New Day - New Way
NEW DAY - NEW WAY
Part 3 of Deep Water Faith. Luke 5:17-26
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. June 11, 2017.
Last week, I discovered a website that is an archive of one of my favorite seminary professors’ teachings. Dr. Matthews was my systematic theology prof and he was very influential in my life. The online stuff is great but I wish I’d spent more time with him when I had the chance. His teachings are so practical and helpful.
The main thing Dr. Matthews taught me was this: Christianity is Christ. Jesus is the center. Everything revolves around him. 35 years down the road and I can say from my own study and experience that Dr. Matthews got it right. Christ alone satisfies. All that God wants for us is found in Jesus - every blessing, every benefit, every birthright - everything is centered on Christ.
This story in Luke 5 is a great picture of the centrality of Jesus Christ. The amazing events are convincing evidence that God works out his plan for our lives through Christ ALONE. Jesus provides three things we cannot get anywhere else. YOU SHOULD GO TO JESUS FOR …
A. GO TO JESUS FOR DIVINE TEACHING - verse 17a
Jesus was a master-teacher. His teachings are unforgettable. He wrapped complex truths in gripping stories or illustrations. He was creative and compelling. But most of all his teaching was supernatural. His words came direct from God. He spoke with divine authority. The same authority by which he spoke the universe into being. Chapter 4 provides a couple of dramatic insights into his teaching authority:
"He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." - Luke 4:16-19
"In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!" - Luke 4:33-36
His teachings will change your life because they possess supernatural power and authority. It’s not technique or magic. It’s God!
If you want to know how life works or what God’s plan is for you, listen to Jesus. He is the best source for life-changing truth and wisdom. Read his teachings. Learn what they mean. Apply his principles.
His words also have unique power to bring life - spiritual/eternal life. His parables wake us up to a whole new world - an unseen spiritual world - and awaken us to God.
“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” - John 6:63 (see also John 5:24)
So, when Jesus was teaching in Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, large crowds gathered. Even the best teachers in Israel travelled to hear him. Some of them walked 85 miles north from Jerusalem. Mark’s Gospel tell us that they packed into the house and the yard to hear his words (See Mark 2:1ff).
But, let’s be honest, many people were there for more than Jesus’ words. They wanted to see him heal or to receive his healing. We’re no exceptions. We also should go to Jesus for divine healing.
B. GO TO JESUS FOR DIVINE HEALING - verses 24-25
I really appreciate the medical profession. Jamie works as an EMT and hopes to go to Physician Assistant school. Kalie thinks she’s headed towards medical school some day. I have friends and family who are doctors and nurses. My mom was a Major in the Royal Army Nursing Corp. So, bear that in mind when I say what I say next.
There is no healing apart from Jesus. Jesus is THE healer from whom all healing comes. You can’t get healed without Jesus.
Don’t lots of people get well after medicine or after surgery or therapy? Yes, absolutely! But, my understanding is this: the source of that healing is Jesus and he channels it through many different ways. That’s why God told Israel: Exodus 15:26: "I am the Lord who heals you.” He is the ultimate healer - the Physician-in-Chief. There are still conditions doctors cannot heal. There are limits. But Jesus has no limits.
When Jesus was present here in the flesh, he demonstrated his power and compassion to heal people; even people who had tried everything to get well, but without success.
“A woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” Mark 5:25-26
Let’s go back to our story in Luke. We find a paralyzed man and his friends desperate to get to Jesus. For healing. They know he’s the only real hope for this man to ever walk. Look at verse 20, “When Jesus saw their faith …” That’s how you come Jesus for healing. You come believing that he is a healer, that he can do it. Jesus sees that faith. It doesn’t work if you think, “Nothing else has helped, so I guess I’ll try this Jesus guy, but I doubt he can do anything for me.” No, you’ve got to have the kind of faith that rips the roof off a house to get to Jesus.
Look what Jesus did for him:
“He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.” - Luke 5:24-25
The healing was instant and total and everyone knew it was God who did it.
Will Jesus do this for you or your friend or family member too? Oh boy, that’s the question isn’t it? The answer isn’t simple:
There will be times when the Lord heals us directly, instantly, totally. This does happen and it is awesome and everyone knows God did it. We should pray for this.
There will be times when the Lord heals us indirectly and it might happen over a period of time. He might use some medicine or a doctor or a combination of factors to heal us. We should pray for this too.
There will be times when the Lord does not heal us or he doesn’t totally heal us. We pray for healing, but when it doesn’t happen, we have to live with pain or fatigue. This can be very frustrating and confusing even. But we need to remember that Lord’s love and mercy are always poured out on us. He is walking through the valley with us. He is using the experience to forge our faith and godliness and to make us more like Jesus. Jesus never wastes a tear.
(For more information about suffering, look at Psalm 23; Lamentation 3:19-33; James 1: 2-4; Hebrews 12:7-13; ; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 4:7-12, 16-18; 12:9-10)
The final option is the best of all: In the end, all of us who are in Christ by faith will be totally and permanently healed. When the new creation is fully manifest - when heaven descends to earth - all of us who are in Christ will be raised up with him and our weak, mortal, corruptible bodies will be transformed into a body just like his. We will never get sick, will never wear out, will never die.
“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” - Revelation 21:1-4 (See also 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50-54)
Either way, whether it is you or a friend or a loved one who is sick, go to Jesus and ask for healing. Leave the results up to him. He is the loving healer.
You know what? Healing is not the best Jesus has to offer. There is something we need even more than physical health. We should also go to Jesus for divine forgiveness.
C. GO TO JESUS FOR DIVINE FORGIVENESS - verse 20
Maybe Luke included this story because it is kind of humorous and surprising. The man came to Jesus for healing BUT Jesus forgave his sins. Surprise! Then Jesus said, I want you to know that I can forgive sins BUT he healed the man. Surprise! Ha. Ha.
I’m confused! What’s going on? This: What Jesus did for that man proves that Jesus is God. God in in the flesh. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were absolutely correct: Only God can forgive sins. So to show that he is God, Jesus healed the man and sent him home praising God. The visible fact of the physical healing confirmed the invisible, fact of the spiritual healing.
Jesus identified himself as the Son of Man in Daniel 7. The Son of Man is a revelation of God in human form:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” - Daniel 7:13-14
Jesus is the Son of Man, the eternal ruler of everything. He is God and he can heal our bodies and our souls. Physical healing is good. Spiritual healing is the best. The man wasn’t looking for forgiveness, but Jesus knew he needed it.
And he knows we all need it. If you have never done so, this is the right time to go to Jesus for divine forgiveness (see the excursus on the final page).
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them.” - Psalm 32:1-2
Are you like the paralyzed man? You know things need to change. You need a second chance. Come to Jesus. Come broken. Come in need of healing and forgiveness. Come desperate. Do whatever it takes to get to Jesus. Take a grip on him and never let go. And he will transform your life.
What does this have to do with Cornerstone 2.0 and the faith principles that will guide our next 20 years? Today, we’ve uncovered our third principle: Jesus is our new day and our new way. This is the principle of transformation. Whatever new life God wants for us, he gives us in Jesus. He is the source of the transformation we need.
The principle of transformation defines our unique role in the Blue Water community. Our job is to keep on presenting Jesus so that everyone will find and follow him. Everyone who comes to Jesus in faith will receive new life from him - a fresh start - a new day and a new way.
This is our mission. We must lean into it as we enter a new season of impact. Cornerstone 2.0 is all about Jesus.
How can God forgive the sins of guilty people and still remain a just and holy judge? The answer is Christ and the cross. Christ bears our burden. He takes the blame. He pays the death-tax for sins not his own. This is clearly stated in Romans 3:
“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” - Romans 3:25-26
Sometimes people talk about atoning for their sins and they are talking about doing something good to make up for something they did that was bad. But that is not how to receive divine forgiveness.
Sometimes people talk about forgiving themselves, or more often not being able to forgive themselves. But that is not the kind of forgiveness we need to repair our relationship with God.
We need God’s forgiveness through the atonement made by Jesus Christ for us. It is only in Christ at the cross that our sins are cancelled and our guilt removed.
“Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” - 1 Peter 3:18