Devotional image from Rick Warren

“Therefore [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25 NIV)

By Rick Warren

No one is outside Jesus’ reach.

I believe that small groups are a vital part of helping so-called hopeless people find healing. One of the parts I like best about being in a small group is that you can pray for one another’s “hopeless” cases. We can lean upon the faith of others when we start to doubt.

In Luke 5, a group of guys took their paralyzed friend to Jesus. It’s a great story of a small group of men who took someone in need of healing to the feet of Jesus. In this account, we find seven characteristics of a small group that God uses to heal. Today we’re going to look at three of those characteristics, and tomorrow we’ll look at the rest.

Compassion: This man was healed because his friends cared. It all starts with us caring about people who are hurting. Romans 15:2 says, (NLT, second edition). God used these guys because they were sensitive to a friend’s need. And he’ll use us when we aren’t preoccupied with our own needs and start caring more about others than we do ourselves.

Faith: The men believed God would heal their friend. Take a look at Luke 5:20: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’” (NIV). It wasn’t the paralytic’s faith that made him well; it was the faith of his friends. How many people do you know who are so paralyzed they can’t believe in God? That’s when we have to believe for them.

Intervention: These friends didn’t just pray for their friend; they took action as well. It’s not enough just to pray for someone who is hurting and caught in sin. We have to take action. Jesus says in Luke 14:23, “Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.” There’s a slew of examples in the Bible of people taking others to Jesus. Everybody is not a soul winner, but everybody is a bringer.

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