Sunday Sermon: I AM the Giver of Sight (Chern Yang)
Good morning, brothers, sisters and friends Thank you for joining us here at Central Christian Church for our Sunday worship service Today is part four of our sermon series titled, “The Great I Am.” The series is based on the gospel according to John the apostle Honestly, it’s been a long time since I stepped into this very hall Before COVID-19, I’m in the building every week And when my kids were in the church childcare, I visited a building literally every day On Sundays, this hall has always been filled with you all, singing songs, worshipping, praising God, and the other rooms will be used by children ministries, where their young minds and hearts are being moulded by God’s words What do you miss about the physical gathering of the body? Has the COVID-19 situation eroded your desire to connect with others? Or have you come up with more creative ideas to connect one another? What are the new ways that you have discovered to connect with others? One of the sweetest ways that people seem to use often to connect and show care and concern is to send surprise gifts to one another The most common gifts I heard are bubble tea drinks, cakes, light snacks, or even a full five course dinner meal for the entire family Some also send beauty products, or I.T. products, when they heard that there is a need from a certain family, Being the recipients of gifts is always encouraging And sometimes when the burden of life is too heavy, or the bother of working from home is too much, a bubble tea from a secret angel can really live up the spirit And out of all the people that gives gifts, our Lord Jesus is the ultimate giver, for he gave us redemption and opportunity to enter your personal relationship with God As mentioned earlier, earlier part of the series, the gospel according to John is uniquely different from the other three In comparison, John recorded a lot more of the conversations that Jesus had with the people Within the first 11 chapters, John also selectively recorded seven miracles that Jesus performed John did say that Jesus performed way more miracles than when he recorded But here John seems to have a purpose in selecting the seven chosen miracles They prove that Jesus is not bounded by physical law He’s a source of physical and spiritual needs, and also have the power over death itself Today, we’ll just be focusing on Jesus, healing of the man born blind, in john chapter nine and prayerfully we can open our eyes and see more clearly the Heart of Jesus, our need for him and also open our eyes to the people around us The title of my lesson today is, “I am the giver of sight.” Since most of us are probably at home watching this online sermon, why not grab one of the bibles on the shelf and open it to the book of John chapter nine Let’s start reading from John chapter 9 verse 1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me Night is coming, when no one can work While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”) So the man went and washed, and came home seeing My first point today is “An opportunity to do God’s work.” Both Jesus and his disciples saw the blind man at the same time But a very different first thought about the situation The disciples first thought was to see the blind man as a problem, to be tackled and solved It is a fair question, because so often, people ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Well, at this point, the disciples definitely has seen Jesus few other people before But at this moment, they failed to draw a connection between Jesus healing and the blind man’s condition Jesus, blind man, blind man, Jesus, Their questions to Jesus was not, “Jesus, can you help this man be healed.” Instead, they were trying to find out the cause of the man’s condition While most of us may not know what it means to be born blind, or to have any visible physical disability We all have been hurt in relationships or suffer losses in one way or another And during this Covid-19 pandemic, some of the challenges have become more real, or the pain might have intensified somewhat Do we have the same thought as Jesus that God’s will be done? Brothers, sisters, you might face at this point in time, we might need to come face to face with the real issues in our problems
During a time of circuit breakers, or even now in the new norm, our faith, get tested again and again It can be in the big things that happened to us such as losing our jobs, businesses, our loved ones getting sick, or even passing away, or we couldn’t even visit them It can also be in a small daily things such as the trying and testing of our family relationships and dynamics, when we spend more time with one another I have heard of families relationships becoming better And sadly, also relationships becoming worse The disciples asked their questions because of that deep seated and ingrained belief that disability is a result of someone’s sin or someone’s doing Jesus was quick to point out the wrong thinking on disciples Do we also have some deep seated beliefs about situations that we need to change in, so that God’s power can be displayed in our situations This time of pandemic can review our hearts, what we put our security on, and our own faith It can reveal the areas that we can rely on God easily, but also areas that we want to wrestle back control God wants to work in your life, and sometimes it take us to pause and acknowledge the pain in our situations However, we shouldn’t fall in the trap of Satan lies, lies like “If God really loves me, I shouldn’t be in the current situation.” Or maybe, “I must go all out to have a happy life.” “And because I’m not happy now, means this is not the right path.” Or maybe, “I have only one life,” “and I must find some form of security in this one life,” “so that I won’t feel like a loser,” “compared to others.” How do you see your situations in life today? Do we ask even the right questions? Is this an opportunity to do God’s works If you want to allow God to use your situation to display his power, and to allow God to work, maybe, just maybe, we need to consider the simple faith of this blind beggar Let’s consider his situation He was blind from birth Not one year or two years He can only imagine how his parents look like He had no clue When people describe colours to him, It was only pitch black every single moment He had been sitting at the same place for years, begging But today is different He heard some people discussing about his blindness Then suddenly, he heard someone, “Pooii.” on the ground and the very moment, before he can make sense of the sound around him He felt someone smear the slimy mud on his eyes This particular person, then asked him to walk all the way to Siloam, the pool, wash away the mud And so he went And when he walk back to the same location again, he was able to see for the first time in his life Bear in mind, he didn’t see Jesus at all And don’t recognise him at all He only heard Jesus voice, and his words, and you went ahead to carry out the instructions to be healed And he did Imagine if the blind beggar questioning Jesus’ method of healing, and give a long list of buts But I don’t know you personally But this is just mud, and maybe your saliva But I’ll look stupid with mud on my eyes and yet I need to walk so far to the pool of Siloam Buts, buts, buts Brothers and sisters, and friends In a similar way, we are like the blind beggar Yes, there are many movies, many musical about Jesus, and even famous painting drawn about him, but not sure about you I didn’t see Jesus in the physical form before I only have his words as recorded in the Bible It may be easier for you to intellectually accept the Jesus, I AM statements But what about the practical ones, like, Jesus said, For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you Jesus said, Enter the small gate and the narrow road that leads to life Jesus said, Do not worry But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness Jesus said Do not store up for yourself treasure on earth Jesus said, You cannot serve two masters You cannot serve both God and money Brothers and sisters Jesus promised that he will be back one day Do we have the same kind of obedience as this blind beggar until then, to take Jesus words as plainly as possible without adding any form of distortion or any buts The blind man life changed when he take Jesus’s words seriously How will you change if you don’t take his words seriously?
Throughout the bible, when people go through tough and difficult situations, they often have the greater potential to draw them, either away from God’s words or towards God’s words Which will you choose? When we see our every situation as an opportunity for God’s works, We actually gain a piece that doesn’t make sense to other people around us We actually gain a better understanding about our situations Instead of exploring the past “Why”, or even listening and buying to Satan’s lies, why not abide by God’s words and look forward in anticipation on how God can use your unique life situation to display his power and to gain spiritual sights My second point is “Spiritual sights that leads to salvation.” Let’s continue to read about this ex-blind man who gained his sight He began to become the talk of the town, and people started to investigate his new found sight Let’s start reading from John chapter nine verse 8 His neighbours and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked 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.” “Where is this man?” they asked him “I don’t know,” he said People who knew the blind man started question about his new found sight And the man replied them honestly what was done Pointing out that he was healed by this man they call Jesus Not convinced by man’s testimony They brought him to the Pharisees who already had some conflicts with Jesus earlier If you’d like to learn more about the Pharisees, and the ongoing conflicts with Jesus, please go to part three of this series, preached by brother Phua Hee, titled, “Am I a Pharisees?” So here in chapter nine verse 13, we see the first interaction between the man who have been healed, and the Pharisees In verse 13, They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied,“ and I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.” The Pharisees tried to pick a fault in Jesus act of healing on Sabbath Because Jesus needed the mud and perform healing But interestingly, some Pharisees started to lean towards Jesus’ testimony of being Son of God, and they were divided But maybe they’re still a minority, so their voices were drowned out by the more aggressive views When they asked the man about his opinion about Jesus, the man simply replied that Jesus is a prophet who healed him miraculously The Pharisees still didn’t believe the man’s testimony, even with his new sights So, they called on the parents for their testimony of their son out of fear of being associated with Jesus, and be cast out by the Jewish community, the parents actually pushed the ball back to their son, and the man need to go through a second round of interrogations In verse 24, it reads, A second time they summoned the man who had been blind “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know One thing I do know I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He 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?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man sticked to his story of being healed by Jesus
But unlike the first round questionings, this time, the man took a stand and started to rebuke the Pharisees, which was not easy The Pharisees were the religious authority of the time The man, now associated himself as Jesus disciple and challenged the Pharisees if they also want to be Jesus’ students As a result of this confrontation, he was cast out of the Jewish community Knowing this, Jesus looked for the man, and tried to encourage him In verse 35, it reads Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him This is the first time the man saw Jesus with his new found sight And Jesus wanted to not just heal his physical blindness, but also his spiritual blindness, giving him spiritual sights that leads to his salvation And the man, ended up proclaiming Jesus as the Lord of his life, and worshipped him What a beautiful ending to this man’s long standing misery and inspiring beginning of this man’s new spiritual life Over the past few months, as we go through the Gospel of Mark and John as a church I personally got more and more interested in the reaction of different persons or groups of people to Jesus words and deeds And sometimes, I also asked myself, how I would have reacted if I were to meet Jesus physically in real life People’s response and reaction to Jesus actually revealed a lot about their hearts For example, I would have thought that the rich young ruler, having followed God’s law and commandments all his life would have no problem following Jesus But his response to Jesus call to follow Him ended in sadness, as he could not give up his great wealth It is interesting to note the progression of this blind man here, in response to Jesus Let’s spend some time looking at it In the beginning he started off with being the man just calling Jesus, “The man,” because he only heard about Jesus from others And then, it became the “Prophet,” because Jesus actually healed him, and he acknowledged that And then he became his disciple and acknowledging Jesus at his teacher And then, finally, being the “Lord.” What a beautiful transformation to see his heart changing, and his conviction deepening What caused this deepening in conviction and understanding from this man born blind? Maybe, it’s because of the repeated questionings from the neighbours, and the Pharisees, that caused this man to dig deep and consider for himself, who Jesus is to him? To the man, every single round of asking seems to be a reinforcement of his belief Honestly, whenever we help others to know God, it can also deepen our own faith When they pose questions that cause us to think, or when we have to present God to them in a more accurate way, it requires us to think deeper, to dig deeper about our own convictions If you feel that there’s a certain level of stagnancy in your own walk with God, Maybe, just maybe, a good suggestion would be to introduce God and someone else, because in the process of doing that, you will have your own conviction deepen as your friend start asking questions about what you believe in And the same time, you can also introduce God’s truth to your friends The way this blind man came to gain his sights, and ultimately his salvation is unique to his situation Jesus has always been quite creative in the way he heals others Sometimes he just say the word, even from a long distance, as seen in the example of healing of the centurion’s daughter Sometimes he’ll choose to touch the person, or help the person to stand Sometimes he asked the person, if she wants to be healed Sometimes he carried out the healing without asking for permission, as in this case And in this incident, he even took the time to spit some saliva, mixing with mud and put it on the man and gave instruction for the man to go wash it; using a creative way to heal this man’s sight, As we look even about the journey that Peter and Paul took to become Jesus apostles, It is so vastly different, but yet they serve the same purpose to reconcile people to God
God use a unique situation of Peter and Paul personal life to come to faith, and to reach out to different people for him Similarly, brother and sisters, we all came to know Jesus and have relationship with him in very different ways Some of us, like myself, was reached out by a stranger on the street in Suntec City Some of us were reached out by our colleagues, or friends or even army mates Maybe some of us were reached out by our boyfriend or girlfriend, or maybe we came to church because we were have fond of someone here Some of us took a short time to study Bible Some of us took years And some of us even were in and out of the church community, many, many times But still yet come back because God never give up on us Being a youth minister, I’d like to speak up for the youth in the church For many of the younger ones who actually grew up in church, they were taught about God from a very young age, with nice bible stories And sometimes, I can sense that parents may have difficulty understanding these differences in their world and yours And we expect to see the same radical change in our children, the same way that we ourselves did when we became Christians We look for the same kind of experiences that our children have to go through But honestly their your journey to God to faith is very different from yours Being kingdom kids have their own unique set of struggles When we can accept that, we can actually make their spiritual journey more real and more rewarding We can then help them to experience God in their own way, and their own journey As for the youth, some of your parents went through a great deal to be a disciple of Jesus, and their faith have been tested repeatedly, again and again by challenges, or even Satan’s scheme I like to encourage you to consider their trials and challenges to hold on to their faith today During family meal today, maybe you can ask your parents about a trial or a struggle that they went through early in their faith, which actually strengthen their faith just like these blind man As this blind man was basically blind, receive sight that brought him a new life, when we receive spiritual sights, we can also receive salvation and a new life in Christ For the friends who are studying the Bible right now, or would like to start studying Bible What is stopping you from allowing God to give you spiritual sight? Do you have a long list of excuses, or is it something that you find hard to give up? Maybe some immoral relationships Maybe some vice addiction that have a control over your life, like smoking, like pornography What are you wary about, if you embark on this new life in Christ? As for the brothers, sisters in church, how is our spiritual sight today? I know that most of us, if not all of us, we are not totally blind But over the years, many of us have become more mature, but have the maturity brought a vision that is clouded by different things in life The parable of the sower talks about the worries of life, the deceitfulness of wealth that can cloud our vision for how God wants us to live our lives Is it getting worse? In sometimes this blurred vision can even become dangerous In recent time due to the pandemic and unstable world political scene, there is a new term called “Doom Scrolling,” where people unknowingly got trapped in the news app or social media, as they keep scrolling through the different doom and gloom information Researchers actually say that Doom Scrolling actually caused much anxiety And as Christians, if we get trapped in Doom Scrolling, our view of God and our relationship with him might get clouded or even start to be distorted I am not asking us to avoid reading all forms of news But instead of just Doom Scrolling, let’s balance out with Faith Scrolling, using the same device, but different app, the Bible app As you read and hear his words, we can then be able to see God clearly and discern the situation around us And in so doing, we can preserve our spiritual sight of God according to his words in the Bible I like to end off today with a quick story about my own children My kids Ashley and Nathan love to play Lego, and one of their favourite show is Lego Master And over the years, through the blessing of different relatives and friends, they now have boxes and boxes few Lego blocks I love to see them play Lego, as long as they tidy out and I don’t step on them They will use their creativities to make different scenarios, come up with different designs for animals, robots, or monsters and epic battles And every time the creation got accidentally destroyed, they will just restart the process
and even come up with a better design And even with current design, they keep improving it In the same way as my children rebuild their Legos, God use every one of us as unique individuals He wants to mould us into the likeness of his Son, Jesus He will accept us for who we are but wherever stage we are, He will not stop changing our characters, so that we can always grow to be a better version of old self My prayer is that we can have the spiritual sight to see God’s process in moulding us, through good time, and maybe through bad time now We need to have the patience to allow God to work through us, to be patient with the process of us being moulded by His words And finally we also need to find the time to help others to gain spiritual sight also Brothers, sisters, I hope that today’s lesson can help us to have some clarity in our situation right now And help us to yearn for a time where we can continue to grow, to have spiritual sight Thank you for your time Goodbye