Have you ever had someone tell you that they were a Christian, but you saw no evidence of a commitment to Christ in their lives? Maybe because they bore no fruit that reflected a change or spiritual growth, or maybe that they had never had a personal encounter with Him. In the scriptures you will find that those who came to Christ had personal encounters with Him as they saw and believed Him for who He was. The Pharisee did not encounter Jesus as the Messiah and Savior, but as a hypocrite and trouble maker. Maybe, this may be true of you.
Maybe, you’ve been reflecting upon your own spiritual life lately and on a lifestyle that you know should Jesus come back today, He either would not know you or He would not be pleased with what He found.
The Bible says that all we like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way. Most people see their sin as just that; they see sin in their own way! But they do not truly understand what sin is. Oh, they may know that sin is the "bad stuff that they do", yet they never consider the penalty for it; nor understand how God may consider it. They seem to have some sort of unrealistic view as to knowing that, "yes, they sin", yet they somehow feel that they have some sort of deal with God when it comes to their own sin. Their faith is based on the old song, “Me and Jesus, got our own thing going!” and somehow take comfort in believing that God somehow understands that they are just human and can not help themselves over all.
To express their false understanding of real salvation, they love to consider hypocrites in the church as being worse off than they are, and find great comfort in finding fault and making accusations towards God's church and the imperfections that they all bear. It is easier believing that, because they do not see themselves as hypocrites, and believe that it somehow gives them more credibility with God. Oddly enough, they are worse off than those that they criticize.
When a person understands that it is their own sin that separates them from God, they will do everything and anything to get to Him, as did many in the scriptures. This is a plumb line that we can measure our faith by. If we love others and have encountered Jesus ourselves, then nothing will be too costly for us to get them to the one that we know can help and save them as well.
There is a story in the Bible that I just love that talks about 4 friends that tore the roof off of someone’s house just to get their friend to Jesus. For they knew in their hearts that their friend needed Him and that only Jesus forgives sin and restored lives.
In Mark 2:1-12 upon returning to Capernaum, many people had heard of Jesus’ return. Outside and in the surrounding buildings the crowds gathered to see and hear Jesus. It was so crowded that there was no room left to stand or walk let alone enter through the door with a stretcher that held a cripple. There were four friends that were so sure that Jesus could bring about healing to their friend, that they climbed up on top of someone’s home, dug through the thatched roof and then lowered their friend who couldn’t walk by himself through the opening into Jesus’ presence.
Talk about love and faith! The faith of those four friends showed sheer determination to get their friend to the only one that could help him. Jesus recognized the faith of the man’s four friends. They believed that their crippled friend, no matter what he had done, could be forgiven and healed. The friends struggled to deliver the man who couldn’t walk into the presence of Jesus. As always, in His compassion, and because of the faith of the cripple man and the effort of his friends, Jesus spoke to the cripple man saying, “your sins are forgiven” and after being confronted by some teachers of the law, he told the man to get up, that his sins were forgiven and to take his mat and walk. The man got up, picked up his mat and went out in full view of everyone, including the teachers of the law that were being critical.
It was ordained before the foundations of the world that one day, 4 friends would come together to take their friend in need to get the help that only Jesus could provide. They were so desperate to get to Jesus that they tore off a man’s roof, just to lower their friend down to Him. Sweet friend, what are you doing to get your friend to Jesus today?
Are you loving them in spite of the sin that you see? Has their sin been so great that it has crippled them as with the man in the story. Do you love your friend like those men loved their friend in spite of what they knew about him? Are you like one of the teachers? Jesus asked those that were thinking ill in their heart, “Is it easier to tell the man, get your mat and get out of here…or simply forgive him his debts, and watch him walk in victory and truth”. I tell you that we are all so quick to judge someone when we seem to be doing so well. Yet, it is the burden and love for others in humility that Christ honors, as He did in the friendship of those 4 men who brought their friend to Christ.
The scripture says in Proverbs 17:17 that "a friend loves at all times" our friends need us to love on them by speaking the truth, but moreover, to be the example in how we ourselves may be living for Christ and even if we have to tear off a roof to get them there; we do it, because we love them that much!