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5 1-15 Change Is Not Always Inevitable

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                                                  liberty bible church          3/16/08 a.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“Change is not always inevitable”

John 5:1-15


Illus. of the nice days this past week. I think spring is very close. The weather is one of those things that we can’t control. In this part of the world, it will change, for the better and the worse. It is inevitable that spring will come and then summer, fall, and winter. We don’t have to do anything. This kind of change is inevitable.

But, not all change is this way. There are many that are discontent with their lives, but change doesn’t come. In many cases, they can control the change but refuse to do what it takes to effect the change. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual issues. Many of us are not content with our spiritual lives, but either fail to do what it takes to bring about change or fail to understand what will bring about change. Either way, change is not inevitable. So what do we do, when we want change, but are not sure what to do?

OPEN to the passage.

Prop. In this passage, we see how we can effect positive change when we know that is what God desires.

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. We have recently seen Jesus in Samaria and Galilee healing and introducing Himself on a small scale as the Messiah. Today we see Him in a different venue as He goes up to Jerusalem for a feast. Here, we see Him bring change that will dramatically bring change to the lives of those that listen to Him. If we want lasting change, realize that…

 i. god requires us to rise up vs. 1-9

Illus. of “Children’s Chest Rub” Sometimes change doesn’t come because we’re sitting on our hands in fear, when God wants us to move forward in faith. That’s what we see in this first section here. God requires a man desperately wanting change to rise up in faith. What does the man have to do?

a. Be where God is working (at least where he thought God was working)

V 1      1. We’re not told what feast Jesus was attending, but we know that this is the reason that He returned to Jerusalem.

V 2      2. This would have been north of the Temple. It says that this pool had five porches. Recent excavations of a pool near the Sheep Gate have uncovered five covered colonnades, which shows how accurate this Gospel is. The pool actually was two pools next to each other.

V 3a     3. In these five colonnades lay many sick people with all kinds of maladies. Although the multitude of the physical problems must have been overwhelming, we know that what they represent is much worse. They picture the sad spiritual plight of the world at the time of Jesus’ first coming. These people were in desperate need of not just physical healing, but spiritual healing.    

V 3b-4 4. These words are not in the earliest manuscripts that we have available. As a matter of fact, nothing before A.D. 400 contains these words. They were probably added later to explain as to why the water was stirred in verse 7. Although the people believed this and obviously it was a local tradition, nowhere in the Bible is this type of superstition taught. Jesus does not affirm the belief either, granting healing without the stirring of the water.

V 5      5. A man was there who had an infirmity for 38 years, probably most of his life. We don’t know the details of the problem nor whether he had been born this way, but it is evident that the situation was hopeless. This man no doubt had come here many times, but cruelly enough, was never able to win the race to the water.

b. be willing to obey God when He asks the impossible

V 6      1. The fact that Jesus chose him was simply an act of grace to heal the man and glorify God. And then He asks a seemingly bizarre question. Jesus wanted him to think about why he was there and what he really wanted. Even though he probably didn’t really expect healing after years of futility, he wanted him to want it all the more. He was going to have the opportunity to change, but not the way he thought he would.

V 7      2. Of course he wanted change. But he couldn’t do it and he had no friends to help. He had the will, but he lacked the way. So it is spiritually with us. We want to change, but we lack the way. We try it in the flesh, or we try to make God fit our mold and nothing works. 

V 8      3. Jesus’ command carries with it the ability to change. Jesus’ Word fulfilled His will. It is the same when we are saved. His Word carries with it the ability to change. When we believe, God works a change. We are new creatures.

V 9a     4. He was supernaturally changed. Muscles that had been atrophied for years were made whole. This would have been a public sign that Messiah had come. Cf. Is. 35:1-7 But, there is a problem.

V 9b    5. We all know that no work could be done on the Sabbath. Moses stated that in the Law. But, other laws had been added by the religious leaders over the years. These were every complicated and hard to follow. One such law was that if anyone carried anything from a public place to a private place on the Sabbath intentionally, he deserved to be stoned to death. This man, freshly healed, was now in danger of the death penalty, by man’s laws. Sometimes to be obedient to God requires us to be disobedient to man. But, when God says rise up, we need to rise up. If we want right change…

Trans. GOD sometimes REQUIRES US TO RISE UP. Second, it’s possible that sometimes…

ii. god requires us to repent vs. 10-15

Illus. of “The Butcher” True repentance brings about real, lasting change. Many times we fail to change because we fail to repent. metanoia means to change your mind. But, Biblical repentance brings life change with that mind change. Let’s see how it works here.

a. Repentance will change your physical life   

V 10    1. Uh-oh. Busted. He is violating their man-made laws and could be in real trouble here. What’s his response?

V 11    2. He blame shifts away from himself to Jesus, even though he didn’t know it was Jesus yet. He was just doing what he was told by someone with obviously more authority than himself. Right now, his main concern wasn’t the traditions these Jews were worried about.

V 12-   3. The authorities wanted to know who this rebel might be. But, Jesus was gone. He probably was swallowed up

       13      by the crowds after what had taken place. This man’s life was changed, dramatically. But, there was more.

b. repentance will change your spiritual life

V 14a   1. This indicates that Jesus sought him out in order to speak with him. He evidently was healed without faith and Jesus was more concerned about his soul than his body. Jesus finds him in the Temple.

V 14b  2. Some say that the man showed no gratitude to Jesus for what he had done, indicating the condition of his spirit. Jesus give him a warning here. This does not mean that his malady was caused from sin. He was warning him that there was something worse than being a paralytic. It would be worse to enter eternity without being forgiven of his sins. To enter hell is far worse than living life as an invalid. If the man would repent and turn from his sins, it would indicate that he had trusted in Christ for his salvation. No amount of clean living will save anyone; however, true repentance will result in a clean lifestyle. The lesson here is that Jesus was more concerned about the man’s soul than his physical health. The physical healing was to draw the people’s attention to their need for spiritual healing.

V 15    3. The man left and told the Jews who it was that had healed him. Whether or not he ever believed, we’re not told.


If we want lasting change, GOD sometimes REQUIRES US TO RISE UP and GOD may REQUIRE US TO REPENT. What about us? Do we need to change? Anything?

1.      To really change, we need spiritual healing first. Repentance is part of the GOSPEL.

2.      Be where God is working and expect Him to do something. When He does, make sure you obey what He asks of you, even if people say you are wrong. The world will criticize you, even the Christian world if they don’t follow the Word of God. 

3.      Be willing to “rise up” and move. Too often we want God to do something miraculous, but we don’t want to step out in faith. Lasting change sometimes requires us to take a chance. Try a new ministry, etc. Go to a new level of you walk with God.

Illus. of the London drama critic that was asked to give review of the play “The Cupboard.” He used one word…”bare.”

Many Christians’ lives that are “bare.” They’re boring. They’re bored with their walk with God, with their spouse, with their job, etc. They want change. God never intended for our lives to be boring, but abundant! Full of excitement and joy in all areas.

If you fit this category of boring or perhaps you are convicted and need change, then let God do the changing. Rise up and Repent! Be what God wants you to be. Don’t worry about what the world thinks, only God. If you’re not what He wants you to be, you can change. Let God help you.   


“Change is not always inevitable”

John 5:1-15


There are many that are discontent with their lives, but change doesn’t come. Change is not inevitable. So what do we do when we want change, but are not sure what to do?

 i. god requires us to                                                   vs. 1-9

a. Be where God is ________________________

b. be willing to obey God…

                Cf. Is. 35:1-7

ii. god requires us to                                                vs. 10-15

a. Repentance will change your…       

b. repentance will change your…



What about us? Do we need to change? Anything?




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