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"The world is rife with distortions of God. Such distortions affect our views of salvation and potentially make us vulnerable to superstition and cunningly devised fables. The man at the pool of Bethesda held a particular distortion that left him in a state for 38 years. But Christ aided him in clearing up his picture of God through a question of desire."


Sebastien Braxton is the CEO for The New Life corporation.  He is also a member of the InVerse team, a young adult bible study program on Hope Channel.  He resides in North Carolina w/ his wife Candis and their four children.   His latest project is an online course on how to study and preach the Bible.



  • April 14, 2012
    11:00 AM
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bombing women we are eternally grateful for the things that we witnessed today we witness the dedication of men to the service of God 's church to meet commitments of honesty and the finances to be men of courage and of integrity at home and to serve the church of Christ and to be that example and the legacy of righteousness what we witnessed young people committing their lives to Jesus told coming to the service in the ceremony of baptism not to draw attention to themselves but to draw attention to internal things and on this occasion we've also prayed for Kimberly and I saw just to remember that the foregoing you can create a stock decreed that and that this day is a day for families to draw near to one another and to allow Jesus to minister to each individual member and now fathers we open new word we ask that the Spirit would find a way through the foolishness of preaching to speak to every soul in need to encourage those that have been fighting the good fight of faith to humble the pride to draw attention to Jesus in such a way that each of us might be cut to the heart and that we may draw closer to our Savior in these last days you know that this man is but dust in your site so we pray Lord that you would breathe upon a breath of God filament life that Jesus may be seen in Christ's name we pray amen John chapter five is those of you are taking notes our message will be organized read different portions the first thing we'll discuss is called divine distortions the second thing will discuss is the question of desire and the last thing we will discuss his getup the Bible says in John chapter five in verse one after this this is the second miracle that Jesus worked in his ministry there was a feast of the Jews we are not given knowledge of what he said this was what we do know is that hopelessness begins our story today the Bible says that Jesus went up to Jerusalem and that there was in Jerusalem by the sheep gate which it was the sheep gate in a was called the sheep gate because this is the gate through which they brought the labs for offering and right by this gate was a pool called the pool of Bethesda Bethesda in Hebrew means house of mercy and visible at five fourteen sort needs or particles B when a user that means that there were these columns that were lined up in right under there was concrete or whatever they use in a bucket was a covering to protect those from just being pains of whether the Bible goes on to say that in these verse three nay a great multitude it would have been enough to say there was a multitude but he is the extra adjective that there was a surprising of how many numbers of people were there that were blind that were laid and that would paralyze in these the delay they were not walking they were not active but they were a great the people that were waiting for some the Bible says this great multitude of sick people was comprised of the blind people who can't physically the ability to walk but not the vision to see where they're going but there were people also had vision but did not have the ability they were late and therefore their walk would not be straight it would not be with confidence and will not be with energy and then lastly we have to paralyze people who can see but can do nothing about that wishes it's almost as if it's progressively getting worse and this mural of misery is painted amidst the backdrop of a feast a time where the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem was increase a time where the nation of Israel celebrating God 's divine activity in its packs they remember what God had done at the Red Sea they celebrated his desire to dwell amongst his people and yet it seemed for these people full and thought well of mercy had run dry why are these people here some people running these porches because of their own sin and abuse of Boston some people were there because of a bad choice of the moment some people where they are because life just seemed to deal them about circumstances just getting goal their way and still others were lying in the porches of the pool the best in despair due to the evil your responsibility of others the Bible says these men were right by machine and that means you see in the days of the Jews you cannot hide the blind the lame or the paralyzed or the winter in nursing homes or hospice or hospital though there were leprechaun common given by instruction of God but also for the well-being of society because leprosy is a contagious disease but indeed the people who saw these lame folk these six people were those who were the most religious the people who most often frequented Jerusalem they were the most apparent to the most religious in fact the priests were often in and out abilities and yet these men felt no sense of compassion there was no prayers for these people there was no aid there was no say you know maybe we should have a special temple service for this great multitude of impotent old dilate upon this point right in plain sight with this multitude crowded around the Bible says what they thought was a fountain of human it says in verse three that they were waiting for the moving of the water for an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and start up the water then whoever stuck in what first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease you you see apparently the only hope of curing radical change of life for these people individuals was this fountain of youth or human ability was noised abroad amongst the ill that when this pool of water was troubled that it wasn't the movement of wind it wasn't a minor tremor under the earth that cause the spring of the water nor the steps of the multitudes coming to celebrate the feast Jerusalem but that it was an angel from heaven and whoever steps in first not the one with the greatest need not the one in the greatest need of mercy or kindness or the love of God not the one who's been there the longest but the person with their first it doesn't take much imagination to see the ruthless competition instituted by such a situation you see you can almost see the young lame girl trampled by a desperate blind than I see in perhaps hundreds of others stampede to what they believed to be the water of life trampled down this young girl and indeed many people lost their lives in pursuit of life it's crushed by those who were stronger and it is no less true today that those often most in need of mercy often good night 's yes if it is an angel that troubles this water and a science this malicious law is not having to blame if God wants to send one angel to trouble this one pool in Jerusalem for this great multitude of impotent folk and what is the site of the mercy and love of God what is this say about the fact that is God 's mercy for the first is his mercy for the fastest is his mercy only for the strongest he is poor and limited inverse he does not have enough for each of Cecil and therefore individuals walk away with the divine distortion that's surely a divine distortion has immersed in this circumstance it was Mother Teresa who only three months before she received the Nobel peace prize in nineteen seventy nine said to a close confidant and friend in a letter B's words Jesus has a very special love as for me the silence and the emptiness is so great that I will and do not see I listed and do not hear the tongue moves in prayer but does not speak in Mother Teresa 's mind this woman who was moved to do so much good was playing for forty years of her life all the kind deeds in Calcutta all the things you did the orphanage used in teaching schools in open air this woman was constantly called haunted by the sense that God had abandoned her and actually was able to write to another minister a father in the church and state Jesus has a very special love for you but as for me there's nothing was silent and user-defined distortion when the Bible says that life as a father pities his children so don't the board then that your the Bible says that God gives grace to the humble the Bible says God blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain what mercy the Bible says even though you once were estranged from God but God who is rich in mercy mission to benignant you wouldn't be here if God were not rich in mercy just bought when been given to the strong the Bible says about God who is rich in mercy because of his great law CBS combined distortion has emerged onto simple fact of how do we change our human condition finally get out of the problems that we have in every human soul in this room there is attention you may not showing in this time you may not sell it to those around search but there is attention in every soul there is a full and small to that which is self-destructive there is a designer and a personal loan of God which dishonors God gives honest I own bodies and dishonor the church of any attention we know this is wrong like the apostle Paul I consent that this is what is good but to perform that which is good I do not and however we responded with what has God done to get us out of this situation is easily lead to divine distortions of what the Bible said on one particular case amidst this multitude the Bible says in verse five now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty eight when Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time and pause there for more the Bible suggests in verse fourteen Jesus tells the man after he heals and he says Jesus found him in the temple and he said to him see you have been made whole letter those next words sin no more suggesting that the man was in the situation because of his owns it was your own fault but now he's year as a result of his own state 's own selfishness his own refusal to love gossiping and to love his neighbor as himself he sitting beside this pool of water as his only and the only reason why this is significant as there was a superstition in this and the fact that on the day of a baptism people making the water has some supernatural value when it does not this water does not change people and some people are just waiting for the stirrings of the water but there's nothing in that water was simply baptizing and bringing all wet devils demons coming out this at all yes he was the testimony but in reality it is not the starting of the water it is not removing the going down with the passage hand over your mouth that creates the change this is a public illustration of a change that is already taken place under the guidance of the we must not be fooled and we must not trifle with the ceremonies of God too often churches are rushing little children into baptismal tanks that's why we see a surge of revamped young people are probably not giving the gospel really preach for the first time truly being called to be a disciple of Jesus then I realized what happened to me before what was I doing when I was eleven when I was nine when I was thirteen getting into that pool boy for swing with the pastor at the end of the day when we come to this knowledge then they realized I wanted to baptism for real this not just the numbers of the church not just to get names on the church books as people 's names can be in our books but not in Jesus 's books and that's your question for every church board does your church books Mac to Jesus nothing in the store number one hoping in vain I don't care how many times you got not in the spring of the water Christ the Bible says was talking to this man the Bible says in verse six when Jesus saw him lying there and new that he had already been there a long time that means Jesus was talking to the men Christ was walking through Jerusalem albeit perhaps in meditation and prayer and Jesus approach this man and began to learn about the situation and the Bible says eventually it came up in the discussion that he had been there for thirty years in Christ looking down at this man his heart of compassion overwhelms any concert and then and says at the end of verse six do you want to be made do you want to be made whole it seems a bit odd question don't you think I mean isn't that why he's in the sport in the first place vigilantly watching for the starring of the waters as is often the case with the questions of God it is to awaken something in the soul of the person was questioned it's not because Jesus doesn't know what he wants to awaken something in this paralyzed man and I would like to suggest to you that having failed of healing year after year know how many years in front Washington who knows how many times he crawled down to try to get their first in time after time you have to year having met with discouragement for almost perhaps thirty eight years surely this man was worn down he was weary surely dismay was with our hope and without God in the world is probably lost his design to behold point but Christ seeks to a wiki is designed once again and he comes with what I like to call the question of desire may be Jesus is coming to us and saying do you want to be me perhaps we recently lost the desire for holiness perhaps there's someone here today that is on the verge of giving up on overcoming sin best people in the church that settled or just an average Christian experience were all fall short of the glory of God Jesus is not mighty to save you from sin he is mighty to save you from the penalty Christ administrator forgiving but he can make certain that the faithful and as a result of that long years of indulgence and loss battles have beaten down our courage no longer do we have the same desires as when we were first baptized there's something about a new convert that whatever Jesus says I will when you first come to the judge you don't have to have someone reason it out with you isn't in the Bible okay I will doing it may not be easy it may not be popular and time and time again as a convert myself having not been raised in a Christian home you get weary of preaching to administer get them to commit to what they already committed to and I'm trying to get people to do what is already in the church doctrine and the sameness and when I came into the church I had to give up things I like to I have to make hard decisions I had to lose my friends I had to create division in my home development note that on Saturday I was by myself and the beast some of us have to make sure that on that day of the socket is some such as such as birthday party you can not today it's gossipy and as a result of that we make sure that if I'm going to make this decision would so much to lose I will make sure this is the truth and implement a comment whatever go all the way and this is why we say it seems like people were converted to the church or more zones because in order for them to be committed it's a sacrifice and when you sacrifice something to take a series but for those of us who think were born into the church is like no sacrifices I know these things I grew up with them I know about the songs I know the little babies I know the low jargon that we throw around when someone calls you to the call to discipleship this is listed like Dietrich von offer when Jesus calls a man he bids him come into your through your life is all about Jesus from this point you live in harmony with his doctrines you do his will your about his business and everything you own belonged my notes the Bible says do you want to be labeled he comes to each and every soul with the question of designer you come through the drunkard and comes to the depressed do you want to be made whole he comes to the sexual profligate with a pornographic act you want to be made whole he asks the abuse he anxious the angry do you want to be made whole you see there something in an preparation for this not only for individuals in this role but for the church at large not only does it come to you when it comes to us as a body of Christ do you want to be made whole perhaps we have lost the designer to ever be a church alive with evangelistic fervor and undying charity and love perhaps we have lost the desire to reach the entire city of Ann Arbor for Christ sometimes we'd be up on our church so much we can kill any desire left to be with Jesus called us to be I know the church is not what it's supposed to be we know that people are not perfect and we tell people were baptized all the time it needs on telling you unify a dozen people weren't doing this is what the word of God says every organization has people that do not live up to its expected when I was in the Marine Corps there's plenty of Marines who do not fulfill the requirements and unfortunately they still get the title Marine and there's nothing you can do about what we know and we are doubly account not only before men but before going sometimes Jesus comes to us with this question of desire in Jesus 's insight is very profound what will make you think that MS problem is that he lost his designer and I want to read something from CS Lewis gave a sermon at St. Mary's church in Oxford in nineteen forty two an excellent read his introductory remarks in his sermon is very profound and speaks to our situation is what he says listen very carefully he says if you asked twenty Goodman what they thought the highest of the virtues nineteen of them would reply unselfishness but if you ask almost any of the great Christians of all he would have replied the see what has happened a negative term has been substituted for a possible and this is a more than theological importance the negative ideal of unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others but are going without them ourselves asking our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point going forward I do not think that this is the Christian virtue of love the New Testament has lots to say about self-denial is not about self-denial as an end in itself we are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may be able to follow Jesus and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find it we do so contains an appeal to designer indeed we consider being on the lasting promises of reward and the startling nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong we are halfhearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered like an ignorant sign who wants to go on making mud pies in us alone because he cannot imagine what is meant by the author of the holiday to see we are too easily please see for many of us if you get a taxi when Jesus comes with the question on this I hear he's recognizing that the problem with awesome incident is not that our desires are too small below hangs up on two principles one of those principles love God with all and love your neighbor as yourself that's the basis of the law so if we are sending your loving gauntlet less than all aware not loving our neighbor as ourselves fundamentally that's the principle now followed this if the issue is to love God a positive action to love our neighbor a positive action they were struggling with sin we are struggling to love were struggling to decide or the good of God and the good of others our designers are too weak not too strong we don't decide her clippings enough is the point that he's making and for too many of us we settle into our sin we are confirmed in our sinfulness and we say listen I've been battling with this for years and we just learn how to exist in a lame condition we learn how to continue without being whole and the rush to my conclusion the Bible says in verse seven that Jesus is successful in awakening the man's design and the sick man answered him Sir I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up but while I am coming another steps down before me he says yeah yeah I want to be made whole but that he remembers that repeated attempts of failure he remembers how many times he's right and he didn't have what he needed to get a hold and it's funny that he says I have no man and there is Jesus Dominic is not amen amen he's done a so he says I have no man but here's Jesus and the Bible says in verse eight Jesus said to him rise take up your bed and walked and what's next word immediately not gradually not over time the Bible says immediately demand was made whole the book is that in war you see Jesus does not come to the night and say if you will believe you can take up your bed and walk it out in front of the net if they listen you try to get all and God will provide the divine power to help you get up you just consonant do you want to be made whole yes I want to be made public there is no man he says do not you have the sound help you up it has outgrown really help you stand up and as I'm lifting you your balls are missing strength the Bible just as Jesus just said get up yes it zero I went amid a black west of faith whereas the divine well the power neck comes into the blackout at the minimum is going to give you waited bizarre pages comments page one three Jesus had given him no assurance of divine help the man might have stopped the Tao and lost his one chance if you but he believed Christ were any acting listen to this it acting upon his word he receives from on my way to me so through the same faith we may receive spiritual healing south of the same faith as this man we may receive spiritual notes on notice the man's a led him to act upon Christ's word but I'm going somewhere and by doing so he received the strength to do with Jesus Culp told him to do this was for physical healing yet the Bible saw the Spirit of prophecy pens through the same thing we may receive spiritual healing is audacious goals are the Savior is bending over the purchase of Hezbollah saying in expressible tenderness and pity tunes you want to be made he bids you arrives in health and peace do not wait to feel that you are made whole do not wait to feel that you are made whole believe his word and it will be fulfilled put your will on the side of Christ will to serve him and acting upon his work on Snoqualmie you will receive strength what ever one word I said what her maybe the evil practice or the master passion which through long indulgence buying well following body of Christ is able and want to dilute something they coming what is a evil practice what is the master passion that has left down count me what constant message you can do this without you get up don't wait for it to feel different we get down and we praise a wealth of the sexual deviant Jesus says but that's your salty sanctification don't like to feel pure are you understanding what I'm saying the Bible says all we do is we act upon his work so we talk about get up that's all Jesus is saying that you read the Bible well a person comes to studying the Sabbath for the first time wow God wants me to keep the seven-day holding every single week I didn't know this my schedule is all jacked up go to sort all these things out and guess what you are is a slow that comes in confrontation with truth having never kept the Sabbath and then I like companies like some what experience do you have what knowledge can you going to even keep the Sabbath day you can you can keep an entire twenty four hour period holy when the last twenty four years have been unholy and yet we expect people to abandon Houston now God says the second you hear the truth we better follow everything that when Jesus says rise thou say what will you make me whole I will write I'll get off the pornography when you change my desires known Jenna Mueller I promise I'll write about this relationship if you take away these feelings now get out mold you all finally changed my diet once you finally some good tasting vegan food now you know Lord I promise I'll stop being insecure you can you need better pictures of the love of God the Bible says you are complete in him get up to the press he says be strong and of good courage get up to be angry Jesus says be angry of sin get up to the soul battling fierce temptations Jesus says resist the devil ghetto you see I don't know what we fallen into I don't know what mock our lives are and when we leave this place we can look pretty on sound but the reality of the gospel as we look at inside a school rings are so low it lays the glory of man into the dust there is no glory for us in preaching the gospel all the glorious for who bridges but we don't want that we don't want to look that would allow people to know how messed up and broken our life is in Jesus is okay you're better looking whole rather than being whole start asking the question again do you want to behold if you want to be whole again I don't wait it doesn't angrily it doesn't matter if you're the first person to respond to the appeal or the last the mercy is still there is not as rich in mercy and as long as you get out as long as we act on Jesus 's work the power is given the very moment we decide on our knees in prayer Lord I will keep the Sabbath day there is power that will become more I want to thank your life the less power and so the next time we read something to challenge Lord I can do these here Jesus saying to you and me now to the church in Ann Arbor this is where one lonely church in the city guys given us a message and the Holy Spirit to reach this in Tiger city for his name don't ever let anyone put discharged out is Jesus 's charge as soon as we exempt the call to go make disciples of all nations that includes the city of Ann Arbor they get up going to a board meeting we don't have the finances get up close the moment we start doing God 's work the money will come too busy waiting for Jesus do something first before we open we must obey we must act on Jesus 's work and that very moment power when and with the familiar story I told this story before but it bears repeating applicable Sabina men without a zoo with his son as he was walking around his son was appreciating the animals a notice when he came to the elephant that elephant was anyone thinking that was shorter than it was in a very weak or strong and anyhow on his leg a pink string and no young boyfriend was that he said that he understand properly allocate nothing to write the string at night is he's bigger than the game is just a pink string responses will when he was a baby elephant they put a chain around and I was Reverend King and you would think anyone is anyone in that God regularly tell me her outlet that they put a bigger say on his life and he went as far as changeling that he got a little bigger and staying on anyone and anyone can use on the power to write and eventually he realized I cannot break this chain so that at the appointed time they took all day and it will so why because the change is no longer on his leg is on his mind as long as he feels something on his leg he doesn't even sure and I believe today Jesus is calling many of loss and discharge the right strength of the devil is put on our legs we are not bound Jesus says because of a lack of power Jesus has all were not valid because where that Jesus lacks willingness and we are bound because of our will we lost our designer will and in that moment Jesus says listen sometimes angels are walking around our churches with members with peach Springs wondering why there's still captive and God tells them the chain is not under Lake Sonja every head is involved in every eyes closed every head is bounded every eyes closed Jesus is calling is that sold medicine her life is line that is spiritually I wonder there is someone today that says Lord I hear you speaking to me this question of design and that this morning Lord of the holy designer in me again for that first idealism when I first gave my life to Jesus USA Laura will and desire indeed this morning I was invited back to your feet disabling the Lincoln something in my will and you've awakened that design for my second appeal is for someone who's been struggling with God 's forgiveness struggling with guilt and two exceptions forgiveness and Jesus is saying to the hassle will not wait to feel forgiving but believe it because Jesus is just get out anyone is able or I've never know you are all publicly through the ceremony of God is a board I is all slip on never giving your life to Jesus my third appeal for someone who's been struggling with the same for a long time you want to come to Jesus today is a gift to be made whole I want to be made I want to wilt if you would Jesus have trust that he will give you strength site upon his yes Lord I want to be made whole and I will have to wait Jesus is saying to you get up don't just be got there while we stayed out in the market we put ourselves in and yes it is our fault that's why it's called Mercy and God is rich in mercy and you say that all the work I and you and I just went on yes I want to be made whole I want to be made whole to try to do which vaccinated trusting you give me in my last appeal is for the sole that is paralyzed that is blinded when Lane by fear insecurity and anxiety in doing with Jesus 's quality and wanted you don't do something Jesus has been calling you to do and you been blinded paralyzed and Jesus is calling do something for you been paralyzed by fear by blindness will call you on who is not to wait until you feel like I'm working to do it I'm not in a way to feel forgiven I feel like I will learn I do you call him again and the next time we find ourselves down to Eugene for rule for this media was not as high as a website dedicated to spreading God 's word to me send an audio and much more he would like to know more about a person in your life is more so than is www. nonanswers .org


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