Summary: This sermon is to help the believer understand that the time to activate your faith is not only when things are going well, but the critical time to display your faith is when there appear to be little hope.
HAVING FAITH IN A CRIPPLING SITUATION
My brothers and sisters in the book of Hebrews chapter 11 first verse we’ve read, Now faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence we have not seen. And while we often quote this text, we still show evidence that we are fellow statesmen of the show me state. We’ve bought into believing the philosophy, which tell us “seeing is believing.” And while some are yet struggling to believe that the Lord still works miracles today, in-spite of what I’ve learned in a prominent east coast bible college. We must learn to trust what we find in the bible more than what we find in some of our quote “bible colleges” end quote. I read a funny story about faith the other day on SermonCentral.com, listen to this.
Two longstanding church members were in a boat fishing with a new Christian. Fishing is a great time for conversation and each was proclaiming his fervent faith and devotion to God. As they were discussing their faith, one’s hat blew into the water. So he stood up, calmly stepped onto the water, walked over to his hat, picked it up off the water, and walked backed to the boat. The new Christian was amazed how this Christian could seemingly walk on water. As the new Christian was pondering this, the other church member’s hat blew into the water. He also very calmly stepped onto the water, walked over to his hat, picked it up off the water, and walked backed to the boat. The new Christian was overwhelmed at how spiritual these men must be to have walked on the water as they did. Then the new Christian thought to himself, "Well, if these guys can do it, so can I,” and he "helped" his hat blow into the water. He very calmly stepped out of the boat and was inhaling water instantly. As he fought his way to the surface, gasping for breath, one of the long-standing church members turned to the other and said, "I think we should have told him about the sand bar on this side of the boat." That is the way some of us are. As long as we see someone doing something amazing, we believe it can happen. But what kind of faith do you have when it comes to believing God’s Word?
In our last lesson we were instructed to never give up. Paul and Barnabas after being expelled out of the city of Antioch for preaching the gospel, is found preaching in Iconium. There they are found just like in Antioch, in the synagogue preaching to the Jews and the Greeks with overwhelming results. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and filled their minds with evil against Paul and Barnabas. But Paul and Barnabas never gave up on the call to evangelize. They continued to preach with power in-spite of the opposition they faced from Jewish and pagan sympathizers.
This week we find these champions of evangelism, in the cities of Lystra and Derby preaching this powerful gospel. There they discovered a man that was feeble in his feet. In fact he was described in the text as crippled from birth. But if we can find any encouragement in the text, it is that they found this man not on the city streets, but he was found where he could receive what he needed. Let’s take a look at his faith.
First of all verse eight lets me know that . . .
1. HIS CONDITION AS A CRIPPLE WAS NOT HIS DISABILITY (V.8)
“And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from birth, who never walked.”
The first thing to be noted is the condition of the man in the text. It said that he was impotent in his feet, crippled from birth and he never walked. These things my brothers and sister are reasons to be called handicap. There are people with less, which runs down to their local DMV to pick up a handicap placard to place in their car, just for the benefit of convenient parking. But this man, as far as the text is concerned is not found looking for handouts outside of a synagogue, but is found where his needs could be met. I’m not saying that he never did that, but I am saying what the text has brought to my attention, and that is that he is in the best place to receive and that is in the presence of these Godly men. Too many times we hear of people with physical afflictions, being seen at different places, doing different things, while still being found on the prayer list as convalescing at home, with the convenience of Deacons taking them their communion. But this is not in the case of this man in the text, he is found in the place where deliverance can be obtained. It starts off like a regular morning, no one knew that on this particular morning, his life would be changed in a way that he was unfamiliar. And that is for the first time in his life he will walk.