Welcome Home- Come Home To Friends
September 8, 2019
Intro: I was reminded this week why it is important to have a wingman or a wingperson. This person gets a bad rap because most of the time this word means someone who will help you meet guys or girls.
Right? I do think in needs an expanded meaning. Like when you go to your St. Louis Metro Baptist Associational meeting and visit pastor friends and
meet their wives. Go ahead and ask, “Why would you need a wingman at a meeting like that?” You need one so that you won’t be mortally embarrassed when you get in your car to leave, and discover that you never went to the bathroom all night but your zipper has been down all night because you failed to zip it before you left the house. That is what friends are for.
That is why songs like these are so important. This is a list of top friendship songs from the rock and roll era.
Friends – Beach Boys
That’s what Friends are For – Dionne Warwick
With A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker
I’ll Be There For You – Theme song of Friends
Stand By Me – BB King
Lean on Me – Bill Withers
You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor
Thank You for Being a Friend – Theme song Golden Girls
With a Little Help From My Friends – Beatles
You Got a Friend in Me – Toy Story
You’re My Best Friend – Queen
I’ve Got Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks
Here a just a few songs about Christian fellowship
Friends Are Friends Forever – Michael W Smith
A Prayer For a Friend – Casting Crowns
God Gave Me You – Dave Barnes
Press On – Billy Sprague
Listen to the words of the Billy Sprague song.
I was down in the valley of the shadow of death
where the passion for life drained like blood from my chest
and it took more than my will just to take a step
when the compass of hope was gone
In a silence so black that I wished for the blues
every desperate prayer seemed like heaven refused
and some days I found faith meant just tyin’ my shoes
and it was all I could do to press on
Press on me amigo press on mon ami
walk on in the face of the mystery though the night hides the light
through the darkness ‘till dawn… tie your shoes, my dear friend
and press on (come on)
On the ocean so lonesome I was not left alone had some heavenly friends
when my heart was a stone and they carried my heartache and
made it their own when the current of sorrow was strong (and one said)
“I pray your memories will not drag you down not be anchors but treasures
of the love that you’ve found”
and his kind words turned hurt into comfort somehow and put wind in my sails to press on So press on me amigo press on mon ami
walk on in the face of the mystery though the night hides the light
and the journey is long… lean on me, my dear friend and press on
Though the days seem like years… there may be giants in our fears…
ah, but they who are sowin’ tears they shall reap in joy
they shall run and leap for joy! So press on me amigo press on mon ami
walk on in the face of the mystery…
Though the night hides the light and the journey is long…
lean on me, my dear friend and press on me amigo
press on mon ami walk on in the face
of the mystery though the night hides the light
and the journey is long… tie your shoes, my dear friend
and press on!
This song and the people cared for me this way, encourages me to be the kind of Christian friend to others who face a loss that could cause them to
walk away from Jesus. This song is a testimony to the value of friends in Christ that help us to not quit trusting God when life is hard.
I think that everyone has been in a situation where they needed a friend or where their life was enhanced by a friend. In good times and bad times,
friends make all of the difference. God made us to need each other. God made us to need Him. He made the church so His followers could become a
Today I want us to see that when we come home to Christ, we come home to a family of friends. This family begins when we meet Jesus the God of the
Universe and the Savior of the world. Come With Me to Meet Jesus
In this passage of scripture today we see a group of friends bringing another friend to meet Jesus. The story begins this way.
17 One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healings.
Jesus was teaching a group of friends in a home. He was not in the synagogue teaching but in someone’s home. The group seems to have grown as Jesus
taught. Some Pharisees and some scribes showed up to be a part crowd that day. Then Luke announces that the “power of the Lord was present for Jesus to perform healings.”
Luke says this to give a foreshadowing of what Jesus was going to do that day. The power of God was on Him to heal yet there is no one yet to heal.
Wait for it.
18 And some men were carrying on a bed, a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him.
Here it is. Jesus was teaching and some friends gathered to bring their friend to Jesus, to see if He could heal him.
Did they know the power Jesus? Did they know who He was? I don’t know what they knew but they were about to discover more about Jesus. They were about to see Jesus in a way that they never had before. Both the man who was paralyzed and his friends were going to see Jesus differently. When God moves in a person’s life the impact is made on everyone who is connected.
What did they discover? That Jesus can heal. That Jesus affirmed their act of faith. I want you to take this passage personally. This is a testimony from
Luke of what he saw. This is a story of the power of God to heal. It is a story of what could have or may have happen in your life this week. If you didn’t hear a story like this while you were praying for one, be encouraged. Keep believing that Jesus can heal!
This really happened and the Holy Spirit recorded it, so that when someone asks you to pray for healing in their life, you will do it because God showed you that He has done it before.
These guys were intent on their friend meeting Jesus.
19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the
middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.
Why would you bring a disabled or sick friend to Jesus? Why did they bring their friend to Jesus? Well, Jesus was developing a reputation for healing
people so it was the logical thing to do. It was the hopeful thing to do. You do it because you thought Jesus might heal your friend?
When Jesus saw the extra effort these friends put into getting their disabled friend in front of Jesus this is what He said.
20 Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”
When we come to Jesus we don’t always know what we want or need, but He knows. Jesus forgave this man of his sins. He wanted to be healed but Jesus gave Him what he really needed. Not only did disabled man and his friends discover something about Jesus but so also did the scribes and
Pharisees. Did you hear what Jesus did? Jesus said your sins
are forgiven. Only God can do that. Yes. Only God can do that.
21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” 22 But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.”
The Pharisees only hear a man forgiving sins for God. Only God can do that! When someone would bring a sacrifice for their sin the priest would let the sinner know that God had forgiven them. But, Jesus
was forgiving this man without him offering a sacrifice. He didn’t say God forgives you, He said your sins are forgiven. Or I forgive you. Jesus wasn’t claiming to be God. He was God and He did what God does. He alone can forgive. When someone comes to Jesus they are coming to God Himself. Can you grasp the magnitude of this?
When we pray for someone. When we share Jesus with someone we are bringing them to the very presence of God. God alone can do great things.
Believe in prayer. Believe that people can know God personally through a faith relationship with Jesus.
Lets think about this a little more. If forgiveness wasn’t enough Jesus healed the man. The pharisee’s belief was that sin caused illness but
Jesus forgave a man first and then healed him. That is not the way they understood that God worked. But God is not controlled by what we believe. We must believe what God does, Healing and forgiveness
come from God. Forgiveness is what God does. He wants people reconciled to Himself. He wants people to have a personal relationship with Him
through Jesus our Savior.
Bring your friends to Jesus. What ever their need bring them to Jesus. He wants everyone to live in His forgiveness. Bring your friends to God. They
need to see that God can be known by faith and that He works in our life in spiritual matters but also in physical ways. We need to see how God works.
Others need to see how Jesus works in a life. They have ideas that just don’t hold water to the stories of God in scripture. Go ahead and help your friend see Jesus in a way that they never have. Bring them to Jesus.
Come Home With Me Bring someone home to Jesus with You.
The majority of people who attend church come because a friend invited them. How good a preacher is only helps, it is not the best reason. Having a lot of activity going on in a church helps but it is not the main reason that people come to church. These guys came to Jesus together. It wasn’t, “Hey,
you need to go see Jesus maybe He will help you walk again.” Or, “Maybe your mom can drag you over there.”
19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. These friends didn’t give up because of hindrances. Barriers didn’t stop them. They found a way to get their friend to Jesus. They found a way for their friend to meet Jesus for who He was and what He could do. What they did was pretty
impressive. What would possess someone to tear up another
person’s home to meet a celebrity? After they couldn’t get in the front door, they had to have said to each other, “We can’t stop now.” Then someone
had to bright idea. Let’s go up on the roof, tear off the roof and lower our friend down in front of Jesus. You want friends like this. Ones that don’t stop and say, “Hey guys, I’m not sure this is a good idea.” You want to talk about a trust fall! It could have happened. They went to the upper area of the house removed the tiles from the roof and lowered their friend down. They didn’t let, “we could drop him”, stop them. They didn’t let, “Maybe this Jesus guy doesn’t want to see our friend. They may throw him out and arrest us. What would you risk to bring a friend to Jesus? A friendship? Embarrassment? A group of friends? Try this, “Let’s go to church together.” Since I started going to church I have found a home. It is a place that helps me make sense of the emptiness in my life. They help me understand the
Bible when I read it. Is see how others live their lives by trusting Jesus. They help me know how to act not only in church but how to trust God during the week.
You know, I attended church because my mom wouldn’t let us stay home. It was expected that I attend most every Sunday. When I graduated high
school I only attended some Finally, when I was about 20 years old, some teenagers and youth workers invited me to open my life up to Jesus.
They showed me that they knew Jesus through a faith relationship. That was missing in my life. I found myself in a position to sense God speaking to
me about my emptiness. Jesus became clear to me. I wanted more. I needed more. I gave God little regard in my life, but, the Holy Spirit made it clear to me that I needed to repent. I did and Jesus drew me to want to know more about Him. I began to sit in Bible studies with a groups of students and
other adult Christians. I had found a reason for living in a relationship with Jesus. I am so glad that someone said come on home to Jesus with me. Spiritual growth began to happen as I found myself at home with God’s family. Come Home to God’s Family
25 Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.
This man got up, picked his mat up and went home. He and his friends went home glorifying God. The came together and they celebrated together.
Everyone else in the home glorified God also.
26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Celebration comes when what God is doing is experienced and recognized by all participating in an event. In this story it says they all were struck with
astonishment. It is safe to assume that the majority of people gathered at this home were family. Crowds gathered because someone said let’s go hear this Jesus guy. Jesus was about His Father’s business and had opportunity to teach about the Kingdom of God. Because of what Jesus was saying and doing His reputation was growing. Jesus reputation was is what brought this paralyzed man to the feet of Jesus. Jesus teaching was an encouragement to all who came to listen to Him. The demonstration of the power of God brought a whole new level of awe.
Being a part of a church family means so many things. It means a coming together in support of one another. This certainly happened in this story. The friends that brought this man with disabilities knew that he needed help. They believed that Jesus could make a difference in his life. They wanted him to be healed.
I am so glad that you are here on this National Back to Church Day. I’m glad that you have come to meet with us today. The heart of this day and the reason that so many invitations were given is that we believe that Jesus can change lives. We believe that everyone needs to have a saving relationship
with Jesus Christ. Just like the men who brought their friend to Jesus we believe that when someone gets to meet Jesus their life can be made new.
The next part of this is that we also know that when we gather together for Bible study and worship we learn how to express ourselves to God, discover
what it means to follow Jesus, discover why we are compelled to follow Him and learn how to trust Him in our daily lives. We have come together in this body and are becoming a family. This family prays for each other. We share stories of Jesus working in our lives. We expect the family to encourage us
even when we are not at a point to reciprocate. We have discovered that we are more faithful when someone who cares about us holds us accountable for our commitment to Jesus.
The message of the church is not, “Come to church once a week and we are glad you came.” But come on and join this family and let us live for Jesus
together. Let us celebrate the different ways that God works in our lives. Let us help each other walk our spiritual pathway as born again believers in Jesus Christ. Enjoy your role at work and enjoy the work you do each week. We pray that it is an expression of your faith and trust in Jesus. When
we gather back together lets all share what God has done in our lives. Whether we struggled to faithful or found with God’s help our week was awesome.
Sometimes when we gather we will have stories of suffering and struggle. When that happens we will be struck by the compassion of our family and the great comfort of the Holy Spirit. Some weeks we will hear stories of answered prayers and victories in Jesus. We will celebrate Jesus together by
worshiping with great enthusiasm. This is what a church family does. The power and the working of Jesus in the lives of the family is what separates the church from any other organization. We are not just a social club. We are not just a fund raising group. We are not just an action group. We
are a group of people changed by the power of God. We are a group of people empowered by God through the Holy Spirit. We have as our mission to point people to Jesus Christ for the purpose of seeing Jesus change lives for all eternity. Together we will be salt and light to this community and in any community we are involved in. The only thing that will stop us is if we forget that we are children in the family of God. Don’t walk away from this family. We need each other and we want each other. Let us seek Jesus together and we will experience what this group experienced. 26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Challenge: Welcome Home to the family of God. Welcome home through Jesus. Welcome home as friends.
Let me encourage you to find a church family and plug in. Find a family that you can follow Jesus with together. It is not possible to follow Jesus faithfully without being a part of a Jesus loving family. We need you to walk faithfully. I need you to help me walk faithfully too. Let’s surrender to Jesus