Summary: What are the problems we are facing today? Maybe for years we are praying about it. The problem has become a part of our life and we have the same life routine every day. We have the same lifestyle where there is no peace, the same sickness haunt us every day.
What are the problems we are facing today? Maybe it is a new problem. Maybe for years we are praying about it. The problem has become a part of our life and we have the same life routine every day. We have the same lifestyle where there is no peace, the same sickness haunt us every day and the same circumstances – We need a change. Many of you are crying for a change this today. Lord, maybe I could change this – change that in my life, etc.
Have you ever thought of a change from your present situation? We all know it is very hard for us to change even though it may bring good results for us. Ask an addict – someone addicted to anything – does he not know that change will make him better? Does he not know that stopping what fuels his addiction will prolong his life and give him good health?
Yes – he knows it – yet he continues in his own ways. Yes, my brothers and sisters change is very hard to achieve. I think we all recognize within ourselves the need for change. Yet we also recognized that the change we need is often hard to achieve
Do you want a change today? Sir Isaac Newton’s “First Law of Motion” states – “Everything continues in a state of rest unless it is compelled to change by forces impressed upon it!” You cannot change without the Power of God – i.e. the Holy Spirit. Today God can change you by the external force – Again – i.e., the Holy Spirit.
This morning I want to tell you about a person who was changed after an encounter with Jesus.
II. The Scene (John 5:1-5).
The scene is Jesus is at Jerusalem. He is here to celebrate the feast of the Jews. The Bible says he entered through the Sheep Gate. This gate was used to bring the sheep to the temple for sacrifice. Once inside Jesus comes to the pool of Bethesda. Lying around the pool are the poor, sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed people. Everyone has a deformity – Everyone needs a change.
It is said – and believed – that on occasions an angel of the Lord stirred the water and whoever gets in the pool first would be healed. Everyone lying there is waiting for their turn.
Now, there was a man who was waiting for 38 years. He was paralyzed – waiting for his turn. Probably he was thinking in his heart when will my turn come? And/or maybe someone would cut in front of him and he would miss out on his healing. But Jesus changed him that day.
Now let us go a little deep into how we too can experience such a change.
III. Do We Want a Change (John 5:5-6)?
Do we need a change? Do we want to change? That is a question that we have to answer. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” In other words, Jesus asked, “Do you want a change in your condition?”
He was paralyzed for 38 years. We may feel Jesus is asking a silly question to this man. The fact is Jesus never asks silly questions. Firstly, the man had to decide himself if he wanted to change. And you, too have to decide if you want a change in your life.
Romans 12:22 – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We have to renew our mind Because change has to first originate from our mind. We have to decide if we want to change.
Now listen! It is possible that this man did not want a change. For 38 long years he was paralyzed. He was daily sitting by the pool – probably begged for his living – and someone gave him money and food. If healed he will lose his shelter, food, money etc. He will have to look for a new job. He will lose all present securities. He may lose his present friends also. If healed he would have to work and enjoy life but that involves a lot of risks. For 38 years he accepted this condition. He was happy with his condition because in his mind he had accepted his condition as the final for his. Therefore, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
If we want a change – we have to make a decision about it – we have to answer that!
A. Stop Making Excuses (John 5:6-7).
You have to stop making excuses! You see – after 38 years – this man’s problem had become a way of life – no one ever helped him – he had no hope of being healed.
He did not answer Jesus’ question. He does not say he wants to be healed. He just complains about his condition. Many times – we have only compliant about others. This man tells how unfortunate he is. He has a lot of trouble – a lot of complaint.
Today you may be complaining about your spouse – children – lost opportunities – friends – for your condition etc. You may be thinking they are overtaking me – when will I have my turn?
Let us stop complaining about others and stop giving excuses to God. God is bringing about a change in you. Despite the situation appearing to be hopeless – no matter how trapped you feel in your infirmities – God can minister to your deepest needs. Don’t let a problem or hardship cause you to lose hope. God may have special work for you to do in spite of your condition – or even because of it. (ILL) Joni Erickson Tada. Many have ministered effectively to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts.
B. Act in Faith (John 5:8-9).
Jesus did not discuss anything with the man about the pool. Jesus did not pay attention to the man’s complaints. Jesus told the man to act in faith – “Get up take your bed and walk.”
The man had a choice – He could start walking or just lie down in the same condition. There were many reasons for him not to walk. It was a Sabbath day and they weren’t supposed to lift anything that day – because Lifting the mat was work and working on the Sabbath was against the law.
The Jewish leaders saw both a mighty miracle of healing and a broken rule. They threw the miracle aside as they focused their attention on the broken rule – because the rule was more important to them than the miracle. It is easy to get so caught up in our man-made structures and rules that we forget the people involved.
Yes, faith sometimes acts against every human law. Today we have a choice – To act against our circumstances – to act against our negative thoughts or to continue in the same situation.
When he listened to the voice of God – his condition changed. For 38 long years the mat carried him – now he is carrying the mat.
Child of God – whatever circumstances you face in life – if you act in faith you can overcome them by God.
C. Stop Sinning (John 5:14).
This man had been lame/paralyzed – and suddenly he could walk – this was a great miracle. But he needed an even greater miracle – to have his sins forgiven! The man was delighted to be physically healed – but he had to turn from his sins and seek God’s forgiveness to be spiritually healed. God’s forgiveness is the greatest healing – the greatest gift you’ll ever receive. For your sakes don’t neglect his gracious offer.
And if you want your change to be permanent you have to stop sinning. We are told that Jesus meets the man again at the temple and tells him to stop sinning.
Sin many times stops the work of God in our lives because we turn from God to engage with the sin – and that sin dominates us. Let us not take the blessings of God for granted –we may lose it if we continue in sin.
What is your condition today? Are you fed up with the same lifestyle day after day – month after month – and year after year? Today God wants to change you. Yes, change you out of your problems – your fears – your sickness, etc.
First, we have to decide in our mind if we need a change. Second, we must stop making excuses for our condition. Third, we must act in faith against our circumstances. Fourth, we must stop our sinful ways and turn to God.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to believe uninterruptedly in the ultimate triumph of right and righteousness. At the same time, may we be convinced in our souls that no noble action – no courageous fight for truth and justice, and no sacrifice cheerfully sustained in the name of the Master and for the sake of His cause are ever without effect. Surely such things are not hidden from the eyes of the Judge of all the earth, who giveth His reward in due season. Therefore, make us always strong in the face of temptation, patient in suffering, loyal in duty, cheerful in spirit, and triumphant in life. We ask this in Jesus’ name – Amen.