Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit, keep seeking, but do it humbly.
length: 83:22 - taught on Nov, 8 2020
There is an 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. For various reasons, people often want to remain sick, for in health, they have doors open to them that will demand the expense of vigor that only the healthy can give.
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.
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. Only Christ can heal us, and when He does, He sets us on a journey of great discovery and challenge. The challenge comes from the obstacles, the flesh, the world, the kingdom of darkness. If we are willing, we must tenaciously fight for it.
If your infirmity lingers for years (for this man, 38), do you continue to seek? Do you continue to ask of your Father in prayer? Do you throw away all discouragement?
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?”
It is not through religious ordinance or a scholarly doctrinal accumulation that will make you ready to say yes to this question. It is a humble accumulation of the truth and a full-on effort to live in that truth that will start you on the journey of finding health and wholeness.
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 will 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.
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.
Certainly, if Christ fails us as we toss that bed aside, we have nothing to fall back on. But will He fail us? Is it faith in Him that really keeps us going? Is it His view of the world and of all that is in it that we have accepted; or do we merely take a few steps on His principles, but in the main make our bed in the ordinary unenlightened worldly life?
3. There must be continuous use made of the strength Christ gives. We must keep walking, though we were once lame.
We must confront many present duties without any past experience to assure us. Faith is all we need. As we walk, and like this man, having not walked prior, we are always covering ground that we have not before. Don’t run back to old paths. Walk by faith in the new paths that God is opening up, which He does in many ways, sometimes taking things from us, upsetting our “normal” world, changing circumstances, allowing pain, etc. All are new roads made for healed legs. We must proceed to do them in faith. Take your place at once among healthy men, spiritually healthy, and recognize its responsibilities and do not feign hesitate or shy away from them. Be no longer a burden, a charge to others, but begin yourself to bear the burdens of others, and be a source of strength to others.
The man loses sight of Christ, for perhaps in his excitement for being healed, he neglected to ask Jesus who He was. The warning for us all is to not run off excited with the results of our blessing, forgetting the Giver. The spectacle is presented of a vast number of persons made blessed through the intervention of Christ, who are yet more concerned to exhibit their own news life and acquirements, than to identify and keep hold of Him to whom they owe all.
When we receive the blessings we ask of God, forget about how they make you look or what material they may bring and revel in that they make you closer to Him.
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 Therefore the Jews were saying to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet." 11 But he answered them, "He who made me well was the one who said to me, 'Take up your pallet and walk.'" 12 They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your pallet, and walk'?" 13 But he who was healed did not know who it was; for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you."
Jesus keeps His eye upon the man, and upon finding him, says to him, “Do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.”
The natural inference is that his disease had been brought on by sin in early life - another of the countless instances of the lifelong misery a man may incur by his earliest responsible acts, of the difficulties and shame with which a boy may unwittingly fill his life, but an instance also of the willingness with which Christ delivers us even from miseries we have rashly brought upon ourselves.