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The Day the Roof Caved In
Mark 2:1-12 

 

And when He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. [4] And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. [5] And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." [6] But there were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, [7] "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" [8] And immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? [9] Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Arise, and take up your pallet and walk'? [10] "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." [12] And he rose and immediately took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all; so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this." 
 

According to George Barna, not much changed with the "state of the church" over the last five years. There were only two only noticeable differences. One was a five percent increase of those who say they are "absolutely committed to the Christian faith." Good for us, right?

Not exactly. The other difference was a five percent decrease in the number of people who attended church in the last week. (Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

Why do people stay away from church?

In an article for On Mission Magazine, Dianne Butts, gave the top ten reasons she's heard why people skip church. Here's what she wrote, 

10. I've been thinking I'd like to go to church. But I don't know anyone. And I don't know what to do, where to go, what to expect when I get there.

9. I don't believe in God. Christians are dangerous fanatics, politically unpopular and always trying to shove their beliefs on others.

8. There are so many denominations. . . even Christians can't agree among themselves what the Bible means.

7. There are so many churches . . . I don't know which one to go to. Why should I come to yours?

6. Church is for "good" people who haven't messed up. You don't know where I've been or what I've done.

5. Church is not important.

4. I don't need to go to church. I can worship God, even when I'm fishing.

3. I don't have nice clothes to wear to church.

2. I don't have time. Sunday morning is the only day I can sleep late.

1. People in churches are hypocrites.(Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

I've certainly heard the same things from people that Butts has as to why they don't come to church, and frankly some of the reasons are legitimate. But my questions isn't why don't people come to church, but rather, why don't people come to Christ?
 

NOT EVERYONE HAS FRIENDS THAT WILL HELP THEM COME TO CHRIST. This was a fortunate man with friends that were on a mission and wouldn't let any obstacle stop them. They wouldn't let the crowd stop them. Look at verses 2-4. "And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. [4] And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying."

Did you notice what they did in verse 4? They didn't let civility and the acceptable code of conduct keep them from taking their friend to Jesus. They cut a hole in the roof and let their friend down into the middle of the crowd that wouldn't let them in the front door.

Determination. That's the word. These men were determined. But they were also committed. I mean, somebody had to pay to fix the roof after they left, right? Whom do you think that was?

Those who've experienced Christ's love often pay the tab so others can hear about it. Or to put it another way, whenever someone comes to Christ, someone else pays for the roof.

One more thing before we leave the friends. Notice whose faith prompted Jesus to forgive the man's sins. Look in verse 5. "And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "'My son, your sins are forgiven.'" Jesus notices THEIR faith. Certainly the paralytic's faith was included, because saving faith is always personal, but so was the friends' faith! 

This man had friends who wanted Him to experience a transformation at the hand of Jesus. Do you have that kind of friend in your life? Are you that kind of a friend to the people in your life?

EVEN WITH THE KIND OF FRIENDS HE HAD, NOT EVERYONE WAS "PULLING FOR HIM." Sometimes, religious people keep people from coming to Christ. Look at verse 7 "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Instead of showing sympathy for the paralytic man, the religious people in the crowd wanted to argue over theology. No wonder the secular media is quick to stereotype Christians as judgmental.

Josh grew up in the church and was active in his youth group. Like many children who were raised in a Christian home, Josh adopted the faith of his parents. But that all changed when he turned 30. 

Josh fell in love with another woman and left his wife. When he told his family about his decision, his mother couldn't stop "preaching" at him about his sinfulness and his sister outright told him that he would go to hell because of this sin.

Today, Josh is a disciple of Buddha. (Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

Certainly I wouldn't defend Josh's choice to leave his wife for another woman, but I also have a hard time defending his family's judgmental, holier-than-thou attitude. Perhaps they needed to see if they were without sin before casting stones at Josh's soul.

Religion isn't always a good thing. Sometimes it becomes a barrier to coming to Christ.

AND THEN, SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE SO CONCERNED ABOUT GETTING HELP WITH THEIR PROBLEMS THAT THEY DON'T GET HELP FOR THEIR PROBLEM. Jesus didn't even address this man's problems, at least not yet. He first dealt with his REAL problem-his sin. After forgiving his sin, and saving his soul, then Jesus addressed the man's health problems. Let's read verses 9-12: "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Arise, and take up your pallet and walk'? [10] "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." [12] And he rose and immediately took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all; so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

Only after healing the man's soul, something the people in the crowd couldn't see, did Jesus heal his medical condition, something the people in the crowd could see. One was connected with the other. Notice what Jesus said in verse [10] "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home."

How easy it is to only be concerned with symptoms and not address root causes? Yes, I'm concerned about illiteracy and poverty and crime, but those are all symptoms of a deeper problem. Our world needs Jesus. If they don't come to our church, they miss something-this is a wonderful church with an exciting ministry. But if they don't come to our Lord, they miss everything.

What are you doing to bring the people you know to Christ? Perhaps you are here today at the invitation of a friend. Are you ready to do more than find this church? Are you ready to come to Christ? 

 

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