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Three “Forths” of the Battle

Mark 3:1-14



Notice the 3 'forths' in our text?

Today we look at the man with the withered [shriveled] hand.  It was likely a paralysis issue of pinched nerves/cut off blood flow.  Luke the Physician tells us it was his right hand. (ancient medical writers always stated whether the right or left was affected…[wrong hip/Tom Graham’s thumb!]...) The right hand is the hand of fellowship, so this man is a picture of being weak and out of fellowship with God, as are all men!


Sin so paralyzes us that we are not able to do much for Christ, until His pierced hands touch our withered hands...


Although the Pharisees could quibble over our Lord's healing on the Sabbath, they had no qualms of conscience in plotting to kill on the same day...


I.  STAND FORTH  Vs. 3 – We have to be honest about where we stand as individuals.  We must be honest about ourselves.  We must take our stand, and be honest about it at work, at home, on vacation, at church!


A good witness will “take the stand.” 


This man had to make a decision among many who were criticizers of Christ. They were looking on to see whether he would stand up or not. Perhaps this man had been in their number for some time.  Regardless, the pressure was on him, and taking the stand wasn’t easy!


When You Make A Commitment To Follow The Lord, Many Will Be Watching You…and if you don’t commit, many ARE watching you!


Jesus wanted the man to stand forth. He wanted the man to identify with Him.  And if you’ve made a decision for Christ, He will know you’re serious when you come up here and take your stand!


I have decided to follow Jesus,

I have decided to follow Jesus,

I have decided to follow Jesus,

No turning back, No turning back.


Tho none go with me, still I will follow…

The world behind me, the cross before me…


Is that your commitment?  Will you stand forth in the name of Christ?


The crippled man doesn’t yet know what Jesus is going to do with him. There has been no announcement made as to Jesus’ plan to heal him.  And when you take your stand, you don’t know in advance what will happen, but by faith we can know it will be something good!


II.  STRETCH FORTH - Vs. 5 - Following Him In Obedience.


Once you take your stand, expect God to start to stretch you a little, sometimes a lot!

Romans 8:29

    For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…


Ill.—ever have a teacher ask you to hold out your hand to get smacked?  What did she use?  A ruler?  A strap?

Teens play this game where they extend both palms out over the other persons palms…is there a name for that slapping game?

        Either way, it’s not easy to extend yourself out into the open.  It’s not easy to make yourself vulnerable!  And this man no doubt was self conscious and probably tried to hide his hand from view, not “stretch it forth”!  It may have been painful to let someone touch it.

        This is what Christ did on the cross…He opened Himself up to be crucified…He made Himself vulnerable and risked the pain for the inevitable gain!


We must take our stand, and then open ourselves up and let God do spiritual surgery on us, making adjustments like a heavenly chiropractor!

Ill.—cracking Kimberly’s back…exhale, relax, then WHAM!


When you stretch forth your hand, you are stepping out in obedient faith.


Put your small child on top of your car, and then say, “Jump, daddy will catch you.”

Your child believes you will catch him. He knows that you will not intentionally let him fall to the ground and injure himself. That’s faith.


The stretching forth for that child is to jump.  And the child of God who takes his stand will sometimes be required to take a leap of faith!


III. SEND FORTH - Vs. 14 - Following Him In Service, Sharing what we have with others!

This Third Stage Does Not Come Until Stages 1 & 2 Are Complete.


“that they should be with him…”

        We cannot be sent forth until we’ve spent some time with Christ!  My impatience has sometimes questioned why God hasn’t allowed us to “fill up” this place by now, but this verse answers that question. 

He’s been working on us, to take our stand, to be stretched, to be prepared for this day.


Turn to Luke 5:1-7

        On shore, standing on solid ground, then push out a little, be stretched, then launch out into the deep!  Eventually God calls us to step out of the boat and be a water walker!!


Ezek. 47 tells us to first step into the water, just ankle deep…then wade out a little bit deeper, knee depth…then to the waist, and finally, w/ chin held high just above the surface, and your tippie toes straining to touch bottom, you’re swept away in the current of God’s grace, sent forth to serve others in a foreign land, sending forth and sharing w/ others!

        First you were standing, then you were stretched, and now sent!


God has been working on me…He’s been working on us…preparing us so we’ll be ready for big things to come…and now, I believe that the day has come for us to launch out!


Take a stand, be stretched, and be sent!

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