People Respond Differently Sermon by David A. Reed at Immanuel Baptist Church May 21, 2017

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During his earthly ministry our Lord Jesus

brought healing and salvation to lots of people.

Most of them were appreciative.

But some did not appreciate what Jesus did for them.

Similarly today,

when we share the Gospel message - the Good News of salvation -

some people gladly receive the Gospel

but some do not.

And, when they don't,

there's often a specific reason.

There's often a common thread among those who reject the Gospel -

and in a few minutes

we'll be able to identify that common thread.

To accomplish that his morning

I'm going to spend most of my time in the Gospel of John

looking at two men Jesus healed,

and how they responded.

 

The Gospels are full of accounts

of people healed by Jesus and the Apostles,

and sinners whose lives were turned around.

But John gives us more than the usual amount of detail

about these two men in particular

in John chapter 5 and chapter 9,

so we'll do a comparison between them.

First, though,

I ought to mention that the recipients of healing and salvation

usually were very appreciative.

 

In John chapter 4 there was a royal official in Capernaum

whose son was sick and dying.

Jesus healed the boy from a distance, and John tells us

the man "and all his household" responded

by becoming believers.

In Luke chapter 13, when Jesus healed a woman

whose back was bent for 18 years,

she stood up straight and began praising God.

When Jesus healed two blind men near Jericho in Matthew chapter 20,

they responded by becoming his followers.

In Luke chapter 5,

a paralyzed man was lowered through the ceiling

Jesus told the man, "Your sins are forgiven"

and then healed him.

The man responded by walking home praising God.

In Acts chapter 2,

Peter and John healed a crippled man outside the Temple,

and he responded by following after them,

leaping and praising God.

And I could go on and on,

with examples of those who responded with appreciation.

 

But in Luke chapter 17,

when Jesus healed ten lepers,

only one of the ten came back to Jesus,

praising God, falling at Jesus' feet and praising Him.

But, as I said, I want to focus this morning

on the two men in John chapter 5 and John chapter 9.

They responded very differently to Jesus' miracles

-even though they were both recipients:

One of them was born blind,

and was given his sight.

The other was unable to walk for 38 years,

and Jesus healed him as well.

In both cases, Jesus performed the miracle

and then slipped away.

And in both cases Jesus' enemies confronted those who were healed.

 

But here's the difference:

The man born blind became Jesus' disciple,

and defended Jesus despite persecution.

The man who had been unable to walk

was resentful toward the message Jesus gave him,

and betrayed Jesus to his enemies.

 

So, let's look more closely at these two men.

The man born blind is in John chapter 9,

and the invalid in John chapter 5.

 

READ John 9:1-39 COMMENT

 

Now let's look at the other man, in John chapter 5.

 

READ John 5:1-14 COMMENT

 

There's a lot in common between these two accounts.

Both men had been disabled for a long time:

One man had been born blind, and was now an adult.

The other man had been an invalid for 38 years.

Both accounts involve a pool:

The Pool of Siloam for the man who had been blind.

And the Pool of Bethesda for the other man.

In both cases Jesus had slipped away-disappeared

-before the men could show

whether they appreciated what Jesus did for them.

 

But then Jesus caught up with both men later,

and their reaction was completely opposite

-strikingly different.

 

The man who had been an invalid had no idea who Jesus was,

but when Jesus found him again,

how did the man respond?

Apparently he didn't like being told to "Stop sinning!"

-so he went and reported Jesus to his enemies.

And they persecuted Jesus as a result.

Whatever appreciation the man may have had for being healed

-his anger at being told to "Stop sinning!" outweighed that

and instead of THANKING Jesus, he turned him in.

 

The man who had been born blind was different.

He was appreciative-

even though he, too, was confronted by Jesus' enemies.

 

What a contrast!

The former invalid turned Jesus in and reported Him to His enemies.

The former blind man worshiped Jesus.

 

The former invalid accepted the healing,

but rejected Jesus' message ("Stop sinning!")

and he went right off and

reported Jesus to his enemies,

and so brought persecution

on the One who healed him

The former blind man, on the other hand, worshiped Jesus.

He stuck up for Jesus in the Pharisees' kangaroo court.

And he kept sticking up for Jesus,

even though it meant being thrown out of the synagogue.

------------------------------

Not many of us have received

such spectacular miraculous healings.

And not many of us have been confronted

over our relationship with Jesus

-- at least not to the point of being put on trial

for our belief in Him.

 

But, what about the gifts we HAVE received from God

-and our measure of appreciation?

 

Do we really need to be unable to walk for 38 years,

in order to appreciate the gift of being able to walk?

 

Would we have to be born blind,

and spend a lifetime without the gift of sight,

in order to appreciate this precious gift of God?

 

Really, we can't thank God enough

for the many, many gifts He has given us.

 

And one of those gifts is privilege of reading the Bible

which helps us be more appreciative

--- and not to take His gifts for granted.

-----------------------------------------

Besides our own appreciation,

what about the response of those we share the Gospel with?

Jesus commanded us at Matthew 28:19-20,

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you."

It's a message of salvation and emotional healing,

but people respond differently.

Some are appreciative, and some are not.

Some gladly accept Jesus as their Savior,

but don't want to obey Him as their Lord.

Having Jesus as our Lord,

means that we obey Him.

That's the part of the Gospel message where Jesus said,

"teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you."

I actually know a woman who

began attending a Baptist church,

and eventually presented herself for baptism.

And when she was up here

in that church's baptism pool,

the pastor asked her in front of the whole church,

"Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?"

Her reply was,

"I accept Jesus as my Savior, but not as my Lord."

I feel bad for the poor pastor

who was put on the spot as to what to do.

He dunked her in the water, anyway.

But I know that that woman struggled with Jesus,

for many years, until much later in life,

when she finally chose to let Him

be Lord of her life.

 

Yes, people love to hear that their sins have been forgiven.

That part of the Gospel message is very popular

and you hear it preached in all sorts of churches everywhere.

No one objects to having their sins forgiven.

They are happy to have a Savior -

Jesus who saves them from their sins.

The other part of the Gospel message is not popular at all:

that people need to obey Jesus as their Lord,

to repent and stop practicing sin.

That's where accepting Jesus as Lord comes in.

The Apostle Paul faithfully preached the whole message:

He said at Acts 20:26-27,

"Therefore I testify to you in this day that I am innocent of the blood of all. For I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you the whole counsel of God."

As Christians, we have been given a message to preach

involving repentance from sin and forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name.

At the end of Luke chapter 24, Jesus said:

"Thus it has been written: The Christ was to suffer and to rise out from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins to be proclaimed in His name to all nations"." (Luke 24:45-47)

But not everyone we talk to will accept that message.

Not everyone was happy with the message

when Jesus spoke it to them in person.

(Remember the man who had been an invalid for 38 years.

He accepted Jesus' healing,

but not Jesus call to "stop sinning."

At John 15:20-22 Jesus told us,

"Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin."

Jesus told us ahead of time

that some would not accept our message,

just as they did not accept His message.

But we can obey Jesus as our Lord,

by faithfully sharing the Gospel message,

even if different people respond differently.