Life Changing Questions from the Lord
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 5, 2014
*The Lord Jesus Christ likes to ask questions, questions that make you think, penetrating, personal questions. A great example was after the Lord rose from the dead and met His Apostles by the Sea of Galilee.
*Just before Jesus died on the cross, Peter had denied the Lord three times. And now that Jesus had risen again, He had three pointed questions for Peter.
*John 21:15-17 tells this part of the story:
15. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?'' He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.'' He said to him, "Feed My lambs.''
16. He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?'' He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.'' He said to him, "Tend My sheep.''
17. He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?'' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?'' And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.'' Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."
*Pointed, personal questions: "Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?" The Lord also had a powerful question for the sick man here in John 5. And as we look at his story, we see that Christ has some life-changing questions for us
1. The first question is: Are you willing?
*That's the question the Lord asked this sick man in vs. 6: "Wilt thou be made whole?" -- "Are you willing to be made whole?" -- "Do you want to be made well?"
*At first glance, this might seem like a ridiculous question, because the answer seems so obvious. The Lord knew this man was ill, terribly ill. And he had been for 38 years! Pastor Guy Caley said: "Add to this the fact that the sick man was there at a pool known for healing. And we begin to get a sense of how crazy it must have sounded for Jesus to ask, 'Do you want to get well?'"
*What kind of a question was that? Does a crippled man want to get well?" The question reminded Pastor Caley of one of his Dad's all time favorite questions: "Do you want a spanking?" That's a question I often heard from my own daddy, and he never had to wonder about the answer. (1)
*Jesus asked: "Are you willing to be made whole?" -- And it may seem ridiculous at first. But our perfect Savior had a perfect reason for asking that question. Melvin Newland explained: "Actually, it was a very valid question, for there are people who, if given an opportunity for healing, might actually choose to remain sick. Right now they're free of some unpleasant responsibilities, and they get sympathy by complaining about their sickness. They can manipulate people by being sick, or punish themselves if they feel guilty." (2)
*Jesus' question was both necessary and proper: "Are you willing to be healed?" It's as if the Lord was asking: "Are you willing to let go of the past? -- Do you want to move forward in your life?"
*Think about the sick man's answer in vs. 7: "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.'' Here is a man who could have held on to his past. He could have gotten tied down by his past set-backs, and disappointments: "Why don't I have somebody?" God, why did they let me down? Why did You let me down?"
*Author John Phillips explained the man's suffering by asking: "How can we measure the misery of this man? He had no friends, no family. His companions were life's victims: blind people, lame people, people withered inside and out. All their hopes had shrunk to the small chance they had of outsmarting the others and being first in the pool. There would be the usual jockeying for position with all the intensity of people obsessed with their own physical condition and their pathetic hope for a healing. The sight, the stench of it all, must have been depressing. Here was unmitigated misery and unending poverty." (3)
*This man could easily have gotten bitter or envious. Other people had someone to help, but he didn't! Other people were getting healed, but he wasn't! He could have just gone on lying there feeling sorry for himself.
*On a smaller scale, I've seen people do this, and I've done it too. Rather than looking ahead to see what God has in store for us, rather than letting God bless us, we can get obsessed with what's gone wrong in the past, or who's done us wrong in the past.
*In vs. 7, the sick man told Jesus: "I have no man to help me." But the Lord didn't want him to be thinking about what he didn't have. Jesus wanted him to be thinking about what he did have standing right in front of him. So, the Lord asked the question: "Are you willing?"
*And if we will listen, we can hear Jesus ask us the same question every day: Are you willing? -- Let your answer to the Lord be "yes!"
2. But there's a second question from the Lord in this story: Are you believing?
*Take a look at the sick man's faith in vs. 8&9:
8. Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk.''
9. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. . .
*Paul Decker asks us: "Do you notice what Jesus does here? Jesus commands the impossible. He says, 'Get up!' Now, I don't know about you, but if I had been unable to use my legs for 38 years, I would have some doubts about my abilities to accomplish such a task. 'Get up? -- I can't! I have not been able to walk for 38 years.' But Jesus says in effect, 'You can, because I say so.'" (4)
*Thinking about the sick man's faith, Ray Stedman wrote: "Perhaps the crippled man was thinking: 'If this man tells me to rise, and I cannot rise on my own, it must mean that he intends to do something to make it possible.' Thus his faith was transferred from his own efforts to Jesus: 'He must do it. -- I can't.'" (5)
*It's hard to know how the man got the faith to follow the Lord's commands in vs. 8, because at this point he didn't even know who he was talking to. But there must have been something in the authority of the Lord's voice, something in His face, something in the boldness of His commands.
*Something about the majesty of our Lord and Savior led this man who had not walked for 38 years to get up off of that sick bed and walk! He believed!
*And the Lord wants us to believe too. Jesus wants us to believe that He had the power to miraculously heal this man. Jesus wants us to believe that He did heal him. And Jesus Christ wants us to believe that He can and will heal us, according to His perfect will.
*But Jesus also wants us to believe that He will bless us even when He doesn't heal our bodies. This world is not our final home! And the Lord wants us to believe that He can give us victory, even in the worst circumstances of life.
*Most of all, Jesus wants us to believe that He is the only begotten Son of God, who humbled Himself to become a man, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead. Jesus Christ is alive!
*Melvin Schroer went to church one Sunday when the pastor used the Easter story for his children's sermon. The preacher said: "Easter is when we remember how Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and three days later rose again from the dead." -- Then of the pre-school girls said in a real loud voice: "He must have had a good doctor!" (6)
*Jesus Christ didn't need a good doctor. He IS the Great Physician! By the power of Almighty God, He rose from the dead! And if we believe in Him, if we put our trust in Him, if we receive Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then He will forgive our sins, come to live in our heart, and give us everlasting life in Heaven with Him. Are you believing? -- Let your answer to the Lord be "yes!"
3. But there's a third question from the Lord in this story: Are you obeying?
 Notice the Lord's warning about obedience in vs. 14: Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.''
*Maybe this man's illness was the result of a sin in his life. Sometimes our illnesses are the direct result of our sins, and that may have been the case here.
*But in any event, the Lord reminds us here of the seriousness of our sin. And we need to be reminded about the seriousness of sin! Sin always hurts us and the people around us. Sin will always bring grief to our lives. And that grief can even be worse than being terribly sick for 38 years.
 That's the Savior's warning about obedience in vs. 14. But also notice the healed man's walk of obedience.
*Back up in vs. 9-11, we see the healed man walking in obedience to the Lord:
9. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
10. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.''
11. He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'''
*I like the way this man obeyed. Notice in vs. 9, that he obeyed immediately. I could have avoided a whole lot of trouble in my life, if I would have been more speedy about obeying Jesus. -- How about you?
*This man obeyed immediately. And he obeyed in spite of strong opposition. In vs. 10, the Jewish rulers did not like the fact that this man was carrying his bed on the Sabbath Day. It was against their man-made religious traditions. But Jesus told him to carry it, and that's what he was doing. At times we will face opposition when we try to obey the Lord. But we need to obey anyway.
*Of course we don't always obey the Lord. Dave Kinney reminds us that "the only person who ever lived on this planet that never had any regrets was Jesus Christ." (7)
*That's the absolute truth! But in Philippians 2:13, Paul tells Christians that God is at work in us both to desire and to do His good pleasure. So don't give up on living a life of obedience. When Jesus asks you the question: Are you obeying? -- Let your answer be "yes!"
4. But there's a fourth question from the Lord in this story: Are you telling?
*In vs. 14, Jesus found the healed man in the Temple. I like that. That man was exactly where he needed to be. He went where he should have gone to worship God and thank Him for his healing.
*Then in vs. 15, as soon as he found out more about Jesus, the healed man went to tell somebody that Jesus had made him whole. Yes, they rejected his testimony, and many people will reject our testimonies. But Jesus wants us to tell people about Him.
*And Jesus may not have miraculously healed you. But if you are a Christian, Jesus has miraculously saved you from sin! And we ought to tell people about it. The healed man said: "Jesus made me well!" or "Jesus made me whole!" And because of the cross of Jesus Christ, we can say the same thing!
*There are all kinds of ways to do it. Randy Waggoner used to go to church with us at Emmanuel in West Monroe. And I remember a conversation we had about his grandmother. She surprised Randy one day when she told him that she loved to go to the doctor. That's a most unusual thing to say. But then his grandmother explained the reason why. She would take a stack of gospel tracts with her, and talk to other people in the waiting room about Jesus.
*That's the kind of spirit we need today. And please remember that one of the best ways you can help people find Jesus is simply invite them to church. Eighty percent of us are here today, because somebody invited us to come! This is a great time to invite children, because Orange kicks back off tonight. And it is a perfect way to help get more families plugged in to our church.
*Does it matter whether or not we tell people about the Lord Jesus Christ?
*Vance Havner helps us see. Bro. Havner was one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century. And he once gave this testimony: "I remember when the Titanic sank in 1912. It was the ship that was supposed to be unsinkable. But the only thing it ever did was sink.
*When it took off from England, all kinds of passengers were aboard: Millionaires, celebrities, people of moderate means, and poor folks down in the belly of the ship. But a few hours later when they put the list up in the cruise line office in New York, it had only two categories: 'Lost' and 'Saved.' Tragedy had crossed out all other distinctions.
*Out on life's sea there are scores of classifications. But when the voyage is over, it won't matter whether you were a rich man; poor man, beggar man, thief, butcher, baker, or candlestick maker. When your life's voyage is over, it won't matter whether you lived in the backwoods or on the boulevard. It won't matter whether you drove a Cadillac or pushed an apple cart to town. All such distinctions disappear and only two lists remain: Lost and saved." (8)
*Nothing is more important than saying "yes" to Jesus Christ.
-Are you willing?
-Are you believing?
-Are you obeying?
-Are you telling? -- Let your answer to Jesus be "yes!"
*Let's go to God in prayer, and as you do, please think about these questions:
-Are you willing to be made whole? Are you willing to let go of past set-backs, and disappointments? Please pray about that.
-Are you willing to let the Lord Jesus do something new in your life? Do you believe that Jesus can change your life in a miraculous way? Do you believe that He can even save your soul, because He died on the cross for you and rose again from the dead? Please pray about that.
-Are you willing to get up when the Lord tells you to rise up?
-Are you willing to pick up the load He tells you to carry?
-Are you willing to go where Jesus tells you to go?
-What if He wants you to come down front to rededicate your life, to join the church, or to make your faith public? Please pray about that.
-And are you willing to tell people the great things Jesus has already done for you? Please pray about that too. And let your answer to Jesus be "yes!"
(1) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Do You Want To?" by Guy Caley - John 5:1-9
(2) SermonCentral sermon "He Can Overcome Our Hurts" by Melvin Newland - John 5:1-15
(3) Adapted from "EXPLORING JOHN" by John Phillips - p. 100
(4) SermonCentral sermon "Pool Watchers" by Paul Decker - John 5:1-15
(5) Adapted from "Do You Want to Get Well?" by Ray Stedman - John 5:1-17 - Oct 2, 1983
(6) Melvin E. Schroer and Angelo J. Mongiore, "A Funny Thing Happened" - New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1991 - p. 13 - Source: "Illustrations on Death and Resurrection" from "TOUR GUIDE - Funeral Meditations" by Wayne Brouwer - Copyright 2002 by Seven Worlds Corporation - ISBN: 0-936497-59-9
(7) SermonCentral sermon "Motivated to Move On in 2005" by Dave Kinney - Philippians 3:12-14
(8) Adapted from "The Kind of Preaching We Need" by Vance Havner