Sermon Title:  How to be free and stay free  

Summary:  The true freedom that Jesus gives is given when we change our lives
by moving away from self-centered, helpless dependence on everything around
us.  Jesus empowers us to get up and walk with him in courage and strength
through all difficulties of life.

Function:  To motivate the hearers to seek out ministry opportunities rather than
waiting for someone to minister to them

Text:  John 5:1-17

Scripture Reading:  John 8:34-36  


Intro:
1.  Independence Day
2.  Moved to Hinsdale New Hampshire - No auto insurance law
	a.  Asked why - License plate - ďLive free or dieĒ
	b.  Irony - Those plates made by inmates
		- Canít leave their prison
	c.  Other irony - Others are in own prisons, can leave, but donít
3.  Jesus came to open the door to freedom
4.  Guidance to move from bondage to liberty  (Jn 5:1-17)

I.  Don't be self absorbed
	A.  Question with not so obvious answer
		1.  Seems obvious on the surface, what a brain dead question
			a.  Like when I was asked - ďDo you want a spank?Ē
			b.  Well, letís see, that sound good about now
		2.  Greek - Are you yourself willing to be whole?
			a.  Do you really want to get well
			b.  Itís been 38 years, and he not got in water yet?
			c.  Would have found a way after 38 years
		3. Manís response - Lame excuse
			a.  Didnít answer the question, but made excuse
			b.  No one to carry him to the pool
			c.  No responsiblity, carried everywhere, hand outs
			d.  So question not so brain dead after all
		4.  Jesus response
			a.  Did not say - Oh you poor thing, let me carry you
			b.  Donít be self absorbed
	B.  Symptoms of Self Absorption
		1.  Wallowing in self pity/ whining
			a.  Must have told story many times - canít get to water
			b.  Being a victim  v.s.  living life as a vitctim
			c.  Whining and indication not really interested in freedom
		2.  The self put down
			a.  I used to always be down on myself
			b.  How people respond -- try to lift you back up
			c.  Spoke at Harding grad, Dr. Alexander said, it was good
			d.  Putting self down is form of self absorption
		3.  Making lame excuses in order to not take responsiblity
			a.  This mans excuse was lame - 38 years
			b.  There are valid reasons, and their are excuses
			c.  Excuses allow you to stay in bondage
		4.  Self absorbtion will lead to bondage even if made free
	C.  Pamphlet by history prof. at Harding
		1.  Cycle of rise and fall of nations
		2.  The first step when nations begin to fall is selfishness
			a.  abudance to selfishness
			b.  Selfishness to complacency
			c.  Complacency to apathy
			d.  Apathy to dependence
			e.  From dependence back into bondage
		3.  When you choose to be dependent and not make your own 
		     way, that will lead you back into bondage
	D.  Freedom comes with responsiblity - Donít make excuses

II.  Get Up!
	A.  How does Jesus respond?
		1.  Often, text says Jesus is moved with compassion
		2.  In the case of the demon possessed son, see his compasion
			a. Asked, how long has thing been happening?
			b. Listened to the Fatherís story
		3.  None of that sort of thing here
			a.  Do you really want to get well?
			b.  Man avoids question, makes excuse
			c.  Jesus says - Get Up!  
		4.  No indication of anything but direct, blunt command
	B.  Sometimes we need toughness
		1.  Lk 9:59-62 - Let dead bury the dead
			a.  Seems harsh
			b.  But it was an excuse, and Jesus had to be tough
		2.  (2 Thess 3:6-15) - All about being tough
			a.  There were lazy, undisciplined people in the church
			b.  Donít help those who not try to help themselves
			c.  Had to get tough with them - do not associate
				- Giving handout wont help them
				- They will suck you dry
			d.  Probably self-destructive, self-centered people
		3.  Same principle even in the Old Testament
			a.  Not told to give hand out to the poor
			b.  They not to harvest to edge of field or vineyard
		4.  To coddle someone often the worse thing you can do
	C.  Howard Dixon
		1.  Wife died about 7 years ago
			a.  Prone to heart attacks (Don Brock mentioned him)
			b.  78 years old, Sojourner with a 72 year old man
		2.  At Columbus, he prayer warrior with Dad one day
			a.  Stopped praying, had fallen asleep!
			b.  Woke up a few minutes later and continued
		3.  This man a great encouragement
			a.  Never complained, and always giving
			b.  Great motivator and encourager
		4.  Wife died, heart attack
			a.  Didnít retreat in self-pity
			b.  When Jesus says - ďGet upĒ he did
	D.  If you are trapped on mat of discouragement, addiction, secret sin
		1.  Jesus is telling you - Get up!
		2.  All I have to do is look at Howardís example
		3.  You can do it

III.  Stay with it
	A.  Look at the reaction of the Jews
		1.  Miracle went over their heads
		2.  They said - You can't do that!
	B.  Will be challenges and temptations
		1.  You will be pulled back to the mat
		2.  Donít you do it
		3.  Jesus gives the Holy Spirit
	C.  ILL:  In Air Force, got involved in drinking party lifestyle
		1.  Miserable on weekends - Got drunk, sick, reputation
		2.  Went home on leave, Dad put me on guilt trip
		3.  Straightened up, a lot of freinds not believe I at church
		4.  Some really razzed me, I tempted on the weekend
	D.  What will help you to stay with it (write it in, not in your notes)
		1.  Pray to God
			a.  Donít mean pray and sit around a wait for God
			b.  He may be telling you ďget upĒ
			c.  If an addiction, bad marriage, family - GET HELP!
		2.  Confession and accountability
			a.  Confession needs to be for accoutability, not judgement
			b.  Step #1 to being free - Confession
		3.  This not self-help talk, still have to rely on God and each other
			- But that not excuse to have someone do it for you

Concl:
1.  Do you really want to get better?
2.  It's easier to wait for a rescuer than to take responsibility
3.  I can do all things through Christ
	a.  He will not do it for you
	b.  He will give you strength
4.  If dealing with difficulty, if feel trapped in it, no way out
	1.  Do you really want to overcome it?
	2.  Can say yes, or make lame excuse & play blame game
		- Man said - I have no one to carry me
	3.  Questions
		a.  Do you want to be healed from past hurts
		     - You donít know how bad they hurt me
		b.  Do you want to be loosed from chain of secret sin
		      - I canít control myself, I have a condition
		c.  Do you want to overcome your addiction
		     - Not my fault, it a disease
		d.  Do you want to have a better marriage?
		     - Not my fault, itís all my spouse
		e.  Do you want to be saved.  Iím too bad
	4.  Jesus will help, brethren will help
		a.  But will not do it for you