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Mark 2:1-2:12 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
Keywords: (Suggest Keywords)
spiritual, healing, Victory, Breakthrough
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Intro: Show “Wall of Me” video.
Hopefully you noticed the verse that ended that video. If you missed it, let me share it with you again. It’s up on the overhead. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
If you have your Bibles with you, would you turn with me to the Gospel of Mark, chapter 2, starting at beginning of the chapter.
This morning, I want us to talk about breakthroughs. But more importantly about having a spiritual breakthrough. The video we just watched showed a young man facing the cross. But as he talked, a barrier was forming. A barrier of sin. You may not have been able to make out what some of those bricks read: pride, lust, envy, addiction, arrogance, doubt, anger, hypocrisy. Just to name a few.
This morning, we have been given the keys to a spiritual breakthrough. We don’t have to, like that man, walk away. We don’t have to stand and stare at the insurmountable barrier that separates us from God.
We have been given a kind of spiritual sledgehammer; a spiritual wrecking ball that will smash through those barriers and bring us to the cross.
Look with me, will you, at Mark 2:1-12:
In 2 Samuel 5:20, God is described as Baal-Perazim, or the God of Breakthroughs.
This morning, I believe that God is the God of breakthroughs. In the passage we read, I believe, can serve as a metaphor for how we can have a spiritual breakthrough of our own. It holds the keys that unlock the secret.
We don’t have to walk away from the wall. We don’t have to leave in despair. The men in this story knew there were obstacles standing between them and Jesus, but they were forced to overcome those obstacles.
We are faced with the same challenge. We have obstacles, barriers between us and Christ. They are very real. But we don’t have to be defeated. We can overcome those barriers. God IS the God of breakthroughs. He is Baal-Perazim. He can give us victory. He can give us the breakthrough!
This morning, I believe there are three keys that God has given us to achieve our spiritual breakthrough. They all have a common, overall theme. It is simply this: come to Jesus.
Throughout everything we talk about this morning, it is important that we do not get away from this central element: come to Jesus. Everything else hinges on our willingness to come to Jesus. Without this, we have no hope of a spiritual breakthrough.
The first key, this morning, is this: Come to Jesus Desperately. Come to Jesus Desperately.
Have you ever been desperate? For something or someone? It wasn’t that long ago that I was a teenager. Boy, those were some interesting days. If there’s one thing I remember about being a teenager was that we were very good at overstating and overreacting. You know what I’m talking about right? I want to go to this movie became, “I’m desperate to go to this movie”! Having a crush on this girl easily because, “I’m desperate for her!”
Desperation is an interesting thing because as the world sees it, it is a state to be avoided at all costs. Simply put being desperate is saying that on your own, you have no hope. On your own, you have no way of fulfilling your needs. On your own, we are helpless.
And to the world, desperation is something that we never want to experience. We think of desperate and we think of third world Africa. We think of desperate and we think of victims of hurricanes and tornados.
Desperate is a horrible, terrible thing to the world.
But Jesus sees things differently than the world… thank God! You see, from His perspective, each and every one of us are desperate…at least we should be.
On our own, we have no hope of being able to overcome the gap that separates us from God. On our own, we cannot possibly be like Jesus. On our own, we cannot possibly break through our spiritual barriers.
A couple of weeks ago, I took the teens to a lock-in in Woodstock. It was overall a fun night: we went swimming, had pizza, attended a rally, watched Star Wars movies and had a dodgeball tournament, among other things.
Now, I decided to do something I hadn’t done in a long time that Friday night. At the Woodstock Civic Center, they have one of those diving boards that are like 20 feet or so tall. I decided, “Why not? I’m going to jump off that tower”.
So I climbed the ladder, walked to the edge of the board, and did what every man of my…uh…stature would do: a cannonball. Oh yea, it was HUGE! But see, it had been so long since I had jumped from a diving board like that that I forgot an important thing: I forgot to take a huge breath. Oh yea. So from that great height, I sank like a rock for a few seconds before realizing: “Gee… I could really use some oxygen right about now”.
So frantically, I struggled to get to the surface, desperate to get some oxygen. Of course, I did…and I shook it off; acting far too cool for my own benefit because at the time, I didn’t want anybody to know how stupid I was. Well, since it made for a good illustration, I’ll lampoon myself for your benefit.
You see, my desperation for oxygen as I struggled in that water is the kind of desperation that Jesus wants us to have for him. It’s the kind of, “if I don’t have you, I cannot possibly go on” mentality. It’s not just a feeling, but it’s the reality.
This story shows a man desperate. He is paralyzed, completely unable to do anything on his own: the very definition of desperation.
Helped by his friends, he comes to Jesus because he knows that Jesus is the only person that could heal him. Without Jesus, he is doomed to lay in that bed forever. Without Jesus, he is an overlooked sidenote of society. Without Jesus, we wouldn’t be talking about him today.
This man was desperate. This man understood what we, too, need to understand; that Jesus was His only hope. For this man, there was nobody else he could turn to. There were no healers, no doctors, no magicians that could help him. He knew that the only person that could help them was Jesus. Jesus alone had the power to heal him. He was desperate.
And what did Jesus do? It’s amazing; Jesus rewarded His desperation. Not only did He heal the man of his physical illness, but He healed him of his spiritual illness. He not only made his body whole, but He made His spirit whole! And all because the man came to Jesus desperately.
I believe that it is God’s will for each of us to have a measure of desperation. You see, as we continue in our walk with Him, we are going to face barriers. We are going to endure challenges. And on our own, we won’t be able to overcome. On our own, we will be helpless and hopeless.
We need to be people desperate for God to move. Desperate for God to act. Desperate for God to give us that spiritual breakthrough that we so crave. Desperation is the only way that we are able to begin breaking down that wall, breaking down those spiritual barriers. And it’s your first key to having a spiritual breakthrough.
The second key, this morning, to your spiritual breakthrough, is this: Come to Jesus humbly. Come to Jesus humbly.
I heard a story once of a preacher who came home from service on Sunday morning, just a beaming. He had knocked the people off their pews, and he knew it.
As he and his wife came into their home, the preacher asked, “Hunny, was that not the greatest sermon I’ve ever preached?”
Before she could answer, the preacher continued, “You know, Mrs. Robinson came up to me afterwards and said that I must be one of the great preachers of this generation! How many great preachers do you think there are in one generation?”
His wife replied quietly, “One less than you think”.
If there’s one thing a wife is good for, it’s to keep you in line. It’s easy to allow pride to creep into your life, whether you’re a preacher, a teacher, a banker, a farmer or a truck driver. Pride puffs us up. Pride sets us higher than we truly are.
But Jesus has called us to humility. In opposition to the world, he has said that the greatest among us must be the servant to the rest. In opposition to our human nature, the master of all knelt down and washed his followers’ feet like a slave. Jesus rewards humility.
There’s a story a few chapters later in Mark that tells of a similar desperate situation as in our passage. A man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, comes to Jesus, desperately seeking healing for his 12 year-old daughter who was dying.
It’s interesting to note, also, how Jairus asks Jesus for His healing. Now, remember, Jairus was a pretty big guy. As a synagogue leader, he would have been respected, possibly revered. He was a man of position and power and pride.
But this man comes to Jesus and throws his pride out the door. He could have come to Jesus secretly to ask for His assistance, but he didn’t. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him for His help. Jairus pleaded for his daughter’s life. Jairus came to Jesus with humility.
Humility is coming to Jesus in desperation, but acknowledging that you do not deserve His mercy. It is the understanding that when Jesus comes to your aid, it has nothing to do with what you’ve done and everything to do with WHO He is.
Look at our passage this morning. The paralyzed man is brought to Jesus and Jesus forgives the man and restores his health. There is one thing that the paralyzed man had to know: what Jesus did for Him was not through anything He had done. He had done nothing to deserve the forgiveness. He had done nothing to the healing. It was all based out of the mercy of Jesus.
This morning, we need to be willing to lay aside our pride and acknowledge that our spiritual breakthrough will be brought about not by anything we could possibly do. It is only because of the mercy of Jesus in our lives.
The book of Proverbs is chalked full of warnings against the proud. Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction and an arrogant spirit before a fall”. Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes shame, but with humility comes wisdom”. Proverbs 18:12, “Before destruction the heart of man is full of pride”.
Remember what the James 4:6 says, “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’”
All this to reinforce the principle that Jesus set to us, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”.
We must come to Jesus humbly.
There is one more key that I believe we need to have to see our spiritual breakthrough this morning. We must come to Jesus desperately, and we must come to Jesus humbly, but finally, we must Come to Jesus Obediently. Come to Jesus Obediently.
Look at our story briefly for one quick moment. After all this, there is one final piece to the puzzle. One final barrier separating this man from his healing, and that piece is obedience.
Before this man could be healed of his paralysis, he had to first do what Jesus said. And I cannot overstate the importance of this. This man had not moved, probably in years, but here is this Man who has not only told him he was healed, but said his sins are forgiven. And now he’s telling him to get up. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home”. Now, the Bible does show any inner struggle in this man’s mind, but I can imagine that this would be the hardest part. Breaking through a roof? That’s nothing. Yelled at by the Pharisees? That’s nothing. But now, I’m being told to get up and go home.
I wonder if there was a part of him that hesitated. I wonder if that mat was like a security blanket, and now he was being asked to get up.
In our own lives, we often come to Jesus, and we beg Him for victory. We beg Him for a breakthrough, but then comes the hard part. He asks us to do something we’ve never done before. Or He asks us to do something that’s going to hurt.
Suddenly, we hesitate. We know that obedience is necessary. We know that without it, we’ll be stuck in that same rut over and over and we’ll never be free. We’ll never see that breakthrough, but still we hesitate. Still we linger.
When Jesus was approached by the rich young man, asking Him how to obtain everlasting life, Jesus replies that after keeping the 10 Commandments, he must sell everything he had and follow Him. You see, Jesus knew that this man’s money was his barrier. It was his wall of me. It was the thing that was keeping Him from God.
And Jesus simply said, “Give it all away because you will receive a much greater reward”. But that thing was the one thing the man was not willing to do. He knew that if he would simply obey, he would inherit ETERNAL LIFE! All that stood between him and that wonderful gift was obedience.
And the same is true for us this morning. We may have already received the gift of eternal life. But we still have struggles. We still have strongholds in our lives. And we have thrown ourselves at Jesus feet, desperately, humbly. We have pleaded with Him to heal us. We have pleaded with Him bring us the victory.
But then He looks to us and asks us for our obedience. And it’s tough. And now, we second-guess. Now we wonder if that stronghold is worth overcoming. And some of us, like that rich young man, just walk away, hanging our heads.
But we have the opportunity, today, to say “Yes”, and receive a reward far greater than we could imagine. Our obedience may be difficult. It may be the hardest thing you have ever had to do, but the reward is worth so much more. The freedom. The victory. It is worth it.
This morning, as we close, I’d like to ask the worship team to come back up. We sang a song earlier, a song of declaration. As they come back up, I’d like to invite you to victory this morning.
The video we watched at the beginning of this service showed a young man defeated. Separated from God by a wall of me, a wall of barriers, a wall of sin.
But I want to remind you of the words from 2 Corinthians 10:3-4: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
God has given us the divine power to demolish strongholds. He is Baal-Perazim. He is the God of Breakthroughs. He wants to see us free. He wants to see us victorious. I invite you this morning, as we sing the song “I Will Never Be the Same Again”, to make that commitment. I invite you to declare that this morning, you will claim the victory that is ours in Jesus. That you will leave this service and that it will not be the end, but you will truly never be the same again.
Just a reminder, the altars are always open. If you feel the need to come and kneel and pray, I would invite you to do so. You can also make that commitment from where you stand. Would you stand with us, as we sing?