Walking With the Master - Blind Man

Faith Church March 31, 2007

Introduction:

1.  We’re continuing our series this week:  Walking with the Master

- we’ve been connecting this to our Worship Service study: Reaching New Heights in Our Love for Our Savior – John 18-21

2.  We trying to focus on specific situations Jesus faced, and what we can learn from Him – since He is the most EFFECTIVE EVANGELIST there are things we can learn from Him

- so far we spent 2 weeks on John 3 and Jesus’ contact with Nicodemus (Religious Elite)

- we looked at John 4 – Woman at the Well (outcast from a Jewish perspective)

- last week:  Mark 10 (Matt. 19:16-22 & Lk. 18:16-27) – Rich Young Ruler (Wealthy/Popular)

  • TODAY:  John 9 – Blind Man – a person with some physical needs
  • Apr. 8: CHANGE:  Matt. 9 Jesus, A Friend of Sinners (Ex: Luke 19 –  Zaccheus) - [Easter]

3.  If we are going to ‘Reach New Heights in Our Love for People’, what will we have to do 1st?

Answer:  ‘Reach New Heights in Our Love for . . . the Lord’

> if we really love people the way God does, we won’t focus so much on WHERE A PERSON IS IN THEIR SPIRITUAL LIFE OR HOW THEY ARE DOING ECOMICALLY (good or bad)

. . . instead, we will focus on WHERE THEY CAN BE BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

5.  Key Verses to remember:

  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

- God certainly has a different perspective on people, and we need to think like He thinks: 

  • 1 Sam. 16:7 Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.”

6.  I’d like to ask you to think with me for a moment about who God used to bring you to Jesus Christ.

-  For most of us, this decision came as a result of one or more persons helping us to understand we were sinners and how Jesus Christ could save us from our sin & give us eternal life

-  Simply stated, it was “one person reaching one person”

7.  It has always amazed me that the God of heaven has chosen to use US in His service to communicate His message to people – as imperfect as we are

Input:  What are some of the terms that are used to describe the believer’s responsibility to represent our Lord to the world? (various answers)

  • ambassadors
  • salt
  • light
  • disciples
  • vessels of mercy
  • chosen generation
  • royal priesthood
  • witnesses*

* the word ‘witnesses’ (Acts 1:8) comes from the Greek word for martyrs (implications?? A LOT!)

8.  I realize that some people to a certain degree are more “people oriented” than others (though I think that becoming a people-person is more of a learned habit than anything else – because it’s a ‘heart issue’ more than a personality issue)

- we are made in the image and likeness of God (i.e. a relational being) – the curse of sin marred that image (look what Adam did . . . he ran ‘from God’ instead to ‘to God’ – his desire for the relationship was cursed by sin

[other examples: Gen. 4 – Cain murdered his brother]

Point: At some point, NOT wanting to be around people becomes an issue of NOT wanting to be like God who sent His Son, clothed in human flesh, to dwell among us and die for us!

9.  While ‘personalities’ may differ from person to person (the uniqueness of man), NOBODY can deny the SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY to fulfill what God expects from us – even if we have to change and get out of our comfort-zone to get it done!

9.  If Jesus doesn’t come back, we are looking at some great opportunities for outreach and evangelism in the next two months (emphasize the following:

  • Passion Play & Easter Services [Note: For those attending 9:30 ABFs, it would help if you could go to the 8:00 worship service to free up the 11:00 for our guests who will most likely attend the 11:00 service!]

[TAKE TIME AND PRAY FOR THESE 2 MINISTRIES]

  • New Series:  Building Strong Families and Relationships

April

  15        Bill Stanczykiewicz [pronounced: Stanz-ah-kah-vitch] (CEO, Indiana Youth Institute] – They’re Our Future – Seeing Our Children as a Community Asset

22        Viars - Can We Talk? – Learning to Communicate and Solve Problems

  29        Paul Tripp – Help! There’s a Teenager in my House

May

    6        Viars – Non-Traditional Families - Making the Most of Being Single

  13        Stuart Scott [Mother’s Day] – Humility – The Gift Every Relationship Needs

  20        Viars – Getting to the Heart of Community Concerns

  • Opening of the Community Center

10. The question I’m asking is:  What does it take to be effective in outreach?

Note:  I’m not talking about programs and methods (per se) – I’m talking about what need to understand and strongly believe in our hearts to be effective at outreach like God wants us to be – after all, He’s entrusted the message to us (Matt. 2819-20; Acts 1:8 – quote)

Turn to John 9 – READ THE WHOLE CHAPTER IF YOU HAVE TIME!

* Input: What were some of your observations as you read this text?  What lessons are there to learn about reaching out to people? [e.g. Passion Play/Easter/new series/CC opening]

* This passage teaches us 3 important principles out outreach:

1.  People Have Problems

2.  Problems Have a Purpose

3.  Power Has Potential

“The ministry of our Lord provides a stark contrast to the contemporary evangelical confusion. Christ was not interested in shallow responses or quick pseudo-conversions.  He refused to compromise the truth or give anyone false hope.  Instead of making it easy for people to believe, Jesus turned away more prospects than He received.” – MacArthur, John 1-11, p. 98

1.  People Have Problems

- these problems occur in both aspects of man (inner man and outer man; the material and immaterial parts):

A. Spiritual part of man (inner man)

Cause:  The cause goes all the way back to Gen. 3 and the curse of sin!

- I start with this one because throughout this series, that’s been the focus of each situation of “Walking with the Master”

- Jesus looked at the ‘heart’ of a person (inner man – their true spiritual condition) and them sought to help them!

- that’s why Paul wrote:

  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

- the Psalmist wrote about children coming from the womb speaking lies!

  • KJV Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

- frankly, that is what motivated Jesus . . . He understood the spiritual condition of EVERY man – i.e. they were sinners in need of a Savior, no matter what else they might have or be (a member of the Sanhedrin or a rich young ruler, or a woman living in sexual sin!)

Q: What difference would that make if we really viewed people in that light? . . . everyone the same – i.e. we looked at their spiritual condition . . . NOT the outer man (color of skin, clothing, etc.)

- in addition to the spiritual part (inner man), sometimes those problems are revealed in the . . .

B. Physical part of man (i.e. their body or their outer man and/or their physical circumstances)

Cause: Curse of sin, yet under the control of a sovereign God!

- in this man’s situation, he was blind (physical limitation) – yes, as a result of the curse of sin

- … just like any other physical situation (born deaf, mental problems, any abnormality)

- it wasn’t anything that the man did, or his parents  - Jesus makes that clear in v. 3

Input:  What are some ‘physical’ situations that we will be facing in the next few weeks/months/years ahead that will give us opportunities to bring glory to God by meeting the needs of other people? [many various answers]

- talk about the Community Center guests

- Vision of Hope

- Community Picnic

- Single Mom’s Ministries

- Divorce Recovery Program (Outreach Committee developing it):  We’re going to call it:  “A Road of Grace” – helping single parents as they ‘parent’ their children through this situation

- Hurricane relief trip – meeting the physical needs of others!

- remember, God does what He does with purpose and reason – and this is no exception

2.  Problems Have a Purpose

Purpose: “so that the works of God might be displayed in him” – 9:3

- ultimately, so God could be glorified (given the right opinion) by his healing

- what greater purpose is there for ministry than God’s glory?

- the fact is, we can be motivated for a lot of different reasons (some are WRONG, others are right and good, but still do not and cannot supersede the ULTIMATE goal of God’s glory!

Q: Does this make you think of another truth that Jesus taught about reaching out to people so God could be glorified?

  • Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

- in fact, there is a very direct truth in 1 John that deals with this very subject:

  • 1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

- and remember what Jesus said about doing this to other people and what that reveals about what you think of HIM!:

  • READ MATTHEW 25:34-46 – communicates this truth well (this passage is about the true kingdom of Christ, i.e. kingdom living!)

Q: What could we accomplish if THAT were our goal for EVERYTHING we did?

Q: How impact should that motive have on what we do in our ministry here at FBC?

 [Important:  Apply this to the Passion Play, Easter Service, New Series on Building Strong Relationships and Families

3.  Power Has Potential

- but doing ‘good things’ and serving people does not always promote faith – sometime, due to the curse of sin on man’s mind and his ability to think and reason . . .

- godly love and the power of God demonstrated to someone has the potential . . .

A. To reveal unbelief . . . and rejection – 9:13-34

- they called the man into question him . . .he answered their q’s . . . they didn’t like his answers, so they doubted if he really was born blind . . .so they called his parents and questioned them . . . the parents told this he was born blind and of age to answer their questions . . . so the Pharisees asked the man again . . .the man who had been healed told them the same thing, only he got a little more exact and challenging with his comments. . . they insulted him and threw him out!

- as we saw last week in the life of the Rich Young Ruler (rejection is possible!)

- while some may reject what we do, the power of God is amazing and He can accomplish great things in the heart/life of those who understand Who God is and what He is doing

- His power through us as His instruments can help . . . :

B.  To promote faith – 9:35-38

- the fact that Jesus healed this person, met his need, made it easy for the man to put his faith in Jesus Christ (see v. 38 – no doubt him being a believer!)

Point: We want to make it easy for people to believer that God really cares about them by demonstrating that love TO them in ways they can understand it!

[Note:  Yet, notice the ever-present unbelief of the Pharisees present – v. 39-41 !!]

Conclusion:

Q: Is there a ‘blind man’ in your county to whom you can minister and promote faith that God really loves him/her and has the power to change their life because they see the change in your life?

Bottom Line:  If you’re “Reaching New Heights in your love for the Lord” . . .you’ll be “Reaching New Heights in your love for people” . . . even if they are blind spiritually OR physically!

- or if they have other physical needs that we can meet to show them the love of God . . . that they may see our good works and glory God Who is in heaven!

IMPORTANT

1)  Review the “Seeking Individual Relationship” cards [GIVE OUT NEW ONES TO FOLKS WHO WERE NOT THERE LAST WEEK] – discuss how to use them; pray for those listed but DO SOMETHING to reach out to that person!

2)  Use Preparation for Easter Prayer sheet – spend some time praying for this week’s request!

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT:

NEXT WEEK: Read Matt. 9 & Luke 19 –  Zaccheus [Title: Jesus, A Friend of Sinners]

– read it 3-4 times – make some observations and list some reasons why WE should be a friend of sinners; be ready to discuss NEXT WEEK what you observed/learned! 

Faith Church