Stretch Out Your Hand

Mark 3:1-6

And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.  So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.  And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”  Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.  And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.  Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

Also in Matthew 12:9-14 and Luke 6:6-11

Jesus knew that He was being watched by the religious leaders trying to find an excuse to harm Him.  But His compassion for the man was greater than any concern for Himself.

He gave a command to the man.  First, he called him to step forward.  Step out from the crowd.  This would draw attention to him – perhaps not something he wanted.  Then Jesus told him to stretch out his hand.

This was a direct instruction from Jesus.  Not “If you want to.”  “If you would like to.”  Of course the man had the choice of obeying or not.  But if he was to gain his healing, he had to do what Jesus said.  By stretching out his hand he was acting in:

  • Obedience – Do what God has told you to do.  Do what is right.
  • Faith – Believe God will do what He said he would do.

Believing and obedience go hand in hand.  To truly believe is to obey.  The man could have believed that Jesus could heal him, but it was only as he obeyed and stepped forward from the crowd, then stretched out his hand that healing came.

What is it Jesus is calling you to do?  Would it require you to “step away from the crowd”, to open yourself to possible ridicule or rejection by others?  Would it require you to take belief to the final step of obedience?

John 14:15 – If you love me, obey my commandments.

We can take this idea of stretching out our hand a further step.  We do not know what this man did after Jesus healed him, but we hope that we began to share the good news with others.

That is what Jesus has commanded us to do – to stretch out our hand and share the love we have received from Him.

John 15:12-13 – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

  • Stretch out your hand – Rescue and Save –

Jesus told us that we were to be sent just as He was.

John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

  • How was Jesus sent?
    • In obedience
    • In faith
    • In love and compassion
    • To rescue and save

We can take this idea of stretching out our hand a further step.  We do not know what this man did after Jesus healed him, but we hope that we began to share the good news with others

Who do you know that could use a helping hand today? 

  • A word of encouragement
  • A meal
  • A card saying “thank you”
  • An offer to babysit and give parents a date night
  • Just a smile

Too often we tell others “I’m praying for you” which is good, but let us put legs on those prayers.

1 John 3:16-18 – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

James 2:14-17 – What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Justification by Faith

Galatians 3:1-9

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

A BELIEVER CORRECTS ERROR

Galatians 4:16 – Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? 

  • Error causes misunderstanding and thoughtlessness
  • Error deceives
  • Error either leads to disobedience or comes about because of disobedience

A BELIEVER RECEIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT BY FAITH

  • First the message must be heard.

Romans 10:14-15a, 17 – How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?….So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

  • The Holy Spirit is a gift of God.

John 14:16 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Helper…

A BELIEVER IS A SPIRITUAL SON OF ABRAHAM

  • Abraham was counted righteous because he believed God’s promises.

Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:4-6 – But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out ‘abba, Father!

  • Abraham had done no works at the time he believed
  • Abraham’s faith led him to do what God has instructed him.
  • His faith preceded his obedience
  • It is not obedience = faith and repentance = our righteousness
  • It is faith and repentance = righteousness of God = obedience

The Law and Faith

Galatians 2:11-21

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

CONFRONTATION BETWEEN PAUL AND PETER

  • Peter was hypocritical
  • Followed pressure of the crowd
  • Showed prejudice

JUSTIFICATION – FAITH VS. WORKS

  • Not by the Law

Romans 3:23 –   For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

James 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

  • By faith in Jesus Christ

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

RIGHTEOUSNESS – FAITH VS. WORKS

Question:  By teaching us to trust in faith alone for our salvation, is Christ making us sinners, encouraging us to disregard sin in our lives?

  • A man who tries to keep the Law makes himself a sinner when he breaks it.
  • A man who trusts in God for his salvation will then follow Christ – because of love and gratitude.  Love is a greater force than fear or duty.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 –  For the love of Christ compels us,  because we judge thus:  that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.   

I John 3:16 – Hereby we see the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

HOW ARE WE JUSTIFIED?

  • By dying to the Law – to any effort on our part or any dependence on our own goodness.
  • By being crucified with Christ – by identifying with Christ in death to our own self – our good and our bad.
  • By allowing Christ’s divine nature to live in us. 

John 15:4-5 – Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.    

Ephesians 3:17-19   that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.