Summary: I’d like to look at a couple road signs today and see what they have to teach us. We are going to take a spiritual drive… call it a Sunday Drive if you want.
ROAD SIGNS OF FAITH
Learning to drive is an important part of life… especially in this day and age. Cars allow us to travel great distances in shorter and shorter amounts of time. I do not want to know how long it took to get from the homestead to the town… in a horse and wagon… everyday. Cars are a great convenience for us. Cars are important for teenagers. Learning to drive means independence from your family and the ability to go with friends. Cars are important when seeking employment. Most employers want to know that you have dependable transportation to get to the job they are offering you. Loss of driving ability changes the way people live their lives.
I remember when I learned to drive. You have your own memories about learning to drive. I was 15. I had a learners permit in the state of Illinois. Both of the cars my parents owned were manual transmission. I learned all about signals and lights and how to park. I took driver’s education where we drove to films on the wall. Funny how all the driver’s education cars and in practice were on automatic transmissions. Anyway, when I was 15, my family moved to Germany. I moved to a place called Baumholder… which in German means ‘hills full of trees.’ So I am 16, desperate to get my license, living in a place of all hills, with parents that declare I must learn to drive the stick shift! It was a trial like no other for a young teenager. In the end I did learn how to start and stop on those hills. I had to learn a whole new set of traffic laws as well. In the end, I got an international driver’s license. One of the most important aspects of driving in Europe was learning the traffic signs and rules of the road. Any person, when learning to drive, must learn some basic road signs.
I’d like to look at a couple road signs today and see what they have to teach us. We are going to take a spiritual drive… call it a Sunday Drive if you want.
I. STOP SIGN (John 5:5-15)
One of the first signs we encounter on our Sunday Drive is the ever present stop sign. If I had to pick a most popular road sign seen while driving, I certainly would have the stop sign in the top three. The first stop sign was used in Detroit, Michigan in 1915 (http://signalfan.freeservers.com/road%20signs/stopsign.htm)… and we have been stopping at them ever since. I wonder if we took a vote, how many of you really and truly stop at a stop sign when you drive up to it… or if you are a ‘Kentucky Rolling Stop’ kind of a person. The stop sign is a simple sign designed to relay one message… ‘stop!’ The stop sign is designed to be quite noticeable in the day and at night. The sign is placed at those intersections that are dangerous. Not to have a stop sign at certain intersections invites accidents to happen. The stop sign is there to prevent you from getting hurt… plain and simple. To ignore it, means you are in danger… that is a truth of driving and a truth in spiritual matters as well.
I want to share an account with you from the Gospel of John that is a spiritual stop sign for us. This passages explains the exact same truth to us… to ignore spiritual stop signs means we are putting ourselves in danger.
READ JOHN 5:5-15
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?" 7 "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." 8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat." 11 But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, ’Pick up your mat and walk.’" 12 So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?" 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.