TAKING THE INITIATIVE from ‘50 Days of Faith’ Part 3 of 8 March 11, 2007 Part 2 of 2
“Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ The blind man answered, ‘Teacher, I want to see.’” Mark 10:51 (NCV)
“You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
James 4:15 (NIV)
IV. RECEIVE ________________________________________
“Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way: your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he regained his sight...” Mark 10:52a (NAS)
“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.”
John 1:16 (NIV)
“That’s why faith is the key! God's promise is given to us as a free gift.”
Rom. 4:16a (NLT)
V. TAKE ________________________________________
“... he regained his sight and began following Jesus on the road.” Mark 10:52b (NAS)
“If people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing...”
James 2:14 (NCV)
“Everything that we have – right thinking, right living, a clean slate, and a fresh start – comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 1:30 (Mes)
TAKING THE INITIATIVE March 11, 2007 Part 2 of 2 2024 words
Quick recap from last week – from the story of Bartimaeus, we came up with the first two keys to beginning a fresh start with faith in our lives. Firstly– SEIZE THE MOMENT and secondly – TAME YOUR FEAR. We acknowledged that faith can be scary because God is asking us to do something that is not in our nature to do – we think we know best but God is asking you to do something greater than you’ve ever done before. Different than you’ve ever done before. He’s asking you to depend on Him in a way you never have before. So, yes it’s going to be scary but it’s a choice we face if we take faith seriously – you can stay the way you are; if you do there can be no spiritual growth in your life or you can look forward with faith and step forward in faith?
Moving on, the third key to beginning a fresh start is to:
III. ANNOUNCE your faith.
Go public with it. Announce your goal, your intention, the change you want to make in your life, what you’re asking God to do. You need to tell others because there’s no such thing as a secret disciple.
In Mark 10:51 it says, “Jesus asked him [Bartimaeus] ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ The blind man answered, ‘Teacher, I want to see.’” He said, I want my sight. I want to be healed.
Question: Why on earth did Jesus ask this? He walks over to a guy who’s a blind beggar, sitting on the ground by the road and asks, “What would you like Me to do for you?” Didn’t He already know what the guy needed?
Jesus did it for the benefit of Bartimaeus. You see, by asking that question He allowed Bartimaeus to publicly announce his faith. Bartimaeus said, “I want You to heal me!” You don’t ask somebody to heal you unless you have faith that he can do it.
Bartimaeus is saying three things about Jesus; firstly, I believe You are who people say You are. Secondly, I believe You have the power to change me. And thirdly, I believe You can and will change me. It was a statement of faith. And he did it publicly.
Here’s the amazing thing. Jesus asks you the very same question right now. “What do you want Me to do for you?” He asks it every day, every morning. Every morning He asks, “What do you want Me to do for you?” If Jesus were to come to you right now and ask that question, how would you answer? God wants to use you. He wants to bless you. He wants to make changes in your life. He wants to do incredible things in your life. Things you can’t even imagine. But you have to ask. And you have to ask in faith.
Every time you set a goal it’s actually a statement of faith? Every time you say, “This is what I want God to do; this is what I want God to change, this is my dream, my goal, my vision, my objective.” You are publicly announcing your faith if you believe God's going to help you to do it.
There is one qualifier when you set a goal - you need to add the phrase, “... if it is God's will.” Because you don’t know the future. You don’t know what God has in store for you. You don’t know what His plans are. You’re not sovereign. He is. You say, “Here’s my goal... if it’s God's will.”
James 4:15 “You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that.’” We can’t predict the future so we don’t want to be presumptuous but that doesn’t mean you don’t set goals, that you don’t make statements of faith.
Jesus said, “If you’re going to be my disciple, I don’t want you to be ashamed of Me. I want you to publicly identify yourself with Me as a follower of Christ.
So, if you’re going to make a fresh start, you need to announce your intentions, announce your goals, announce your faith publicly.
The fourth key, the fourth secret to a fresh start is:
IV. RECEIVE GOD’S GRACE
You seize the moment, you realize Jesus is here, He’s giving you the opportunity. You Move against your fears. You Announce your faith – And you Receive God's grace.
Mark 10:52 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way. Your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight.” He accepted the grace of God. I know that there’s a lot of hurt here. Some of you are struggling with conflict, or pain, or disappointment, or grief in your life. You’re kind of like the blind beggar Bartimaeus on the side of the road. You’re really struggling. The truth is you can put on the happy face but inside you’re breaking.
I’m pleased that you’re here today because Jesus is waiting to give you a fresh start. The emphasis is on give. You don’t earn it; you don’t work for it. You certainly don’t deserve it. You don’t buy it. It’s not about religious rituals. You just receive the free gift of God's grace and the ability to make a fresh start. Regardless of what your past has been, regardless of what you’ve done, regardless of the things you’ve brought on yourself.
John 1:16 “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after an other.” How do you receive God's blessings in your life? You do it by faith. “That’s why faith is the key. God's promise is given to us as a free gift.” Circle “promise”. There it is again. We’ve looked at the promises of God a lot recently. The reason for that is because you can’t become a person of faith without getting the promises of God in your life.
Some of you say, “I’d like to change. I just can’t. I’d like a fresh start. I’d like to be different.” And you’re right. You can’t change. If you could, you would have already done it. But you need a power greater than yourself to make the changes that really make a difference in your life. You need God's power and that’s what this promise, this week is all about.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” I hope you are memorizing the verses I give you every week because it’s important to get them into your heart and into your life. You can’t be a person of faith unless God can bring verses to mind to calm you when things are not going well in your life; that help you when you’re in conflict; that guide you when you are tempted. You need the Bible in your life. Faith comes from the word of God. With Jesus’ help you can make a fresh start.
There’s a story about a teenager. His father asked him to go out to the back garden and move a big boulder. He goes out the back and he pushes it and it won’t move. He pulls it and it won’t move. He uses a pinch and it won’t move. All these different ways. He finally comes back in and says, “Dad, I can’t do it. It’s impossible.” The father says, “Son, Have you tried everything?” He said, “Yes.” “Have you tried everything?” “Yes! I have! I’ve tried everything!” The father said, “You didn’t try asking me to help you.”
Have you tried asking God for help? Have you tried receiving God's grace and letting Him give you power that you don’t have on your own?
Bartimaeus was blind. But he had enough vision to see that Jesus Christ could help him. He had enough vision to see that he needed grace. Do you? Do you realize how much grace you need in life or do you just think you can go through life on your own? Spiritual blindness is far worse than physical blindness. Because you don’t realize how much you need God's grace in your life.
Grace isn’t just for you to get your sins forgiven and get you into heaven. Grace is for the daily mistakes of life. If you don’t have grace in your life then you’re going to be filled with regret. When you’re filled with regret you get stuck in the past and if you’re stuck in the past you can’t make a fresh start.
I don’t know what regrets you’re carrying but I do know that the grace and forgiveness of God is available and you can begin a fresh start. If you will Seize the moment; if you will Move against your fears; if you will Announce in faith, “Lord, I need You” if you will Receive His grace and finally the fifth...
V. Take the next step
What is the next step? I don’t know what it is for you. For every one of us here this morning, it’s different. Every one of us are at different stages. I don’t know what step you need to take but I do know you need to take it. For some of you the next step is to accept Jesus into your life. Your next step may be to join MDC family. It may be to get into a small group. I don’t know what it is. It may be to tithe. It may be find a ministry. It may be go on a mission trip. It may be share with that friend at work and invite him or her to church. I don’t know what your next step is. But I do know this: you’ve got one. God will never be finished in taking you deeper in faith. You will never just arrive. There is always, always a next step toward faith, toward love, toward joy, toward happiness.
If you’re asking, “God, help me with this!” perhaps He’s saying, “Why haven’t you done what I’ve already told you to do?” You need to take the next step. Stop procrastinating.
Mark 10:52 Bartimaeus “...regained his sight and he began following Jesus on the road.” Mark 10:46 says, “Bartimaeus was sitting beside the road as Jesus was going by.” Circle “sitting beside the road.” That’s before he meets Jesus. Then circle “he began following Jesus on the road.” Which of those two phrase describes your life – sitting beside the road or following Jesus on the road?
Which of those two lifestyles do you think is more fulfilling? Sitting beside the road or following Jesus on the road? Which do you think has more joy, more meaning, more satisfaction? Sitting beside the road or following Jesus on the road? Which one do you want to represent your life? Sitting beside the road or following Jesus on the road?
There’s only one way to follow Jesus on the road. Take the next step.
Faith is more than believing. Faith is more than thinking about Jesus, more than talking about Jesus, more than having opinions and convictions about Jesus. Faith is action. It is movement. It is activity. Faith is something you do. In fact, the Bible says in James 2:14 “If people say they have faith but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing.”
What are you waiting on in order to take the next step of faith in your life?
Where do you get the faith to begin a fresh start? There’s only one source – Jesus, the Christ.
“Everything that we have – right thinking, right living, clean slate and a fresh start comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.” Bartimaeus had no idea that Jesus was going to pass his way that day. To him, it was just another day – same place, same thing, another miserable day. But God gave him an unexpected opportunity that could change his life, that could give him a fresh start. The reason you are sitting here right now is because perhaps God is giving you an unexpected opportunity for a fresh start. Don’t miss it. Don’t let it pass you by.
Lord, some here long for a fresh start in life with You. Help us to begin this week, today, right now. You have allowed this very moment in our life so we could come into contact with You. Forgive us for all the times we’ve procrastinated in doing the right thing. Forgive us for the fears that have caused us to hold back and not trust You completely. Today we want to receive Your free gift of grace and forgiveness. We want to stop sitting on the side of the road and we want to start following You down the road. We don’t want to be ashamed of You. We ask You to strengthen our faith, Lord Jesus. Thank You for dying for us. Help us to be ready now to take the next step of faith, to commit our life to you, to find our ministry, to join a small group, to start tithing, to give our life to you. We are not here by accident. We were made for such a time as this.
Father, give us the faith to take the next step in a fresh start with You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.