Summary: We are on the verge of receiving God’s blessings and miracles in our lives, but there is something we must do first.
Please turn to the fourth book of the New Testament, JOHN 5:1-9. That will be our main text for today.
‘Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is, in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate, a pool which in Aramaic is called Bethesda, and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.
Here, a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir”, the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then, Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once, the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.’
Today, we are going to be talking about how all of us are on the verge of a miracle in our lives. But to receive that miracle, we must sacrifice ourselves to the One who sacrificed Himself for us – Christ Jesus, the Son of God – the Living Sacrifice.
But the only way we can sacrifice our hearts to Him is to have total and absolute faith in Him. I am not referring to the faith we talk about having, but the kind of faith that is mentioned in HEBREWS 11:1.
‘Now faith is being SURE of what we hope for, and CERTAIN of what we do not see.’
When we claim that we have faith in our Lord, we must also demonstrate that faith by being responsible for our choices. And, if we are responsible for our choices, we must get over this tendency to …
1. EXPECT OTHERS TO HELP US, AND COMPLAIN IF THEY DON’T
What do we see in the story I just read about the man who was crippled? I’ll tell you what I see. I see a man who has been crippled for most of his life, and had seemingly grown accustomed to lying there wishing, but not doing anything to change the situation.
Verse 6 says, ‘when Jesus saw him there and learned that he had been in that condition a long time …’
That tells me that Jesus took the first step; He inquired. He didn’t wait until the man yelled for attention; it shows that Jesus cared enough about the man to find out about him. What is the first thing Jesus did? He asked the man if he wanted to get well. And in his answer, the man showed the human condition in all of us.
He said he had nobody to help him into the water. He went on to say that every time he tried to get in by himself, someone else would beat him to it. What is he doing? He is doing the very same thing that we do today. We feel sorry for ourselves and how nobody will help us, and then we start blaming others.
Why do we do this? Because we always want a rational explanation for the things in our lives, but this precludes us from having faith in the supernatural in our lives. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the word of God. The Scripture does not say faith comes by being able to understand or by being able to blame somebody else for what ails you.
There is the story a missionary tells of his time in the jungles of South America. He said that the people in the village were terribly sick, and being a medic, too, he found out it was from dysentery. He began to boil their water and they all got well. He left shortly thereafter to come back home for a while. When he went back two months later, they were all sick with dysentery again. They were willing to use the boiled water, but wanted someone else to boil it for them. And when nobody would, they got sick and blamed each other.
This tribe of South American Indians did the same thing the man at the pool of Bethesda did. They depended on others to help them, and when they didn’t, they began to blame them for the plight they were in.
If we are to grow as people, and grow as Christians, we need to start expecting more out of ourselves than we have in the past, and take more of a personal responsibility for the situations we get ourselves into. We cannot expect to receive any miracles if we are always expecting others to do the work for us; or if we always blame others when we don’t get what we want.