Program Air Date - 2-25-01



Thank you for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God. We are glad that you have joined us for this offering to God.

May I also submit to you that this program remains committed to doing what God wants, in the way He wants. In fact, it is our goal to accomplish only those things that will bring glory to Him and magnify His name! Obviously, we do this by striving to follow His Will. I hope you will participate in our time together this morning. So now, let's humbly bow our heads before our God.

In the Bible it is clear that salvation involves many things for the child of God. In fact, one of the most important things mentioned in relationship to salvation is found in Ephesians 2:8. There Paul said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." I hope we all realize here that Grace is that which saves us from this world of sin. However, notice that the writer here also connects this grace to faith as he said, we are saved by grace through faith! This shows us that God's part is grace and our part is faith.

This morning, we want to sing a song about that grace of God, which surpasses all understanding. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time, as we together sing, "Amazing Grace."
(SONG # 1)


In our introductory remarks this morning we mentioned the wonderful grace of God that saves us from damnation. We were able to also see that Paul told us that this grace is linked to our faith in Jesus Christ. But now, I want to look at a few more verses to see what this grace is really all about. Our text this morning shows us that Paul realized the great necessity of faith when it comes to the grace of God. In fact, in Hebrews 11:6, we find that "without faith it is impossible to please God!" So, faith is a requirement to receive God promises and grace. James helps us more with this topic in chapter 2 of his book when he said, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also", verse 26. Thus true faith in God is based on what can be seen in our actions. We have all heard the statement many times in our lives, "actions speak louder than words."

I believe that is why Jesus said, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say," Luke 6:46! Then in the parallel verse found in Matthew 7:21, Jesus also added, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." So faith is more than just moving our lips and claiming to love God. True faith is seen in every action and word of anyone claiming to be a child of God.

One final verse we want to mention is found in Ephesians 2, verse 9. This is the verse just after our text which we read earlier, there it says, "not of works, lest anyone should boast." Here we have added that grace is through faith, but we are not saved by the amount of works we do. What does all this mean. Well, here we find that works are not going to be the final measure of our faith, because God doesn't want men boasting about their abilities or accomplishments. Furthermore, we could never do enough or accomplish enough to merit our salvation. God has paid to high a price for us to match it. So, our works will not be enough to save us.

However, don't be confused, that doesn't mean that works aren't required. They are, because this is how we prove our faith, although we can never do enough works to match what Christ has done for us.

Today, our specific topic is, "Is It Lawful To Heal On The Sabbath?" This is our next lesson in our series called "The Lord's Response." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Anywhere is Home!"
(SONG # 2)

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for continuing with us this morning. We appreciate you being with us on the Living Word program. It's always a pleasure. We also want to continue this morning with our discussion on "The Lord's Response." We've had again a good reception from this. A lot of people have found it interesting. I, myself have. I appreciate all of the good speakers who have been doing a fine job on this program in relationship to these questions by our Lord.

This morning, we again want to consider a question that was asked of our Lord and again particularly in this answer that He gave He also used a question which is one of the great type of responses that Jesus continually used there as He dealt with people in order that He might provoke their thinking and really cause them on their own feet, so to speak, to consider what the right answer was or what really in their heart they knew or believed to be the truth.

Turn with me if you will to the book of Matthew chapter 12 because that is where we're going to take our text from this morning and basically spend most of our time here in discussing again a great question that was asked of Jesus. Again, as many of the questions that we've considered, there were people who were of the Father, in other words followers of God. Many times, they were those who were Jews. They were maybe scribes, maybe Pharisees, those who were faithful in the Old Law. Yet, they generally as they asked these questions were striving to somehow trick or confuse Jesus and the purpose again being to somehow discredit Him or discredit the claim that He was the son of God or that He was the Savior who had been prophesied about.

So if you will, look with me there in the book of Matthew, the gospel according to Matthew. We want to look at chapter 12 and we'll read together verses 9 through 14 to get a good picture of our lesson this morning. Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue and behold there was a man who had a withered hand and they asked Him saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath will not lay hold on it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched out his hand and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him how they might destroy Him.

Here we have the scene and again it is set where Jesus enters into the synagogue. And I like the way that the writer here puts it because it says He enters into their synagogue. And I think that's very important to notice here the wording that is used because it's the synagogue really of His Father for the purpose of worshipping the Father and yet, you would think that, "Man this is surely a synagogue that He would consider His own, as the Son, or at least relate to the Father." But it says, their synagogue, which again shows you the clear attitude of these people here, these Jews that again were caught up in many of these traditions and had so much set them in a way that maybe they had really taken them out of the situation or the platform that God really had intended, for these men really to follow His will and allow Him to remain as the head over His people. See, these men began taking their own power. Their own desires were coming forth in the things that we see here very clearly. But as it goes on, we see there that as they were in the synagogue that they thought off right from the beginning, "How can we somehow mix Him up or confuse Him or cause these people who are here to look down on Him or to question His authenticity?" Well, as we consider that and as we see what they asked, they brought forward a man who evidently had a hand that was withered, that had a problem, and they were tempting Him. They were trying to again cause Him to somehow not be able to do what He should or say what He should. He knew very well that the people of Israel, the people of God, the Hebrew people had been instructed by God from the beginning to not do things or work on the Sabbath, to keep it as a Holy day, a day of complete rest. And when they came to Him and they brought this man, then they just wondered what He would do. Well, I think they knew what He would do in fact, as we see here, because they brought him hoping really that He would do something, hoping that through or whatever reason, He would somehow want to heal or restore this man, or somehow mess up on the question concerning the Sabbath.

So then they asked Him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" In other words again, testing Him. And then Jesus asked a very, very good question in relationship to them, and again this is what I like about the questioning of Jesus because He always turns it around and He uses a question or example again that really puts them in their own place, because they realized as He said these things that they were truly things that applied to them, things that probably most of them had been guilty of, or at least had involved themselves in, in the past.

If you'll notice there, He asked them, "What man is there among you if you've got a sheep? One who is in a pit or has somehow fallen or is down and it's the Sabbath. You've got this one sheep. Are you not going to assist or help that sheep that is sick or that is in the pit or that possibly might die from the situation that it is in?" Well, obviously in their hearts as they reasoned, they didn't know what to say because how could they respond? They knew good and well that if this was the case, or the situation, then surely they would help this animal of theirs. Well, that's why Jesus then went on to say, "Well, how much more important is a man than an sheep? This man comes to me with a withered hand. He's not whole because of the problem that he's experiencing physically and how much more important is not he than a sheep that is in a pit?" You see, in a way this man was lost. He had a great problem. And because of this we know there that He goes on there then on the Sabbath day, He asked the man to stretch out his hand and He heals this man's hand. He restores it completely as it was the other hand. In other words, to compare both of them, they were alike now. They were perfect. They were whole again.

Now these are wondrous things. They're really encouraging things because in all these things the Pharisees, the scribes, those who were trying to entrap Him, were really again pushed themselves into a corner. In fact, probably made themselves to look foolish in some senses, foolish in a way. Why? Because again they tested Christ to harm Him, but rather themselves were harmed because they were found guilty of doing the very same things that they were trying to accuse Jesus of. And when they saw this and perceived it, we find in verse 14 again in their hearts that they had great anger. They plotted against Him, and they wanted to destroy Him. You and I know that we're talking about death here. Their desire was to get rid of Christ because Christ was stepping in their territory. He was coming into their field. He was playing the game that they had been playing for so long and when Christ would preach and talk about how they were leaving an old law and coming to a new law, or how the kingdom was coming and the church would be established. They understood that this means that the things that they were involved in, the power that they had, the ability they had in the temple and the synagogues was all being pushed aside. It was all going to vanish away and they understood that and because of this, it made them very angry. They didn't want anybody, so to speak, to steal their thunder, to take their light.

So, as we look at these things again, we are reminded that Jesus gave a very good answer through a question to these individuals and they were provoked in their own minds to know exactly what was expected of them, to know exactly what He required of them. Now again, we might learn ourselves from this example. How then might we at times respond when people ask us questions in relationship to God. I know so many times people will ask me a question in relationship to maybe my faith or my belief, the things that we find in the Bible, and I often find just as Christ that the best thing to do is to ask them a question in turn. But sometimes we need to be reminded that the question that we ask is just as foolish maybe as questions that are in our own minds or questions that others can ask us, because some of these things in fairness again, we can't have the complete answer to. We don't know everything that God knows, but we do know enough to know the complete revelation that He has given us.

I want to go back to our text now in chapter 12 because it didn't really begin there and I want to back up now to verse 1 and look there together as we again see that a similar situation was taking place with these same individuals and as they were there the disciples actually became hungry and they began plucking some grain from some wheat that they had and they were eating it because of their hunger, and because of this the Pharisees saw it. Then in verse 2, there's a question asked of them. He says there, Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath. Here again, misapplying what had actually been said under the old law, but now just to give a little bit of a background of what had been taking place, they even at this time earlier were trying to entrap Him. They were trying to somehow again cause Him to stumble or fall and they saw them simply maybe pulling a grain of wheat and eating it, or some type of a grain to eat it, and when this took place, they then saw something they could attack. And they did so. You know, they weren't supposed to again work on the Sabbath. They weren't supposed to harvest, would have been the concept, the idea there. So how can they do this? They should have been prepared. They should have made preparations and had that which they really needed before the Sabbath day had come.

Well, the laws they were applying were correct in a way, but then again they were going too far. They were going overboard. Why again? To discredit or to harm Christ. And that's why He goes on here to really give four different reasons, four different points, if you will, that really shows us that again what they were doing and what they were saying was out of context, not exactly what God was trying to say, not exactly what He meant.

Read with me if you will verses 3 and 4. He says there to them, Have you not read what David did when he was hungry? He and those who were with him how they entered the house of God and ate the showbread and of which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only the priest.

Here we find an example where David one time, a man that was thought very highly of God, David sinned. But yes, we sin. But a man who was considered highly by God, here we find this man did something that again may not have been according to the law, but at that time when the situation played out, we find that he seemed to be found justified before God.

There's another example in verse 5. Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profaned the Sabbath and are blameless?

Here again, they're blameless even though they profaned the Sabbath. If we consider here what they're saying, what they're trying to say here is that the priest worked. Didn't they carry out the laws of God and carry out the worship and the sacrifices and that which were necessary on the Sabbath. They were working for God. Does that mean that they were found guilty? Certainly not. God called them blameless because they were doing His will and they were doing again those things that would have been according to His will.

If you'll go on down with me in verses 6 and 7, we find some more information. Yet I say to you that in this place there is one greater than the temple, but if you have known what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice. You would not have condemned the guiltless.

And this really goes in now to the final point He's trying to make and that there's something greater. There are greater things than the temple or the synagogue or maybe a certain law or a certain principle. There are greater things such as Christ Himself. And that's the very point He's making here and that's why He says, I desire mercy and have not sacrifice or have no sacrifice. Here again, we see very clearly the situation. We must take a situation at hand, looking at the doctrine of Christ, applying it, but again not going overboard as many of these Pharisees were. That's why there in verse 8, He says, And the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Christ had that power. He was given all authority.

We can look at many verses in relationship to this. There in the book of Matthew chapter 28 and verse 18, we find that all power, all authority has been given to Christ. It has been placed in His hand, and as we consider that again, we find that this authority gives Him the ability, the power to make those decisions. Obviously we can't go against what the Father has already established, but He still has been given that power, that authority.

Another verse that's very important is found there in Ephesians 1 and 22 where we find that all things have been put under His feet. That's what He was trying to say. He was trying to say, "I again, am the Son of God. I am proving these things." He heals a man. He proves Himself. He does these things. He proves Himself. He understood that He knew the law, but again, He was trying to show them that their trickery would not work, that He was greater than they were, that He really was deity. He really was of God. So when they said, "Is it rightful to heal on the Sabbath?" They responded clearly and they found out that actually their response they were guilty of in the same way that so many had been before them.

So I hope today you will consider this concept of the Sabbath. How important it was at that time, that these people recognized who Christ was. But even today we have those who try to go against Christ, who try to somehow discredit His law. But let's remember always that Christ has that authority. He has that power. Let's remember that His law that He has given us is that saving law and if we will follow it and do it, then He will save us as promised.
(SONG # 3 - "Be With Me, Lord!")


Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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May we always remember the great power of Jesus and the wonderful examples which He left us, proving that He is able to do all things - because everything has been put under His feet!