Summary: Jesus used the physical to reach the spiritual needs of men, gave us the pattern for evangelism, and allowed God to work around Him to accomplish His purpose.
The Key to Sharing the Gospel
* Review chapter 9:1-34
* Remember, he followed the light he had. He obeyed the instructions he was given.
* Read text.
* I want to talk about three things this morning found in this passage.
* I. Serving the Lord.
* II Seeking the Lost.
* III. Shedding the Limitation.
III. Serving the Lord. (35)
* Lessons in reflection: 1) Sometimes ministry to the physical needs create a path for some to find salvation. It creates opportunity and openness.
* 2) I believe one of the lessons here is that meeting physical needs is not the primary goal. But for some, it can be.
* Jesus met this man’s physical needs with a deeper purpose in mind.
* It wasn’t about his blindness, but about his “lost-ness”. Therefore, he went looking for the man.
* Some have reduced Christianity and religion to service to our fellow man.
* This is as much of a danger as not utilizing physical needs to reach people.
* The catch phrase is “Social Gospel”.
* According to Wikipedia, “The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that was most prominent in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The movement applied Christian ethics to social problems, especially poverty, inequality, liquor, crime, racial tensions, slums, bad hygiene, child labor, weak labor unions, poor schools, and the danger of war. Above all they opposed rampant individualism and called for a socially aware religion. Theologically, the Social Gospel leaders were overwhelmingly post-millennialist. That is because they believed the Second Coming could not happen until humankind rid itself of social evils by human effort.… After the Social Gospel movement was discredited around 1950, many of its ideas reappeared in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. “Social Gospel” principles continue to inspire newer movements such as Christians Against Poverty.
* Don’t get me wrong. The church is to be concerned with the disadvantaged and hurting.
* However, never should the meeting of physical needs overshadow our true purpose.
* Jesus gave His final instructions to the Church in Matthew 28.
* Vss. 19-20 – ““Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
* Our primarily goal is to prepare souls for the next life, not make this life easier.
* We can use their physical needs to express love, open the door for further ministries and the message of God.
* However, we need to keep our priorities in order.
* Sometimes, the difficulty lies when we see all the pain, suffering and injustice we see.
* Those with the gift of mercy and compassion hurt with the suffering.
* It seems we ought to do something.
* That is why our Church is called to depend upon a balance of gifts.
* Mercy calls us to community service, while the gift of prophecy holds us to the priority of the spiritual
* Although they seem in conflict, neither is wrong. They are both evidence of the Spirit operating in the body of Christ.
* God designed it so we would need each other to remain balanced and focused.
II. Seeking the Lost. (35)
* The second lesson I see in this passage is that Jesus sought out the man.
* After receiving sight, it is reasonable to expect that the man would have sought out Jesus.
* But the text clearly states, “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?”
* The truth is, God doesn’t expect us to do the reasonable when it comes to seeking Him.
* Paul quoted Psalms 14:1–3; 53:1–3; Ecclesiastes 7:20 when he wrote Romans 3:10-12 - As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
* Matthew 18:10-14 describes Jesus as a “seeking shepherd”.
* In Luke 19:10, Jesus states, ““for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
* It stands to reason, if mankind does not have the tendency to seek God, we would need a Savior who seeks us.
* Praise His name, He seeks us. That was our only hope.
* Let’s take it a step further. Look at II Corinthians 5:18-20. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”