Hope for the Hopeless Part 4

Matthew 12:9-14  Hope for Those Who Feel They Can’t


Have you ever told God – I can’t ?

A) Lord I can’t do that! Lord I can’t go there!

I can’t forgive him! I can’t love her!


B) Think about some of the different pp in the Bible who have said – I can’t

1) Moses I can’t speak well enough!

2) Gideon I can’t fight!

3) Timothy I can’t lead!

4) Joshua I can’t be like Moses!


C) I have had a lot of times where I have said God I can’t – Sometimes it was because I was focused on a personal inadequacy – God I can’t do that – no gifts


D) Others times: It was just an excuse: Because I really didn’t want to change in that area of my life


Today we see a story of a man who couldn’t – A man who was lacking –

A) A man who saw the impossibility in doing the thing that he really wanted to do!


B) A man who discovered the reality in the saying

“God’s commandments are God’s enablements”

     Simple Message today: But a powerful truth


The setting: It is the Sabbath day and Jesus is once again in Capernaum – He goes to the Synagogue

A) He goes to Church


Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand.


B) The historian Jerome tells us there is strong traditional evidence that the man with the paralyzed hand was a stone mason.


C) If so, his paralysis would have very definitely affected his income.

1) Almost impossible to make a living.


D) Therefore the well being of his entire family would have been affected.


E) Harder to do things around the house – harder to play with his kids – dad lets play catch

1) So his whole life was affected by his injury


And they {Religious leaders} asked Him, saying,  "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"  that they might accuse Him.


God had instituted the Sabbath Day as a day for man to rest to Cease from his work – reflect – be refreshed in the Lord

A) However over the yrs the religious leaders in Israel had turned the Sabbath day into a day no one looked forward to.  Worst day of the week


B) You see It became a day – where you really couldn’t do anything.


Bb) There were so many rules and regulations describing what it meant to break the Sabbath 

1) That the Talmud devoted 24 chapters to instructions for keeping the Sabbath.


C) They had 39 different violations and a host of categories that went along with those violations

1) Examples - It was wrong to kindle a fire for cooking …..gather fuel /…..carry burdens Couldn’t cook or Bake


2) Couldn’t walk more that a hundred feet of your home/  Animal gets lose can’t go get him


D) Result was this Day that was supposed to be a blessing became a Huge burden


In fact – What it meant to break the Sabbath became so twisted that- it even was considered WORK to defend your self on the Sabbath

A) Result: In the time under Judas Maccabeus, the time between the testaments, when the Greeks were dominating the people of Israel,


B) there was one incident when the forces of Antiochas came against the Jews, purposely on the Sabbath – knowing the tradition about the Sabbath.


C) Antiochas and his men came against the Jews, but because it was the Sabbath, they wouldn't lift a finger to defend themselves, so 1,000 people were massacred. 


D) That is how serious they were about Sabbath day keeping –

1) So seeing the man with the need and knowing the tendency of Jesus they asked the question – hoping to have a reason for accusing him of breaking God’s law


11 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 of it and lift it out?  12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

A) Now what Jesus does here he does so often especially in dealing with the religious leaders


B) He answers a question with a question: But He is not doing this to be difficult or even clever


C) The question exposes the real problem- namely that they valued their religious traditions and rituals more than they valued pp.


D) In fact they valued sheep more than they valued pp!

Jesus asked in Verse 12.  "Of how much more value, then, is a man than a sheep?" 

A) That’s a simple question, but a revealing one : sheep were better than men to them. 


B) Men meant nothing to them; they were very much like the Hindus in India today. 

1) They won't kill a fly because it is the incarnation of someone who is trying to get out of that karma. 


C) They won't kill a rat, a mouse, or a cow. 

1) Two-thirds of their food supply is eaten by those things, and that is why they have starvation problems. 


D) They let people die all over the place and don't help them, because it's their karma. 


They won't give money to beggars or help the destitute because they feel they must endure that suffering to earn their way to the next level. 


So cows are worth more to them than people; cows are sacred, for whatever reason. 


It's the same in Judaism, but not quite so religiously defined, and sheep were more important to them economically than people. 


By the way, Mark and Luke tell us that all the while He is talking, He has brought the man with the paralyzed hand and sat him in front of the entire synagogue,

   So this is a very dramatic Scene:

A) The answer to His question was an obvious one – you know you would save your sheep


B) So of course it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath


C) PT Human need always takes precedent over religious tradition.

1) Woman collapsed – in the middle of our service – we didn’t let her lay there until the Bible study was over.


D) The human need takes precedent over the ceremony!

1) After dealing brilliantly with their question Jesus turns to the man – Real focus today  



 13 Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

A) Catch this: Jesus said to the man whose hand was all shivered up  Stretch out your hand  release it


B) But how was this man  supposed to do that?

1) It was impossible for this man to stretch forth his hand


C) Some might have considered it mean or insensitive – Jesus asking this man to do what he couldn’t do –


D) Be Like asking a blind person to look at a picture

That would be cruel


E) But that is what Jesus does:

“Jesus always brings men face to face with the impossible and lays upon them a command that in their own strength they cannot obey” Morgan


Now this man could have argued: . ‘That’s easy for You to say. My hand is paralyzed. How can I stretch it forth?’

A) The man could have argued with Jesus.


B) He didn’t do that - Instead, he simply obeyed.

He didn’t argue. He didn’t debate.

1) He simply said, ‘OK,’ — and as he stretched out his hand, the Lord met him in that place.


C) Now if this was the movies- feel good positive mental attitude message – if you try hard enough you can pull it off -  At this moment – inspiring music


D) Slow motion – The struggle the sweat – turn it into a five minute ordeal -   


But that is not they way it happened – There was no struggle it was instant!

A) Jesus said Stretch out your hand & He stretched it out


B) There was power in the words of Jesus – The man heard it – believed it and responded

C) This reminds us of a powerful and important biblical principle.

1) God’s commandments are God’s enablements


D) When God speaks, power is released.

1) If you can grab that simple concept, the Word will become extremely exciting to you.


E) If I am looking at myself alone – His commands are impossible and unreasonable.  

1) But if I see  that the power of God is behind the command – it becomes both possible and reasonable


Listen we all have areas in our lives that are withered

A) Some of you have a heart that is withered – You have been hurt & taken advantage of one to many times


B) Trust has been broken and consequently you have said: I can’t love again – I will never be able to trust again


C) Jesus would say to you today: Stretch out your heart – I will pour my love into it!

Eph 5:2 walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us,

              I can’t – Sure you can – My love is yours


Romans 5:5

The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

For Some of You God has been calling you to take a step of faith in your life

A) For some it is a Change – others it is call into a ministry


B) You have been saying: I can’t – I am afraid – what if I fail – what if it doesn’t work –


C) He is saying: I have not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

1) Stretch out your life!


 Struggling with Depression{ No Joy – can’t worship

A) The Lord’s word to you today is simply:

‘Rejoice evermore… For this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

           (I Thessalonians 5:16).


C) Now you can argue and give 101 reason why you can’t do that – can’t rejoice

1) Or you can say, ‘If the Word tells me to rejoice evermore, I will now start rejoicing.’


D) And in the very act of beginning to rejoice, you’ll find reason & power to continue to rejoice.



Now understand – it is that simple – but it is not easy

A) Our flesh rebels against this – that is why it is a daily practice –


B) Where you say: Today Lord in your Power and in your strength – ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD – I will do what you command me to do.


C) As I look at myself – seems unreasonable and impossible

1) But when I take my eyes off of me and put them on to you – your power – your grace – your strength in my weakness – Possible – reasonable – RIGHT ON!


Saturday nights at the College & Career group – discussing – Discovering the will of God shared this quote:

Phillip Yancey “I do not get to know God and then do His will – I get to know God more deeply by doing His will”


Some of you are struggling with your flesh weaknesses – addictions

Consider yourself dead unto sin, but alive to Jesus Christ,’ (Romans 6:11).


Romans 6:12-14

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to its lustful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.”

The Word says, ‘Husbands, love your wives,’ (Ephesians 5:25).

A) Now you can argue – but Lord you don’t know my wife ‘You don’t know what we’ve been through,’


B) You can come up with a myriad of reasons why that is impossible and unreasonable request

1) Or you can say – Lord your word tells me to love my wife. So I will love my wife.’


C) And because you’re doing it, God will give you the power to carry it out.


‘Wives, submit to your husbands,’ (Ephesians 5:22).

A) You can argue and say why this is impossible.


B) Or you can say, ‘Lord, in Your commandment is Your enablement. I will do it today.’

1) And you will receive power.


C) Whatever your area is of being withered


Can I encourage you today: take the Lord’s word at face value – realize – In the very commandment is the enablement to carry it out – follow Thru

A) Whatever that means for you – today


          Stand forth.

                   Stretch out your hand.

                             And be made whole.


B) Open the door for the -Power of the HS working in and thru my life!