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January 18, 2021 3:00 am
The Pharisees tells the synagogue. But when a blind man was healed. They took their authority a little too far and then they tried to prevent others from seeing the truth today on Truth for Life. Alister bread reveals two obstacles that can cause spiritual blindness. He continues his message in John chapter 9 note in an attempt clarity and simplicity to draw our thoughts around three words weren't one is formalism word to a sphere number three is faith. Formalism fear and faith.
First, the formalism that is represented by the attitude and the actions of the Pharisees tumor introduced in verse 13. These religious leaders were focused on the externals without any real regard to the inner significance all the things that they paid lip service to no indication on the part of these folks that we examine the evidence that they had any interest in the evidence at all. Their interest was to deny the medical and to discredit Jesus not sure that some of you can identify very quickly with this, you became a Christian he may have become a Christian. Just recently became an acknowledge that you are blind and that you that you had things completely wrong that you are lost and that Jesus came seeking to save the loss that US Jesus to save you and to be the Shepherd of your soul and what you discovered now is that religious formalism has no place for that kind of radical change. If you go to the religious formalist weather is your pastor, your priest or your rabbi or your next-door neighbor capture mom and dad or your brother whoever it might be and tell them about this amazing change if they are religious formalists. They probably will not give you a wonderful response, or they may give you some kind of superficial pacifying reaction by they will not enter into your joy.
They can because you see religious formalists do what these folks are done while failing to keep the law of God, which they know themselves incapable of keeping the create a convenient smokescreen by being their own little rules and regulations so that as long as they keep their lists of what is acceptable. The fact that they are still confronted by the challenge of God's law does not really concern and there can be nothing more challenging nothing more embarrassing to the religious formalist than the presence of someone who calms and shares with them that they have found Jesus to be their savior to be the one who has opened their eyes to be the one who is turn them from darkness into marvelous lines. See if you look at the text you see that that's exactly what happened to them when they when they come the second time in verse 24 and summoned the man they say come on I tell the truth.
We know that Jesus is a sinner.
This man's a sinner.
He said why I don't have a comment or whether he is a sinner or not. I don't know anything about that, but I do know this one thing I do know I was blind but now I see they couldn't cope with that very very quickly. They began to insult him. They hurled insults at him. Verse 28 and eventually verse 34.
How dare you come in lecture as they said they just threw them out, see what they were doing was he was saying we have tradition. We have orthodoxy on our side. Verse 28. You are this fellow's disciple where the disciples of Moses.
We know that God spoke to Moses, but we don't even know where this chapter comes from but I wasn't true is actually from the 27th verse of chapter 7 but if you go back to chapter 5 will show you that they condemn themselves right out of their own mouths. John chapter 5 once again the healing is taken place. The story of life through Jesus unfold through our testimonies about Jesus and they began to challenge this testimony and Jesus speaks to them and he says, verse 39 you diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me you refuse to come to me to have life in one center on the right track. You believe that the Scriptures lead to eternal life.
In fact, the Pharisees used to attach them to the wrists and little boxes you may have seen as some Orthodox Jewish people in the Heights wearing the same thing phylacteries on their wrists and also strapped around their heads on therefore's is an expression of their devotion to the Scriptures, unashamed of what people may think in seeing them walking around in such a strange God because of their commitment to the Scripture. But Jesus says to them. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life, and if I might put it in terms of Parkside what he saying is you may have a big fat Bible, and you may underline it in at least three colors you may have symbols of diagrams and triangles and circles and all kinds of mechanisms whereby when your Bible is around you're able to show how much the Bible means to you for that Bible may never have brought you to faith in Jesus, you may still refuse to come to Jesus have life's unlikely but it is possible, so that what Jesus says in verse 40 by don't think I will accuse you before the father. Your accuser is Moses. Moses just wanted to say in chapter 9 we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses, Jesus said, I already told you about Moses. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me but since you do not believe what he wrote. How are you going to believe what I said is if you don't believe the Bible. If you believe the Bible you would come to me all you talk about the Bible and you say the Bible is very important and you strapped parts of the Bible to yourself as you walk around and let everybody know you see what these individuals were saying was something like this. Whoever does not bow to us. This is really what he's doing. They're doing and seem to intimidate this young man who knows clearly that he was once blind but now we can see whether giving him a bad time that back at him again and again and again seeking to intimidate them and rob them of the reality of what he's conveying what they're saying is that whoever does not bow to us and our knowledge knows nothing. And whoever knows something we don't know is a full whoever doesn't bow to us and our knowledge does know what they're talking about and whoever comes in here to tell us something that we don't know the foolish, that's not only the approach of religious formalist is also the approach of agnosticism and skepticism and intellectual elitism is not what the young university student with us for that by the 10th grader is up against it within the within the public square. If it would be bold enough in a context that is allowable and understandable to say I once was blind but now I see I discover that Jesus is the Creator of the ends of the earth, and that he died upon the cross, that the death of Jesus is the pivotal event of human history and that everything needs to be understood in light of that of police sit down. Would you like to buy. We do what we know you know nothing. And if you think you know something that we don't know the full sit down. Why believe that God created the heavens and their out of nothing and out of chaos sit down it.
It you exist as a writer as a result of time plus matter plus chance by 02. What we know she religious formalism when it is challenged by the radical claims of Jesus reacts in the same way or you say what what about it will let me just say this to you. Some of you may be hearing this actually describes you say well I hope not but but let's just hold out the possibility shall you maybe here you actually are religious, formalist, as being your whole background forms and structures in the doing of things do you have peace with God, do you have the assurance of the forgiveness of your sins.
Do you rest in the reality of your whole. One day you will see Jesus and be made like I wager that you don't you actually can because the religious formalist is relying on their capacity to continue maintaining the externals without the radical internal transformation which gives significance to the form and structures of religious life indeed is very forms and structures may prove to be a barrier to you coming to faith in Jesus because if you have a little list of whatever it is that makes you acceptable to God, and it's easy for us to come up with this list. While I always go by the golden rule do unto others as you would do yourself and that's my credo and that's my well that's fine.
But what about your jealous heart. What about your dirty mind.
What about your dishonesty. How does this little golden rule do with the stay of course it doesn't see if religious formalism was enough to get a man or woman to heaven and there would be no need for Jesus to die upon the cross with her if doing it ourselves is sufficient, then there would be no need for this amazing grace. I just got a moment to go to the word fear. Don't be afraid that were going to go much beyond our time were not is not the fear that I'm referencing the fear here is the fear that is found in the reaction of the man's parents, the Jews send for the parents.
They still didn't believe verse 18 that he been blind and had received his sight until they sent to the man's parents after the scent of the man's parents. There was nowhere for them to high and they brought the parents there be a little intimidating for them. I think you would agree if somebody summoned you to the synagogue of the day and there. The elder sat in their robes and then there finally you came along. Mr. Mrs. Levi or whoever you were and they said thank you for coming out. We were hoping for a chance to talk with you three questions number one, the fellow overhears here son number two is he the one you say was born blind and number three.
How is it that he can now see has the looks of the wife the wife the husband and then the wife response pushes the braver of the two organza wanted to very easily is our son.
Yes he was born blind but when it comes to your third question.
Well, we really don't have a comment on that are tall they're reticent they're timid and they're quick to pass the buck. Why don't you ask him. He's a big lad he can speak for himself. Clearly they must have known something they knew that a person was involved.
Otherwise, they could've mentioned the person can be that they were more concerned for their reputation and for their status. Then they were thrilled and excited that their son had received his sight. I will why why are they not linking arms with this boy and saying to these religious leaders. This is the kind of thing we need in our church and we need some of the stuff guys will listen to your sermons and frankly there like dust in your mouth and now comes the Galilean profit. His sermons are understandable and look what's happening to people's lives. Yes, we know Jesus is the key to this are boys here and we're here to save yourselves but they don't just ask him is there. You can speak for himself as a big black. Now admittedly, the prospect of being removed from the synagogue, which is the explanation verse 22.
The reason the parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews because the Jews are decided that anyone who acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.
When I went to make little of that there's some significance and it is under the embarrassment that would be attached to that kind of removal, but if they had truly understood what happened if they had truly come to understand who this Jesus was. Then they would've taken their stand with her boy. But as it was. They didn't take their stand with the boy because they couldn't take their stand with the boy, presumably because they have not come to trust in Jesus, so the Pharisees are distanced from this great good news by their formalism. The parents are distanced from this great good news by their fee unless this sounds so far away from is let me finish bike and temporizing the story for us because this is not an uncommon story and I've seen this happen again and again young man goes off to university. He leaves his local community is well known is been well known in his school, perhaps for his athletic prowess and also for his ability on the debating team in the debating team. He has chosen very strongly to adopt certain positions which were clearly opposed to Christ into Christianity.
At one point he professed himself to be an atheist.
But then he discovered that that would demand knowing everything in the universe and knowing that there was no God there so he backed off that to just being a straightforward agnostic. He going away to university convinced of these things and everyone anticipated that he would eventually come back reinforced by all the information that he was to derive from his university education.
And yet, here he comes, these back in the something up with him. He's done 180 in his views and when asked he actually uses this terminology.
He says you know my site has been restored. Yes, that was what I said in leaving, but this is what I'm saying and returning for a summer job. He wants his eye candy at the local country club and because the rounds of golf. Take something interminably long time.
At this particular country club.
He uses the opportunity on every occasion to put in a little word to these golfers about the straight and narrow about telling the truth about life in the rough and about Jesus.
A couple of the guys are annoying or they wouldn't mind if he had become some kind of religious, formalist, or if you'd embrace some form of Buddhism, or if he sat down every fourth hole to to contemplate his naval just for a moment or two after all, we can cope with all I kind of think about this stuff.
He keeps mentioning about Jesus, frankly, annoying. It's infuriating. And since a couple of them are the business associates of his dad. He can't wait to get to the father to find out is this your boy is this the one who went away.
As an agnostic who despise Christianity and Jesus and what's he on about you.
Maybe here knows exactly her story with little variations. One day, your son or your daughter came into your home and said I discover that Jesus is my Savior. My friend and you said you don't need that kind of nonsense we brought you up in the way that you needed to be brought up. We give you every kind of opportunity for religion and you didn't and it was good and it was helpful and it actually was a foundation that led the youngster to the point where they said doing all this stuff isn't giving me forgiveness isn't giving me peace isn't giving me whole. Then they discovered that it wasn't in the doing of the stuff, but it was and what had been done by Jesus that there was faith and there was grace and there was forgiveness and there was freedom and the parents now have the same decision to make as the religious formalist if we acknowledge that what has happened to Junior is true, then that means it needs to happen to us as well. That may be too high a hill to climb.
So I say to you, do not live formalism to keep you from Jesus and do not allow fear of your peer group to keep you from Jesus see the fear of going back to the country club and the friends saying what happened to your boy and for you to have to say the same thing that's happened to me what you as well ask, how did that happen when you do nothing or somebody had to do something somebody did do something, sit down, I'll tell you what he did. As the story get out there tell your friends get out there and turn Cleveland upside down with this fantastic good news, challenge from Alister bid for each one of us to be alike in the dark listening to Truth for Life in a message called, why don't you ask him.
Alister will close our program with prayer in just a minute, so please keep listening. If you are a regular Truth for Life listener. You often hear me talk about our mission which is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance.
The reason we do this is so that unbelievers will be converted come to a saving faith in Christ, so that those who already know Christ will gain a deeper understanding of the Scriptures and become more established in their faith and so that both pastors and church members will be encouraged to rely solely on the Bible is the foundation for worship and for fellowship.
It's with this mission in mind that we recommend books that explore the depths of Scripture, so you can continue making steady forward progress in your relationship with Jesus. Today's selection fits perfectly with that objective. It's a book titled gentle and lowly, the heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers. This is a book that explores the very heart of Jesus. The immensity of his love for us and his desire to save sinners as you read this book you will discover that Jesus never grows weary of our failures. In fact, when we come to him openly.
No matter how discouraged we are. He welcomes us again and again with a heart of forgiveness but the Puritans had a deep understanding of this, they wrote often about the forgiving heart of Jesus. This new book, gentle and lowly includes many of their insightful comments.
The author cites people like Jonathan Edwards and Richard Sims, among others, hopefully explaining that the grace of Jesus is limitless for all who seek him. So if you have ever felt disheartened or even wondered if you'd fallen too many times to ask again for grace. You'll find comfort and you'll deepen your love for Jesus and the book gentle and lowly, ask for your copy when you donate to support the mission of Truth for Life. You can simply click the image you see in the mobile app or you can visit our website Truth for Life.org/donate. If you'd rather call our number is 888-588-7884.
Again the number is 888-588-7884 or you can mail your donation along with your request for the copy of the book gentle and lowly.
When you write to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, Ohio, or ZIP Code is 44139. Now, here is Alister to close our program today with prayer father, thank you for the Bible. Thank you that we can all go home now and check and see if this stuff is in the Bible and the bits that are made up or elaborated or untrue, or just off what we can immediately get rid of.
We cannot sidestep the insistent demands of your word status from and out of our formalism lift us.
We pray out of our fearfulness and open our eyes so that we may rejoice in the life that is really life and made a grace and the mercy and the peace of God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit rest upon and remain with each one. Now and forever more about the pain you could join us tomorrow as Alister looks at the simple faith expressed by a man who was once blind and can now see a message titled, do you believe the Bible teaching of Alister is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living