8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm. — Psalm 37:8 NLT Psalm 37: 1-9 NLT Considering all that is going on in this country and around the world, this is a very timely message. Every day we see the wasteful results of those that choose to express their anger with violence and illegal acts. God gave us our emotions and one of those is anger. There is an anger that comes from righteous indignation when we see the evil being done to others in our cities across the world. But that anger must be controlled and pointed in the right direction. Our response must be to hate the sin and love the sinner. Unless we are expressing our feelings about sin and evil actions, we should never use the word “hate”. Jesus has set the standard. We are not allowed to pick what we will love or hate, He has already shown us the right way. We are all guilty of allowing our anger to control us at times, so we need to learn to pray before we react to any situation. We must pray for those that have been deceived into thinking that violence is a solution to their issues. Each of us needs to set aside a few minutes of each day to pray about this issue and for praying especially for the cities that we call home.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
We, who have been chosen by God and saved by His gift of Jesus dying on the cross, have a great responsibility to carry the message forward. We have received the commission and we must go forth. Not everyone will be glad to hear the Good News and not everyone will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But that does not relieve us of our responsibility to tell it everywhere we go. We are told that the angels in heaven rejoice greatly when a lost soul comes home. So, let’s make it our goal to keep the angels rejoicing continuously by leading people to Jesus Christ. Then when Jesus welcomes us home, we can just join in the festivities.
24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “Give glory to God by telling the truth, because we know Jesus is a sinner.” 25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” 26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” 27″Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we don’t know anything about him.”—John 9:24-29 (NLT)
Isn’t it strange how confused we get when we don’t know the truth? In verse 24, the Pharisees say “….we know Jesus is a sinner”, then in verse 29, they admit that they know nothing about Jesus. They don’t know the truth, yet they have just instructed this man to “give glory to God by telling the truth.” The man says that he doesn’t know whether or not Jesus is a sinner but he does know for sure that he was blind and now he can see. That was the truth.
When someone attacks our prejudices or a belief that we are not really sure is correct, we very often become angry. This is why the Pharisees were so angry. They stood to lose a lot if the people accepted the truth about Jesus. This could cost them their position and their livelihood. Still today, people become angry at the mention of the name of Jesus. A relationship with anyone requires that we be accountable. In today’s society, people do not want to be held accountable for their beliefs or their actions. It isn’t any fun to face our faults and realize that we need a change in our lives. But that is exactly what we need to do and that is what happens when we meet Jesus. He knows all about us and when we are confronted with the “real” us, sometimes it isn’t very pretty. 12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.—Hebrews 4:12, 13 (NLT)
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. 17 Then the Pharisees once again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “This man who opened your eyes — who do you say he is?” The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.” 18 The Jewish leaders wouldn’t believe he had been blind, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he see?” 20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.”22 They said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.” —John 9:16-23 (NLT)
About Jesus, some said He can’t be from God or He wouldn’t heal on the Sabbath. Others asked: then how can He do these miracles? No ordinary sinner could do this.” So, the discussion goes on and on. The Pharisees asked the former blind man “….who do you say He is?” The leaders called the parents to confirm that this man really had been born blind. They testified that he was their son and yes, he had been born blind. But because of their fear of the Pharisees, they denied knowing who healed him or how he was healed. Instead, they said, “he is old enough to speak for himself, ask him”. How sad that these parents could not celebrate the healing of their son because of their fear. Now, we must ask the same question and answer it for ourselves. “Who do you say He is?” Was he just a man? Or was that baby born in a manger early Christmas morning really the Messiah? That baby grew into a man who divided history to “before” (BC) and “after” (AD). His name still divides families and nations today. But that Man also gave His life so that you could be redeemed and live without fear. Accept Jesus and live a life of peace and joy that the world can never know. “Who do you say He is?”
15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.–1 Timothy 1:15-17 ((NLT)
”I’m too bad to be saved!” “God would never forgive me for the things I have done!” If you have ever done much one-on-one witnessing, I am sure that you have heard these or similar statements. But as we learned yesterday, God has no degrees of sin. To Him, sin is sin. A liar is just as guilty as a murderer. God will and does forgive the “biggest” sinner just as quickly and mercifully as He forgives a “little” sinner. Living a good life will not save you, doing good works will not save you. God’s salvation plan is simple and free, but it is also non-negotiable. There aren’t several ways to get to heaven, there is just one way. Jesus said: “I am THE WAY”. Not one of the ways, but the only way. No matter what our past has been, Jesus stands ready to forgive and restore. The “best’ person in the world needs redemption just as much as the “worst” person. That is what Paul, through the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit is telling us here. We can’t be “bad” enough to not be saved*** and we can’t be “good” enough not to need salvation. The steps to salvation are simple: BELIEVE! RECEIVE! Now, we are on our way to heaven, so just give Him glory and honor!!
***There is only one unforgivable sin and that is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. If you have committed this sin, then your conscience is seared over and you have no concern about sin at any level. If you have committed this sin, the Holy Spirit withdraws from you and God has no way of convicting you of your sinful condition. If there is no conviction, there is no repentance and therefore, there can be no forgiveness of sin.