Summary: Often the church is the greatest hindrance to winning outsiders...
Heritage Church, Sunday, August 19, 2001
(I am using this title and idea that I was challenged to by a really powerful pastor at a conference I attended last year named Heidi Neumark).
A few years ago we had a roof problem in our home. We patched. We sealed. We repaired, but we still had a leak. We eventually had to do what were trying our best to avoid, we just replaced the roof. It was an incredibly frustrating problem because where the leak appeared inside our home was nowhere near where the actual leak was on the roof. I wonder how many of us here have gone through the exact same situation?
Here at Heritage we have had roof problems from day one! We’ve patched our roof over and over but we still have leaks. Folks who know lots more than I do about metal buildings have said to me that it is impossible to build a metal building that doesn’t leak. If that is true, that amazes me!
The Bible tells a story about a roof problem in the days of Jesus’ ministry that I would like for us to study today.
17Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
21And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
25Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!” Luke 5:17-26 NKJV
Here we have the story of Jesus teaching to a full house. Folks had come from “every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.
He is teaching to a full house and the scripture makes a special note that there was a special presence of the Lord there to heal them.
Things to notice in the story:
1. Jesus is healing and teaching people in a structure that is not big enough.
- Imagine the anxiousness of the crowd as they wait to see what Jesus would “pull out of his hat” this time.
- Consider that there could be a degree of frustration.
- Imagine the uncomfort of being jam-packed into a facility that wasn’t built to accommodate such a crowd.
- Imagine the awkwardness of your personal space being violated.
2. A paralyzed man cannot get to Jesus because of the crowd .
- Here is a man stuck on this mat, in a life that is going nowhere.
- Here is a man with God given potential to rise up and glorify God but instead he remains paralyzed on a mat and there seems to be no way to bring him into the presence of Jesus.
- It is important to notice: Why is there no way to bring this man to Jesus? Because of the crowd that is already there.
3. The crowd is there because they want to be close to Jesus .
- Many churches would be thrilled to see such a crowd gathered to see Jesus.
- Many would feel quite successful with such a crowd and feel satisfied.
- It would be easy for a church with this kind of crowd problem to feel satisfied and successful.
4. Because the crowd was focused in on Jesus , they had their backs to the paralyzed man and his friends.
- This crowd had a Godly desire to pursue truth in the personhood of Jesus Christ.
- As far as they could see, ministry was happening.
- There was no roof problem. The roof was just fine!