New Hope Notes
No More Excuses
Pastor Richard Waialeale
No More Excuses
Pastor Richard Waialeale
October 26 & 27, 2019
Aloha, New Hope! Worship brings peace, comfort, and alignment to our souls!
We're concluding the sermon series, Everyday Miracles; today’s message is No More Excuses, taken from the gospel of John chapter five, and we’ll see how a forgettable event becomes unforgettable—when Jesus shows up!
Jesus and His mother were wedding guests in Cana of Galilee, and they ran out of wine! Then Jesus took something ordinary, like water, and turned it into wine—and it became an unforgettable wedding, and people are still talking about it today! Whenever Jesus shows up, life becomes unforgettable! (I would presume that you have gone to a wedding at one time or another, and as beautiful and lovely as weddings are, after a week, you would have forgotten all about it.)
Here's the point: Jesus performs a miracle every time He transforms a human heart from ordinary to the best that it can be! When Jesus shows up, it's water into wine all over again, and your life becomes unforgettable—forgettable no more! Today, we'll learn how Jesus healed a paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda:
John 5:1-3 NIV says: “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.”
John 5:5 RSV says: “One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years.”
The reason this story is in the Gospel of John is to show us how God proposes to deal with human helplessness and weakness. Without a doubt, it was the helplessness of this man that drew Jesus to him! Notice that Jesus could have healed all the people by the well, but He chose only this one man, whose helplessness is what drew Jesus to him! We are all in need of healing. We are spiritual beings in need of Jesus. God chooses to use the ministry of Jesus Christ to transform our ordinary lives into a miracle.
We all will find ourselves paralyzed and in need of help at times: When we are unable to do the things we ought to do, and we don’t walk very well spiritually—I call it a spiritual limp. This story helps us understand how God proposes to help us through the Everyday Miracles of the ministry of Jesus!
We’ll look at three principles from this story that will help us develop a positive mindset. If we can grasp these principles, our lives will be transformed into miracle?minded people:
1. No More Excuses (Develop A Positive Mindset)
John 5:6 RSV says: “ When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’”
A strange question to ask a sick man who has been down for 38 years—but Jesus never asked a foolish question! This man wanted to be healed. Notice his answer in 5:7, “The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.’”
Here come all the excuses: “I’ve tried. I’ve done everything I know how. I want to get in the water, but people step down before me. I want to be healed, but I lack the ability. I have no one to help me. I’ve given up. I have no hope.” Excuses, excuses, excuses!
The next scripture is a critical moment in this story: Jesus says to this man who had lost all hope and had given up on himself:
John 5:8-9 RSV says: “8 Jesus said to him, 'Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.”' 9And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.”
First, Jesus asked the impossible thing—rise or stand up! The moment this man’s will agreed with the Lord’s will, boom, the power was there, and he could stand, and he did!
Secondly, Jesus removes all possibility of a relapse. He tells the man “pick up your pallet,” meaning you’re not coming back here—take your junk, and go!
Thirdly, Jesus expects continued success—he tells him to walk! Rise, take up your pallet, and walk, don’t expect to be carried anymore! So, if Jesus gives you the power to rise, then He is the one who can give you the power to walk every day and keep on going!
Here’s the point: The invalid man had a choice: He could either obey the words of Christ or argue that this will not work for him. Church, we have that same choice!
At once the man was healed. Notice that he did not enter the pool. Jesus instantly healed the man when he went from his own will to God’s will. Jesus Christ gives you the power to rise, then to walk. Will you argue with Him or will you obey him? Corrie Ten Boom said, “You will never discover that Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have.”
2. A Place Of Praise
The Lord will meet you in a place of praise (church is a place of praise). When the Lord meets you in church, you will then receive a word in church. The Lord made the Sabbath day and said it was good, and He rested—we must follow suit!
John 5:9-11 NIV says: “9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
This reveals that the Jewish leaders are totally unconcerned about the mercy of God! But notice that the minute the new believer gets into trouble, Jesus is right there!
John 5:13-14 RSV,“13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.’”
The Jews said to the man, “You cannot work on the Sabbath—carrying your mat is work.” Rather than rejoicing, they were upset and unconcerned about God’s mercy. When new believers get into trouble, they know that God is right there for them.
John 5:15-16 RSV says: “15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the abbath.”
This was their justification for the persecution of Jesus: The Jews and the teachers of the law had stacked up all the regulations on the Sabbath law. But Jesus ignored them because these were man-made regulations—a tradition of man!
The Jews sought to slay Jesus for desecrating the Sabbath, when in actuality, they, the Jews and the teachers of the law, were guilty of distorting or twisting the Sabbath. The true Sabbath is not based on inaction but on satisfaction—not upon simply refraining from work, but upon rejoicing in work well done!
When God the Father took a Sabbath break after the sixth day of activity, He looked at all that He had made and saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Therefore, because He was satisfied with His work, He rested from His work. This allows us the glorious freedom to follow His lead and say, “Lord, through your grace, we are blessed. You have blessed, and now I will rest.” So the Jews were guilty of distorting the Sabbath.
3. We Are God’s Instruments
John 5:17 RSV says: “But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working still, and I am working.”
Jesus is saying, “The reason I do this is that my Father works on the Sabbath, and I simply reflect Him.” This is one of the most profound statements in the gospel of John: Find out what God is doing and work with Him and become an instrument in a moving God.
Mother Teresa often referred herself to being a pencil in God's hand. She believed that everything she was able to do was done by God's power, working through her and she was just an instrument, a pencil, in His hand. She meant it literally. How do you become an instrument in God's hand?
Do you remember Bruce Lee? Back in the '70s Bruce Lee put kung fu and martial arts on the map, especially in America. Story is told of a master martial artist who asked Bruce Lee to teach him everything he knew about martial arts. Bruce Lee holds up two cups filled with liquid then he said, "In the first cup is all of your knowledge about martial arts. In the second cup, in this cup, is all of my knowledge of martial arts. If you want to fill your cup with my knowledge, you must first empty your cup of your knowledge."
The more you can fill yourself up with Jesus, the more you can reflect Jesus and become an instrument in His hand. In order for Christ to become the focus of your life, you must first empty your cup of the things that contradict that focus.
The apostle Paul tells us the true purpose of life, the only one that can bring fulfillment for which our heart longs for, is to know Christ.
Philippians 3:8 NIV says: “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
God is working in the very circumstances in which you find yourself in today. He is moving in your life so that you can work with Him and be His instrument—fill yourself with Jesus and reflect Him!
Matthew 5:16 KJV says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
The only thing that will last, that gives significance to life, is to be in line with what God does. Only God's work will last!
Questions To Ponder: