Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Light Bulb or Pillow?

April 10, 2011  
Filed under Sermon Notes

Fourth Sunday in Lent – Year A

April 3, 2011

1 Samuel 16.1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5.1-14; John 9.1-38

THEME: Spiritual awakening and maturation: from death to life.

David: shepherd boy to king
Psalm 23: from sheep led through the valley of the shadow of death to the victors at the king’s banquet table
Ephesians: the righteous who walk in the light
John: The blind man given sight by the Light of the World

The four of these together would make a great retreat meal, or devotional!

  • Today we’re going to focus on John 9 and Ephesians 5
  • Are you a light bulb or a pillow?

John Chapter 9

The blind man is a living picture of salvation.

  • His physical blindness is emblematic of spiritual blindness
  • Jesus is revealed to the blind man, and through the blind man Jesus is revealed to others: parents, neighbors, Pharisees.
  • The blind man’s understanding of and relationship to Jesus matures throughout the story: (1st) the man called Jesus, (2nd) a prophet, (3rd) Son of Man, whom he worshiped.

The Story.

  • a man blind from birth [1]
    • The kind of blindness that can’t be healed
  • “Rabbi, who sinned, . . . that he was born blind?” [2]
    • The Accuser is at work all through this account.
    • And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  Rev. 12:10
    • Satan is the Accuser.  Jesus is the Savior.
    • If you are captive to a spirit of accusation, it is not from God.
    • Are we not quicker to assign blame than praise?
    • “You are children of the devil” [Jn 8.44]
  • “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” [3]
    • And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  Rm. 8:28
  • “I am the light of the world” [5]
    • [4] We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.  [5] As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
  • Mud and saliva on the Sabbath day:
    • Wash in the pool of Siloam, which means ‘sent'[7]
  • People do not recognize the blind man after his cleansing/healing
    • “No, but he is like him.” [9]
  • Pharisees question – “how were your eyes opened?”
  • Pharisees: Jesus must be a sinner if he healed on the Sabbath
    • Blind man sinned?
    • Parents sinned?
    • Jesus sinned
    • None of the accusers ever seem to think that they sinned!
  • Pharisees refuse to believe: “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” [16]
  • Who is he?  A prophet? [17]
  • Pharisees question parents: “Is this your son, who you say was born blind?”
  • His parents feared the Jews and wouldn’t talk
    • “The Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be the Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue” [22]
  • Jewish leaders demand a false prophesy:
    • “Give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner.” [24]
  • He respond with the facts:
    • I was blind; now I see [25]
  • The blind man does glorify God through faithful testimony. [25-33]
    • “If this man [Jesus] were not from God, he could do nothing.” [33]
  • Jesus: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” [35]
  • Blind man “Who is he sir, that I may believe in him?” [36]
  • Jesus: “It is he who is speaking to you.” [37]
  • Blind man: “Lord, I believe” and he worshiped him. [38]

Jesus was the light to this blind man. Jesus is the light to every blind person.

  • [4] We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.  [5] As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” [John 9.4,5]
  • WE must work – Jesus calls us to participate by being light in the World.
  • Paul describes how we participate in Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5

  • Paul: “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found found in all that is good and right and true)” [Eph. 5.8, 9]
  • How do we walk as children of light?
  • Paul admonishes the Christians in Ephesus:
    • to be imitators of God, as beloved children [1]
    • to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.” [2] [offertory sentence]
    • to be righteous and holy
    • . . . and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  [11] Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  [12] For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. [13] But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, [14] for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” [Isaiah]
  • The final admonition is Wake up!  Stop living in death!
  • What does Paul see as obstacles to walking as children of light?
    • Sexual immorality
    • impurity
    • covetousness
    • filthiness
    • foolish talk
    • crude joking
    • EMPHASIS: For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  [Ephes. 5:5]
  • An idolater is someone who puts something or someone above God.
  • The greatest struggle of my life is that my flesh covets comfort: I constantly want to find rest in THIS life.
  • In my flesh, I’d rather have a pillow than be a light to the world.
  • I covet –
    • time to read, write and paint
    • photography and music
    • to build a model train for my kids and grandsons
    • to do woodwork
    • to buy a house and SETTLE down
    • to watch movies
    • to travel
  • Those are all good and wholesome things, right?
    • And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  Mt. 8:20
    • I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  John 10:11
    • And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  Luke 9:23
  • The problem is: I WANT to think everything is always going to stay the same.
  • I want to plan my future based on the comfortable present.
  • Are you watching the news?
    • For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  [6] And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  [7] For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  [8] All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
        • [9] “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  [10] And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  [11] And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  [12] And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  [13] But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  Matthew 24:5-13
  • This is what the Lord promises for this life – not comfort.
    • “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11] “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12
  • I am looking forward to teaching my children and grandchildren woodworking, and building models with them and watching movies with them; And I do hope I can buy a house some day – but I had better stop thinking of those things as an entitlement – the Lord has not promised that for me or for you.
  • Oswald Chambers observed, “God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome.  When the inspiration of God comes, and He says – “Arise from the dead,” we have to get up.”

CONCLUSION: I leave you with three questions

  • What do you covet?
  • Are you called to be a light bulb or a pillow?
  • Who is the blind man in your midst?

To listen to this sermon click here:
Fr. Van McCalister – John 9 – April 3, 2011

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