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Sermon Notes: 2/18/24

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.

-Luke 5:17

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.

-Luke 5:18

When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

-Luke 5:19

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

-Luke 5:20

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

-Luke 5:21

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?

-Luke 5:22-23

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

-Luke 5:24

“Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

-Luke 5:25-26

There are so many powerful things that we can pull out of this story—but two things jumped out to me right away. The first is a pretty big one and you may have heard messages on it before and it is one-hundred percent the truth, and it’s this—surround yourself with friends like this paralyzed man had. Be careful who you surround yourself with… I need to, you need to…Consider your surroundings. Be careful who you surround yourself with, who you allow to influence you, who you allow to pour into you.

These men put it all out there to get their friend healed. They did whatever they had to do to get him to Jesus—there was no way to get him through to door, but they didn’t give up…instead they carried him up a ladder onto the top of a house and lowered him through the roof! Surround yourself with friends like that. It truly is so important, so don’t misunderstand the second part of what I’m about to say. I DO want you to surround yourself with these kinds of friends. And, quick plug, do you know the BEST way to do that? Get involved and build these kinds of relationships INSIDE the church and with other believers. Because relationships like this are not built in the world, you won’t find it there—these are KINGDOM RELATIONSHIPS. Get involved on a serve team where you can build Kingdom relationships, get involved in our Gatekeepers men’s ministry or our Shine women’s ministry where you can build Kingdom relationships, and especially get involved in a D-Group where you can gather together weekly with people and build these Kingdom relationships. Consider your surroundings! This is more important than I could begin to express for all of us, but if you are a new believer then THIS is exactly where you need to be…right here in this stage of surrounding yourself with godly people who love you and will help disciple you. It is one of the single most important things you could do for your relationship with Jesus.

So now that I’ve said all that and told you how important I really think it is, let me also tell you that is not the message I felt like God wanted me to share today. So…write that down in your notes, go to the information table after service for more on D-Groups and serving, do all of those things!…But that is not the focus of the rest of our time together today. Because as I was praying about what to share from this text, and I was really thinking about how important it is to surround ourselves with KINGDOM friends…God spoke to my heart and he said “Instead of focusing on surrounding yourself with these kinds of friends, how about focusing on BEING that kind of friend.” See, we are going a little bit deeper in discipleship here because YES it is important to surround ourselves with people who will uplift us and help us like these men did for the paralytic…but as followers of Jesus Christ that cannot be our only focus. The world we live in today is so backwards from the kingdom of God because this world is all about:

What can this person do for me?

How does this relationship serve me?

How can I benefit from this?

But Jesus said in Matthew 23:11:

“The greatest among you must be a servant.”

-Matthew 21:11

Who you surround yourself IS IMPORTANT. But as disciples of Jesus Christ, if our desire is to be more like Him, then our focus should be this…how can I BE a Kingdom friend to others?

How can I be that kind of friend?

What can I do for them?

How can I serve them?

How can I benefit them?

If my prayer is “Less of me and more of you, God.” then my focus isn’t only inward, it’s not just on myself, I’m looking outward…I’m others-focused. This is so backwards to our flesh y’all, but this is the Kingdom! How can I be a mat-carrying, ladder climbing, roof dropping, get this person to Jesus type of friend?

Point #1: You have to be whole. You have to be whole…IN JESUS CHRIST. Being whole IS NOT being perfect. Being whole in Jesus Christ does not mean you won’t fall short. Being whole in Jesus Christ does not mean that you don’t still have some gaps. It means that you have allowed Jesus to fill them.

But don’t just stop there, allow Jesus to HEAL your brokenness! Being whole means it’s time to heal. Allow Him to heal your hurts, allow Him to heal your pain, allow Him to heal what was done to you, allow Him to heal your shame. Don’t just let Him in to save you, let Him heal you completely. He wants to heal you mentally, emotionally, spiritually…He wants to make you whole. Because we cannot give to others what we do not have ourselves. Maybe you’re saying…I want to be that person we are talking about today, I want to be that friend to others, but I just can’t. Maybe it’s because you need to spend some time in this point right here…allow Him to make you whole.

Later on in Luke chapter 17 there is a story of 10 lepers who ask for a physical healing from. Jesus tells them to go to the priest so he can inspect them, as was the custom during this time. And along the way these men realize that Jesus had healed them of their disease! It was a miracle! But only one of these men said…you know what, I’m going back to Him. I’m going back to this man, I’m going to lay at His feet, and I’m going to praise Him for what he’s done for me. I’m not going to just allow Him to be part of my story, He IS my whole story from here on out. So that’s exactly what he does and Jesus looked at Him and said where are the rest of them? He was the only one who had returned to give Him praise for what He had done for them. Then Jesus looks at this man who is surrounded at His feet and He says this:

“Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee WHOLE.”

-Luke 17:19 (KJV)

Your FAITH has made you WHOLE. Some translations say, your faith has healed you. Where was he telling this man to arise and go?…To work! Jesus is saying you’re WHOLE, now it’s time to get to work…go do for others what I have done for you. Go BE that person.

Point #2: You have to be vulnerable.

True relationship requires vulnerability.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.

-Luke 5:18

When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

-Luke 5:19

These friends were VULNERABLE! They opened themselves up, they were susceptible to backlash from the Romans for causing a scene, backlash from the homeowner, the crowd, the Pharisees…not to mention the risk of rejection from Jesus—they didn’t know how he would respond to this! We have the benefit of knowing the ending, they did not! But they didn’t care, they were vulnerable…they said “I don’t care how it looks, I don’t care how people view us, I don’t care if we get ridiculed or rejected, we are getting our friend to Jesus!” The put themselves out there because the risk was worth the reward. Being vulnerable may be a risk, but it is a risk that’s worth the reward. Sure, it’s risky to put yourself out there…but the reward of being a Kingdom friend and building deeper relationships is worth it.

In order to be a Kingdom friend to others, we have to be whole in Jesus Christ, we have to be vulnerable. We also have to do Point #3: You have to forgive.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

-Ephesians 4:32

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

-Colossians 3:13

Forgiven people forgive people.

It does NOT mean that you just sweep everything under the rug and move on. That is not productive for the relationship. Luke 17:3 says:

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.”

-Luke 17:3

“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

-Luke 17:4

So Jesus is saying…if a fellow believer sins against you and asks for forgiveness, yes you must forgive them and continue to forgive them. But don’t miss this step—Jesus said rebuke them. Now that doesn’t mean to just let them have it, but it does mean that we are honest and truthful with that person about what took place, why it was wrong, or how it made you feel.

After you forgive it, you have to release it.

Point #4: We have to cast.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

-Galatians 6:2

I can’t carry it for you, but I will carry it with you.

I can’t take this pain away from you, but I’m here with you as you walk through it. I can’t fight this battle for you, but I will support you through it. This is what a Kingdom friendship looks like. I’m praying for you, I’m sitting in it with you, I’m keeping you encouraged and uplifted. But here’s the thing church, we are called to carry each other’s burdens, but we can’t hold onto them. The burdens will weigh us down every time. We can’t hold onto them, our shoulders cannot bear the burden, but I know who’s can—Jesus.

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

-1 Peter 5:7

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.

-Luke 5:18

These friends knew that they could be there for the paralyzed man, but they couldn’t fix his condition. Then they heard about a man named Jesus, and they said…we cannot cure him, but we can help get him to the one who can!

There is only one reason we are able to do this and that’s because:

We have the greatest friend in Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

-Luke 5:20

What do you need to do to change your surroundings?

What do you need to change in order to be the Kingdom friend?

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