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John 14:9-10 NLT – Jesus replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.”
God is revealed through Jesus.
If we want to know God, then we need to get to know Jesus. And thankfully there are four entire books of the Bible dedicated to the life of Jesus. We call them the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Through this series, we are working through the book of John and observing the way of Jesus. What we’re finding out is that the way of Jesus is different.
Last week, we learned how to discern truth from lies. Since we are living in the age of great deception, it’s something we all need to understand. And actually, it’s really simple.
To discern truth from lies, pursue God’s will above all else.
In John chapter 7, Jesus teaches us that when we are pursuing God’s will, we will know if what we hear is truth or lies. If we put God first and look to His word first, we will not get caught up in the deception.
This is why I only listen to people who are pursuing God’s will. I don’t care how expert they are, how educated they are, or how popular they are. If they don’t publicly elevate God above themselves, they speak more lies than truth.
Most of our government and media is full of people who elevate themselves above God. They’ve convinced us we should listen to them because they are so expert, and educated, and experienced, and popular. But notice all those things have to do with elevating self, not God.
Our country is being led and deceived by the spiritually blind.
When you are deceived, you don’t even know it. That’s why it’s called deception. If you want to guard yourself from deception, ignore all the people I just mentioned and turn to God. Get in His Word. Look to Him for truth.
This often leads into the argument, “Well, Kade, we’re not supposed to judge people. You shouldn’t say such things about all these popular people.”
And Jesus addressed this for us last week. He never told us not to judge anyone, anytime for any reason. What He told us was to judge ourselves first so we can see clearly to judge the things around us.
We are to judge with righteous judgement.
We don’t sit back while our government passes laws that promote sin and suppress righteousness. We get involved! We speak truth with love.
We invade government, education, business, and entertainment with the Kingdom of God. We show up as the army of God and destroy evil.
Talking about these things can feel a little uncomfortable, but that’s what the fire of God feels like. Being purified isn’t exactly a fun experience, but it’s worth the outcome: freedom.
I left last week so relieved, so free. It was like I had a spiritual baby. Something broke in the spirit last week. It was a catalyst service and I look forward to seeing the results of it.
Example of Righteous Judgement
After all this talk about righteous judgement in John chapter 7, Jesus uses a real life example in the very next chapter to drive it all home. He wants to make sure that we get this.
This is a story that you might have heard before, but you are probably going to see something new in it today.
The story starts with Jesus going to the temple early one morning. As usual, people came to join Him, so Jesus took the opportunity to teach them.
And then right there, in the middle of the church service, the Pharisees do something very odd. They bring in a woman who they had caught in the act of adultery.
In other words, they walked in on her being intimate with someone other than her husband, dragged her out and put her right there before Jesus for all to see.
Then they said, “Hey, Jesus. The law of Moses says that we should stone her to death because of her sin. What do you say?” They were using this woman to try to trap Jesus into saying something that could be used against Him.
What do you do when asked a tough question?
Y’all remember how this same technique was used last year to get you to say something stupid about racism? If you said the wrong thing, you were racist. If you didn’t say anything at all, you were racist. Remember?
Well, I wish I would have visited this story back then because Jesus is about to show us how to handle a situation like this. What did Jesus do when asked this tough question? He stooped down and began to write in the dirt.
He didn’t give into the pressure to respond immediately. He didn’t start yelling at them. He didn’t run off in intimidation. Nope. He disengaged for a minute and gathered His thoughts by writing.
How many of you have found out that, when you are upset, if you take time to write out your thoughts before you speak them, you have a much better response?
While Jesus was writing on the ground, they kept badgering Him for a response. Even so, He didn’t respond until He was ready. And here’s what He said:
John 8:7 NKJV – He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.
Genius! Jesus was always so sly – so wise – in His response. He could disarm a tense discussion in no time by saying something that would literally stun everyone who was listening.
This reveals something about following Jesus:
To follow Jesus, I must respond slowly.
Don’t respond with the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t respond when you’re pressured to respond. Instead, take time to write your thoughts down and allow God to put together the right response for every situation.
This must be what James was talking about:
James 1:19 NLT – Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
This is exactly what Jesus did. He was quick to listen, but slow in His response. And I’m sure He could have got upset about how the Pharisees interrupted the church service and humiliated this woman, but He didn’t.
He took His time and delivered the most amazing response, “Whoever is without sin, go ahead and throw the first stone.”
So, what happened? The room got silent and everyone walked away. Not a stone was thrown at this woman.
Finally, it was just Jesus and this woman left in the room. Now she is one-on-one with the only One who is without sin and what does He do? He could have thrown stones, but He didn’t. Instead, here’s what He says:
“I don’t condemn you either. Your sin? Really not a big deal. I know you’re only human, so just try not to do it anymore.” -Not Jesus
It sounds silly to read this out loud. Yet, it’s how so many Christians interpret this story. They think, “Well, Jesus didn’t stone the woman caught in adultery. And my sin is not as bad as hers. So it must not be a big deal.”
What a destructive way of thinking! Why are we so obsessed with trying to bend scripture to make sin okay? Shouldn’t we instead be searching scripture to figure out how to be free and how to free others from sin?
Now let’s look at what Jesus actually said to this woman:
John 8:11 NKJV – Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.
Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t condemn us for our sin. That’s good news if I’ve ever heard it. But He also doesn’t give us an excuse to sin. He says, “Sin no more.”
He didn’t say, “Do you best not to sin” or “Stay away from the big sins” or “Don’t worry about it. Every now and then is okay.” No. That’s not what He said at all.
Jesus says, “Sin no more.” Be done with it! Get away from it! Be free from the bondage of sin! Why? Because Jesus gives you the power to do so.
This is really like a two-edged sword. First Jesus cuts off the condemnation and then He cuts off the sin.
Don’t accept the counterfeit. The counterfeit frees you from condemnation so that you can supposedly be free to sin if you want to. But that’s not what Jesus did. Jesus freed you from condemnation and He also freed you from sin.
This reveals something else about following Jesus:
To follow Jesus, I must help others find freedom from sin.
I don’t condemn them. I don’t fuss at them. I don’t reject them. I also don’t lie to them. I don’t advocate for their sin. I don’t tell them it’s no big deal.
Instead, I speak the truth in love. I lead them to Jesus. And I have the hard conversations while trusting God that my words, even when they’re hard to hear, will help lead them into freedom so they can go and sin no more.
In case you are having a hard time wondering if this really is the right approach, if Jesus really does want us to lead people out of sin, Jesus makes it really clear for us in the very next verse:
John 8:12 NKJV – I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
Jesus Argues with the Pharisees (Again)
At this point, of course the Pharisees pipe up. It’s quite predictable now that they will always have a rebuttal to what Jesus is teaching. It’s nothing new this time. They try to get people to believe that Jesus is not the Son of God.
I really feel sorry for these guys at this point. They’ve seen Jesus do miracles. They’ve heard His amazing teaching. They spent time with Jesus in the flesh. And yet, they were still bent on elevating their own knowledge over Jesus.
I think Jesus about had enough at this point because He says something that the soft, permissive American church is going to have a really hard time with. He tried to be nice. He tried to share the truth through stories. But now He is just going to lay it all out there plain and clear:
John 8:24 NKJV – I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.
That’s the plain truth, my friends. If you choose not to believe in Jesus, you will die in your sins. But, if you choose to believe in Jesus, you will be free from your sins and receive eternal life.
When Jesus delivered this plain truth to the Pharisees, they were quite stunned. The only response they had was, “Who are you?”
This was like the hundredth time they had asked Jesus this question and He answered it again. He told them, “I am the Son of God. I was sent by my Father and I only do the things that please Him.”
At this point, I am starting to wonder why Jesus spends so much time arguing with the Pharisees. Clearly, they aren’t going to get it. He’s told them over and over again and there’s absolutely no progress.
Remember, He even just came out and said it: “You’re going to die in your sins; for if you do not believe I am the Son of God, you will die in your sins.”
So why does Jesus keep arguing with the Pharisees? Here’s why:
John 8:30 NKJV – As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.
Jesus wasn’t arguing with the Pharisees to try to convince them. He was doing it for everyone else who was listening.
Arguing on Facebook
I had my fair share of arguments last year on Facebook. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. I prefer to be patient, observe the crowd, and learn from their mistakes. This gets you in trouble with the crowd.
I didn’t buy into the hype of the pandemic. I didn’t buy into the hype that everyone is racist. It’s not that I don’t think there’s not a virus or that there aren’t racial issues that need to be solved. I just take time to hear from God and gather my thoughts instead of doing what everyone else is doing.
Turns out, this makes me quite unpopular on social media. Every time I would post something contrary to the mainstream school of thought, there were plenty of people to show up for a comment fight.
There were many of these threads that I did not steward well. I found myself trying to defend my own reputation rather than defending the truth. That’s when it went south.
The emotional trauma of fighting for my reputation became too much to handle, so I went silent. And I needed to go silent because I had to learn to defend the truth without my reputation getting in the way.
Should I just stay silent?
In my silence, the Holy Spirit was leading me not to stay silent, but to learn to share the truth without concern of what people would think about me. This is a challenging thing to do because, just like you, I want people to like me.
On top of this, the arguments never get anywhere. No matter how clever my response is, the person I’m arguing with is never convinced. It’s just back and forth and back and forth with no resolution.
When you look at the outcome, you think, “You know, maybe I just shouldn’t say anything.” But what if Jesus would have backed down from the Pharisees? What would have happened to all the people who were listening?
With all the arguments between Jesus and the Pharisees, Jesus never convinced them. But there were always people listening and they believed because of what they heard.
When you defend the truth on Facebook, or anywhere else, the person you argue may never be convinced. But there are many others who read your conversation. And they believe because you took a stand for the truth.
So, from Jesus arguing with the Pharisees over and over again, here’s what we learn:
To follow Jesus, I must keep on speaking the truth.
About a year ago, when all things COVID were hitting the fan, the Holy Spirit revealed something to me and I didn’t like it. So I didn’t share it with anyone except Beth and a few others.
I was listening to them predict that 2.2 million people would die in the US from COVID. That’s why we shut down businesses and kept away from our families and stopped going to church and started wearing a mask.
When I heard this prediction, I was thinking, “Wow. This is serious.” And almost immediately, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that more people would be harmed by the vaccine than the virus.
Y’all this was before a vaccine was even in the works yet. So that’s another reason I kept quiet. People would have definitely thought I was crazy.
Truth about the COVID Vaccine
But here we are today and people are running to the vaccine like it’s their savior. An injection, produced in record time. We don’t even know the risks and side effects involved, yet it has become more trusted than the Word of God.
So now we have a virus so deadly most people don’t know they have it and a vaccine so safe you have to be threatened and pressured to take it.
I don’t follow the crowd anyway, and I am definitely not following the crowd on this one. I am watching to observe the outcome. Plus, the Holy Spirit already warned me and now I am warning you.
Separate yourself from everyone who is promoting the vaccine and get alone with God. I’m not going to make this decision for you, because you are more than capable of pursuing the will of God.
Don’t give into the pressure. Don’t give into the shaming. Don’t make a decision because everyone else is doing this, or because you are afraid of what people will think if you don’t do this.
Get with God and listen to His instruction.
You need to learn to discern truth for yourself. Jesus already told us how to do that. You simply pursue God. He even says it another way so we’re sure to get it:
John 8:31-32 NKJV – If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Abide in His Word. Love His Word. Instead of reading news articles online, read His Word. Instead of listening to people who don’t elevate God, listen to people who you know are pursuing the will of God.
When you seek God first, above all else – above your pastor, above what you read on social media, above what you hear on the news, above Dr. Fauci – then, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
The truth will set you free.
Interestingly, Jesus was saying this to a group of people who already believed in Him. You’d think they would receive it with gladness, but they actually argued with it. They said, “We’re not in bondage. How can you say we will be made free?”
So many Christians are in the same predicament. They don’t even realize they need freedom because they’re so caught up in themselves. They think because they are part of the woke crowd they’ve already found freedom.
We want it to be more complicated than it really is. We want a more sophisticated solution. But there is only one solution. Abide in God’s Word. Love His Word. Spend time in His Word. Follow His Word.
Jesus tells us this over and over and over again. I tell you this over and over and over again. The Word of God is truth. It’s the only way you can discern truth from lies. It’s the only way to truly know God. That’s why Jesus says:
John 8:51 NKJV – Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.
In other words, you can’t just hear His word and read His word – you have to DO His word. That’s something we can all see. I don’t know how much you are reading and listening to His Word. But I can tell if you are doing it or not.
After Jesus was done explaining this to everyone, they weren’t exactly excited about His message. Actually they picked up stones to throw at Him. They were so mad they would have killed him.
Maybe you feel the same way about me right now. If there was something you could throw at me, you would. And well, I’m not here to tickle your ears. I’m not even here to make you happy.
My assignment as your pastor is to lead you into all truth. I’m here to protect you from the enemy’s attempts to deceive you, to steal from you, to destroy you. And I care about you too much to hide the truth, even when it hurts.
Wash and See
Back to the story of Jesus. Even after days and days of sharing the truth and trying to convince people, they still weren’t getting it. The deception was so thick, they couldn’t even see truth standing right in front of them.
But Jesus didn’t give up on them. He taught them first. And now He is going to use a miracle to demonstrate what He’s been talking about.
John 9:1-3 MSG – Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
What a ridiculous question, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
The man was BORN blind. And they’re asking if his sin caused his blindness. He didn’t have a chance to sin before He was blind! He was BORN blind!
I guess it could be his parents fault, but look at what Jesus says:
John 9:1-3 MSG – Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
Does sin cause sickness?
How many of you, when you get sick, start wondering what you did wrong to deserve the sickness? Stop that nonsense. The enemy likes to use that lie to keep you from getting healed.
When it comes to sin, all you have to do is turn away from it and receive forgiveness through Jesus. Then it’s like it never happened.
Seriously. Even if you smoked all your life and ended up with lung cancer. Turn from your sin, receive forgiveness, and then receive healing in your body. Even when it’s your fault, Jesus still wants to heal you. You just have to believe.
That was a little side road, but someone needed to hear it. Now back to the story. Jesus comes up on a man who had been blind from birth. Not his fault. Not his parent’s fault. But let’s see what God can do.
Jesus spits in the dirt to make some mud. He then anoints the blind man’s eyes with the mud and tells him to go wash it off.
Keep in mind, this man had no idea who Jesus was. From his perspective, this is some strange man doing the strangest thing… rubbing spit mud on his eyes.
As strange as it is, the man was obedient. He goes and washes off the mud and comes back completely healed. He had never seen before, but now he had his full sight.
When I was studying for this message, the Holy Spirit opened my spiritual eyes to understand the significance of this miracle for the first time and it was so beautiful I was in tears.
The Meaning of the Miracle
The blind man represents all the people he had been sharing truth with, but they couldn’t see the truth because they were spiritually blind.
The mud represents the flesh. The reason these people were so deceived is because they were so caught up in their physical world.
Today, this would be the person who gets up just in time for work. They rush to work, hurry through the day, and get home exhausted. They sit down on the couch and watch the news, or something on Netflix, or their favorite reality show. They go to bed and do the same thing tomorrow.
They do go to church most Sundays and figure that should be enough to be a good person and to let God know they think about Him at least once per week.
The mud represents the flesh, when you get so caught up in this life that you don’t prioritize God. Instead of seeking Him first, you are seeking Him occasionally when you have time for it.
Now you have a layer of mud over your eyes that keeps you from discerning truth.
The water represents the Word of God. When you wash yourself with the Word of God, you come back seeing. The Word of God washes away the cares of this life and everything becomes clear.
This is what Jesus is inviting you to do today. Wash the mud off your eyes so you can see. In other words:
To follow Jesus, I must wash with God’s Word.
Let me tell you what is going to happen if you decide to do this. You will lose your desire to watch TV shows and movies that are destructive to your walk with God. You’ll find out that most news is about 20% truth and 80% lies.
You will lose interest in the petty things of life and desire God’s will above all else. You’ll know when to say no to good opportunities so you can say yes to only the things that God has planned for you.
Washing with the water of God’s Word is going to enable you to see your God-given purpose with clarity. You’ll no longer be wandering around without purpose. You’ll know God’s assignment for you right now.
Jesus is inviting you to wash the mud off your eyes so you can see. If this is something you desire, ask Jesus right now to wash you with His Word.