Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bologna or Prime Rib?

John 5:1-5

“Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days.  Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches.  Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.  One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! Waiting for the moving of the water.”

There are a lot of God’s children who, spiritually speaking, are on the porch.  They are not doing anything to enter into the presence of God. They are sitting back waiting for instant healing, instant financial blessing, and instant spiritual transformation.  They watch while others enter into the blessings and presence the Lord, they judge the worship of others, and criticize the leadership of their pastors.  They know “how it should be done,” meantime they stuck in a state of spiritual mediocrity because they are not doing nothing to move closer to the presence of God that can bring them true healing and power.  They are stuck on the porch.

My experience is that porches tend to be gathering places for the sick and impotent.   My grandmother used to tell me, all the time, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  I have learned through the years that grandma, like usual, was right on the money.  If some people didn’t have their sicknesses, their financial problems, and rocky relationships with others, they wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

Here is a spiritual principle that I have come to understand, there’s no healing on the porch:

Do you want to be healed?  It’s a simple enough question, but you have to decide how you will respond to it.  Are you willing to get off the porch?  Are you willing to stop associating with those who can’t help you because they continue to accommodate your lukewarm approach to your relationship with God? Are you tired of relying on man’s help to move you closer to the power of God’s presence?

One of the greatest excuses of those on the porch, “I don’t have any one to give it to me, if they would bring it to me, I would take it.  This is one of worst hindrances to receiving the power available to all believers through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This attitude that some is better than none, “I’m saved and that’s good enough for me.”  

What a weak way to live!  It’s like saying I’d rather have a bologna sandwich when you could have prime rib.  It produces a spirit of indifference and insincerity.  No one would rather have less when more is available, some are just too lazy to get off the porch!  They want the blessing of grapes; they just don't want to fight the giants.

There is a dimension of God’s presence and power that will never be experienced by these people.  This glory is reserved for those who are willing to do whatever it takes to get off the porch and into His presence.  A power that only comes to those who run after the presence of God with a spirit of urgency.  A power that is reserved for those who, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness."

"There is a season for everything and a time to every purpose under heaven," but do not miss what I’m saying: seasons change!  "Mourning lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning!"   Hear what I am saying to you!  Your window of opportunity to respond to the presence of His Holy Spirit may pass you by if you remain on the porch!

If we are not spiritually in tune with God, we can miss the greatest seasons of visitation that the church has ever known.  There comes a time when singing about it isn’t enough, when preaching about it isn’t enough, and when shouting about it isn’t enough unless we step off the porch! We can shout and dance and preach about all the great things God has done, and never touch what He is doing right now!  I want you to notice that the man was healed, and he took up his mat, "still waiting for the water to be stirred." 

God doesn't always manifest himself the way He has in the past, it doesn't always happen the way we expect it to happen, but if we are willing to step into His presence, His power always manifests with life changing transformation.  We will never come away from the presence of God empty and impotent.  We can stay on the porch and talk about all the great revivals of the past, and how God manifested his glory, or we can get off the porch and step into His power!  Jesus said: "The words that I speak unto you are spirit and they are life." 

There is power in His presence, saving power, healing power, and transforming power.  But you’ve got to be willing to be changed, and you’ve got to be willing to put forth the effort to get off the porch.

1 comment:

  1. Preach it Brother! What comes to mind is the wedding feast where Jesus turned the water into wine, where Lazarous was brought back to life and Peter walked to Jesus on the each miracle men had to step up and do their parts....Jesus didn't fill the jars, He didn't roll the stone away, and He didn't help Peter out of the boat! May your ministry be long and fruitfully abundant!