Miracles Series: Sermon Title: Believe
Dr. Marty Baker / John 9:1-11/ November 13, 2005
Good morning. Welcome to the Creek. For those of you that do not know the song you just heard is from the new television series Three Wishes. Amy Grant and the rest of the Three Wishes team travel to an American town every week to grant wishes to deserving people. It’s a feel good show. This past Friday there was a unique story about a high school music teacher that lost 70% of her hearing. Take a look at this:
VIDEO CLIP: Three Wishes, November 11, 2005
There is something in all of us that would like to have the ability and the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life. Reality Shows like Three Wishes and Extreme Makeover Home Edition bring out the best in people and in a human kind of way perform miracles. These miracles are not true miracles but they amazing and wonderful occurrences. A true miracle is a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of God.
I love the fact that I am a member of a church that believes in miracles. Yes, we believe that God’s supernatural power is still available for people in need. Most of us would like miracles to take place in our lives, but if you are like me, you don’t want to be in a place to need a miracle.
Nobody wants to be in need. We don’t want to have to go through a situation where answers are not known and solutions are not evident. But, there will come a time where you will find yourself in a place of need. The question at that point will be: "Where do you turn for help or how do you find the answers that you need?
This morning I want to you about a miracle worker named Jesus Christ. His story is told in the New Testament section of the Bible. The first four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are called the gospels. They describe His life and His work. Today I want to continue our series on Miracles with a talk called Believe.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
It’s my goal to help you to come to the place where you can honestly say, "I believe." Some of you are like the man whose son was hurting. Jesus said to him:
23b "Anything is possible if a person believes."
24 The father instantly replied, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt!"
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve prayed a similar prayer. "God, I know that you are able to do this, but will you do it for me? Will you answer my prayer?"
Well, anything is possible if a person believes. What if I have some doubts? You are normal. We all struggle with periods of doubt. If you have never doubted anything, it may mean that you have never thought seriously about anything. The only way to never doubt is to never use your mind to question and try to figure anything out.
Doubting does not mean that your faith stops, it means you are trying to understand your faith at a deeper level. Honest doubt means that we are thinking and seeking to understand.
Maybe that’s why you are here today. You are investigating Christianity. You have your doubts, but those doubts are making you want to know more about God and experience him in new ways.
This morning I want to focus on a story in the book of John chapter nine. This story is somewhat perplexing. It’s a story about a man who was born blind. Jesus and His disciples ran into him one day in Jerusalem. Immediately His disciples asked, "Why? Why is this man blind? Was it his fault or his
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.
2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
It probably did not occur to the disciples that this man was blind, but he was not deaf. He could hear their conversations. Imagine you are sitting there blind. Your life is bad enough already and you hear these theologians say, "Hmmm, his sin? His parents sin? What do you think?"
Have you ever felt like people were looking at you and saying, "How did he get into this mess?" What did he do? Is it his fault or someone else’s fault?
Jesus responds by saying that this has happened not because of his sin or his parents sin, but this has happened so that God can be glorified.
I know that sounds deeply spiritual, but if you are that man that doesn’t sound all that exciting. It’s like the blind man was saying, "I am blind so God can be glorified ... Good for Him. I am glad I could help out. I’ve made my contribution to the glory of God, but I want to see."
Now, I know that sounds a little sacrilegious, but if you were blind your entire life and were confused about God, that thought would probably run through your mind.
Then, Jesus goes into a teaching moment with His disciples. He said, "We are all chasing daylight." We live in the world and we have to work in the world while it is light. We have to do those things that God has given us to do while we are here in this world. Night is coming when no one will work.
Then it gets more confusing. Jesus pauses and he is going to heal the guy. There are places in the Bible where Jesus heals people by touching them. In some places, he just speaks to them and says: "Be healed."
This time it is different. Jesus does something out of the ordinary. Are you willing for God to do something out of the ordinary in your life? Too many times, we see how God has worked in someone else’s life and we say, "I need your help and I need you to help me like you did for my friend." I believe that God wants to help you, but you must allow Him to work in His own way. He has a plan for YOUR life. That plan will be different that the plan his has for someone else.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The question is: Will you allow God to do something out of the box in your life? Before you say, "Yes!" Let’s take another look at this blind man’s story.
Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva,
How much spit does it take to make mud? That’s a lot of spit. I know what you are thinking when you read today’s passage, "That is God’s spit." Spit is spit. This spit was from God’s human side. God did not spit outside of time and space.
So Jesus spit and made some mud and then he goes toward the blind man. Can you imagine what the crowd was thinking? They were thinking, "Stop him someone!"
Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.
Jesus takes the mud and places it on the guy’s face. I know that when you read the Bible and I read the Bible we tend to read it like we were Jesus or at least the disciples.
But imagine if you are the blind guy? You hear people saying, "Why is he in this mess? Is it his fault or his parents?" Then, Jesus takes spit and dirt and makes mud and puts it on your face.
After Jesus put the mud on his face, he says to the guy,
"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent).
I may not be a great theologian here, but think about it, he is blind. How is he supposed to get to the pool of Siloam? Even if he were not blind, he would have mud on his eyes and would not be able to see. Jesus does not even offer him any help.
Do you ever feel that way? Have you ever felt like Jesus called you to do something and then did not offer you any help? There are moments in my life where I feel like I am the blind guy and people are talking about me saying, "What caused me to be in this mess?" Is it his fault or his parents? Why is he so messed up? Why is his life like this?
Then you hear that it has all happened to glorify God. It’s not very encouraging. Then, you find yourself in a place where you feel like you got mud on your face. Have you ever been there?
You are trying to lead, you are trying to be effective, you are trying to rally people together. You are trying to build confidence and call people to an extraordinary life and you just got spit and dirt kicked onto your face.
Then Jesus said to the blind man, "Go to the pool of Siloam." It seems to me that at least Jesus could have taken him there or at least told one of his disciples to take him there. Jesus said, "Go" and does not offer any help. Here’s the point of today’s talk.
Notice this, John mentions that the word Siloam means "Sent". What Jesus is doing here is unwrapping a teaching for all of us. We all must go to that place where we are sent by God. We need to go to that place of obedience.
We may be blind, with mud caked on our faces, stumbling through the streets, uncertain, confused and terrified, but we have to go.. There are some things that God does for us, but there are some things that God leaves for us to do. If this blind man wanted to see, he had to get to the pool of Siloam, but Jesus was not going to help him get there.
Have you ever been there? I have. Some of you have been called by God to do certain things, but it seems as though you have been left on the road to fend for yourself. Someone of you feel as thought you are moving through life with God’s spit and mud covering your face. It doesn’t make sense to you or the people around you, but down deep inside you have been commanded to go to the place called SENT.
All of us have mud on our faces and we are called to go to the place called SENT. It’s a place of obedience. It’s a place of direction.
Some of you have been greatly gifted by God and you have great potential but you are headed in the WRONG direction.
Some of you spiritually blind this morning. You are wandering around trying find direction. Your eyes will not be opened until you are willing to go to that place of obedience. You’ve lived in disobedience long enough.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Many people try to justify their life styles. They want to rationalize their choices. You must understand that your choices determine your destiny.
Jesus told this blind man to go .... Go to the pool of Siloam.
Now the pool of Siloam was built by King Hezekiah 700 years earlier. It had the purest and best tasting water in the whole city of Jerusalem.
But that’s not why Jesus sent him there. He sent him there because he wanted to know "Will this man obey my exact instructions? Is he teachable? Is he open to the leading of the Spirit of God in His life? Will he do what I tell him to do even if it sounds far fetched?"
The first step toward having a better life starts with a willingness to obey Christ in all the little details of life. This man was willing. And so he washed and he could see again.
7 "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?"
9 Some claimed that he was.Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man."
10 "How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.
11 He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."
Many of you are here today and you want God to move in your life. I believe in miracles. I believe that the God of miracles is here today.
The blind man told his neighbors, "So I went and washed, and then I could see." Are you willing to do what God tells you to do? If you are willing to step out in faith, and surrender to His plan, then you will His work accomplished in your life.
There is an interesting ending to this story. The blind man had never seen Jesus and since Jesus did not go to the pool with him, he did not know what he looked like. Jesus found him just after the religious interrogated him for being healed.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
36 "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
37 Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
38 Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.
This morning I have shared with you the story of Jesus and his miracle working power. Do you believe?
Let’s stand for a time of reflection and prepare for a time of prayer.
Closing Prayer / Elders Anoint with Oil.