Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Keep God’s Protection and Power
Fresh Manna by Pastor Tim Burt
John 5:14 “But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you."
I, like you I’m sure, love reading about the miracles of Jesus. I do for many reasons. Since Jesus said, “I do nothing but what the Father tells me,” His miracles reveal the heart of God and Jesus, the nature of God and Jesus, the character of God and Jesus, and the grace, mercy, and compassion of God and Jesus. Oh and then there is the power of God and His willingness to be intimately involved in redeeming individual lives. As a matter of fact, this is the will of God overall - to redeem lives from Satan and sin and to bring restoration and blessing to every part of our life. THAT IS HIS WILL!
When I read the miracles of Jesus, something always happens in my heart. I am encouraged and lifted up. That is by divine design. God’s intentions through the scriptures is to reveal Himself and lift us to a place of faith – faith in the very thing we read in Hebrews 13:8 – that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
That means He still feels the same in His love and desire to bless anyone who will believe as He did then. Do you believe that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever?” If you do, then when you read of His miracles, they will lift your heart and you will feel the increase of your faith. Of course, anyone could and many do reduce scriptures into nothing more than religious stories and reading of Biblical history. For those that do, they’ll miss the intimate working of the Holy Spirit reaching out to them.
This morning I want to focus on something extremely important as we read of these miracles that allow God’s power to work within our lives.
John 5:1-15 “Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?" "I can't, sir," the sick man said, "for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me." Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!" Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! … afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." Then the man went to find the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus who had healed him."
In these verses you read of a great miracle of healing. After the healing, Jesus comes back to speak with this man to tell him something important. He says, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." Was this a threat from Jesus? Of course not! That was not Jesus’ nature. What He was saying was that God’s grace had touched his life, but that he should live for God and not open the door to the devil through sin anymore.
That is a message for all of us. We all blow it in our lives. We can’t use that as a cliché and excuse to casually sin knowing of God’s grace. He desires for us to live diligently and purposely by His Word walking in love with one another and following after His Spirit. When we do blow it, God instructs us what to do. He teaches us to go to Him and get it right. 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”
This is not our permission slip to sin casually and then know we have a way out. It’s provision for when we blow it. When we become causal with sin and we really don’t care that much about when we do, then what Jesus spoke to the healed man are words that should speak to us. "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." Again, this is not a threat from Jesus. It’s a warning that there is a devil that will take advantage of you and whose design and nature is to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) That was what Jesus was warning of.
Later in John Chapter five, we see Jesus speaking to the “religious” people of the day – those that doubted Him and refused to believe what He said. Jesus spoke to them and said, "You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life.” John 5:39-40
Jesus was telling them that reading and studying scripture or going through religious motions didn’t make them right with God. Believing in Jesus and learning of His love, mercy and compassion and giving it to others is what made their hearts alive. Then Jesus said to them. “I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.” (John 5:42)
Religious activity does not make us right with God. Believing in Jesus, knowing it is His will to touch and miraculously work in our lives, turning from sin, and then understanding that we can’t ignore God’s Word to carry God’s love in our hearts toward others is critical. You can’t ignore sin and keep sinning. You can’t carry unforgiveness and pretend everything is okay. You have to work these things out with God’s help and then you will keep God’s protection over you and His power working in your life!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.