Matthew 5 – 7 is called the Sermon on the Mount. There are a total of 111 verses in these three chapters. Apart from Matthew 5:1 and 7:28-29, which were authored by Matthew, all the other 108 verses were spoken by the Lord Jesus himself. There is a Bible called the Red Letter Bible; in it, everything spoken by the Lord Jesus is in red. Thus, in the Red Letter Bible, these three chapters can be called red letter scripture, and these are precious bible passages. In this series of sermons, we will reflect on messages from the Sermon on the Mount. If we can memorize this Scripture passage, how helpful that would be to us all our lives.
In today’s sermon, we find the story of a man who has been sick for 38 years. How many 38-years are there in one lifetime – at most, only two and a half. This man was sick for 38 years of his life, but Jesus healed him and he actually stood up. If Jesus was the doctor, then, the 38-year invalid was the patient.
It takes both the doctor and the patient’s cooperation to cure any disease. It is not unusual for doctors to make mistakes in treating patients’ diseases. It is also a common thing when patients to refuse to obey their doctor’s instructions. Even with a good doctor, a cure can be hard to achieve if the patient refuses to cooperate. Today, let us observe how Jesus, the world’s greatest physician and a 38- year invalid cooperated and found healing.
When the church is healthy, the church will naturally grow. What then is a healthy church? Let me share with you seven qualities of a spiritually healthy church, that we may pursue them together:
Acts 6:1 tells us that the church encountered complaining. Complaining is a frightening thing. When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they wandered there for 40 years. Six hundred thousand able-bodied men died in the wilderness because of grumbling and complaining. Complaining is like a contagious disease. When someone starts to complain, someone will surely follow suit. One turns into ten, ten turn into hundreds. When the church is full of complaining, division will eventually happen. Acts 6:1 records the first time the problem of complaining came up in the early church. However, Acts chapter 6:7 tells us there was a good outcome – the word of God spread, the number of disciples increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. At the start, there was complaining, but in the end there was good news. Initially, there was a crisis but it was turned into an opportunity. What happened in between? Let us use three “one’s” to study this – one problem, one proposal, one outcome.