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Sermon #2310[i] — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “Strange Things”
Text: Luke 5:18-26
Date: Sunday Morning — February 12, 2017
Subject: Paradoxes Believers See and Experience
Reading: Luke 5:1-39
Luke 5:18-26 “And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. (19) And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. (20) And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. (21) And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? (22) But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? (23) Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? (24) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. (25) And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. (26) And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.”
We read here, in Luke 5:26, that on a certain day during our Lord’s earthly ministry, a great number of people spent a good part of the day in the presence of the Son of God; and when the day was over, “They were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.” That is the title of my message — “Strange Things.”
The word translated “strange things” (Ļαραδοξα) is used nowhere else in the New Testament. It means “paradoxes, things contrary to all common opinion and ordinary reason and experience.”
The fact is, God’s ways are not our ways. In fact, everything the natural man, or the lost religious man, thinks about God and grace, salvation and righteousness, predestination and providence, Christ and redemption is always wrong. The natural man does not and cannot know or in any way or to any degree understand…
Š The Character of God.
Š The Grace of God.
Š The Person and Work of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Š The People of God.
Š The Work of God.
These are all strange things to those who are strangers to grace. Yet, the believer looks on those things the world calls strange and knows that, truly, his mercies and compassions are new every morning.
Proposition: We who know the Lord have seen and experienced many strange things which cause us to be filled with wonder and adoration.
1. The Strange Things of that Particular Day.
2. The Strange Things of Our Lord’s Day.
3. The Strange Things that are to be Seen in Our Day.
4. The Strange Things which shall be Seen in that Eternal Day.
In That Day
First, I want us to consider the strange things of that particular day which is mentioned in our text. It was a day full of wonders, so much so that the people were all amazed and said, “We have seen strange things today.’ What did they see?
1. They saw four men acting in strong faith.
Luke 5:17-19 “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. (18) And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. (19) And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.”
Here was a man who was completely paralyzed, who had four friends who trusted Christ. They knew that if, somehow, they could get their sick friend into contact with the Lord Jesus Christ, he could heal their needy friend.
I wish that I could find some men as zealous and caring about the souls of men as this. Let them adopt strange methods, let them be crude and abrupt, but give me such men as this! Such men were strange in that generation, and they would surely be strange in ours.
Mark 2:4 “And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.”
2. They saw a man who was a sinner freely forgiven of all sin by the God-man.
Luke 5:20 “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
Never before had a man come who claimed to have the divine right and authority to forgive sin. But this man could forgive sin, because he is the Son of God. Truly, this was a strange thing.
My friends, the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, is still in the business of forgiving sin! — All who trust him receive a full, free, complete, irreversible pardon. — God is faithful and just to forgive the sins of all his people, of every believer, through the blood of Christ. — Believe on Christ, and you, too, shall be forgiven.
Psalms 32:1-5 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. (5) I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”
1 John 1:7 “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Here is something even stranger: — These people saw one man forgiven because of the faith of other men! Look at verse 20 again.
Luke 5:20 “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
3. They saw a display of our Lord’s omniscience.
Luke 5:21-23 “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? (22) But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? (23) Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?”
The Lord Jesus perceived what the Scribes and Pharisees were thinking and answered their skepticism before they even spoke it. This was but one of those many incidental proofs of our Lord’s Deity. The Son of God perceives the thoughts of men. He knows our hearts. Nothing is hidden from him.
4. And they saw a sick man, one who could lift neither hand nor foot, made completely whole by the word of Christ.
Luke 5:24-25 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins (That you may know that I am God), (He said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. (25) And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.”
Truly this was strange in their eyes. As an evidence of his true messiahship and divinity, to demonstrate that he had power as God to forgive sin, the paralyzed man was perfectly healed before their eyes; and they were all amazed.
The Son of God still performs miracles of mercy. There is power, grace, and willingness in the Lord Jesus to heal sinners today. Indeed, “He delighteth in mercy!” When the Son of God comes, the lame are made to walk, the blind are made to see, the deaf are made to hear, and the dead are made to live.
“Hear Him, ye deaf, His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy!”
The Son of God makes poor sinners whole by His omnipotent mercy! — Fallen man is body and soul, spiritually dead. God the Holy Spirit does not regenerate the old man in the new birth. In the new birth, he makes fallen, spiritually dead sinners whole, putting a new nature in us, making us “partakers of the divine nature.” With Christ formed in us, we are made whole again — body, soul, and spirit.
In the Gospel
Secondly, I want to show you some of the strange things revealed in the Gospel. If ever you have beheld the life and work of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth by faith, you have been amazed by the many strange things which you have seen.
1. The Creator of men became a man. He who is infinite became an infant. He who made all things nursed at a woman’s breasts. He who fills all things was laid in a manger. He who is the Son of the Highest was born as Mary’s child. He who is the Lord of all became the servant of all. Truly, this was a strange thing that happened in the earth (Jeremiah 31:22; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:1-3).
Jeremiah 31:22 “The LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.”
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Hebrews 1:1-3 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
2. This perfectly innocent, just, and righteous Man died as a vile transgressor and common criminal under the wrath of God, because he was made to be sin for us. — “Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree.”
Truly, the strangest, most mysterious, most unexplainable thing in all the world was the death of Christ at Calvary.
“Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When God the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin!”
Romans 5:5-8 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (6) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
“Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!”
3. Yet, nothing is stranger than the choice of God’s electing love and saving grace.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
In Our Day
So, in the third place, I want us to think about the strange things that are to be seen in our day. To be sure, all who know the Lord Jesus Christ and have experienced his matchless grace are aware of many strange things they have seen. If our Lord is pleased to come and bless us here this hour, we will go home saying, “We have seen strange things today.”
Illustration: Many years ago an old puritan, I believe it was William Guthrie, visited a dying woman who was ignorant of the gospel and unconverted. Guthrie preached the gospel to her and she joyfully believed it. Before Guthrie left, the woman died. When he returned home, he said to his family, “I have seen a strange thing today. A woman whom I found in a state of nature, I saw in a state of grace, and left in a state of glory.”
Now let me tell you of some strange things that I have seen and experienced in this Day of Grace.
1. I have seen a self-condemned and helpless sinner completely justified by the Lord Jesus Christ (Job 40:4-5; 42:5-6; Psalm 51:3-4; Ephesians 2:1-5).
Job 40:4-5 “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. (5) Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”
Job 42:5-6 “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Psalms 51:3-4 “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
Ephesians 2:1-5 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”
I am telling you what I have seen for myself. I am not giving you second hand information, I am bearing faithful witness of those things which I have seen and experienced.
2. I have seen stout-hearted rebels broken and their hearts renewed by almighty grace. — “With God all things are possible!”
Š Some have been converted suddenly.
Š Some have passed through a long ordeal of conviction, struggling hard with sin.
Š Some have been rescued from a false hope.
Š Some have heard the Word and were many years later converted.
Illustration: The Old Man Who Heard Whitfield as a Boy
But every instance of God’s marvelous saving grace is a strange thing in our eyes (John 3:8; 1 John 3:1-3).
John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
1 John 3:1-3 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
3. I have seen a soul preserved in spiritual life and faith by the grace of God amid many trials of great evil. Many of God’s people are like bushes burning, but never consumed. They live in the midst of constant trials, heartaches, and burdens. Yet, their faith does not grow dim.
4. Truly, these are strange things. Are they not? — I have seen evil turned into good by the gracious and wise hand of God’s providence. The hand of God’s providence has been evidently revealed to me many times in many ways.
Of a truth, his strength is made perfect in weakness; and his grace is sufficient for every day.
In the Last Day
And strange things are yet to be seen. In the last place let me show you some of the strange things that shall be seen in that eternal day. Those things that shall yet come to pass will truly be strange things in our eyes.
1. Strange things will be seen in the judgment. Good, moral, religious men and women will be sentenced to eternal damnation, while vile, wretched sinners who simply trusted Christ enter into eternal glory.
2. Strange things will be seen in hell.
3. And strange things will be seen in heaven.
John Newton said that heaven will be full of strange things. He once wrote — “When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see. The second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see. And the third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there.”
Here is the strangest of all strange things, the wonder of all wonders. This vile wretch of a man, simply trusting the merits of Christ’s blood and righteousness is an heir of eternal glory. And here is another wonder almost as great, you could be too, if you will simply trust the Son of God. —— Here are two other strange things, which I cannot understand:
1. Your unbelief is a strange things to me. Why will you die, when life is to be had so freely?
2. It is a strange thing to me that we who have experienced so much love and grace in Christ return so little faith and love to him.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
 The power of the Lord was present to heal the Pharisees; but they did not need healing! — Luke 5:17 “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” — Luke 9:11 “And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”
[i] Danville — Sunday Morning — February 12, 2017
Danville — Sunday Morning — November 3, 2013
Ballymoney, N Ireland — Thursday Evening — October 24, 2013
West Ham Baptist Tabernacle, London, England — October 25, 2013
Covenant of Grace Baptist Church, N Wilkesboro, NC — (10/13/13)