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Insight from a Blind Man — A Free Sermon Outline! (Part 4- Conclusion)

What if I could show you Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!?  I’ve been preaching for a lot of years — and have made a lot of mistakes.  This short booklet is available from Amazon and is guaranteed to improve your preaching (if you follow its advice!).

Speaking of preaching, I want to give away some of my favorite sermon outlines and we are completing the first — the story of the man born blind in John 9.  We have seen from this incredible story the truths that

I.  Tragedy Has Its Reasons (vv. 1-5)

II.  Obedience Has Its Reward (vv. 6-12)

and

III.  Boldness Has Its Price (vv. 13-34).

Let’s notice, lastly in this sermon, that

IV.  Jesus Has His Mission (vv. 35-41)!

The man-born-blind has received his sight and has been tossed out of the synagogue because he participated in Jesus’ making mud on the Sabbath and because he stood up to the closed-minded religious authorities.  With the words, “You were steeped in sin at birth!  How dare you lecture us?!”, he is unceremoniously thrown out of the center of Jewish life.

For many Christians, being asked to leave a local church would be no big deal.  They would just go down the street to another church (which would probably not ask why they were kicked out of the first church).  But news travels fast and Jesus heard that they had thrown him out (v. 35) — and goes to find him!

Jesus seeks him out.  He has a habit of doing that, doesn’t He?  How did He seek you out?  And please notice that Jesus doesn’t apologize to the man for healing him on the Sabbath and getting him thrown out of the synagogue.  He also doesn’t ask him, “How’s the eyesight doing?”  No.  He asks him a profound spiritual question:  “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

John Piper has a helpful article on the expression “Son of Man.” This title (used often by Jesus, see Mark 10:45) shows Jesus’ true humanity, but also aligns Him with the exalted figure of Daniel 7. In fact, we read  in Matthew 26, “The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Piper says, “He was quiet. He was subtle. And he would make claims that were explicit in certain settings and implicit in others. And only when the time was right—mainly when he was on trial for his life, and they said, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the living God?”—did he say, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man coming with great power and glory.” So he confessed his open deity right at the point where he knew he would be crucified for it.” (https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/why-is-jesus-called-son-of-man)

Jesus leads this man to saving faith then and there.  And the Pharisees overhear Jesus’ comment about “those who see will become blind” (v. 39).  “What?”, they say, “Are we blind too?”  It appears they still considered the man-born-blind as blind, even though Jesus had given him sight!  The world and its skeptics hasn’t changed all that much, has it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2018 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man — A Free Sermon Outline! (Part 3)

Okay.  Okay.  I’m not an expert preacher.  But I recognize common mistakes when I see them — or commit them.  If you preach, you just might find some help from my booklet, Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!  (available from Amazon).

In this series of posts I am giving away some of my favorite sermon outlines.  One of the most engaging miracles in the Bible is the story of the man born blind in John 9.  I’ve shared the first two sermon points with you in our previous posts:

I. Tragedy Has Its Reasons! (vv. 1-5)

and

II. Obedience Has Its Reward! (vv. 6-12).

Let’s notice thirdly in this text that —

III. Boldness Has Its Price! (vv. 13-34)

What happens in this section is incredible.  The man obeys Jesus, washes the mud off his eyes, and comes home seeing.  But what does he see?  Skeptics!  People who knew him as a beggar doubting whether he was the same man (vv. 8-10).  [I would have been tempted to say, “Beg?  I’ve never begged in my life!  You have me confused with some other poor soul!”]

Then the real interrogations begin.  He gets dragged to the Pharisees for confirmation of the miracle.  It may also be that they feared not reporting him to the religious leaders because, as we find out later, Jesus performed the miracle on the Sabbath (v. 14)!  And making mud with His spittle constituted working on the Sabbath in the minds of these blind religionists!

The man-born-blind (he remains anonymous throughout the story) is given the 3rd degree several times, and even his parents are grilled by the Pharisees.  No way could Jesus be of God, they were convinced, so there had to be some other explanation of this “miracle.”

After several rounds of trying to find contradictions in his story, the blind man reaches his limit.  He lectures them on who is from God and who isn’t and they reply (with great pastoral compassion): “You were steeped in sin at birth;how dare you lecture us!”  And they threw him out of the synagogue (v. 34).

But . . . weren’t we all “steeped in sin at birth”?  Being kicked out of the synagogue in Jewish culture was to be ostracized from the heart of their social and religious environment.  News would travel fast.  Perhaps there would be some who would say to this man-born-blind, “You’re under God’s judgment now!  You’ve been thrown out of the people of God!”

But what if God Himself were to seek this man out — and lead him to saving faith? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2018 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man — A Free Sermon Outline! (Part 2)

In this series of posts, we are giving away some of my favorite sermon outlines.  I’ve been preaching since I was about sixteen years old or so (that’s sixty-two years!) and have made every mistake in the book (I go over some of the most common mistakes in my booklet Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!).

We’ve begun to look at my sermon outline on John 9, the most extensively recorded miracle in the Bible. I won’t reproduce the biblical text for you, but my major outline points with a bit of explanation.  We’ve seen the first truth in this text and it is that —

I. Tragedy Has Its Reasons! (vv. 1-5)

Encountering this man “blind from birth,” the disciples ask Jesus for His explanation of this man’s tragedy.  They provide the Lord two possible answers (we do the same to Him, don’t we?), this man’s sin or his parents’ sin.  Jesus responds with letter ‘C’ — “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (v. 3).

The second truth that comes from this incredible text is simply —

II.  Obedience Has Its Reward (vv. 6-12).

It does not appear that Jesus engages this man in a conversation, but simply spits on the ground, makes mud, puts it on this man’s eyes, and tells him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam (v. 6).  And he obeys!  Perhaps he knew something about Jesus.  More than likely he didn’t know anything about this wandering rabbi, but something caused him to obey.  Without argument or hesitation.

We can only speculate about this man’s inner thoughts.  When you think about it, there is something quite healthy about desperation.  Or maybe resignation.  After a life of blindness, perhaps this man thought to himself, “What do I have to lose?”

The succinctness of the text is remarkable here:  “So the man went and washed, and came home seeing” (v. 7).  Wow.  Simple obedience — rewarded by God!  The great theologian Ray Charles, blind himself, once said, “My eyes are my handicap, but my ears are my opportunity.”  This man’s opportunity was to do what Jesus told him to do.  “And he came home seeing.”

The interrogations will soon begin.  But right now, this man is seeing.  For the first time.  A “work of God” done by Jesus because this man obeyed.  I wonder what works of God I might be missing by not jumping to obey?  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2018 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man — A Free Sermon Outline! (Part 1)

By God’s grace, I’ve been preaching since I was about sixteen years old or so (that’s sixty-two years!).  I’ve made every mistake in the book (I go over some of the most common mistakes in my booklet Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!).

I want to give away some of my favorite sermon outlines.  Hopefully, you will find these useful.

One sermon I’ve worked a lot on is entitled “Insight from a Blind Man” from John 9.  In fact, John 9 is the most extensively recorded miracle in the Bible and deserves much more than just one post.  I won’t reproduce the biblical text for you, but my major outline points with a bit of explanation.

I.  Tragedy Has Its Reasons! (vv. 1-5)

Jesus and His disciples encounter a man “blind from birth.”  How did they know he was blind from birth?  Perhaps his particular begging call was “Please help me.  Blind from birth!”  We don’t know.  But the disciples ask a critical question:  why?  They assume this man’s disability came from either his sin or his parents’ sin.  Jesus categorically rejects both of those answers (as only God can) and declares “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (v. 3).  If that were the only verse in the Bible that we had concerning tragedies, it ought to be enough!

If the Bible teaches a sovereign God — and it does — then whatever tragedy you or I face (in ourselves or in others) fits the category of “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  God can use our tragedies for His glory.  They are not purposeless!  Just because we may not know the specific reason for our tragedy does not mean no reason exists.

This is a powerful message that we can share with anyone.  When you and I begin to truly listen to the stories of lost people around us, they will begin to tell us about their tragedies.  And we can say as the Spirit leads us, “This has not happened to you by accident.  A loving, sovereign God wants to do something special in your life, through your tragedy!”  And then we can share with them one of our own tragedies.

As a teacher I sometimes give multiple-choice questions on exams.  Jesus basically says to His disciples, “Fellows, I don’t mind your multiple-choice question, but make sure you have the correct answer as one of the multiple choices!  Your letter ‘A’ (“this man sinned”) is not the right answer.  Your letter ‘B’ (“his parents sinned”) is not the right answer.  The right answer is “C’ — “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in john 9

 

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A Financial Joke!



 

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2018 in money

 

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God’s Will — and Human Choice!

Dr. William Sloan Coffin of New York’s Riverside Church said this in the April 20,1984 Lutheran Standard after the death of his son, Alex.”The night after Alex died, I was sitting in the living room of my sister’s house outside of Boston, when a middle-aged lady came in, shook her head when she saw me and said,”I just don’t understand the will of God.” Instantly, I was up and in hot pursuit, swarming all over her. “I’ll say you don’t, lady!!” I said. (I knew the anger would do me good, and the instruction to her was long overdue. )

I continued,”Do you think it was the will of God that Alex never fixed that lousy windshield wiper of his, that he was probably driving too fast in such a storm, that he probably had had a couple of ’frosties’ too many? Do you think it is God’s will that there are no street lights along that stretch of road, and no guard rails separating the road and Boston Harbor?”

Dr. Coffin continues in the article:”Nothing so infuriates me as the incapacity of seemingly intelligent people to get it through their heads that God doesn’t go around this world with His fingers on triggers, His fist around knives, His hands on steering wheels. God is against all unnatural deaths. And Christ spent an inordinate amount of time delivering people from paralysis, insanity, leprosy and muteness. As Alex’s younger brother put it simply, standing at the head of the casket:”You blew it buddy. You blew it.”

Dr. Coffin continues:”The one thing that should never be said when someone dies is,”It is the will of God.” Never do we know enough to say that. My consolation lies in knowing that it was not the will of God that Alex die; that when the waves closed over the sinking car, God’s was the first of all our hearts to break.”

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2018 in sovereignty

 

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“And that’s just fine with God” — Ray Charles on His Faith


This incredibly talented man, who passed away in 2004, was blind in two ways. He lost his sight as a child to glaucoma. But, if he held to this quote till his death, he was spiritually blind to the specificity of the Christian gospel.  Granted, denominations save no one.  But the gospel of Jesus Christ rules out Judaism and Islam.  And self-defined religion.  Any comments?

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2018 in Ray Charles

 

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