One thing...one thing drove a revolution in America. That one thing that bound all of these different people from really different denominations, and different philosophies, and different languages together. Because of one thing. One thing they would not deny. One thing they would not surrender, and that was freedom for them. Freedom. They had tasted it. They knew it was worth living for and that it was worth dying for. That one thing.
In our lives we sign up for a lot of things. We raise our hand for a lot of things. But there come those moments when we're called upon to test our loyalties and to test our commitments. When we're called upon to, I guess, see what we are really made of. Those times when we pull back to those one things (if I can say it that way) that drives us…that we know is true. That one thing that causes us to move forward into opposition. That one thing that drives us to try the impossible. To stay true to the course when the obstacles are before us.
I want us to search our hearts this morning. This is a very simple message and a very simple call and challenge to us today. It may be that you find it difficult to carry on your Christian faith in the world, in front of your friends, at your family gatherings even. Because there isn't just this one thing upon which you rest everything. You see, without that one thing your commitments will fall. Without that one thing your loyalties will vanish.
As a parent, your love for your children sometimes will drive you to courage that you wouldn't have for someone else. It will cause you to sacrifice that you wouldn't for someone else because there's that one thing. That inbound, innate love and protection that you have. It motivates you when maybe even logic doesn't apply.
The same is true for the radical Christian. You see, the radical Christian...the extremist out there...the ones who live their faith. The ones who you're afraid at any moment in a public gathering are liable to say the name of Jesus publicly. They do so because of one thing. There's one thing. If you are challenged by your faith today, I want you to seek and find that one thing.
You see, testimony is what really the message of today's lesson is in John. We looked...if you were with us last week...at this young man who was born blind. Blind from birth, and yet, Jesus heals his blindness. We see this man is brought today in our text before a group of Pharisees to explain why he is no longer blind. They don't really know him even that well so they're even wondering if he ever was blind.
As he comes and he says a man called Jesus gave me my sight. He splits the group into two. There are some Pharisees who just simply don't believe it because they know about Jesus. The fact that he had healed this man on the Sabbath shows them that whatever He is, He's not of God, because God wouldn't violate that law. In their mind it was a conclusive fact that He couldn't be from God. But then there is the other group of Pharisees who are saying, "How can a sinner cause a blind man to see? Where would this source of sight, this ability, this power come from if it didn't come from God?" They were split.
So, they called for the man's parents to come. The parents come in and they're scared of the Pharisees. If you read the story there then in John 9, you'll discover that they're very careful in answering their questions. The question is, "Is this your son." "Was he born blind?" "How come he now sees?" They say, "Yes, this is our son. Yes he was born blind. Yes he now sees. But I don't know why he's seeing now. I don't know how he's seeing now. He's of age; you'll have to ask him." Because they knew. They knew who had given him sight.
They knew Jesus of Nazareth had given sight to this man. But they also were more afraid of their friends, of their fellow Jews, of the Pharisees, than they were of their own knowledge. You see, the one thing they had is they didn't want to lose face. They didn't want to be kicked out of the synagogue. They didn't want to say something that might cause embarrassment, that might cause ridicule, and that might cause them to be shunned. So they said, "He is of age; ask him." And they did.
I want to invite your attention to John, chapter 9, this morning. I want us to look at some of the text. The text really begins back in verse 13 and carries through verse 41, but I want us to just focus together on a couple of verses. As the parents have been questioned, now they turn to this young man again. I believe that he is a young man by the way. First of all, they bring the parents in, and secondly they say, "He is of age," which indicates that well maybe he was just right on being of age. He wasn't obviously of age.
So, he could have been what we would call a teenager. A teenaged young man in that culture was a man. When he turned 13 he was fully declared a man and so the reference to calling him a man could certainly apply to him being very young. It seems that he probably was quite young, but he's also growing rapidly in his boldness.
They bring him in verse 23. His parents said, "He is of age; ask him." So in John, chapter 9, verse 24 they again called the man who is blind and said to him "Give God the glory." In other words, they're sort of making him swear to an oath. Very similar to what happened with Joshua when he brought Achan...for those of you have been with us during our study of Joshua on Sunday evenings, and he tells him, "Give God the praise and tell us the truth." And he says here "Give God the glory!" "We know that this man [that man being Jesus] is a sinner." Now you want to give Him glory, but you need to give God glory and tell us what really happened.
So in verse 25, this young man answered and said "Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, though I was blind, now I see." One thing I know. Throughout the rest of his life, it is going to be a life of faith. There's going to be that one thing that can't be taken away from him. That one thing that will cause him to stand up to the same religious leaders that his own parents were afraid to stand up to. That one thing that he would not deny because it had happened to him.
Now, you have to look in your own hearts this morning, my friends. If you're timid about the faith, if you're timid about speaking of Christ, if you're timid with your testimony, you have to look into your own hearts today and ask…Is there that one undeniable truth about my relationship with Christ? Is there something that I cannot deny? Is there something in my experience of salvation that I know is true? Is there something in God's deliverance of me from a situation that I know is divine? Is there something that I can look to in my life and say I know the touch of God was upon me just as it was upon this blind man?
If there is that one thing that you know, my friends, you'll become an evangelistic Christian. You will have no qualms in sharing your faith and taking the risk in risking the ridicule. If there's this one thing that you know that you can look back to and place your faith on, that rock that you can stand on. I think so many people stand on the soft sand of philosophies, the soft sand of Bible knowledge, the soft sand of logical debates.
My friends, there's a solid rock to stand on and that's the rock of God's touch on your life. If He has had that moment, you need to post that on the wall of your mind. And, be able to look to that and to go to that when times are hard. When questions are tough. When people ask you how many angels can fit on a head of a pen? All these deep theological questions they try to ask you to trick to you and to throw you. So that you can say, "One thing I do know. One thing I do know. I once was blind, but now I see. I once was in this situation, but I've been delivered." That one thing is what motivates, what drives believers.
Let me share with you. The apostle Paul speaks of this over in the book of Philippians. In Philippians, chapter 3, he's writing to this church...a beloved church for Paul. He's writing to them a very encouraging letter. One that I just love to read because it is just so full of encouraging and profound statements. In it, he speaks of his own imprisonment. He speaks of his own difficulties, but he has not slowed down in his faith. He's not discouraged from continuing to follow Christ even though his present circumstances might scare off many people.
As part of his confession he shares in chapter 3, verse 12. He says, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." In other words, he's saying, "I haven't reached utopia. I haven't reached the blessedness of life being a Christian. My life is not the best, I guess, that it could be, but I'm hanging on and I'm pressing on that I may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."
In verse 13, he says, "Brethren [this is my motivation] I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." He says, "I've not figured it all out. I've not apprehended the scope and the meaning of my own life really, but one thing I know...that is that I can put my past behind me and I can look forward in Christ. I haven't achieved everything that I could achieve, but I press on because there's one thing I know."
How many times in that prison? How many times when those hunger pangs hit him? How many times when people turned their back on him, and when the Pharisees and the European towns ran him out or threw stones at him? How many times do you think he had to stop there, and in a moment of discouragement remember that Damascus road? Remember that moment when without a doubt it was the Lord God of heaven who spoke to him, who said, "It's hard for you to kick against the goads, Paul. I have a purpose and a plan for your life." He can look back to that moment.
He said, "I haven't figured everything out," and neither have you and neither have I. The turns of my own life sometimes don't seem to be moving forward at all. I don't know if that's with you, but sometimes it seems the detours are great. When I find myself in those moments, I have to look back and know that one thing I do know. I know that the Lord has His hand on my life. I know that He leads and guides, that He directs, and that He has purposes and plans for me. I know that He's called me to the ministry. I know that He spoke to me that night when I was 18 in that training school class when I received Christ as my Savior. I know.
I don't know it all. I don't even know what Monday is going to be like, except that it has to be warmer. But, one thing I know, God is real. He's touched me. He leads me and He guides me. I may not know the answer to all the great theological debates. I may not know the answer to all of your trick questions, but one thing I know, He's real and he lives within me. He has touched me and He's changed me. He's moved me to follow Him in great ways.
We look back to the story of Mary and Martha. Here are two ladies who are often contrasted with one another. We have the events of them preparing a meal when Jesus has come to the home. You're probably familiar with that story. Martha is in the kitchen. The pots and the pans are flinging, the fires are growing, and she's chopping up the corn, and trying to get everything ready to cook a meal. Mary on the other hand is sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him.
It says, in Luke, chapter 10, verse 38, "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."
Verse 41, "And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'" Oh, there would be many banquets to serve meals at...there would be many dinners to cook for, but Mary knew she had been touched by Jesus, and she knew that was her Savior. Now listen to me…she knew that one thing. She might be looked on as the worst woman in all of Bethany, but she knew one thing and that is the One before whom she sat was her Master and her Messiah. She would use every opportunity she could to study and to learn from Him.
There may be a lot of things that you don't like about being with the other people in your Bible study group. There may be things you don't like about coming together to study the Scriptures in worship together in church. There may be a lot of things that can be distracting, but there should be that one thing that you know. There's this opportunity you have to see, and to hear, and to sense the Spirit's presence on your life today. That one thing will not be taken away.
Above all that you've learned, and above all that you've studied, that there's one thing that guides and motivates your life. There's one set of words, principles, and morals that will not be taken from you. That is worth more to you than a good name, worth more to you than a good reputation, and worth more to you than popularity, in Mary's case. That one thing will not be taken away.
This young man in John, chapter 9, he goes before the Pharisees and they will not hear of his testimony. So we pick up his story again in John, chapter 9, verse 25, after he said "One thing I know; that though I was blind, now I see." Verse 26, "Then they said to him again, 'What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?' He answered them, 'I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?' Then they reviled him and said, 'You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples...'" Of course Moses gave the Sabbath, right? That's what they're alluding to here. "We are Moses' disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from."
"The man answered and said to them, 'Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.'"
Now, we have incidences in the Old Testament even in some of the rabbinical literature of blind people regaining sight. But never in all of the stories of the Old Testament or in the rabbinical stories was there ever anyone who was born blind who was given sight, and that's what the man's referring to here. He's saying that it was unheard of that someone born blind would be given sight. He has to be from God because only God can evoke such power.
Well they won't hear of it. Verse 34, "They answered and said to him, 'You were completely born in sins.'" Now, why are they saying that? Because remember that's what the disciples had asked in the beginning of chapter 9. When they saw this young man begging, who was blind, they said, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Because there was a teaching, as I shared with the group last week that it was possible to sin in the womb and be cursed with blindness. That is at least how they are trying to explain it. That was their teaching. It wasn't from the Bible, but that was their teaching. The Bible says, "We're born in sin, but we're not afflicted with particular defects because of sin in the womb," but nonetheless, that's the teaching.
Well, listen to what the Pharisees are saying again. In verse 34, "You were completely born in sins." Now, they've just gotten through interrogating him to find out whether he was ever blind or not. Ironically, now they're admitting that he was blind. "They're saying you were born in sin. You were blind. We know you were blind. We know you were born in sin." They're really condemning themselves in this. "'You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?' And they cast him out."
A young man, who didn't begin the day trying to figure out how to upset the Pharisees. He was figuring out how to beg for enough bread to make it until tomorrow, but by the time of this encounter he has been given sight. He's gone from calling the One who gave him sight, a man called Jesus, to then calling Him a prophet. Then he's about to increase that to call Him the Son of God Himself.
He's gone from a man who was unnoticed, contemptible, and ignored to a man who's standing in front of the most powerful religious body in his community and is standing up and defending Christ. Isn't it interesting how God uses the poor, the blind, and the beggar to represent Him? All through His stories, all through history, and even through today. Oh, don't look at your condition and say, "I know Christ and there's one thing I know. I know that He's touched my life. The problem is I don't have a voice. I'm not the leader of the pack."
My friends, with Christ, no one can stand against you. If Christ in on your side, who can be against you? Here is a man who has nothing going for him, no reputation, but he has Christ. He has; therefore, an audience. Yes, he's cast out, but notice what happens next. You see Jesus is the kind of Messiah who comes to the outcast. He's the kind of Messiah that reaches to those that the religious world has cast to the side, that the religious world finds unacceptable. Listen to it. It says in verse 35, "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" Or literally, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
"Do you believe? You said I'm a man. You said I'm a prophet. Do you see me as the Messiah?" Verse 36, "He answered and said, 'Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?' And Jesus said to him, 'You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.' Then he said, 'Lord, I believe!' And he worshiped Him." Here's a man who lost face in his synagogue but gained faith and life in Christ. Here's a man who lost standing in his community, but gained vision with Christ.
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