Steven Furtick - The X Factor
This week, God gave me something just for the stuck ones. If you've been freely roaming about with no obstructions…there's nothing in your life that's holding you down, chaining you to something that has been in your life for the last eight years…you can probably more valuably use this time than to listen to me preach, but for the people who God gave me this message for today, I'm excited to share it with you. In John, chapter 5, there is a story about a man who was stuck. I want you to stand on your feet for just a moment. Welcome to our eFam all over the world. Please let me know, before I read my Scripture, where you are joining from. If you're in the room, so that this is less awkward, just tell the person next to you what brought you here today.
Why did you come today? What was the reason for you being here? Mom made you… Tiffany gets paid to be here. She doesn't want to get fired. But look. All over the world, y'all, I just want to point out to you this ministry is reaching way, way beyond what we can see. I mean, all the way from Fayetteville, North Carolina, to right next to India, just side by side on my comments…California; Mississippi; Kenya; Tampa, Florida. Happy anniversary, Orlando, as well. Two-year anniversary for Orlando today. Make some noise. Where is Lake Worth, Florida, Chunks? Do you know that? Central Florida. Czech Republic, South Africa, Cozumel, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, London, Brazil, Mexico. Oh, you came from Jersey? Good to have you. We're praying we can be in Jersey for our Elevation Nights tour coming up that we're going to announce in the next… So you didn't even have to come. We were coming for you, but you couldn't wait, could you? You had to get here to the house.
Are you visiting somebody or you just came for this? Then it doesn't count. We're just like a little layover. Okay. God is going to bless you anyway. Let's give it up for Jersey. I am not stalling. I'm just trying to slow my brain down for a minute, because the Lord has me fired up, and I don't want to unload on you too much too soon. I'm just trying to acclimate. John, chapter 5: "Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades [porches]. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie…" "Used to lie". It's putting it in past tense, that the situation is going to change.
"Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'" "Hey, man. Do you want some of this? Hey, do you want to get well"? "'Sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' At once…" Thirty-eight years of paralysis was reversed at once. "…the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, 'It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.' But he replied, 'The man who made me well said to me, "Pick up your mat and walk".'"
"I hear what you're telling me, but I've been hanging out here 38 years, and you never made me walk. He fixed me in one sentence. I'm going to do what he said do". "I appreciate the advice. I appreciate your regulation. I appreciate your custom, but the man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.'" "So they asked him, 'Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?' The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, 'See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.' The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well".
Today, the Lord told me to talk to you about The X Factor. Bless your Word, Father. In Jesus' name, amen. Do you know what I mean, "X factor"? (Simon Cowell isn't here. Don't worry.) A noteworthy, special talent or quality. That's what the X factor means. They've just got it. They've just got something. Or a variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome. That's what I want to talk to you about today: the X factor. It's what Holly saw in me, standing across that college cafeteria with a XXX Superman shirt. She saw beneath that Superman shirt. She saw the super. She saw super Steve. (Y'all really are tough to talk to sometimes. I'm just trying to introduce the topic of The X Factor.) You know what I'm talking about.
There's just something they have. You've been around someone like that. If the first person you think of when I say "Someone who has just got it like that" is you… Most of the people I know who really have something special… It is the most difficult for them to see the distinctives that make them uniquely powerful. I was coaching Tim the other day. He did a sermon for our youth, and it was really good. I gave him this thing. I said, "You did this, and you did that, and you did that, and that was good, and that's stuff I can't even teach. What you were so good at is stuff I couldn't teach you if I tried, so that's not what I want to talk to you about, because you've already got that. I want to talk to you about what I saw where there is potential".
Tim is a growth-minded individual. He's driven, so he was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear what you're saying. I did good. What can I do better"? I was like, "That right there, that thing in you that makes you want to know 'What did you see that I could do better?' and not just 'Keep telling me the stuff I did really well…' That right there makes me think you have only just begun to see what God is going to do through you. You've got it". Especially how God looks for people to bless. He looks for need. It's proven in the Scripture I just read you, but you may not have noticed, because the exciting part of the text is where the man gets up and is cured. The part of the text that's really explicit about what made this man a candidate for a miracle is the part that… To be honest with you, it's a list the writer starts where he says Jesus was at the pool where the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed used to lie.
Now, the list could go on and on, because we're going to approach this Scripture today not just to talk about physical conditions God can heal, although God has the ability to do that. I want to extend this list to say that Jesus is on the porch for any problem you have that is paralyzing you in this season of your life. I said it five minutes ago, and I'll say it five minutes from now. This is for the stuck ones. The lame, the blind… You're stuck without your sight. You're dependent on somebody else without your sight. You're stuck without the function of your limbs. You're dependent on where someone can carry you. You are stuck without your emotional capacity, where anxiety wrestles you into a ball and pins you to the mat and dares you to move. I've had seasons of my life where resentment put me in a rear naked choke.
Do y'all ever watch MMA? Sometimes I watch this violent stuff, just get it out of my system so I don't swing on anybody in real life. I'll watch them choke somebody out, and I'm like, "I've been in that position before". Not with somebody else choking me…choking myself, cutting off my own air supply, cutting off my own ability to receive the oxygen of the word God is speaking. Jesus looks for need. Even in picking his disciples, he did it in a really weird way, because to change the world, you need to pick somebody who has got it. Jesus had it, but he wasn't going to be here to finish it. So, when he was recruiting his disciples, he probably should have picked somebody better than an ex-fisherman, an ex-tax collector… He started walking around to pick people, and his X factor… Heaven's X factor is not dependent on talent, height, ability, or charisma. That's not how God chooses who to use. I'll prove it to you.
There is a very small chance that anybody by the pool that day was in worse shape for longer than this man. Jesus said, "That one". So, you're advising Jesus. Right? You tell him something like this: "Uh, we probably should start, if you want to heal people out here, with somebody who has only been this way a little while," and Jesus is like, "The problem with that is if they've only been that way a little while, they will think they got over it". "Okay, Jesus. Let's pick somebody to heal, if you want to heal somebody…" John's gospel is not really about healing; it's about belief. That's what he said at the end of his gospel. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. John tells you why he wrote his gospel. In John 20:31, he said, "These things were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and by believing have life in his name".
So, the healing in this chapter is not the meaning of this chapter. The healing is a means to an end so that Jesus can confront unbelief. In fact, it even says in the passage that it was one of the festivals. In the original language, it says the festival, the definite article. That makes me think it was Passover, which makes me think it was a year after Jesus healed the royal centurion's son in John, chapter 4. That is amazing, because John is skipping a whole year, because he's not trying to show us chronologically what Jesus did. There's a theme he's taking, and the theme is this: anywhere there is unbelief, Jesus stands to confront it. That is true in your life. Where will God show up the most in your life? The area where you have the hardest time believing. That place! The porch by the Sheep Gate with the people who are paralyzed. Why wouldn't you hurry to the temple, to the pulpit, to preach the Word of God and redeem the world?
But Jesus is on the porch. Jesus is on your porch today. Jesus doesn't stand in this pulpit waiting for you to get to church. Do you think God is waiting for you to get here to speak to you? He has been talking to you all week through your trouble. He has been talking to you all week through traffic. Y'all, Holly preached so well last week. I have to brag on my wife for a minute. She has got it. She told me, "I'm not a preacher. Don't put me out there. I'll support you". She told me that years and years ago. Ha-ha! I learned how to trick her into preaching. I really think the reason she preached so well last week was because of me. I do. Not only did I see that gift in her long ago and nurtured it in her… I want to take the credit right now, so y'all let me do this. Can I have this one?
Before she came out to preach to y'all last week, she was so nervous, and I could sense it. She said, "I need you to pray for me". I said, "Okay". I prayed for her, and she was still nervous. I thought of an idea. I started criticizing myself to her. I started saying bad stuff about myself…not crazy bad stuff, just a little bad. This woman defends me, so she went into a different gear that wasn't nervous little Holly. She went into another mode. I don't know if you ever saw Spider-Man. I don't know if you ever saw Clark Kent go into a phone booth. When Holly heard me saying bad things about myself, she grew seven inches taller. I watched it happen right before me. She looked into my eyes, and she said, "Don't you say that about yourself! I will not…" I said, "Let's go. You're ready to preach now". True story. I said, "You're ready now".
I needed to switch her energy. I said, "You need to be a little feisty when you go out there to preach faith to the people. You need to have a little bit of 'Don't you let the Devil tell you that stuff. Don't you let the Enemy talk you out of what God gave you.' You need a little bit of that to do what you have to do". I awakened her inner preacher, and I think the results speak for themselves. It's a principle of provocation. I had to provoke what was inside of her so she wouldn't be so focused on what was around her. The X factor. I had to get her to start accessing what she had on the inside so she wasn't thinking about what she was going to be facing on the outside. If you still think I'm talking about Holly preaching, you are not paying attention. I am talking about you.
When I said, "The blind, the lame, the paralyzed," I could have kept going, listing things that exist in this room and all around the world through our eFam. I could have started listing mental conditions. I could have started listing emotional conditions, financial, relational. I could have started listing tensions you didn't even know were mentionable in church, but they are. The prerequisite Jesus had for who he wanted to heal was who had given up on ever getting better. So, I'm thinking he's walking around this room right now, and he's looking for "Who has the X factor"? Who is the one who knows "I need God in this place"? On the porch where the disabled used to lie. "We don't have time to stop by the porch, Jesus. We have to get to the Passover feast". No, no, no. Jesus wasn't going to pass over the porch to get to the Passover festival.
Listen to me. He is not going to walk past you to bless somebody who is better than you today either. He is not going to pass by you to bless somebody who said their prayers every day this week. He is not going to pass by you to bless somebody who never did what you did. He is not going to walk by you to bless somebody who has Philippians memorized. He is not going to walk by you to bless somebody who wore a Christian tee shirt to church. He is not going to pass by you, but (this is where you know the sermon is going to take a turn) the Devil will do everything in his power to keep you from realizing the resource that is right in front of you. We talked at the beginning of the year about this popular phrase: "My truth. Your truth. My truth and your truth".
We live in a world that worships personal experience. Put down experience in your notes while we're talking about the X factor. I was laughing how Jesus gave this man a true or false question and the man answered with an essay. Jesus asked, "Do you want to get well"? That's just yes or no. Just check the box. "Want to get well? Yes or no"? That's all he asked. The man starts doing a "fill in the blank" exercise. "Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I'm trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me". He has practiced this crap, y'all. He has practiced this to explain. Write that down. What I want you to realize about your life and where you're at and what you're stuck in and what you're stuck with and who you're stuck with… (This would be a horrible time to look at the person you came to church with. Bad timing. Don't do it.) What I want you to realize about that is one of the most important things about your life is not what you experience but how you explain what you experience, not to others but to yourself.
How many optimists do we have in the room? Optimists, raise your hand. I want to raise my hand with you, but I fall into a different category. I'm not a pessimist, because I refuse to label myself as a pessimist. I refuse to stand up here and identify myself with people who know nothing more than to say how Tom Brady could play better, but they can't throw a football. I will not be that fat guy eating popcorn, talking to somebody in good shape about "You should have caught that". Pessimism is easy. That's natural. I used to say, "Oh, I'm a pessimist. I'm hard on myself". No, actually, I was easy on myself, because it was natural for me to be negative. So, when I was hard on myself, beating up on myself, that was just me obeying the law of the southbound gravitational pull of my stinking, rotting flesh and not being renewed by the pattern of my mind. All the ex-pessimists, make some noise. Do y'all feel me?
I am a recovering pessimist. I'm an ex-pessimist. I found out they even wrote a book about it called Learned Optimism. I'm like, "I didn't know that was a skill. I thought that was a personality". I found out that the way I explain my life to myself is the X factor that determines whether I stay stuck or move forward. Jesus, in our terms, is called a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, yet he breaks every rule of counseling I've ever heard in my life. He asked the man who couldn't move, "Do you want to get well"? At the very least, that is awkward. At the worst, it's cruel. "Do you think I'm down here because I want to be down here"? "Do you think I wanted to grow up in that home environment? Do you think I'm here because I want to be here? Do you think I chose this role"? Immediately, he begins to explain. "Sir, the reason I'm here is because somebody gets in the way every time I try to get to the water where the healing is. Somebody gets in the way. That's why I can't get there".
The Lord said to tell you: your why is getting in your way. "Every time I try…" "I do it for a little while, and someone stops me. I do it for a little while; I get triggered. I do it for a little while; life happens". Any progress you make can feel like this. Right? They call it learned helplessness. That's the psychological term. It means you come to this point where you're like, "Why even try? If, every time I'm going to try, I'm going to end up just getting blocked…" I believe I'm preaching to somebody today who got blocked so many times…got blocked by people, got blocked by problems, got blocked by diagnoses, got blocked by things that were beyond your control. The thing about the time we're living in… We all have a universal snow day we keep referring to called the pandemic. That has become a blanket excuse for why none of us are ever going to accomplish anything again. I know it's a reason, it's an experience, but I have learned that at the same time that I am explaining my situation as a reason why I can't, somebody else is explaining that situation as a gift from God.
Somebody else is taking the very same situation that I'm using to say, "Well, I can't do it because," and someone else is using the very same situation and saying, "I can do it because…" I watched it happen not only through the pandemic, but I've watched it happen as people have gone through difficult seasons. You know I'm coming up on 16 years of being a pastor, so I'm not some little traveling preacher anymore who just goes around and tells you, "You can do it". That's not this message. "You can do it. You can get up. Just get up. Just walk with God. Just pray". I'm not talking about that stupid little stuff anymore that I might have used to preach when I didn't know what the Bible said.
Now I know what the Bible says. Now I know what the Word of God says. Now I've seen it made flesh in the lives of thousands of people. The way you explain your life and the way you explain this pain and the way you explain what's going on inside of yourself will either leave you stuck or move you forward, will either leave you on your mat or move you. The best thing about the passage is his mat became his message. They're like, "What are you doing carrying your mat on the Sabbath"? He's like, "Let me explain. The dude who said 'Get up' and it worked… He told me to do it, so that's what I'm doing. That's my explanation". Stop trying to explain to people what God told you to do. You don't have to explain to anybody how you want to be pure, why you want to be pure, why you want to let go. You don't have to explain it to anybody. "Hey, I have a doctor's excuse. My doctor Jesus said I could do it. My doctor Jesus said I could move on. My doctor Jesus said I could forgive. My doctor Jesus said I could hold my head up. My doctor Jesus said I could enter the Most Holy Place. I have the X factor".
Did you ever have a doctor's excuse? You have one right now. Jesus, our Great Physician, is trying to give you permission to move past all of the reasons you shouldn't be able to move forward and to stop limiting the truth to your past experience. I have to get Holly mad before she preaches so she can see "You're not trying out. This is not an audition". I love y'all, but y'all can't cancel her. You can't. One of y'all might not come back next week, and it's not her. So I had to get her fired up. I had to get her in that kind of thing, like, "Man, stand up and give us what God gave you". The Lord told Jeremiah, "Don't be afraid of their faces". I did not know what that meant until I started preaching. I know what that means now, because there's a part when you're preaching… People look at you. You'll be like, "Back up. Back up". No, no, no, baby. Go forward. That's the word they need. That's the word you need, the one that challenges what you knew.
Question: Was this man lying? Not physically. Yes, he was lying on a mat. "Come on, Steven. Give us a hard one". Let me ask it more clearly. Was he telling the truth? Let's read it. I love your Word, Lord. Thank you for your Word. He showed me something. This is what I want to teach you how to do today, because this is really powerful in your life. It's not just a history lesson about a man. John, chapter 5, is not just about physical infirmity. It's certainly not about a pool called Bethesda, which means house of mercy. It's certainly not about a physical porch. It's about our emotional condition which keeps us from obeying God and receiving his Word by faith instead of walking in doubt. When he said, "Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred…"
What does water have to do with walking? There was conventional wisdom around this porch… There was a truth that when the angel troubled the waters from time to time, whoever got to the water first could be healed of whatever had happened to them, whatever was hurting them. Everybody else got left out. So, he's giving his truth, which is not really true anymore. "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes ahead of me". I can see we need to take this slow. I need a volunteer who has a paper Bible, a pen, and a notebook, and you don't mind coming onstage with me for a minute, and, final criteria… I'm looking for somebody. This is the X factor I'm looking for. I'm choosing a volunteer. A Bible, a pen, a little notepad, and you don't mind me marking in your Bible. Who wants it?
Okay. All right. Oh, it's a big Bible too. I like big Bibles. Let's go, big Bible. Big traps. Big biceps. Big Bible. Big smile. Yeah, I'm kind of big too. Right? What's your name? Tyrell. I was hoping it would be Matt. What version of the Bible? I've got King James. King James! Oh, this is perfect. And you don't mind if I write in it? No, go ahead. Are you sure? Yeah. Okay. This is so perfect. You don't know how perfect this is. I'm not playing around. We didn't work this out. This is not planned. This is just so perfect. I see I gave you this pen originally, so… Look at this. Let's read it together. You love the Bible. Right? Absolutely. Nobody brings a Bible this size to church if they don't like it. "…impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water".
Do you see in your King James Bible, this massive, jumbo-size King James Bible, verse 4? "For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had". This is the Bible I preach out of. I know! I'm getting old, so I can't see it as well anymore. I need this one. Can I keep this one? How old are you, by the way? I'm 28. What if he was 38, like the man…38 years? I wanted to show you… I've taught this before, and I've shown it different ways, because I think it's so powerful. In the version I have, the New International Version… It's a great translation. It goes from verse 3 to verse 5.
See how verse 4 is mentioned down here at the footnotes where it explains how the waters would move and people would get healed. They took verse 4 out of the ESV and the NIV and a lot of the more modern translations because it wasn't in the earliest manuscripts. It wasn't in the manuscripts we see that are the earliest, the closest to the original, the most accurate, so it's not in these translations. In the King James there's a verse 4. In the NIV and most of the translations that you'll see if you're looking at it on your phone… You're like, "Wait. There is no verse 4. Did Steve Jobs come back from the dead and delete my verse 4? Is Apple listening to me right now? Are the Russians here"? But it's not any of that. There's no conspiracy. It's just a verse that was never there that was added later by scribes to explain the situation.
"Why are you taking time to show me this"? Because we add things God didn't really say to explain situations we can't understand. I can't believe you had the King James Bible, because if you had had any other translation, I wouldn't have been able to share this part. I was just like, "I'm going to go in the moment and call somebody," and I almost picked her because she has an eKidz shirt. I don't know if you're a volunteer. Are you a volunteer? I am. Okay, good. "Security! Security"! Good fit. You've got it, man. That X factor… You've got it. I'm serious, man. God is on your life. I feel it. But I don't want you to put in verses about what you believe about God to explain situations or to…here's another ex…excuse disabilities.
This man is taking notes while he's helping me preach. Did you see him reach for the notebook? So, what I want to do… You told me I could write in your Bible. Bring me the camera. Come here. Follow me. Tell me when it's in focus. You hold it. Put that one down. Let's use yours. Hold it. You told me I could write. Zoom in on the verse so we can do this. We have to do this. "I'm not sure I can clap for this. I thought you were going to highlight his Bible with a nice lime green, Elevation orange". The X factor means that you and I, brothers and sisters, need to go through and make sure that what we believe about God is really revealed in the person of Jesus, not just the traditions of men.
Now, in case they put this on one of those YouTube channels that talks about what I'm preaching and what shoes I'm wearing, or something like that, I want to make sure you're not going through crossing out the parts of the Bible you don't like because they're hard. Like, "Love your neighbor as yourself". "I'm not sure about the neighbor. I like that 'Love yourself' part. Yeah, love myself. I like that part". No, no, no. It wasn't there. It got added later. It's not what God said. It got added later. I want you to know, some of the things you believe, God didn't speak. It got added later. Somebody told you something that made you feel small, and you settled into the small they made you feel, not realizing, "Greater is he that is in me, so I can't be that small. I can't be that insignificant".
Are y'all still with me or are you already shopping for another church on Google while I'm preaching? "Click off! Click off! Click off! This guy is crossing out the Bible". No, no, no. I'm crossing out what's not the Bible. I'm crossing out what God didn't speak over me. If he corrects me, I want to hear it. If he challenges me, I want to hear it. If he thinks I'm wrong, I want to know it. We don't preach this anymore. We used to have a thing: "Check yourself before you wreck yourself". But now I see everywhere, "Treat yourself". First of all, it's just annoying. That's an annoying thing to say anyway. Secondly… Yes, I'm all for self-care. What about self-confrontation? (I'm going to come behind my security over here.) One of the hardest things, though, is what he said when he explained experience. "Every time I try, I get stopped. Every time I try, I get blocked. Every time I try… I smile; they don't smile back. I asked her out; she said no".
How are you going to explain that to yourself? We used to ride around… My best friend from all through high school is right there on that second row. When a girl wouldn't be interested in us, we would be the Holy Spirit interpretation for each other. He'd be like, "She's just not on your level". I needed that! We'd ride around hyping each other all day. "Deep calls to deep, man. She's just not deep enough. That's all it is". Quoting Bible verses to handle rejection. Then the man's explanation. This is where I see you today. You're caught between an experience and an explanation. His explanation is keeping him stuck. Some of us have fallen in love with our "stuckness". We love stuck, because we learned we can get our way if we get angry. So, do we really want to be made well from our anger? We've learned we can get our way by doing the silent treatment, so do we really want to get better at communicating? We've learned we can get our way and seek attention by misbehaving. Some of us subconsciously create failure in our lives so it will call people to our rescue so we will feel wanted.
Now I see why the genius of Jesus (Wouldn't that make a cool series…the genius of Jesus?) made him a wonderful counselor, even though it seems like he has a terrible bedside manner. He's like, the X factor here is not the externals…the economy and your mom's mom's mom's mom's mom's goldfish that made you like you are or who won't do what for you. That's not true anymore now. Is the man lying? "Sir, I have no man when the water is troubled to put me into the pool. I have no man. I have no help". That's not true anymore. It was true five minutes before Jesus got there. It was true. (Let's use my Bible for this part. I don't want to cross anything else out of yours.) What he said, "Sir, I have no one to help me…" Can you see it? "I have no one…" That used to be true, but Jesus is here now. That was true. It wasn't an excuse. It was true…until the Truth showed up.
That's the X factor I wanted to preach to you about today. You are still operating in your life as if Jesus were not risen, but he is risen. You are carrying the shame as if your sin were not forgiven, but it is forgiven. "But I'm a sinner". You were a sinner, and you still sin, but now you have help that you didn't have when you were trying to fulfill the law in your own flesh. "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened…" That's what I was. It's not what I am now. It used to be true, but Jesus is on your porch. Jesus is on your porch! That's the X factor. Not your might, not your power, but by his Spirit! He's here! Make the announcement to five people. Tell them, "He's here on your porch". He's here! It's so good. God wants to change your explanation to where you start explaining things differently.
Let your faith explain. Maybe we could do that for a part two message if you all like it: how to let faith explain, because fear will start explaining. "See the reason that happened to you? Because you suck, and you always sucked, and…" Let's put it in King James. "…thou shalt suck forevermore". The Devil will speak King James language to get you to believe a lie. A few weeks ago we said he's the Father of Lies. That's his native language. He speaks lie like you speak tennis. Robert is a tennis coach. He'll come up to me. He'll be like, "Man, that was like a serve in a volley," or something like that, today on the sermon. I'm like, "Robert, what does that mean? That doesn't apply". That's his language.
The Devil's language is lie. Do you think that man on the porch was trying to lie to Jesus? He was speaking something that used to be true. There were three things I said you needed. One was a Bible, and you had that. One was a pen, and you had that. I said a notebook, and he had that too, and he had a pen that I gave him. Isn't that just like the grace of God? He gives us what we ask for. (I just threw that in. I'm having fun today.) I feel the spirit of "unstuckness" as God begins to show you how to change the way you explain. The way you explain the experience either keeps you stuck or sets you free. So, she could sit here and say, "I'm just a little girl. Nobody…"
Can I tell them what that lady said to you the other day? People say the weirdest stuff to you when they don't know you but think they do. Some lady came up to her and said, "Girl, we go to church. You've gotten so good". It's already a backhanded compliment, because "You've gotten so good" implies…what? But then she didn't just imply it. She said it. "I mean, you were rough when you started". "Security"! All right. I can't do this for you, but maybe I could teach you the X factor. It's when you take something you used to be and that you still feel… Like this. What does that say? Yeah, you were. You weren't worth the blood of Jesus Christ, the precious eternal Lamb of God. You weren't that good. You weren't worth that much, God's only Son, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, but he decided you were.
So, that's what I am. That's what I am! All I'm doing is Colossians 2:14 where it said that Jesus, having canceled… You want to talk about cancel culture? Jesus is the cancel culture king. Look at what he canceled. He canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness. The Greek word is the handwritten indebtedness. They would make you write your debt by your own hand, as to say, "This is my debt," and you have to write it in your own hand. So, Jesus took his hand… Y'all don't love the gospel? This is about as good as it gets. Colossians 2:14 is about as good as it gets. I know. "Pressed down, shaken together, running over…" I'm excited about everything God wants to add to my life. I am more excited about what he took away when he died for me on the cross. That's a really astounding thing for me. He took our indebtedness, and he paid the price for it, which stood against us and condemned us. He has taken it away, and he nailed it to his cross.
That is why I can take up my mat and walk. That's the X factor…for me. Grace makes the difference for me. I know; you are a good person, and that's why you deserve to be blessed. Not me. I know; you always get it right, and that's why you're so successful. Not me. I know; you are always full of joy, and that is why the Lord is lucky to have you on his squad. Not me! I know what I was without him, and that's why I'm so excited that I've got him, and that's why I don't mind praising God. That's why I expect the supernatural. I want you to take every page of this thing and write stuff that used to be true before Christ came along. I want you to practice this week. I wish some of you parents would be a leader for your family and take this message and say, "Before we sit down today, everybody is going to 'X' something before I even feed y'all lunch. You know I'm paying. Don't take a bite until we 'X' something the Enemy has said over your life that used to be true".
That's the key: it used to be true. It used to be that the only way to be right with God was for you to be perfect, for you to keep the law, including the Sabbath. That's what the Passover was all about. That's what the festival John 5 mentions was. They put an X in blood on the door of all of God's people so the angel of death would pass over…on the top of the doorframe, on the sides of the doorframe…in Exodus 12, and God said, "Not this house". This is a Passover day for us in Jesus. He's walking up to the person on the porch who can't move, can't function, can't get over it, can't recover, can't get it together, and the truth stands in front of the experience. He doesn't tell him something to understand; he tells him something to do.
"I want you to take what was holding you and hold it". "I have no one to help". But you do now. Don't let the explanation become an excuse. You have it now. You have the Word of God. You have the Spirit of God. Please don't just come in here every week expecting for somebody to lug you to the pool, because you're always going to get blocked. This is the X factor. The man said, "I don't know who healed me". "Well, go find out". It was Jesus. Say it again: "It was Jesus". You said it at the beginning of the sermon, but now I want you to hear it. He's the X factor. He changed everything. Grace changes everything.
You're here today. You're saying, "I can't be saved. I can't be a Christian. I can't get on the right path". God knew that. That's why he didn't make you get to the water. He brought the water to you. It's not how smart you are. That's not the X factor. That's not what's going to attract the power of God to your life. It's not how manipulative you can be, how you can work everything out according to your plan. He said, "It was Jesus who made me walk. It was Jesus who made me whole". It starts with this question: "Do you want to get well"? Because you've been like this a long time. Stand up. I'm going to pray for you. Thank you, my friend. Here's your Bible back. I'm going to pray for you. I want you to fill every blank page in that notebook with all that junk the Enemy has been telling you keeping you stuck too. Okay? I want to see Xs all through that notebook.
Father, we want to take a moment and reflect on the X factor. It's really awesome to see Jesus in Jerusalem, to know he would head back there and die just a little while later and that what was initiated in the man's life through healing would be completed for us on the cross so we could be set free. I believe in my spirit, God, that there are thousands who are hearing this message right now who this is their moment to be saved, to receive the grace of God, not by works but by grace through faith.
Right now, if you're like that man spiritually…not physically, but spiritually…say, "You know what? I'm dead in my sin, and I want to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior so that the written requirement in my handwriting, the things I've done that separated me and my heart from God, can be nailed to his cross and so I can move forward into a new future". I'm going to pray with you right now. Do you know the Bible says it is by grace you are saved? That man would have never gotten to the water if he would have kept trying to get there on his own. He had to let the water come to him. You are at that moment right now. God brought you here, online or in a physical building. God brought you here, and Jesus is standing in front of you.
I'm going to pray a prayer right now. We're going to pray it out loud as a church family for the benefit of those who are coming to Jesus to be saved, repenting of their sin, receiving his new life for the first time or coming back to God. As I pray, if you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is able to save you and you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, the Bible says you will be saved. Every head bowed, every eye closed. Repeat after me this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner in need of a Savior, and I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and today I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe he died that I would be forgiven and rose again to give me life. I receive this new life. This is my new beginning.
Raise your hand on the count of three if you prayed that. One, two, three! And all in the chat raise hands. Hands going up everywhere. Yeah, that's it. No shame in it. Take up your mat and walk. The man who saved you told you to do it. Jesus said you could do it. Raise your hand up high. Let's clap our hands for everybody who got that living water today. Take up your mat and walk. We're bringing you a Bible right now, where the Word of God is, where it can instruct you how to walk.
Hey, thank you for not leaving. I appreciate your attention to the Word of God. This is a very important moment for somebody. I want us to seal this moment of what God just did by giving God the most amazing 30 seconds of praise. Can we do that right now? Thank you, Lord! It was Jesus! It was the Lord! He made a way! It was him! It was Jesus! He saved you. He raised you. It was Jesus! Come on. Give a mighty shout of praise!