Sin is a terrible, despicable, and deceiving thing that affects everything and everyone. Since the fall, this world has been under the curse of sin. Everything became tainted with sin and death through the rebellious act of Adam and Eve. Rebellion, disease, temptation, bitterness, lying, stealing, murder, adultery, pride, idolatry, lust, envy and the list is endless. Sin has affected every inch of this earth! As Galatians 3:22 says “But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin…” Paul wrote in Rom 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” We come to another encounter that started with a man and ended in a discussion with a hostile religious group of leaders. I want us to focus on the lame man who is by the pool this morning! There is a lot we can learn from this man and the situation he is in, as it relates to our own lives! What do I mean? We have a man who is unable to walk or move for 38 years by what we read in the scriptures (v5). He’s been there the whole time and is unable and people are unable or refuse to help him into the water. Now I want you to put yourself in the position of this man as Jesus approaches him with this question “Do you want to be made well?” (v6). Now if you were in the same position as this man wouldn’t you think to yourself that this guy is either a lunatic or he’s trying to be smart with you? You haven’t walked in 38 years….which means your muscles, your body mass is deteriorating, your weak and this guy has the nerve to ask you such an insulting question. But if you stop and think about for a moment, it’s a legitimate question to ask anyone, especially a person in this sort of situation. t’s a question that will forever change the way you live and act in society!
Think about it:
If He says yes, then this man is going to have to find work. If he says yes, then this man will have to change his daily routine and future aspirations. Now I know this is good and I myself would jump at the occasion if I was in this sort of situation. But we forget one simple thing here [or we take it for granted] 38 years this man has been left helpless without hope, or a family. This would be exciting at first, but a couple of days, months go by and the reality of his new ability to walk would forever change the way he interacts with society. Which would be very hard for a person like this? Take for example! A man who has been incarcerated, let’s say “38 years” and he is finally going to be released from prison. Now, that’s a very long time to be isolated in a cell from society and things, life as he knew it would be much different than when he first went in. Do you realize that a great majority [not all of them] but a great majority of inmates return back to prison! Why? Prison life is all they know? They return back, because they don’t know how live or change their old habits, they’re so used to living the way things were they don’t know how change or adapt to their new found freedom. As one secular writer said “When an inmate is released from prison, that’s all that happens. They let the released prisoners out the door and often there’s nobody outside waiting for them and they’re given a list of shelters to go to. They also have a list of transition assistance programs, but that doesn't help them at that moment. They may not even be familiar with the city where they’ve been released, they‘re broke and alone. Getting out of prison is tough.”
Please understand! I’m not trying to compare this offer of a miracle with prison life. What I’m trying to convey is that this man’s life is about to drastically change forever. Why? He has been a prisoner to his sin…… at least this sin for 38 years. (v14). See we need to understand sin destroys and kills everything it touches. So we really need to stop and think about what Jesus is offering this man. This is a question that I think we as Christians or a society need to be asked or need to consider daily! “Do we really want to be made well?” If so there has to be some dramatic changes in our lifestyle, in our churches.
- Do we really want to let go of bitterness
- Do we really want to let go of the past
- Do we really want to let go of our anger
- Do we really want to let go of our self-righteousness
- Do we really want to let go of our sin
Again! Put yourself in the shoes of this man with what sin you struggle with the most! As Jesus said “Do you really want to be made well?”
- To the person who lusts after women! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
- To the person who lusts after men! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
- To the person who won’t forgive! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
- To the person who can’t seem to find the time for your spouse or family! Do you really want this gone from your life? Seriously
- To the person who is a workaholic! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
- To the person who struggles with pornography! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
- To the young person who disobeys your parents! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
- To the parents who abuse or treat their children wrongly with your words or action! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
- To the person who makes excuses about attending church, bible studies and so on! Do you seriously want this gone from your life? Seriously
- To all of us who claim to be a disciple of Christ! Have we counted the cost to what it means to follow Jesus?
If your answer is yes; then we need to let go of the sin that we’re in bondage too and cling to what is right! Christ and His precious gospel. It will forever change your life from this point on! And this scares some people! For some of us possibly in this room, we would rather stay in our sin. It feels too good to let go or give up! I don’t know what I would do if it was gone? We have become so desensitized to our sin it becomes a part of us and we really don’t know how to cope without it. Jesus came to this man with a question that is life changing and has eternal implications! What’s amazing is that……there are three basic responses to this question.
- First, one can say “Yes.”
- Second, one can say, “No.”
- And finally one can ignore the question or say, “I don’t know.” its like seating on the fence!
This last response was mine for many years, which in reality is the most dangerous, because it leads to apathy and a hardened heart. It’s like the song “Slow To Fade” by Casting Crowns. The subtlety of sin that creeps into our lives and takes up residence unnoticed by ignorance; and one day it comes to a head and life seems like its spinning out of control. Remember the Heart is deceitful and desperately wicked and only God knows it. So let me ask you ……..we’re you this morning! As Prov 5:22 says “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare [occupies] him, and he is held fast [captive] in the cords of his sin.” What sin is holding you captive for the past hour, day, week, month, year, and decade? The ultimate question is do you want to be changed? Yes or no! What I want you realize this morning is that our God is a personal, intimate God, who is full of mercy and grace towards sinful people like you and me. This is why came to this man and throughout history God has always been merciful even when we deserve His wrath. Jesus saw this man, full of sin, lost and helpless, just like you… before He got a hold of your heart. Micah said it best in his letter! Mic 7:18 “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” Who has made the heaven and earth, the sea and all that there is? Exo 20:11. Who tells the number of the stars; and calls them all by their names? Ps 147:4. Who by His strength set fast the mountains and is bound about with power? Ps 65:6. Our mighty merciful God who showed compassion upon a sinner who needed saving. Jesus saw this suffering outcast of a man who was overlooked by the crowd, came to this man full of mercy with a question that could change his life forever (v6-v9) A question that has been asked to each and every one of us in this room “Do you want to be made well”
MADE WELL FROM WHAT?
THE BONDAGE OF SIN AND DEATH........1Cor 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
THE WRATH OF GOD.........Rom 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
ETERNAL DAMNATION WHICH IS RESERVED FOR SATAN AND HIS FALLEN ANGELS..........Matt 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
STRENGTH TO FLEE FROM SIN WHEN TEMPTED...........1Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Many people today don’t know they are really sick. This man knew he was physically sick, but did not appreciate the greater spiritual sickness he had due to his sin. Sin is eternally fatal. Many today are hardened by “the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb.3:13). Others foolishly ignore or deny sin in their lives (1 Jn 1:8-10) What misery sin has brought into the world? How great is the mercy and compassion of Christ? The immediate rescue should impress on us the importance of living our lives each and every day for the glory of Jesus Christ. As John Newton proclaimed “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be; but, by the grace of God, I am not what I was. But again the question remains!
Do you really want to be made well? Seriously