Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit, being transformed into people capable of using what we ask for.
length: 67:00 - taught on Nov, 5 2020
Thursday November 5, 2020
To be the type of people we have been called to be, it is imperative that we know that we are hearing the truth from the scripture, since only the truth will free us from the bondage of what we are not to be what we are.
But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15 The Jews therefore were marveling, saying, "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?" 16 Jesus therefore answered them, and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 "If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself [of His own making]. 18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
By ceasing to pray, and therefore ceasing to look for and anticipate the answer with joy, we lose a thousand of God’s gifts not recognizing the very thing we need is brought within our reach. We see the change of circumstances, not the fresh opportunity; we feel the disappointment, and fail to see the hand of God giving us humility; we recognize the bitterness and sorrow, but do not recognize the heavenly mind and abandonment of worldly ambitions which they enfold.
Yet, there is another issue that can prevent us from becoming Christlike, which in another wording would mean that we have become whole or complete in character, and that is that we really don’t want it, despite the fact that we say that we do.
“Are you willing to be made whole?” - Are you willing to be fitted for the highest and purest life? Do we ask for it, while secretly asking “not yet.”?
After these things 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 porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. - not in the best MSS] 5 And a certain man was there, who had been thirty-eight years in his sickness. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?"
The question was needful. Not always are the miserable willing to be relieved. Even the invalid who does not trade financially on his disease is very apt to trade upon the sympathy and indulgence of friends, and sometimes becomes so debilitated in character as to shrink from a life of activity and toil. Those who have sunk out of all honest ways of living into poverty and wretchedness are not always eager to put themselves into the harness of honest labor and respectability. This is exhibited spiritually also, by those believers, or professing believers, who are content to be spiritual imbeciles, because they shrink from the heavenly life of Christ with all of its work and responsibilities and wisdom and honor and power, and all the while claiming their spiritual sickness as a sign of some perverted humility allowed by God’s grace, which it is not.
So Jesus asks the sick man, “Do you wish to get well?”
The man offers an excuse. He claims that he doesn’t have the option. And, of course, he is right, but he is wrong on the reason. He claims that no one will help him. When the spring stirs by its natural movement, no one will put him in. The legend was that the first one to set in the pool would be healed.
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."
Mankind is hopeless, but not for the reason he so often thinks.
John habitually considered the miracles of Jesus as object lessons intended to present to the eye a picture of the similar but greater works which Jesus wrought in the region of the human spirit. Jesus heals the blind, and so sets Himself before men as light of the world. He feeds the 5000 showing that He is the nourisher of life everlasting in which we will never hunger again. He heals this man, showing that He gives life to whom He will, which in this case shows that it is to those willing to receive it. To be willing to receive life is faith in the gospel. To be willing to be complete in maturity, made whole in character and joy, is faith that the self-life must be thoroughly detached from us in every quarter of our life and experience.
The flesh will often make faith leading to complete fidelity to a life of total obedience difficult and uncomfortable, but if we are truly willing, we must tenaciously fight for it.
Jesus can heal all sickness, and while He often leaves physical sickness to run its course, the offer to heal spiritual sickness is always available to all men.
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.”
And like so many of us, our infirmities seem to linger for many years though we have put ourselves in the place where we think there is a cure, but remain as we were when we first started looking. The lesson is to keep looking, or as we know, keep seeking, keep asking, keep knocking, and one day Jesus is going to stand at your side, all the while having made you ready for His question, “Do you wish to be well?”
Some have sought healing through religious ordinances, practiced regularly and expectantly, but to no avail. Some have sought it through doctrinal instruction, but have only attained academic prowess without the actual worship of God far above self, and again to no avail. Who of us can begin the Christian life knowing perfectly where the healing of our great Physician lies, when we know hardly nothing at all? The encouragement from God is to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking, looking to Him alone for the cure and He promises that we will find it, even if it takes us 38 years, we will find it. And finding that pearl of great price, you will forget in a moment the length of years that you sought for it.
Still, the question remains for each of us, “Do you want to be made well?”
Three things are implied in Christ’s response:
Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up your pallet, and walk." 9 And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and began to walk.
1. There must be a prompt response to Christ’s word. Obey Christ and you will find strength enough. Believe in His power to give you life and you will have it.
Christ will not heal anyone who is sluggish with His commands and who waits to see what His word might do before doing it. We are commanded again and again to obey. It is not a function of grace to disobey and rejoice. It is a function of grace to be forgiven of all sin, but also a function of grace to resist what God hates with all faith and strength. There must be a hearty and immediate recognition of Christ’s truth and power once the command is clear.
2. There must be no thought of failure, no making provision for relapse; the bed must be rolled up as no longer needed.
The diseased men of the gospels often rebuke us. We seem half in doubt whether we should make bold to live as whole, spiritual men. We take a few feeble steps, and return to the bed we have left. From life by faith in Christ we sink back to life as we knew it without Christ - a life attempting little, and counting it a thing to high for us to put ourselves and our all at Christ’s disposal. To make provision for failure is a Christian life to secure failure. We are never called to half-heartedness in our faith.