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9 13-25 How To See Clearly In Challenging Times

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                                                  liberty bible church          11/9/08 a.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“how to see clearly in challenging times”

John 9:13-25

introduction

Illus. of 1. On a hot day in St. Petersburg, Florida, a spring training observer told Yogi, “Good afternoon, Mr. Berra. My, you look mighty cool today.” “Thank you, ma’am,” Yogi replied. “You don’t look so hot yourself.” 2. “We lost because we made too many wrong mistakes.” 3. “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” 4. “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.” This is the one I want to focus on. 5. “You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” We live in challenging times and of all people, Christians need to know where they are going. If we don’t, then the world is in trouble. As we talked last week, the world is spiritually blind and struggling to find their way. How can we help them to see clearly to find their way, ultimately, into the presence of God?

OPEN to the passage.

Prop. In this passage, we see how to communicate what Jesus is doing to a lost world.    

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Jesus escaped an attempted stoning at the end of chapter 8 and now miraculously cures a blind man. READ 9:1-12 to get the context. We move on with this account today and see how we can see clearly in uncertain times. First, as the healed man does…

  i. keep the message simple vs. 13-17

Illus. of someone told me recently that they heard me preach a message years ago where I used the acrostic K.I.S.S. I don’t even remember who told me this, but I asked them if they remembered what it stood for. “Keep It Simple Stupid.” I learned it when coaching JFL. Keep it simple for the kids. The same is true with the Gospel. The easier we can keep the message, the better opportunity people will have of understanding the it. Unbeknownst to any, that’s what the healed blind man does here.

a. The authorities are challenged to understand       

V 13    1. This was a very unusual event and so the man was brought to the religious leaders for some interpretation. They were the experts in all things pertaining to God and so the man was brought to them. Many wanted to know if Jesus was indeed from God.

V 14    2. It looked good, except for the fact that the healing took place on the Sabbath. Unless someone’s life was at stake, healing was not permitted on the Sabbath. Jesus committed a double violation by making clay with His spit. This would have been considered work.

V 15a   3. The Pharisees ask the same question the neighbors asked in the previous section. Exactly how did this happen?

V 15b  4. Such a profound event reduced to a single phrase. Illus. of isn’t our salvation as simple. I was a sinner, He died for me and rose again, and I believe. A profound event reduced to such a simple formula. God did make the Gospel hard. It is easy enough for a child to understand. We need to keep it simple.

b. Different responses to the message

V 16a   1. Some believed that Jesus could not be from God because, in their opinion, He violated the Sabbath. Jesus responds to that in Luke 14:5 False prophets try to lead people astray and obviously, Jesus was one. 

V 16b  2. Others said that a sinner couldn’t do such signs. But, false prophets can deceive with signs. Cf. 2 Thess. 2:9 and the magicians in Exodus.

V 16c   3. These differing opinions caused a schism amongst the Pharisees.

V 17    4. What does the healed man think? “He’s a prophet.” God’s men in the OT performed many miracles, I.e. Elijah and Elisha. This man had some belief in Jesus, but did not have quiet enough knowledge yet.

Trans. Even though we KEEP THE MESSAGE SIMPLE, the masses will reject it. They will call us names. They will call Jesus names. Even though the times are challenging, we know where we are headed and we stay focused on that. Second…

 ii. don’t be scared of the consequences vs. 18-23

Illus. of “Know Who You Are” An African man was walking on the street when he saw a black cat crossing over the road. He thought to himself that he was going to have bad luck on that day. Worried about seeing the black cat, he asked his friend what would be his fate because of the black cat he saw in the morning. His friend replied, "That will depend on whether you are a rat or not." If we know who we are in Christ, we have no reason to fear. We have some here who did not know Christ and so feared the consequences of man.  

a.  a second opinion   

V 18-   1. This was just so unbelievable that they sent for the young man’s parents to confirm that this was their son and

       19      that indeed he had been born blind.

V 20-   2. They affirm that it was their son and that he was born blind, but as far as how he now sees they don’t know. At

       21      least that’s what they say. They turn it right back to him. He’s of age, let him speak for himself.

b. fearful people pass the buck

V 22a   1. We get a little insight as to the true feelings of the parents. The Jews had already decided that Jesus was not the Messiah, so the parents needed to be very careful of what they expressed.

V 22b  2. It was already well-known that if any professed that Jesus was the Messiah, they were put out of the synagogue. Some scholars believe this verse may have been added at a later time, yet this type of persecution was present at the time of Jesus.

V 23    3. Once again, the parents shift the pressure off of themselves onto their son.

Trans. How do we see clearly in challenging times? KEEP THE MESSAGE SIMPLE and DON’T BE SCARED OF THE CONSEQUENCES. Finally…

iii. Remember who is sovereign vs. 24-25

Illus. of it’s hard to believe that God is in control when the world seems so out of control. But, He is. And the Jews remind the healed man here, somewhat indirectly that it is God who healed Him. God was in control the whole time and for this…

A.     God gets the glory

V 24a   1. They appear to want to give God the glory, but really they just want him to admit that it wasn’t Jesus that healed him. They say they want to glorify God, but they don’t want to recognize that Jesus is God.

V 24b  2. They say with certainty that Jesus is a sinner. “We know” was intended to pressure the man to following them. Illus. of unbelievers can be so certain at times, so scientific; they want to make guarantees. But, like the Pharisees, they are blind. These religious leaders did not know Jesus was a sinner, but they wanted the man to think that. Ultimately, God does get the glory.

b. stick with what you know to be true

V 25    1. This is my favorite verse in this whole section. So simple, said with such faith. He knew what He knew and no one was going to change his mind.

            2. He didn’t know Jesus yet, but soon He would and he would realize that He was not a sinner. But for now, he spoke what he knew. “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” His world was in chaos trying to figure out who Jesus was. “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

conclusion

How do we see clearly in challenging times? KEEP THE MESSAGE SIMPLE, DON’T BE SCARED OF THE CONSEQUENCES, and REMEMBER WHO IS SOVEREIGN. What challenges do you face today?

1.      For unbelievers, their challenges seem insurmountable. The message we have is still simple. GOSPEL

2.      Socially, our country faces many challenges. The economy, a war, a continued to decline in our moral compass; we face challenges, the consequences of which we all must endure. Jesus Christ is still the answer. We don’t need government to get Him involved. We need prayer warriors.

3.      Personally, you may be facing challenges. Perhaps, you are struggling in your marriage; maybe there’s a physical problem; perhaps you have financial issues; maybe a sin issue that needs to be overcome; maybe you’re a young person trying to figure out where you fit into God’s plan. These are all challenges that God has answers for. But we must be willing to follow His will and be obedient to His Word. Don’t ever be afraid to do what is right. God will work out the details.  

Illus. of “Confused with a ‘K’” A university student was seen with a large “K” printed on his T-shirt. When someone asked him what the “K” stood for, he said, “Confused.” “But,” the questioner replied, “you don’t spell “confused” with a “K.” The student answered, “You don’t know how confused I am.”

Our world is confused. Our new president needs a lot of prayer because he is faced with many challenges. No man has all the answers. Anything government does is a band-aid at best. The only way to see clearly in these challenging times is to look to Jesus Christ for guidance. As the healed man said, “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” Jesus enables us to see clearly when challenges come our way. 

pRAY


“how to see clearly in challenging times”

John 9:13-25

introduction

We live in challenging times and of all people, Christians need to know where they are going.

  i. keep the message                                                 vs. 13-17

a. The authorities are challenged to understand      

b. Different responses to the message

                Cf. Luke 14:5; 2 Thess. 2:9

 ii. don’t be                      of the consequences vs. 18-23

a.  a second opinion  

b. fearful people…

iii. Remember who is                                                   vs. 24-25

A.      _____________ gets the glory

b. stick with what you…

conclusion

What challenges do you face today?

1.        

2.        

3.        

 

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