Message for Leeming March 22nd 2020
John 9:1-41; Ephesians 5: 8 -14; 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Do you see the light?
There are many kinds of blindness, colour blindness, tunnel vision, short sighted, long sighted. Varying degrees of blindness. There is also psychological blindness where a person cannot or will not see certain things; their eyes are ok but their mind blocks things out.
Then there is spiritual blindness. This is when people cannot or will not see (acknowledge their spiritual condition or need).
One often hearts people say “show me God and I will believe”. But even if or when God does appear or show himself they still will not believe they have chosen not to believe.
There are many things in our world we cannot see visually, but we know they exist. Radio waves, radiation, gravity for example. We believe they exist because they have been explained to us. Scientist tell us ‘Black Holes’ exist we believe them. But no matter how much we present a reasonable explanation for the existence of God and the spiritual. There will be those who will not believe.
1 Corinthians 4:4 says “The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”
Physical blindness must be debilitating for people, yet they cope and live active, fruitful lives with dignity. But no matter how well they cope
Being blind seriously effects the way they live. This is also true of spiritual blindness. People who are spiritually blind don’t know they are, that’s part of their blindness.
Spiritual blindness also disables people but the worst thing about spiritual blindness is that it is fatal.
Often preaching the Gospel is like telling a blind person they are walking into danger. They don’t know if what you say is true until it’s too late.
Our reading from Ephesians 5 talks about the fruitless deeds of darkness. Paul is talking about the life of the Ephesian Christians
Once lived. When they came to faith in Christ they did not simple come into the light they became part of that light. Before they came to faith in Christ, he says “They were once darkness (not in darkness)”
This more than just blindness this is choosing to live in the shadows, hiding from the light so that one true self will not be exposed.
But Paul says now live as Children of light.
What are children of Light? How do we live as children of light?
There are special sticklers that kids have on their wall and ceilings. When these stickers are exposed to light they absorb the light, and when it gets dark they glow. As we expose ourselves to Gods light as Christians, we absorb the light of God, his truth and the Holy Spirit we reflect –emit that light that has become part of us . Paul talks about the fruit of the light. The image here is of fruit or a harvest that ripens in the sunlight. The light of God produces and ripens Christian Character
But the light of Gods Spirit and truth also exposes sin and un-Godliness
Everybody claims to be good. Many people claim to be as good as any of those church going people. But it’s one thing to claim that before people who don’t know you. It’s another thing to claim that before God,
who knows our inner most thoughts, our actions and our deepest secrets. .It also reveals they don’t know what going to church is about.
I don’t go to church because I think I’m better than others I go to church because I need Gods help to be better than I am.
We need to make an important distinction between religious behaviour and Christian Character. Of course Christian are religious in the sense that they have a set of beliefs and practices. But often religion is a set of activities or rituals and behaviours that seek to appease God or placate God. Too often religious activity can be used to hide our true spiritual condition. That’s why Jesus called the Pharisees white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones. They looked good on the outside but were dead on the outside, the light of Gods Holy Spirit exposes our inward heart condition. As the Prophet Samuel said “God does not look at what humans look at, God looks at the heart.”
I had a vision once that I was dressed in dirty rags, filthy and hiding in the shadows fearful that people would see me. Near me was a circle of light, like a spot light you might see on a dark stage. The light was Gods light and God was inviting me, urging me to step into the light. I was resistant and fearful at first that my dirty condition be exposed.
But God lovingly drew me as I stepped into the light and an amazing thing happened. The light not only exposed my rags and dirty condition
But it was actually cleaning me inwardly and outwardly.
Instead of rags I was covered with a white shining robe of righteousness. Gods desire is not simply expose our sin and weakness but to forgive and cleanse us to heal and purify us.
The light does not expose to condemn but to cleanse.
In the Gospel story of the man blind from birth and healed by Jesus we see how the healing of the blind man of his physical blindness exposed the Pharisees spiritual blindness, Not only could this man now see physically he understood spiritually who Jesus was or at least where the source of Jesus power came from.
John 3:19-21 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God”.
When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees after healing the blind man he virtually says they are worse than blind because they chose to be blind (or refuse to see) This is more than just blindness this is choosing to live in the shadows, hiding from the light so that one’s true self will not be exposed.
Repentance and confession is really standing in the spot light of Gods
Spirit. To have our sin dealt with we must be willing to let it be exposed, at leased to God.
1 John 1: 5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Love Understanding Compassion