A celebration of life

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In this message we break in our study of John this Palm Sunday to look at what Jesus means when He states: I have come that you might have life…

 

 

uh we built for this sermon for the last four or five weeks. And I truly don’t want pain in my leg to take away the power of God in his word, we’re just saying Amazing Grace by john Newton and I have a quote there on the board. That is incredibly important. He said at the end of his life, though my memory is fading. I remember two things very clearly. I I’m a great singer christ. It’s a great savior. And I make confession to you, which I made before to christ from which he has forgiven and cleansed me. How many times he has delivered me and yet how distrustful and ungrateful! My heart is so much so often. And I pray that God would cause my heart to grow greater in that trust and more in that grateful thankfulness than ever before. I normally don’t have a whole lot of quotes, but I have a couple more from john Newton came to my mind is looked at what we were gonna be singing today, he said when I was young, I was sure of many things. Now. There are only a few are two things of which I am sure, one that that I am a miserable sinner and the other that christ is an all sufficient savior. And then he says this, he is well taught Who Learns These two Lessons? I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I’m not what I hope to be in another world. But still I am not what I once used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am. Last week. We we looked at Chapter nine through the lens of Chapter eight and chapter 10 looking at not the blind man, but the people that surrounded the blind man, those who were truly blind. We looked especially at the Pharisees And in Chapter eight, he tells the Pharisees you are of your father the devil When he lies, he speaks out of his own character for he is a liar and the father of lies. Chapter eight verse number 44. Now remember there there are these two obvious choices that that john is is putting us to throughout this whole book. You have your father. The devil is a liar because that’s his character and when he speaks he lies for he’s the father of lies. But remember how the book began, Chapter 1: verse # 14, john speaking of the christ and the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory as the only son from the father full of grace and truth. So there’s really only two options in the world. There is a lie and there’s the truth and both of them are spoken out of the character of the speaker and the character of christ is one of grace. Now we also looked last week at at those who are spiritually blind through the, through the lens of chapter 10, remembering 89, 10 and 11 are all really one story, Jesus said in chapter 10 verse number eight, all who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes not but for to kill and to steal and to destroy. But I have come, I came that they might have life and they might have it abundantly. Now, where last week we looked at the blind this week, we’re going to look at the seeing and where Last week we looked at what stealing means, what killing means and what destroying means. This week we’re going to at least attempt to get through what life means and life abundantly. But before the theology, this is a, this is a strange uh theological passage, because most of the time you have the theology, you have an illustration and then you have the explanation here. You have the illustration first, And I want you to understand that Jesus is the interaction with the man in John Chapter nine is an illustration of what it means to have life and have it more abundantly. Now, I ask you this question and let our hearts be humble and let us be true to ourselves. Have you ever wondered what it means when jesus says, I have come, that you might have life, that one we generally don’t. But what about abundantly, what does that mean? Right, john chapter nine and as he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth and the disciples asked him, Rabbi who sinned this man or his parents, that he was born blind, and jesus answered, it was not this man who sinned or his parents, but that the works of God may be displayed in him. Now we do not base our faith on personal experience. Our faith is based on the sure foundation of God’s word. Remember before any of the seven signs in this book? The book began with in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. But while we place our faith on the sure foundation of his word, his works give additional support for our own faith and that of the faith of others. It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him, the glory of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day, night is coming, when no one can work as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world, Remind her back to chapter eight that he is equal with God and as God works, he works. But he knows his time as a man is short in this, in this life and he is telling the disciples that our lives are short as well, we must not put off tomorrow, what God puts in front of us today. Now having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva, then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, go wash in the pool called Siloam which means sent. So he went and washed and came back seeing now the question always comes up why in the world would jesus make mud In every other miracle? In John up to this point he speaks and something happens. In fact every miracle after this in John Jesus simply speaks and something happens in Chapter 11, the story of Lazarus which gives us that illustration of what what life means. He just simply says Lazarus come forth, but here he does something and I think there are a couple of reasons, one, so that we’ll know that he’s not formulaic right that there’s not some formula for miracles, it is his power and his power alone. But secondly I think that he makes this mud and puts it on this man’s eyes as an act of creation. He is letting us know that his his mission here is one of creation Recreation Not one of Reformation. He can’t just teach us to be like him, he must recreate us, then we have the ability to hear and to learn and the power to be like him, christ did not come to help us along, christ came came to kill our yesterday and rebirth us into today that will extend through eternity. So he makes mud And puts it on his eyes as a picture of Jesus making or Jesus making Adam in Genesis chapter one And then I want you to notice something else here in these verses. What does jesus not promise him anything? He doesn’t say. If you do this, if you obey me and you go wash in the pool of Siloam, you will have your sight back. That’s gonna be important here. In just a few minutes as we see this man progress through into faith, jesus simply puts the mud on his eyes, anoints his eyes and there is something in the authority, the sheep hear my voice, they know my name, there is something in the authority, something in in the person of christ the character of christ that his grace that causes this man to get up and in blindness traverse through a city on a week of celebration which would be incredibly difficult. Pass by four other pools and go to the pool called sent and wash. He does it and he comes back seeing Now I want us to jump back to Chapter eight for just a second. You see what is going on here is as jesus has been talking in this ex extended period. There are those among the Pharisees, there, there are those among the crowd who have begun to believe right? And even those who have not begun to believe, they have begun to question Their own beliefs right there old beliefs, you see here in Chapter eight verse number 30. And as he was saying these things, many believed in him. And so then Jesus speaks to those who believed in him after the you know, the Pharisees are in a fight with him, but some people are believing in him. So he turns to speak to those who are believing and he said to them, if you abide in me, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. And then they answered him. That is the Pharisees. You see he’s trying to teach, he’s trying to reveal something. But the Pharisees keep butting in, they keep interrupting and jesus is having difficulty getting across the teaching that he wants to get across about the truth that sets us free. That changes are tomorrow when when we look today and we seem to have no hope for tomorrow. He’s the light that can that can focus on the path that’s in front of us. But he’s having great difficulty in talking to these people because of the arrogance and the insulin and the and the Gomer Pharisees, you see he’s trying to speak to them, but they answered him, we are the offspring of Abraham and we’ve never been enslaved to anyone. We don’t need to be free, what is free, You’re talking about? You see, his sermon keeps getting interrupted. So in Chapter nine, when he says to his disciples about the blind man, so that the works of God might be displayed in him, He is not merely talking about restoring this man’s sight. Now catch this because it’s important, right? This man is used by jesus to help those who believe or those who are starting to believe. You see, this man could speak openly and could say at this time what jesus could not without being interrupted, he could speak and actually be listened to. So part of the work that he’s talking about is yes, this man receiving his sight. But also the truth that that jesus is having difficulty speaking. God uses this man to speak it. That those who are beginning to believe might be set free, as we’ve said. As we’ve been seeing some of these religious ra leaders, religious leaders believe, but they are timid. And if there’s one thing that this blind man is not, is timid, you say, he has nothing to lose. He’s a beggar. He has nothing. He has understood that which paul will later tell us, we are to count the things of this world, but dung, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul. You see, this man has nothing to lose. He has obeyed God and he has been touched and he has seen that power in reality in his life, he came back seeing Now coming back to chapter # nine and the neighbors of those who had seen him before as a beggar. We’re saying now notice it doesn’t say friends right? And the neighbors and those who had seen him before uh as a beggar we’re saying is not this the man who used to sit and beg, there is such a change in this man’s life that he is almost unrecognizable to those who know him the best. You see, jesus said, I have come that men might have life, that they might have it more abundantly and how he produces this is by making us a new creation. Old things passed away, behold all things become new. We should be un almost unrecognizable as christians. To those who knew us before. We are changed, were transformed and let that change take place in our lives. Let it control our tempers, let it control our words, let it control our minds, let it control our judgments, Let the character and grace and love of christ come out in our lives. Someone said it, it is he and others said, I just want to like him. They think some kind of magic trick has taken place here. This guy’s had some twin hit back for however many years so he could play this trick on them april fools what fantastic links people will go to to not believe, right? This is somebody else. Listen, why would somebody claimed to be a pariah which is not only what a beggar was, but a double pariah if he was someone who was blind, you see that people doubt what is right in front of them. It’s amazing to me as a pastor, to see the holy Spirit, to see the work of God working on people and then to see it slowly fade off their face as they doubt or they let worry or what other people think about them. Steal away the joy that God is handing to them extending to them. You see what should be a time of celebration has become a time of interrogation and he keeps saying I’m the man, it’s me, right, it’s me. So they said to him, how were your eyes opened? And he answered. The man called, jesus made mud anointed my eyes said to me, go to Siloam and wash. I went and washed and I received my sight and instead of going woo hoo, they went, where is he? And he said, I don’t know. So they brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now the trouble that they all have with this say is it was a sabbath day when jesus made the mud and opened the man’s eyes. So the Pharisees asked him again, so you see they bring him to the Pharisees Now they asked him again, this interrogation has been going on for a while john just picks up the story, you know, after however long and the Pharisees again asked how he received his sight and he said, he put mud on my eyes, I washed and I see now some of the Pharisees said, this man is not from God, for he does not keep the sabbath, but catch this and seeing it, the love of God and the works of God working through this man. But some said, how can a man who is a sinner do such things? And there was a division among them. You see there are some coming to belief and God is using this man as his mouthpiece at the moment. So they asked the blind man, what do you say about him since he has opened your eyes? This shows you the lengths to which their confusion has, has has taken them. It is unbelievable that the arrogant Pharisees would ask this guy a question like that, right, that they would ask of him a theological question. Who do you think he is? You see this is that confusion, this is the blindness of those who have physical site. And he says he’s a prophet. You see, all jesus knew all this man knew about jesus was, he seemed to be able to foretell the future. Remember he didn’t promise him anything in those first chapters. He just put mud on his eyes and said, go watch and then he could see. So he thinks that jesus is some kind of prophet who can foretell the future, right? And so he says he’s a prophet. Now the jews did not believe that he had been blind, that he had been laying there for decades, you know in his own field being a pariah of pariahs, right? They did not believe that he had been blind and that he had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and they asked them, is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see? And his parents answered, we know that this is our son and that he was born blind and whoa jeremy, you can see, nope, there’s none of that because fear stops so many people as well, arrogance and fear how he sees. We do not know, nor do we know how his eyes were opened, ask him he’s of age, he will speak for himself, his parents said these things because they feared the jews for the jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess that he is the christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue, that’s why the religious leaders are timid to speak. Therefore his parents said he is of age, asked him this little episode, this little window with his parents, This little episode with his parents gives us a window into what this man’s life had been like. Very little love, nobody on his side, not even jesus’s disciples, they don’t say, hey can you help this guy, they just want to know how bad of a sinner he is. What a sad life no love or little love nobody on your side at all, not even the followers of christ. And that should teach us a lesson and prick our souls right to look for those As we read in in Romans 17 who are lowly for the second time they called the man who had been blind and they said give glory to God, we know that this man is a sinner and whether believing Pharisees were timid, this man was not at all whether he’s a sinner or not. I do not know. But one thing I do know once I was blind but now I see listen to be able to say once I was blind but now I see that is a powerful argument not just for this guy but for Greg rolling and tim king novella Hawkins mm Theobald once I didn’t know live my life however I wanted to, I did what I wanted to, I did what made me happy. I know there’s purpose in this life and this life is not all that there is life will continue from here on out and one day I will stand to be judged and God has offered his adoption to me that I might never be judged and I might never be alone, I might never be one who has little or no love because God’s love will be mine, I will never be one who has to stand alone because he is my advocate, he will never leave me nor forsake me once I was blind but now I see and they said to him, what did he do to you, how did he open your eyes and he answered him, I’ve told you already and you would not listen, why do you want to hear it again? Are you wanting to be used as apple? Do you also want to become one of his disciples man, that is a bold statement to these people because they’ve already agreed anybody who’s a disciple of christ is gonna get cast out, right, he is in the most spiritual way possible. A smart alec, do you want to become one of his disciples as well and they reviled him saying you are his disciple, we are the disciples of moses, we know that God has spoken to moses, but as far as this man we don’t know where he’s come from, I want you to notice one word up there. Do you also want to be one of his disciples? You see this man has already determined where they have already determined if any man says he’s the christ, he’s going to be cast out. This man has already determined when I find him, I’m gonna learn from him. Do you also want to become one of his disciples? He’s not one of the disciples yet. He hadn’t even seen jesus yet right, but he is determined. I’m going to learn from him and I’m not going to come up with fantastical reasons not to believe him. I’m not gonna come up with crazy excuses not to follow him. Listen, now, this is for us. This man will get it later. Christ has taken our nature to heaven to represent us. You see whenever we’re saved, there is that blessed exchange and our nature becomes his nature right? We have the very nature of christ, peter says he has taken our nature to God to represent us and say no, no, no, no, no, no. You may have heard some false things about Donna. You may have heard some old things about rex, but let me tell you this is Donna, she looks like me, this is rex. His heart is like mine adopt her, bring him into your family. Christ has taken our nature into heaven to represent us and he has left us on earth with his nature to do what to represent him, right? And this man does a wonderful job. Then the man answered why, this is an amazing thing. You do not know where he comes from yet. He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone worships God and does his will. God listens to him. Never since the world began, as it been heard that anyone has opened the eyes of a man born blind, He speaks openly courageously truthfully about the one who had said If I set you free, You’re free. Indeed, this man doesn’t care one wit about the fear and the rules and the and the arrogance and even the anger of those who seemingly have control over his life, right? He’s become alive in christ. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. Now remember the Pharisees, some of the Pharisees were already thinking how can a man do such things if God is not with him now God is speaking through this man to those Pharisees. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. And they answered him, you were born utterly in sin and you would teach us Yes. Because I’ve been born again by saying washed clean by the blood of christ and his life given to me my mind open. Do you see that is our that is our call to action verse number 34 right? Yes. I was born in utter sin. Yes, I participated freely in sin. But now God has given me a new way of thinking new truths to hold onto and truth rather than opinion and hope. Right, They cast him out. This man is interrogated, he is abandoned by his parents. He sees the questioning that he’s under become increasingly violent. He has insulted, He has finally reckoned dead and cast out of the community. And as I was reading through this story again this week, I was saddened. Buy it, even though I love his response, even though this is one of my favorite guys in all of the bible, you know, even though I like his go get him, you know, attitude, I became very sad because the greatest thing that has ever happened in this man’s life has occurred something so great that it has never happened in recorded history and he has nobody to celebrate with the people who knew him. Before I go, all right, some kind of trick. You know, it’s it’s this is Goober right. Gomer was the one who was who was who was blind. He’s hiding somewhere. This guy’s been hiding out all these years to play this trick on us. I don’t know why bad guys always have a country accent, but you know, they do right. His parents, they don’t celebrate with him, they’re concerned about themselves. These religious leaders who have been waiting all of their lives and all of their father’s lives and grandfathers and forefathers lives for the coming of the one who can make men see where God says 13 times in the old testament, in absolute plain language. When I come I will give sight to the blind and yet they don’t celebrate with him. It makes me sad the greatest thing ever. And nobody to celebrate with. And jesus, having heard that cast him out, went to find him. Thank you. In the midst of his loneliness, Jesus arrives right? Being rejected is painful. Jesus knows that he continues to know that this to this day being rejected is painful and Jesus meets this man, it is pain and takes it away. When Jesus heard that they had cast him out and having found him, he said, do you believe in the son of man? And he answered, and who is he, sir, that I may believe in him. And Jesus said, you have seen him in the word, the promise, the character, you have seen him. And it is he who is speaking to you? And he said, Lord, I believe and he worshiped him. Finally the celebration someone to celebrate with. Like I pictured the scene man thaddeus coming up and whacking him on the on the shoulder, Peter coming up and playing flinch with him for the first time ever in his life. Damn well, what’s that? That’s what sane people do. I mean, think of the celebration of these 13 men there. It had to have been wonderful. I wish I could see it. I wish it was written down for us. He worshiped. What do you think that? Why do you think he worshiped him? I think he just laughed. He enjoyed the day he said, man, thank you. I can see. Come here, peter, let’s play flinch. Oh you look at that, that’s my turn, it’s beautiful the sadness gone with the arrival of christ for the first time in his life. He’s not a bigger for the first time in his life he is equal to his brothers for the first time in his life he’s an humble follower and the first time in his life he’s celebrating Chapter 100 came before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters in, if anyone believes, if anyone enters by me he shall go in and out and find pasture never to be a beggar again. The thief comes to steal and kill and to destroy. I have come that you might have life that you might have it abundantly. And here we see the illustration of that great teaching. We’ll get to the theology of it either next week or after easter. But this is life courage, This is life growing understanding, this is life diminishing fear. This is life finding purpose, This is life helping others. This is life, this is life abundant. Never alone, This is abundance, celebration, this is abundance. Family, this is abundance belonging, this is abundance, hope, this is abundance, son ship this man has nothing but God therefore he’s never a beggar again. He’s the richest man I know this takes us all the way back to the beginning of the sermon. We have to weep with them that weep rejoice within the rejoice. They are both missed here, right? The disciples have no compassion upon the man at the beginning, they do not weep with those that weep. They don’t ask for help. They don’t ask for jesus to intervene. They just overlook the guy, they miss the weeping with the weeping and then his associates, his parents and the Pharisees. They all miss the rejoicing with those that rejoice and in doing so, they both miss christ. That’s why what we do here is so important. That’s why community is so important because community gives our life balance. We may be going through a time of great difficulty or a time of great struggle. Coming to this community helps. Why does it help? Because we’re supposed to be helpers? Not only that, we can be helpers just by them seeing the work of God in our lives. How many people in here have gone through incredibly difficult and hard times and have come out right being here during those times, you’re amongst helpers. But you can also see the power of God and what he can do with the life that seems to be on its way to ruin or only despair, right? Community matters because it gives us balance. But community all also matters because we celebrate with one another right, Celebrate with one another last week when when um or or a couple of months ago when Sandy told us that she was pregnant. Not saying that. Yeah, Haley told us that she was pregnant And then last week when pam told us that she was pregnant? Um Okay. What do I do that time did I say pam? Well, she doesn’t know it yet. Uh a few months ago when Haley told us that she was pregnant, going to be a mother. Her light her face shine to understand what it means. That glow. But you know what? I looked around at others. They their faces were changed as well. And last week when Shelby told us that she was pregnant, I looked around. That’s all people celebrating with her. Right? And we will celebrate through the whole process. Right? And then when they’re little bills are running around here, right? We’ll celebrate with them too. Right? Listen, I love your handshakes on the way out and all of that. But I’d much rather have a sticky hand in my hand anytime. Right. It gives us balance. It gives us balance. When we’re in trouble to remain heavenly minded and it gives us balance. We’re in times of celebration to keep being grounded and to be long on thanking God and revealing his goodness. Right. Rejoice in the Lord always this man does it by himself right? Until jesus comes along. But it would be much better. And it was much better with more right, rejoice in the Lord always finishing the chapter very quickly for judgment. I came into this world that those who those who do not see may see and those who see may become blind, some of the Pharisees near him, heard these things and said, are we also blind? Oh, what a wonderful statement some of them make. And jesus said to them, if you were blind you would have no guilt. But now that you say you see your guilt remains that first point of evangelism, another thing that struck me in this story is we don’t know this guy’s name, I wish we did right, but why don’t we know his name? Because it is to jesus that all glory belongs. It is to jesus that all praise belongs. We celebrate with one another, but we celebrate christ they and then here’s just a good tip for you when you’re studying the scriptures. Generally when there is a story and the person is the main character of the story, which by the way, Jesus is the main subject here, right? Um but but when the, when the person who’s most seen in the story does not have a name, generally, that is a lesson that applies to our life, he doesn’t want to give it a name because it should be Wilma, it should be Shannon, it should be bobby, it should be bent knee, it should be Jason right Now, when it is a one time thing like the raising of Lazarus, which we’ll see in chapter 11, you have that name, but when it’s no name, it’s generally a lesson that applies to us, we are to be this man, the very mouthpiece of God, and we are to learn the lesson of the disciples, open your eyes. Listen, there is a great difference between being blind and merely shutting your eyes right. There’s a world of difference Between those two things I asked you this morning.

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