According To Luke: Faithful Friends



According To Luke: Faithful Friends

Opening Illustration:
In the mid to late 1990’s, “Friends” was the most popular show on TV. It was, as NBC stated, Must See TV. Every Thursday night kids my age would sit down to see the comedy of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey. Each week we would meet them in their apartment and at the coffee shop. There were lots of funny conversations around the coffee table at the Central Perk. 



As I remember back on that show, I remember the relationships between the fictional friends as funny, but not very fruitful. The characters seemed to always be in trouble. Their personal lives were always a mess. Each episode, while humorous, highlighted the brokenness of their lives. They all had trouble at work. They all had trouble in their dating lives. Ross, who had been previously married, had trouble with his ex-wife and child. 

Truthfully, when you really think about it, each character was a wreck of a human being and even though their were friends, they never seemed to help each other out of their mess. Often times, they dug the hole deeper for one another. 

Point:
So, what about you? When you look at the landscape of your friendships, are they helpful or hindering? Do your friendships help you grow, or do you feel like they are keeping you buried?

Here is another way to look at it. What sort of friend are you? Are you encouraging your peers to be better people? Are our actions leading others closer to Christ or further away from Him? Would our friends even know that we are professing Christians?

Point:
Friends, today is all about friends. Friends are important. The word “friend” is one of my favorite words. So much so that I use the word quite regularly in speaking to you. In my sermons, I refer to you as my “friends”. It is a great transitional word from point to point and sentence to sentence. 

My son come up to me last Sunday laughing. I asked him what was so funny and he told me that the youth play a game while I am preaching. They try to guess how many times I use the word “friend”. Last Sunday I said it 15 times in my sermon. I laughed about that but I say it often for a reason. 

If you cant find friends at church, where can you find them? It is important that we craft our deepest friendships here at church. 

Grade Your Friendships, Helpful or Hindering?

Background
Well this morning we will be looking at some very helpful friends. These men brought their sick buddy to Jesus for healing. There are some great lessons that we can learn from their powerful example. Remember, Luke 5 is a fairly remarkable chapter in the Gospel. We see that Jesus calls His first disciples. He does not call the educated or the remarkable. He does not call the religious elite and the powerfully pious. No. He calls failed fisherman and tax collectors. We have seen Jesus’ power to heal diseases including leprosy. Now we will see Jesus do something very radical. He heals a man then forgives His sin. This morning, we will look at this sick man’s friends. Next week, we will examine the power of fogginess. 

So open you Bibles and lets read together Luke 5:17-26. 

Luke 5:17-26 ESV
17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

4 Lessons On Godly Friendships 

I. Notice Their Proximity vs. 17
Luke 5:17 ESV
17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 

Illustration:
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Miami on a choir tour. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had on a mission trip. One of the experiences that we had was taking a trip to one of the local jails. This particular jail had some of the worst criminals that Miami had to offer. Among them were people who had committed murder, armed robbery, and drug dealers. To say that it was a scary place would be putting it mildly. 

When we arrived to the prison, we were greeted by two people. We were greeted by a guard and by an inmate. The inmate did all the talking. You could tell that the guard and the inmate were working together. The inmate was a believer. He had accepted Christ while in the prison and was actively working to see his fellow inmates come to Christ. He gave the students some very specific instructions,

1. Follow his lead. When going into the prison, we were to do all the things that he did. We were to respond to questions the way he told us. We were to follow his lead in dealing with the guards and the prisoners alike. 

2. Keep your eyes on him. When performing, look at him and not at any of the other prisoners. These were dangerous people and the wrong look could set off a dangerous criminal. However, if we kept our eyes on him, we would be safe and secure. 

3. Stay close to him. Do not depart from the way he was going. Stay behind him at every checkpoint. The closer to him that we were, the safer we were. You see, both the prisoners and the guards respected him. We were considered his guests and as his guests, we would receive respect. 

The meeting ended but his words stuck with me. Follow him. Keep my eyes on him. Stay close to him. When I think about those words, I find life. I find freedom. 

Point:
You know brothers and sisters, Jesus tells us the same thing doesn’t He? Follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 ESV
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 

The author of Hebrews tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 KJV
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…

Jesus tells us to stay close to Him.

John 15:4 NIV
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Point:
Notice these men knew exactly where to find Jesus. They were close to Him. Brothers and sisters, the best start to being a Godly friend, is to be near Him. To follow Him. To follow Christ’s lead. To keep your eyes on Him. 

Ill make this statement for you this morning. It is impossible to be a good friend without being near to Jesus. How can that be? The ultimate act of friendship, the ultimate act of love, is to bring them to Jesus. To bring them to Jesus, you must first know where to find Him. 

So your first step in being a Godly friend, be near to Jesus!

Psalm 16:8 ESV
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

II. Notice Their Passion vs. 18
Luke 5:18 ESV
18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus…

Point:
Remember this comment, as friends we have to have the eyes of a doctor, not the eyes of a judge. Let me say it again. We have to have the eyes of a doctor, not the eyes of a judge. 

A doctor has eyes to heal. A judge has eyes to condemn. 

Point:
Remember, if someone in the ancient world was infirm, or if they were suffering from disease, it was the common thought that this person was a sinner under the judgement of God. In many cases, this sick person was cast out, forgotten about, and shunned. 

Not this paralyzed man. He was loved. He was cared for. His friends had a passion for Him. They knew where Jesus was and they stopped at nothing to get him to Jesus. What a gift. 

Question:
How passionate are you about your lost friends? First of all, I hope that you have lost friends? Let’s say that we all have lost, sick friends. What are you doing to actively lead them to Christ? Do they see Jesus in you? They cannot lead themselves to Jesus no more than that paralyzed man can pick himself up and walk to Jesus. 

Point:
Aren’t you glad that these friends did not look at the sick man like a judge? They looked at him as an opportunity to see healing and wellness. May we all look at our lost friends the same way. 

Be the doctor, not the judge. Get your friends to Jesus.

I John 4:7 ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

III. Notice Their Persistence vs. 19
Luke 5:19 ESV
19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.

Illustration: 
A true story that I recently read.

For more than 40 years, each week a shy Welshman went to his neighbor’s door and slipped a love note underneath. Because of an argument years before, she refused to speak to the man. Finally, after writing 2184 love letters with no response of any kind, the 74-year-old man went to the door, knocked, and asked the 74-year-old woman to marry him. Much to his surprise, she said yes, and they tied the knot.

Now that is persistent. However, from what I have discovered, persistence often pays off. 

Point:
That certainly is the case in this story. When the friends bring their sick brother to Jesus, there was a barrier. Well, there were actually several barriers.

There was the barrier of people. Most people are self absorbed. Most people are not willing to help. Most people are judgmental. That was certainly the case in this story. The people were not willing to move to allow this sick man to be healed. 

There was the barrier of culture. Jesus was having a conversation with religious people. Culture said that this man was receiving his just deserves. He was being punished for his sin or his parents sin. Either way, why help him when God would not help him. The Pharisees were not interested in helping this paralyzed man.

There was one more barrier. The barrier of materialism. You see it don’t you? These friends damaged personal property to see this man healed. Nothing was going to get in their way, not even material wealth. They kicked it aside because their friend’s life was that important. 

So, what barriers keep you and me from brining our friends to Jesus? Are we afraid that we will make them mad? Are we afraid of offending them?  

Brother and sisters, eternity is at stake. Lives are at stake. What does it matter if they are mad? They are not mad at you, they are mad at the message. What does it matter if they are offended? They are offended at the message?

Point:
Cast aside the barriers, be persistent in our loving affection to see our friends come to know Jesus. 

IV. Notice Their Pleasure vs. 26
Luke 5:26 ESV
26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Point:
So we know the rest of the story, the man is healed because his friends brought him to Jesus. Jesus forgives his sin, much to the dismay of the crowd, and the man embraces a new life. It is a beautiful story. 

Brothers and sister, healing takes time. It may take people years and years to finally accept Christ. However, we must remain persistent. We must remain prayerful. 

Never give up on your loved one or your friend. Jesus can still work miracles. 

One last point, there is no greater joy than leading someone toward healing through Jesus. NO. GREATER. JOY!


Follow Their Example, Be A Faithful Friend!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

According To Luke: Man vs. Wild

The Generous Giver: The Choice To Give

Wise Men Still Seek Him