How long do you think it would take to lead the whole world to Christ? America? Tullahoma? Your school?
Statistics (32% or the world claims to be Christian; 68% non-Christian)
- U.S. population: 332 million
- World population: 7.75 billion
- Each day (in the world)
- 385,000 babies are born
- 261,800 of those will end up non-Christian
- 150,000 people die
- 102,000 die without knowing Christ
- 385,000 babies are born
- Each hour (in the world)
- 7,425 people die
- 5,049 die and go to hell
- 7,425 people die
- If you stood all the lost people of the world shoulder to shoulder, they would circle the globe 30 times.
- If just Southern Baptists could see 500,000 conversions a year and freeze the number of people who were born and died . . .
- It would take 664 years to reach America
- 15,500 years to reach the world
- If one person led one person to Christ the first year, discipled him, and then both led one person to Christ the next year, then continued the process . . .
- We would reach your school in 10 years (1,024 converts)
- We would reach Tullahoma in 15 years (32,768 converts)
- We would reach America in 29 years (536,870,912 converts)
- We would reach the World in 33 years (8.5 billion converts)
We are called, as Christians, to make disciples of all nations. We see that in Matthew 28:19-20. We see it stated a little differently in Acts 1:8. We are to make disciples around the world and where we are.
Why? Because the world needs Jesus. And the people around you need Jesus.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at a few accounts of people who had needs and how Jesus met them. As we see their needs, we will see our own. As we see how they needed Jesus, we will see ways in which we do.
The paralytic’s needs drove the four men’s action.
I’ve always seen the four men as the subject of the story. No. Outside of Jesus, the paralytic is the subject. He had needs that only Jesus could meet. The four friends acted off those needs. If they hadn’t, the man would have been left there, alone in his desperation, while Jesus walked by outside and right past him.
The man would have died a cripple, taking his last breath in that same bed that was his only companion. He would have died in that bed, a cripple, and died never having known Jesus…with his sins still unforgiven.
But that’s not what happened. Four people cared. They cared so much that they took that very bed that the paralytic would one day die in and picked up the whole thing up and used it to carry him to Jesus. And his world was changed.
Jesus meets our greatest needs. The man’s greatest need wasn’t for him to be able to walk. It was for his sins to be forgiven. It’s the same for you and me. The Jews were expecting the Messiah to come as a mighty king to rid them from their oppression. Instead, Jesus came as a sacrificial servant, to forgive sins of all who would believe. People don’t even know their truest need. All we see often are the circumstances around us, and we often don’t think about spiritual things or eternity…what happens when we die. You can have everything you need on earth yet still lack what you truly need…forgiveness of sins. So, may people don’t even know they have this great need. When need to be told we are a sinner before we see our need for the Savior.
How does someone get forgiveness of sins? Faith in Jesus. Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment for our sins.
Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
But here’s something big we need to see from this encounter with Jesus. The friends’ faith came before the man’s forgiveness.
It doesn’t say in verse 5, “When Jesus saw the man’s faith…” It says, “When Jesus saw their faith…” They believed that Jesus could heal their friend, even when their friend was helpless. Even when he was chained to his bed. They picked up that bed and carried their friend to Jesus.
There are people you know who are chained to their beds, their beds of depression, of feelings of unworthiness and loneliness, of a hard home life, of past haunting sins, of past abuse that was thrust upon them, of social disorders, eating disorders, of nagging and repetitive sin. There are people chained to these beds, not even knowing Jesus is outside. They need someone to pick them up and bring them to Jesus. And just as the guy’s legs were healed, their depression and loneliness and cutting and false self-perception will be healed. And as the paralytic’s soul was healed, their soul will be as well. And they will die…one day, not chained to that bed, dying to live forever with the God that freed them and saved them.
But this would never happen if the four men didn’t carry their friend to Jesus. And this won’t happen if you don’t carry yours.
We must love our friends enough to carry them to Jesus.
Romans 10:13-14 – 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?