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Jesus Saw Their Faith

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Sermon Introduction

Good Morning Church.
Today’s message is called “Jesus Saw Their Faith.”
We will be focusing on what faith looks like.
We are continuing our study of the Gospel of Mark.
So, please turn your Bibles to Mark chapter 2.
We will be examining verses 1 through 12.
From these passages, we will look at three points:
1) The Challenge
2) The Solution
3) The Faith

Opening Prayer

Before we consider the text, please join me in prayer...

Opening Illustration

Left on a sinking ship were the captain and three sailors.
The captain spoke first.
"Men, this business about a captain going down with his ship is nonsense.
There's a three-man life raft on board and I'm going to be on it.
To see who will come with me, I will ask you each one question.
The one who can't answer will stay behind.
Here's the first question:
What unsinkable ship went down when it hit an iceberg?"
The first sailor answered, "The Titanic, sir."
"On to the next question:
How many people perished?"
The second sailor said, "One thousand five hundred and seventeen, sir."
"Now for the third question," and the captain turned to sailor number three.
"What were their names?" 

Reading of the Text​

Mark 2:1–5 ESV
1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

1) The Challenge

Verses 1 -3: And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
At the end of Mark Chapter 1, Jesus had to bring His preaching ministry to a halt in Galilee.
This happened due to His amazing exorcising of demons, healing miracles and the disobedience of the now former leper, crowds where mobbing Jesus.
Jesus had to go to the deserted places.
After some time it was discovered that He was home in Capernaum, His current headquarters.
This was probably Peter and Andrew’s home where Jesus had taken up temporary residence as we learned about earlier in the previous chapter.
And the crowds gathered where He was, so much so that there was no room in the house.
Something to pay attention to, the single most common attribute of crowds in Mark is that they obstruct access to Jesus.
So, despite Jesus’ popularity, crowds are not a measure of success in the Gospel of Mark.
Nor should crowds be a measure of success for a church or ministry.
Jesus used this opportunity to focus back on the priority of His ministry, preaching.
Preaching that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone by Him alone and the need for repentance and trust in Him.
However for anyone who wanted see Jesus for healing, He would be near impossible to reach due to the crowds.
This was the situation for a group of four dedicated friends that brought their paralytic friend for healing.
This is a reminder to us on how the challenges of life can feel like.
Many times, our goal may even be something noble, but we are faced with a near impossible challenge.
What are we to do?
And what are these friends going to do for their sick friend?
In both cases, the only solution is to go to Jesus.
We are to go to Jesus; no matter the obstacles; no matter the challenges.

2) The Solution

Verse 4: And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.
Now these where real and genuine good friends.
Remember what Jesus said about friends:
John 15:13 ESV
13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
This really in bodies the sacrificial love of a true friend.
A true friends will sacrifice in order to get you to Jesus.
And that is what we see in this incredible event.
In addition, a true friend will strengthen you spiritually.
Proverbs 27:17 ESV
17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Nothing will strengthen you more than leading you to Jesus.
So what kind of friends do you have?
Would they sacrifice their life to bring you to Jesus?
Do they strengthen you spiritually to get closer to Jesus?
Remember what Scripture says about friends:
1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Proverbs 18:24 ESV
24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 22:24–25 ESV
24 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, 25 lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
Proverbs 13:20 ESV
20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 27:5–6 ESV
5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Proverbs 12:26 ESV
26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
James 4:4 ESV
4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Look at what these good friends did.
When meet with a challenge, a near impossible situation, the sick man’s friends didn’t give up.
They where tenacious, and got to Jesus no matter the cost.
John MacArthur discussed the details of what theses friends did in relation to what we know of 1st century homes in Isreal:
“Most homes in Israel had flat roofs used for relaxation in the cool of the day and for sleeping on hot nights.
And there was usually an external stairway that extended to the roof.
Often, as here, the roof was made of slabs of burnt or dried clay that were placed on supporting beams which stretched from wall to wall.
The builder then spread a uniform coat of fresh, wet clay over those slabs of hardened clay to serve as a seal against the rain.
The paralytic’s friends took him up to the top of such a house and dug out the top coat of clay, removing several of the slabs until they made enough room to lower him down into Jesus’ presence.”
We must take this example to heart.
We must make sure to seek Jesus no matter the situation we are in.
Nothing can stop us from getting to Him.
But what drove these friends to be so tenacious?
It was their faith.

3) The Faith

Verse 5: And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus saw the faith of the friends and the paralytic.
This faith is what lead to the paralytic to have his sins forgiven.
This was remarkable since the paralytic and his friends came for physical healing but Jesus first addresses the more significant need for spiritual healing.
Jesus also, by forgiving sins, is doing something only God can do.
This was a sign to prove He is God.
We will study that point in far more detail next week.
So, this event is a reminder that we can’t have our sins forgiven without faith.
And not any kind of faith but real genuine saving faith.
Their faith was not hidden.
Their faith was loud and in full display.
Their faith was not dead.
Their faith was alive and active.
Their faith was undeniable.
This reminds of the image of faith as discussed by James:
James 2:14–26 ESV
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Closing Illustration

During the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb.
In the front yard was a shell hole.
Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow.
Terrified, yet hearing his father's voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, "I can't see you!"
The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, "But I can see you. Jump!" The boy jumped, because he trusted his father.
The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen; not that we know all the answers, but that we are known.

Closing of Service

We are reminded of the classic hymn, Trust and Obey:
“Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we'll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
So, will you trust and obey Jesus today?
All the Glory to God.
Amen.
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