Getting Into The Game Of Life
• “Well, beat the drum and hold the phone - the sun came out today!
• “We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
• “A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
• “Anyone can understand the way I feel.
• “Oh, put me in, Coach - I’m ready to play today;
• “Put me in, Coach - I’m ready to play today;
• “Look at me, I can be Centerfield.”
• This is a song from John Fogerty, and I’m sure most of you recognize it.
• I particularly want to focus on the line, “Anyone can understand the way I feel.”
• All of us want to be put into the game of life. None of us want to sit on the sidelines.
• I read a story this week about a disable child that had watched his brothers play baseball for years.
• The little town then developed a “Challenger League”, one that allows disabled children the joy of baseball.
• Everybody plays, and everybody scores.
• This little boy’s mother took him to get his uniform and he wanted to model it for his family.
• As his mother finished helping him put on the uniform, he looked at his mom and said, “Now I can be a real boy”.
• Sometimes, that is how we all feel when we just get into the game for the first time.
• All of us who played some type of sports know how it is to be suited up but have to sit on the bench.
• Everybody wants to participate in the game.
• This is also true about God’s kingdom. Don’t you have a passion to get up off the sidelines and get into the action?
• Today, we are talking about a man who was tired of sitting on the side of the road while life went by.
• He not only left his safe spot on the side of the road, but demonstrated to us what it takes for us to get into the game. (Pray).
Mar 10:46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.
• Jesus had traveled near 35-45 miles on his way to Jerusalem.
• He was now yet 10 miles away.
• He was just off the western bank of the Jordan river, planning to turn directly west to head to Bethany, and then into Jerusalem.
• Heading west out of Jericho, many people had chosen to follow Jesus.
• The road on which they traveled probably had many beggars.
• One of them was a blind man, simply named the Son of Timaeus.
• Bartimaeus actually means “The son of Timaeus”.
• It is interesting that Mark, writing to Gentiles, uses this one’s name who was probably well known in the region, but would not be known to the Gentiles.
• It is Mark’s way of saying, “You need to hear about this man. I want you to know him.”
Mar 10:47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
• He was a beggar, but when Jesus came by, he ceased asking for money, and instead asked for mercy.
• Notice the change: He heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming, but cried out for Jesus, Son of David.
• “The Son of David” was the title for the Messiah, commonly used in those days.
Mar 10:48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
• He was told to keep quiet. Listen. The world wants us to live in quiet desperation and be satisfied with the same misery they suffer.
• I am sure that some of those who were calling for Bartimaeus to be quiet were other beggars.
• Others were doubters. I am sure they said, “Don’t be sacrilegious, calling this pretender the Messiah.”
• Others were probably believers (yes, believers), who were saying, “This is the Messiah. Leave Him alone. He has important business to attend to.”
• But when the aching soul understands its need, it cannot be quiet.
• Listen, there will be many reasons for you to not cry out for Jesus today.
• Some of them will be emotional. Some will sound reasonable. Some will seem to be religious and based on what appears to be higher priorities. Just like here.
• But if you have a chance to be made whole, to be healed, to be forgiven, to grow closer to God, cry out today, all the louder.
Mar 10:49 And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart. Get up; he is calling you."
• Jesus heard him calling out and said, “Call him over here.”
• The Etheopian, Syriac and other ancient documents say, “Take heart, Get up, “OUR MASTER is calling you.”
• Although this sermon is for the “spiritually seeking” today, let me add something here to the faithful followers.
• Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus here didn’t just call Bartimaeus to Himself.
• It appears He said to His disciples, in a sense, “I want you to have part in this. You bring him to me.”
• That is the call of God on your life today, Jesus says, “Bring people to me. Stop trying to fix them. Just tell them I am calling.”
• And in sharing that message, we share the joy of the forgiveness, restoration and faith of those who come.
Mar 10:50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. (a beautiful picture).
• Please notice his eagerness to come to Jesus in this.
Mar 10:51 And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Rabbi, let me recover my sight."
• Jesus asks, “Why are you calling for me? For which intolerable situation are you seeking relief?”
• Jesus did not expect this answer: I am a sinner and want my sins forgiven, to be adopted into your spiritual kingdom and to shed the empty hope of this terrible life for the glory to come that you will share with your friends in eternity.
• This man was chased to Jesus by his blindness, and came with honesty and sincerity.
• “Rabbi, I want to be able to see again.”
• God actually allows desperation to drive us to Him because of His great love for us.
Mar 10:52 And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
• Something wonderful happened on this day I don’t want you to miss.
• Jesus said, “OK, you will receive your sight. Go YOUR WAY.”
• But the man, receiving sight, followed Jesus.
• He got what he asked for, but his change in life was evident that he received much more than his sight.
• He became more than a fan. He became a follower, a disciple.
• When you go to Jesus, you will always get more than you ask for.
• This sermon is simple, but when you get to the heart of it, God’s call always is.
• There is an interest today in being more of a follower of Jesus Christ.
• God’s Spirit is actively working and calling all of us to draw nearer, commit more, to experience more of His purpose in our lives than we have ever experienced before.
• Who will respond? Only those who are much like this beggar.
1. He was Blind.
• This is saying that was broken.
• Something in his life was not was not working for him.
• Bartimaeus realized his blindness and stopped making exuses.
• He stopped pretending that his life was OK like it was. He faced his reality.
• My prayer today is that all of us would have the courage to take a good look at our lives and see what God sees.
• It has been said, “No one is quite so blind as when he looks at himself.”
• Bartimaeus faced his reality, honestly evaluating his condition.
• All we ask today is that we honestly look at ourselves and ask, “Is this the life that I really want? Am I going to be satisfied with this life as I have it?” Bart was not.
2. He was a beggar.
• I know that doesn’t sound flattering, but he knew he had to ask.
• He had heard about Jesus and he knew who to ask.
• His simple address, “Son of David” contained the hope of the Messiah, the Savior, the Promised Redeemer.
• I hope today you hear the call of Jesus, your great hope.
• There are other methods of self-improvement available, but they remind me of the ancient teacher and his two students.
• The teacher set a cup on the table in front of his two disciples.
• He took a flask that had a little water in it, poured the water into the cups, evenly dividing all that was left.
• Trying to teach the students to be hungry for more knowledge, he said, “Your cup has water, but not all the water it can hold. Therefore it is not fulfilled. What will you do to solve the problem?”
• The teacher’s desire was to illustrate that he could teach them only so much, but they would have to seek knowledge on their own.
• One of the students began to think about how and where they could obtain more water so that their cups could be fulfilled. He said, “master, I must find more water.”
• The other student missed the point. He turned his cup over on its side and the water ran across the table and began spilling on the floor.
• The teacher, calm and thoughtful, asked the student how this was a solution.
• The student said, “Laying on its side, the cup is now holding all the water it is able.”
• That day, the teacher found a replacement student.
• There are answers out there, but while actually addressing the situation you are seeking help with, they create pain and death in another area.
• Ill. There is a commercial for a television service provider that states, if you don’t get good programs, you feel bad about yourself. When you feel bad about yourself you go to self-improvement seminars. When you go to self-improvement seminars, you feel like a winner. When you feel like a winner, you go to Vegas. When you go to Vegas, you lose everything. When you lose everything, you sell your hair to a wig company. Don’t pick the wrong television programming provider and you won’t sell your hair to a wig maker.
• It seems much like this, when we try one of the available solutions for our problems that is not God’s solution, we end up in deeper water.
• Jesus is the answer. But you have to ask Him to help.
3. He was bold.
• He threw of his cloak and ran to Jesus, even though he was blind.
• It is dangerous for a blind man to run anywhere, but this couldn’t wait.
A. This is opposite of nature, where we have a tendency to shy away from God.
• But this world is so painful, disappointing, we would cast off our restrictions and run to a healer.
B. Throwing off his cloak is illustrating how we should come to Jesus.
• The man had a covering blanket. There were typical to beggars, identified them as beggars, protected them from the elements.
• This one threw off his identity, his protections, his inhibitions, his restrictions and freely came to Jesus.
• Some have tried to come to Jesus and have carried their old cloaks.
• No wonder they leave after a while saying it didn’t work.
• You need to be willing to throw of your security, or any other thing holding you back, and come running to Jesus.
4. He was bound. He was bound to follow Jesus as a disciple.
• He hitched himself to Jesus’ wagon and began to follow Him.
• In gratitude of healing his eyes and saving his soul (it was an issue of faith), he gave his life fully to Jesus.
• James and Paul said much the same thing on several occasions.
• James said, “Because of my debt, I am a bond servant to Jesus Christ.” We own Him.
• Some of us here today have been touched by Jesus, but have not followed Him fully.
• Some have been saved and need to follow Jesus into the baptism waters.
• Some have had their lives changed and need to follow Jesus into the Word for growth.
• Some need to follow Jesus in more service. God has called you to a place of service in this Church and you have not followed.
• Some need to follow Jesus in forgiveness, seeking restoration in a relationship.
• Jesus is passing this way today. Call upon Him. Believe in Him. Run to Him and choose to follow Him.
• There have been several this year who have called to Jesus, and followed Him into the baptistery.
• Their testimony has been, “They want to be used by God. Put me in the game, Father, I’m ready to play, today.”
• I want them to come forward as we prepare the invitation.
• I want us to encourage them today, let them know we appreciate and support their decisions and are going to pray for them.
• I also want others know this is a great time to join them if you desire to get into the game.