North Anderson Baptist Church
Bring Your Friends to Jesus
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Domingo 10:30 AM
When I was in high school these were my closest friends. I wasn’t the most popular guy or the most athletic but I played sports and had friends to hang out with, got along well with the others in the school. But when it came to friends these were the real thing then. Now, not so much because we really never see each other or converse with each other. We lost touch and therefore friendships weakened over the years. When my high school years ended it seems that time took a toll on my friendships with these two guys. Now having read about them on Facebook and having seen them only a few times over the years, I know one of these men is now a Christian but I see no fruit that the other is. I choose to make this a matter of prayer and witness to my one friend, of years gone by, that I will share Christ with him and seek to lead Him to the Master.

I can’t imagine these five friends in this event in Scripture could ever get that distant from one another because of this experience in their lives.
Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for
Friendships can be good for you or they can be bad for you. You may have heard your parents, or maybe Kiley, or your youth minister when you were younger, say to you something like this, “Watch out for the company you keep. The people you choose to be friends with might turn your life for the worse.”
One day a farmer grabbed his shotgun to shoot at a flock of pesky crows. Unfortunately, he didn’t see his sociable parrot that had joined the crows. After firing a few shots, he walked over to the fallen birds and was surprised to find his parrot badly ruffled with a broken wing. When the farmer’s children saw the injured bird, they asked, “Dad, what happened?” The farmer simply replied, “Bad company.”
Scripture often warns us to avoid harmful influences. Regardless of our age or spiritual strength, over time, unwise influences will negatively affect our walk with the Lord. Satan is determined to pull us into sin and wreck our lives, and he often uses wrong influences to accomplish his goal.
What are good friendships like? What makes a good friend?

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following:
-“One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable.”
-“One who understands our silence.”
-“A volume of sympathy bound in cloth.”
-“A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down.”
-The winning definition read: “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
Today let’s look at the Scripture we have just read and see how we can fit this real life event of Jesus into the year’s theme: “Who’s Your One?” We will look at these four thoughts this morning:
The Teacher and Healer - v. 17
The Faith of Friends - v. 18-20
The Motives of the Pharisees and Teachers - vv. 17, 21-22
The Priorities for the Paralytic - vv. 20-25
The Teacher and Healer - v. 17

Who is the best teacher ever? Jesus! Of course, He is and no one can or will ever measure up to Him at all. So, when the Master began to teach everyone who came to hear Him were astounded, amazed and at times confused. Even the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law came from all around to hear the teaching of Jesus. The Master’s teaching was so very distinctively different than the Pharisees and Scribes. This characteristic of Jesus’ teaching seemed to be seen by the ordinary Jews as they heard Him teach about the Law and all the subjects He covered, and they were amazed. There were lots of reasons people came to hear and Jesus didn’t disappoint them.

What do you think Jesus was teaching that day up until the time that He was interrupted? Could it have been about forgiveness or the compassion of God and His mercy for the poor and needy?

Not only was Jesus the greatest teacher but He had the power to heal diseases. Because of the great power in Him, He could heal as He desired. He was soon to show that power and He was about to do a wonderful act of kindness and mercy, which also was combined with the healing of the soul. Jesus’ power to heal the sick came because He was God and the power didn’t come and go to and from Him, it wasn’t “intermittent.” This phrase by Luke, “And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick,” means He was filled with the power of God all the time because He was the Son of God and could heal at any time.
The Faith of Friends - v. 18-20

Our title today is “Bringing Your Friends to Jesus,” because this seems to be one of the real focal points to Jesus’ message. Here we have a man that is described as having “the palsy” or that he was “a paralytic.” That is all we know about the man. The man could not take care of himself, had to beg for money and food to survive through the kindness of others. Since Luke mentioned that Jesus had the power to heal the sick, you realize that there is someone in this story that Jesus would be healing and then enters the paralyzed man. Now, the paralytic doesn’t enter this event all by himself. No, he had to have help if he were going to get to see Jesus and have Him heal him. We see this picture of four friends, each carrying a corner of a mat the man was laying on. We have here a wonderful story of great friendship! Who would take their time to take a crippled man, who could not walk because he was palsied, to the Lord Jesus. Someone else had to carry him to meet the Master. Someone had to care enough for this man to actually take time and exert the effort to take him to Jesus.

Have you ever felt that you were that one for someone you knew? Are you thinking now of someone who needs to come to Jesus for healing and God is saying to you, “As a friend you need to “carry” them to meet Jesus.”

The story Luke is telling us says that these men who were carrying him wanted to go inside the house so their friend could see Jesus but that the house was so full that there was no way that could happen. Here we see the ingenuity of these friends and the persistence of men who may have been longtime friends since they were boys.

Because of the way homes were built in Palestine, they knew if they went on the roof, which was flat, they might have a chance to get their friend to Jesus. So, they took him to the roof, no easy chore, remember he was on a mat and they were carrying him. They proceeded to take off the tiles that made up the roof and make a hole to allow them to lower the paralytic, their friend, right down in front of Jesus. Success was achieved. Luke says that when Jesus looked up, through the hole, and saw them as they looked down through the hole at their friend laying in front of Jesus, that Jesus saw their faith! What a statement. He could see the excitement in their faces longing to see the miracle that was to come, the healing of their friend. Because of that faith and expectation of the friends, and what Jesus saw in the four men, He said to the paralytic, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Several things we can observe from this event looking at these men. “These four men are examples of how friends ought to minister to one another and help needy sinners come to the Saviour.” Also, because of their faith that Jesus could heal their friend, they did whatever it took to get him there. We see it when they tried to get in the door of the house. (An aside here. Isn't it sad that there are people standing in the way of people coming to Jesus? It is tragic that those who need the Lord so much are at times kept away and have no one to take them to see Him.) What is truly amazing is that Jesus looks to the friends and sees their faith. Faith is what impresses the Lord and He honors that faith.
“I have a challenge for you!” What will it take for you to have that kind of faith for your ONE? What will you do, at whatever cost, to get your friend to Jesus? I believe that Jesus saw faith in this man too, (“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6) but pointed out the faith of his friends to inspire us to do the same thing they did. If you cultivate the soil of your friends heart and then sow the seeds of the Gospel and pray that God will touch their soul with His eternal forgiveness, BRING them to Jesus. One way to do that is to bring them to church with you, BUT you need to exhibit that kind of “friend’s faith” when you bring them and you need to be prayed up, have sown the seeds of the Gospel and be expectant of what God will do for your dear friend or family member.
The Motives of the Pharisees and Teachers - vv. 17, 21-22

The antagonists have not yet learned that Jesus knows their hearts and thoughts. He begins to tell them that He knows and reads what is in their hearts and minds. Remember, these Pharisees and Teachers have come from all over. Those who came from Jerusalem are representative of Israel’s spiritual leadership. They had the responsibility to inquire about what kind of teacher, Rabbi and man this was who was gaining such notoriety. They were like this with John the Baptist and now with Jesus. Was He a false prophet or the real thing?

“The great desire of the Scribes and Pharisees was to understand and magnify God's Law and apply it in their daily lives. However, their movement soon became quite legalistic and its leaders laid so many burdens on the people that it was impossible to "serve the Lord with gladness" (Ps. 100:2). Furthermore, many of the Pharisees were hypocrites and did not practice what they preached (seeMatt. 15:1-20;23:1-36). In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus exposed the shallowness of Pharisaical religion. He explained that true righteousness is a matter of the heart and not external religious practices alone.” Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - New Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1.

This day, the Scribes and Pharisees saw something that would astound them and they would not be favorable to it; Jesus would not only heal a man but forgive his sin too, all the while teaching a great lesson on forgiveness. These men accused Jesus of blasphemy because He had the audacity to heal a man and forgive his sin. Only God could forgive sin. They were right, only God could forgive sins. But they were wrong to think that Jesus was not God! That is where they were so far wrong.

Here, right at the beginning of His ministry, He lets all people know He is God, for only God can forgive sin.Originally, I think the motives of the Scribes and Pharisees were pure or at least they were not condemning yet. It wasn’t until we see their thoughts that Jesus exposes that we know that they are going to fight against this Rabbi who calls Himself the “Son of Man.” It is easier to judge others than to be open minded. I am not sure that anyone has ever accused the Pharisees and the Scribes of being open minded or loving, particularly to the poor and hurting, including little children. They were not like the grandfather in this story.

Harriet Frye watched as her four-year-old granddaughter handed a small Easter basket of candy eggs to her grandfather. Crystal then climbed up into her grandpa’s lap, looked into his eyes, and very seriously said, “Friends share.”
The Priorities for the Paralytic - vv.20-25

Jesus had special priorities and the first of these is what Luke said in Luke 19:10,
Jesus healed people throughout His ministry here on earth but His first priority was to heal them of their sin. If Jesus chose just to heal his body then true wholeness would not be there for this man. His soul would still be bound in sin and whether or not his body was free from the disease. Many who He reached out to were first healed of their disease and then they were saved. There were some who were not diseased but just needed the spiritual transformation that only Jesus could give them. In this case Jesus reached out to him to heal him of his sin through forgiveness.
I think Jesus could have healed him and sent him on but because of His great love for him, Jesus chose to give him complete healing of body and soul. Because the Pharisees and Scribes were there, He would also use this opportunity to teach them and all those there, that the Son of Man could forgive sins because He and the Father were one.

Why did Jesus say first that the man’s sins were forgiven and then healed him? He could get away with the fact He could say the man was forgiven of his sins but no one could measure that. To allow them to see that He was truly God as Man, He would then tell the man who was a paralytic, and might have been all his life, to rise up and carry the mat that he had been lying on for so many years. He was carried there in his sin but now he could walk back home along with the great friends free from the slavery of sin.

But now there were so many witnesses that it could not go unnoticed by the world around Him. Who had authority to forgive sin? Only God could and now the religious leaders would have to admit this Man claimed to be equal with God, He too could forgive sins. For them this was blasphemy and Jesus could be stoned for that.

And yet, they knew what the Scriptures said about the title “Son of Man.” This was a Messianic title from the Old Testament, the Scriptures of their day. This was Jesus’ favorite title for Himself because it was one that would be relatable and identified Him with mankind, those He came to save.

Jesus was teaching many things during this event in His life. He wanted the people to know that He loved them and that they were important to Him because He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. He would heal, forgive sins, show compassion and share how people could be saved from their sins.

Then and even today, God does not always heal our diseases. Why? It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us or have compassion toward us, but he does take our spiritual needs into account reminding us that He has given to us the greatest gift, Jesus, His one and only Son, to be our Savior and Lord. Through Him our soul has been released from spiritual darkness and inner fear. We now have the spiritual power and inner peace that only comes from our salvation from our sins. Our bodies have been dying since we were born and the physical condition is not the first priority of God but a gift, if He desires, out of His abundant love. Remember it does take faith in Christ to receive that healing from the Lord God.

What was the end result of this event in the life of Jesus and all who were there? The paralytic, now healed and walking home with his friends, were doing so praising and glorifying God and all the people were amazed and gave praise to God! I think everyone but the Pharisees and Scribes!

Invitation

Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball's color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.
What kind of friend are you?What will you do to stand with those whom you care for?Will you make a commitment to bring your ONE to church if at all possible?
Are you here today without salvation from God and you are ready to make that commitment to trust Him as Lord and Savior of your life?  If you believe in your heart, with all you are, that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God and that He died upon the Cross and was buried and then on the third day arose from the dead and lives forevermore, you can call upon the Lord to forgive you of your sins and surrender you life to the Lord Jesus Christ, then God will accept you into His family as a child of God. (John 1:12, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”)  Will you respond today?  Come let me pray with you.

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