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 Do You Really Want To Be Changed

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Join date : 2014-05-15
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PostSubject: Do You Really Want To Be Changed   Tue May 20, 2014 5:04 am

Do You Really Want To Be Changed
Sermon shared by John Hamby

Sermon:
A Study of the Book of John
“That You May Believe”
Sermon # 14

“Do You Really Want To Be Changed?”
John 5:1-9, 14

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!” 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.

There is a very important story about change recorded in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus has gone up from Cana of Galilee to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the great religious feasts. It is worthy of note that He, as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world, would enter the city through the Sheep Gate, the entrance to the city through which the sheep for temple sacrifices were brought. Once inside the city, he comes to the pool of Bethesda. Lying all around the pool are sick and paralyzed people. They are there because there is a legend that an angel would on occasion come and stir up the waters of the pool, and the first one to enter the pool after the angel stirred the water would be healed. It was of course merely a superstition, but it was the last hope for many of these people. It not unlike what is still found in many parts of the world today. Lourdes, in southern France, has a spa which many believe has healing capacities. The shrine of Guadalupe, in Mexico City, is another such place were thousands have gone hoping for a healing. Whether anyone is healed or not, the people come believing that this is hope of healing here.

Jesus moves into the midst of such a group but Jesus does not indiscriminately heal everyone at that the pool that day but as He moved among the blind and the lame, he is drawn to one particular man who had been ill for 38 years. The Bible does not say the nature of his disease other than it rendered him unable to walk, nor why among so many Jesus chose this man to heal. But from a careful study of this man and his condition we learn much about ourselves!

The story begins in verse one, “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (2) Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. (3) In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. (4) For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.(5) Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.”

Into this sea of desperate people Jesus came. It is interesting to consider that out of all these people Jesus chose to heal one man. It could have been because Jesus knew that the man had been lying there for 38 years, but there may have been other reasons for Jesus having compassion on him. One thing we do know from this scripture is that it was not because the man sought Jesus’ help. In fact, he did not even know who Jesus was. Jesus encountered him and asked him a strange question. He said, “Do you want to get well?” It might seem kind of crazy to ask someone who has been paralyzed for 38 years if he wants to get well but, of course, Jesus never asks a question without good reason.

According to John, Jesus has traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem in order to celebrate a feast or festival. We don’t know for sure which one, but it may have been the feast of Pentecost, a feast commemorating the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. When he was in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Pool of Bethesda, also known as Bethsaida, where “a great multitude of sick people” gathered. Fittingly the name Bethesda means “house of mercy.” If you are reading out of something other than an a KJV, the attraction of the pool given in verse four is omitted, because it was thought by some to be a later addition. At any rate, it was said that an angel of the Lord would at certain times come down to the pool and disturb the surface of the water and the first person to enter the pool there-after was cured of any illness. Whether or not this had ever in fact happened, that was what these people believed. In this multitude of people who had gathered was man to whom Jesus was drawn.

I want you to note three things with me this morning.
First, We Must Decide If We Want to be Changed? (v. 6)
“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"

This seems a strange question to ask a man who has been sick and an invalid for nearly forty years. "Do you want to be made well?" But Jesus never asked a foolish question in his life, therefore it is obviously it was important for this man to answer at least to himself the question, “Do I really want to be changed.” He was asking a very serious question because it is entirely possible that he does not “really” want to be changed.

In the past thirty-eight years this man has been a beggar who lived by the pity of others, if he is healed he would lose all of this. In the Middle East in Bible times and some places even today – a person who was healed would lose a good living. I am told that in some places in the third world today, parents are guilty of crippling their children so that they can earn a living by begging.

This man by being healed would be venturing out into the unknown, he would lose all his present securities, he will have to be responsible for himself. He will have to find work; he will be entering a whole new world. It would be the equivalent today of asking a person who had lived on welfare if they were willing to give up in order to be well. To be healed meant to enter in a completely new life, one with wonderful possibilities, but also with certain amount of risk.

After 38 years he had accepted his condition. He was content now to scratch out his pathetic existence by begging. Being paralyzed was a help, because people felt sorry for him. Now that he has been healed he will have to work and take on the full responsibilities of life, and perhaps he is concerned.

The fact is that some people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid unwelcome changes in their lives. “Dave Reavor, a disabled Vietnam veteran, tells of a young man in the 1960’s who did not want to be drafted. So he had all of his teeth pulled to make himself unfit for military duty. But when he took his physical, he was declared unfit because of his flat feet.”

I see in this man many people in our own day. Their lives are sick. They are paralyzed in heart and mind. Their lives are dysfunctional, but they have never considered that God might have something for them. They have learned to live like this. They don’t even know there is something more to life. They have become satisfied with subsisting. They are not seeking God or calling out to him. It is as though they are sick and are not aware of it, or if they are aware of it, it seems normal to them.

We see this even in the life of the church, we have seen people attend church. They are respectful and seemingly excited about what they are hearing. They are not saved, but they listen to the Gospel. But there comes a time, when they realize they do not really want to be changed and they leave.

Even after we are saved, we continue to be confronted by issues in our lives that need to be changed, like bitterness, unresolved conflicts and things that have lie hidden within us for years. The question is, “Do we really want to change?” So the question that Jesus asked the paralyzed man, that seemed unnecessary even ridiculous, was relevant for him and for us!

We Not Only Must Decide If We Want To Change but …
Secondly, We Must Decide Not To Continue Making Excuses. (v. 7)
“The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me."

Notice that he did not answer Jesus’ question. He does not say that he wants to be well. He dismisses Jesus’ question and merely complains about his condition. The lame man did not answer Jesus’ question directly but rather said, that he had no one to place him in the pool when it was disturbed.
He tells how unfortunate he is. He lists his troubles. To be sure, he has plenty to complain about. But he whines about life instead of answering Jesus’ question about whether he really wants to be well. In today’s language we would say that he sees himself as a victim.

•Are you a perpetual victim?
There is a word that we have all become familiar with over the last few years it is, “victimization.” It what happens when a person always sees themselves as a victim, a victim of society, or a victim of their upbringing. They are people who continue to see themselves as been a dealt a lousy hand of cards in life. So how can you tell if you or someone you know is a “victim”?
•Victims endlessly repeat how they have been mistreated.
•Victims live by the childish notion that live should always be fair.
•Victims find it difficult to forgive others because they see forgiveness is weakness.
•Victims have difficulty maintain close relationships because they have difficulty trusting other people.
•The cry of the perpetual victim is, “It’s not my fault!”

If we are unwilling to accept responsibility
for our lives them it has to be parents, or my spouse or society, anybody but ourselves!
Dr. William Glasser is founder of “Reality Therapy,” and during one of his seminars his talk had one main theme; “Healthy people do not make excuses. He used as an example the tendency people have to make excuses when they are late for an appointment. They will say traffic was heavy, they got a last-second phone call, a crisis came up at the office and so on. Dr. Glasser argued that those kinds of excuses cover up the real issue. If you’re late, it is because you are incompetent to run your own life. He suggested that instead of making a lame excuse the next time you’re late, simply say, “I’m sorry. I guess I am incompetent to run my own life.”

It is only when we stop making excuses that we discover that we have the power to be on time.
There are several things we should note
1)We make more excuses than we would like to admit.
2)It is possible to break the pattern of making excuses.
3)Change is never possible until we admit that we have a problem.
Not Only Must We Decide Not To Continue Making Excuses but…

Third, We Must Decide Whether We Are Ready To Act (vv. 8-9)
“Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." (9) And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.”

Jesus did not discuss the pool or its alleged abilities to provide a cure, He simply told the man to get up, take up your bed and walk. The man was healed, but he was not healed by the water.

Jesus said to him: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Obviously the man now had a choice. He could listen and ignore, listen and hope or he could listen and obey. Don’t we all have that choice?
In his words “to take up his bed” the Lord is telling him and all those who truly want to change, something very important; do not make any provision to go back. Many people fail right here. Burn your bridges. Cut off any possibility of going back.

According to verse fourteen later Jesus found this man in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."

A literal translation of the Greek is “don’t keep on sinning.” Why was he told to stop sinning? Was the disability really caused by his sin? Whether or not we think that he is implying that this man’s original condition was due to his sins, Jesus warning is that he is not to take his healing for granted. It is also significant to note that when he is told to “stop sinning” it is in effect the same as being told to repent.

So are you ready to be changed? You can be if you truly want to be.
•We Must Decide If We Want To Be Changed?
•We Must Decide Not To Continue Making Excuses.
•We Must Decide Whether We Are Ready To Act.

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