Limiting God (John #13)

Txt: John 4:43-54

Jesus has made a circuit.  He’s coming back out to Galilee and his home town.  Jesus is very limited in what He can do there because the people simply don’t believe He is who He says He is.  They have a hard time wrapping their minds around the Jesus they knew as a carpenter, seeing him as a toddler, etc.

You may be saying there is no way to limit God.  He is all powerful and Almighty!  True, and He will use what you make available for Him to use.

We Limit God with our Casual Approach (vs 44)

  • 2nd miracle because he could not do many miracles there
  • Matthew 13:53-58 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.  And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?  Is not this the carpenter’s son?  is not his mother called Mary?  and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  And his sisters, are they not all with us?  Whence then hath this man all these things?  And they were offended in him.  But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.  And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
  • Mark 6:1-6
  • Too much familiarity.  Prophet without honor because they grew up with him.  Some remember when Mary changed His diaper.  Mark 6:2-3 From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?  And they were offended at him.
  • Like the roofer who slipped off the roof and as he was sliding down the roof cried out, Oh God help me!  Immediately his overalls caught a nail and stopped his fall.  At which point the roofer said, Nevermind Lord, the nail caught me.
  • You and forget that if God is going to break your fall, he’s going to use someone in your path to do it.  He’s going to use something you thought was ordinary.
  • They began to see the extraordinary – God manifest in the flesh, that God had put himself in a man’s body in order that He might redeem man.  They saw the extraordinary as the ordinary.
  • They saw the holy as common.
  • It will require extreme trouble to get your attention.  Trouble drives him to Jesus.  You realize he would never have come to the Lord if his son had not been dying.
  • Casual attitude does a few things that hinder God’s work
    • Discards God’s role in the matter.  Makes that act look precarious or haphazard, without a plan.
    • Eliminates the purpose – Marriage, Church, Parenting. To be too casual means it happens w/o design.  Just let it go man.
    • Casual creates casualties

We Limit God with our Conditional Obedience (vs 48)

  • vs 48 Jesus tells this man that he will not believe unless he see signs and wonders.  He doesn’t congratulate him.
    • There is a movement in Christianity that congratulates itself for believing in seeing signs and wonders.
  • When we set conditions on God, that doesn’t serve to give us the advantage we’re looking for.
    • You set conditions to limit your exposure, to minimize the danger.
    • But when you set conditions on God, all you’re doing is preventing a greater blessing.
  • Service your way.  Burger King Christianity – Have it your way – That isn’t Godly
  • We condition God with our fear
  • We condition God with our experience
  •  We condition God with out inabilities

We Limit God with our Cynicism (vs 52)

  • So the dad is considering that it may have been a coincidence.  Maybe his son got better before he ever spoke to Jesus.  There was doubt, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked.
  • He became for a moment a critic of God’s work.  He put God on trial.  The dad had weak faith, but that kind of thinking is dangerous.
    • Do you understand that when you become the critic and put God on trial you’ve taken the side of the devil.  The devil said in the garden, Yea, hath God said?
  • A cynic will judge the words of God based on his perception of the past.
  • Because the experiences that are making brothers and sisters in Christ better are the very experiences you are pointing to that stunt your growth.
  • While you’re saying “See, I told you so,” other brothers and sisters are rejoicing in hope and gaining experience and enjoying the growth even in the hard times.
  • Bitterness is the result of cynicism.  Why?  Because you become so focused on the error, the defeat, the fault, the destruction.
  • When you see a man falsify his taxes and he gets caught the cynic says, See, all men are liars.  Well, what of the thousands who didn’t falsify their taxes?  Why not point to one of them?  I know why.  Because you delight in criticism, because you’ve just become a critic.
  • You begin to feed that flesh that prefers evil over good.
  • You become like a vulture looking for death and defeat so you can point your finger and say, I told you so.  I knew that was going to happen
  • It isn’t that a cynic has a reasonable expectation, it is that a cynic has a sour spirit.
  • Cynics are always looking at others.  They seldom have a realistic view of themselves.
  • Be careful because becoming a critic or a cynic of God’s work or God’s people your growth will be stunted.  Why?
  • Acts 5:41-42 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.


But there is one more principle to notice here.  The nobleman’s boy was healed.  So in spite of these three limiting factors the Lord did what he asked.  Which leads to this final thought.

The Lord Jesus Christ will work with the opportunities you give Him

  • He is looking for the possibilities.
  • Your faith and my faith are weak in many places, but one thing is sure, anywhere you say, “Yes Lord” He will work.
  • We are use to hearing God has a purpose in your circumstance.  He’s got you in this predicament for a reason.  Pay attention because that’s not true.  If you got into your circumstance because of sin, then it wasn’t God’s purpose that got you into the mess.  But God is the master of redeeming things.  And if you let Him, He will take your mess and give it a purpose and use it to your benefit and His.
  • Wherefore yield your members as instruments of righteousness
  • Anytime you say, Ok Lord, I’m going to trust you.  He will work.
  • He will work with the opportunities.  The only reason He doesn’t work more?  Because you and I limit His work in us.  We don’t limit God, but we limit God’s work IN US.
  • Love vs Trust – We say, yes I love the Lord.  Like Peter, Yes, Lord, I love you.  But the question is do you trust Him.  And if you don’t, why not?
  • Questions:
    • Has the Lord ever disappointed you with anything you allowed Him to use?
    • Have you ever regretted Jesus Christ?
    • Can you honestly look back at the rare times you said, OK, Lord it’s all yours.  And look back at that time and say He was a real disappointment there.
  • Quit holding on to that thing you’re so afraid to let go of.  Let Him have it and watch Him work.
  • He is looking for the opportunities.  He is looking for possibilities.