Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit who helps us in prayer when we are humble.

Class Outline:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


Without the choice to do good and bad, there can be no love. Love has to choose. God chose to become a Man and die for our sins, taking what we deserved upon Himself though He was innocent. We choose to believe in Him and we choose to love Him and give into His will. Either we bow our knee and say, “Father, Your will, not mine,” or else if we do not, God will say to us, “Your will and not Mine.”


Love is the craving in the human heart to belong in the sacredness of trust and a relationship. Daily prayer helped by the Holy Spirit is an extension of that love of God.  


Love is clearly seen when a child of God prays to God his Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit intercede. It is almost as if the Trinity is wrapping the child in love and working tirelessly to give to him what he needs.


We are almost to the end of the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda. I have chosen to study this event because of Christ’s question to the man, “Do you wish to get well?”


All that God has done for us:


EPH 4:1-6

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.


All of it will fail to impact our current lives if we don’t wish to get well and continue to live according to the sin of the flesh and the world.


JOH 5:1-6

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 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.


JOH 5:7

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."


Three things are implied in Christ’s response:


JOH 5:8-9

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) We must respond to Christ’s word promptly. 2) There must be no thought of failure; no provision for relapse. 3) There must be continuous use made of the strength Christ gives.


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.


When we are blessed by God don’t be concerned to exhibit your new life to others while forgetting the Giver to whom you owe all. The best of blessing is being closer to God.


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 new 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.


JOH 5:9-14

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 irresponsible acts of sin in youth fill life with disease, but there is the willingness of Christ to deliver from those miseries.


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.


The vitality of sin: the man’s lifelong punishment had not broken the power of sin. What does?


Further still, it is an instance of the vitality of sin. This man’s lifelong punishment had not broken the power of sin within him. Sin has vim and vigor and is not easily broken. He knew why he was diseased and shattered, or else he would not have had a clue what sin or sins Jesus meant. He wasn’t being asked to be sinless completely and constantly.


Yet, don’t many of us if not all of us know it well; every pain felt, every desire which through weakness we could not gratify, every vexing thought of what we might have made of life, all made us hate our sin as the cause of all our wretchedness; and for this man, at the end of thirty-eight years of punishment, Christ recognized in him, even in the first days of his restored health, a liability to return to his sin.


No amount of mere suffering purifies from sin. It is our forgiveness and the belief that when Christ tells us to sin no more, that He can give us the strength to do it.


There is no profit to trying to temper that statement with the fact that we cannot be consistently sinless. Christ meant it when He said it just as He meant, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This perfection is the only path that He will strengthen us on. Any provision for sin is to secure failure. God clearly tells us that continual sinless perfection will not be attained in this life, but He also tells us to keep reaching for just that. We would imagine that Jesus is telling this man to not return to the sins of his youth that caused his sickness, but could not the man substitute some other forms of sin and make himself sick again, if not in his legs, but in his heart. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may increase? May it never be. How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”


ROM 5:19-6:14

For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.


12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.


He who believes with a deep and abiding conviction that Christ’s will can raise him from all spiritual impotence and uselessness, he only can conquer sin.


To rely upon Christ’s word to go forth without sinning against Him is to give all faith to obedience, just like this man was commanded to pick up his bed and go forth. If your own will is too weak, and it is for us all, Christ’s will is always mighty. We are to rely upon God at all times and never on ourselves alone. Our will must be His in everything.


With this as our one goal, we will see more and more how vital it is to be continually praying to the Father, meaning daily and frequently.


Delivered by Christ from the power of our sin, we must not return to it or worse will befall us.


There is finally a warning. Christ tells the man that worst punishment will befall him if he returns to his sins. Falling back to what we have been delivered from, going far back instead of forward, is to fall back on remorse, darkness, and misery. In deliverance we started to take our first steps on the new and living way with healed legs and falling back we laid back down in our bed. Though alive physically, it is a loss of the experience of spiritual life, passing through its disappointment, uselessness, and shame. Instead of activity, success, and happiness, there is loss by our own hand, our own fault, and the sorrow that goes with the knowledge that we have no one to blame but ourselves. Yet still, if one is alive, God can and will deliver from this deeper pit as well, but not so that we may soon after dig an even deeper one and jump into it.


Always go forward, following Christ.  


LUK 9:57-58

And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 


MAT 8:18-19

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side. 19 And a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go."


Separation from the few who go and the crowd.


In this situation of separation, there are a few followers declare their intentions to go with Him. We see that Jesus wishes to get away from the crowd and be alone with His disciples, whose type are described in Mat 5-7 in the Sermon on the Mount.


It is odd that a scribe would want to follow Him, but it is clear immediately that the scribe is not a disciple, calling Him Teacher, which in Matthew is only by people outside Jesus’ group, and never by His disciples. But Jesus knows that this man has not thought it out, for to be a disciple is to be committed to God’s will.


MAT 8:20

And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."


The coming night will find Jesus sleeping in a boat, vs. 24.  


LUK 9:59-60

And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father." 60 But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." 


Matthew also has this:


MAT 8:21-22

And another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead."


Jesus’ response seems shocking, but that is because we’re reading it from a western viewpoint. The dead were buried within 24 hours of death. If this man’s father had just died, he would hardly be out on the road with Jesus. Rather, to “bury one’s father” could be used idiomatically for fulfilling one’s responsibilities as a son for the remainder of the father’s life, though this theory isn’t fully conclusive. Perhaps the man’s father was old, and he had responsibilities to care for things until his death, which could mean years. Still, Jesus’ demand cuts across deep-rooted cultural expectations.


Even the most basic of family ties must not be allowed to stand in the way of the will of God for His kingdom.


Jesus makes clear that family duty does not take priority over discipleship. And, one finds, that when Christ has top priority, the family things that we can take care of are done with excellence. It is correct in this aspect of the Christian life to apply, “Seek first His kingdom and all these things will be added to you.”


This second man was to take up his cross and die to self. One commentator states that the man “was worried about someone else’s funeral when he should have been planning his own.”  


LUK 9:61-62

And another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."