Excerpts taken from Sermon “We are not Saved” (1/5/2014)
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5)
In this conversation, Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, a deeply devout Pharisee. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night because he didn’t want to be seen with him. Jesus had such a controversial reputation that He didn’t want to be associated with him for the sake of his own religious reputation. However, he had some questions about Truth that only Jesus could answer. Jesus perceived that Nicodemus’ hunger for God is genuine. It’s only to the true seekers that Jesus gave spiritual words. He pointed him in the right direction. He showed him the ONE THING that’s vital to entering the kingdom: vision.
Jesus said, “It’s not about pleasing God with good works. It’s not about being good enough to go to heaven. Behold, the Kingdom of God is now! It is within you now! But you cannot access this Kingdom unless you see with spiritual eyes, because only those who SEE can ENTER.”
Blindness is a handicap that severely hinders your mobility. Have you ever tried running with your eyes closed? Most people have never attempted such a thing, for fear of getting hurt. How about walking with your eyes closed or blindfolded? The only thing that would guide you towards a particular direction is the familiar voice you hear while blindfolded.
Luke 18:35-19:1 tells the story of Jesus healing a blind man on the way to the city of Jericho. A blind man was sitting by the roadside begging when Jesus and his disciples passed by, talking and chatting as men do. The blind man recognized their accents as from out of town. Lacking sight, he needed help identifying who these men were and what they represented. Someone quickly explained that this was Jesus! The raved prophet of God! Son of David! Sent from God!
The blind beggar’s actions, at this point, warrant our recognition. As Jesus was about to pass him by and walk beyond earshot, the blind man shouted frantically: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He shouted and shouted. He was annoying. He was embarrassing. He was disruptive. He was using his loudest “outside voice” and Jesus acted like he didn’t even hear him. He must have shouted for a while, because those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. Even then, he didn’t stop yelling.
But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”
The story ends with a great sense of satisfaction: Jesus healed him right then and there, on His way into the city of Jericho, and the blind man was able to see. Immediately he got out of the wayside and followed Jesus, glorifying God.
This story is beautifully prophetic, especially after you study the key words and their original Greek meaning. It carries significant application for all of us who see quite well with physical eyes, but suffer from spiritual blindness.
“Suffering from spiritual blindness”- not something that Christians readily admit. We talk about how much we DO understand; how much we DO see. But nothing is further from the truth. There is little that we know about God firsthand. We, as a church, have been the blind following the blind. It’s a generational curse as prescribed in Deuteronomy 27:18:
Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.
The curse of the blind leading the blind is generational and unstoppable. One generation of blind leaders cause their blind followers to wander out of the way, which automatically transfer to the next generation of leaders and followers. Jesus said, “And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)
The word “ditch” in the Greek is actually the same word as the word “wayside.” The blind lead the blind by teaching doctrines out of a carnal thought process. Those who lack spiritual understanding sit by the wayside outside of the city of Jericho. Jericho in Greek means “Ruwach,” the city of the “wind of the Spirit, or the breath of God.” When the wind of the Spirit comes, it brings refreshing and understanding. When the breath of God comes, it brings enlightenment, Truth, and a revival of spiritual understanding. Jericho in this story, represents the Kingdom of God.
How many OTHER blind men were sitting by the wayside just outside of Jericho? We don’t know. How many other blind men asked their sighted companions who this Jesus was? The bible doesn’t say. But we know that only one blind man cried out after Him. Only one blind man expressed the desperation of his heart for sight. He never stopped crying out until Jesus stopped the parade and granted his wish.
This story has a powerful moral for all who care to glean from it: We are all blind men, sitting by the wayside/ditch, on our way to Jericho - the city of Ruwach, the Kingdom of God. The potential for entering the kingdom is always staring at us right in the face. The only hindrance is our blindness. We are destined to a life of blindness outside the gates of the Kingdom unless we begin to send forth a blood-curdling cry for help. Jesus said to Nicodemus that although he was a learned Pharisee who studied the scriptures, he was blind and needed sight in order to enter the Kingdom.
The King is passing us by and His opportunity to heal will pass by, unless we cry out for help. He will not be stopped by anything but desperate prayers for sight. It’s time to acknowledge our need. We need sight. We need to throw off our generational blindness and religious deception. We need to see Him with fresh spiritual eyes. We need to follow Him into the city of Ruwach!!
We need to grow in desperation for change. We need to reject our cursed inheritance from blind religious fathers. We need to push aside the status quo. We need to reject the attitude of the Laocidean church which is so prevalent today. Jesus Himself declares how he feels about this attitude: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…” (Rev 3:17).
Unfortunately, we are the generation of the Laocidean church. But we don’t need to passively accept the smug attitude of this generation. Instead, like the blind beggar whom everyone was annoyed with, let us cry out with a vehement desperation to Jesus, the Son of David: “Lord, we admit that we are blind!!! We are wretched, miserable, poor, and naked! We are sitting by the wayside, outside your Kingdom, unable to enter! All because of our own wretched blindness! Please don’t pass us by! Please have mercy, and rescue us from this cursed heritage of blindness! How we desire to enter the Kingdom!! Heal us! We want to follow you into the kingdom! Let the King of Glory come in!”