do you want to get well," and it still amounts to an excuse. To say "there’s no one to help me" means also, "I can’t help myself and God’s not doiAnd what about us today? When Jesus asks, "do you want to get well," what is our response?
When Jesus asks "do you want to be healed from your past hurts?" Do we reply, "you don’t know how bad they hurt me"?
When Jesus asks "do you want to be loosed from the chains of your secret sin? Do we counter, "I just can’t control myself"?
When Jesus says to the addict, "do you want to overcome?" Is the answer, "I have an addiction. It’s a disease and it’s not my fault"?
When Jesus asks, "do you want to be saved?" Will you excuse yourself, "I’m not nearly as bad as other people I know."
Jesus said to the cripple "Do you want to get well?" And he replied, "I don’t have anyone to put me in."
To receive the healing Jesus has for our lives we must put away our excuses. Which brings us to the third lesson from this conversation with Jesus. Jesus ignored the excuse and gave the man...
An Impossible Instruction (v. 8)
Look with me at verse 8. "Then Jesus said to him, ’Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’"
Jesus Brings healing to us today in the same way He did back then. He didn’t come to him with a maudlin sympathy that accepted his excuses and moaned, "poor you," but with a message of life and vitality. He says to us as he said to that cripple by the pool, "Get up and walk." I like to call it the Gospel according to Nike "JUST DO IT."
The man complained "I don’t have anybody." But in Jesus we really do have somebody, and not just someone to drag us around on our mats of self pity but someone who can bring life to our own withered limbs, bring healing to our own damaged emotions, bring strength to our own resolve, someone who can say with all authority, "Get up and walk!"
I want you to understand that this is not a self help gospel I’m proclaiming. The healing is wrought 100% by his power, it is all of Christ, all by grace but there is a factor of human responsibility here. Think about it with me. Who healed the man at the pool? Jesus. Who had to walk? The man. Who saves us from our sins? Jesus. Who must repent and believe? We must. Who sanctifies us and gives us the power to live above sin? Jesus. Who must decide day by day to follow Him and do what is right? We must.
There has been far too much misunderstanding on this point in the church and as a result there have been far too many excuses. I’m not saying we are the masters of our own destiny or that we have the power in and of ourselves, but the Bible says that we’ve been made more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For us to act as if we are defeated is to deny the truth of God’s word and call Him a liar.
Jesus’ question echoes down through the ages to us today "Do you want to get well?" Today Jesus waits for your response. Will you continue to hold on to the things that hold you back? Will you offer the same old excuses? Or will you listen to the instruction of Jesus and reach for that which is beyond yourself. Will you "Get up and walk"?
the whole sermon is here.....http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=55154&page=2
break this crap down in your lives...
it is so easy to become overwhelmed.
it is so easy to cling to the known ...
it is so easy to become victims
ain't nothing in life that can't be overcome..