Missions Is Not For Me

Missions Is Not For Me

The work that we go to do has to be a conduit for the why of what we’re doing. It has to be about Jesus.

Hello there China Grove First Baptist Church, my name is Chad Lewis.  Most of you may be tuning in and expecting to see Pastor Trent.  Pastor Trent had a pre-scheduled missions conference that he was scheduled to preach at this weekend. So I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to stand in for him and deliver God’s message to you today.

As we get started this morning, I want to ask you a question.  Are there words or phrases that, when you hear them, they bring back all sorts of memories to your mind?  Maybe words or phrases such as Apollo 13?  Or maybe December the 7th, 1941.  Or maybe September the 11th.  Or maybe it’s something such as a phrase that you may have heard before, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”   Or maybe it’s the phrase, “Do you believe in miracles?”  You know, depending on your age and depending on the era in which you grew up, different phrases or different dates or different words will bring back different types of memories, and sometimes those memories are enjoyable, sometimes those memories are painful, but it only takes a word to create this flood of emotions and this flood of imageries into our mind.  For me, when there’s one word that is uttered, all sorts of memories come flooding into my mind with incredible detail, and that word is Katrina.

In August of 2005, a very large and very powerful hurricane made landfall close to New Orleans, LA.  After the hurricane came ashore, several of us, Jason Wilson, Jason’s dad and some of his friends, myself, along with John Kimball and Andrew Parker, we loaded up our trucks and trailers and we headed down to Louisiana with the North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Recovery Team. Well, if you remember after Hurricane Katrina hit, there was another very large and very powerful hurricane that came right on the tail of that almost exact path and that was Hurricane Rita.

As we were going to Louisiana, we actually had to stop in Meridian, MS and wait for Hurricane Rita to continue blowing through. As we were in Meridian, MS, we had to stay at a church and wait for everything to kind of calm down before we could continue our journey into Louisiana.  Well, while we were in Mississippi, the hurricane actually continued to come through and as is common with hurricanes, especially very powerful ones, tornadoes spawn up.  Well while we were in Mississippi, a tornado came through the area with which we were staying.  They told us to get down into the basement of the church where, which we considered our home base, and wait for things to safely kind of calm down outside before we could do anything. After the tornado went through, we began to kind of come out from where we were and they had told us that one of the church members’ home was in the path of destruction for the tornado. So we loaded up our trucks and we went out to see how we could help this particular church member. When we got to the house, there was already a significant number of people that were already there beginning to do work and beginning to kind of help remove debris and remove trees.  But as we pulled up, and as we kind of found out that we really weren’t needed there, we looked at their neighbor’s house. It was dark there was nobody at home. But we notice that on their house there was a very, very, very large tree that the tornado had blown down. It had landed right smack dab on top of the house, coming through the roof.  So as we kind of looked and we talked we had a choice to make.

Well, if you have your Bibles, I encourage you to turn to the book of John. John Chapter 5 is where we’re going to be spending time at today.  The Gospel of John is the 4th book in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Please feel free to use your table of contents if necessary.

You know, Pastor Trent had shared last week that November is kind of our focus month for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. And really the Lottie Moon Christmas offering is focused specifically for our international missionaries. We’ve looked at some videos for how that offering directly impacts those missionaries that are on foreign soil.  So, for the entire month of November, we are focused on Lottie Moon Christmas offering.  Lottie Moon was a missionary who gave her very life for the people of China for the spreading of the Gospel in China.  So, it’s important that we spend some time talking about missions and what missions really is all about.

So, as you make your way to John Chapter 5, I want to kind of help you to begin to be brainstorming about missions. Now when we hear of missions or mission trips, you know that it conjures up all sorts of memories in our mind. We often think about what we’re going to do when we get to a place. Oftentimes mission trips fall into the categories of construction or medical or service, camps for children and we could name a lot of other types of things.  But missions is really so much more than just those activities, and when we look at missions and even when we talk about missions, oftentimes we think of that as a short term, you know one to two-week type of trip.

But missions is actually so much more than that. Missions is actually a way of life that Christ has commanded us. You know, Pastor Trent has been reminding us frequently of Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 of going and making disciples, and that we are to be disciples who are making disciples.  And that certainly can happen on a mission trip, but it is so much broader than that it’s actually a way of life that as believers, we should be engaged in. It’s more than just a trip, and it’s not limited to just a trip.

I encourage you to read two books.  Now, I’m not one to encourage you to read a lot of books ’cause I love reading books, but it’s really hard for me to read a lot. I get sleepy when I read, imagine that.  But there’s two books that I actually highly encourage you to read. One of them is called God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. It’s about Andrew van der Bijl, and it talks about his mission work in going into communist countries during the height of the Cold War, delivering Bibles and spreading the Gospel. And it’s an amazing journey of how his total faith and dependence on God and how God really showed up and incredible in powerful ways as he went and literally was delivering God’s message in scenarios that humanly speaking would have been impossible. But through God’s intervention and God’s handiwork, an incredible movement was inspired by that. And Brother Andrew actually founded Open Doors USA, which actually continues to carry on that work even today of partnering with and helping and praying for persecuted Christians.

But the other book I encourage you to read is called The Heavenly Man and it is about Brother Yun. Brother Yun is a Chinese Christian man who becomes a believer and it talks about how he totally depended on Christ literally for his next breath as he went and carried out the Gospel. It is just an amazing and convicting book about how these two individuals totally surrendered their lives to Christ and totally relied on Him for every step that they made.

But the reason that I encourage you to read those two books is where we find ourselves in the year 2020 is we are fatigued.  We’re COVID fatigued. We are election fatigued.  We are just overall fatigue. There are so many uncertainties around us. There’s just a lot of things going on. And quite honestly, we’re just worn out.  But reading these two books, especially at this point in time really kind of helps shape our perspective and helps us to understand that there is a much bigger narrative that is at play in our daily lives than just us.  There is a world out there and there are people out there that are searching for answers. There’s a world out there that is hurting. There is a world out there that is searching for hope, that is searching for truth and during this time of so much uncertainty, now is the time where the church and where believers can shine a Light into a very, very dark world and point people to Christ.  So, I highly encourage you to read those two books, or at least add those books to your list of reading.

So, as we find ourselves in John Chapter 5, we’re going to be looking at the first 16-17 verses.  And where we are, Jesus has taken a break from his ministry in Galilee. He had been doing His ministry work there. He is in kind of the full season of his ministry if you will. So, He has taken a break from that ministry in Galilee and He has returned to Jerusalem for one of the festivals.  Now, Scripture doesn’t tell us which festival that was, and it doesn’t really matter and doesn’t provide any significance to kind of the scene that begins to play out. But Jesus is in Jerusalem at this point in time, so if you have your Bibles, I want you to look at John Chapter 5 and we’re going to look first off at verses 2 and 3.

“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda (or some translations say Bethsaida) having five porticoes, and in these like a multitude of those who were sick who were blind, lame and withered.”

Now, if you kind of get this scene if you will, it tells us that they are at the Sheep Gate.  If you remember in Pastor Trent’s messages when he was talking about the rebuilding of the wall, that one of the things that they had rebuilt was the Sheep Gate and the Sheep Gate was where they had brought in the animal sacrifices for temple worship.  Located here around this Sheep Gate was this pool.  Some of your translations may have a footnote and we’ll get to that footnote in just a little bit.  But for right now, there is this pool and there’s a lot of people that are gathered here.  But this particular people is not what you would think of as a normal group of people.  The ones that are here have some really major issues.  And they’re here because they are waiting for the waters to be moved. And again, we’ll talk about that more in just a couple of minutes.

In the midst of this scene, Jesus walks intentionally into it.  So, let’s look at verse 5.  “And a certain man was there who had been 38 years in his sickness.”  Now again, some of you may have a footnote at the end of verse 3, or maybe have a footnote with verse 4. If you have any other translation besides the King James, you’re probably going to have that footnote.  And again, we’ll look at that in just a minute.  But we’re now introduced to a man.  A man is in the midst of this crowd of people that are lame.  And this particular man has been in this condition for 38 years now. We’re not told if he was 38 years old. We’re not told that he had been at this pool for 38 years, all we’re told is that he had been in this condition for 38 years.  Regardless of whether he was 38 years old or 78 years old, being in a condition that he was in for 38 years is an incredibly long time.  38 years.  Just think about that for just a second 38 years and this condition of infirmity.

And that brings me to my first point. Missions is about identifying needs. Missions is about identifying needs. You know when we go on a mission trip. You know we are looking to go in, minister to specific group or groups of people.  And one of the things that that happen on these types of trips is a keenness and awareness of people around us that are in need. That maybe they need somebody to talk to. Or maybe they have a physical, a physical need that needs to be met.  But missions is about identifying needs.

Now we’re not told much about this man, and we’re not told much about his past. In fact, we’re not told anything about his past, which I think is actually important, and I think that is actually significant.  All we’re told is that for 38 years he’s been battling this condition.  So, think about it.  Day one, he wakes up and something is different. Day 1,356, he wakes up and he still is dealing with this same issue.  Day 13,870, he wakes up and he still has this condition.  Something is wrong.

Now each of us that is here today, whether gathered online or whether in person, each of us, has a past. And each of us may be dealing with specific issues.  That may be a physical issue, that may be a medical condition, that may be an emotional problem, that may be something that you’ve been agonizing about. All of us come here today and we’re battling.  We’re struggling, we have hurts.  And I think one of the things that we can pick up out of this is that we’re not a lot different than this particular man. Now those needs may be physical that someone else can see. Those needs may be emotional that someone else knows about.  But those needs may also be something that no one knows about.  That need or that issue of that battle that we’re fighting maybe something that you’ve never told a single person.  You see, each of us comes here today in a battle.  And the battle is real.  And the battle is raw.  And oftentimes, the battle feels like it’s more than we can actually handle, and more than we can actually bear.

One of the things I want you to be very clear about and to understand, and that is this. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ doesn’t exclude you from these battles.  Having a personal relationship with Jesus doesn’t exclude you from having ailments.  But having these battles doesn’t mean that you don’t have a relationship with Jesus either. It just means that if we have a relationship with Jesus, as we’re going through these battles, we’re not going through them alone.

So, let me encourage you as we read verse 6.  “When Jesus saw him, lying there and knowing that he had been in that condition for a long time…”.  Now, let me just stop with the first part of that verse.  “Jesus upon seeing the man.”  Remember, there’s a lot of people that are here.  But Jesus focuses in and sees this one man.  Jesus is there.  Stop and let that kind of soak in for just a moment. In the midst of the man’s illness, Jesus is there.  No matter the battle that you are fighting. No matter the battle that I am fighting, Jesus is there with us. We’re not fighting that battle alone.  And if that was not enough, look at the last half of what we just read.  Jesus didn’t just see the man. Jesus was well aware that the man had been in that condition for a long time.  Think about that for just a moment. The man had been battling that for 38 years, right?  Jesus, when he started his ministry was only 30.  One of the things that this part of the verse speaks out to us is Jesus’ Divinity. That Jesus knew the condition, Jesus knows about this man, even though he literally just walked into the area.  That should bring us comfort. That should bring us hope and that should bring us encouragement.

Jesus first and foremost knew the man.  Pastor Trent has been walking through, in his Wednesday night studies, about the Immutable characteristics or the unchanging characteristics of God, and one of those is all-knowing.  We certainly see that right here. This may seem like a small detail, but it is actually very, very significant, and here’s why.  Whether our battle is physical and others can see it, or whether it is emotional and internal, Jesus knows the battles that you were fighting.

Jesus knows what you’re going through.  Let me put a hypothetical out there. Suppose I were to fall off of this stage, heaven forbid I don’t want to do that.  But suppose I were to fall off of this stage and I were to suffer a compound fracture of my ankle.  When the ambulance comes and begins to take me to the hospital, I say no, I don’t want you to take me to the hospital. Instead, I want you to take me to the optometrist.  Now I would be a laughingstock. Why in the world would I want these medical professionals to take me to the eye doctor instead of the hospital?  Well, the eye doctor is just a couple blocks from here. He’s closer he can take care of it. He went to med school, right?  Well, yeah.  But they’re not able to treat the problem that I have.  You see the problem with my ankle is going to require someone with some deep knowledge and experience in how to treat that specific condition.

See Jesus knows all about you.  Psalms tells us that Jesus was knitting you together in your mother’s womb.  Jesus has known you for your entire existence and Jesus knows exactly where you’re at and what you’re going through right now.  Because Jesus not only knows the condition we’re in, but he also knows how to heal it and that should bring us comfort.

But Secondly, and we talked about this just a minute ago, that Jesus sees the man.  There’s a crowd of people by the pool and in the midst of this crowd of people, Jesus spots one specific man.  Was there a lot of people there? Absolutely there was. So why did Jesus single out this one specific man?  Was his condition worse than everybody else’ s? Maybe I don’t know. We’re not really told that. Were there are other people sick there?  Absolutely!  So why focus on this one specific person?  Well, I think there’s a couple of reasons for that, but one of one of the main ones I think is oftentimes when we’re in the midst of a battle, we can be in a big crowd, and feel alone.  We can be in the midst of the crowd and feel overlooked.  And I think when Jesus begins to focus on this one man, I think is an encouragement for us to remind us that we are not alone.  That even though we may be in the midst of 100 people or 200 people, or whether we’re in the midst of five people, that Jesus knows us. He sees us and He is well aware of the battles and the situations that we find ourselves in.

So you may be here today and you may feel alone.  But let me encourage you.  You are not alone.  Yeah, there’s people around you, but there is a Savior who wants a personal relationship with you.  Now, whether your name is Bob, whether your name is Jack, whether your name is Sally, God knows you by name and He knows the situation that you’re going through and He is there to walk along with you and beside you through it. But watch this.  At the end of verse 6.  Jesus says, “do you wish to get well?”  Now that that’s an odd question, but it brings me to my second point, and my second point is this, missions is personal.

Missions is personal. You see, Jesus personally begins to interact with this man. Jesus personally begins to engage this man in conversation. Now it seems like an odd question.  The man is sitting here by the pool with everyone else that that has these physical conditions, but Jesus asked him, do you want to get?  What an odd question to ask. But is it really that odd of a question?  Was this man the worst of the sickness of all of ’em? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t think it matters. But is there a possibility that the man would not want to get well?  And let me ask you the question this way. Have you ever met someone who has lost all sense of hope?  Who has lost all sense of purpose?   Maybe they’re battling a physical condition. Maybe they’re not.  But they feel that where they’re at is there a lot in life? Is there destiny, so to speak? Have you ever met someone like that?  It’s tragic.  It’s very sad because they do not see a way out of their situation.  To them, there is no hope.  To them, everything is hopeless.  So Jesus’ question is really not that odd of a question after all.

But notice the man’s response in verse 7.  “The sick man answered him, Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool.”  Now, this kind of goes back to the footnote in verse 3, and then the verse 4.  You see there was this superstition that angels would come down into the pool and stir the waters.  And the first person that was able to get into the pool when the waters were stirred would be healed. So through the man’s lens and in his context, he answered the question perfectly, naturally.  He says, Sir, I don’t have any way to get into the pool.  There’s nobody here. There’s nobody with me that can put me into the pool.  So from his perspective, the only way that he can get well, the only way that he can get out of this situation, is for somebody to put him in the pool.

But did you hear what he actually said?  Sir, I don’t have anybody to help me.  And in that we hear this loneliness. We hear this isolation.  Everybody gets to the pool before me.  Even though he was in an area where there was all kinds of people, He is alone.  But by Jesus asking him the question the man had to confront the reality of his situation.  That reality was sickness. That reality was aloneness. This and that reality was a sense of hopelessness. And as we come in contact with people and maybe even with our own self-evaluation, we soon realize that we have a lot more in common with this man than we may have first thought.  You see apart from Christ, we are exactly in this man’s situation. We are hopeless, we are sick, we are alone and there is no way out.  Good lift me up message, right? Yeah, stay with me for just a minute.

Because you see Jesus is there. And with Jesus on the scene, there is hope.  With Jesus involved, there is hope there is a light. As we continue reading in verses 8-9, we find this “And Jesus said to him, Arise or Get up. Take up your pallet and walk.  Immediately the man got up.  And was well that immediately the man became well and took up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.”

Jesus tells the man to get up.  This particular phrase in the Greek means to come from death to life. To transition to raise from the dead to life and in the Hebrew this this phrase to walk means to live.  So what Jesus is actually telling him is that you are now transitioning from what was dead to now life. You now have a new life. You have a new world.  Your old life is dead. Today is day one of your new life. Day 13,871 is going to be a different day.

There’s a whole other lesson and a whole another message around the Sabbath and all that transpires because of that. Suffice it to say for right now, that what Jesus did on the Sabbath ruffled a lot of feathers with the religious leaders.  But notice what happens. Jesus told him to get up, take up your mat and walk.  Immediately the man was healed. He took up his mat, and he did it. Imagine the feeling as his legs began to get strength. Maybe he had walked before, maybe had never worked before. I don’t know. But the miracle of what took place is amazing, because this man now has a new life.  Think of the possibilities that are now opened up for him. There’s the possibility of employment. There’s a possibility of a new social standing. There’s a possibility of friendships and relationships, and now there’s a possibility that he can enter the temple. He literally has a whole new world that has now been opened up to him.

The temptation here, though, is to say that it was the man’s faith that healed him or that because he was healed. He now believes in Jesus.  The scripture doesn’t say that.  In fact, Scripture says that the man did not even know who Jesus was. Let’s read verses 10 through 13. “Therefore, the Jews were saying that was the religious leaders to him, the man who was cured. It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.  But he answered them, he who made me well was the one who told me to take up your pallet and walk. Well, they asked him. Well, who is this man who said this to you?”  Notice first 13. “But he who was healed did not know who it was. Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.” He who it was the man, just said it was He, whoever He was told me to do it. I don’t know who He was. I don’t know His Name.  And this is important because when we are serving in missions; when we’re out meeting needs it is not dependent upon whether those people know who Jesus is or not.  We are called and commanded to go and be the hands and feet of Jesus and to tell people about a relationship with Him.  It is not dependent upon whether or not they already know who Jesus is or whether they even believe who Jesus is.

Now we’re not actually told why this man was in the temple. Maybe he was thinking back to Leviticus 14, where people that had skin conditions when they were healed, they had to go see the priest. Maybe he wanted to go into the temple because he saw everybody go in there already and he wanted to see what it was about.  Whatever drove him into the temple the greeting with which he received was probably less than what he expected.  Because in fact the religious leaders chastised him, began to criticize him, saying, what are you doing? How was he to know how to behave in the temple.  He had never been there? For all we know.

We live in a unique time.  We live in a time where there are physical and emotional needs all around us. We live in a time where there are people who are searching for the truth. We live in a time where there are people that are searching for hope. We are living in a time where there are people that are just searching. What better time for the church to be the church then right now?  But sadly, the churches don’t always point people to Jesus. In fact, just like this particular man, sometimes the church becomes just like them and becomes critical of those who walk in the doors.  We start asking why this why that instead of introducing them to who Jesus is and telling them who Jesus is.  The church doesn’t always point them to the truth and hope that they are so desperately seeking.

And that leads me to my last point.  Missions has to be about evangelism.  Missions has to be about evangelism. Again, Jesus’ comments and His timing are no accident.  The man has just been chastised by the religious leaders for how he was in the temple and what he was doing while he was in the temple. He was just carrying his mat, but they made a big deal out of it.  He was just grateful for his new life.  After the man’s encounter with the religious leaders and literally being put out by them, Jesus shows back up.  Let’s look at verse 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 knew that there was more that needed to be done than just physically healing the man. Jesus goes into the temple and finds him.  Now there is debate among theologians and commentaries about what this particular verse means. Some theologians think it means that this man had committed a sin and because of that sin that led him to be in the condition for 38 years and Jesus is telling him that you are healed of that. Don’t go back and do that anymore or something worse is going to happen to you.

There are others who think that Jesus is actually going to the next level and addressing the man’s spiritual condition. Now. What could be worse than living in that condition for 38 years?  39 years, right?  Well, I think it’s actually a lot deeper than that.  Romans 6:23 says this “For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  I believe that Jesus is explaining to this man that even though you have been made well physically there is a more serious condition at play and that is death. An eternal death, apart from Me.

So herein lies the crux of mission work. If we do not share the gospel with those that we are ministering to and serving, we’re missing the point of what missions is all about. Instead, we’re just doing community service.  As we serve and work to meet physical needs, that creates conversation opportunities to share the why of what we’re actually doing. And that is, sharing about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  You see, missions has to be about evangelism.   I’ve actually seen this first hand happen on numerous occasions. On various mission trips, I’ve seen these conversations take place in Kentucky Fried Chickens. I’ve seen these conversations take place washing dishes. I’ve seen these conversations take place at hotel counters. I’ve seen these conversations take place in a garage in gymnasiums.  It happens in multitudes of places. You see the work that we went to do has to be a conduit for the why of what we’re doing.  It has to be about Jesus.

One of the most common questions that I get when it comes to mission trips is what are we going to be doing?  Now I understand the context of the question. I understand what they’re trying to get to.  But it makes me leery and I’m always afraid to answer the question, because my theory is that if we’re going to be doing something that does not meet their interest, then they’re going to check out and they’re gonna say “you know what? missions is not for me, or this trip is not for me.”  But missions and going and doing has to be secondary to the evangelism and the sharing of the Gospel.

So I want to take you back to Katrina.  If you remember when we left off, we had a choice to make and the choice was, do we take the tree off the house for somebody that we didn’t know, or do we turn back and go to the church?  In the pelting rain, thunder and lightning tornado sirens going off we unloaded the trucks and the tractors and we got to work.  In the midst and in the middle of the process of us removing the tree off of the house, the homeowner arrives at home. As we finished removing the tree, the Lord protected us from the storm that’s for sure, but after we finished removing the tree, the homeowner said, “I don’t know how to thank you.  You don’t know who I am and yet you saved my home.”  He said “I own a pizza shop here in town. You’re welcome to come anytime you want. Pizza’s on the house.”  But as I looked in his face and as there was tears coming down his eyes he said “all I can say is thank you, thank you.”

When the North Carolina Baptist Men go in and do work like this, we always try to give a Bible and share the Gospel and we did with this man as well and his wife. And all of that sounds like the right things, and we did all of the right things.  But I really need to tell you the rest of the story.

You see, as we got back to the church.  As we got back into the gymnasium, there were over 100 relief workers there that were already bedded down for the night. I went to where my sleeping bag was. It happened to be on the free throw line on the cold hardwood floor. I was tired, I was hungry. I was dirty. I was wet. And I uttered these words under my breath. “Missions work is not for me.  I am not cut out for this.”  And it was in that moment, and I can tell you exactly where I was sitting to this day. It was at that moment where the Holy Spirit spoke to me in one of the most profoundest experiences that I’ve ever had in my entire life and said this. “You finally understand. It is not about you. It is about Me and it is for Me.”

You see missions is not for me.  Missions is for Him. You see I am nothing but a tool in the hand of the Craftsman.  And that’s what missions is all about. Missions is about being a tool in the hand of the Master Craftsman.  Friends living a life of on mission is not easy.  It puts us in situations that we may not find ourselves in otherwise.  But it is what Christ has commanded us to do.  To live a life on mission means telling people about Jesus Christ.

You know Romans in 10:9,13 and Pastor Trent alluded to this last week in his message, ’cause it’s common verses that we share with people and it’s this, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…For everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”  But we need to keep reading.  Because just a couple more verses later in verses 14 and 15 says this. “How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?  But how are they to preach unless they are sent just? That is as it is written. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news of good things?” Which is the gospel? “So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

Friend, maybe you’re listening today, or maybe you’re here today and you don’t have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Today is the day.  You see, Jesus gave up his His throne in heaven to come and live a perfect, sinless life as a baby. He grew up and lived the life that you and I could not live. He lived a life without sin at the age of 33, He went to the cross and gave His very life as a final payment of sin. You see, sin is a condition that you and I have that we are born with. It is a condition that separates us from God.  It is a condition that we have missed the mark that God has set in His perfect law and His perfect plan.  Nothing that we can do can take the place of sin.  Nothing that we can do can heal us from that condition. It is because of the finished work of Christ on the cross that allows us to be healed and to be made well.  And by us placing our faith and trust in who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the cross and admitting that we are a sinner turning from our sins and turning to Christ and placing our trust in who Ge is in our faith and who He is and living our life for Him, we can have a personal relationship with Him.

If you would like to know more about that, or if you’d like to make that decision at the end of this message, there are ways that you can get in contact with us. Please, please, please do.  We would love to walk along side of you in that journey and to help you understand what a relationship with Christ is all about.

Or maybe you’re here today, or maybe you’re listening and you do have a relationship with Christ, but you have turned away from Him. You have, you have found yourself in in situations where you have turned your back on God and you are living a life of sin. Brother and sister, today I encourage you repent of those things that are separating you from God and turn back to him.  Repent. Tell him you’re sorry, ask Him for forgiveness. Scripture tells us if we ask Him for forgiveness, He will forgive us of our sins.  Today is the day to turn your life back to Him.

I want to close with this verse from Isaiah.  This particular man at the pool had a sickness, had a condition that he could not take care of. Just like you and I have a condition of sin that we cannot take care of, Isaiah 53:5 says this, “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so that we could be made whole. He was whipped so that we could be healed.”  Brother and sister Healing is available through relationship with Jesus Christ, let’s pray.

Most gracious God. I thank You for who You are and I thank You for the finished work of Christ on the cross. Dear God, thank You for Your Love.  Thank You for Your forgiveness.  Dear God, thank You, their redemption is found in You alone. Dear God, I pray that if there are those here today that need to experience that relationship with You for the first time, I pray that today is the day. Dear God, if there are those here today that need to turn back to You, I pray that today is the day you got your life.  Dear God, May our life be a life that is on mission for you because of who You are and what you’ve done.

For it’s in Christ’s Name we pray.  Amen