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The Truth About Your Neighbors - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
September 17, 2023 6:00 am

The Truth About Your Neighbors - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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September 17, 2023 6:00 am

Those of us who are Christians live in a sea of unbelievers who work with us, live next to us, shop where we shop, and send their kids to the same schools. Some have a mild case of unbelief disguised by religious practices. Others are more demonstrable in their agnosticism or atheism. Let's watch a local Jerusalem neighborhood struggle against faith in spite of clear evidence.

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So many times engaging in the conversation with unbelievers, they approach the conversation with cliche arguments and overused arguments. They come with a bent, a presupposition.

One of them we covered last week. Well, there can't be a God because there's bad things that happen in the world. That's the lens with which they approach the conversation.

Or another one. Well, there's so many different religions in the world and so many different beliefs and so many different sincere people. How can you say you have a corner on the market of God? Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. The concept of neighbors has expanded here in the 21st century. It's no longer just the people we live next to. It's those we friend on Facebook, the ones who pin stuff with us on Pinterest, the ones who we follow on Twitter, or all those people we interact with on a virtual level from video games to text to Google chat sessions and more. Technology has made the world smaller, giving us more neighbors than ever before. Now the question we're going to examine today is what do we think about our neighbors?

And perhaps more importantly, what do they think about us? We'll also look at how we can still follow Jesus' example of being a good neighbor, even in all of our virtual neighborhoods. But before we get started with Skip Heitzig today, let's see what's going on in the Connect with Skip Resource Center this month. Skip Heitzig has some straight talk about hell. The lake of fire is the name of a place of eternal torment. You might call it the final hell.

The Bible calls it the second death. So hell is an actual place. There's a second fact I want you to notice, and that is hell is an intentional place. This is critical information about the future of those who reject salvation through Jesus.

But that does not need to be the destiny of any man or woman on earth. That's why we've assembled a special resource called the Eternity Package to give you confidence in your eternal home and an urgency to share Christ with those who don't believe. God created hell for a very specific reason. Verse 41, he will say to those on the left hand, depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire. Here it is, prepared for the devil and his angels.

God did not create hell as a place to punish people. The Eternity Package comes with seven of Pastor Skip's most powerful messages about eternity, covering topics like the truth about hell, what most people don't know about heaven, the second coming of Christ, and much more. You'll also receive his booklet, Hell, No, Don't Go, about the glory of heaven and the torment of hell. This powerful new resource is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to support the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitzig. So get your copy of the Eternity Package on CD or as a digital download today when you give a gift of $50 or more.

Give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Turn in your Bibles once again to John chapter 9 and as you do so, we'll join Skip Heitzig as he resumes our study. Go down to verse 24. They again called the man who was blind and said to him, Give God glory, we know this man is a sinner. What does that mean? It could mean don't focus on this Jesus character, focus on God. If you have sight, if you have been healed, God did it, not him. But I think it means something else. When he says give God the glory, what they're saying is tell us the truth.

Come clean. And I say that because they're simply saying something very biblical. Back in the book of Joshua, you'll remember the incident. In Joshua chapter 7, there was a guy named Achan. Remember Achan? In case you don't remember Achan. So if you remember Achan, do this.

Okay. Because eventually he really was Achan after they stoned him. But in Joshua chapter 7, Achan had stolen some of the plunder of war after the fall of Jericho. And he covered it up and he hid it and he didn't come clean, didn't tell the truth.

Joshua finally approaches Achan and he says in Joshua 7, give the glory to the Lord God of Israel. Tell me what you have done, do not hide it from me. And that's exactly what I think these Pharisees are saying. Fess up, tell us the truth. Were you really blind? You said you were, they say you were, that's not the truth. Tell us now the truth.

Give God glory by speaking truth. They are total skeptics in the face of personal testimony, parental testimony, eyewitness testimony of friends and neighbors. The proof is staring them in the face with this man who is healed and they are unconvinced.

Now I want to throw something in right now. Skepticism, though a trait of unbelievers, cautious skepticism is not a bad trait for anybody. The Bible calls it discernment.

We could use a good dose of that. If we didn't have discernment and if there was no cautious skepticism, there'd be Peter pop-offs all over the place and no truth would have a chance. In fact, when I was in college in my undergrad studies, I had professors who were very smart and very confrontational against my faith. And it caused a crisis of skepticism. And it was unnerving and unsettling for me, this young college student now, all of these unbelievers and their arguments. I didn't know what to do.

Happened to be one of the healthiest things that could ever happen to me. Because it put me on a serious study of truth. And I emerged from that period of skepticism and searching and study. I emerged stronger, more stable, more in love with Jesus and more capable with dealing with unbelievers.

I got a call on Friday from a young man, a long distance phone call from Japan. He wanted to talk to me because he was at the lowest of the low. He had a pretty sketchy past life. He was raised in a Christian home. His dad was a pastor. He grew up, he said, abandoning the faith because he did some serious study and his mind wouldn't let him believe he was grappling with things. And actually I think where he was at was okay.

And I think he's going to be okay. I want you to see that there is a difference between honest doubt, honest skepticism and unbelief. And you're seeing unbelief develop right before your eyes. Now notice down in verse 22 how close-minded they have become.

His parents said these things because they feared the Jews for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that he, Jesus, was the Messiah, that's the idea of Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue, excommunicated, put out of the synagogue. Five words. In Greek it's one word, apa sunagogas. If you believe in Christ, you will be apa sunagogas.

You know what that literally means? You'll be un-synagogued. You'll be de-synagogued. We'll push you out of national Jewish life and excommunication from the synagogue, that's what it means.

Now I'll explain a little more about that next week. However, according to the Babylonian Talmud, again writings of the Jews, there were 24 offenses that were listed whereby a person could be excommunicated from the synagogue. And one of them included refusing to abide by the decision of the court. In other words, whatever we say goes, the decision of the court goes, our little religious court, if you disagree with us on any point, we can kick you out of this synagogue.

So we have determined Jesus isn't the Messiah, whoever believes Jesus is the Messiah will be excommunicated from the synagogue. And they were afraid of that. I love verse 25. It seems that this man himself wasn't afraid. He answered and said, whether he's a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I know, though I was blind, now I see.

Overriding and ignoring their skepticism, he gives a very, very simple, uncomplicated personal testimony. Here's my testimony. I was a blind guy. Now I'm a guy who can see things.

That's what happened to me. That's so beautiful. And irrefutable. I honestly get a bit tired of long-winded testimonies that glorify one's past. Yeah, I was a murderer and a drug addict and I drank 40 gallons of alcohol a day and then I did this and I ran the mafia. And it's like, they want to stack up how bad they were rather than how good God is. The best testimony, the only testimony I'm interested is this. I once was lost, but now I'm found. I was blind, now I see. Third thing I'd like you to look at is that unbelievers can be irrational.

They're skeptical, that's a given, but they can become irrational. Verse 26. Then they said to him again, they keep bringing him back, what did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? Now, I've already answered that like five times. He answered them, I told you already, and you didn't listen.

Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciple? Ooh. Getting a little sarcastic, are we? Then they reviled him and said, you are his disciple, we are Moses' disciple.

Ooh, the pride that rings in those four words. We know that God spoke to Moses. As for this fellow, we don't know where he's from. Now, it's pretty obvious that this blind man now healed is losing his patience with these Pharisaical interrogators. They keep asking him the same questions, he gives them the same answers, so it's obvious they're not listening to what he has to say. Why should he say it again? Now, do you see what's happening?

And he understands, but he gets it. They're asking me the same thing, so they can find a discrepancy in my testimony. Lawyers are good at doing this. Now, tell me again what you did. Well, last time you didn't use that word, you said that word. And you used it in the past tense, and they'll parse it. And they're looking to discredit his testimony.

So just follow it so far. Number one, they first didn't believe a miracle even happened. Number two, they didn't believe he was born blind. Something they made up. Number three, they thought it was a fake healing, a staged healing. And now number four, they're trying to discredit or find a discrepancy in verbal testimony.

They just keep getting at this guy, and this guy's losing his patience. So they say, we know that God spoke to Moses. As for this fellow, we don't know where he's from.

Look at verse 30. The man answered and said to them, why, this is a marvelous thing. You don't know where he's from, and yet he opened my eyes. Now we know, this is the healed man speaking now. He's telling them, listen to his lecture. Now we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, he hears him. Since the world began, it has been unheard of that anyone open the eyes of the one who was born blind.

If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. Do you hear that clear, lucid, devastating argument? It's so logical. In fact, he's giving them a lesson in logic. He has a major premise and he has a minor premise. Major premise, God doesn't hear sinners.

We know that. Minor premise, God obviously heard Jesus because I can see. If we were to state this in a syllogism like we did last week, a series of logical steps, we would put it this way. Number one, only God can heal congenital blindness. Number two, Jesus just healed congenital blindness.

Number three, Jesus must be from God. It's very simple and very logical. Well, boy, this guy's walking on the edge as he gives these Pharisees a lecture.

Here's the point I want to make here. Very often, not always, but quite often, unbelievers can be guilty of the same irrationality that they accuse us believers of having. They can be guilty of it. And they will approach with some super silliest piety like, well, we're smart, you're dumb because you believe in God.

Let me lecture you. Again, not always, but quite often. So many times engaging in the conversation with unbelievers, they approach the conversation with cliche arguments and overused arguments. They come with a bent, a presupposition.

One of them we covered last week. Well, there can't be a God because there's bad things that happen in the world. That's the lens with which they approach the conversation. Or another one. Well, there's so many different religions in the world and so many different beliefs and so many different sincere people. How can you say you have a corner on the market of God? Or another one.

You know, I think everybody should be able to choose their own way, whatever they feel, whatever they want to do, as long as it didn't hurt anybody and they're sincere. Or another one. Well, the Bible is just written by a bunch of old guys who didn't know each other. And there's got to be a lot of mistakes in it. And you can't really take it seriously like God did something.

That is what they often are predisposed to when you first meet them. This is the reason we must do as J.I. Packer says we should do. He said we need to outthink them. Outthink them. We need to employ what William Lane Craig beautifully calls reasonable faith. Reasonable faith. Not just, well, I believe just because I believe and I've always believed it, it's just in my heart.

We've got to do better than that. Reasonable faith. Number four, let's close this off, the last verse. Unbelievers can be inflexible. Now, this man tells them, since the beginning of the world there hadn't been anybody healed, and he goes to this little lecture, and I'll listen to their response. They answered and said to him, you were completely born in sin and are teaching us, and they excommunicated him, and they cast him out.

They put down the gavel and said you are no longer a part of this community, and he was pushed out of the synagogue in verse 34. Have you ever met an inflexible unbeliever? Doesn't matter what you say. Doesn't matter how much evidence you give them. They don't believe, and they won't believe.

Don't confuse me with the facts. That's an inflexible unbeliever. So verse 34 is all about they're unable to counter his irresistible logic. They can only respond in a personal ad hominem attack.

They're not about to be lectured by a beggar. Who do you think you are? You're a sinner. That's why you were blind for so long.

You're lecturing us, and they cast him out. You know, rejecting Jesus Christ is not always a matter of the mind. It is often really a matter of the will.

Now, a lot of people want to make it about the mind. I'd like to believe that, but I can't. I can't because I'm confronted with real life, and I'm a smart person. I deal with reality, and because I deal with reality, and you obviously don't, I'd like to believe in that fairytale, but I can't believe because I'm smart. Dig a little deeper through that smokescreen on more than one occasions, engage people, and said, if I could prove to you that Jesus was who he claimed he was, and I always say, I'm not saying I can, but let's hypothetically just say I could prove to you unmistakably that Jesus was who he claimed he was, and the veracity of scripture that the scriptures are reliable and very unique as a document, and indeed hold and are the very word of God. If I could prove that to you, would you then believe in Jesus Christ? You know what they always tell me? No, not always.

I've had a few say, yes, I would. Good, let's talk, but often it's no, and when they say no to that, I know it's not a matter of the mind, it's a matter of the will. They're saying not I can't believe, but I will not believe. It's an inflexible unbelief. See, the unbelief of the searching heart is one thing. The unbelief of a searching heart is I don't know, but I'd like to know. That's a true agnostic.

I don't know, but I really wanna know, and I'm searching to find out, and if you can give me compelling evidence, I'll believe. That's the belief of a searching heart. That's different from the unbelief of a hardened heart. You can give a hardened heart evidence, and I want more evidence, and give them more evidence, and I want more evidence, and more evidence. Never satisfied. They have said I will not believe.

They're predisposed. So what do we do? What do we do in a situation with these kind of neighbors? Well, if you look at these four sections, take them one by one, first of all, to those neighbors who are merely ceremonial, and it's all about the ritual, and the religion, and the ceremony, when you talk to them, don't make it about that. Make it all about Jesus. Don't get sidetracked into one denomination believes this, but what does Jesus say? Who is Jesus Christ?

Do you have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Second, to those neighbors who are skeptical, well, 1 Peter 3.15 works fine here. Those skeptics, Peter says that we should be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that lies in us. And somebody's skeptical, why are you skeptical? I was a skeptic once. Let me tell you my story. Number three, to those neighbors who are irrational, well, you're gonna need to bone up a little bit on your apologetics. Let me encourage you to do that. Move beyond whatever stage you might be at spiritually, and get a good dose of apologetics under your belt.

I'll tell you why. Life is fun then. Having conversations with unbelievers is fun. As you watch the Lord open up doors in their mind and heart. Number four, to those neighbors who are inflexible, hard-hearted, continually reject, repeatedly dig their hills in, stay away from them.

Stay away from them. That's what Jesus said. Don't cast your pearls before swine. Don't keep throwing out the treasure of the gospel only to have that completely trodden time and time again.

If that's the kind of person you're dealing with. I wanna close with a true story. It was written up in the New Yorker Magazine. A man who lived in Long Island, or as they say, Long Island. A man who lived in Long Island and worked in New York City bought a very exquisite barometer. He had sent away for it, it came in the mail, he opened it up, something bothered him. He noticed that the little arrow was pointed to the section of the barometer marked hurricane.

It's a beautiful day. It's a hurricane. So he shook it and he banged it. Never do that with a nice barometer. But he did it. It didn't unstick from saying hurricane. So he immediately wrote a letter to the company he bought it from, berating them for sending him a faulty barometer.

How dare they? And just gave him a piece of his mind that he couldn't afford to lose. The next day when he was going to his work in New York City, he put it in the mailbox. When he came back to Long Island that night, he discovered that not only was his barometer missing, but his house was missing.

It was September 1938. The worst hurricane ever to hit Long Island that destroyed homes, and one was his. He didn't believe that a hurricane is coming. Can't be true.

Bang, bang, bang, shake, shake, shake. That is the fate of the unreasonable, inflexible, unbeliever. There is a storm coming called the righteous judgment of God when God has given time and evidence and ability to find truth. But if a person pushes and pushes and says no, there's a hurricane coming.

Doesn't have to be. Thomas Aquinas said within every soul, there's a restless thirst for happiness. You can have a satisfied mind and a peaceful heart. And I've known many, many smart people who have questioned the Christian faith, only to become devoted, committed followers of Christ.

So you're not the first with all those questions. You can have a satisfied mind and a peaceful heart. And that thirst that you all have, that we're all born with, can be satisfied.

So I guess the Rolling Stones weren't right after all. We actually can get satisfaction. However, it won't come through our efforts no matter how much we try. It will only come through Jesus Christ.

And if you'd like to enjoy that peace, that satisfaction that comes through Jesus, we'd be happy to tell you more about what that means and how you can go about attaining all that he offers. Just give us a call, won't you? At 1-800-922-1888. Now let's chat about it. That's also the same number to call for a copy of today's teaching, which is available on CD for just $4 plus shipping when you call us at 1-800-922-1888, or when you visit connectwithskip.com.

Next time, we'll learn how to check the blind spots in our lives right here on Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. A presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast your burdens on his word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-26 15:48:01 / 2023-10-26 15:57:45 / 10

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