Sermon #26                                                          Luke Sermons


          Title:                     Four Of The Most

Important Men In The Bible

          Text:            Luke 5:17-26

          Readings:     Ron Wood and James Jordan

          Subject:       The Need For Personal Evangelism

          Date:            Sunday Evening - March 12, 2000[1]

          Tape #         V-74a



          My subject is - Four Of The Most Important Men In The Bible. So far as I know, not one of these men was a preacher. None of them wrote a word of inspiration. These four men were not prophets or apostles. They appear to have been insignificant, if not totally unknown among their peers. The names, ages, and birth places of these four men are not mentioned anywhere in the Word of God. Yet, these four men rank among the most important men in the Bible. You see, these four, unknown nobodies were instruments by which God brought one of his elect sheep to Christ. These four men had a friend who was paralyzed, both physically and spiritually, and they brought their friend to Christ, and Christ both healed their friend and forgave his sin. The story of their remarkable faith and zeal is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Never in all the world did any mortal perform a more important work than these four men. Because of their labors a sinner was saved and God was glorified. Let’s read Luke’s account of this incident in Luke 5:17-26.


Luke 5:17-26  "And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, (That is what caring religious people do best – SIT 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. (The power of the Lord was present to heal them; but they were not healed.) 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. 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."


          Try to get a picture in your mind of the scene before us. It is a very remarkable story. Let me show you what these men knew, and what they did. Five facts revealed in this story:


1.     They knew who Christ is and they knew the power of his grace.

2.     They knew a man who needed Christ.

3.     They knew where the Lord was.

4.     They resolved together to bring their friend to the Savior.

5.     By thoughtful pain, labor, and perseverance these four men succeeded in getting their friend to Christ.


          The work required much pain, trouble, time, and diligence. But they were in dead earnest. They knew that Christ had the power to save their friend; and they knew that their friend needed his grace. They were determined to let nothing stand in their way. They were determined to get their friend to Christ. They could not heal his disease. They could not save his soul. They could not forgive his sin. And they did not know whether or not the Lord would do these things for him. But they could get their friend to Christ. And what they could do they were determined to do. And as a direct result of their diligent labors, a sinner was saved and God was glorified. Nothing in all the world could be more important. When the Lord Jesus saw their faith, he forgave that man’s sin.


Proposition: I hold these four men up before you today as examples for each of us to follow. They show us the importance and the necessity of personal evangelism. “Ye are my witnesses.”


          I know that “salvation is of the Lord.” No man can save himself; and we cannot save other men. It is not possible for us to create a new heart in another person. We cannot give them repentance and faith in Christ. We cannot reveal Christ to a man’s heart. But there are some things that we can do. And what we can do, we must do.


          Here are five facts plainly revealed in the Word of God.


1.     All men by nature are totally depraved, helplessly lost, and spiritually dead. No man will ever, of his own accord, by his own free-will, seek the Lord and come to Christ (Rom. 3:10-12). Sinner you cannot save yourself. But there are some things you can do. And what you can do you must do.


2.     God has an elect people in this world whom he has chosen for himself in eternal love and determined to save (Rom. 8:29-30).


3.     The Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed a people by his own precious blood whom he shall bring into the bliss and glory of eternal life in heaven (Isa. 53:9-11).


4.     The Holy Spirit of God shall effectually quicken, regenerate, and preserve all of those who were chosen by God the Father and redeemed by God the Son, calling them to faith in Christ by irresistible grace (Psa. 65:4; 110:3).


5.     And God always uses men to reach the hearts of men with the gospel (1 Cor. 1:21).

·        The Hebrew maid convinced Naaman.

·        Andrew found Peter.

·        Philip told Nathaniel and later the Eunuch.

·        The Samaritan woman told the men of Samaria.


          It is God’s good pleasure to use sinful men to proclaim the gospel to sinful men. He could use angels. He could speak to men directly. But he has chosen to speak to men through us. What a privilege! This is no limitation to God’s sovereignty. It is the marvel of his sovereign grace that he is pleased to use us!


Divisions: Now I want to do what I can today to build a fire in our hearts and inspire us to zealously give ourselves to this business of bringing sinners to Christ. Let me raise five questions -


1.     Do you know Christ and the gospel of his grace?

2.     Do you know any place where sinners are sure to hear the gospel, any place where Christ is preached?

3.     Do you have any real love and concern for the glory of God and the souls of men?

4.     What can you do to bring sinners to Christ?

5.     Why should we diligently give ourselves to this work?


I.      Do you know Christ and the gospel of his grace?


          I am not asking whether or not you are a religious person. I am not asking about your doctrinal beliefs, your denominational affiliation, or your works of morality. I am asking this - Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ? Has he been revealed in your heart? Have you seen his face, heard his voice, and followed him? If you are truly united to Christ by faith, if you do love him, surely you want others to know him (Rom. 10:1).


          I am asking this - Do you know the gospel of the grace of God? Do you know how it is that God saves sinners by the substitutionary sacrifice of his own Son? (John 3:14-16; Rom. 3:24-26).


·        Ruin By The Fall.

·        Redemption By The Blood.

·        Regeneration By The Holy Spirit.


          If you know Christ, you ought to confess him. If you know the gospel, you ought to tell it. “Ye shall be my witnesses of these things.”


II.   Do you know any place where sinners are sure to hear the gospel, any place where Christ is preached? (1 Cor. 2:2). Do you know of a place Where the power of God is present to heal the souls of men?


          The church of Christ is to be a sounding board for the gospel. Our one purpose for existence in this world, our one business in life is to preach the gospel of Christ.


          I am not by any means the best preacher around. I cannot speak so plainly or eloquently as some. My Master deserves a much better voice than mine to speak forth his praise. But he has taught me the gospel, and I deliberately make it my business, every time I stand in the pulpit, to preach the gospel. I have but one real ambition in life - I want to hold Christ up and point men and women to him, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God.” He alone is the Substitute for sinners. He alone is the Savior of men.


·        There is hope for sinners in him.

·        There is redemption in him.

·        There is righteousness in him.

·        There is life in him.

·        There is salvation in him.

·        There is safety in him.


          I do not know whether or not God will graciously reveal Christ to those who come here and teach them the gospel. But I do know this, as often as you come I will point you to Christ and preach the gospel to you. If God speaks to your heart in this place and reveals Christ to you, it may just be that he will do the same for others.


III. Do you have any real love and concern for the glory of God and the souls of men? Do you know anyone who needs healing?


          I know this, that which we are truly concerned about, that which is really important to us, we will be diligent and earnest about.


          J.C. Ryle said this - “Why is it that so many people take no pains in religion? How is it that they can never find time for praying, Bible reading, and hearing the gospel? What is the secret of their continual string of excuses for neglecting the means of grace? How is it that the very same men who are full of zeal about money, business, pleasure, or politics, will take no trouble about their souls? The answer to these questions is short and simple. These men are not in earnest about salvation.”


          These three things are more important to me than anything else on this earth. I have given my life to these three pursuits.


1.     I want to know the gospel.

2.     I want to be saved by the gospel (Phil. 3:7-14).

3.     I want to preach the gospel (Rom. 10:1-3).


A.  If the glory of Christ is important to you, the worship of Christ will be important to you.


B. If the souls of your children are important to you, you will see to it that they hear the gospel.


C. If the souls of men are important to you, you will do what you can to see to it that they hear the gospel.


          Do you not know that this world is passing away? Do you not know that men are perishing? Do you not know that hell is real, heaven is real, eternal death is real, eternal life is real?


IV. What can We do to bring sinners to Christ?


          You cannot all become preachers and missionaries. You cannot all be Bible teachers. And I do not suggest that you should. But there are some things that you all can do and should do.


A.  We can adorn the gospel of the grace of God by our daily lives (Tit. 2:10).


          We must live in accordance with what we profess, or it will be of no value to anyone for us to try to be witnesses of the gospel. See to it that your profession and your practice are in agreement.


1.     In your home.

2.     In your community.

3.     In your work.


          If you would truly convince those around you of your sincerity and the truthfulness of the gospel, there are four things you must constantly manifest in your life -


·        Honesty

·        Contentment

·        Faithfulness

·        Love


B. We can all tell what we know.


          We do not have to be theologians to be faithful witnesses. A faithful witness is one who simply tells what he knows to be true.


1.     Do you know that Christ is precious? Tell it.

2.     Do you know that God forgives sin? Tell it.

3.     Do  you know that salvation is by grace through faith? Tell it.


          Make it your business to talk to people about Christ and the gospel.


C. We can all distribute gospel literature to our friends and neighbors.


D. We can all bring people with us to hear the gospel.


E.  We can give of our means for the furtherance of the gospel.


F.  We can all greet people with warmth and friendliness.


G. We can all earnestly pray for the conversion of sinners.


V.  Why should we all diligently give ourselves to this work?


          I have spoken very plainly and pointedly about things we can and should do for the furtherance of the gospel and the conversion of sinners. I hope that we will all take it to heart. We all have a terrible tendency to become slothful and negligent in this matter of witnessing to men. Let me make one last effort to stir our hearts and inspire our souls with zeal in this matter - We should be faithful witnesses of the gospel because?


A.  Men are perishing in unbelief and sin.

B. Our Lord has commanded us to do so.

C. The love of Christ constrains us.

D. This is the means which God has ordained for the conversion of sinners.

E.  The work of evangelism is a glorious, soul-cheering work (James 5:20).

F.  Above all, let us give ourse3lves to this work for the glory of God. Nothing more glorifies God than the salvation of a sinner.




1.     Would you be saved? Trust Christ the Lord.

2.     To you who are believers, you who know the gospel and love Christ, I give these three admonitions.


·        Dedicate yourself to the glory of God.

·        Be faithful in all that concerns the gospel of Christ.

·        Give yourselves to the work of evangelism. Make it your business to be a faithful witness for Christ. Become Christ’s ambassador to your family. Be the Lord’s missionary in your community.

[1] See also #518 preached at Danville 6/26/83 and 12/16/90