Church at the Manor

The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations; the mansions will be splendid again. 
Thanksgiving will pour out of the windows; laughter will spill through the doors. 

 

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  • Jun24Fri

    I Can See Clearly Now!

    June 24, 2016

    Learning to see is a lifelong journey.  Some things we see more clearly later in life.  I can remember a time when people prayed for the Manor to be burned to the ground and now, here we are over two years later still holding services on Sunday, seeing lives changed and planting a garden at the Manor...who knew??!

    What are some things you see more clearly now than when you first became a believer in Jesus?

     Some blind people have the ability to see far better than those who have sight and that is the point of John 9.   The message of this story is more than just about mud, spit and a miracle.  It truly is about seeing; however it is learning to see on different levels.  There is so much more going on here that what meets the eye and the writer of the gospel, John, wanted us to see that the ultimate healing needed in our lives is not a physical one, but a spiritual one.  We all suffer from spiritual blindness until we put our faith in Jesus.

     

    I want us to look at a story that teaches us all about how we see people.

    The main character in John 9 is a man born blind.

     Who did the disciples see? V1-5

     The disciples saw the blind man as a problem to be explained.  It was assumed in that day that if you had a sickness or disease, it was ultimately the result of a personal sin or generational sin.

    They wanted a reason to satisfy their own understanding.  They saw his condition and they were students looking for answers.  They were looking for answers to alleviate their concerns because they believed in their hearts that bad things don’t happen to good people.

    However, they only needed to be reminded of the story of Job and this kind of thinking doesn’t hold water.

    Jesus’ response to the disciples was  for them to realize that here is a man in need of the light of the world.  He saw a man whose need would reveal the glory and the power of God.

     

    A work of God on display! V6,7

     

    We have the authority in Jesus’ Name to pray for healing, for peace, for reconciliation, for strength, for joy, for endurance!  John 14:12.

    One teenager came up to me after the first service and shared how God had impressed on her heart that she need to pray over her friend for her healing.  I love that kind of faith!

     

    Who did his neighbours see?  V8-12

     

    They saw a new man… changed so completely that they hardly recognized him for who he was.  He had to protest their disbelief.

    The community learned just to expect people to stay the way they are…once blind, always blind.  It was simple.

    It also confirms the power of our stories.  It is the value of a testimony and why we need to continue to share what Jesus is doing in us and through us!   God did it!  We need to tell those stories for the glory of God!

     

     

    Who did the religious leaders see?  V13-34

     

    They saw a problem that they wanted to go away.  It was an inconvenient truth, the blind man was trouble, upsetting the norm, the traditions.  They just wanted to see the status quo!

     

    WHY?

     

    To do any work on the ‘Sabbath’ was to break religious law and in their minds that included healing.  So the religious leaders get very tight under the collar because it doesn't fit into their understanding of God.  So, they work hard at trying to invalidate his story and also go after his parents to see if he was really blind.  They want him to admit that this Jesus is a felon because he broke the law.

    So, they look to discredit him by seeking out his parents.  The parents are pretty straightforward in their response.v20,21   Then they say, ask him, he’s a grown man, he can speak for himself.  They aren’t looking to start a fight or controversy.

     

    Here is a story of a man who has been blind from the time of his birth.  As soon as he is healed by Jesus, (albeit in a most unusual way) he goes under severe questioning by the religious leaders.  They are so intensely offended because

    1      He healed on the Sabbath.  They couldn’t fit it into their own grid of understanding how God works.  God would never go against His own rules…right?

     

    I’ll never forget being disciplined in Bible school for playing tennis on Sunday afternoons.  My school was pretty stringent on following the rules and the crazy thing was God gave us the opportunity to lead a few people to the LORD through those Sunday afternoon tennis matches!

    2   

     

    They wanted to charge Jesus with a crime.  They wanted to silence him and/ or discredit him.

    The blind man was a walking advertisement of the power and authenticity of Jesus.  It proved that He had the power and authority to heal.   They knew He was gaining fame and notoriety and he was stealing their sheep (pulling followers away from them).

     

    They don’t like his initial answer because He gives all the credit and glory to Jesus.

    Sometimes we just choose to see what we want to see.

    Here is the cool, amazing thing.  The former blind man operates under the gift of wisdom in his response to them.

     

     

     v25He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

    26Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

    27He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

    28Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

    30The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

    34To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

     

    So, here is the reality.  We were all steeped in sin at birth, but they were blinded by their own sense of self-righteousness

     

    We have to move from the achieving system to the receiving system!

     

    A former beggar, who had spent a brief time with Jesus, outwitted a whole panel of professional debaters.  That’s the Spirit’s gift of the word of wisdom!  Robert  Morris

     

    We often can learn so much from a new believer or a non-Christian for that matter.  I’ll never forget listening to a new Christian pray for the faith of his family members.  He would pray that they are not believers YET…To him it was just a matter of time before they did!

     

    Who  did Jesus see? v35-41

     

    He saw a man kicked out of church as we would know it!

    He sought out a man who was courageous.

    Jesus saw a man who truly was seeking

    He saw a man who had faith

    There were two kinds of blindness and Jesus saw one as more worse than the other…

    Physical blindness – no problem

    Spiritual blindness when recognized… no problem

    Claiming to see without Jesus – a major problem!

     

    Jesus saw his progression of faith!

     

    He see a blind man go from a place where he stated a simple statement to his neighbours …the man named Jesus did it to the belief that he may be a prophet, to a belief that “the man must be from God” to a place where he says Yes, I believe in the Son of Man and worships Him.

     

    The Takeaway

     

    What  do we need to see?

    ·    

    Sometimes faith is muddy and messy. 

     

     

    It doesn’t happen exactly as we think it should but that shouldn’t stop us from believing that God works in mysterious and amazing, wonderful ways.  We look at something and say, “well that can’t be God” because where in Scripture can you point to something like that?

     

    Why did Jesus choose to use dirt and spit to create a miracle?  I asked that very question as part of an interactive time in a service and one response was really profound.  A lady shared and said just imagine how long he had sat in the dirt...most of his life and more than likely been spit upon as a beggar and now here's Jesus taking these two very lowly and despised things and completely flipping them on their head to do an incredible miracle in the life of this man.

     

    Often it is through some of our most difficult and painful moments that God uses to create the greatest turnaround and miracles in our lives!

     

             We need to see ourselves as people who were once blind.

     

    The blind according to Jesus are those who know that there is no light in them.  They are wandering, stumbling in their own sin.  They are lost and in need of a guide. They are in spiritual darkness.  They need a Saviour, Jesus.  Don’t forget where you came from.

     

    The religious leaders were steeped in their own pride, in their own sense of what God required of them.  It was their own pursuit of religion that had made them fall miserably short.  They weren’t ready to humble themselves.

     

    ·      We need to see  PEOPLE!  …through the eyes of Jesus

     

     

    Jesus didn’t see problems, He didn’t see projects, He saw people.  Do we see the excluded, the marginalized, the one who is difficult to love?

     

    Affirm one another’s equal importance in Christ.

    Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” James 2:1: “Don’t show favoritism”

     

    Show concern for others.   1 Corinthians 12:25: “Have equal concern for each other”;1 Peter 5:5: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another”

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