Summary: This sermon is designed to challenge traditional church thinking regarding waiting for "open doors", faith requirements to healing, and the true illness of the lost.
(This first paragraph was actually a list of bullet points to comment on, and transition through into the beginnning of the message. They will not have a flow like the remainder of the transcript that follows after this opening paragraph)
Tonight I want to challenge your thinking. Let me begin by asking you, “Have you ever prayed for an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ door?” (Example of song – God Will Make a Way) Some truth – but I want to challenge you to look at another possibility. We live in desperate times (war, values, attacks on the family and youth). I often wonder are we (Christians, churches) ready to take desperate measures? We are going to look at a familiar story. Raise your Bibles, and turn to Luke 5:17-26. Read passage – Luke 5:17-26. I hesitate to preach on such familiar passages. 4 reflections, or challenging thoughts from this story. Write them down. . .ponder them during your week. . .
This first challenge to our conventional thinking we see right off the bat. As these men were approaching this house, what did they see? (Draw picture of no entry) Now catch this, in a theology or mindset that only walks through open doors, and turns away from seemingly closed doors, this healing will not take place. From a pastor’s perspective, I often think that if these guys were serving on your average church board, they would have seen the closed doors, the blocked passage ways, and said, “Well, this must not be God’s will. Better turn back.” Right?
However, these men believed that Jesus would want their friend to be made whole. So they were not stopped by a closed door. And in our lives there are times to. . .
A) STOP WAITING FOR OPEN DOORS, AND START MAKING HOLES
First truth. First challenge to our conventional church thinking. There are times when we have to stop waiting for open doors, stop turning away from closed doors, and start making holes.
• We have all made decisions based on opened and closed doors.
• But do you realize that Satan can open and close doors too?
• Job’s life shows us Satan can close doors financially, relationally, physically.
• A person who will only act based on opened or closed doors, walks a dangerous line of susceptibility to the moving and interference of Satan.
What I would propose is that instead of looking for open doors, look for God’s will, and recognize that He might require some effort from you, some passion, some willingness to step out for Him to see that plan and will for your life fulfilled. Within the context of what you have learned and know to be true about God’s desires and plans for you, be willing to make some holes to see God’s plan for your life come to fruition.
Look at some examples of this from God’s Word (share story, and make connection to each story) -
• The woman with the issue of blood
• The blind man along the road
• Paul in jail writing letters
Verse 19 (read) - as you discern the will of God for your life, don’t always expect Him to open and close the doors without our being willing to take some steps of faith to start making holes.
Next thing I want you to see. Verse 20 (read 20a). This is really interesting. What did Jesus see? It says He saw, THEIR faith. Now, unless this paralytic man was suffering from multiple personalities, or able to clone himself, there was only one of him. So if Jesus saw “their” faith, plural, it must not be talking about the faith of the paralytic man himself, but about who? His friends. The ones that have brought him to Jesus.
Check this out. . .same truth in a few other places (read scriptures, and show connection of others faith to individual’s healing) -
• Luke 8:40-42, verses 49-50
Just a few brief examples, but I think that if we continued to explore God’s Word, we could continue to build the case that. . .
B) OUR FAITH CAN UNLOCK THEIR HEALING
Your second reflection for the night. Second challenge to our conventional thinking which says if you want to be healed, you have to believe. How about this idea. . .our faith can unlock their healing. Look at these examples. In each of these cases, it isn’t the faith of the healed individual that is attributed as providing the momentum for the healing. That happens in Scripture too. But in these examples, it is the faith of those that surround them that unlocks their healing.
And I want to be careful tonight, and I want to say this with love and care, but it is also possible that our lack of faith is keeping them from being healed. (Example of people that no longer believe loved ones can be healed, and pray limited prayers.)