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January 15, 2021 3:00 am
New Testament includes a number of accounts about leaders called the Pharisees who were experts at playing religious dress up today on Truth for Life.
Alastair Begg explains how these religious leaders responded with a blind man's question challenged their authority and dress them down. We begin with. Part one of a message titled, why don't you ask him. Father what we know not teach us what we have not given us what we are not make ice for Jesus sake. Amen overturning now for the third time to John chapter 9.
It won't be our last time in the 31st verse of John chapter 20. He explains to the readers of the gospel of John, that all of the signs that Jesus did in the company of his disciples.
All of the miracles that he performed have not been written down. He simply says there wouldn't be enough space for a book to contain the mall, but rather a selected number have been provided for us in the gospel of John. And they are in the Bible to provide evidence and evidence, which may in turn produce belief in Jesus as the son of God, and then that belief in Jesus is the son of God may issue a life which is really life and we been thinking very much about their privilege that we been given as a church to go into our communities and amongst our friends and neighbors and to encourage them to consider the claims of Jesus in a very straightforward way to say. Have you ever examined the evidence if you will consider the evidence.
The evidence provides a basis for belief and belief opens the door to spiritual life to eternal life, and it is been our desire that in studying this record of a man who received his sight manhood being born blind that we as individuals might recognize that we too are spiritually blind as he was physically blind, and that our eyes may be opened by Jesus just as his, where, and at the same time that those of us who have come to a knowledge of Jesus in this way might be better equipped to go into our communities and to speak to folks in light of the fact that we understand what the Bible says concerning this absence of spiritual sight. We need to be very very clear or we will lose our way very quickly in this chapter that in providing physical sight to this man Jesus is displaying his purpose and his power to provide spiritual sight to men and women who are as devoid of spiritual seeing as this man was a physical see now I think most of us know the him, amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Certainly, the opening two lines and many of us will know the following two in which John Newton, the writer employs this particular matter for remember I once was lost but now I'm found was blind but now I see John Newton there is not referencing some physical impairment that marked his life but he is testifying to the fact that although he had gone through his life thinking that he understood and saw things properly. It was only when he was brought face-to-face with Jesus that he first of all discover that he didn't see things properly. Indeed, that he didn't see things correctly are tall that he was actually spiritually blind and then when the truth of who Jesus is and what he had done upon the cross dawned upon the slave traders hired in stony heart.
He said my eyes were open to it, and I was once John Newton, the blind man became the man could see no need to be very clear that the Bible makes plain to us that sin has robbed us of spiritual vision, and that in this respect we to are like this man in John nine blind from birth like this man, we are unable to rectify our condition and like him, each of us is in need of Jesus to re-create in us the faculty which sin has destroyed. Now all of that by way of introduction, but purposefully because without that as the framework we will very quickly lose our way in this particular chapter last time. Some of you will remember that we noted in the opening 12 verses or so that the transformation in the life of this man had really set the cat among the pigeons in his community.
Communities are used to things happening as they normally happen, and it often takes some time to adjust to something that is out of the ordinary. Well, this was definitely out of the ordinary. Because this man was familiar in his neighborhood as a blind man manhood bag because he was blind and as people would go about their day they would listen to the familiar sounds of it, almost disregard the man he would be so much a part of the surroundings to them. They knew he was there they had his cries. They knew his desire for money and now all of a sudden he's reappeared in the streets is no longer asking for money, but is walking around and he can see perfectly well the neighbors according to verse eight, who had formerly seen him begging said to one another is in the same manner used to sit and beg in some steadily as I think it is another sin I think is probably someone who looks like they asked him how is it that your eyes are opened. He said the man they call Jesus made some modern put it on my eyes and told me to go to Solomon wash and I went to Morrison and I can see what where's the man said. I don't know where he is. I would pick up the story from that point there unable to resolve their dilemma and so they knew it was customary to do the determined to take this man to the court of public opinion, is it where represented by the religious leaders the place of the synagogue in the small towns and communities of the time was a significant place in the same way that in events unfolding in contemporary life Journal. Let's go to ask for a statement from certain significant individuals in the community.
So in this context, they were essentially going to the significant individuals in the community, namely the religious leaders to see if they could shed some light on what happened to this man know Peterson who paraphrase the New Testament might be a little zealous when he paraphrases verse 13 they brought to the Pharisees the man would be blind.
He paraphrases that so they marched man to the Pharisees, almost as if they took him by the ear and said come on, you're coming to the Pharisees United in the minds of all known of the Pharisees, please, not the Pharisees. I don't want to go to the Pharisees and I would've been with some justification, because what follows is not so much a conversation as it is an interrogation and interrogation, which at the beginning has the Pharisees, the religious leaders very much in the driving seat, but by the time it reaches the end the man himself has turned the tables on them. Verse 26 the asking again. What did he do to you. How did you open your eyes and the man said. I told you that already. Waikiki why you keep asking me the same question you didn't listen when I told you the first time, why do you want to hear it again you want to become his disciples to don't you all that infuriated them. They were angry, then the insulted and they threw them out. Who is this upstart that can see who does he think he is smarty-pants going around the community coming to us the religious leaders, we would know everything and speaking as if there is something he knows that we don't know we don't usually like people knowing things that we don't know know in an attempt at clarity and simplicity to draw our thoughts around three words word. 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 Jesus was on one occasion to refer to these religious leaders as sepulchers. He said your flight on the outside but inside is dead men's bones. Graphic picture reminder two is, incidentally, that Jesus was more than willing to get down beside those whose lives were in disarray and who were aware of their predicament and who sends themselves in need of the salvation that he came to bring, but at the very same time he read. He reserved his most stinging and scathing reviews for religious orthodoxy that was only skin deep, and you can see that the religious orthodoxy of these individuals was skin deep because they brought the man to the Pharisees the man who'd been blind and instead of these individuals rejoicing in the man story instead of them saying we been hoping for a chance to meet you. The word is out in the community that you could see and were so glad that you've chosen to come along and meet with our snow there is none of that at all.
Instead, they react in such a way as to challenge what he saying looking for ways to discredit him, and at the same time to incriminate Jesus he says are not surprising is not not represent some kind of callous heart on the part of these men is surely the normal milk of human kindness would say that when somebody whose life is been marked by darkness is ushered into a light irrespective of our particular focus, and concerns about our own interests, and so on.
Don't you think that we would find it in ourselves at least to say we rejoice with you that although you have been blind from birth and although we cannot understand what is happened. We share the wonder of what is taken place. Not so know their problem. John tells us, at least on the surface was the Sabbath.
Verse 14 now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was the Sabbath.
Therefore the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight is interesting. That is, and therefore why therefore why so they asked how because they were the custodians of this they were the ones who knew what was to happen on the Sabbath and what wasn't happen on the Sabbath and they knew for sure that there was no spitting on the Sabbath.
You see the Pharisees not only had the bald statement of the law of God and the four commandments you shall not work but decided that I needed a little help and so they had added to it. A whole list of their own regulations. For example, of a man had a running nose runny nose and he was downstairs in the kitchen and he knew his handkerchief was up the stairs.
It was a violation of their perspective of the Sabbath to go upstairs and get a handkerchief, let alone start rubbing his nose with it.
It was not possible from their perspective on the Sabbath for Amanda cut his toenails nor if he found that he had one of those strange hairs grows right out of the front of your eyebrows if if you happen to us to see that it sometimes happens.
He was not allowed to reach for and pluck it out until the day after the Sabbath, and certainly there could be no spitting in the dust and steering around and making up any kind of paste no matter what you're trying to do. Jesus had already run into this 20 back a few pages to chapter 5 and let me just show you that these folks had a fixation with this chapter 5, you need to read it for yourself as homework is the story of another dramatic healing. One of the signs, the man who has been at the pool of Bethesda. An invalid for 38 years is healed by Jesus and as a result of that off he goes walking down the street and who do you think he runs into our friends the day. Verse nine on which this medical to place was a Sabbath. And so therefore the Jews said to the man who'd been healed.
It is the Sabbath law forbid you to carry your max you think. At least they might have said hey, nice to see you walking.
I was feeling after 38 years lying there on a mat, but no, because the fact that this man could walk and what they were. Then to discover concerning how he came to war challenge their religious formalism challenge their religious externalism and so once again the use the Sabbath as the mechanism from distancing themselves from the impact of the transformation in this man's life may potentially make up on their own resale business. Also, very far away from us will know actually not this Sabbath question was enough for them to be divided amongst themselves. There 16. Some of the Pharisees said he's not from God, for he doesn't keep the Sabbath what they meant by that was. He doesn't keep the Sabbath our way. Of course Jesus kept the Sabbath he kept the law in its perfection. Jesus was sinless.
In fact, Calvin suggests that Jesus performed these miracles purposefully, deliberately hung the Sabbath. I kinda like that idea so that it was like he said now take up your mat and walk and heal the mannerisms that he, Jesus, don't realize is the Sabbath. He said course I noise the Sabbath watch this and then he does it again. The man born Sabbath because I know watch this and right on cue.
They come religious formalism cannot cope with transform lives religious formalism" with conversion. Religious formalism cannot face the fact of the dramatic impact that Jesus made when he takes a person and turns them upside down, which is actually to turn the right way. Why because the religious formulas then recognizes that he or she is upside down and therefore needs as much to return the right way up as this individual and not wanting to face the challenge of that they hide behind the smokescreen of their ability to maintain all of the externals in terms of the religious experience. There is no indication on the part of these folks that we examine the evidence that there any interest in the evidence of tall 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 have things completely wrong that you were lost in 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 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 a 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 one of a commoner where there 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. But if you go back to chapter 5, I'll 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 that you refuse to come to me to have life. Exhibit 1 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, it's is an expression of their devotion to the Scriptures, 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 to 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, placing our trust in Jesus not in ourselves, important reminder that religious rules aren't the same thing as having a saving relationship. That's at the heart of today's message titled, why don't you ask him on Truth for Life with Alister Greg in our series about Jesus encounters with the lost. We see how fundamental every person's need for salvation is yet when it's up to us to introduce others to Christ. The idea of starting a conversation about the gospel can often stop us dead in our tracks will thankfully Roger Carswell can teach us how to get past that barrier. Roger has a burden to reach the lost also has a desire to help each of us feel more comfortable sharing the gospel with others.
He's written a book called facing a task unfinished where he points us to the Holy Spirit as our source for help facing the task unfinished is a 52 week devotional it's meant to be read once each week. Over the course of the year. Each devotion includes a Bible passage prayers him lyrics that will help us focus our hearts on the Lord's desire to save the lost. You can even use these reflections to fuel your prayers for the salvation of others. There's a space provided at the end of each entry for you to record those prayers request facing a task unfinished when you make a generous one time donation to Truth for Life but don't delay today is the final day.
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Hope you have a relaxing and a refreshing weekend.
Keep in mind that Alister bench preaching of Parkside churches streamed live most weekends to see if Alister will be in the pulpit this weekend you can go to Truth for Life.org/live.
Join us again Monday for the conclusion of today's message from our series a light in the darkness. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living