Matt Hagee - Committed To Carrying It Through
If you brought your Bibles, turn them to Mark 2. Mark's gospel is written to individuals who want to know what it takes to follow Jesus. Mark wrote it to the disciples. And before we get too far into this gospel, let's understand this clearly, Mark was not one of the disciples. Oftentimes, when you ask people to tell you about the 12 disciples, they say, "Well, there was Matthew, Mark, Luke and John". You're wrong. Matthew and John were disciples. Luke and Mark were not. They didn't follow Jesus when Jesus was on the earth. They followed after people who followed Jesus. They were second-generation believers, after the resurrection, after the day of Pentecost.
As a matter of fact, Mark is one of Peter's disciples. We don't meet Mark until the Book of Acts. In acts 12, the New Testament church is praying because Peter, the preacher, has been put into prison. And so they all get together at Mark's house for a prayer meeting. Now, just write this down. If your preacher gets arrested, start praying. Okay? And the angel of the Lord goes to the prison where Peter is, and he unlocks the prison cell, and he walks Peter out of the prison, and Peter shows up, according to acts 12:12, at the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose surname is Mark. That Mark is the Mark who wrote this book.
In 1 Peter 5:13, Peter writes a letter to the New Testament church. And he says, "I greet you as does Mark, my son". So somewhere between acts 12 and 1 Peter 5, Peter and Mark become such close and intimate friends that Peter considers Mark to be one of his sons in the faith. So when we read the gospel of Mark, what we are reading are the words that Peter shared with Mark. And Mark wrote them down for all of us to be able to receive. And you say, "Preacher, what's the big point of all this"? The point of this is it's a reminder to every one of us that we have a responsibility to share our story with the next generation. We have got to take it upon ourselves to tell our children and our grandchildren who Jesus Christ is, what we've seen Jesus do, what we've heard the Word of God say, and how we've seen him touch other lives.
So many times, we get stuck because we say, "Well, kids don't pay attention to me". Trust me, if you really commit yourself to it, you can get them to look at you. Snatch that iPad out of their hands and stick your face in their face. And when you do, tell them what a mighty God we serve. Peter shares with Mark the power of God through his son, Jesus Christ. And what we learn in the miracle that we read today is the power of commitment. It's found in Mark's gospel 2:2. If you're there, say, amen.
"Immediately, many gathered together so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And he preached the word to them. And they came to him bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where he was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was laying. When Jesus saw their faith", say that again, "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'son, your sins are forgiven you'". Now, let's skip to verse 11. "I say to you, arise, take up your bed and go to your house. Immediately, he arose, took up his bed, went out of the presence of them all so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, 'we never saw anything like this'".
Heavenly Father, you are the same yesterday, today and forever. What you did in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ you can do here in this sanctuary today. You can do it all over the world in this nation where people are watching. So today, I am asking you to send your power and your presence not only into this sanctuary but to everywhere that this message is heard so that when this time in your presence is over, we would testify that we have never seen God do anything like this before. We've never seen so many lives changed, so many mountains moved, so many hearts touched, so many victories received. And we receive this in faith, believing today, because you are the God who does such great and awesome things. In Jesus' name, we pray and ask. And all of God's children said... Praise the Lord.
You may be seated. Peter tells Mark about a day when Peter was in his home and Jesus was there. And there were so many people in Peter's house that they had to go from inside the house to outside of the house. And when they got outside the house, there were so many people that were still coming that they literally filled up all of the streets. And in this huge multitude, in this crowd, something miraculous happens and a man, who's paralyzed with legs that don't work, goes home with a pair of legs that do work. Not because it was the time that they set aside for a healing service to break out, but because there were four people who were committed to making sure that their friend's life was forever changed. There were four people who would do whatever it took to get the individual that they knew in need in front of the one who could meet that need. This is a miracle of commitment. And if there's anything that's lacking in this world in which we live, it's commitment. If Peter knew anything about a relationship with Jesus Christ, what he learned in three years was the difference between curiosity and commitment.
You see, when Peter meets Jesus, Peter is curious about Jesus. Why? Because Peter is a fisherman and Jesus is a carpenter. And the carpenter comes to the fisherman and he says, hey, I see that you haven't caught any fish. Why don't you try this? Go back out in the water and fish on the other side of the boat. Excuse me? I run Peter fish co. I know how to fish, dude. I know you've all seen Christmas pageants where Jesus is this spectacular being. But the truth is, is he was a guy from Nazareth who was a carpenter. When people looked at him, they didn't see the guy you see in the pageant. They just saw some guy from the hills. But Peter does exactly what the rabbi says, and he catches a net full of fish, so many fish that the boat was almost going to sink. And so, in curiosity, Peter wants to know, who is that guy. Because I'm in the fishing business and this dude can catch some fish. And if I hook up with him, maybe I can double my business. Maybe I can buy another boat.
Do you know how rich I'll be if I hang on to this guy right here? And before we judge Peter for taking action on his curiosity, how many people do we know still come to Christ wanting to know how much Christ can pour into them without actually giving anything back? How many privileges and miracles and blessings do I get to receive in my business, in my life, in my health, if I decide that I'm one of his? You see, Peter started out with curiosity. But he found out what commitment took. Commitment is not what you say, commitment's what you do. Peter spoke words of commitment to Jesus. On the night that Jesus was arrested, Peter said, "I'll die for you". That sounds like commitment. But just a few hours later, before the rooster crowed three times, Peter denied him. When it came time to take action, commitment took off. Why? Because there's nothing convenient about commitment.
As long as it's convenient, it's not commitment. It's comfortable but it's not commitment. How many things in this world suffer from a true lack of commitment? How many marriages could have been heaven on earth but something happened and suddenly there's no more commitment? How many dreams have been forfeited because when it got difficult to make that dream come true, you abandoned the destiny that God put in your heart? Why? Not because God changed his mind, but you quit on your commitment. How many careers could have been amazing and changed the world? How many inventions could have been created? How many songs could've been sung? How many books and knowledge could've been shared? How many testimonies of miracles that God would have done except there was no commitment? Commitment is the thing that causes the windows of heaven to open and the blessings of God to be poured out in your life because Jesus said it this way: whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever isn't committed, they're not going to receive. He said, "Whoever leaves houses and lands and brothers and sisters for my sake will receive a hundredfold".
What was he talking about? Commitment. In the journeys that Peter and Mark took together, I can see in the theater of my mind Peter and Mark sitting by a campfire. I can see them sitting around a table after having gone to church. I can see them talking with new friends and sharing stories of what they've seen God do. And Mark looks at Peter and he says, Pete, Pete, man, tell them about the time, tell, tell, no, no, sh, sh, sh. Tell them about the time. Yeah, that time. I know you've told it before but tell it again where they rip the roof off. They just ripped it off. Tell them how mad your mother-in-law was. That was her house: right? She was so mad: he left for three years. So, inside Bible humor. If you don't get it, ask somebody.
And so, Peter tells him, as Mark has requested. He says, "One day, we were in the house and Jesus was there and people started filling up the house. He said, 'and when they started filling up the house, we poured out onto the porch. And when we got out on the porch, they filled up the street.'" now, I want to show you what a 1st century house looks like in Israel, so that you kind of have an understanding of what we're describing and you don't get wrong pictures in your head. This is a simple, square building that's got stone-stacked walls. And the exterior is basically a stucco that's made with the local materials. The building inside is basically three to four rooms. There's a sitting room, there's an eating room and there's a sleeping room. You don't need any other rooms, for those of you who have 27 rooms in your house.
Out in front of the house, there's a courtyard. You see these sticks up here? This is the front door that leads into what would be a courtyard. And then the front wall of the first room is behind it. And over that courtyard are palms and thatch, because this was a place where you would receive guests. They didn't get to go into the house. They went into the courtyard. And then up on top, you see a set of stairs that leads to what would basically be a balcony and a place up on the roof where, during the cold months and the opportunities that the weather was nice, you went upstairs and enjoyed the view and had the opportunity to be with your friends and your family. So whenever we read about this miracle, what happened was these four guys brought their friend. And they took the thatch, the palms and the branches and those things off of the courtyard.
Now, the thing that's interesting, when you read these accounts of the miracle that happens here at Peter's house, in Luke, it says that Jesus was in the house and the power and the presence of God was there to heal them all. I think that's interesting because, as many people as were there, only one receives a healing. Why? Because there's a difference between curiosity and commitment. There were a lot of people who came to Peter's house and they were curious. Who is this Jesus? Why is it that when he goes to the synagogue and he talks with the rabbis and the scribes, he makes them all upset? But when he gets out on the street, he touches a leper and the leper gets healed? And he touches the blind guy and the blind guy can see. And he touches the demoniac and the demoniac is delivered. What is it about this guy? We would like to know. And just like it was then, it is now.
There are a multitude of people that gather on Sunday at various places here at cornerstone, wherever you're watching from, and many of them are just curious. What can Jesus do for me? The sick are curious about his ability to heal. Those who are bound are curious about what they've heard concerning him setting people free. Those who are lost in their sin are curious. Can Jesus really forgive me? Listen to me. Your curiosity will get you close to Christ but nothing in your life will be changed until you are committed to Christ. You don't discover the difference that Christ can make in your life until you have committed heart, soul, mind and body to him. Only the committed get to see the mountains move. Only the committed receive the breakthrough that they're looking for. Only the committed who say to Jesus, it's all for you, I'll go where you want me to go, I'll serve where you want me to serve, I'll do what you want me to do, those are the ones who discover that, with man, these things are impossible but with God, all things are possible.
Mark 2:5, it says, "When Jesus saw their faith". He saw something. It wasn't invisible. It was visible. Why? Because they took action. They not only picked this guy up and brought him to the service, they pushed through all the people until they got to a spot where they could bring him right to Jesus. There was something that said they believed. The Bible says, "Faith without works is", what? You can't talk about faith in God. You have to demonstrate faith in God. Faith is not one foot in and one foot out. Faith is all or nothing. Faith is I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. If none go with me, I'm going to follow. If the world is against me, I'm going to follow. If the cancel culture comes and tries to silence me, I'm going to follow. If the hr department wants to talk to me, I'm going to follow. If the school kicks me out of the board meeting, I'm going to follow. If saying what I say upsets the politically correct, I guess I'm still going to follow because there's just no turning back! Faith requires commitment.
Dr. Tony Evans says, "Faith requires believing that it is so, even when it's not so, and then acting like it's done because God said so". 1 Peter 5:7, one of this preacher's favorite. "Casting all of your cares upon him for he cares for you". I wonder if when Peter wrote that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he didn't think about this miracle in his head. Because we're told about four friends who loved the fifth. We don't know how they're connected or related. Maybe they're family. Maybe they're just lifelong buddies. But whatever it is, there's a level of commitment in these four friends that they have decided this is the day. This is the day when things are going to change. This is the day when we're not going to have to carry this burden any longer. I mean, we love you, bro. But daily? Every day, we've got to pick you up? Every day, we've got to put you down? Every day, we've got to feed you? Every day, we've got to change you? Every day, we've got to turn you? It's all about you. Your fault.
But enough is enough. We're not going to carry you no more. But we are committed enough to seeing you get in front of somebody, that's going to give you the strength to carry yourself. You see, the man on the mat was paralyzed but his problem was crippling everyone who loved him. And I know that there are people in this sanctuary and those who are watching, you know people who've got problems that have got them paralyzed emotionally, paralyzed spiritually, paralyzed financially, paralyzed in some space in their life. And what's paralyzing them is crippling you. Why? Because you're trying to carry what you need to cast. You're trying to fix what you don't have the power to do.
And so today, I want you to know you've got permission from the Holy Spirit to bring that person to Jesus Christ. And say, "Lord, I'm just going to leave him right here. I'm casting this care upon you. I still care for him. I still care for her. I still care. I'm just not going to carry it because you're the one who can solve it". That's what these four men did. In the gospel of Luke the fifth chapter, it says they considered by which means they would bring him. And when you investigate that verse more fully, what you understand is that before they started, they made up their minds they weren't going to stop. Are you in? I'm in. You in? I'm good. You good? I'm good. I mean, they tore off the roof. Where'd the rope come from? They brought it with them. Can you imagine the guy on the mat? Hey, man, why you got a rope? Don't worry about it. They get in the street and they look down that street. Man, look at all those people. We're going to have to go around this side. They get around this side: that alley's full. They go around the back of the house.
How we going to get there? Just going to have to get in the shove. Yeah, they shove folk. They were like, get out the way. We got, we're bringing tom to the Lord today because we're done with tom. Okay? And the guy with the rope says, "I got the rope". And Bob up on the front, he says, "I brought the checkbook". Says, "Why you bring the checkbook"? Says, "Dude, we're going to rip off his roof. We're going to have to leave him some money". Everybody had a part to play. But every one of them was committed to it. But my prayer today is:
Lord, look down here at Cornerstone Church and see our faith. Lord, we're not believing for us. We're believing for others. We're not asking for our mountain to move: we're asking for the mountain that has been built to powers and principalities in this nation to be torn down. We're asking for that mountain of socialism and that lie from the pit of hell to dry up and go away. We're asking, Heavenly Father, for our children and our grandchildren to give your angels charge over them that no weapon formed against them would prosper. We're asking for that prodigal son and that prodigal daughter to be brought back from the far country. We're asking for that cancer diagnosis to disappear. We're asking for that ruined marriage to be restored. We're asking for that dead business to be blessed with favor and abundance. We're asking for those chains of addiction to be broken. We're asking that generational yokes be lifted and curses be destroyed. We're asking, Heavenly Father, that you make a way where there seems to be no way: that you do what only you can do: that you pour out your power and you pour out your might.
And you show yourself faithful until this world sees God on display and they give glory and they give honor to the King of kings and the Lord of lords! I say this in closing. Mark says, in verse 4, "When they had broken through, they let him down".
Some of you are this close to a breakthrough but you're afraid. What's going to happen if I start to disrupt stuff? What's going to happen if I interrupt? What's going to happen? What will people think? What will they say? Let me tell you something. When you're committed, you don't care. Whatever it takes, break through. Whatever you have to do, break through. Whatever you need to stop, break through. Whatever you need to start, break through. And when you do, let it go. Let it down. Give it to Jesus because he knows exactly what you need. And when he sees your faith he'll take that burden that you've been carrying and he'll turn it into a blessing.
You see, he told this paralyzed man, get up. Go home. That place where people used to drop in and check on you, now they're going to drop in and celebrate you. That place where you used to be carried, now you're going to carry this mat and you're going to wave it around as a testimony of only what God can do. The place that you used to be a prison of shame is now a hall of fame. Why? Because the burden has been turned into a blessing when individuals, who are committed to what God could do, broke through and received what only God could give.