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CHRIST'S HEALING ON THE SABBATH, #522

"The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk." (JOH 5:10-11)

The Jews were those who were the authorities and the doctors in the law. These Jews were bringing condemnation, they were bringing criticism, and they were bringing accusations: "it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed."

This man that was cured confessed in verse 13 that he "wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place." He didn’t know who healed him; he knew he was healed! He didn’t even know who did it. He was not one who professed to be an authority in the law. One thing he knew: "He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk." He was going to proceed with simple obedience with the light that he had and he didn’t make himself busy about interpreting; what was spoken was so plain, so pure, and so simple it didn’t need interpreting. It was merely "He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk," and in simple obedience to the authority of the Word, he took up his bed and walked.

What a contrast between the Jew’s conception of the Sabbath, and God’s intent in sanctifying it as a day of rest. When you understand the distinction between legalistic Sabbath-keeping and what God intended for it as a day of rest, then we’ll understand why the Pharisees were so adamantly opposed to the man carrying his bed on the Sabbath Day.

The Pharisees were so adamantly opposed, that we read in verse 16, "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day." Why were they seeking to slay Jesus on this account? In the Old Testament, if somebody transgressed the Sabbath Day by gathering sticks, they were to be stoned to death! Legalistically, they were going to enforce the letter of the law, but what they didn’t understand was the spirit of the law. They did not understand what Jesus meant, what the Word of God meant, by a New Testament Sabbath rest.

 MAR 2:27 says, "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath." Jesus is going back to show where the origin of the Sabbath was. The origin of the Sabbath was not on Mount Sinai. The origin of the Sabbath did not begin upon the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. He says, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath."

When was the Sabbath made for man? It was made before the fall, in the state of innocence. The Lord made a day of repose, a day for you and I to rest from the things of this life, to rest from our labors, to rest from the cares of this world, and to have a day that would be an emblem of eternal rest. This emblem of eternal rest is not to be observed legalistically; it is to be observed for the praise and for the glory of God. The Sabbath was not instituted on Mount Sinai; it was sanctified, it was set apart, and it was hallowed before the fall.

As the Lord gave the commandment from Mount Sinai pertaining to the Sabbath, He said, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (EXO 20:11)

The Lord is pointing out in the commandment that was given on Mount Sinai that the Sabbath was from the beginning. In the creation God rested from all His labors and took that day, set it apart, and hallowed it. It was set apart and hallowed from eternity, from before the fall. This sanctifying of the Sabbath was first established long before the law on Mount Sinai.

"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (GEN 2:3)

The Lord set apart and sanctified this day, that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Even in the state of innocence, Adam was to dress and to keep the garden. Adam was not to be loitering; Adam was to be laboring, he was to be working, and he was to be keeping the garden, but the Lord gave him a day of repose: A day for the sole purpose of worshipping God that was set apart from eternity. Nothing has changed. What God does from eternity is to eternity. He created all things in six days, but He has one day that He set apart for rest.

God can only be pleased with heart worship. We’ve gone through this in JOH 4:24. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." See what the Jews were lacking. They were not worshipping Him in spirit. They did not have a heart worship, worshipping God in spirit. Neither were they worshipping Him in truth. Therefore their Sabbath observance was totally legalistic and totally contrary to the purpose and the intent of the Sabbath.

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied many times about the coming of the Christ. He had many revelations of the New Testament times, of the Christ. He shows us what it is to worship in spirit and in truth. This is true Sabbath worship.

ISA 58:13 says, "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words."

That is worshipping the Father in spirit on the day that He has set aside for the worshipping of God. This is not legalistic: this is spirit worship, this is heart worship, setting aside the day as holy, as a delight. It is setting aside the day to be "honourable; and shalt honour him." That was the intent of the Sabbath. That is spiritual worship on the Sabbath. It’s not in the legalistic letter of the law.

The scribes and Pharisees were totally ignorant of the spirit of the law. They were zealous guardians of the letter of the law, but they did not understand the spirit of the law. They did not understand what it meant to worship God from the heart. Their hearts were so taken up with the legalistic letter of the law and their zeal for the letter of the law, that they didn’t have any conception of spiritual worship. They were held to be the highest authorities in the law.

As we go through this, see what happens when man begins to interpret the Word of God. I’ve had pastors argue with me and say, "What do you mean we can’t interpret the Word of God?" When I get done showing you how the scribes and the Pharisees were interpreting the Word of God, then I think you’ll catch on to what I’m talking about. That doesn’t mean that we don’t take the Word of God, unfold it, compare Scripture with Scripture, and learn to understand the meaning of the Word. But when we start interpreting the Word, we make a lie.

See how they went into all their traditions and they held their traditions above the Word of God. They would interpret, it would become a tradition, and as their traditions developed into what they called the law (because that was their interpretation of the law) then they imposed that upon every man.

MAR 7:7 shows us, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." We have to watch that as we unfold the Word of God, we compare Scripture with Scripture so that we’re teaching the clear Word of God.

Verses 8-9 say, "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."

When we start interpreting the Word of God, we start having so many things that we have to observe based on what man thinks, that we end up rejecting the Word of God! Verse 13 says, "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

I want to go into a just a few of these traditions so that you’ll get an understanding of what Jesus was talking about and see why they were so offended with this man carrying his bed on the Sabbath (it was Saturday at that time). They were looking at such a strict, legalist, letter-of-the-law according to their interpretations that they made "the word of God of none effect." Isaiah 58 was in effect at that time, and they couldn’t see it. They made it of "none effect."

They had a collection, or a digest, called the Mishna. This was a document (put together by the scribes) of their interpretations of the law. They were traditions, they were explanations of the Scripture, and they contained 613 major commandments!

When the Lord Jesus was asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" He condensed ten commandments into two. He brought them down to the commandments of love: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (MAT 22:37-40)

The effect of the interpreting of the scribes and Pharisees was that they took ten commandments and made them into 613!

ROM 13:7-9 say, "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery [he’s talking about the Ten Commandments], Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness [The first four commandments are the first table of the law. The last six commandments are the second table of the law.], Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Do you see what Jesus was saying? He said that there are two commandments: To love God with your heart, your soul, and your mind is the summary of the first four and the command to love your brother as yourself is a summary of the last six.

The Jews came up with 613 major commandments: 284 were positive, and 365 were negative. These were divided into six main sections. (See how thoroughly they had gone through this law!) The second section dealt with the festive seasons, which was also divided into another twelve parts. One of those parts, which contained 156 pages, dealt with the Sabbath. So when each of these 613 commandments was broken down into sections and parts, just one part of the 613 contained 156 pages!

This is how they break down – and I’m just giving you a sample of it that dealt with the Sabbath Day. When we begin to understand this legalistic mentality, when you understand what they had in their Mishna, then you’ll understand why they were upset about bearing a burden on the Sabbath Day.

The Sabbath was broken down into twelve heads. We’re going to go into just one of those heads (and that contained 156 pages, but here’s a summary of it).

No.1) The biblical law forbids labor in simple terms on the Sabbath. These simple terms were developed into several special ordinances by first dividing the bearing of a burden into two separate acts: One was lifting it up and the other one was setting it down.

They had it figured out that when the LORD said that we were not to bear a burden on the Sabbath, that the act of lifting up a burden could be a transgression, and then the act of setting it down could be a transgression! (I’ve never found that in the Word of God, but that is what is in the Mishna.)

No.2) A burden might be lifted up or put down from two different places: from a public place into a private or from a private into a public place. If you picked up a burden in your home and set it down in a public gathering it was not a violation. Or, if you picked it up in a public place and set it down in your home it was not a violation. But if you picked it up in your home and set it down again, then you had transgressed the law. If you picked it up in a public place and set it down again in a public place, then you had transgressed the law; you had desecrated the Sabbath. This is how they had their law put together.

No. 3) A burden is identified by its weight. The weight of a dried fig is a burden, but half a fig is not a burden.

Do you see why they were so critical of the man who carried his bed? Whether or not you carried a burden was decided by the weight of what you picked up and what you set down. The weight of a dried fig was a burden. If you picked up one dried fig then you picked up a burden; you had desecrated the Sabbath Day. If you picked up the weight of a half a fig, then you did not commit a transgression. This is how they had the law divided.

No. 4) If a half a fig was carried at two different times, these two actions were to be combined into one so as to constitute the sin of Sabbath desecration. In other words, if you pick up a half a fig and move it, then you pick up another half a fig and move it, you had to combine those two (that is the weight of a fig) and you had desecrated the Sabbath. But if you pick up the same fig and move it twice, that was still only a half a fig and you had not desecrated the Sabbath.

 

No.5) You were not allowed to pick up a burden that was too large for eating your food. If it was the size of an olive, it was too large, but if it was the size of a half an olive, that was okay. However, if you had a half an olive in your mouth and rejected it and took it back out again, then picked up another piece the same size, then you had a piece the size of an olive that had touched your palate, and you had violated the Sabbath Day.

No.6) If an object that was intended to be worn or carried had slipped behind (say the garment was large and had slipped out of its place), if it had slipped to the back and you moved it forward, that was alright, but if it happened to slide forward and you moved it back, you were bearing a burden.

That’s how ridiculous it became – this comes right out of the Mishna. This shows why these people were so upset that the man was carrying his bed.

No.7) If you took cold water and poured it on warm water, it was not a transgression, but if you took warm water and poured it on cold water, you had generated energy, you had warmed up cold water and transgressed the Sabbath Day; you had violated and desecrated the Sabbath.

No.8) It was declared lawful to lift up a seat. A seat was heavier than a fig, but you could lift up a seat to move it provided that it did not have more than four steps. A seat that had four legs was all right, but if it had five, it was a ladder and you could not move it – you were lifting a burden. That would be illegal on the Sabbath Day.

No.9) It was not allowed to draw or push a chair. You could pick up a seat and move it, but you were not allowed to slide it. The reason you could not slide it was that it might produce a crease in the ground. If you slid a chair and it left a little groove in the ground, you had moved the dirt, you would be plowing, therefore you would be performing work and therefore desecrating the Sabbath Day.

These are very intricate violations that were very carefully thought out.

No.10) It was taught not to wear a frontlet or necklace because if it fell off, you would not be allowed to pick it up: you would be bearing a burden. Such insanity results from interpreting the law.

No.11) Suppose your home caught fire.

A) You were allowed to remove all portions of the Holy Scripture, whether they were original or translated. You could carry them out. You could save them from the fire.

B) You were allowed to remove food and drink that which was prepared for the Sabbath. If it was food that you had in store (other than what was prepared for the Sabbath), you were not allowed to touch it. It had to go up in smoke because you would be bearing a burden if you moved it even if the house was burning down.

If you had food that you had prepared for the Sabbath, and it was in or on a cupboard, you could pick up the whole cupboard and move it (and everything that was in it) because that food was prepared for the Sabbath, but you were not allowed to take a single item of food that was not prepared for the Sabbath – that would be carrying a burden.

C) All utensils needed for the Sabbath meal could be saved, but of the dress, only that which was absolutely necessary for the Sabbath might be saved. You were not allowed to go to the closet and take your clothes out, but you could go in the room, put the clothing on, and walk out, take them off, go back in and put on some more, and that way you could get your clothes out of the house (if you had time!).

It’s quite legalistic - beyond all imagination. This in fact comes right out of the Mishna. This was the way the scribes and Pharisees had interpreted the Sabbath law.

D) Anything in the house could be covered with a skin to save it from the flames, or from the spread of the flames. You would be allowed to pile up dishes or pots and pans to keep the fire from spreading, but you would not be allowed to take your things out of the house. If a Gentile happened to be near, you were not allowed to ask him to help you put out the flames, but if he should happen to volunteer, then it was all right. He could go in and put the fire out if he did it voluntarily, but you were not allowed to ask him. You were not allowed to make any attempt to put the fire out on the Sabbath Day.

These few examples are but a glimpse of the 156 pages of what is considered proper or improper to do on the Sabbath, and this is only one of the sub-headings under one of the twelve sections, into which the law was divided.

Our Saviour came to set His people free from these legalistic commandments of men. Now you understand why the Lord Jesus talked to them about the cleaning of pots and pans. They said that when you came from the market that except you wash and purify your hands and your pots and pans, you could not eat. That was all part of their law. The Lord Jesus was showing them that they were not observing the commandments of God; they were making commandments of men.

The main issue of the keeping of the Sabbath (according to the scribes and Pharisees) was inaction. The very fact that you did nothing meant you were keeping the Sabbath. They never understood the spirit of the law.

MAR 3:4 says, "And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace." The teaching of Jesus contradicts these human traditions.

Look at LUK 13:15. "The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?" They were criticizing the Lord Jesus for setting a person free on the Sabbath Day. He said, "Thou hypocrite…" don’t you, on the Sabbath, loose your ox or ass from the stall and lead them out to water?

Our Saviour never did bow to public opinion in His day and nor should we. We need to be reminded of GAL 5:1 which says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Many people want to translate or interpret this to mean that the law has been abolished: "You’re set free!" No. Do you know what He meant by this? He meant that you are free from the commandments of men and also free from the ceremonial law, but there is no such thing as a liberty to live with another man’s wife. There is no such thing as a liberty to kill. There is no such thing as a liberty to abolish any part of the law. We are set at liberty from the commandments of men. We are set at liberty from the ceremonial law. We no longer have to burn sacrifices and bring burnt offerings. We no longer circumcise – pointing to the perfect obedience of Christ. It has been fulfilled. All of the ceremonial law has been fulfilled and the controversy in GAL 5:1 was around the circumcision law. Circumcision has fulfilled its purpose. Christ became a debtor to do the whole law and we are now circumcised in Him.

Look at COL 2:9-12. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." It tells us very clearly that we are circumcised by the circumcision of Christ. He became a debtor to do the whole law and has fulfilled it. Therefore we are set at liberty from this ceremonial law. We are also set at liberty from all of these commandments of men.

GAL 5:14 says, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Satan loves overreaction. If he cannot get us to become his slaves in a legalistic Sabbath observance he will tell us that there is no New Testament Sabbath. Satan wants to get us caught in one of the two.

I have heard many respectable people say that there is not one place in the New Testament that says we have to observe the Sabbath. Is there or isn’t there? Do you and I have to observe the Sabbath? The answer is no. Do you know why? I’ll explain why. This Sabbath rest is one of the greatest blessings that God has reserved for His people and there is nothing in the law or in the New Testament that says that you must be a partaker of God’s blessing. That is where it stands. It is one of the highest privileges that God has given His church. The Sabbath was made, from the beginning, for repose from secular labor and pleasure to delight in the Lord. This is one of the greatest blessings.

Look at the blessing that God gave Adam in the state of innocence. If we say that there is no reference to the Sabbath in the New Testament, we are wrong; there is. Look at HEB 4:9. "There remaineth [What does that word remaineth mean? It means it was from eternity, it remains, and it will be in eternity.] therefore a rest to the people of God."

It was not abolished: it still remains. There is no way that anybody can say that it was abolished. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." The observance of the Sabbath separates between the wicked and the people of God. "There remaineth therefore a rest [to whom?] to the people of God."

Am I going to come and tell you that you have to keep the Sabbath Day? Whether you do or not is what separates between you and the wicked. There is a rest to the people of God. The Sabbath is an emblem of eternal rest for the people of God.

Take that word rest in the original. If you take it from the word in the original sabbatismose, it means "the repose of Christianity as a type of heaven; the sabbath, or day of weekly repose from secular avocations." That’s the meaning of the word in the dictionary. Does that tell you that there is a New Testament Sabbath? Certainly. There is a Sabbath for the people of God.

Can I go to a person who is running a supermarket and tell them that they have to close their supermarket on Sunday? No. Can I go to any person – I don’t care whom – professed Christian or not – and impose upon them the greatest blessing that God has given His church? No. If they do not delight in the Sabbath, it does not pertain to them. Should I get a whole community together and say that we are going to boycott that particular store because they would not close on Sunday? No.

If you have no delight in the Sabbath, I could put you in a strait jacket and set you in the House of God and preach to you for 24 hours, yet you still would have desecrated the Sabbath because you have not delighted in the Sabbath. You have not honored God in your spirit because the Sabbath was not a delight to you.

There is no rest in the heart, there is no Sabbath rest, unless we are the people of God. Unless we are truly the people of God, we have no Sabbath rest regardless of what we do on that day. That is one of God’s blessings. To the wicked, there is no rest.

ISA 57:20 says, "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." What does that mean? Our heart is casting up mire and dirt. Our heart is filled with the things and the cares of this world. There is no rest. If you sit in a strait jacket with Pharisaical inaction, there’s no rest.

Where is a Sabbath rest? The Sabbath rest is contained in delighting in the will of God. It is contained in honoring God. It is a day of weekly repose from our secular actions. Look at Verse 21. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." They have no rest.

When we regulate our actions by the Word of God, we are not primarily interested in what people think or say. It is far better to displease men than to allow them to bring us under the bondage of the commandments of men.

"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (GAL 2:21) I am not going to please the Lord with my do’s and don’ts, with my entertaining of all of this legalism on the Sabbath Day. The Lord wants my heart. He wants me to delight in setting a day for His honor. Then He’s glorified. I must honor Him; I must worship Him in spirit and in truth. ("In truth" means "according to the Word of God.") Now do you see why this man carrying his bed was not desecrating the Sabbath? He was doing what Christ had told him to do: he was observing the Sabbath according to the Word of God.

Our text says, "He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk." (JOH 5:11) He was obeying what Christ had told him to do.

He met his critics. How do you handle your critics, that criticize you if you’re not willing to go out and work on Sunday or if you want to keep a day to have repose from your secular labors, to use for the honor of God, to delight in it, and serve the Lord? How do you confront your critics? He didn't argue with their perverted view of the Sabbath, he only fell back upon "Thus saith the Lord." That is how we have to respond to our critics. We aren’t critical of them, distinguishing between them and us. No. Why do you keep His day? "Thus saith the Lord." That is why.

I was reading an article that went into showing what is wrong with the world today. It explains that children are not being taught the difference between right and wrong. I read three pages of it, and what they said would be beautiful if they would just add one criterion: because the Lord said so. They go on and on to show that we have to teach our children the difference between right and wrong, that they do not have the right to choose what is right and wrong but they have to go by principles that they’re taught, etc., etc., etc. Not once did they mention the authority of the Word of God, that the difference between right and wrong is distinguished by the Word of God.

This man that was made whole observed to do what God had commanded him to do. "Take up thy bed, and walk."

The adversary that is going to be critical of you quite often is more learned in Scripture than you are. I have confronted many people that try to undermine everything I say and twist what I say and go out and try to bring reproach upon my name by saying that I said something that I did not say. On the other hand, you quite often find that they will be able to quote the Word of God.

The problem is that they quote it out of context, and they will tell you that you cannot be judgmental. Okay, if you cannot be judgmental that means that if a man is living as a homosexual, you are not even allowed to say that it is wrong because then you are being judgmental. Satan loves that, but that is not what the Word of God teaches. When the Lord says you are not to be judgmental, He is saying that you do not sit as the judge of their conscience or of their heart. That does not mean you do not judge their actions, because the Scriptures are replete with instances saying that you do judge their actions. You know whether or not people are serving the Lord by looking at their actions.

This man that had been healed (the miracle was performed as he obeyed), did not fully know the gift of God or who it was that had spoken to him. He was in a similar place as that woman of Samaria. The Lord had spoken to him; he obeyed; but he did not even know who it was who had talked to him. He was not yet fully aware of the gift of God. He did not understand that He was the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. "And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place." (JOH 5:13)

His actions revealed his heart. What is in your heart is revealed by your actions. This meek and lowly Saviour had clearly withdrawn Himself; He was not seeking applause from a multitude.

See how meek and lowly He is. It is clearly revealed in MAR 1:37-38. "And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth."

He did not wait for them to stand and make a big idol of Him in an idolatrous way. Jesus had withdrawn from the man that his faith might be tested; then he was admonished against returning to his old sin. JOH 5:14 says, "Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."

When the Lord spoke to your soul, did it bring you out of the multitude? Did it bring you out of the world of sin? Where were you to be found? Were you found among the children of God? Were you found keeping the Sabbath Day according to the New Testament Sabbath, that you had a delight in worshipping the Lord, that you had a delight in coming within His house?

"Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple." He didn’t even know who Jesus was, but it shows that not only was he healed in his body, but also he was healed in his soul because his heart was changed, and he was now following in the temple.

"Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." That is quite an admonition for all of us. If the Lord has drawn us out of the power of sin, and has given us to see the light of the gospel, and He has given us to see the blessedness that there is in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, He says, "sin no more." If you think you were in a state of darkness before you were saved, think of the state of darkness that you might come into if you sin willfully. He said, "sin no more."

The Pharisees had not intimidated this man: he had obeyed the One who had healed him. His actions after he was healed evidenced the work of grace in his soul as well as the healing in his body.

Do you know what’s amazing? I’ve talked to so many people. They can become so serious and so religious - like when they are in jail. (I have run into this a number of times. We used to minister in the jail.) These people in jail said they were saved. They had accepted Jesus and they were totally different men - until you get them out on parole. Then they go right back into sin like a sow wallowing in the mire.

How many people get ill or get into dire straits or get into circumstances and they make big pledges of how they are going to change their life if the Lord would just heal them? But when they’re healed, how many of them change their life? I know of several, personally, that were so religious when they had cancer, when they knew that they could be facing death, but the doctor was able to get it all. They took their chemotherapy and they got it in remission, and they go on cursing, swearing, taking God’s name in vain, living in adultery, living in open sin. What happened to all of this religion of theirs?

What the Lord Jesus is saying is that He has healed you, now go and sin no more. In other words, let’s see that your walk of life corresponds with your healing. Having saved this man by grace in his sufferings, Jesus now applies a very urgent truth upon his conscience: "sin no more."

After God has worked grace in the soul, the work of sanctification is an ongoing work throughout our Christian walk. When you and I learn to understand what it is for God to save our soul, our delights are no longer in the things of this life. We delight to serve the Lord on His day. We delight to serve the Lord seven days a week. We delight to do His will. We can’t hardly wait, for when the day of repose comes, then we can be delivered from the things of this world, that we can come together and fellowship in the Lord, that we can glorify His precious name by worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.

See how this work of sanctification is an ongoing thing in 1CO 15:33-34. "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame."

When the light of the gospel springs into the soul, now awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ will give you life! "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." "Awake to righteousness." This is what the Lord Jesus is admonishing. He said, "sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."

Renewed health physically and spiritually should send us on our way in this life’s journey with renewed hatred for sin. Have you ever had the experience of being delivered physically? We see that gratitude - what gratitude! What is the first form of gratitude? It is obedience, a holy respect for the will of the benefactor. If you have a child that you have just given something that they cherish very dearly, if they are going to show gratitude, it’s going to be more than just saying, "Thank you." You are going to see a very humble reverence for your will. They want to do what pleases you because they are thankful, because they are grateful. If the Lord has given us spiritual healing, or if He has given us physical healing, our first response, if it’s truly sanctification of the heart, will be that our actions will be in tender reverence for His will. "Awake to righteousness and sin not."

See the seriousness of Jesus’ admonition, "Behold, thou art made whole." In other words, what He’s saying is that He has healed you. Don’t go back as a sow to wallowing in the mire. "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."

The man was lying for thirty-eight years before the waters of Bethesda, before he was healed. Do you want to wait forty years next time? Do you want to sin willfully and have the Lord withdraw Himself so that you wait at the door of mercy, that you find that your sins are a cloud between you, that He will not hear your voice, and that you will lie there maybe to the end of your life? The Lord wants us to have holy reverence for His will.

Renewed health spiritually and physically should send us on this life’s journey with a renewed hatred for sin and a firmer resolve to serve the Lord in the Spirit of Christ.

See what Asaph said in PSA 73:1-2. "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. [Who is He good to? Those whose heart is right with the Lord.] But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped."

Where was the slippery place? PSA 73:3 says, "For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

Do you see how slippery a place it is to be covetous of this world’s goods? "I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." When he slipped, he said, "my steps had well nigh slipped." The Lord spared him when he came into the sanctuary. When he came into the sanctuary, when he was brought back into Christ – the place of safety – then he saw their end.

This is what Jesus cautions us of when He says, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."

Whatsoever we sow we shall reap. Look at GAL 6:7-10. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

See how the Lord’s admonition is to those who profess to have received grace. After we have received grace, and after the Lord has given us deliverance, He says to go and sin no more. What He is admonishing is the necessity for a life of sanctification.

Our Saviour still heals on the Sabbath! Isn’t it a blessed thing that we can come today to a Saviour who still heals on the Sabbath Day? We come into His house, the place of His anointing, the place that He has established. I have heard so many people say that they can read their Bible at home, they can worship God in their own way, but the Lord says not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together. The Lord has His reasons why, but the Lord still heals on the Sabbath Day.

Sometimes it’s on the Sabbath day that our mirage becomes a pool. Do you know what a mirage is? It’s a reflection of light on heat waves that cause you to see as in a mirror something that’s not there. This is what our lives are by nature. We see so many big opportunities, so many gold mines, and such terrific deals. So many gold mines at the end of the rainbow, but when we get there, they’re not there.

ISA 35:7 says, "And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes."

These mirages can become a pool when we get to where we look on Christ. When we stop having our eye fixed on the things of this life and our eye is fixed on Christ, we find the land of springs of water and a habitation where dragons have been, but it has become a place of resting for the church of God. Amen.


These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a  daily devotion and sermon notes.

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