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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 4)

Although this man remains anonymous throughout the story, he was well-known in the community. When he comes home from obeying Jesus’ call to wash off the mud on his eyes, a fascinating debate takes place!

In this series of blog posts on FOCUS I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.

Returning Home: In today’s verses we see what happens when the man born blind returns home. Two groups meet him — his neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging. This man was a known quantity to them. Some lived close to him and his parents. Others knew him publicly as the born-blind-beggar they might have walked around or, perhaps, even dropped a few small coins into his begging basket.

An Identity Crisis: Rather than rejoicing in his healing, a dispute erupted over whether this was the same man who had been living his life begging. Some said it was the same man. Others said, “Nah. But it could be his twin!” (or words to that effect).

Sometimes those who aren’t sightless treat those who are as if they are also deaf! But this man-born-blind heard their argument and jumped in! He declared, “I am the man!”

A Personal Story: When I began my teaching career, the Bible college where I taught was going under financially. So I had a friend take a picture of me in my best teaching pose (I couldn’t find the original, but that young man looked a bit like me). I sent that picture to several seminaries to apply for a position. Notice that I had a Greek sentence on the board to impress any future employers. And the translation — “I AM THE MAN!” — wasn’t on the original picture. This is a direct quote from our text here in John 9. I don’t think the seminary that hired me noticed the not-so-subtle reference to the blind man’s statement!

A Courageous Choice: You know, the man born blind had an option. He could have denied being the beggar they all thought they knew. He could have said, “Beg?! I’ve never begged in my life!” But he didn’t. He declared who he was and his declaration would lead to some serious consequences.

Today’s Challenge: May I ask you — do you correctly identify yourself as one who has been touched and healed by the Lord Jesus? Such a confession involves admitting your need and giving God credit for what He’s done in your life. And spiritually sighted people do just that!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2021 in focus

 

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DON’T FORGET WHO YOU ARE! (A Study of I Peter 2:9-10)

You may have heard the story of the man who said he was going through a double crisis. “Really?” His friend said. “What do you mean?” “I’m going through both an identity crisis and an energy crisis.” “What?” “Yes, I don’t know who I am — and I am too tired to find out!”

I. Your Identity (v. 9)

1. A Chosen People (v. 9)

2. A Royal Priesthood

3. A Holy Nation

4. God’s Special Possession

II. Your Purpose (v. 9)
>> “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

III. Your New Status (v. 10)

>> You have moved from the category of NOT A PEOPLE to the category of THE PEOPLE OF GOD! And you’ve moved from the sad status of NOT RECEIVING MERCY to the blessed condition of HAVING RECEIVED MERCY!

Today’s Challenge: Do you know who you are in Christ? Then live today as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and as God’s special possession. Not for yourself — but to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light!

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2020 in I Peter 2

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 4)

It sounds strange to say that we should GET BUSY GETTING GODLY, but that’s what I see in this section of Colossians 3. The Christian life is not passive. There is much for us to DO, and much for us to put into PRACTICE! Let’s continue our study by looking at the third set of two challenges in this great text:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Do not lie to each other (v. 9), and
(2) Clothe yourselves with . . . (v. 12).

First, we must not lie to each other. Why not? Paul says because we have “taken off” and we have “put on.” We have “taken off your old self with its practices.” Conversion begins the process of our recognizing and rejecting our old selves, our sinful selves, our self-obsessed selves. We stop lying to each other because the truth is now more important to us than our reputations! We are also told that we are to “put on the new self.” We experience an identify switch or change when we are saved.

The story goes that Augustine was walking down the street when he saw a familiar woman walking towards him. He bowed his head and walked to the other side. She called out to him, “Augustine! Augustine!” He did not look up or answer. She called all the more urgently and other passers-by began to notice. “Augustine! Don’t you remember me? Don’t you remember those nights together? Augustine! It is I!” Finally he looked up and replied, “Yes, but it is no longer I.”

Our identity has changed in Christ! We have put on — and must continue to put on — the new self “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (v. 10).

Second, we are told we must “clothe ourselves with” (v. 12). Newborn babies are naked. New believers in Christ are not to be naked (spiritually). We have the responsibility to clothe ourselves with: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Wow. Those are a lot of virtues to work on!

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2019 in christian life

 

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Who Are You, Really, Christian? (Time for a Great Quote)

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in identity

 

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

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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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