John 9

I’ve been challenged on a local conservative talk forum to take the lead on the discussion of the book of John.  While my conversations there are usually much shorter than this, I decided I really needed to write this.  Let me say, I love the book of John.  Sure, there is a lot to love in the Bible, but the book of John just holds a special place for me.  This book shows Christ in all His glory, not just the Son of God, but God Himself.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

I’ve started at chapter 9 because that is where the discussion on the forum had gotten to before I got there.  I will endeavor to go back to the first chapter and cover the first eight here as well, but for now, I give you my thoughts on chapter 9.

What strikes me first is the disciples’ attitude towards this blind man.  The Jewish culture at this time regarded any malformation as a result of sin.  Now, in the broader sense, that our human bodies are full of sin and are therefore no longer perfect, yes, that is the case.  Every disease, every deformity, every chemical imbalance is caused by Adam allowing sin into his life.  We have lived around 6000 years since that time, and our bodies have become weaker and weaker over time, genetically.  Sin has taken a toll on the human race.

However, that is not what the disciples were talking about.  They wanted to know specifically who sinned a sin so grievous that this man was blinded.  They actually blamed the man himself for sinning so badly that he was born blind!  Can you imagine the indoctrination and tradition that would be required to think this?  The man did not sin, neither his parents.  That’s what Jesus said.  Now, in the sense that we are all sinners, yes, they were as well, however this case of blindness was not caused by any of their specific sins.

But notice it was not just the disciples that believed this man or his parents sinned to cause the blindness.  If you go to verse 34 of the same chapter, the Pharisees that were questioning him, not willing to hear the truth, told him, “Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?”  This is a fact; all men are born in sin, as Romans 3:23 points out;  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  However, the rulers at the synagogue were pointing out that this man was somehow less than them because he was “born in sins,” as if somehow they were not.  They were obviously referencing the fact that he had been born blind.

This shows the arrogance and religious superiority that these Pharisees felt about themselves.  They knew the truth, they were educated, and they were the end of the discussion when it came to spiritual or doctrinal matters.  When they were confronted with the truth, they more or less stuck their fingers in their ears and said, “I can’t hear you.”  It was as effective as what they actually did.  They called the man names, dismissed his testimony as worthless, and sent him away.

Can you think of anyone who does this today?  Many “theologians” today are confronted with the truth, and yet dismiss it.  If a man speaks against homosexuality, saying truthfully that the Bible speaks against it, these educated men and women say, “Well, Jesus never actually spoke against it.”  Jesus did speak up in favor of traditional marriage, however, because he was against divorce and polygamy, as we can see in Matthew 19.  Those were the issues of the time.  Homosexuality was a known deviance, and He would not have spoken out about it, because the Jews wouldn’t have confronted Him with it.

I’ve often said that if Jesus is the Word, as John states, then the entire Word is what Jesus said.  Jesus is the living Word, and the entire Bible is His Word.  The Holy Spirit, who is equal with Jesus as part of the trinity, and they two equal with God, then when Paul writes against homosexuality in the epistles, under the authority of the Holy Spirit, then he is writing what Jesus wants to be written.

I only bring up that issue because it is the issue of the day.  There are many more sins which people these days want to let slide because they “aren’t that big a deal,” or because “Jesus never spoke on that.”  The Bible is clear; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”  That was Paul in II Timothy 3:16.  That verse cuts to the quick.  You either believe in all of the Bible, or you cannot believe in any of it.  Because all of it is given by inspiration of God.  You say, “Well how do we know that Paul was really inspired by God?”

If he wasn’t, then you can’t believe anything he wrote.  And if you can’t believe Paul, then what makes you think you can believe James, John, Peter, or even Moses and Isaiah?  Why should you believe David?

I’ve run the rabbit trail enough.  The focus is this.  Jesus Christ healed a blind man.  The man or his parents did not cause his blindness through sin.  God wanted to show his power.  God wanted to show his glory.  God caused the man’s blindness to prove a point.  That is the crux of this blog today.  What we believe about our religion cannot be confused with what our Bible actually teaches.  People believe all kinds of things that aren’t in the Bible.

The problem is, many people don’t actually know what is in the Bible, because they haven’t picked one up in years.  They simply rely on the Pastor, or the evangelist, or the televangelist.   They rely on blogs like this one (not this one, because I have pitifully few followers), or they rely on some website that puts lists together and says they’re “Christian.”

These Pharisees thought they had eternal life in the scriptures, but like Jesus told them, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  The scripture, Old Testament and New, speak about Jesus.  Sure, in the Old it was hidden; that’s why Jesus said search.  The New Testament speaks openly about Jesus, and tells us exactly how to worship, what He did, and how we ought to live our lives.

I’ll say it again, though I’ve said it before; “Search the scriptures.”  I constantly tell my congregation, “If I say something against what the Bible says, call me on it.  I don’t want to teach something wrong.”  Likewise, before every service, I pray to God to guard my lips against saying anything that would offend Him.  It is how we ought to live daily; do things to show the work of Jesus.  Say those things that would edify the saints, and promote Jesus in the lives of others.  And, seriously, search the scriptures.  That’s where you find Jesus.  The scriptures testify of Him.

 

America Needs Revival

Revival is Needed

Pastor Michael Black

Josiah was only eight years old when he became king of Judah.  After eighteen years, he had had enough of seeing the temple in such a sorry state of condition, and told the priests to gather up the silver and gold in the temple treasury and give it to the workers to fix the temple of God.  (Reference, II Kings 22-23)

While they were searching out the money, they found the “Book of the Law.”  This was the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, written by Moses.  Josiah had the law read to him, and he realized what had happened in his land.  What was the first thing he did?

He inquired of God.  God sent His messenger to tell the scribes and priests what was going to happen.  There would be wrath poured out on Judah, as it had been on Israel (the ten northern tribes), and the land would not be theirs to inhabit anymore.  Others would take their places.  However, because Josiah had a tender heart and wanted to do God’s will, He (God) would not destroy the land until Josiah was dead.

Even though God had already given him what amounted to a pass, Josiah still turned his nation around.  He gathered up the priests and elders, and mad a covenant to the Lord.  He promised that as long as he lived, he would walk after the Lord and keep the commandments, the testimonies, and the covenants which were in the Book of the Law.

He began by getting the idols out of the house of God.  There were vessels there made for the worship of false gods in the temple; he commanded the priests to get rid of them.  They didn’t just take them out and melt them down to reuse the metal; they burned them with fire and spread the ashes.  He didn’t just remove the priests that led the worship of the false idols; he put them down.

He killed them.

He took out the grove, which was a wooden image to a specific god or goddess, probably Ashtoreth, which Solomon had put up for one of his wives.  II Kings 23:7 says, “And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.”  The sodomites were designated by their behavior, not their nationality.  Sodom had been destroyed many centuries at this point.  They were forbidden to help in the worship of the Lord.  Notice, he did not kill or persecute the sodomites; but he also did not allow them to stay where they were.  They were not to have anything to do with the temple worship.

Notice also, the sodomites were associated with idol worship.

Josiah defiled the places where false worship was taking place.  He got rid of the priests that taught false doctrine and led the children of Israel astray.

This is what America has to do.  As Josiah turned to the Lord and turned Israel back to Him, we need to turn back to Christ.  Some say America needs revival; I say that churches need revival.  America is just a country; Christianity survived 1800 years before America got here, and it will survive if America falls.

As Israel did, so do we need to do.

Get rid of those things in our lives that cause us to worship other gods.  Idolitry can be anything; anything that keeps us from worshipping the God of the Bible. Get rid of the “vessels” that cause you to sin.  It could be as simple as the television, or movies, or books, or your computer.  Get people out of your life that cause you to sin.  We all have those friends that don’t like it when we’re in church.  There are sometimes family members that try to pull us down.  Even personalities in the church that might take the place of God in our lives.

In the church we have to get rid of teachers of false doctrine.  Paul tells us in II Timothy 4 about the dangers of those teaching something other than the truth of God’s word.  They don’t care for your soul; many care only for their wallet.  We have to get rid of false teachers.

We need to get rid of those that are in blatant sin.  I’m guessing that when preachers start preaching the truth of God’s word, those people in blatant sin will move themselves out the door, because the pew has suddenly become rather uncomfortable.  Don’t ignore the problem of sin; do something about it.  They need to repent; only then can we bring them back in to the fold.  If they do not repent, admonish them to leave until they get it right.  (Reference: Titus 3:10-11)

Get rid of anything in the church that can lead to idol worship.  New age dogma comes to mind, but really, any teaching that strays from the Word of God.  This includes famous books.  If there is heresy in it, it needs to go.

America’s churches do need revival.  However, revival takes place in the heart of each and every Christian.  We need to have personal revival before we can start to influence others into reviving their hearts towards God.