Friday, July 20, 2007


John 5 When You Meet Jesus You Could Get Worse!

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Over several months now, occasionally we have taken time to think about some of the great interviews and meetings the Lord Jesus had with various sorts of people as described in John’s Gospel.
We have tended to see the blessings people have experienced in meeting the Lord Jesus. Last week we saw the wonderful blessing of Nicodemus, who meeting the Lord Jesus was challenged about the necessity of being born again. I believe he was changed by this meeting.
However sometimes people are not changed for the better in meeting the Lord Jesus. Sometimes they are changed for the worse. The same sun that melts ice also hardens clay. Some clay hearts are hardened and not born again, by meeting the Lord Jesus. This morning we meet a man who was not helped but hardened by meeting the Lord Jesus.
For some of us here today this same could be true.
Your attendance here may actually have a negative effect on you. You may be hardened by meeting Jesus. The issue isn’t the Lord Jesus Christ, its you. Its your heart!
There once was an elderly gentleman whose failing eyesight resulted in the occasional inability to see or heed control signs. One day he was driving down the freeway when he received a call on his cell phone. His wife said, "Dear, be careful. I just heard a report on the news that a car is driving the wrong way down the freeway." "It’s not just one car," he replied. "It’s hundreds of them!"
Listen to what the book of Hebrews says:
Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested Me, tried [Me], and saw My works 10 for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with this generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” 11 So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.” 12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear so that none of you should miss it. 2 For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith
Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, 5 tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, 6 and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.
Some years ago there was a man in our community who associated himself with the ultra reformed Christian group. This man was a conservative of conservative Christians. He occasionally preached in their churches and ran bible studies. But there came a day, and you may remember reading his letter about this in the newspaper, the Newcastle Herald, where he had turned his back on all of that and has become one of the leading brothel owners in Newcastle. His letter was written as a letter of protest against Islington’s protests to the lack of action to stop prostitution outside Islington Baptist church.
What had happened? Had he been suddenly “un-born again?”
Occasionally we meet people who seem to make a good start in the Christian life, but then turn their back on Christ. They may have been good church folks for many years, but then they become apostate. How are we to understand this?
Mark 4 “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, this occurred:

I. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Resistant
Some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
These are the ones along the path where the word is sown: when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.
Jesus desired to impart the revelation of the Kingdom of God to the people. Some, whose hearts had grown hard were rejecting the plain teaching of that truth.
A married couple sits at the breakfast table. The man, reading the paper, says: "Honey, listen to this news item: A study was done that shows conclusively that women speak twice as many words as men!" Wife: "Well, we women always have to repeat ourselves because you men never hear us the first time we say something." Husband: "What did you say?"
* Verse 3: His first word to the crowds is, "Listen!"
* Verse 9: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
* Verse 23: "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"
* Verse 24: "Consider carefully what you hear!"
* Verse 33: "Jesus spoke the word to them, [literally] as much as they could hear."
This man is never heard of again. John 5 is one of the most heart gripping passages of teaching. Yet of this man, we read, that when Jesus began to teach him John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed,
Sadly I have seen that happen. Someone’s child is cured after prayer, and, once the family have got what they want from God, they are gone! They don’t want to hear!

II. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Shallow5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it sprang up right away, since it didn’t have deep soil. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it didn’t have a root, it withered.
16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root in themselves; they are short-lived. When affliction or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately stumble.
Note that this person hears the word and initially responds in exactly the same way as the seed that falls on the good soil: germination takes place. But as soon as there is any challenge to the word, as soon as obeying that word leads to any difficulty, this person forgets the word and reverts to what he was before.
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed,
This fellow was so taken up with life now, that the fact that Jesus had healed him was incidental. He was well. That was enough! He hadn’t considered Him who healed him. He was well! He had to get on with life. And life meant not rocking the boat with the Pharisees and scribes! After all , he was well! That was all that mattered.
This happens particularly with children who grow up in Christian homes, but fail to make their faith their own; when persecutions or hardships come because of Jesus, they reject the faith; it is not convenient to believe, and the faith is not really theirs anyway. Similarly, those who rely exclusively on one teacher who always gives all the answers can face this problem. Again, their faith is the faith of the teacher instead of their own. The teacher has developed a relationship with them, instead of developing their relationship to Christ through the word.
The principle of receptivity says that unless we are open and receptive to hear and do the word, we will never even hear it. We will never be tapped in to the secret things of God unless we are really willing to do His will. Hearing the word is not a function of our physical senses; nor is it even a function of our intellect. Rather, it is a function of the condition of our heart. If our heart is toward God, if our will is surrendered to Him, then we will hear the word. The truth isn’t intellectually discerned; it is morally discerned. When our hearts are right with God, God will impart His truth.

III. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Selfish
7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce a crop.
18 Others are sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, 19 but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Ears to hear are what we need to understand the spiritual truth necessary to live our lives. Not everyone has ears to hear. Our ears can become clogged by the wax of worldliness to the extent that we fail to hear what the Spirit is trying to communicate.
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed,
I wonder of that was this guys problem.
One of the saddest verses in the New Testament concerns Demas. Demas worked with Paul for some time; Paul forwards his greetings in the letters to Colosse and Philemon. But in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul writes: Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.
Desires for other things can present a barrier to our hearing the word -- even for someone who worked beside the Apostle Paul! If these desires tempted someone working with Paul, they certainly tempt us.

IV. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Responsive
In Mark 4 Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." It is possible to hear with our physical ears and not hear with our ears of understanding. We’ve all experienced this in many ways. Sometimes it can be rather dangerous. For instance, when your wife informs you of an important event, and you grunt to acknowledge the sound reaching your ears, but never really heard, it can cause problems.
This man had ears to hear physically, but not spiritually. He had legs to walk now, and eyes to see Jesus. But he only saw Him physically. He didn’t really understand.
I believe the Lord Jesus was making that point in verse 24
v. 24b. "he who hears my words and believes Him who sent me" John 5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
What time is it? The clock on the back wall indicates it is 11:23 a. m.. What time it is can be controversial, particularly if the preacher goes too long. One person told me that after a sermon they had begun to have a particularly good understanding of Eternity!
Last week we had a visit from an ABC documentary crew who wish to make a documentary on the life of Arthur Stace, a friend of John G Ridley. John Ridley was a Baptist evangelist who preached here in the 30’s and 40’s. Arthur Stace was converted from a life of crime, and used to write on the streets of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong the one little word “Eternity!”
Believe it or not, there is a popular musical in London about Stace’s life, and as it comes out here later this year, the ABC want to do a documentary. Now in the Baptist Union of NSW’s wisdom they have sold off the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle in Darlinghurst, and the only building with any vague similarity to the Burton Street Tabernacle is.. ours! So they wish to film here in August! Arthur Stace used to write that little word Eternity around the streets of Sydney, and that’s why, at the Millennial celebrations a few years back, the Sydney Harbour Bridge had emblazoned across it the word “Eternity” in beautiful copperplate lettering. Our cars have that word on the rear wind screens.
I believe we are already involved in Eternity. You either have eternal life or eternal death. It is possible to receive eternal life today. The Lord Jesus is saying something about how this lame man listened, how he heard, and how you should hear.
This word for hearing is the most often used term in the original Greek N.T. for hearing. However, it means more than just registering sound. It means understanding what you hear. In Mark 4:5 the word is translated 'listen' or 'hearken.' The last phrase of Luke 19:48 brings out what is meant by this word as it says "were very attentive to hear Him" or "they were hanging on His words."
Today as I try to explain as simply as I know how, you need to hear intently. The words can mean the difference of life and death. You need to hear and believe.
Hearing is a function of our inner attitude toward God. The words Jesus spoke up to this time to both the disciples and to the Scribes and Pharisees were the same. But what the disciples heard and what the Scribes and Pharisees heard was different. Each heard based on his attitude toward God, and we do the same.
This is a definite promise. It is interesting the way Jesus words what a person is to believe. We must hear the words of Jesus but believe on "Him who sent me." Why do we have to believe the Father who sent the Son? Because Jesus is not just a good teacher, prophet, or world leader. He is the Son of God. If you don't believe God sent Jesus for the redemption of mankind, you have not really heard the words of Jesus. He said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." He also said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."
If you hear the words of Jesus and believe, you have eternal life. The promise is definite. Your belief needs to be more than historical fact, it must be experienced. Having made a commitment of your life to Jesus, you experience Him and know He is your Lord and Savior.
Recently I heard Billy Graham say, "When I was 16 I hated church. I vowed I would quit when I was old enough." Then a revival crusade swept through his home town, and he was saved. He told his parents the preacher and church had sure changed since the revival crusade. His parents assured him that although the crusade had affected many people, the real difference was that he was hearing and participating as a saved person.
Have you heard the words of Jesus and believed? The promise of Jesus is a definite promise and you should be motivated by it to respond to His Lordship. Notice the next phrase.
This phrase of the scripture emphasizes eternal life to be a present possession. The word "has" is present, not future. The promise of eternal life is not something you say, "I hope I've got" or "I hope someday to get it." It is eternal life beginning when you meet the conditions laid down by Jesus.
Some say it is impossible to know. I simply ask, "do you believe in the Bible?" It says in I John 5:13 "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." Romans 8:38-39 tells us "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord." Can we believe the word of Jesus? He said "has eternal life." Notice also in your Bible John 3:16. It is a present possession.
If this possession is not obtained while you're here on this earth, it will not be gained after this life. This world is its only birthplace. All who enjoy it in heaven, began knowing it while on this earth. It begins by hearing and believing.
Eternal life is also a transforming possession. It changes a person's nature. You become one with a spiritual, rather than just a physical nature. It is clear from II Cor. 5:17 ". . .the old things pass away; behold, new things have come." The transformation is caused by hearing and believing. It changes a person's habits. We receive power to get rid of the garbage in our lives. It transforms a person's vision. They get a Christ-centered world view rather than a self-centered world view. One begins to have a desire to please God. You see the world as a place to minister.
Have you ever bumped into a mannequin and apologized? Most of us have. They look life like at a glance. However, on a careful look, they are obviously not real. Dead bodies also can be distinguished from living bodies. One of the most disturbing things I have had to do as a pastor was to go to a person’s home at 1 am to tell him whether or not I thought his wife had died in her sleep. So also the transformation that takes place in the receiving of eternal life is noticeable. It does make a change in a person.
This gold band I have on my finger is my wedding ring. I chose it and I think it is the best wedding ring I have ever seen. It would be silly for me to say I want a ring like this; I already have one. This watch I have on, I'm very pleased with its performance. You would question my knowledge if I said I hope I get one of these someday.
My point is this! Eternal life is a present possession. If you receive the words of Jesus and believe, you'll have eternal life. Don't hope for it, but receive it. If you have obeyed the teaching of Jesus to hear and believe, then you have eternal life! It is a transforming present possession. Consider the next phrase of scripture as it relates to eternal life.
". . .and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
It is a privilege to enjoy eternal life today. Anyone who hears and believes is free to serve out of love. They know they will not be judged concerning their eternal relationship with the Lord. It is a privilege to have a relationship with the Lord who wants us to know judgment for salvation is a past experience. It is settled for those in Christ. There is no fear of losing this eternal life.
Eternal life is also a privilege tomorrow. We can enjoy the sunlight of eternal life today, but tomorrow we can enjoy what we will evade. We will evade judgment because we have passed out of death into life. Eternal life had a battle with judgment and eternal life won. The score was settled on the cross and all who hear and believe have passed the test in Jesus.
In Christ judgment is passed. When you hear and believe, you receive eternal life. Are you one of those people who count it a privilege to know you have eternal life? If you have never acknowledged Jesus as Lord, then today hear and believe.
Eternal life is (1) A promise from Christ. (2) A present possession from Christ (3) A privilege for all who hear and believe.
This man didn’t hear so well.
He had been the recipient of a wonderful miracle, but he still had not come to believe.
The same may be true for you today.
You may have heard, but never taken it to heart.
You may have heard, but you have never heeded and believed on the Saviour.
We never hear of this man again in either Scripture or history. The last we see of him is
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

I guess a worse thing did befall him. He had heard, but he hadn’t believed. And so he was lost eternally!
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

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