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Insight from a Blind Man (A Short Video on John 9)

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2022 in john 9

 

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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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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 16

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-6-05-20-amThere are a lot of ways to upset the religious, aren’t there?  I identify with most of the views of the “religious right” today, but they aren’t always right.  And the Pharisees were dead wrong about Jesus!

It’s one thing to tell religious people that they are wrong; it’s quite another to lecture religious leaders and then ask them if they want to join you in following Jesus!   That’s what this man born blind does.

He has HAD IT with their interrogations.  He is fed up with their preconceptions and assumptions about Jesus.  He is tired of being thought a LIAR and having his parents cross-examined.  His new vision was much, much clearer than their OLD vision.  And he was done.  Done with their questions.  Done with their hard-heartedness and hard-headedness!

So he issues them an invitation.  “screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-5-35-37-amAre you interested in becoming His disciples TOO?!”  There was no question that he could have asked that would have been more provocative, more volatile, more combative!

In our next post we will see how these rational, logical, fair-minded Pharisees respond to this man’s invitation.  Don’t miss the fireworks! (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 13

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-6-05-20-amThe questioning is not over.  Interrogating Mom and Dad did not satisfy the Pharisees.  They did not receive any conflicting testimony that would justify their dismissing this miracle or continuing to hate Jesus.  Truth is irritating that way sometimes, isn’t it?

So they “summon” the man born blind.  Again.  And they put him under oath.  They preface this second round of examination by saying, “Give glory to God by telling the truth.”  It appears they are saying, “You certainly have been lying up to this point.  We now officially and formally put you under oath!”  One can’t help but think of the awful incident in Joshua 7 when Achan stole some “devoted things” and kept silent about his sin.  God had Joshua ferret out the offender and Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.” (v. 19).

As a result of telling the truth, Achan is executed.  We read in Joshua 7:  24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-6-21-43-amdaughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”

Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.”  Wow.  It seems the Pharisees might have wanted to stone the man born blind, his parents, and Jesus!

But who was really “giving glory to God” in this circumstance?  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 10

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-6-11-22-amThe Pharisees were in a pickle.  They knew that the Sabbath was inviolable, but they also knew that Jesus had broken the Sabbath.  He had worked by making mud on the Sabbath!

They logically deduced, from their premise that their view of Sabbath-keeping was the correct one, that Jesus could not be the Messiah promised of God.  It just did not make sense!  Why would the Messiah violate His own commandments about treating the Sabbath as holy?

As we learn in Jesus’ other fights with the Pharisees, they had replaced God’s Word with their own traditions.  What they were defending was not always God’s truth, but their perspectives and additions and expansions of God’s truths.  And Jesus seemed to not care a whit when He broke their Sabbath!

NOT KEEPING THE SABBATH = NOT BEING FROM GOD.  Their logic was impeccable.  The only problem was that they now had a healed tourist in their midst, a grown man who wanted to go SIGHT-seeing!  He had been healed — by a Sabbath-breaker!

Their theological machinery was blowing a gasket!  “How can a sinner perform such signs?”  Of course, every miracle done by God through every human being in the Bible (apart from Jesus) was done through a sinner, was it not?  Something was terribly wrong — either with the miracle itself or the details of the miracle or the Person of Jesus.  Or their presupposition about the Sabbath?

I imagine that by this time the man born blind was becoming increasingly impatient.  Fingers screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-6-28-18-ampointing at him.  Accusations made.  Questions hurled like poisonous darts.  Looks of disgust, religious indignation, logical confusion reigning.  He was probably done with talking.  He wanted to go see some things.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 8

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-36-55-am
Why do people want to know HOW something happened? They ought to be enthralled THAT something happened, don’t you think?

The problem here is that process is all-important to the religious leaders — and the people they have taught.  The real issue in this interrogation — for the friends and later especially for the Pharisees — is the day of the week in which this miracle took place.  THE SABBATH!

As the neighbors and those who had formerly known the blind man discover, Jesus had MADE MUD on the Sabbath to put on the man’s eyes so he could go wash and so he could — for the first time in his LIFE! — see!  The man born blind is succinct in his response:  “The man they call Jesus . . .”  He knew next to nothing about Jesus, not even His whereabouts.

“The man they call Jesus” — Soon this man would be calling Jesus “Lord”!  But first he has to go through a series of interrogations — and they will not be pretty.

Thank God that our ignorance does not inhibit the God of glory to do works of power in our lives!  He who made the deaf, the mute, and the blind (Ex. 4) can reverse the effects of the Fall and give sight where there had only been darkness.

Could it be that this man was actually wanting to find “the man they call Jesus” to thank Him?  screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-58-44-amAnd his searching gets side-tracked by this series of inquisitions?  He certainly becomes irritated and agitated (as we’ll see later) as the questions are hurled at him like  stones at the public stoning of an adulteress.

But for right now, he tolerates the questions and will be led to the religious authorities, presumably to give their stamp of approval to his miracle.  However, religion can become ugly.  Quite ugly. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 7

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-5-21-21-am

So the man “went and washed, and came home seeing.”  Simple obedience is so refreshing, isn’t it?

But then there is the question of IDENTITY.  He returns home and people don’t recognize him.  His neighbors and those who had seen him begging are divided.  Some thought it was the blind beggar; others that he just looked like him.

What’s sometimes interesting is that we can treat people with one disability as if they had two.  We speak louder around blind people.  Why?  As they debated this man’s identity, they forgot that he could talk.  He was not mute!

During my years at Northeastern Bible College in NJ, it became evident that the school was going under financially.  I had a friend take a picture of me in front of a blackboard to attach to my resume that I was sending to other Bible colleges for a teaching position. screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-6-05-08-am(That is NOT me to the right).  It was only after I had sent out my resume to several schools that I realized what was written behind on the blackboard in the picture.  It was a quote from our text, John 9:  ἐκεῖνος ἔλεγεν ὅτι Ἐγώ εἰμι.  Which being translated means, “I AM THE MAN!”

I don’t believe I got any offers of employment from those schools.  But let’s not miss the point.  This man knew who he was — and he admitted it!  (I would have been tempted to have turned my back on that past life and said something like, “Blind man?  I don’t know what you’re talking about!  I’ve never begged in my life!”).

This man could have said, “Once I was blind — but now I can TALK!  And I know who I am.”  Do you, my friend?  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in john 9

 

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