The title of the message today is Living as an Ordinary Radical. I thought this title was a good fit describing the main thrust our text today- A text that most of us have heard many times before. It is the story of Jesus healing a paralytic man. But even though I have heard this story many times before… this week I was absolutely blown away by what God taught me fresh from his word. And my hope and prayer for you this week was that you would experience a fresh insight from this story today- That you would be encouraged in a new way by God’s word in this passage as you seek to live for Him in this world. The text were looking at is Mark 2:1-12 and in this passage we’ll uncover a little bit about what it means to live as an ordinary radical. i.e what it looks like to live the kind of life that followers of Jesus are meant to live And as we look at the first part of our text starting in verse 1, we discover a model of service for Ordinary Radicals.
A Model of Service for Ordinary Radicals (Mark 2:1-4)
Mark 2:1-2 When He[Jesus] 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, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. Mark 2:3 And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Mark 2:4 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.
Here we see from the service of four Ordinary Radicals a beautiful model of service for Ordinary Radicals to follow today.
#1 Believe God will act
It says in verse 3 “they came, bringing to Him a paralytic”
These four men came bringing to Jesus a paralytic because they believed God would act to heal him.
They had a friend whose life was in all probability characterized by misery – living in complete dependency, humiliation, boredom, confinement, loneliness, frustration, depression, and hopelessness,
Like we would if we had to rely on someone else for everything including changing our underwear
The man did NOT have:
hospice care, physical therapy, miracle drugs, no chin navigating wheelchair.
He DID have:
At least four friends who offered him hope because they believed that God would move in his life.
The first thing that Ordinary Radicals do is believe that God will act.
#2 Bear the burden of another to help bring them to Jesus
The text says they “carried” the man.
These men not only believed that God would act….but they took action themselves by bearing the burden of another and came alongside this guy, to serve him, and help to carry him to Jesus.
There are so many people who will never come to Jesus unless somebody helps them.
We’re not just talking about the physically paralyzed. We’re talking about the spiritually paralyzed.
Before we were brought to Jesus, we may not have been physically paralyzed, but we were all spiritually paralyzed.
Romans 5:6 6 For while we were still helpless (crippled), at the right time Christ died for us.
If we believe that Jesus is the true hope for the spiritually paralyzed soul, then we must go (like these men) to where the crippled are, and help bear their burden, and bring them to Jesus.
Personal story- I was spiritually crippled as a sophomore in high school and a girl in my high school English class brought me to Jesus.
Application: Who in your life is spiritually paralyzed?
Grocery store, golf club, work, school, tenants, parents, siblings, neighbors. They’re everywhere
Tthere is at least one person in your life that is spiritually paralyzed?
God is asking this morning… “How can you help to bear their burden?”
Maybe they have a burden for friendship- Will you be their friend?
Maybe it’s some other burden-
but how can bear the burden of another if you don’t know what the burdens are? And how can you expect to know their burden and be allowed to carry their burden unless you have a relationship with them.
God want you to pursue a deeper relationship with that person in your life who is spiritually paralyzed? So that you can help bear their burden and help bring them to Jesus
#3 Bust through Barriers to make an impact
Mark 2:4 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.
Here we can uncover four principles that will help us as Ordinary Radicals to bust through barriers to make an impact for Christ.
Do the unexpected and difficult
These guys encountered a problem and they thought outside the box and came up with something unexpected.
And had they not done something unexpected they wouldn’t have gotten their friend to Jesus.
I can just imagine these guys brainstorming as they encountered their problem their barrier…asking different questions, coming up with different solutions:
One of them says “What do you say we go through the roof?
They all agree that it’s gonna be somewhat difficult getting this dude in a bed up on to the roof and lowering him down. But they say “let’s go for it!”
And this is a couple thousand years before the first mission impossible movie! And these guys are saying “let’s mission impossible through the roof.”
These guys chose to work together to do the unexpected even though it was difficult; And it usually is more difficult to do the unexpected- to take the road less travelled.
But it’s not about the level of difficulty of the project…it’s about doing something unexpected, something outside the box, that will actually get the job done to bring people to Jesus.
Do the unapproved–
It says “they removed the roof and dug an opening”
I’m pretty sure that no one gave these guys permission to destroy the roof by digging a man sized hole in it.
The religious crowd in the house didn’t approve- because they would have been upset when the clay started falling from the ceiling interrupting the gathering getting their nice clothes dirty.
Did the owner of the house approve? I was wondering about this and thought to myself, maybe one of these guys owned the house and he supported and approved the project to destroy the roof. And then I thought… “No!… even if one of these guys owned the house, I guarantee his wife didn’t approve.”
Can you just see his wife with arms folded saying to her husband, “I agreed to have a gathering…but I did NOT agree to have my house broken.”
The ordinary radical does the unapproved and unexpected to bust through barriers to make an impact for Jesus.
Don’t let finances prevent progress
These guys must have know that replacing the roof would cost someone something.
I’m assuming that the cost of replacing a roof in that day was somewhat comparable to replacing the roof of basic house today. It wasn’t cheap.
But regardless of the cost (even if it was minimal) their goal was to get this man to Jesus and the money wasn’t going to prevent them from doing just that.
Maybe you have an idea to reach out to someone or start a ministry of some kind and money is your hangup.
As an Ordinary Radical…Don’t let money prevent your progress.
I’m not saying “Don’t count the cost” These men were aware of the costs involved. They may have even had a plan to cover the costs. But the point is that they didn’t let the money keep them from making a huge impact for Christ in this man’s life.
Don’t be concerned with your own safety or reputation–
I’m convinced that (in one sense) the safest place in the world is God’s will. “Thou Oh Lord art a shield about me” But this is NOT to say that life in Christ can not be dangerous.
Maybe you’ll recall in the chronicles of Narnia when Lucy asks the beaver if Aslan the lion (who is the Christ figure in that book) is safe?
The beaver says “Oh no Aslan is NOT safe, but He is good.
And Ordinary Radicals understand this paradox.
Think of these guys trying to lower this paralyzed (dead weight) man from a hole in this now pretty unstable roof- I don’t know how high it was. I don’t know the level of safety we’re talking about here. But the level of safety is not the point. The point is that it was NOT the most safe place to be.
They could have been somewhere much safer. They could have stayed home that day.
Not only was in unsafe, the people inside would have seen who was so rudely interrupting the gathering and their reputations would have suffered.
Application: Are you worried about your safety to the point that it hinders God’s call you life?
God’s call on each and every one of our lives is to be missionaries to this culture? Are you so worried about your reputation that you never take a stand for Jesus?
God wants you stop worrying about safety and reputation- to be sold out for Him no matter what the cost- even if it is your life.
The church today has too many celebrities and not enough martyrs. We need more Ordinary Radicals
The Goal of Service for an Ordinary Radical (Mark 2:5-12)
The ultimate goal of our radical service is to bring people to Jesus for forgiveness of sins!
Mark 2:5-12 5 And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
The goal is NOT merely the healing of their bodies, or the fixing of their circumstances, or the removal of their difficulties, but it is ultimately the healing of their spiritual paralysis by Jesus.
Jesus knew that the man’s greatest need was not to walk again- it was the forgiveness of his sins…because mere physical healing of a paralyzed body (though a great miracle), does not last.
Maybe you are here this morning hoping for physical healing and relief but you are spiritually paralyzed and what you really need is God’s forgiveness.
God is offering you forgiveness of all your sins- past, present, future- To wipe your slate clean.
Are you that person spiritually paralyzed before Jesus today needing God’s forgiveness?
A little boy had disobeyed his Dad, he got out his slate chalkboard and wrote in his little awkward letters, “Dad, I’m sorry I was bad. If you forgive me, wipe this out.” The next time he came by, his Daddy had wiped it clean.”
Jesus has promised to do that!
Has He ever said to you, “Son/Daughter, Your sins are forgiven?”
Mark 2:6-7 But some of the scribes were 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?”
Here we see the real paralytics: it says that “the scribes were just sitting there.” Why didn’t they get up to help?
Probably because Jesus just committed one of the worst sins in their religion. According to their reasoning which is completely accurate: 1. He claims to forgive sins. 2. Only God can forgive sin 3. Therefore Jesus claims to be God.
In their hearts they are accusing Jesus of blasphemy!
Mark 2:8-12a 8 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, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk ‘? 10 “But so 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, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone
On that day Jesus proved that he was not a blasphemer.
He proved that he had the power to forgive sins.
He proved to the people in that place that the Son of Man, Our Lord Jesus Christ, has the power to bring spiritual healing and he proved it by healing this paralytic physically.
The scribes were right about one thing…
No mere man can absolve the sins of those who are guilty before God. No priest, No pastor, No Pope, Nobody.
No church or denomination, nothing can pardon the one who needs God’s mercy except God
Only the God-man Jesus Christ can forgive of sins.
And that is why we serve as ordinary radicals- to bring people to the savior, who alone can offer hope and healing for the paralyzed soul.
Mark 2:12b 12b “they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
You can just picture these 5 guys skipping down the street, arm-in-arm, laughing, praising God with tears of joy. Blown away by what just happened. This guy was no longer hopeless- He was set free in so many ways They were all amazed and were glorifying God.
This morning we’ve uncovered a beautiful model of Radical Service. We’ve been given by God an idea as to what living as an Ordinary Radical in His service looks like.
Believe that God will Act
Bear the burden of another to bring them to Jesus
Bust through Barriers to make an impact by
Doing what is unexpected and unapproved
Not allowing money or safety or reputation to hinder god’s work through us
All with the goal of bringing people to Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. i.e with the goal of helping others get spiritual healing in Jesus name advancing the Kingdom of God and making disciples for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Will you go from this place today and live as an Ordinary Radical? Go find a need and meet it!