Summary: Bringing people to Jesus is a partnership. We encourage one another to witness and tell the good news to others about Jesus and His forgiving power. Jesus alone can forgive sin.
Four Men of Faith
One of the challenges we have in witness to people who have not yet become believers is to communicate in a language they understand. Sometimes our tendency is to use language of the church, “Christianize.” Words like regeneration, propitiation, sanctification, efficacy of the cross, sacrificial atonement, vicarious suffering. Jesus spoke in the language of his day.
I came across some headlines taken from past newspapers.
State Dinner Featured Cat, American Food
Former Man Dies in California
Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim
Drunk gets nine months in violin case
Robber Holds Up Albert’s Hosiery
Shut-Ins Can Grow Indoors With Lights
Legalized Outhouses Aired by Legislature
This morning I want to challenge you with the story of Four Men of Faith and Action.
Mark 2 we find Jesus in Capernaum now his home base of operation. He was probably in the home of Simon Peter teaching to a gathering of people. So many were present that the house was crowded and overflowing out the door.
To this house, four men brought a paralytic on a stretcher believing that Jesus would heal their friend. Since they could not get in because of the crowd the four men carried the man up the outside stairway to the flat top of the one –story dwelling. The men uncovered the roof, breaking through the baked clay, branches, trigs, and saplings below the surface and let down the mat to the feet of Jesus.
Jesus surprised the four men by announcing to the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then to demonstrate his power to forgive sin he said, “Rise, take up your mat walk.”
Bringing people to Jesus is a partnership. We encourage one another to witness and tell the good news to others about Jesus. Jesus alone can forgive sin.
One of the realities of witness is this: Men are best called to reach men with good news of God’s love.
In these four men who carried their friend to Jesus we see several characteristics needed to be an effective witness for Jesus.
I. They were Men of Compassion.
They were willing to help a friend who was in need. Their friend was paralyzed.
These men were not like the Priest or Levite that walked by a man beaten and bleeding after he was robbed. The Good Samaritan came to the aid. He had compassion and cared for the man’s need.
I’m using every opportunity I have to reach out to my neighbors with acts of kindness. I help Joseph and Mary who are devout Roman Catholics fix things around their house. I’ve had several opportunities to pray with them and tell they the love of Jesus.
Another neighbor, Harry, we take cookies and cakes to give him cheer. He lives along and is a bitter man. His wife left him and he’s all alone.
When you help meet a need of a friend, neighbor, relative or work associate that person is more likely to listen to good news of Jesus that you have to share.
The simplest way to witness is to tell your story and when there is interest share a simple plan of salvation using “A New Life” booklet or Scriptural plan of salvation.
II. They were Men of Cooperation
One man or even two men would have had a hard time bring the paralyzed man to Jesus. The four men working together make it possible to bring the man to Jesus. The men put action to their faith.
Whatever your personality or gifts you can be an effective witness for Jesus. Witnessing is just like one beggar who has bread-giving bread to a beggar who has no bread where to find bread.
Some of you may have the gift of planting the seed, others the gift of watering and others the gift of harvesting and God gives the increase.
Paul said, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” I Cor. 3:6
“Witnessing is taking the initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit, sharing the good news about Jesus, and leaving the results with God.”
It doesn’t matter what part you play, what’s important is that you are involved: planting, watering or reaping.
III. They Were Men of Consecration
The men inconvenienced their own lives to take time and effort to carry their friend to Jesus. They were consecrated to the task.
When they couldn’t get in the door of the house they didn’t give up. They took the man to the roof and dug through the roof. They didn’t ask for permission. They did what they had to do and were willing to suffer the consequences.
Jesus told the story of three things there were lost. A lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son.
A shepherd who loses one sheep will not rest until he finds the lost sheep. The shepherd is consecrated and committed to the task.