Summary: How the working faith of four friends overcame obstacles in order to get their comrade to Jesus.
THE 4-H CLUB
INTRO. As the text says, there was a large crowd of people at the house where Jesus was teaching. Many had come in order to say, "I have seen the great man." Some had come to hear the doctrines Jesus taught and some had come to debate with Him (Pharisees and doctors of the law). And some came to be healed of the ailments of the flesh. But in this short text we have four different kinds of people illustrated in much the same manner as we see them in everyday life.
I. THE HELPLESS (vs. 18a)
A. "Palsy" is a term used to describe some type of paralysis. Evidently, the disease in this man’s case, was incurable and had left him completely helpless.
1. Doubtless he had tried to get help from other sources but had been unable to find relief.
2. Who can help but feel compassion on a paralytic? (the high school boy in Memphis who was paralyzed in a football game)
3. Oftentimes we see those who are stricken with an incurable malady and we wonder, "Why must these things be?" I imagine that this man wondered many times, "Why has this terrible thing happened to me?"
4. But sickness of the flesh, like death itself, is the end result of sin at work in our lives. What this man and those around him did not know was that he had a far worse disease than he suspected. He had sin in his soul.
B. The helpless in the world today.
1. Rather than being unique in his illness this helpless man was only normal.
a. For all men are spiritually sick and all men are helpless to cure their illness.
b. (Rom. 3:10) -- "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."
2. All men are sin sick.
a. (Rom. 3:23) -- "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
b. And we are unable to cure ourselves of this dread disease.
3. (ill.) - King Hezekiah’s illness. He wept and prayed to God and was healed and had 15 years added to this life.
4. Man is unable to offer any relief for the illness of sin but God can cure you of it!
a. (Tit. 3:5) -- "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
b. (Eph. 2:8-9) -- "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the grace of God."
II. THE HELPERS.
A. I like how Mark describes these friends of the sick man -- Mark 2:1-3. This indicates the struggle and effort that was involved in bringing this man to Christ.
B. Have you ever considered what it takes to bring some people to Jesus? Natural disasters, financial catastrophes, physical trauma, emotional breakdown, etc.
C. But this man had something far more important than a good set of stout legs. He had friends...friends with faith that were willing to bring him to the Saviour.
1. They were concerned. Their friend was sick and they thought enough of him that they would go to almost any extreme to get him in to see Jesus.
2. Perhaps they had seen what Jesus could do for a sick person and believed that Jesus could also heal their buddy.
3. Do you have a friend? A friend that is lost and on the road to hell? A sin sick friend? If you are saved you know what Jesus can do for your friend. You should be concerned enough for your friend that you bring him to Jesus.
D. They worked together.
1. It took four to carry him. Four to get him to the roof. Four to lower him down through the hole.
2. No argument, no squabbling over the best way, no debating on whether to put this job off until a better day.
3. They saw the task and set about to do the job that they knew needed to be done.
E. Now consider God’s helpers in the world today.
1. There are those who are concerned. They believe that without the forgiveness of God all are condemned. God has always had some concerned helper on this earth.
a. Moses in Egypt.
b. The prophets of the O.T., including Jeremiah - the weeping prophet.
c. The apostles and countless martyrs who willingly gave their lives in the pursuit of delivering the Gospel.
2. The helpers must work together. The church in Jerusalem did the greatest good when all the members worked to accomplish a single goal.
3. The helpers must have faith and must allow that faith to work through them. They must believe that when the lost are brought to Jesus miraculous thing will happen.