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John 14:9-10 NLT – Jesus replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.”
God is revealed through Jesus.
If we want to know God, then we need to get to know Jesus. And luckily there are four entire books of the Bible dedicated to the life of Jesus. We call them the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Through this series, we are working through the book of John and observing the way of Jesus. What we’re finding out is that the way of Jesus is different.
So go ahead and look at someone next to you and say, “You’ve been acting a little different lately.” Look at someone else and say, “You’re looking a little different.”
Last week we found out that to follow Jesus, we must believe in healing.
There’s many people that believe in healing, but they’re not convinced that Jesus wants to heal everyone every time. But the truth is, Jesus wants to heal ALL who are sick. Not some. Not every now and then. But everyone, every time.
The only thing that gets in the way is our own excuses. We can come up with all kinds of reasons why we can’t receive healing.
“The doctor said it’s incurable.” “WebMD said I might die.” “I need someone else to believe for me.”
God’s will is to heal everyone, every time.
But He can’t override our own will. He gave us free will. So if we choose to believe something other than the Word of God, then we choose to stay sick instead of being healed.
I know, Jesus isn’t here with us in the flesh like He was back then. But even when He was here in the flesh, He was able to heal without being physically present. There were several times He healed others by His word.
Receiving miracles is as simple as believing the words of Jesus.
There’s no sickness too great. There’s no disease incurable. There’s no cause of sickness that prevents God from healing. Even if you did it to yourself, He still wants to heal you.
God’s will is to heal every person, every time. So you might as well devote yourself to the Word of God so you can line up your will with God’s will and be in health.
We ended last week in the middle of a story. A man at the pool of Bethesda was asked by Jesus if he wanted to be well. Thank God, the man decided to line up his will with God’s will. So when Jesus told him to “Rise, take up your bed and walk”, immediately the man was healed after being paralyzed for 38 years.
This seems like such a great ending to the story. I wish I could tell you he ran off into the sunset and everyone lived happily ever after. But, that’s not what happened. The story continues on in an unexpected way:
John 5:8-10 NKJV – Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
So this man just got healed from something he had been struggling with for 38 years. You’d think the religious people would celebrate with him. I mean, aren’t religious people all about doing good things?
But nope, the religious people responded to the miracle with a scowl on their face, “How dare you get healed and clean up your mess on the Sabbath.”
Faith vs COVID
This reminds me of what happened almost exactly a year ago. We were all faced with a virus we didn’t know anything about. So the nation played it safe and shut everything down.
You know what I remember most about when this all started? Anyone who spoke out with faith was raked over the coals. I mean, wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen faith so persecuted, even by Christians.
It was a lot like this man that got healed. He chose faith. But the religious rule-followers weren’t having it.
Who are the religious people today? Who is exalting rules above faith?
It’s clear we don’t follow all the laws and rules set forth in the Old Testament like the Jewish people were in this scripture. I mean, how many people do you know who take one day off per week as a Sabbath rest?
The religion of 2021 is science and government.
If they make a rule, like wearing a mask, the religious people chastise anyone who doesn’t cooperate, especially when such a person claims to be living by faith.
I mean, how foolish to choose faith over science. The unconfirmed theories of man are surely more superior than the Word of God. Hopefully you sense my sarcasm.
You know, I was in the same place as everyone else a year ago. I’ve never lived through something like this. I didn’t know what was true and what wasn’t. So I played it safe and moved our church to online services only.
Like everyone else, I was glued to the TV waiting for the latest stats and the latest guidelines from the government. And then I remember a very strong leading from the Holy Spirit to stop watching the news. Just stop.
So I did. A few weeks into the shutdown, I turned it off and have never watched it since.
You know what happened? I began to see the situation through the eyes of God. I had been seeing it through the eyes of the news, or should I say the eyes of fear. But when I turned away from the news, I began to see God’s perspective.
When I chose to go online-only for our church, I wasn’t fully convinced that it was the right decision. It seemed like a good decision, but there was no witness in my spirit that it was the right decision.
But once I turned off the news and was able to see God’s perspective, I had complete confidence in my next decision. Six weeks later, I opened the church.
We were one of the very few churches that went back so quickly. And there were a lot of people who didn’t like it. But if you’ve been around since then, you’ve noticed that God has honored us for stepping out in faith even when we faced opposition.
I want you to know something. I’ve repented for closing the doors for those six weeks. Now I see it was clear disobedience to the Word of God which instructs us to never forsake the gathering of ourselves together.
I’ll never close the doors again. I don’t care if the religious people persecute me. Because we’re not following a religion here. We’re following Jesus.
Just like the man at Bethesda. Take a look at how he responded to the religious people:
John 5:11 NKJV – He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’
In other words, he was saying, “I know. You didn’t want me to pick up my bed on the Sabbath. But I’m not following religion. I’m following Jesus.”
And in the next verse you find out that this man didn’t even know who Jesus was. Because when the religious people asked him who healed him, he had no idea. Jesus had disappeared into the crowd before he had a chance to ask.
If this man could follow Jesus before he even knew who Jesus was, surely we can follow Jesus whenever we can fully know Him through the Word of God. And here’s what we learn in this story about following Jesus:
To follow Jesus, I must choose faith despite the opposition.
Living by faith is no walk in the park. There is going to be opposition. Your circumstances will oppose you. Well-meaning people will oppose you. Man-made religion will oppose you.
So you have to make a decision ahead of time. I will choose faith despite the opposition. Actually, facing opposition when living by faith is a good indicator that you’re on the right track.
So, does this man ever find out that Jesus is the one who healed him? You better know it. Because yes, Jesus wants you well. But more than that, He wants you to believe in Him so you can be saved.
This guy is no different. So here’s what happens next:
John 5:14 NKJV – Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
Notice Jesus was looking for this guy. This guy was lost, but now he’s found. In other words, this was an invitation to salvation. Jesus was saying, “Turn from your sins and follow me.”
We also learn in this scripture why Jesus hates sin and tells you to get away from it. The reason is, sin causes destruction. Sin ruins your life.
Many people like to say that the destruction that comes as a result of sin is God punishing you for not being perfect. But God doesn’t cause the destruction. Sin causes destruction.
For example, when someone chooses to engage in sexual sin, it naturally destroys family. You cheat on your spouse and naturally, they don’t want to be with you anymore.
You choose a homosexual lifestyle and naturally, you can’t have your own kids. You choose to have sex outside of marriage and naturally, your kids grow up without united parents.
All sexual sin destroys family. And what is life without family? How many of the issues we face today are because of broken family? Why do you think Satan works so hard to destroy family?
God designed family. And when we commit to the way He designed it, it creates the most beautiful, joy-filled life for the entire family. It’s a taste of heaven on earth.
If you feel a bit condemned right now because you’ve engaged in something I just talked about, shake off the condemnation. We don’t waste time in regret. But heed the words of Jesus, “Sin no more, lest something worse happens.”
God can mend your family. He can create beauty from ashes. But you have to start the process by turning away from what you’ve been doing and seeking God’s way.
I know, our culture tells us that sexual sin is okay, that you have the right to be with whomever you want to be with.
But wouldn’t rather be with who God planned for you to be with? Wouldn’t you rather live within God’s design and have His blessing on your family?
So from this man at Bethesda, we learn another thing about following Jesus:
To follow Jesus, I must resist sin.
I don’t embrace it. I don’t celebrate it. I don’t excuse it. Nope, I resist sin.
For clarity, you should know that you are only responsible for resisting sin for yourself. You are not responsible for resisting sin for someone else.
This doesn’t mean that you never talk to a friend about how you are concerned about their choice to live in sin. Because truly, when you care about someone, you are willing to have hard conversations with them too.
But it’s not your responsibility to keep someone else from sinning. Yes, you should lovingly reveal the truth to them. But in the end, the choice is theirs.
Only Jesus gives me the power to resist sin.
It’s only Jesus who gives us the power to resist sin. So I would do you a disservice today if I didn’t explain what Jesus has provided for you.
Easter is coming up next Sunday, and what that means is that we are at the exact time of year that Jesus gave His life to save yours almost 2,000 years ago.
If this were the year that it all went down, today would be the day that Jesus made His journey into Jerusalem. And as He was coming into Jerusalem, a great crowd met him holding palm branches.
Why palm branches? Because they represent victory. These people were prophesying what was about to happen with Jesus.
That’s why today is known as palm Sunday. Today, we celebrate in advance the victory that Jesus is going to have next Sunday on Easter.
This Thursday night would be the night that Jesus had the Passover feast with the disciples. That same night he would be arrested and questioned by the High Priest. He would be beaten and mocked.
Friday morning, Jesus would be taken before the Roman governor to be sentenced to death. The governor could find no fault with Jesus, but the Jews cornered him into sentencing Jesus to death anyways.
This all happened around 7am Friday morning. By 10am Jesus was being nailed to a cross. By 3pm, just 5 hours later, Jesus was dead.
Why? Why would the Son of God go through such torture? Why would He allow Himself to unjustly be sentenced to death?
Isaiah 53:5 NLT – But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
This is why. He did it for you. He knew you were rebellious and sinful and had no way of escape on your own. So the Son of God took it all on Himself. He stood in your place and took your punishment so that you could be forgiven and set free from your sins.
Forgiveness + Freedom
Don’t just receive half of what Jesus died to give you. We hear a lot about forgiveness. And yes, you are completely forgiven when you believe in Jesus. But He did more than forgive you. He set you free.
2 Peter 1:3 NLT – By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
Only by God’s power are you free from sin. And you receive this power by coming to know Jesus, the one who called you to follow Him.
That’s what every Sunday is about here at NoLimits. It’s to help you know Jesus. Because when you know Him, you are filled with power to live the life He has called you to live.