Focus on God's Word

Only Jesus

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Charissa Fong


Series Code: FGW

Program Code: FGW000013

00:27 Our subject this morning is "Only Jesus. "
00:30 And so before we go any further I invite you to bow your heads
00:33 with me as we have a short word of prayer.
00:36 Our Father in heaven, thank you, Lord, for bringing us
00:39 here this morning. And as we open Your Word
00:42 and address a very wonderful subject: "Only Jesus, "
00:46 I pray that You'll send Your Holy Spirit
00:48 to speak to our hearts. Speak through me now I pray.
00:51 In Jesus' name, Amen.
00:54 If you have seen anything of the news over the past year,
00:59 you will know that at this very moment
01:02 our world is in a very unstable economic condition.
01:06 All of you should remember the economic crisis that
01:09 happened just a few years ago.
01:12 Wall Street has come to represent a 4-letter word:
01:15 F- E-A-R... fear.
01:19 The world is suddenly not what it used to be.
01:22 And even though I personally don't know much about
01:25 money matters, the one thing that I do know about money
01:29 matters is that it does.
01:31 Everybody is talking about this crisis because everybody
01:34 is affected by this crisis.
01:37 This isn't like an isolated natural disaster
01:40 that hits an isolated corner of our planet.
01:43 This crisis has affected the world entirely.
01:47 To help illustrate how global this crisis is
01:50 I catch the train to Uni every week.
01:54 And when I go on the train to Uni, I meet a friend of mine
01:57 and we go in together.
01:58 And every time I meet her on the train I'm always asking her
02:01 "Did you hear about this? Did you hear about the
02:04 earthquake in China or did you hear about what Barack Obama
02:07 said about this? " And every time she sits there,
02:10 she listens to me and she says: "Charissa, I haven't watched
02:13 the news yet. " And it always makes me feel really intelligent
02:16 'cause I just sit there and tell her everything that I know
02:19 all the way to Uni.
02:21 But when the world... crisis happened in the economy
02:26 even she was telling me about the crisis.
02:28 So that really made me realize "Wow! This is bigger
02:32 than we realize. " And we may not know much about
02:36 what the future holds but...
02:42 Suddenly the future isn't what it used to be.
02:46 And in a world of financial upheaval and stress
02:50 there is only one person who offers to you and I
02:53 hope for our future, and His name is Jesus Christ. Amen?
02:57 And when I see the headlines on the television, my mind
03:00 goes back to a wonderful passage that I find in the book of John.
03:04 And I invite you to come there with me.
03:11 The words of Jesus ring in my mind when I see the headlines.
03:20 You've got to see this if you've never seen it before.
03:23 John 14- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -
03:27 verses 1 to 3.
03:29 These are the words of Jesus, and Jesus says:
03:32 "In my Father's house are many mansions.
03:35 If it were not so, I would have told you.
03:38 I am going to prepare a place for the New Zealanders. "
03:43 I'm sorry... is that not what it says?
03:45 "I am going to prepare a place for you. " Amen?
03:49 "And if I go and prepare a place for you I'm going to think about
03:52 coming back... " No, that's not what it says.
03:56 Jesus... He is certain: "I WILL come again
03:59 and receive you to Myself
04:01 that where I am there you may be also. "
04:04 Friends, when I see the headlines I am convinced
04:07 that Jesus is coming again and He is coming soon!
04:11 Amen.
04:12 Oh come on. You can get more excited about that than that.
04:15 Jesus is coming soon. Amen? Amen.
04:18 That's better. But ironically today I do not want to talk
04:22 to you about a financial crisis.
04:24 In fact, I want to talk to you about a man who had absolutely
04:28 no money whatsoever.
04:31 And if he lived today, the financial crisis would have
04:34 no effect on him because he had nothing to start with
04:37 in the first place.
04:39 However, while we find him at the beginning of our story
04:42 with absolutely nothing, by the time we emerge from his story
04:47 we discover that he has found something
04:50 that not even seven hundred billion dollars
04:54 could buy. And I don't know about you
04:57 but a rags-to-riches story like that
05:00 is something I've just got to see
05:01 and I've got a hunch you will want to see it, too.
05:04 So join me now in his story in the book of Mark.
05:08 Mark chapter 10 and verse 46.
05:23 Says: "Now they came to Jericho
05:26 and as He went out of Jericho with His disciples
05:29 and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus,
05:34 sat by the road begging. "
05:37 Now let's hit the pause button right here because here's
05:40 our man. Please allow me to introduce you to poor, poor
05:45 blind Bartimaeus.
05:47 Some say it as though blind were his first name.
05:51 It is true Mark calls him Bartimaeus,
05:54 but we don't really know if that was his name because
05:57 Bar means son of
05:59 and Timaeus means unclean.
06:01 So he's the son of unclean. Not a really nice name.
06:04 And here as we find him in our story
06:07 he... we are told he is blind. We don't know how long
06:11 he has been blind... we just know that he is.
06:13 And as we meet him here he is doing something that
06:16 he did every single day of his life.
06:18 He is - well done - he is begging.
06:22 Now, as I have examined my past
06:25 I have discovered that I started out as a child.
06:28 Coincidentally, so did my sister.
06:31 And as I have examined that past even more closely
06:34 I realize that there were several times in my childhood
06:38 where I thought about and indeed tried to run away from home.
06:42 The only reason I tell you is because I know I'm not alone.
06:45 Who else tried to run away from home? Anyone else?
06:47 Oh thank you... the hands are going up.
06:49 Wonderful. Well, I tried to run away from home.
06:52 And I don't quite remember the reason why I tried
06:55 to run away from home.
06:57 Maybe it was because my dad wanted me to do some exercise.
07:00 He said: "do some push-ups, " and I didn't want to do them.
07:02 Or maybe my mum said: "Go and have a shower"
07:05 and I didn't want to have one.
07:06 I can't remember the reason why...
07:09 I just know that every single time I tried to run away
07:13 from home it was always the same story.
07:16 I would walk out the front door of my house
07:18 past my house, and I'd get about 20 minutes away from my house.
07:23 It's not very far. Then I'd stop and I'd turn around
07:26 and I'd look back at my house to take this one last
07:29 longing look at my house because that's what they did
07:32 in the movies. When two people walk away
07:34 they walk, they stop, they look back
07:36 and it's the best part of the movie... so I would do that.
07:39 Walk away... look back. And when I looked back at my house
07:43 every time my mum would be there in the kitchen window
07:47 chopping some vegetables for dinner.
07:50 And I don't know how, but she'd always
07:52 look up at the right time.
07:53 She'd stop what she was doing and look up out the window,
07:57 smile at me, and wave.
08:00 And it would be then at that moment that I realized
08:03 I had nowhere to go for dinner that night.
08:06 Who was going to feed me? And so I stayed at home.
08:09 And praise God, I'm still at home. Amen?
08:11 Amen. Not for the same reasons though.
08:14 But at least... The point is: at least I have a home
08:18 to go home to. You see, poor blind Bartimaeus...
08:21 he didn't even have a home to go home to.
08:25 Every single day he had to beg for everything he got.
08:29 And I can't think of a more demoralizing predicament
08:33 for a man to find himself in.
08:35 I mean, most of us find it hard to ask for directions
08:38 when we're trying to go somewhere.
08:40 Can you imagine begging for food?
08:42 For everything? Just to live and survive.
08:45 Put simply, it is a gross understatement to say
08:49 that Bartimaeus led an unhappy life.
08:54 Every day he would feel his way to the side of the dusty road
08:59 there in Jericho where he would beg from sunup to sundown
09:04 hoping that someone would be kind enough to toss him
09:07 a few crumbs of bread or even a few coins.
09:10 And believe me, friends, you experience the world
09:13 a whole lot differently when you're sitting by the road
09:16 in Jericho. The roads aren't like the ones you and I drove on
09:20 to get here. They're dirty and they're dusty.
09:23 So Bartimaeus probably wasn't the cleanest character
09:26 in town and it's highly likely that as he sat by the road
09:30 there in Jericho he cupped a lot more curses and insults
09:35 than he does coins.
09:37 All he needed was for one thing to change in his life
09:42 so that he could actually walk upon the road he was begging
09:45 beside. And so that's all he needed was his sight.
09:50 Of course for that, he needed a miracle!
09:52 And I don't know how, but somehow in the darkness
09:56 of his blindness Bartimaeus kept holding onto hope
10:01 that one day that miracle would happen for him.
10:04 That one day a cure would be found.
10:08 It was springtime in Palestine.
10:11 Bartimaeus... he could smell it. Spring was in the air
10:15 and he knew what that meant.
10:17 That meant that there were going to be a lot of people
10:20 traveling between Jericho and Jerusalem that day -
10:24 a 24 kilometer journey - and he hoped
10:27 that religious pilgrims on a religious pilgrimage
10:31 they would be generous.
10:32 And so we continue on in the story.
10:35 Mark chapter 10, now look at verse 47.
10:39 Says: "And when he heard that it was Jesus" -
10:42 this was Bartimaeus -
10:43 "Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say:
10:46 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. ' "
10:51 Bartimaeus... he hears the approaching buzz
10:55 of an unusually large crowd.
10:58 He has never quite heard a crowd this large before.
11:02 And so he asks a passing shadow 'cause he can't see
11:06 he says: "What's all the commotion about? "
11:08 And the stranger stopped and he says "Well, Jesus of Nazareth
11:11 is passing by. "
11:13 And Bartimaeus hears that name Jesus
11:17 and it means something to him.
11:19 This wasn't just a man from Nazareth that was walking past.
11:23 No, this was the Messiah. So you see, someone had told him
11:27 about Jesus before... he knew about Jesus.
11:30 Mark doesn't tell us how he knew or who told him.
11:35 Maybe it was the leper or the paralytic
11:38 whom Jesus had already healed in Mark's gospel.
11:42 Maybe the suffering woman.
11:44 How she had stopped by Bartimaeus one day
11:47 and told him of how she had just reached out to Jesus
11:50 and managed to barely touch the hem of His garment
11:54 and she had been healed.
11:56 Or maybe Jairus's daughter, while she was on her way to the
12:00 markets one day, maybe one day she stopped by Bartimaeus
12:04 and she said: "Bartimaeus, you wouldn't believe what's happened
12:07 for me. Jesus! He raised me from the dead! "
12:11 We don't know how he knew but somehow he knew
12:15 how all who came into Jesus' presence had their lives
12:19 radically changed.
12:21 And as Bartimaeus is putting the puzzle pieces together
12:24 in his head he realizes that that Great Physician
12:29 whom he has only ever heard about,
12:31 only ever dreamed about,
12:34 was closer to him now than He had ever been before.
12:39 And for all he knew, Jesus might never pass by
12:42 that way again.
12:45 And so question: how does a blind man
12:48 find a stranger in a passing crowd?
12:52 How does someone who cannot see
12:54 see the One that they are looking for?
12:56 I mean, there is Jesus - his only hope in life - just
12:59 passing him by. But poor blind Bartimaeus hasn't got a hope
13:04 of seeing Him or finding Him.
13:06 Well friends, like they say: "Where there's a will
13:09 there's a way. " And he has a voice and he can use it.
13:13 And friends, when your one shot a life is passing you by
13:16 and all you've got is a voice,
13:18 you use that voice like there's no tomorrow.
13:20 Like they say: "If all you've got is a hammer,
13:22 everything looks like a nail. "
13:24 And so he begins to shout.
13:27 "Oh Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, Lord.
13:31 Over here. Lord, I'm over here. Have mercy on me. "
13:36 I wish we had an audio recording of that cry
13:40 because bottled up in that cry was a lifetime of rejection.
13:45 A lifetime of depression and loneliness.
13:49 All of that gave strength to his voice.
13:53 And notice verse 48:
13:55 "Then many warned him to be quiet
13:59 but he cried out all the more 'Son of David,
14:02 have mercy on me. ' "
14:05 You know, the funny thing about common sense
14:08 is that it's not all that common.
14:10 You would think that somebody who could see
14:14 they would see the need of poor blind Bartimaeus
14:17 and see another opportunity to take someone straight to Jesus.
14:21 After all, this crowd has seen Jesus heal so many times
14:26 before. But you know what?
14:28 Instead of taking him to Jesus the crowd turns at him.
14:32 They look at him and they say: "Shhh, be quiet.
14:35 We don't want to hear you any more. "
14:37 Now we can't be too hard on this crowd because let's face it
14:40 this kind of thing happens every day all the time
14:44 in many different situations.
14:46 I don't know if you've noticed
14:48 but university students have this gift of being able to
14:52 look like they know what they're doing
14:53 even if they don't know what they're doing.
14:55 And to convince people around them that they have something
14:58 very important to do they just have to look serious
15:02 and walk fast... and people respect them.
15:04 Well, I was at university one day
15:07 looking very serious and walking very fast to the computer room.
15:10 I got in the computer room and there were young people
15:13 all over the computers. And so I found a computer,
15:16 put my bags down, logged on,
15:18 began to do my work.
15:20 And as I was doing my work
15:23 I was interrupted by this noise and it went like this:
15:27 "Dadumm. " Know what that is?
15:30 No? Yes? No?
15:33 That is a mobile phone losing battery.
15:36 Now I head this phone beep and I looked around
15:40 because that's what phone beeping is for: to get one's
15:43 attention. But do you know what? Nobody in that room
15:46 moved. Nobody even batted an eyelid.
15:49 They just kept going, and I couldn't understand it.
15:52 I thought: "Someone's phone is losing battery and they're
15:54 not going to turn it off. " Well, I can handle a phone
15:57 beeping, you know, once or twice.
15:59 But when a phone beeps for 20 minutes
16:02 and nobody does anything to stop it,
16:05 then it's unacceptable.
16:06 And so I was there working and this phone continues
16:10 to beep. And so finally I started getting annoyed.
16:13 And I started looking at the person next to me
16:16 eyeing them to make them look at their phone.
16:18 They didn't move. So I started staring down
16:20 the person on the computer opposite me.
16:22 Nothing moved. I looked at this person.
16:24 Nobody seemed to care or notice.
16:26 And so finally I was just fed up with them all.
16:30 I logged off the computer, picked up my bag,
16:33 stormed out of the computer room
16:34 muttering to myself how lazy they all were back there.
16:38 And as I'm storming across the campus I heard this noise.
16:41 "Dadumm. "
16:42 It had been my phone all along.
16:45 And in the same way that there I was, sitting in that
16:49 computer room blaming everybody else
16:51 thinking that everybody else had the problem
16:54 when I was the one who had the problem
16:56 so it is with this crowd.
16:58 Friends, they are following Jesus for all the wrong reasons.
17:03 They think Bartimaeus has all of the problems
17:05 when really they were the ones who had a big problem as well.
17:09 They're following Him for all the wrong reasons.
17:12 Some of the people are in the crowd that day
17:14 'cause they're there for the action.
17:16 They have heard that Jesus is a great miracle worker
17:19 and they want to have a front-seat spot just in case
17:23 He performs another one.
17:25 Others have heard that Jesus is a great preacher.
17:28 They love to hear Him teach
17:30 and so they certainly don't want a worthless nobody
17:34 like Bartimaeus interrupting Him on their highly deep
17:37 and philosophical theological discussion.
17:40 Others are there because their friends are there.
17:43 Others are there because their parents made them come.
17:46 Others are there because they're looking for a boyfriend
17:49 or a girlfriend. They're all in the crowd
17:51 for all the wrong reasons, and you and I must pay attention
17:55 to this crowd because often it is a picture of the church.
18:00 Sometimes, Christians, we crowd Jesus...
18:02 and when we do we build up a wall that keeps us and Jesus in
18:07 and real people with real needs out.
18:11 And so the crowd... they turned to Bartimaeus:
18:14 "Hey you, shhh! Pipe down; be quiet!
18:19 I wish you could see what you look like.
18:21 You are an embarrassment to this community.
18:23 You are just so embarrassing. Just... we don't want to hear
18:26 you; we don't want to see you. This is a religious festival. "
18:30 And then in hushed religious whispers to their religious
18:33 friends: "I can't believe he would do this at an occasion
18:37 like this. The man is mad! "
18:41 But friends, the Bible tells us something remarkable.
18:44 That as the crowd told him to be quiet
18:47 the Bible tells us the more they told him
18:50 the louder and the louder his cries became.
18:54 And friends, let's not gloss over this
18:57 because it takes guts to sit by the side of the road
19:01 in the darkness of your blindness calling out to Jesus
19:04 when there is a crowd threatening to silence you.
19:07 That takes guts.
19:09 I mean I've been in Australian history classes sometimes
19:12 and, you know, they ask us when did Captain Cook arrive?
19:15 And nobody wants to say the answer. We're just too afraid
19:18 to say the answer. But here is Bartimaeus.
19:20 He's sitting by the side of the road calling out to Jesus.
19:23 And friends, I'd like to show you this quote:
19:26 wonderful quote by a wonderful author. It says:
20:01 The story is told of Dwight Moody.
20:04 He went to visit a prison once.
20:06 And after preaching to the inmates he then went and visited
20:09 them all in their cells.
20:11 And as he went and made his visits
20:13 he asked them all this one question.
20:16 He said: "What brought you here? "
20:18 And you know what they said? He got a whole myriad
20:21 of responses. The responses he received
20:23 went something like this:
20:25 "I don't deserve to be here. "
20:27 "I was falsely accused. "
20:29 "I was framed; I was given an unfair trial. "
20:33 Not a single one of the inmates was willing to admit
20:36 their guilt until finally Moody reached the end of the corridor.
20:40 He peered into the cell door there and he saw a man
20:44 sitting down with his face in his hands sobbing.
20:48 And Moody said: "What's the matter, friend? "
20:50 And the man said: "My sin is more than I can bear. "
20:53 And Moody said: "Praise God. " And he went and he was able
20:57 to introduce that man to Jesus Christ.
21:00 This quote... I read it to you because sometimes I wonder
21:04 if we really see ourselves the way God sees us.
21:07 'Cause perhaps if we could see our true condition
21:11 our prayers will be so much more earnest and heartfelt.
21:15 Perhaps if we could see ourselves the way God sees us
21:18 our calls on Jesus would be so much more sincere
21:22 like Bartimaeus.
21:23 Let's continue on. Notice verse 49:
21:28 "So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.
21:33 Then they called the blind man saying to him
21:36 'Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you. ' "
21:41 Amidst the chaos of that crowd
21:44 a lone plaintive voice reaches the ear of Jesus
21:49 and the Bible tells us that Jesus stopped.
21:52 Why does Jesus stop?
21:55 Friends, I think there are two wonderful reasons why Jesus
21:58 stopped. The first reason why Jesus stopped
22:01 is because the faith of poor blind Bartimaeus
22:05 had arrested His attention. And faith in Jesus Christ
22:08 always does. Can you say "Amen? "
22:10 Amen. Up until this point Jesus had been going here
22:14 and going there, saying this and saying that.
22:16 Mark really hasn't given us much of an opportunity
22:20 in his gospel to stop and catch a breath.
22:23 But suddenly a worthless wretch of a man
22:27 like Bartimaeus... he calls out to Jesus and the Bible says
22:31 He stopped. And I am so glad that the Bible tells us that.
22:34 Jesus stopped for Bartimaeus.
22:37 And by the way, if you read the wonderful commentary called
22:40 The Great Controversy, if you do some historical research,
22:44 the Bible... I'm sorry, those books tell us that when John Hus
22:49 who was a Reformer... when he was dying, burning at
22:52 the stake because he chose to be faithful to Jesus,
22:55 they tell us that he died singing.
22:58 Do you remember what he was singing?
23:00 He sang: "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. "
23:05 Same cry as Bartimaeus.
23:07 And I think that's wonderful because if Jesus stopped
23:10 for Bartimaeus then we can be sure that He wasn't far
23:13 from Hus either. Amen?
23:16 That's the first reason why Jesus stopped.
23:18 Now the second reason is really something.
23:21 I think it's radical. I love the second reason
23:24 because, you see, as I watch the news sometimes
23:26 and I see, you know, the financial crisis and all the
23:29 other crises that we face today
23:31 the words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 6:19-21
23:37 come to my mind. So turn there:
23:39 Matthew chapter 6 verses 19 to 21.
23:44 They come to my mind... the words of Jesus.
23:47 And this of course is taking us to His Sermon on the Mount.
23:51 Matthew 6 verses 19-21. Jesus says:
23:55 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth
23:58 where moth and rust destroy
24:02 and where thieves break in and steal.
24:04 But lay up for yourselves treasures in Tyrene
24:07 where neither... "
24:09 I'm just making sure you're with me.
24:11 "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven
24:13 where neither moth nor rust destroy
24:16 and where thieves do not break in and steal.
24:18 For where your treasure is
24:21 there your heart will be also. "
24:23 Now I have read those verses many times,
24:26 and I've just always assumed that I knew exactly what
24:29 Jesus was talking about when He said "treasure. "
24:32 After all, didn't we begin in John 14: 1-3
24:35 and Jesus told us about the mansions that are up there
24:38 in heaven? Oh that must be the treasure.
24:40 Gold... streets of gold. That's the treasure
24:42 Jesus is talking about.
24:44 But with the crisis and everything
24:46 curiosity got me studying. And so I did some research
24:50 and I came across this wonderful quote.
24:52 It is a long quote but I'll tell you it is a wonderful quote.
24:56 Let's read it together:
25:49 Don't you think that's amazing?
25:51 When we share Jesus with somebody else
25:54 we are investing in God's kingdom because according to
25:58 Jesus treasure is people.
26:01 You and I are God's treasure. The quote goes on:
26:25 And I love this part:
27:21 Mount of Blessing pages 89 and 90.
27:24 Why does Jesus stop?
27:27 Because, friends, He had to stop.
27:30 It was for people like Bartimaeus that God had
27:34 bankrupt heaven to save. He sent Jesus for people
27:37 like Bartimaeus. There was treasure, and so when
27:40 Bartimaeus called out to Jesus
27:42 Jesus had to stop because he was treasure.
27:45 Day in and day out this had been the message
27:49 that Jesus was trying to communicate to His disciples.
27:52 "Listen Andrew, listen Paul, John, Peter. "
27:56 Not Paul... because he wasn't a disciple.
27:58 But anyway, you know what I mean.
27:59 "Listen to Me, " He says.
28:01 "It's not about fame; it's not about fortune.
28:04 It's all about people. "
28:06 It's all about Jesus and it's all about people.
28:09 But sadly, His disciples - no matter how much time they spent
28:13 with Him - they still didn't quite catch on.
28:16 Because come back to the book of Mark again.
28:19 Mark chapter 10 verses 36 and 37.
28:24 We find two disciples approach Jesus right before we meet
28:29 Bartimaeus. And when they do
28:32 Jesus asks them a question.
28:34 He's about to ask Bartimaeus... Notice verse 36
28:38 of Mark chapter 10.
28:39 "He said to them: 'What do you want Me to do for you? ' "
28:43 And verse 37... watch what they say:
28:45 "They said to Him: 'Grant us that we may sit
28:48 one on Your right hand and the other on Your left
28:51 in Your glory. ' "
28:53 Fascinating.
28:55 After spending so much time with Jesus -
28:58 walking with Him, talking with Him, eating with Him -
29:00 they still hadn't caught His passion for souls.
29:05 And so Jesus spelled it out for them
29:07 as He spells it out for every successive generation:
29:11 for you and I today.
29:13 He spelled it out in verse 45:
29:16 Jesus says: "For even the Son of Man did not come
29:20 to be served but to serve
29:22 and to give His life a ransom for many. "
29:27 It was all about people and it's still all about people.
29:31 And friends, I know people and I know that you know people
29:34 who don't know Jesus.
29:36 They're sitting by the side of this life like Bartimaeus.
29:40 And they may not know it, but deep down they're calling
29:43 out. They're looking, they're searching for something more
29:46 to this life. God forbid that like that crowd
29:50 you and I would turn around and tell them to be quiet.
29:54 If there was ever a time in history where our treasures
29:57 were not just well spent but best spent
30:00 in advancing the everlasting gospel - the gospel of Jesus -
30:03 it is today. Amen?
30:05 Amen. Because, look, the treasure is everywhere
30:07 to be found. I slept in one morning...
30:11 it happened. And when I woke up my mum said:
30:15 "Look Charissa, you've missed the bus. you're going to have
30:17 to... I'm going to have to drive you to the train
30:19 if you're going to get to Uni today. "
30:21 So I got up and I jumped around and I cleaned my teeth
30:24 and I ate my breakfast. The other way around.
30:26 And jumped in the car and we went to the train station.
30:30 And as I got out of the car I saw the train
30:33 coming in the distance. So I ran up the steps
30:36 and I ran down the steps and I pressed a few buttons
30:39 on the ticket machine and it spat out a ticket for me
30:42 and then I jumped onto the train.
30:44 Sounds very dramatic? It wasn't that dramatic.
30:46 And I got on the train and I sat down
30:49 and usually what I do is I just put my train ticket in my purse
30:53 and then I don't think about it for the rest of the day.
30:55 But for some reason on this particular morning
30:58 I chose to look at my ticket.
31:00 As I looked down at my train ticket I realized
31:03 that I had bought the wrong ticket.
31:05 I had bought a return ticket to the station
31:07 and I didn't want to return to this station in the afternoon.
31:10 I wanted to go on much further to get home.
31:13 But I'd bought the wrong ticket, so I thought well maybe
31:16 I'll just put it away and I'll forget about it.
31:18 You know, everything will be OK.
31:20 I'll put it away in my purse, and I kept sitting there
31:23 on the train. But it was like a broken recorder was going on
31:26 in my head: "You have bought the wrong ticket; you have
31:29 bought the wrong ticket. "
31:30 I get to Uni. I'm sitting in my lectures
31:33 and I can't hear a word that the lecturer is saying.
31:36 All I can hear is: "You have bought the wrong ticket.
31:38 You have bought the wrong ticket. "
31:39 So I go to my tutorial and I'm trying to listen in on
31:43 the discussion and trying to contribute, but I can't
31:45 because all I can think about is this ticket that I have
31:48 in my purse... and it's the wrong ticket.
31:50 I get on the train and I'm going home again and I'm thinking
31:53 "Lord, I know I bought the wrong ticket
31:55 but do You think just this once I could cheat my fare? "
31:58 I'm asking God if I can break His commandments.
32:01 But anyway... don't ever do that.
32:03 And I felt impressed: "No you can't. You've got to get off
32:05 the train because you've bought the wrong ticket. "
32:07 So I got off the train at the station I didn't want to get off
32:11 at. I bought the right ticket. It was mid-day, so the trains
32:15 don't come very frequently.
32:17 So I went and I sat on a seat that looked something like
32:20 that and I began to eat my sandwiches.
32:23 It's a pretty pitiful sight. I was the only one
32:25 at the train station. Anyway, as I'm eating my sandwiches
32:29 and as time is going because the train's not going to come
32:31 for a little while, people slowly began to come and join me
32:35 there in the station. And as I was eating
32:38 I looked over and this lady came and she sat down
32:40 on a seat like that just opposite.
32:43 And I looked at her and smiled and kept going eating my food.
32:46 And then I looked back again and I noticed she was reading
32:49 a book... a book called Daily Meditations.
32:53 And it was like a little light bulb went on in my head:
32:56 "Oh, that lady must be a Christian.
32:59 You must have bought the wrong ticket so that you can
33:02 talk to her. " Now, I thought "Well that's a wonderful idea...
33:06 that makes sense. " But I'm a very shy person,
33:08 you see, and so I thought "There's no way I could
33:11 ever talk to that lady on that seat. " And so I just
33:13 kept sitting there feeling very convinced that I needed to
33:16 talk to this lady. So the train finally came.
33:19 We hopped on the train together and I thought: "No, I'm too shy
33:23 to sit next to her. " So I just sat in the cabin and I watched
33:25 her where she went from the cabin.
33:28 I said: "Lord, I feel very impressed that You want me
33:32 to speak to this lady but I'm too shy to do it.
33:34 So look, if she goes to my station and if she walks to
33:39 my platform at the station where I'm going,
33:41 then I'll talk to her. "
33:43 So OK, that's good; I'll leave it at that. "
33:45 The train pulls up at my station.
33:47 She didn't get off at any previous station
33:49 and she got off at my station.
33:51 I thought: "Well that's one test down. "
33:54 And as I'm following her up the steps of the station
33:56 I'm watching to see which way she will go.
33:59 And sometimes when you think people are following you
34:02 maybe they are. And so I followed her up the steps
34:05 there at the station and I watched.
34:07 Which platform will she go to?
34:08 And would you believe it? She made a beeline for my platform.
34:12 So I thought to myself: "Well, this is it.
34:14 It's now or never. "
34:15 And so I ran up behind her and I tapped her on the shoulder
34:18 and I said: "Excuse me. Are you a Christian? "
34:22 And she looked at me kind of shocked
34:24 and she said "No. " Now when she said that
34:29 I had no idea what to say next.
34:31 Because in my mind the only reason why I was chasing
34:35 this woman was because she was a Christian.
34:37 And so when she said "No" I said: "Oh, I'm sorry. "
34:39 And she looked at me as we walked down
34:42 the steps again and we sat on another seat that looks
34:45 just like that. And she said to me:
34:48 "So why did you think I was a Christian? "
34:49 I said: "Oh, because I saw you reading that book
34:52 back there at the station. "
34:54 And she smiled and she took it out and she showed me.
34:57 Yes, it was a book called Daily Meditations
35:00 but it was all about how people meditate on the trees
35:02 and on grass and on nature.
35:04 I didn't know people do that, but they do.
35:07 And I said: "Oh, that's why I thought you were a Christian
35:10 because they read devotional books as well. "
35:13 And she smiled and she could say "Are you a Christian? "
35:16 I said: "Yes, I'm a Christian. "
35:18 She said: "Well what kind of a Christian are you?
35:20 Are you a Buddhist Christian?
35:22 Are you a Presbyterian Christian?
35:23 What kind of a Christian are you? "
35:25 I said: "Well I'm a Seventh- day Adventist Christian. "
35:27 She said: "Ah, yeah, and what do you believe? "
35:30 Now I always get very excited when people ask me
35:32 that question... so excited I never know where to start.
35:35 And so I thought: "Well, OK. This is where I'll start. "
35:38 I said: "We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word
35:41 of God. And in the Bible we are told that God created
35:45 this world in six days and then He rested the seventh
35:49 and He invites us to do the same. "
35:51 And she said: "Yes, I believe that too. "
35:53 I said: "You do? " She said: "Yes! "
35:55 She said: "I believe that God created this world in six days
35:58 as well. " I said: "Oh. "
36:00 I said: "Well that's why we call ourselves Seventh-day
36:03 Adventists. " And the second part of our name
36:05 Adventists... well we call ourselves Adventists
36:08 because we believe that Jesus is coming again.
36:10 You know, we see signs round us and we are pretty sure
36:13 that it's not going to be very far away;
36:15 Jesus is coming soon. "
36:16 And she said: "Yes, I believe that as well. "
36:18 I thought to myself: "really? "
36:21 She said: "Yes, I have read Matthew 24. "
36:24 She's now telling me about Matthew 24.
36:27 And she says: "And I read there that Jesus says that there will
36:30 be earthquakes and famines and pestilences
36:32 and yes I believe Jesus is coming again soon too. "
36:35 I said: "But you're not a Christian? "
36:37 She said: "No, but I read books of all religions
36:40 and I read that in the Bible. "
36:41 I said: "Wow. " She said: "I also believe in
36:44 the universal principles of thou shalt not kill
36:46 and thou shalt not steal. "
36:48 And she starts quoting the Ten Commandments to me.
36:50 I said: "This is incredible! "
36:53 She says: "You know I believe that our bodies are the temple
36:55 of the Holy Spirit and that we need to look after them"
36:58 and she said "So I look after my body and I'm a vegetarian. "
37:02 I said: "Really? " She said: "Yes, you know it's better
37:06 for you. " I said: "Yes, I know. "
37:07 And we kept talking like this and I'm thinking to myself
37:11 "Wow! This lady's a Christian - she's a Seventh-day Adventist
37:14 Christian - and she doesn't even know it. "
37:16 And I thought to myself: "I've got to get her number.
37:19 I've got to invite her to church. "
37:20 And so I asked her... I said: "Do you go to church? "
37:23 She says: "No, I don't go to church
37:25 but I meet with a group of friends every Saturday afternoon
37:28 and we pray. We pray to God. We don't know who He is
37:31 or where He is but we believe there is a God
37:34 because when we pray good things happen. "
37:36 Don't you think that's amazing?
37:38 Here is someone I just bump into at a train station
37:42 and she believes that Jesus is coming again.
37:45 She believes that God created this world in six days.
37:48 She believes that she should look after her health.
37:51 She believes that she can pray to God and she prays to God
37:55 every seventh day, and she doesn't even know who she is.
37:58 And there's a group of people that are out there that are
38:00 just like her. And so I thought to myself:
38:03 "I've got to get her number. "
38:04 I was too shy to ask so I said to her:
38:07 "Do you know I'm part Chinese? " And she was an Asian lady
38:11 and she said: "Oh, can I get your phone number? "
38:14 So we swapped numbers there in the train station.
38:17 And friends I tell you that story because it's an unfinished
38:21 story. Because I believe that there are people like this
38:24 everywhere. They're in your community; they're in your
38:26 workplace; they're in your schools.
38:29 People who are on the verge of the kingdom.
38:31 People who are so close to Jesus but they just can't see Him.
38:35 And they are waiting for someone like you and me
38:38 to take them straight to Jesus Christ. Amen?
38:42 Now we haven't finished our story yet.
38:44 That was a nice diversion. We must keep going because
38:47 something incredible has just transpired in our story.
38:51 Jesus is calling Bartimaeus and I love that.
38:56 All this time Bartimaeus has been calling out to Jesus.
38:59 Jesus has stopped and He tells the crowd to go and get him.
39:03 And I love how Jesus does that because nothing quiets criticism
39:07 like involvement. And so the crowd... they turn
39:09 to Bartimaeus and they say: "Hey you, get up; rise.
39:13 Jesus is calling you. "
39:15 And I want you to notice what happens in verse 50.
39:19 "And throwing aside his garments he rose and came to Jesus. "
39:24 Friends, that verse might seem highly insignificant
39:29 to you and I today. You might think
39:31 "OK, he left his jacket behind. Let's keep going. "
39:34 But it's not insignificant... it is highly significant
39:38 because of the three gospels - Matthew, Mark, and Luke -
39:42 Mark is the only gospel writer who includes this detail.
39:46 And it is significant because that coat that he leaves behind
39:51 that was probably the most valuable thing that he owned.
39:56 But when Jesus called him to come, Bartimaeus...
40:00 he counts the cost and he wants to follow Jesus.
40:03 He wants nothing to hold him back, and so he makes
40:06 an immediate sacrifice so he can go straight to Jesus.
40:10 He probably extended that coat to people as they passed by
40:14 so they could toss him bread and coins.
40:17 But when Jesus calls he is willing to pay the price.
40:21 Wants nothing to hold him back and he goes to Jesus.
40:24 His actions of immediate sacrifice... they speak volumes
40:29 to you and I today because sometimes you and I struggle
40:32 to find time, to make time, to spend with Jesus, don't we?
40:35 We live in a very busy world.
40:38 We have been like a family, whom a pastor went to visit.
40:41 He went there and he sat down, he was talking with them.
40:45 And then he looked up at the clock on the mantelpiece and
40:47 realized that time has just flown and he has to be going.
40:50 So he stood up and he said: "Look, I've got other people
40:52 to see. I'll see you again soon. "
40:55 And the six-year-old in the family piped up and said:
40:59 "Oh, don't worry about the clock pastor. Dad put it forward
41:02 a whole hour when he saw you coming. "
41:04 You know, sometimes we are like that with God as well.
41:07 We don't want to make time to spend time with Jesus.
41:11 And that's of course very significant: this leaving
41:14 behind of the coat. And of course it is also significant
41:17 of another transaction that happens when we come to Jesus
41:20 isn't it? Because the Bible tells us that our righteousness
41:23 our goodness, our good deeds... they're like filthy rags.
41:28 But when we come to Jesus the Bible tells us that
41:31 Jesus offers to us His perfect righteousness.
41:35 And in light of an exchange like that, why would you and I
41:39 ever want to hold onto our own? Amen?
41:42 Now let's keep going because we're nearly there.
41:48 "So Jesus answered and said to him:
41:51 'What do you want Me to do for you? '
41:54 And the blind man said to Him: 'Rabboni, that I may receive
41:58 my sight. ' "
42:00 I imagine as Jesus asks Bartimaeus this question
42:04 Bartimaeus... he falls on his knees before Jesus.
42:08 With tears streaming down his cheeks he says: "Lord,
42:12 I want to receive my sight. "
42:15 And how this request must have thrilled the heart of Jesus.
42:19 At this man... seeing him on his knees before Him.
42:23 And you and I read this text today and we think
42:26 "Well Lord, surely You knew what was wrong with the man.
42:29 Surely You can see his problem.
42:31 He's blind; he wants to see again. "
42:33 But friends, sometimes God asks those questions
42:37 not to get information but to get us to admit our need
42:41 of Him. And when you and I are all wrong and willing
42:45 to admit it then we're all right.
42:47 And notice what happens in the next verse - verse 52-
42:50 it is absolutely loaded. "Then Jesus said to him:
42:54 'Go your way; your faith has made you well. '
42:58 And immediately he received his sight
43:02 and followed Jesus on the road. "
43:05 Friend, there are several days in my life which I will never
43:09 forget for as long as I live.
43:11 I will never forget the day when I was sitting in a primary
43:15 classroom... I was in kindergarten
43:17 and the teacher had just explained addition.
43:20 1 + 1 = 2
43:23 And I remember sitting there and I remember thinking
43:26 "that is just amazing! " I walked out of that classroom
43:29 and I looked at the playground and I just didn't see trees.
43:33 I could count them. There were four trees on the playground.
43:36 I'll never forget that day.
43:38 I will never forget the day when I was sitting on the
43:40 kitchen floor. My mum had just got off the phone
43:43 to a friend. And I asked her, I said:
43:46 "Mom, you know how you call Joan Joan and Susan Susan?
43:50 Well who are you, you know? Do you have a name? "
43:53 And she said to me: "My name is Gail
43:56 and your dad's name is David. "
43:58 And I remember just thinking that was just revolutionary.
44:01 My parents had names like everybody else in the world.
44:05 I'll never forget that day.
44:06 I will never forget the day when in my primary classroom
44:10 I got my homework back and I'd been getting it back like this
44:13 for a while. And it said: "Charissa, this is not how
44:17 you write a complete sentence. This is not how you write
44:19 a complete sentence. "
44:21 And I remember thinking to myself: "How do I do it? "
44:23 And my friend... she turned to me and she said:
44:26 "Charissa, this is how you write a complete sentence. "
44:29 And I've been writing them ever since.
44:31 I'll never forget those 3 days.
44:35 But friends, on that day when Bartimaeus...
44:37 he opened his eyes and he looked straight into the loving face
44:42 of Jesus, not only was that the first face he ever saw
44:47 but it would forever be the most beautiful face
44:50 he ever would see.
44:53 He would never forget that day for as long as he lived.
44:57 And friends, this word here. Jesus says:
45:00 "Your faith has made you well. "
45:02 In the Greek that word is sozo and it also translates as saved.
45:07 This means that Jesus is literally saying to Bartimaeus
45:10 "Your faith has saved you. It has made you well
45:14 and saved you. " And I am so glad
45:17 that Jesus says that to Bartimaeus.
45:19 He doesn't say: "Your friends saved you;
45:22 your fortune saved you... "
45:24 because he had nothing. "Your education saved you. "
45:27 He said: "Your faith has made you well. "
45:30 But friends, Jesus prefaces this wonderful news
45:35 with three words. He said: "Go your way. "
45:39 Friends, that was a test.
45:41 He had his sight now; he could do whatever he wanted.
45:45 He could go and see Palestine.
45:47 He could go and marvel at the gardens in Jericho.
45:49 He'd probably never seen a flower before
45:52 and Jericho means smell because of the beautiful gardens
45:54 they had there. But friends, the Bible doesn't leave us
45:58 guessing as to what Bartimaeus does next.
46:01 Actually Mark is so excited about what he chooses to do
46:05 he slips the end of the story in right there at the end
46:09 of verse 52. The Bible tells us
46:12 that he followed Jesus on the road.
46:16 You say: "OK, big deal.
46:18 He's on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. "
46:22 But friends, it is a big deal
46:24 because this is the last healing miracle in Mark's gospel.
46:28 And it is significant because not only was that road
46:32 the road between Jericho and Jerusalem.
46:34 It was the road that took Jesus straight to the cross
46:38 where He would die because He loved Bartimaeus...
46:42 because He loved us. Amen?
46:46 And Bartimaeus... he followed Jesus down that road.
46:49 Faith is always personal but it is never private.
46:53 And friend, all of us have things in our lives
46:55 that try and make us not call on Jesus.
46:58 To stay with what's comfortable and don't change and,
47:01 you know, don't follow.
47:02 But friends, there is something wrong with a person
47:05 who knows the right thing to do and they still want time
47:09 to think about it. Following Jesus hasn't gotten any easier
47:12 over time. There are still people today that will make it
47:15 hard for you. It's hard to follow Jesus
47:18 but friends, follow Him anyway.
47:20 Follow Him as Bartimaeus did and you will be blessed.
47:24 If Bartimaeus had sat by the roadside and not called out
47:27 and done nothing, no one would have blamed him
47:30 but no one would have remembered him either.
47:32 In closing I would like for you to notice this quote:
47:55 How many? All...
48:12 Friends, the heart of our message today is simply this:
48:16 a blind man by a dirt road
48:20 hears that Jesus is passing by.
48:22 He calls out to Jesus. Jesus stops and calls him.
48:27 And Bartimaeus... he rose, risked all,
48:31 and followed Jesus. The question is: will you?
48:35 Will we follow Jesus as well?
48:37 Friends, if you have listened to the Word of God today
48:40 and you feel impressed that you want to follow Jesus as well
48:44 would you stand with me as we close in prayer?
48:46 You want to say: "Lord, I want to follow Jesus
48:49 as Bartimaeus did wherever that road may take me. "
48:52 Would you stand with me as we pray?
48:59 Let's pray.
49:01 Our loving Father in heaven, we thank you, Lord,
49:03 for the story of Bartimaeus...
49:05 a blind man who came to Jesus and left seeing.
49:09 And Lord, in his story we have found ourselves.
49:12 Like him we choose to follow Jesus.
49:15 We know that it's not easy to follow, but today
49:17 we want to follow. Please give us grace to follow You
49:21 wherever the road may take us.
49:23 And we thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayer.
49:25 We believe You are coming soon.
49:27 Bless us now in Jesus' name, Amen.


Revised 2014-12-17