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Changing Lives Is Jesus' Business, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
February 2, 2023 7:05 am

Changing Lives Is Jesus' Business, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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February 2, 2023 7:05 am

Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Returning to Our Roots

Made for More
Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church
Destined for Victory
Pastor Paul Sheppard
Destined for Victory
Pastor Paul Sheppard

Writing to the Ephesians, Paul said, For we are God's workmanship, created in Jesus Christ for good works. It's a beautiful picture of God's artistry and man's willingness to change. We're like a wet lump of clay that spins on the potter's wheel, where God shapes His children into the image of His Son. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll concludes a message he introduced earlier. We'll be looking at three beautiful illustrations in the Gospel of John that demonstrate God's transformational work.

Chuck titled his message, Changing Lives is Jesus' Business. One of our favorites is Christians 8.26, And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we should. Haven't you had that experience? There have been times I have gone to the Lord in prayer, and I have not been able to utter what was aching on my heart.

Had that experience? Sometimes the anguish is too great. Sometimes the confusion is too much. I find hope in verse 26. We do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Don't stop reading. There are some verses I feel sorry for. Romans 8.29 is one of them. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become, I have this underlined, conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. God is committed to the task of conforming you to the image of His Son.

Not physically. He's not making us look like Jesus looked physically, but inwardly, in character, in patience, in gentleness, in goodness, in grace, in truth, in discipline. He's committed to the conforming of our lives to the image of His Son. That's the Father's task. He's committed to it.

He's changing us. Be encouraged. Ephesians chapter 2.

Here's another one I feel sorry for. Ephesians 2.10. Everybody knows Ephesians 2.8 and 9. But have you ever looked at verse 10? Wonderful verse. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Look at the first one, two, three, four, five words. For we are His workmanship. We're His project. And He's shaping and molding and making us like He wants us to become.

He's changing us. John chapter 9 is another case. As Jesus passed by, John 9, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples saw this beggar and they saw him as case number 326. Lord, whose sin?

Him or his parents? Isn't it easy to become calloused when dealing with people in need? And if you see them a lot, then you certainly become calloused as time passes, if your heart's cold. And by and by you begin to see all beggars alike, you begin to see all prisoners alike, you begin to see all harlots alike, you begin to see all humanity alike.

Just a case number. And so He became a topic of theological discussion. Jesus' answer is profound.

It was neither this man who sinned nor his parents. But it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in Him. We must work the works of Him who sent me as long as it is day. Night is coming when no man can work.

While I'm in the world, I'm the light of the world. When He had said this, watch closely. He spat on the ground, made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to His eyes. And He said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.

And so He went away and washed and came back, seeing. Now wait. You've read this story too many times so that your excitement is pretty dull. It's just another story, just another miracle.

I want you to put yourself in the sandals of first century people who have seen nothing but a blind beggar most of the days of their lives. The community knows him. The people who pass by, he's as familiar as he can be. And he comes back from the pool, having washed the clay from his eyes, and he can see. For the first time ever, he can see.

Okay? In verses 8 through 12, we have the neighbor's reaction, and it's astounding. In verses 13 to 34, we have the Pharisees' reaction, and it's unbelievable. And then 35 to the end, we have Jesus' response.

Right quick now. Remember, he's been blind all their lives, as long as they've known him. Now he can see. The neighbors, therefore, and those who previously saw him as a beggar were saying, Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg? And others were saying, This is he.

Others were saying, No. No, he looks like him. He's not the same one. They kept saying, I'm the one. I'm the one. I'm the one. I'm the one. I'm the one. I am the one. I'm the one. I'm the one.

I'm the one. I can see. Look, I can see. I can see. You're tall. You're short. You're ugly. You're cute. I can see. I can see. It's me. It's me.

Now that's the idea. He can't believe that they're arguing over his identity. What happened?

What happened? Now watch. Therefore, they were saying to him, How then were your eyes open?

Does that seem amazing to anybody else? No one is saying, Bring the confetti. You bring the hot dogs.

Let's celebrate. This guy can see. They're saying, Tell us what happened. How did this occur?

Just exactly what were the steps that you went through? When you get in a situation like this in their sandals, then you take the guy to the Pharisees. In fact, the man responds, The one who is called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes. And he said, Go to Siloam and wash. And I went and washed it. Look, I received my sight. And they said, Where is he? He said, I don't know.

As if to say, Does that seem important? I can see. Well, we better go talk to the officials about this. So they brought him to the Pharisees.

They brought him who was formerly blind. Now this is where it gets unbelievable. Now it was on the Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Uh-oh.

We're talking scandal. This is Sabbath healing. Again, the Pharisees also were asking him how he received his sight. He said to them, He applied clay to my eyes and I washed and I see. Some of the Pharisees were saying, This man is not from God because he doesn't keep the Sabbath. Others were saying, How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs? There was division among them.

Remember our previous talk? They didn't know who he was. Some said he was a sinner. Some said he was a saint. Some said he was from the devil. Others said he was John the baptizer.

All kinds of things were out about him. He was one of the prophets. Therefore they said to the blind man again, What do you say about him since he opened your eyes?

Now let's talk about this person. And he said, He is a prophet. The Jews therefore did not believe it of him that he had been blind. You obviously have been able to see all your life.

It's a false healing. Then they called the parents of the one who had received his sight. This is incredible here. Now watch what happens. Talk about intimidated. They are scared to death of the Pharisees. And they've got their son standing here who is able to see and the Pharisees who are threatening them with, You better tell us the truth.

Watch it happen. They questioned him saying, Is this your son who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see? The parents answered and said, We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees, we do not know. Or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him. He's of age. He shall speak for himself.

Go ahead. Why did they do that? Why did they say it that way? He shall speak for himself. Verse 22, because they were afraid of the Jews.

For the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess him to be Messiah, he should be put out of the synagogue and they don't want to be excommunicated. So they say, It's our son. He was born blind, but we don't know anything about the healing.

Ask him. And so they come to him and they say, Give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner. He said, Whether he's a sinner, verse 25, I don't know. One thing I do know, whereas I was blind, now I see.

That's all I can tell you men. They said therefore to him, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? I love verse 27. He answered them, I told you already and you did not listen.

Why do you want to hear it again? You don't want to be one of his disciples, do you? Isn't that a great question?

You're not getting interested, are you? I love that. They reviled him. How dare you say such a thing? You're his disciple. We're disciples of Moses. Can't you see the pride dripping off of him? We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we don't even know where he's from. Verse 30.

He's getting a little gutsy. The man answered and said, Well, here is an amazing thing. That you do not know where he's from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does his will, he hears him. Since the beginning of time, it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.

I mean, tradition doesn't stand up to this. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. They answered and said to him, You were born entirely in sin, and you are teaching us.

How dare you get out? Let me tell you something, men and women. When your eyes are opened, when the blindness is removed, and you begin to tell your story, hang on. Hang on. Especially when you tell your story to blind religious people.

They will look at you like you are from Mars, and they will really begin to wonder about whether you got it put together or not. So he stumbles out of their presence, they put him out, and Jesus comes along and finds him and says, Do you believe in the Son of Man? He said, Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him? He's not yet a believer. He just had his eyes opened. Just tell me who he is, Lord. And Jesus said, You have both seen him, and he is the one who was talking with you.

And he said, Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him. Sometimes the change will occur physically, and God in a miraculous way will alter your steps, and sometimes step on the scenes of your life and bring about a marvelous healing. Just between you and him, and you're different, you're changed. Sometimes it is a healing of a rebellious heart, sometimes it's the inability to forgive, and you're eaten with the cancer and the acid of resentment and bitterness. And the Lord graciously, sometimes through people, sometimes alone, occasionally in a moment, sometimes it takes time, he massages your forgiver, and you're able to do it. And you're free. You can see. You can see.

I especially like the last story. It's the briefest of the three, but it's perhaps the most personal for the believer. Here is a man who was a follower of Jesus. His name is Thomas. Here's a doubting disciple. John 20, verse 24.

I don't want us to be too hard on Thomas. I've spent too many hours of my ministry shooting at Thomas, and I'm seeing him in a little different light, having had some doubts myself, somewhat like Thomas. Verse 24 of John 20. He was one of the twelve called Didymus, which means twin, and he was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples, therefore, were saying to him, We have seen the Lord, but he said to them, Unless I see in his hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. Now, let me give you a little bit of a different slant on Thomas. You've heard him shot at all through your childhood, adolescence, and adult life by preachers who go after Thomas as the rationalist, as close as you can get to an unsaved person because of his doubts.

No, I don't think so. This is the same one who in chapter 11 says to the disciples, as Jesus talks about going to see Lazarus, Let us go with him, and we'll die with him. This man's committed. He's ready to go to the cross for him. He's ready to die for him. He's the kind of guy that when he gives himself to someone, he gives with all of his heart, and some of you are like that.

He sells out wholesale, lock, stock, and barrel. Everything I have is the Lord's, and that's Thomas. The problem with a man like that, or a woman like that, is that when they become disillusioned, then the response is with equal swing of the pendulum. And my, do they fall way back, safe distance. I'm not going to get burned again.

I mean, next time, it's going to take the rock of Gibraltar before I give myself. That's him. That's Thomas. I believed once, and I saw him go to the cross, and I watched all my dreams fade. I saw him die. I saw them bury him. I've seen the tomb.

It's gone up in smoke. I dreamed in a, I believed in a hoax. We've seen the Lord. He's come back from beyond. Wait a minute.

Unless I can see it, I won't believe. I think if it were any other way, our Lord Jesus would have been far more severe with Thomas, but he wasn't. He helps people like that, because there are a lot of us like that. After eight days, his disciples were inside. Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and he suddenly stood in their midst, and he said, peace be with you. And now there's an encounter, eyeball to eyeball. He said to Thomas, isn't it interesting, he was removed when Thomas said those words, but he knows all about them.

So it is in a resurrected state. There is no problem with space or distance or matter or time. It's all one great mass of knowledge. He knew it all. He said, Thomas, you asked for this.

Here are my hands. Reach here your hand and put it into my side, and don't be unbelieving, but believing. Thomas doesn't wrestle, doesn't argue. He doesn't stomp out, walk away. He says, my Lord and my God, and he changes. Clarence McCartney writes such good words about this scene.

Listen. Without any warrant for it whatsoever, Thomas has been called the rationalist of the apostolic band. Thomas, it is true, asked for signs for particular evidence, but to liken him to the rationalist, to the skeptic, and the common use of that term is to do him a great injustice. The difference between the rationalist and Thomas is this. The rationalist wants to disbelieve.

Thomas wanted to believe. The rationalist of the honest type is occasioned by study, by examination of evidence, by the pressing bounds of the natural world, making the other world seem unreal, but the doubt of Thomas was the doubt born of sorrow. This is the deepest doubt of all, the doubt born of sorrow. The great doubts are not those that are born in Germany in the study of the critic, in the debate of religions, nor are they born in the laboratory from the study of the laws of nature. They are born not of meditating over the rocks and the stars and the planets, of tracing genealogies and chronologies.

They are born, get this, they are born in the library and in the laboratory of the soul. The doubt of a man who talks of the impossibility of the virgin birth is one thing, but let it not be confused with the doubt of a mother who has lost her child and wonders if God is and if her child still lives. The doubt of a man who questions the mosaic account of the creation of the world is one thing, but let it not be confused with the doubt of one who sees the world in travail and sore anguish, the ceaseless invasion of hate and the eternal enmity of evil for the good, the inhumanity of man to man and wonders if God has forsaken his world. The doubt of Thomas is not that of a quibbler. It was the doubt of a man who had lost his lord and master and sorrow had filled his heart.

That's good. Don't tell me you haven't had doubts like that. And in those doubting moments when the lights are out and the valley's deep and there's nobody around and the walls are high and the place is cold and tomorrow seems bleak, you say also, he'll have to prove it to me next time. And the wonderful thing is, he does. He does.

He comes in like a flood and he shows you his hands and he shows you his side and he says, here, here, my child, here. Here's proof. Now, I don't know whether you're the wayward woman, the blind beggar, or the doubting disciple. I really don't care either.

I care that you know where you are and that you see the application. You're smart enough to figure that out. You see what this is saying, don't you? The one who changes is committed to you as much as he was to the woman by the well, the blind beggar, and the disciple who doubted. And he will not give up. He will not give up. He's going to change you. Won't you let him? Won't you make the trip a little bit easier? Won't you relax?

Let him have his way. Isn't it about time? Yes, it is.

May we bow together for a few moments. The study of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a theoretical or theological study. It was never meant to be for God's people. Oh, there are some who must work through and ferret out the exact theological moorings of one's faith. But that's not our purpose in this study.

It's to help us see ourselves in light of Jesus Christ and to see him in light of where we are. If there has never been a time in your life when you have released the reins of control and tossed them aside to him, do it now. Give him your life. You may have believed in him as your savior, but you may have become jaded, overexposed, trafficking an unlived truth.

It may be as bold as living with someone not married to them, or it may be as mild as a quiet doubt. But you know where you are, and he's going to change you. He's going to make you right.

Let him do it. I am very, very thankful, Father, at this moment in my life that you have never given up on one person. You continue to work.

You continue to work with your children. You continue to shape and remake. You've taken us in all of our confusion and all of our need and all of our brokenness and all of our failure, and you've begun to reshape us.

Thank you for not giving up. Amen. You heard about three colorful character sketches found in John's Gospel, reminding us of God's transformational power. You're listening to Insight for Living, and Chuck Swindoll titled his message Changing Lives is Jesus' Business.

To learn more about this ministry, go online to Well, through this in-depth study, I'm sure you've gained a whole new perspective on the ministry of Jesus. When we become better acquainted with him and his ways, it changes the way we see life.

Knowing him brings life into focus. Along those lines, I'm pleased to tell you about a brand-new book that's now available through Insight for Living. Chuck gave it a great title, Life is Ten Percent What Happens to You and Ninety Percent How You React. The title comes from a statement Chuck made, one that's become quite familiar across our country. Chuck said, The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

In fact, I'm convinced that life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you react. This statement has become the focal point of an inspirational book from Chuck. With just seven chapters, Chuck has written about finding joy, maintaining relationships with the people in your life, and how to diffuse disharmony. Whether for yourself, a son or daughter, or perhaps a grandchild, we believe Chuck's new book will help you gain a new perspective on life, one that's squarely founded on the Bible.

To purchase a copy, go to slash store. And then as God prompts you to support Insight for Living with voluntary donations, we invite you to become a monthly companion. By giving a monthly donation and the amount of your choice, you play a significant role in making this daily program available. So call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

You can also sign up online at slash monthly companion. Treat yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll. Honestly, I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun. And without a doubt, the stunning views took my breath away. It was a great experience. It was a great experience. It was a great experience. It was a great experience. It was a great experience. It was a great experience. It took my breath away. God's artistic genius is on full display in Alaska.

In fact, I guarantee this. You'll come home refreshed and filled with awe for his majestic creation. Yeah, at one point, our ship was getting chased by dolphins.

They were playing and spinning in the waves. It was amazing. You'll have plenty of time for adventures on shore, lingering conversations around mealtime, and strolling through the idyllic ports of call. You'll be a part of some of the best parts of our day laughing, singing, and celebrating our God. Plan to come with us, won't you?

The dates are July 1 through July 8, 2023. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. That's 1-888-447-0444. Or visit slash events.

The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Chuck Swindoll describes the spirit who is not a ghost next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Changing Lives is Jesus' Business, was copyrighted in 1985, 1987, 2005, 2011, and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-01 14:14:34 / 2023-02-01 14:24:47 / 10

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