INTRO: The text I have read is one which I expect is well known even to our young children. Of the many events in the life of Jesus, this is one which seems to lend itself to a lesson for youngsters. Of the many occasions of healing in Jesus' ministry, this one is particularly important to us for a singular reason which I will mention in just a little while. Jesus has returned to Capernaum from his first preaching tour of Galilee, and the news of his return spread quickly through the city. His "fame" established during His earlier residence in Capernaum had not been forgotten!
I. A PREACHING OPPORTUNITY
A. The setting?
1. Jesus has returned to Capernaum, and the news of His arrival spreads
2. He is in a house - whose? we are not told ... could it have been Peter's?
3. the houses had open doors - and, then, open doors meant "welcome" - especially if there was a known teacher in the house - a crowd quickly gathers
B. "He preached the word unto them" (2:2)
1. notice the transition from healing to preaching which has taken place
2. these people have apparently come to hear the message of "the word"
3. question: are our doors open to people desiring to hear the word of God?
II. STILL, HEALING CONTINUED TO BE PART OF HIS MINISTRY
A. So, four men bring their paralytic friend to be healed by Jesus
1. but they simply could not enter the already crowded house
2. solution? up to the roof, remove a part of it, let their friend down into the room where Jesus was teaching
3. the houses of that time usually had flat roofs, outside stairs, mud and stick roofs
B. "When Jesus saw their faith..." (2:5)
1. faith acts - faith has determination - faith comes to the right "place"
2. one described their faith as "a faith which laughs at barriers" - so true
3. Jas 2:17,26 - by their "works" their faith was evident!
III. WHAT JESUS DID?
A. "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee" (2:5)
1. this was doubtless a "shocker" to all present!
2. two things here: (a) that world believed illness, catastrophe to be associated with sin, (b) there are maladies associated with sin which could require the resolution of sin
3. so, for Jesus to deal with the man's sin before healing was important
B. Now, notice the question of the suspicious scribes
1. "who can forgive sins but God only?" (2:7)
2. they asked the right question - and assumed the wrong answer!
3. rather than to inquire, they simply accused Jesus of blasphemy
C. Jesus knew what was in their hearts
1. His response to their "heart reasonings" should have challenged them
2. "how did He know what I was thinking?" - I think I would have wondered
3. but there is none so blind as one who will not see
D. Another challenging question from Jesus
1. anyone can say"Thy sins be forgiven thee" - no empirical test
2. but"Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk" - now here is a real test
3. Jesus is setting the stage to confirm that He indeed has the power to forgive sins - thus, that He is Deity
E. So, Mk 2:10,11 - He could, and did, forgive sins!
1. now, what about the thief on the cross?
2. well, he lived during this unique time during which Jesus was on this earth and could forgive sins
3. for people to use his situation as their reason for believing baptism is not necessary to salvation simply ignores some important facts!
F. Notice again the word "immediately" at 2:12
1. one characteristic of "miracle" is this immediacy - no rehabilitation!
2. and it was said he "went forth before them all" - this was very public
3. I wonder about the fact they were amazed ... was it the miracle? or was it His forgiving the man of his sins?
4. often, it is the "sensational" which impresses - but I am impressed here with the boldness of Jesus, the openness of Jesus, the comfort of Jesus in knowing Who He is
CLOSE: What lesson should we learn here? Doubtless, there are several possibilities. But I look to the faith of the people involved here, and I want to remember that faith is undaunted by obstacles!
Cecil A. Hutson
06 July 09
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)