9 1-12 What Causes Spiritual Blindness
liberty bible church 11/2/08 a.M.
By Tom Zobrist
“what causes spiritual blindness?”
Illus. of “Visibility Zero” On November 30, 1991 fierce winds from a freakish dust storm triggered a massive freeway pileup along Interstate 5 near Coalinga, California. At least 14 people died and dozens more were injured as topsoil whipped by 50 mile-per-hour winds reduced visibility to zero. The afternoon holocaust left a three-mile trail of twisted and burning vehicles, some stacked on top of one another 100 yards off the side of the freeway. Unable to see their way, dozens of motorists drove blindly ahead into disaster. Today in the Word, August 16, 1992
Many in the world today are driving through their lives spiritually in a similar way. They are running full speed headlong into a disaster of epic proportions and they don’t even realize it. They are blind and aimless and fail to recognize the cause or the cure. What cause them to be in such a condition and what can be done to help them?
OPEN to the passage.
Prop. In this passage, Jesus cures a man of spiritual blindness and in the process reveals the spiritual blindness of many others.
Open in PRAYER.
PREVIEW the passage. It’s been a month since we have been in John. I hope you’ve enjoyed the mission’s emphasis we have had recently, especially the unplanned bonus week last week. Jesus had been in a confrontation with the religious leaders at the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles. He had claimed to be God and Messiah, which claims provoked the Jews into a murderous frenzy. As we move on in John 9, He demonstrates His deity with some miraculous works and in the process reveals the spiritual blindness of many. What causes spiritual blindness? First, spiritual blindness can be caused by people…
i. misunderstanding God’s Purpose vs. 1-5
Illus. of many Christians assume every trial in life to be a judgment from God. Although God at times does judge sin, there are many reasons for suffering in Scripture that have nothing to do with sin of the person involved. I.e. Job. That is the assumption of the Jews here.
a. God allows trials
V 1 1. An important fact is revealed here. He was born with this problem. His blindness was not a result of illness or injury. Therefore, it is assumed that the parents play an integral part.
V 2 2. Sin can be a cause of suffering. Cf. Jn. 5:14; Num. 12; 1 Cor. 11:30; James 5:15 However, it doesn’t have to always be the case. Cf. 2 Cor. 12:7; Gal. 4:13 It’s interesting that the disciples automatically jumped to this conclusion. Illus. of we assume when we see someone being arrested that they broke the law. However, they are innocent until proven guilty. In Jesus’ culture, many would have jumped to this conclusion. But…
V 3 3. Although sin can cause suffering and trials, it was not the case here. God’s sovereign plan and program sometimes take us through suffering. Once again, Job is an example here. Sin on the part of the parents or young man was not the cause of this man’s blindness. God had something more planned.
b. god enables us to deal with trials
V 4a 1. This verse refers to the time that Jesus is on the earth with His disciples. Jesus is still the light of the world but shines differently through His people. He shined the brightest when He walked on the earth.
V 4b 2. This refers to the time that Jesus was taken out of the world at His crucifixion and before the HS came. While it was day, Jesus would do amazing things through men like this blind man.
V 5 3. At his juncture, Jesus was the only light. He was the spiritual light to all and He was going to be the physical light to this blind man.
Trans. One reason many people are spiritually blind is that they MISUNDERSTAND GOD’S PURPOSE. CHRISTIANITY BRINGS ETERNAL LIFE, God allows trials and they don’t always have to be caused by sin. He enables us to deal with them so that He ultimately fulfills His grand, sovereign purpose. A second reason why many are spiritually blind is…
ii. misunderstanding God’s plans vs. 6-7
Illus. of spitting in baseball. It is gross and serves no apparent purpose. Many feel the same way about the trials of life. What good can God do with a trial?
a. God’s plans can appear disgusting
V 6 1. God used dirt to fashion the first man, but here mixes it with saliva.
2. If any doctor wanted to do this to me, I would question His methods.
b. god’s plans followed bring results
V 7a 1. Jesus tells him to wash in the lower pool. Siloam means “Sent.” Water was “sent” here from the Kidron Valley through Hezekiah’s tunnel. Several weeks ago we talked about priests coming here to get water for special ceremonies during the Feast of Tabernacles.
V 7b 2. The whole program would have broken down here had the man failed to obey. Who wouldn’t want to wash after this process. He goes and returns seeing. He simply does what Jesus asks Him to and God works. The same can be true today. If we fail to obey God’s Word, we will be spiritually blind and many times misunderstand God’s plans.
Trans. Spiritual blindness can be caused by MISUNDERSTANDING GOD’S PURPOSE or MISUNDERTANDING GOD’S PLANS. Finally, it can lead to…
iii. misinterpreting god’s production vs. 8-12
Illus. of the show “How They Do It” or “How It’s Made?” It’s amazing how some products are manufactured and the machines that do the work. And it happens so fast! It really is amazing, to me. But to the guy that invents the process and makes it happen everyday, it’s not quite as amazing. Our bodies and their intricate workings are amazing to us, but to God, creating or fixing them is no big deal. These people struggled with this concept.
A. The world wants to complicate God’s production
V 8 1. A man born blind in this day would have been well-known to the community. The only way he could have survived would have been to be a beggar. Even though he had parents, he evidently had to beg to survive. He would have been known in his neighborhood. That’s why people recognized him as the beggar. At least they thought they did.
V 9 2. Three different responses are given here. Some said this is he. Of course it is. They recognized him. Others said he looked like the blind man but this was someone different. The man himself said, “I am he.” I am the one. I was blind. This brought more questions.
V 10 3. “O.k. How were your eyes opened then?”
b. “How they do it” or “How God does it” is more simple than people expect
V 11 1. He gives a personal testimony of exactly what happened to him. It seems to simple, but yet that is many times how God works. Illus. of our personal testimonies. We are convicted of our sin and realize that we trust in Christ alone and we are saved. Our spiritual eyes are opened. That is the Gospel. It is simple but that is how people are changed; born again.
V 12 2. Where is this man? They want to know. That is where we must stop for today. But this account gets even better. It is one of my favorites in the Gospels.
Spiritual blindness can be caused by MISUNDERSTANDING GOD’S PURPOSE, MISUNDERTANDING GOD’S PLANS, or MISUNDERSTANDING GOD’S PRODUCTION. How’s our spiritual vision today? Do we see God working around us? If not, why?
1. Perhaps we’ve never been born again. GOSPEL
2. Perhaps we’re out of God’s will and not in His plan. Sin can cause this condition or it can be caused because we struggle with accepting God’s lot in life for us; some trial perhaps. That leads us to…
3. Maybe God is working and we just don’t like the product. We want him to do something different. We don’t like the direction He is heading and may be tempted not to follow.
4. Use the Bible to view life through. Have a Biblical world view.
Illus. of losing the World Series was nothing in eternity. Having the proper spiritual vision helps us to keep the day-to-day activities of life in perspective.
Let’s look at life through a Biblical perspective. We’ll have a clear purpose and plan and the product God brings forth will be His work for His glory.
“what causes spiritual blindness?”
In this passage, Jesus cures a man of spiritual blindness and in the process reveals the spiritual blindness of many others.
i. misunderstanding God’s vs. 1-5
a. God allows______________________
Cf. Jn. 5:14; Num. 12; 1 Cor. 11:30; James 5:15; 2 Cor. 12:7; Gal. 4:13
b. god enables us to…
ii. misunderstanding God’s vs. 6-7
a. God’s plans can appear ___________________
b. god’s plans _________________ bring results
iii. misinterpreting god’s ___________________ vs. 8-12
A. The world wants to _________ God’s product
b. “How they do it” or “How God does it” is…
How’s our spiritual vision today?