17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. – Romans 16:17
From the first century church until now, there have been those who use the Gospel for their own benefit. No matter what size the congregation, satan seems to always have one of his minions involved. Whether they are misleading people for financial gain, power or popularity, the reason really doesn’t matter. We must be aware of anyone whose message doesn’t quite align with the scriptures. Even more dangerous are those whose words ring true but their actions do not agree with what they say. These people are usually easy on the eyes and their speech is very eloquent. It is extremely hard for the flesh to resist them. But, as we have learned, following them leads to death. Sometimes spiritual death, other times both spiritual and physical death. We need to pray for discernment so that we will be aware of these deceivers. We are warned over and over in the Bible that these people will abound more and more as the second coming of our Lord and Savior grows ever nearer.12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.— Jude 12-13
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. — Titus 2:11-14 NIV
When Jesus was born, “the grace of God that brings salvation appeared to all men”. The location and situation may not have been glorious from a human point of view, but from a heavenly point of view it was celebrated. A bright, magnificient star was placed in the sky and His birth was heralded to shepherds by an angel speaking to them. That angel was joined by a host of heavenly angels praising the birth of this Jesus.
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” — Luke 2:13, 14 NIV
I think it is safe to assume that there was a huge party going on in heaven. After all, the Creator of the universe had just fathered a Son. This Son would spend His time teaching us that “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age”. He came in the flesh to give Himself “to redeem us and to purify for Himself His own special people”. These people (Christians) would be zealous to do good works. By His lifestyle and His death, He showed us the true meaning of love. Not just for a day, not just for a season, but every day 24/7/365.25.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.– Acts 10:38 NKJV
That is the example He set for us, to make “doing good” our lifestyle, not just a day or a seasonal event, but the complete and only reason He came to earth. And He is still here living inside us. It wasn’t just for a day or for thirty-three years, it was for eternity.
30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know anything about him! 31 Well, God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Never since the world began has anyone been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t do it.” 34 “You were born in sin!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue. 35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said,”Do you believe in the Son of Man?”—John 9:30-35 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
This blind man that Jesus had healed had become very bold. He tells the Pharisees and the religious leaders that it is strange that they, of all people, would not know something about this man. After all, they were the teachers of the law, they were the shepherds that were supposed to lead and take care of the flock. How could they possibly not know anything about a man who could heal people? He also tells them that God is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. No one has ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. Only a man sent from God could do that. This angered the leaders even more, to the extent that they cast him out of the synagogue, telling him that he had been born in sin. At least, they got that part right.
At this point, the former blind man might have been wondering why the leaders had so many questions and so few answers. He was probably feeling like he needed a friend. But, as always, when we need a friend, Jesus shows up. He is still showing up today. Jesus is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. And, yes, He is still asking us the same question He asked this man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”