"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 8

How To Get A Hard Case Saved

Read: Mark 2:1-12

Text: Mark 2:5 (KJV) When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Theme: The faith of the soul winner moves the Lord to save the lost.


QUESTION - As you read this passage of scripture, what catches your eye? What points of interest?

As we read this story, several points about it are very interesting:

  1. The incredible popularity Jesus was enjoying here. (1:45, 2:1-2)
  2. The emphasis which Jesus again had on teaching. (2:2)
  3. The effort put forth by four men (2:3-4)
  1. The possible cause of his illness (2:5)

QUESTION - Many think this verse indicates sin the cause of his paralysis. Is sin always the cause of illness? What other causes of illness are explained in scripture?

ILLUS. George Patrick, wonderful old saved saint. Had gotten the victory over cigarettes many years before and had lived for Christ for years… yet he died of lung cancer brought on by smoking.

ILLUS. I have a good friend who is a foreign missionary. Before he was saved he experimented with LSD. He is serving God now, and has no intention of ever using drugs again, and yet he told me once that he knows an LSD flashback is a very real possibility, as that is one of the natural consequences of LSD use.

1 Cor 11:30 (KJV) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 John 5:16 (KJV) If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

  1. The inevitable response of others to soul winners. (Mark 2:6)

There are many other things we could glean from this gem of scripture. However, I want us to stop now and make application. This passage tells us better than anywhere else in the Bible, How To Get A Hard Case Saved.

We all know them… people we desperately desire to see saved… people that have been prayed for… people that have been spoken to… people that have seemingly just rejected the truth… people that we would do anything to see saved!

Notice, how to get such hard cases saved:

I. Work Hard At Winning Them (Mark 2:3-4)

A. These men were not lazy!

B. Most Christians want to leave the work of soul winning to someone else.

C. God wants us to work at winning them.

QUESTION - How do we do this? What are some ways in which we work at winning our loved ones?

1. Work at bringing them.

Luke 14:23 (KJV) And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

2. Work at praying for them.

Mat 7:7 (KJV) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Luke 22:44 (KJV) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Acts 12:5 (KJV) Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

James 5:16 (KJV) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

ILLUS. Beth's dad saved while she prayed at the altar.

3. Work at telling them.

4. Many things require labor to succeed:

We must work hard to see our hard cases saved! Mark 2:4 (KJV) 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.

II. Be Creative In Winning Them (Mark 2:4)

A. These men were not hindered by obstacles!

QUESTION - What are some obstacles that soul winners meet today?

1. Some quit because of a slammed door.

ILLUS. (PERSONAL) - Cherokee Apartments, knocking every door multiple times… same people would slam the door in my face every time…

2. Some quit because their favorite method no longer seems effective.

QUESTION - Are there forms of evangelism that were once practiced in America that now seem less effective?

ILLUS. Door to door evangelism was once quite effective in America (still is a good tool), but Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons have blunted its effectiveness.

ILLUS. Bus ministry - still effective in inner city ministries, but, again, has been blunted in its effectiveness, especially in an area like ours.

ILLUS. Street preaching was once greatly effective, but now seldom seen in America.

QUESTION - Because these forms of evangelism seem to have lost some effectiveness, should we abandon them?

QUESTION - Are there forms of evangelism that seem effective now, which may not be so in the future? If that is the case, should we use them now? What should we do when they lose their effectiveness?

B. These men were not afraid to try something new.

1. They kept trying new things.

2. They were creative.

3. They persisted until they found an idea that worked.

ILLUS. Thomas Edison (700+ failed experiments before perfecting the light bulb. "I know 700 ways to not make a light bulb")

ILLUS. Patrick (canonized by the Catholics as St. Patrick, but in reality a missionary to Ireland) had difficulty explaining the concept of the trinity to the Irish. After many unsuccessful methods, he hit upon using the three-lobed shamrock as an illustration, and he saw success.

III. Bring Them To Jesus (Mark 2:4)

A. Religion cannot save.

B. Only Jesus can save.

John 14:6 (KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12 (KJV) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

C. We've got to get them to Him!

QUESTION - How do we do this? What are some methods we might use to ensure we are "bringing them to Jesus?"

1. Don't just invite to church - invite to Christ.

2. Don't just give church literature - give the gospel.

ILLUS. Our church web page not only contains information about our church and ministries, but also contains a clear presentation of the gospel. A person visiting this web site can see clearly how to be saved.

John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

(ILLUS. My daughter Amy leading friend to Christ when they were both tiny children.)

3. Don't preach denomination - preach Bible.

4. Don't preach religion - preach salvation.

IV. Have Faith (Mark 2:5)

A. The paralytic had faith to be saved. (Mark 2:12)

QUESTION - Could he have been saved apart from this?

ANSWER - No, (Heb 11:6 (KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.)

B. However, Jesus was moved to action by their faith. (Mark 2:5)

C. The soul winner's faith can move mountains!

Mat 17:20 (KJV) And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Mark 9:23 (KJV) Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

ILLUS. "Lord, don't let that flask break…"

QUESTION - What are some of the victories that have been wrought here by faith?

D. The soul winner's victory is in direct proportion to their faith.

Mat 9:29-30 (KJV) Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

ILLUS. A young preacher came to John R. Rice once, asking Dr. Rice why he was not seeing many people saved in his young ministry. Dr. Rice asked, "Preacher, you don't expect people to get saved every time you preach, do you?" "No," said the young preacher, "of course not." "Well then, that's why they don't," replied Dr. Rice.

How much faith do you have that God is going to save your hard case?

"When He saw THEIR faith,

When He saw THEIR FAITH,



READ 2 Kings 13:14-19 as closing illustration.

This incident in the life of Joash illustrates our need for persistence in prayer and persistence in soul winning and persistence in effort! If Joash had worn out the ground with those arrows, complete and miraculous deliverance could have been his.

God's people need to wear out the ground, until Jesus saves those hard cases!

Wear out the carpet in your prayer closet

Wear out the leather in your shoes

Wear out the health in you body

Wear out the tear ducts in your eyes!

We need to be like Rachel, who said to Jacob, "Give me children or I die!"

Mark 2:5 (KJV) When Jesus saw THEIR FAITH, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1997 William E. Johnson.