Faithlife Sermons

Grace: what it is, what it's not!

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:09
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John 5:1–18 NKJV
1 After this 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 porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 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.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” 11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” 12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
You have heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”.
But this passage illustrates another truth: “God helps those who cannot help themselves”.
This is called God’s grace, and this passage tells us a lot about it...

This sick man didn’t come to Jesus, Jesus came to him

By and large, religion is about man’s pursuit of God.
But Christianity is about God’s pursuit of man.
Genesis 2:24 NKJV
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
About marriage.
Marriage represents our the church’s union with Christ.
Notice, the man leaves his parents to be joined to his wife.
Even so, Jesus left His Father in heaven to be joined to us.
1 John 4:10 NKJV
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:19 NKJV
19 We love Him because He first loved us.
Grace initiates.

The sick man couldn’t come to Jesus

John 5:7 NKJV
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.”
We don’t know exactly what was wrong with the man.
But he carried a bed (mat) with him, and clearly had restricted mobility.
Even so, before grace, none of us could approach God because of our sinfulness:
Psalm 51:5 NKJV
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
Ephesians 2:1 NKJV
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Jesus made a way for us by
Forgiving our sins
Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
2. Giving us the Holy Spirit so we could enjoy God’s presence
Ephesians 2:18 NKJV
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Notice, we do not only access God through the Son, it is also “by one Spirit”.
Psalm 139:7 NKJV
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
The Holy Spirit makes all the difference.
When prayer is exciting, its because the Holy Spirit is upon you.
When prayer is boring, its because you weren’t praying under the influence of the Spirit!
I want to encourage all of you to stay full of the Spirit.
Once you have received the Holy Spirit into your heart, it us you, not God, who decides how full of the Spirit you will be on a day to day basis:
Ephesians 5:18–19 NKJV
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
We come to God through the blood of Jesus. We experience God through the Holy Spirit.
This passage also shows us that...

Jesus healed him on the Sabbath

John 5:9 NKJV
9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
The Sabbath was the day when the Jews rested from their work.
The fact that Jesus healed him on a day of no work reminds us that we are not saved by our work, we are saved by God’s grace:
Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
God Himself rested after He finished created the world, and through grace we enter that same rest:
Hebrews 4:10 NKJV
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Jesus told the man to sin no more

John 5:14 NKJV
14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
This reminds us that grace is not a license to sin.
Notice that Jesus said “lest a worse thing come upon you”. In other words, if chose to live a life sin, it would have been better for him not have been healed in the first place, as his initial illness would be less severe than the one that would follow his lifestyle of sin.
Now consider the words of Peter...
2 Peter 2:20–21 NKJV
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
v20 “they have escaped the pollutions of the word” i.e. they were saved
“they are again entangled in them” i.e. they go back to the ways of the world.
“their latter end worse… than the beginning”, and “it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness” (v21).
Before they escaped the world’s pollutions they were hell-bound. How could it be better for them to have never discovered the truth?
There are different degrees of punishment in hell.
Luke 10:12 NKJV
12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.
Jesus here describes a city that rejects Christ. And He says that on the day of judgement, wicked Sodom will fair better than that city. There are different degrees of punishment in hell.
Those who experience God’s salvation and then reject it, experience a worse level of condemnation, than those who never received God’s salvation in the first place.
Grace is not a license to sin!
Instead, grace empowers us not to sin:
Titus 2:11–12 NKJV
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
Hebrews 12:28 NKJV
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
And remember...
1 John 1:9 NKJV
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Healing the man came at a cost to Jesus

John 5:16 NKJV
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
It cost Jesus persecution.
Even so, our salvation came at a great cost to Jesus...
Revelation 1:5 NKJV
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
Indeed, grace has been called...
God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense
Let us ever be grateful to Jesus for paying the ultimate price so that we could be saved!

Summary

Even as the man didn't come to Jesus, but Jesus came to him; so Jesus initiated our salvation
Evan as the man couldn't come to Jesus, we couldn't approach God because of our sinfulness. But Jesus has made a way for us by forgiving our sins and giving us the Holy Spirit
Even as the man was healed on a day of no work (the Sabbath), so we are not saved by our works
Even as Jesus told the man to sin no more, grace is not a license for us to sin
Even as the man's healing came at a cost to Jesus persecution, so did our salvation

Discussion / Prayer

In groups of 4-5, discuss what stuck out to you from today’s message.
Also listen to each other’s prayer requests and spend some time praying for each other

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