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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 28 (conclusion)

“What?  Are we blind too?”  I love how the Lord Jesus let people come to their own conclusions.  He doesn’t answer their question “Yes!” or “No!”  But He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin . . .”  So, in one sense, they were not blind.  Is Jesus saying that one’s ignorance of one’s sin means one is not guilty of sin?

“Your guilt remains.”  These last three words conclude this story of the man born blind.  The only other time we read of him is in John 11 where Jesus has allowed his good friend Lazarus to die so that He could raise him from the dead.  Before He calls forth Lazarus from the tomb, we read that “Jesus wept.”  Some respond to Jesus’ weeping by saying, “See how he loved him!”  Others said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (v. 37).

The answer, of course, was yes!  Jesus could have kept His friend from dying.  But He didn’t.  There was something more important than Lazarus’ physical survival. The risen Lazarus becomes a reason for many to believe in Jesus — and “so the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well” (Jn. 12:10)!

There is a price to pay in following Jesus.  For the man born blind, it was excommunication from the life of Israel.  For Lazarus, it was a contract on his head because many were believing in Jesus as a result of his testimony.

For those of us whose guilt IS GONE, what price are we paying to follow Jesus?  I look forward to meeting this anonymous man born blind in heaven.  I want to thank him for his boldness, for his courage, and for his simple new life of following Jesus. (I’ve written up a fictional account of this man which tries to fill in some of the details of his story.  Let me know if you wish a copy).

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in guilt

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 27

Man can choose not to be rescued.  In his rebellion, he can blame God, ignore God, and even hate God.  Proverbs 8:36 says, “But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

But God allows rebellion, and the Pharisees hear Jesus saying that He had come into the world for judgment.  The Pharisees think they are judging Him, while the opposite is the truth!

Jesus divides the world into “the blind” and “those who see.”  But the category “those who see” is really “those who THINK they can see.”  Eavesdropping is okay until one realizes that one is eavesdropping on a conversation about oneself!

“What?  Are we blind too?”  Apparently they still saw the man born blind as a man who was still blind.  The construction of their question is such that they are expecting a “NO!” answer:   “We’re not blind too, are we?”

I love how the Lord Jesus let people come to their own conclusions.  He doesn’t answer their question “Yes!” or “No!”  But He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin . . .”  So, in one sense, they were not blind.  Is Jesus saying that one’s ignorance of one’s sin means one is not guilty of sin?  (to be continued — and finished!)

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in spiritual blindness

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 26

To recap:  Jesus performs an incredible miracle for someone who knew next to nothing about Him.  Jesus seeks the man out after he has been excommunicated by the religious leaders and questions him about BELIEF.  Specifically, belief in the “Son of Man.”  The man born blind believes and worships.  An obvious example to all who read this story.  Do we allow for process when we are sharing “the Son of Man” with others?

Jesus knew that He would divide people into the believers and the non-believers.  He was not One about whom someone could respond, “Ummmm.  No opinion.”  He declares, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”  Interesting that we read in John 3, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  His mission is salvation.  For those who reject His salvation, judgment.

If we think of man as spiritually neutral, then judgment seems arbitrary.  However, if man is actively rebelling against the Creator of the universe, and the Son of God comes to rescue, what should happen to those who refuse to be rescued?  If the metaphor being used is that of a person drowning in the ocean, one could argue that a wise rescuer (lifeguard) would bonk a victim on the head and forcibly take them to shore if they fought the rescuer.

But we are far worse than an innocent drowning victim, aren’t we?  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in judgment

 

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