Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free eBooks designed to help you grow in your faith. We each have a role to play. There is God's part and there is our part. Believers have the opportunity to be solved and liked in a world that desperately needs both. Our culture is marinating in sin and hopelessness, and we have the opportunity to point the way to hope and forgiveness. But will we stand up and speak out? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us recognize the difference we can make and make the difference so many will recognize.
If you've ever complained about the state of the world we live in, learn how your efforts can help turn the tide. John chapter 9. Turn in your Bible to John chapter 9. And the title of my message is, Believing is Seen.
Believing is Seen. You know, eventually we all get around to asking the big questions about life. And one of the questions that's often asked is, why does God allow suffering? Why does the Lord allow evil in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people?
And we could even ask, why do good things happen to bad people? These are big questions. We also have other questions like, why do I only lose one sock?
And where does the other one go? That's not really a big question. But this is not a new question.
You might think it's new because it's occurred to you. But this is a question that has been asked pretty much for all human time. Even back in the days of Jesus, this question was asked. This is a story before us of a blind man that was healed by Jesus. And this man not only had his eyes opened physically, he also had his eyes opened spiritually. We have all heard it said, seeing is believing. But in this case, believing was seeing. I mean, imagine for a moment if you did not have the gift of sight. This man was born blind.
He never was able to see. To be able to see for the first time the faces of your loved ones. The beauty of God's creation. And best of all, to see the face of Jesus himself.
How amazing that was. And this man saw what really mattered. He saw what life was all about because of his encounter with Christ. So let's read together John chapter nine. I'll read verses one to seven.
By the way, I'm reading from the New Living Translation. As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind from birth. The rabbi's disciples asked him, why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents' sins? Jesus answered, it was not because of the sins of his parents or his sins. This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by the one who sent us.
The night is coming when no one can work. But while I'm here in the world, I am the light of the world. Then Jesus spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man's eyes and told him, go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam. Siloam means sent. So the man went and washed and came back seeing.
Great story, isn't it? So we're looking at the signs of Jesus as given to us in the Gospel of John. Seven signs in total. Sign number one was when Christ turned water into wine. Sign number two, he cleanses the temple. Sign number three, he heals the nobleman's son. Number four, he heals a lame man in Jerusalem. Sign number five, he feeds 5,000 people plus others.
And finally this one, the healing of the blind man. Now Jesus did many miracles when he walked this earth. Why are these particular signs chosen and given to us by John in his Gospel?
Why do these signs matter so much? John gives us the answer in John chapter 20 when he says, the disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him, you may have life by the power of his name.
So these signs were given that we might believe. This is why I always say to a non-believer who's reading the Bible for the first time, start with the Gospel of John. You say, no Greg, they should start with Genesis.
Well they could. Genesis is as inspired by God as John is, but the Gospel of John was written so people might believe. So it's a great book to start reading if you've never read the Bible before. So it's so people who don't believe will believe, but it's also written so believers will keep on believing. Again he writes, so you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. It was given that believers would keep on believing. As the great theologians journey remind us, don't stop believing. And even as Christians we have moments of doubt. We have lapses in our faith.
We have things that come our way that don't make sense. So the Bible bolsters our faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So when I read the Word of God and most importantly believe in and act on the Word of God my faith will grow stronger.
Sometimes we have our lapses and that's why as Christians we need to doubt our doubts and believe our beliefs. Now you think about these miracles that Jesus did. The first one turning water into wine. He just brought joy into a wedding ceremony. But the miracles that followed like the healing of the nobleman's son, the feeding of the five thousand we see Jesus healing our bodies and providing our needs. But this miracle before us is on another level. So let's come to question number one.
Point number one. Why does God allow suffering? The disciples ask in verse two, why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents sins? So we ask the same question today.
Why? Why would a little beautiful baby be born with a disability? Why would God allow that act of terrorism? Why would God allow this war? Why would God allow this other thing that is happening, this tragedy to happen in my life? I'm talking to someone I know who feels like they were dealt a bad hand in the game of life and it doesn't seem fair because you know other people that never experienced the trauma you've experienced. Why did that have to happen to me? We ask. Why did that loved one die unexpectedly? Why do I have to have this disability? Why this? Why that?
They're valid questions. Ed Sheeran, you probably heard of him, is among 21st century's biggest global pop stars. But he just did an interview where he found himself in his words feeling suicidal after the death of two friends. And he also said that he got very depressed and found himself filled with anxiety and fear because of a sickness his wife was dealing with. And so he's in despair. I mean being a pop star doesn't free you from fear and despair. Having thousands of people adore you and buying your music doesn't make things necessarily better. He deals with the same issues that you and I deal with.
So these are things that don't always make sense and there's not an easy answer. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when these studies have truly impacted lives.
Listen to these comments from our listeners. Hi Pastor Greg. I started coming to your church when I was 28. I was on drugs at that time but after hearing your messages I never touched a drug again. I'm now 57 years old and am very thankful for you. Pastor Greg, your teaching of the Word of God totally changed the direction of my life. It's 30 years and counting now.
No turning back. Thank you. If you have a story to share why not call us and give us all the details. Here's the number 1-866-871-1144.
It's a special number for this purpose 866-871-1144. Well we're considering some of the big questions of life today including why God allows suffering. It's from Pastor Greg's message called believing is seeing.
That brings us to point number two. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. In a broad sense, sickness, disabilities, even death are all the result of sin. Not personal sin.
Because that was the question the disciples asked. Was it his own sin that brought this on him? Or was it the sin of his parents? Jesus is saying neither. Okay so we don't need to blame it on someone. It's just sin in general. Passed on to us by our first parents Adam and Eve.
Thank you very much. But if you had been in the Garden of Eden and you had been faced with the same temptation you would have eaten the forbidden fruit too. How many of you have ever sinned? Raise your hand.
I rest my case. You would have done it. I would have done it. And sin entered the world. Man was not created evil. He was created perfect. He would never have aged.
She would have never had to die. We would all have been innocent in a sense. But Adam and Eve were given the ability to choose. And God gives all of us his ability to choose.
Romans 5 12 says as sin came into the world through one man death came through sin and spread to all men all men because all have sinned. So God's not responsible for our sin. We're responsible for our sin. But we ask well why didn't God make us so we could not sin? Because he's given you a free will.
He doesn't want a bunch of little robots pre-programmed doing exactly what he wants them to do. He gives us a choice. And we can choose good and we can choose evil. We can choose right or we can choose wrong. And then we make our choices and our choices make us.
There's a verse I love in scripture where God says behold I said before you death and life blessings and curses now choose life that you may live. It's almost like a teacher is in front of a classroom and she says to the class okay now you need to pass this next exam. And there's one question on the exam and I'm going to give you the answer.
Here's the answer. God says okay you you are going to go through life and I give you choices for life death blessings curses. Then God gives us the answer. Choose life. I'm telling you choose life but you don't have to choose life. You can choose death. You can choose sin. You can choose a lot of things and then you face the consequences. I know it doesn't seem fair at times but God gives us the ability to exercise our free will. So what do we learn from this story?
Number three. Though life can be bad God is good. Though life can be bad God is good. Now I want to read verses three to four again. But there's no break in the original chapter. So when we read in our bibles there'll be verse three. There'll be verse four. There'll be chapter this. Chapter that. But Jesus was just speaking in a continuous statement.
So let's read it that way. Jesus said it's not because of his sins or the sins of his parents. This happens so the power of God can be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the task assigned to us by the one who sent us.
The night is coming when no man can work. So instead of dealing with how this man ended up blind Jesus said I'll glorify myself through it. How? By healing this man. And by the way God still heals people today. And it's a good thing to ask God to heal you.
The bible does say if you have not because you ask not. So if you're sick if you have some problem by all means go to the Lord and ask for his healing touch. Having said that God does not heal everybody.
Why? I don't know. But I'm going to make sure that I ask him for that healing and it's okay to keep asking him for that healing again and again. So Jesus chose to do a miracle in this man's life.
The question was not who caused the misery. The question is God speaking will you allow me to use it. And how Jesus touches this guy is really interesting. Because Jesus healed people in different ways. Sometimes he would just speak and a person was healed. It was a man who was paralyzed in Matthew 9. Jesus just said hey take up your bed.
Go home. And the guy did it. And then there's another instance where a blind man was healed by the word of Jesus. He said your eyes are healed and they were. But then sometimes Jesus would physically touch people. The Bible tells the story of Peter's mother-in-law who was sick. And we read he took her by the hand and she was healed.
Then there's a story of that woman who had the issue where she was constantly bleeding and had spent all of her money on doctors. And she reasoned if I can touch the hem of his garment I'll be healed. And as Jesus was passing by through a crowd she reached out her hand and touched the edge of his robe with her finger.
And the power of God was released and she was healed right there on the spot. So sometimes he spoke to them. Sometimes he touched them. Sometimes they touched him. This is different. Jesus spits on the ground.
He never did this any other time. Can you imagine coming for prayer. Pastor would you pray for me. Sure.
Would you lay hands on me and pray God heals me. I was thinking of something else. What's that. Wait what. This is kind of weird.
Let's be honest. He spits on the ground. Then wipes it in the dirt. Puts it in the guy's eye sockets. Here's mud in your eyes buddy.
Then go to the pool of Siloam and be washed. Incredible. Jesus varies his methodology so we will not trust in the methodology but rather trust in him. God has no limitations as to what or who he will use for his glory.
No limitations. Think of all those stories in the Bible we've read for so many years. God used a stick in the hands of Moses to part the Red Sea. We call it a staff.
Okay fine. It's a stick. Take that stick. Hold it up and the Red Sea will part and that's what Moses did and that's exactly what happened. God used pitchers and torches in the hands of Gideon and his men as they attacked the Midianites.
Okay here's the battle plan Gideon. Yes Lord. I want you to get a pitcher okay. Now I want you to get a torch of fire. Put the torch of fire inside of the pitcher right. Now I want you to run down a hill and scream and yell.
Uh what? That's the plan. Well you're going to break the pitcher and they'll see the fire. Okay. Where do the swords come in? No swords. Just a pitcher.
Just a flame. Let's go. And they went running down that hill yelling the sword of the Lord and of Gideon and the Midianites freaked out so much they started killing each other. Worked out pretty well. How does God bring down the walls of Jericho? Here's the battle plan guys. Here's the battle plan guys. March around the wall.
Now you blow your trumpets and you shout really loudly and the walls collapsed. Why did God pick such weird ways to do things? So we would look to him. You know the whole message of the Jesus revolution film is God uses really flawed people. Everyone in that movie was flawed.
Chuck Smith, Lonnie Frisbee, Greg and Kathy. Everybody. Flawed people.
But listen to this. God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick. We always want everyone to be perfect and flawless and they never make a mistake. But God goes out of his way to choose really broken flawed people to get glory from.
And why does he do this? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 1 27 where Paul writes, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful and as a result no one can ever boast in the presence of God. So God works through a certain person. We say, I know that person.
They could never do that. It has to be God exactly. See what that means is God can use you. And God can use me.
Point number five. There is God's part and there is our part. There is God's part and there is our part. Look at verse seven again. Jesus told him, go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam. And the man went and washed and came back seeing.
That must have been a weird sight. Isn't that that blind guy? Why is he running down the street? What is in his eyes? Where is he going?
What is happening? And this guy goes and does what Jesus said. I want you to notice there was no promise attached to this command. Jesus did not say, go wash in the pool of Siloam and your eyes will be healed. I would run too. He just said, go wash in the pool of Siloam.
Didn't say what would happen next. This guy's faith is activated and he can't get to the pool of Siloam quickly enough. He is sprinting there to do what Jesus said. We need to follow his example. Listen when opportunity knocks, don't sit there complaining about the noise. When opportunity knocks you need to open the door. And I have found in my life that pretty much everything I have ever done has been a step of faith.
I've never had a detailed blueprint. I didn't even know I was starting a church when I was starting a church. I was 20 years old when I started pastoring. How would you like to have a 20 year old pastor? But I didn't go out to start a church.
I went to teach at a Bible study that no one seemed to really want to teach at. And I just did the best job I could do and it started to grow and these people attending started calling me pastor. And I said I'm not a pastor.
I'm just, I'm very young still. In fact I felt called to be an evangelist. And I said no someone else will come and be your pastor one day and it continued to grow and I realized it looks like I am a pastor. I was starting a church without even knowing it.
I had no game plan. This is the blueprint. This is how we'll do it.
We'll get our brand and then we'll get out there and get the word out. You know there was just us doing what God was leading us to do one step at a time. So has the Lord shown you to do something?
Sometimes it's just a little nudge from the Holy Spirit. Go do this. Go pray for that person. Go share the gospel with this other person. Go take this little step of faith in some other area of your life. Jesus said you are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.
Whatsoever. He didn't say you are my friends if you do whatsoever you agree with. Or you are my friends if you do whatsoever you find easy.
No. You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you. That meant acted on faith. Pastor Greg Laurie with some great insight today here on A New Beginning, counsel on following and serving the Lord in the way he's called us to. Well Pastor Greg and I are joined by Kathy Laurie today in studio as well as another special guest. Pastor Greg would you mind making the introduction? I'm here with Shannon Breen.
You've probably seen her on Fox News. She's also a prolific author and her newest book is called The Love Stories of the Bible Speak. And Shannon you not only talk about romantic stories but you also talk about friendships including Job and his friends. And this is a great opportunity opportunity to talk about what do you say to someone who is suffering. You know we had our son go to be with the Lord 14 years ago and it was like a crash course on what to say and what not to say to people because I've been a pastor almost 50 years and I've always tried you try to say the right thing to someone who's suffering sometimes honestly less is more.
You don't always have to have all the answers. In fact I don't think you really have any satisfactory answers for a person who suffered traumatic loss but I can think of things that really helped me and things that were not helpful and even some things that occasionally hurt. So when we look at Job and his friends they did a great job when they just were with him as he was suffering. This poor guy covered head to toe in boils and he's lost his family he's lost his livelihood and they were just sitting there in silence but what role can a friend play in someone else's life when that person has lost a loved one? I think you all would know this path better than anybody and I think we worry that we're going to say the wrong thing that we're going to hurt someone with our attempts to comfort them and I love that Job's friends the three of them got together and decided to travel to him and what I thought was so beautiful is that when they saw him they were so overcome it's almost as if they did not realize just how devastated he was and how terrible things were and I love that it says they just sat there with him for seven days. Imagine nobody says anything or does anything they don't try to say this is all going to make sense one day and you know those kinds of things but it's when they break that period of trying to explain to Job why God has allowed this to happen in his life that they get off track and by the end of it God has kind of roped everybody into what's going on here and corrected them and defended Job but I think their hearts were in the right place. I think the lesson is no matter how awkward you may feel people won't always remember what you say but they'll remember your presence or that you dropped off a meal or that you dropped off flowers you dropped off a note or you said I love you and I'm praying for you sometimes that's the only thing you can do and it's when we try to make sense of what God's allowing in someone's life and we try to be authoritative on that as Job's friends did that we can lose our role as a friend. Those are excellent insights really and as I think back Kathy you know when after the Lord called our son home the people that helped us the most were people that just said I love you I'm here for you people that literally brought us some food to eat and the people that wanted to sermonize that actually wasn't helpful at all. Little later on I went to some friends of mine who are pastors and I actually asked the same questions any hurting Christian would ask any hurting father would ask I would say explain this to me and they did their best as we all do but there are certain things that are inexplicable but I like the the idea of the the ministry of presence just be there be there for a person if you just tuned in you're listening to Shannon Bream and you may know her from Fox News she has her program Fox News Sunday but she's also not just a broadcaster she's a bible student who's written a brand new book that's titled the love stories of the bible speak biblical lessons and romance friendship and faith and it's our gift to you for your gift of any size this month to continue to support our ministry of teaching God's word and proclaiming the gospel. Yeah that's right and that investment is so important it not only helps us cover the costs of bringing Pastor Greg's teaching to you each day but it helps us reach out to those who need to hear the good news our mission statement is knowing him and making him known if that's important to you as well we hope you'll invest in this ministry so together we can reach even further and when you make your donation right now we'll say thank you with Shannon Bream's new book the love stories of the bible speak just call us at 1-800-821-3300 you can call any time around the clock that's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or just go online to harvest.org well next time more insight based on the healing of the blind man in John chapter 9 be back for more from the series the seven signs of Jesus join us here on a new beginning with master and bible teacher Greg Laurie hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow this show and consider supporting it just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-18 04:47:16 / 2023-07-18 04:57:31 / 10