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Summary: Do we want to be more effective in bringing the sinful, the sick, the shackled and the sad to Jesus’ feet? We'll look at the qualities of four men who took their sick friend from a place of sickness, sadness, being shackled and sinful, to Christ's feet.

HUMILITY AND UNITY

BRINGING A SICK WORLD TO CHRIST - Part 1 of 2

Mark 2:1-12 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralysed man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ... " He said to the paralytic, 11 "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

(Also see Luke 5:18-25)

1. INTRODUCTION

Do we want to be effective in bringing the sinful, the sick, the shackled and the sad to Jesus’ feet? We have started to do this, but do we want to become more effective? I believe that every one of us who knows the salvation and freedom of being ‘in Christ’ will say, “Yes!”

A. WHAT IS IMPORTANT?

We need to study the qualities of the four men mentioned in this passage, who set out to take their sick friend from a place of sickness, sadness and being shackled and sinful, to Christ’s feet.

It is important to realise that this paralysed man was not supernaturally transported from his place of death to the place of life. It took his friends to pick him up, put him on a stretcher and take him to Jesus. We have no idea from how far they came; yet these men needed some characteristics that we need to study, so that we too may take the needy from sin to life, from death to life, from sadness to joy, from sickness to health.

The paralysed man is a picture of a world in a desperate state, a world that is diseased, disabled and dying. His four friends provide the picture of its only hope.

The politicians are not the hope of this world; the New Age movement is not the hope of this sick and dying world; religion is not the hope of this desperate, dying, spiritually disabled world.

The only hope for this world is when the church picks the people up on a stretcher and brings them to the feet of Jesus. This responsibility rests with us all.

B. RESPONSIBILITY OF STRETCHER-BEARERS

To be effective, we must accept our responsibility to be stretcher-bearers for the people in this sick world, or God will hold us accountable for their blood.

Ezek 33:1-11 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: 'When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. 5 Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.'

7 "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. 10 "Son of man, say to the house of Israel, 'This is what you are saying: "Our offences and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?"' 11 Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'

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