Archive for May, 2013

I Have No Man, Pt. 2

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.  When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

John 5:5-7

We looked yesterday at this story of the impotent (powerless) man who could not get into the pool to get healing.  We compared his situation to our situation.  In both cases, we were powerless and hopeless.  And in both cases, the Lord Jesus came to us, and helped and healed us.  But we can also look at this story from another angle.

Verse 7 is a sad verse: “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool…”  This man could not get himself into the pool.  There was healing in that pool, but he could not get there.  All he needed was a friend who would be willing to help him to the pool.  We do not know for certain how many years he had been there waiting, but if someone had been his friend and helped him, he could have been healed long before this story took place.

The sad fact that he had no friend who would help him to the pool can be mirrorred in the lives of many people around us.  There are people all around us who desperately need healing.  And they desperately need help getting that healing.  But they “have no man…” to help them.  If we know the Lord Jesus, we can help.  We have the answer.  We can be that friend who helps them.

This saying, “Sir, I have no man…” should not need to be repeated by those around us.

I Have No Man

When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.  Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.  And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

John 5:6-9

The more I read and think about this story, the more I realize just how much we have in common with this impotent man.  The word impotent simply means “without power.”  We do not know exactly what was wrong with this man, other than the fact that he had no strength of his own.  He could not move himself and, in this case, he could not move himself into the pool.  He laid next to the pool in hopes of someday getting in and getting healed.  But, without a man to help him and to put him in the pool, he was both helpless and hopeless.

That is the exact same situation we find ourselves in before we come to the Lord.  We are both without help and without hope.  We are dead in sin and we have “no man” to help us.  We can’t help ourselves and we can’t get the healing that we know we need.  That is where Jesus comes in.

Just as Jesus helped and healed this man when he could not help or heal himself, so Jesus helps and heals us when we could not help or heal ourselves.  Just as this man was immediately healed, so are we immediately healed when we come to Jesus.  Just as this man’s healing was only because of the grace and mercy of God, so our healing is only because of the grace and mercy of God.  The next time we look at this story, we should think about just how many similarities there are between us and this man.  What a wonderful Saviour we have!

Love Lifted Me (Hymn)

Love Lifted Me
James Rowe (1912)

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.

Refrain
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.

Refrain

Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

Refrain

This is a great hymn about Jesus reaching down and saving us.  We were in desperate need of a Saviour, and He reached down and saved us.  Truly “when nothing else could help, Love lifted me!”  Amen to that.

Helper to the Helpless

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.  And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.  When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.  Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:2-8

This is one of my favorite stories about Jesus in the Bible.  We know that He is “a helper to the helpless” and this story really drives that home.  There was a pool at Bethesda in which an angel would stir up the water.  The first person into the water after that would be healed of whatever disease they had.  This man had been crippled for 38 years.  He was there hoping to get into the pool to be healed, but he had nobody to help him into the water.  When the water was troubled, he could not get himself into it and he had no one to help him.  He was, both literally and figuratively, helpless.  But then he met Jesus.

Jesus recognized his condition and stopped to help him.  He healed him on the spot.  There would be no more waiting and hoping for this man.  He had met the helper of the helpless.

We were dead in trespasses and sins.  We were spiritually helpless.  And Jesus came for us, just as He came for this man.  We should be thankful every day that we know the Helper of the helpless.  What a wonderful Saviour!

The Ultimate Goal

So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.  And many more believed because of his own word;  And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

John 4:40-42

After seeing and hearing Jesus, the woman at the well immediately went into her city and told the people there about Him.  They came out and heard Him as well.  At first, they believed because of what the woman had told them. Then they told her ” Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”  They didn’t just believe because she believed – they believed because of their own experience with Him.  That is really the ultimate goal of any Christian who attempts to bring others to the Saviour.

While it is nice for people to listen to us talk about the Lord because they like and/or respect us, it is another thing for them to listen to the Lord themselves.  That is what we ultimately want.  We have a personal relationship with the Lord and we want others to have that same relationship.

We do our best to bring others to Jesus, but when we get them there, we want them to hear Him and not just us.  We want them to see for themselves that He is “indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”  We want them to see and hear things for themselves.

These people initially listened to the woman and went to hear Jesus because of her testimony.  But they stayed and accepted Him because of His testimony.  It is our job to bring people to Jesus, but once we get them there, they need their own personal relationship with Him.  That is our goal.

The Sower

And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

John 4:37-39

We looked yesterday at the disciples, who, in this passage, were “the sowers.”  The Lord told them that they were going to “reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”  They weren’t doing the sowing that day; they were doing the reaping.

The sowing had already been done by a woman.  She was not on par with the disciples in many areas.  She had not followed the Lord and seen His many miracles.  In fact, she had just met the Lord at the well.  She was not a scribe or Pharisee who had made a career out of studying the Scriptures.  She was just a woman, an average sinner who met Jesus.  But she did some sowing that day.  She didn’t know everything about Jesus, but she did know that He told her “all that ever I did.”  She did recognize Him as the Christ.  And she did go immediately into her city and told the people there what she knew.  And just look at the powerful impact it had.

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman…”  Her “sowing the seed” resulted in “many” believing on the Lord that day.  In Heaven, we will meet those “many people” who believed.  She simply testified of what she had seen, and that little testimony grew into many people believing.

We never know what is going to happen when we sow the seed, but it might end up like this seed – bearing much fruit.  Our job is to sow the seed.

The Reapers

And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

John 4:37-38

In any type of farming or gardening, there are basically have two absolutely necessary things that you must do if you want a crop: you have to plant the seed and you have to harvest the fruit.  If the seed is never planted, there will obviously never be a crop.  If a crop is planted, but no one ever harvests it, it will eventually spoil and die.  You must do both.  In these verses, Jesus is talking to the disciples about the second aspect: harvesting.  The woman at the well had brought out many people from her city to see and hear Jesus.  The seed had been planted.  It was now time for the disciples to tell them all about Jesus.  It was time for them to reap the harvest.

There is an old saying that says “No man is an island.”  I have always liked that saying because I like the truth it contains.  None of us live in isolation.  What we do, good or bad, affects others.  Sometimes we “enter into the labours of others.”  Sometimes someone else has planted the seed of gospel and we benefit from their labours.  Sometimes we plant the seed and another benefits from our labours.

No matter what our position, we need to be working in the Lord’s field.  They are, as He said, “white already to harvest.”  The disciples were able to build on the labours of another and were able to reap a great harvest of people who had come to see the Lord.  There are probably people that we know today who are ready to come to the Lord, if someone will show them the way.  As “reapers,” we need to be ready to do just that.

Sowers and Reapers, Rejoice!

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?  behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.  And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

John 4:35-37

“One soweth, and another reapeth.”  There are many passages in the Bible about sowing and reaping.  We have probably heard many sermons about sowing and reaping, which usually boil down to “sow good things, reap good things; sow bad things, reap bad things.”  But this passage is a little different.  In this passage, the sower and the reaper are different people.  And, after the harvest, they are able to rejoice together.

It is encouraging to know that “he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal.”  When we do something for the Lord, it is for eternity.  When we sow the seed of the Word of God or when we witness to someone, we are doing something that is going to last for all of eternity.  Most of the things that we do are very temporary.  Most things that we do aren’t going to last much past the week or year, let alone for all of eternity.  But there are some things that will.

Sometimes we are just going to sow the seed.  Sometimes we can witness to people or give them a gospel tract and they will not make a decision.  We may never see them again.  But maybe that seed takes root and somewhere down the line, another is able to win them to Christ.  Other times, we might get to reap what someone else has sown.  But either way, when the harvest is over, we will all be able to rejoice together, both the sowers and the reapers.  But we will only rejoice if we had a part in the sowing and reaping.  What are we doing today?

The Harvest

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?  behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.  And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

John 4:35-37

In these verses, Jesus gives the disciples (and us) some needed advice on “the harvest.”  The context of this advice was Jesus telling the disciples (when they worried about Him getting something to eat) that His meat was “to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”  Jesus was trying to help the woman at the well and the people she brought out of the city.  The disciples wanted to know what was for dinner.  They did not have the same urgency about the kingdom of God and the things of God that Jesus had.

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?”  We can look at the fields of wheat or corn and easily predict when the harvest will be.  We can even, to an extent, look at the calendar and predict when the harvest will be.  But we cannot do that with the souls of men.  We cannot look at them and know what day will be their last.  We cannot know exactly when the Lord might return.  For those reasons, our harvest is always right now.  This day is the only one that we have and may be the last opportunity we have to work in the field of the Lord.

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”  There are people everywhere who need the Lord.  What are we doing today in the area of sowing the seed and reaping the harvest?

Lord, I’m Coming Home (Hymn)

Lord, I’m Coming Home
William Kirkpatrick (1892)

I’ve wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home.

Refrain
Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home.

I’ve wasted many precious years,
Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears,
Lord, I’m coming home.

Refrain

My soul is sick, my heart is sore,
Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my hope restore,
Lord, I’m coming home.

Refrain

My only hope, my only plea,
Now I’m coming home;
That Jesus died, and died for me.
Lord, I’m coming home.

Refrain

I need His cleansing blood, I know,
Now I’m coming home;
O wash me whiter than the snow,
Lord, I’m coming home.

Refrain

In my opinion, this is the best hymn that there is on the subject of returning to the Lord from sin.  This song is the story of the Prodigal son in Luke.  It is the story of many other prodigal sons throughout history the world over.  It might even be our story.  Wherever we find ourselves today, we can always come home to the Lord.  What a wonderful truth.