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The Hopelessness of the Stubbornly Blind

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2021 3:00 am

The Hopelessness of the Stubbornly Blind

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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February 19, 2021 3:00 am

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Throughout the whole Bible blindness is used metaphorically to represent the human condition of corruption and fallenness and the inability to comprehend God and divine truth, and in the Old Testament when God begins to talk about the Messiah talks about the Messiah coming to bring light light will shine Messiah, and Augustine said I never have any trouble believing in miracles I experienced the miracle of change in my own heart. Now that's a striking description of conversion. The miracle of spiritual transformation.

Well, as you think about that amazing transformation in a believer's life. Maybe wonder exactly how does that come about. Does the sinner choose God or does God choose the sinner. What is it that happens, precisely, that brings spiritual sight out of spiritual blindness. John MacArthur considers those questions today as he continues his series called rediscovering the Christ of Scripture. Now with the lesson. Here's John MacArthur. Open your Bible to the ninth chapter of John, Jesus is in Jerusalem is going through one of the temple entrance is temple gates and he comes across a blind man who is been born blind is never seen as some kind of congenital blindness is reduced to being a beggar. Jesus comes across this man who is blind. You obviously can't see him. Jesus walks up to him gives him eyes gives him new eyes creates new eyes. He is immediately able to see and then some encounters begin.

First of all his neighbors are trying to figure out how this happened. How this man they know who is blind can now see.

So he goes to an interrogation with his neighbors and he can't really answer who did this because he never saw him doesn't know just exactly how this happened but he is convinced that whoever did this is from God.

He then is brought to the Pharisees who are supposed to render some kind of explanation some kind of spiritual explanation or religious explanation or or some kind of divine explanation as to how this could happen because as the blind man says it's never been heard in the history of the world that anyone blind was made able to see and so there's an interrogation by the Pharisees. They already have their verdict before they start the questioning.

They believe that Jesus is an insane demon possessed satanic imposter. And with that conclusion. Their investigation is going to go nowhere, so they reject the testimony, the man they reject the testimony of the neighbors and they eventually end up throwing the man who can now see out of the building and really out of the life of the nation out of the life of Israel. He's already been an outcast because anybody who was born blind was believed to have been cursed by God for sin.

Maybe the sin of his parents. Maybe his own sin. And so he's already been out of the synagogue, unable to interact in the synagogue. He has been a pariah and an alien and consequently a beggar so this is a man who has been completely rejected by everyone and now when he can see he's struggling to get people to accept what is happened those who are his neighbors see it but can't explain at the Pharisees see it but refused to see it for what it is his own parents treat him with disdain and finally when the interrogation is over verse 34. The Pharisees last words you were born entirely in sins and are you teaching us so they threw them out. They reject Jesus.

They reject the man they reject the miracle Jesus is not there. At this point he had healed the man and then he fades out of the story and the man is taken to the Pharisees by these neighbors for this interrogation, which ends up with him being thrown out continuing as an outcast. Even though he can now see Jesus enters the scene. Then in verse 35 we read this, Jesus heard that they had put them out and finding him. He said do you believe in the Son of Man, he answered, who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him. Jesus said to him you have both seen him and he is the one who is talking with you and he said Lord I believe and he worshiped him. And Jesus said for judgment. I came into this world so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him where not blind to our we Jesus said to them, if you were blind, you would have no sin, but since you say we see your sin remains.

Now were moving from physical blindness to spiritual blindness. The healing that's physical this section that climaxes this amazing story is about spiritual blindness and spiritual sight and throughout the Bible really throughout the whole Bible blindness is used metaphorically to represent the human condition of corruption and fallenness and the inability to comprehend God and divine truth. Spiritual ignorance spiritual darkness spiritual corruption. The inability to know God or to know the truth that natural blindness because of sin is compounded by Satan's power and deception, which makes a kind of double blindness spoken of in second Corinthians for the God of this world.

Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ was the image of God naturally blinded, satanically blinded and in the Old Testament when God begins to talk about the Messiah talks about the Messiah coming to bring light. Isaiah 9 Isaiah 29, Isaiah 42 Isaiah chapter 60 all those places the Messiah is seen as the one who brings spiritual light to the world in the midst of darkness a light will shine when Messiah comes in as the New Testament opens up what we hear in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Everything that was made was made by him and in him was life and the life was the light of men so that the initial introduction of the Lord Jesus Christ and his supernatural reality is as light and later in John chapter 8 he says I am the light of the world. He follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life and in John 1246 I have come as light into the world so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness. All of that to give you the sense that God in his divine purposes has designed to use blindness and darkness is a metaphor for the spiritual condition. Consequently, we come to this text. In John nine. You can look at it. This is all set up for the concluding verses that I just read to you verses one through 34 are about physical light physical site but also there are overtones of spiritual blindness in spiritual darkness manifest by the Pharisees will become to verses 35 to 41. The subject changes from physical site and light completely to spiritual sight and light and spiritual blindness and dark now as we look at these just brief versus straightforward and simple.

I just want to break them into two sections spiritual sight. Verse 35, 38, that's the beggar spiritual blindness versus 3941. That's the Pharisees you have here a comparison built on this miracle between spiritual sight which the beggar receives in spiritual darkness in which the Pharisees remain. Let's look at the spiritual sight and the beggar.

The opening verses 35 to 38. Just to give you little bit of a pattern to follow for things that define this spiritual site okay for things he's gonna be an illustration of one who not only sees physically for the first time, but who will see spiritually for the first time.

Therefore elements. First of all, this is very important. The first element is the spiritual site requires divine initiative spiritual site requires divine initiative. This is this man doesn't have any capability to make himself see physically nor does he have any capability to make himself see spiritually. That's why this transition is made because of such a graphic illustration. He can't do anything to help himself if he is going to see heaven has to come down and find him, locate him, and that's exactly what happens.

Verse 35 the buzz around the temple area and wherever it was that this interrogation took place is still going on.

So Jesus hears that they had put him out, and I love this and finding him, finding him. This is how you receive spiritual sight.

It all started in a divine initiative.

It all started by a sovereign purpose in the mind of God. Luke 1910, Jesus says the Son of Man is come to seek and save that which was lost.

Not just the saving but the seeking Romans three no man seeks after God we would know where to go would know who to look for. So he's the seeker. He says to his apostles in John 1516 you have not chosen me, I have chosen you. That's why he came he he's he's the finder he's the one who seeking us. And so Jesus finds the man. This is where spiritual sight begins.

This is a powerful illustration of a very powerful illustration because this is a helpless, hopeless man and so is every sinner so is every sinner three finds him, and he initiates a conversation. He says do you believe in the Son of Man.

That's a really important question very important question you believe in the Messiah do believe in messianic theology. Do you believe the Messiah is coming to establish his kingdom. Do you believe that. So here is the first step in bringing spiritual site a darkened, spiritually blind man is found by Christ for Christ's own saving purposes. All spiritual sight initiates from heaven because God is the seeker. The second thing that I want you to see here, in this case of spiritual site is that spiritual site not only not only begins in divine initiative that it requires faith.

Verse 36.

This is just an amazing statement, he answered, who is the Lord that I may believe in him. What an amazing statement. Here is a man who is ready to believe he just wants to know who to believe in. That's a prepared heart. That's good soil when amazing divine miracle. This is not some kind of rational act where you've convinced this guy. He needs to believe based on facts the Holy Spirit has enabled him to believe, even before the facts become clear, so divine initiative and a response of faith. Lizzie that I may believe in him there's 1/3 feature in spiritual site that starts in divine initiative.

It requires faith. Thirdly, spiritual site, confesses Jesus is Lord, where there is the miracle of spiritual site. There will be a confession of Jesus as Lord.

Notice verse 37 Jesus said to him, he saying who do I believe in you have both seen him and he is the one who is talking with you. It's interesting to me that I don't know if how much this man had heard Jesus teach certainly hadn't seen any miracles something.

There were lots of people saw miracles. All populations are miracles couldn't overcome spiritual darkness but but God is overcoming his spiritual darkness by giving him faith and only wants to know is who is supposed to put that faith in Jesus says you you seen him and he's the one talking with you it is. I this is a divine miracle.

He said, Lord, I believe he didn't say could could you give me some evidence of what what why would believe that I don't know what he had heard what he had known it was sufficient for him that Jesus had made him able to see that he had already declared about Jesus all those things I said he's from God.

He's of God he got. He is heard by God. He is a prophet.

Now he knows he's a prophet from God, and if a prophet from God says I am the son of man I am the long-awaited Messiah. That's enough for this man prepared heart.

How do you know when spiritual sight comes to someone was initiated by God.

The heart is prepared.

Heart opens up to accept the truth and confesses Jesus as Lord is just an astounding and marvelous miracle like the miracle of physical site, a poor beggar who had seen nothing all his life now sees physically more important sees clearly the Son of Man is been given site he's gazing on the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He's been given site and finally spiritual site basically requires divine initiative responds with faith recognizes Jesus as Lord, and fourthly, results in worship and that's how verse 38 ends. He worshiped him, and I don't it's all in that simple statement he worshiped him that the whole of what it is to be a believer is there.

All of it. Is there every bit of it. Is there John for do remember verses 20 to 24. The father seeks true worshipers will worship him in spirit and truth how you know when someone's believer because he becomes a what? How do you know your Christian not because you prayed a prayer not because you asked the Lord to do something for you, not because you got it emotionally moved in a meeting and felt sentimental about Jesus. How do you know your believer. How do you know you been transformed because you have become a worshiper, a worship, this man falls on his knees in adoration. The opposite of back in verse 59 of chapter 8 where when Jesus declared who he was to the Pharisees, the picked up stones to stone him.

That's what spiritual blindness produces. This is what spiritual site produces so if you're asking the question, how don't know if I'm safe, ask yourself if you love Christ, if you love God. If you love the Holy Spirit. If you desire to be obedient. If you desire to honor and to please the Lord.

If if you're a worshiper. So here is a man went with the two with two biographies. He is blind, physically blind, spiritually he sought by the Lord physically sought by the Lord.

Spiritually he's given physical site is given spiritual site is given an opportunity to testify about the Lord. He's forsaken by his family. He's hated by the enemies of the gospel. He's thrown out of the system of his day because of his association with Christ is A picture of what it is to be a Christian takes his place at the feet of the Savior becomes a worshiper, as all believers do, in contrast to that just quickly spiritual blindness. In the case of the Pharisees, verse 39 and Jesus said for judgment. I came into this world so that those who do not see Macy like the blind man like sinners who repent and believe, and those who see like the Pharisees thought they saw.

Like Jesus says that not come to call the righteous, the people who think their righteous I have come into this world so that those who do not see Macy and those who see may become blind obviously play on word on this whole concept of blindness were just as I said is all over the Scripture. When Jesus sees this man worshiping him. He compares this humble, confiding, trusting, believing heart of the beggar with the hostile stubborn hatred of the Pharisees and he admits this is how it's going to be in my coming, even though the Son of Man is come to seek and to save the lost. Even though he doesn't come for judgment as he says in John three didn't come to judge the world, but to save the world. Still, even though he came in his incarnation, to save his salvation becomes, in itself, a dividing reality. There is a judgment bound up in it like Simeon said this child is for the rising and the falling of many use the divider. This is not final judgment that this is a kind of immediate judgment that happens at the point at which the gospel is introduced in which Christ is introduced, there is a dividing that takes place between the believer and the unbelief. If a sinner sees in Jesus nothing to desire nothing to long for nothing to want nothing to put trust in that's self-condemnation that's the Pharisees. They didn't need anything they could see clearly.

They sought all they knew God, they knew the truth.

They knew that Jesus was a vile sinner, a satanic demonic insane man because they thought they see they are totally blind. So that's the point of verse 39. The first thing then about spiritual blindness is spiritual blindness brings judgment.

Spiritual blindness brings judgment tragic judgment now and in the future. Spiritual blindness secondly is stubborn. Verse 40 those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said him where not blind to our we begin speaking metaphorically. They refuse to admit their blindness will were not blind in the sense that they say this with disdain and arrogance and scorn you're not saying we the most learned erudite, righteous, holy, virtuous representatives of God.

You're not saying we're blind are you less exactly what he was saying exactly what you say this man was spiritually blind but now he can see spiritually you think you can see spiritually which simply demonstrates that you are spiritually blind blindness. The idea of spiritual blindness to them is a joke. 1/3 point here quickly spiritually blind people receive judgment refused to admit their blindness and thirdly reject site when it's offered verse 41 the beginning Jesus said to them, if you were blind, you would have no sinů Continuing this little play on words on the notion of blindness. Jesus using the term in a completely different way. In verse 40 you are blind you are blind in the sense you don't see your sin, you are blind you are blind.

But in verse 41, you're not blind. How do you do that you're not blind if you were blind, you would have no sin, what does that mean if you are not blind as to the truth. You are blind in the sense that you don't see your own sin. You are not blind in the sense that you have been exposed to the truth.

You have the law, the prophets, the covenants everything the promises the Old Testament you've had me you heard my words you've seen the miracles you have no excuse yes blind your own sin. No, not blind to the truth. Spiritual blindness and receives judgment refuses to admit it's blindness rejects the offer of light and site when it's given such as they had received. Finally, results in doom and diverse 41 but since you say we see your sin remains doomed, you are accepting the condition urine of spiritual blindness as spiritual site, you are doomed. You are hopeless if you think you can see your doomed amazing play on words, your sin remains well finality so the light shines in the darkness, the darkness cannot extinguish it. The darkness cannot put it out, but the darkness rejects it came to his own his own received him not.

In the world.

The world was made by him.

The world knew him, they are the religious elite there in the darkness, and the blind beggar is a total outcast sees physically more important sees spiritual and that's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary and featured speaker here on grace to you.

John's title or current study rediscovering the Christ of Scripture John. I think one of the significant things that stands out to me in this study is that this blind man did absolutely nothing to save himself.

It was Jesus who saw him and called him and opened his spiritual eyes but is also true isn't it that the blind man himself had to exercise faith in Christ in order to be saved. Do you see any contradiction there no because the Bible presents both of those things. The Bible presents sovereign election salvation as an act of God, the Bible also presents the fact that a believer is a believer because he exercised faith so you have the believer exercising faith and you have God sovereignly saving him of might be hard for us to see those two come together, but there's no confusion in the mind of God.

The opening of his eyes is a great metaphor is and it is Jesus who gave him his site and he's the one who saw in the same way Christ opened his heart and he's the one who believed right. There is no salvation apart from faith.

There is no faith apart from God's sovereignty so they they they work together in the mystery of salvation, but that mystery extends into all of spiritual life. God is working in us that Paul the apostle says work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is working in you too willing to do his own good pleasure. So God is doing the work in you and at the same time you are working it out. It's it's all of God but not apart from the believers repentance and faith and obedience. We want to mention some helpful articles on this doctrine of election because so many people have questions about that a few of the articles on the grace to you blog good that you'll find helpful are the following.

What is the doctrine of election is the doctrine of election biblical making sense of grace and election God's freedom to elect election and predestination the sovereignty of God in salvation what you need to do is go to the grace to website and finds a blog and you can go back into the archives and find these articles we have more than four 1800 articles on our blog with many more to come as the Lord allows so the race to blog features rich, thoughtful, thoroughly biblical content to help you grapple with some of these tough issues in Scripture search for a topic that is as you click on the latest post and start reading.

Look for the blog tab@gty.org come back often their new articles every few days at the blog you'll find everything from deep theological studies to practical guides on how you can be a better parent or pray more faithfully or communicate the gospel more effectively browse the hundreds of articles that are available@tty.org should spend some time there today.

Again, you'll find over 1400 articles@ourwebsitetty.org and keep in mind to the blog is just one of many Bible study tools we have created to help you better understand God's word. You'll also find three different daily devotion. You can use to supplement your daily Bible reading and there's John's entire sermon archive. That's over 3500 sermons covering all of the New Testament.

Many parts of the old. Also, don't forget about our study Bible. It's a free app that gives you the full text of Scripture in the English standard King James and new American Standard version and with an affordable inapt purchase. You can also get the notes from the MacArthur study Bible.

Again, you can find the study Bible app and all of our free resources@tty.org. That's our website TTY.org now for John MacArthur. I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378 or check your local listings for channel and times then be here next week when John continues his study rediscovering the Christ of Scripture with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to


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