Summary: Revitalization is God’s special work.
Jesus the Restorer of hands and hearts
Our front lawn in this summer heat has been turning from thick and green, to greenish-yellow, to yellow-brown, in places it has withered away and died. This last rain has helped, it has turned greener, and thicker again. What caused the lawn to rejuvenate? The rain helped to revive it.
This story of my lawn that withered away and was revitalized is a good illustration concerning God, and man.
Withered & Revived
In Luke chapter 6 we have (2) lessons to learn from.
1st a man with a withered hand, that prevented the man from living as actively as he wanted to live
2nd a withered church. That failed to live dynamically.
Billy Graham once said:
" We take excellent care of our bodies, which we have for only a lifetime; yet we let our souls wither which we will have for eternity."
That which once held life, but now the life is gone. (Like my once green lawn)
That which was once strong is now fragile and weak.
That which was once beautiful is now twisted and deformed.
That designed to be functional, effective - but rendered powerless.
Hope withers into pessimism.
Faith withers into cynicism.
Love withers into selfishness.
6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there. 9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?" 10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
Revitalization is God’s special work.
Revitalization means to resurrect that, which was too far-gone.
Revitalization means to make as good as it’s ever been.
Revitalization means to completely renew.
Lazarus - reversed the process of decay, restored him not just alive, but well.
Gadarene Demoniac - not just cast out the legions, but clothed and restored to his right mind (as if they never been there)
Crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda
The woman with an issue of blood handed her need over with a simple touch.
In Luke 5:12-16 we have a touching story that focuses attention on the inner needs of human beings, and shows us Jesus’ concern for these needs
A leper came to Jesus and fell down in front of Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."
Recognizing the spiritual implications.
1. First he dealt with a withered hand.
2. Many today are withered;
Withered, heats, minds, vision, faith, emotions
Jesus commanded him Stretch forth thy hand
A. He had to hand over his handicap.
1. We’ve held that thing close to our bosom long enough.
2. Jesus won’t take your need from you, you’ve got to hand it over.
2. By dealing with a withered Hand, He dealt with a withered congregation.
THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH is a ministry of people. When a church lives, it lives because the people within are vital and active. When a church dies, it withers and dies not because the brick and mortar and carpet and pews get old and begin to crack and rip and crumble. A church withers and dies because the people wither and die.
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Being grieved by their hardness of their hearts (Their first love had withered away)
Being grieved by their obstinate stupidity and blindness.
It is hard when nothing moves it; when a man is insensible to the sufferings of others, to the dangers of his own condition, and to the commands of love, and to God.
a. Like this man’s hand, this synagogue was designed to be a blessing, but instead it had become a burden. (Nothing heavier than lifeless religion)
b. Designed to reveal Jehovah God, but it failed to recognize Him.
c. Designed to minister to the needs of the people yet this man had sat for years with no help.