Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon Series: Miracles
- Repeat Ephesians 3:20-21 from memory: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
- What was the most helpful idea from this Miracles series for you personally?
- Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians that our theme verse comes from. He had previously been a skeptic regarding Jesus. What changed Paul’s mind and convinced him that God could do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”? (See Acts 9:1-12: Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.)
- Read Mark 2:1-12: A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
- What questions or comments come to your mind as you read this passage?
- The Miracle of Community
- In John Ortberg’s book, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them, he asks us to imagine what it would mean to be a paralyzed man back in that day. That man’s whole life was lived on his mat, and he was totally dependent on people around him to be able to live another day. And so the miracle starts with him having friends. How have your friends been a miracle in your life?
- This man’s friends were convinced that all they needed to do was get their friend connected to Jesus. We also experience Jesus’ presence and power when we’re connected to Him. Why is it that between Sundays, we often drift away from that experience and feel disconnected from Him?
- Some people have given up on church, because of a bad experience they’ve had. But if they could just suspend their negative feelings about church and allow a local church of imperfect people who follow Jesus to become their friends, what are some things they might experience?
- The Miracle of Forgiveness
- In addition to the miracle of community and the miracle of physical healing, this man also experienced the miracle of forgiveness. Notice what Jesus says in Mark 2:5. Why do you think Jesus said this at that moment?
- What does the reaction of the teachers of the law tell us?
- What difference does it make for a person when they receive God’s forgiveness for their sin?
- Read Romans 5:7-8: Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Talk about what Jesus was willing to do to make forgiveness of sin possible for us.
- Where do you go with the stuff you know about you?