Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Ain’t Heavy; He’s My Bother

Mark 2:1-12 
1And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
 2And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
 3And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
 4And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
 6But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
 7Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
 8And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
 9Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
 10But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
 11I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
 12And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

Did you miss the “r” in the title of this message? Isn’t it interesting that our “brother” becomes our “bother” when something is left out?

People are self-centered — perhaps more than any other time in history(and when I say "people" I mean us!). Urban migration, pressures of work and the demands of the family have left us with very little time for friends. When we do have time, we’d rather relax and unwind in our own privacy. There is a lack of interest in spending time with other people, to be concerned for them and to share their struggles. But as people of Christ, we are commanded to share with others the good news of God’s saving grace through the Lord Jesus. Unsaved people do not know how to trust in Christ and we need to lead the way for them to follow. Just like the four friends in Mark 2:1-12, we need to carry our “paralyzed” friends to the Savior who can heal them.

The above passage tells of four (4) principles that we need to observe when we consider carrying other people. So, how do we carry others?

Firstly, we need to carry our friends. This means we need to befriend others and earn their trust so that they will allow us to carry them to where they can find help. The American poet, Will Rogers said that to him strangers did not exist. They were just friends that he had not yet met. If one has a choice, he will not allow himself to be carried by others that he does not know.

Secondly, we need to carry our friends to Jesus! The direction we bring them toward is the Lord Jesus Christ. The four friends brought the paralytic to Jesus. Our friendships must be intentional. It is not helpful to carry our friends all over the place, no matter how enjoyable that might be to them. Often Christians get so caught up with helping their friends that they forget to take their friends to the Lord Jesus, the best Helper available! Our benevolence must have a plan to bring folks to Christ! He promises complete help — help for the body, soul and spirit. We have seen Him change lives. He makes a difference!

Thirdly, we need to carry our friends above other people. When the four friends saw the crowded house, they lifted their sick friend above all the other people. This calls for creativity and a willingness to expend effort and finance (roof repairs!) to get our friends to Jesus. Many today do not have a passion for souls. If anything, the effort at soul winning is pathetic. We say a prayer now and then for our friends. The presentation of the gospel is ignored and if we manage to squeeze something in, we hardly persevere when the initial response is not enthusiastic. We need to work harder! Like the four friends we need creativity. We need to give priority to the salvation of our friends. We need to eat souls, sleep souls and even dream souls! The eternal destiny of our friends must so occupy us that on occasion, even our loved ones need to take second place. We need to carry our friends above other people.

And finally, we need to carry our friends by faith. In Mark 2:5, Jesus saves the paralytic because of the faith of his friends. Similarly, we can bring our friends to the Lord and ask that He save them. No doubt each person needs to exercise his own free will to choose the Lord in order to be saved. But we can pray that the Lord will bring about the right circumstances for these folks to put their trust in Him. How many mothers have prayed for their children’s salvation and how many have had their prayers answered!

Faith is the ability to see God in every situation. It is the voice of faith that sings:

Expect a miracle everyday,
Expect a miracle when you pray;
If you expect it, God will find a way,
To perform a miracle for you today.

We are living in perilous days. We need to make our lives count. Indeed he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30) We must look beyond our own personal problems and look out for others. Who are you carrying to Jesus today?