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Summary: Euripides (C. 484-406 B.C.) said, “Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends.” In Luke 5, we see a man who was fortunate to have 4 real friends, who cared deeply about him. They provide a valuable lesson to us.

TRUE FRIENDSHIP

LUKE 5:17-26

INTRODUCTION: Euripides (C. 484-406 B.C.) said, “Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends.” In Luke 5, we see a man who was fortunate to have four real friends, who cared deeply about him. They provide a valuable lesson to us as they demonstrate the qualities of true friendship – qualities that you and I should possess.

I. They recognized their friend had a desperate need

A. Luke 5:18 “…a man which was taken with a palsy (a contraction of the word paralysis)”

B. According to John Gill this man apparently had a disease, which deprived his body of all motion and all sensation at the same time leaving him virtually motionless. At this time the art of medicine had no known cure for this form of paraplegia.

C. He was in a state of total helplessness and hopelessness.

D. Noted psychiatrist Viktor Frankl who barely survived a Nazi concentration camp in the 1940s made an interesting observation about hopelessness. In a sobering account of its horrors. Frankl described how some prisoners lost touch with reality. A prisoner who no longer saw hope for the future quickly would begin to decline physically and mentally. Then one day, without warning, he simply would give up. No amount of pleading by other prisoners, no amount of beating by the guards, no barking of threats brought any response. The prisoner just laid on his bunk corpse-like, uncaring, barely moving. Admittedly that is an extreme situation of hopelessness. Few of us will ever face such desperate times.

E. This man was living a life of despair and desperation.

F. I wonder how many people walked by this man every day and failed to notice him or his condition. His friends saw him lie there day after day withering away with the paralysis that immobilized him from the neck down. They saw the anguish and despondency written upon his face. They were fully aware of His desperate need but were frustrated by the fact that they were not able to help him.

G. Psalms 60:11 ...vain is the help of man.

H. Just like these four men you too have friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors who, like this paraplegic, have an incurable, terminal disease – not a physical disease but a spiritual disease. All mankind has been infected with the disease of sin.

I. Romans 5:12 Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned

J. Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

K. The major difference between this man’s terminal illness and the terminal illness of those without Christ is that this man’s physical suffering would cease upon his physical death; while those who die spiritual face an eternity of incessant suffering in the everlasting fires of hell.

L. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

II. They realized that there was a cure available.

A. Luke 5:15, 17 HCSB “the news about Him spread even more and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses… And the Lord’s power to heal was in Him.”

B. They had heard about Jesus Christ and His mighty power. They had heard about how cast out demons in Capernaum. They undoubtedly heard about Christ healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. They heard of the healings that Christ did throughout Galilee. They heard of His cleansing of a leper, another incurable disease. They realized Christ had the power to do for their friend what other men could not do.

C. Those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior have found the answer to all life’s questions and the solution to all life’s problems, the cure to the terminal disease of sin.

D. Jesus Christ came to provide the cure for sin.

E. Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he said unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

F. Let me illustrate. "Suppose you were dying of cancer, and I could changed places with you. Somehow I could take all the cancer cells from your body and put them into my body. What would happen to me? I would be dying in your place. What would happen to you? You would live because I change places with you. The Bible says Christ took the penalty that we deserve for sin, placed it upon Himself, and died in our place. Three days later Christ came back to life to prove that sin and death had been conquered and that His claims to be God were true. He changed places with us. He became our substitute and died on the cross to save us. He took our sins and when we by faith put our trust in Him, He gives us His perfect righteousness. He IS the cure for the disease of sin. (adapted from Dr. A. Ray Stanford, Handbook of Personal Evangelism, pages 231-236)

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