As promised, I will continue pastor Vasile’s message from Sunday morning. The second half of the message was about spiritual blindness, how to recognize it and either repent of it or avoid it. This is for people who live in a religious society where religion is a part of life, like family, jobs, hobbies etc. when you inherit your religion from your forefathers instead of entering into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. These are 7 signs that you are suffering from spiritual blindness. This comes from the case in John 9 when Jesus healed another blind man.
- When the Word of God is replaced by “traditions” (16). The Pharisees were the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They claimed to be followers of Moses and experts in the Word of God. The problem was that they quickly learned that as sinners they could not be obedient to the Word of God (like following the 10 commandments) so instead of admitting their faults, they just invented their own system of do’s and don’t’s so that they would not have to feel bad for not being able to keep God’s laws. They made up their own traditions and then placed more emphasis on the traditions than on the Word of God. This is why they did not like Jesus, because He was teaching the Word of God and their traditions came in conflict with the Word of God. This is why in verse 16 they accuse Jesus of not keeping the Sabbath. They did not realize that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. They cared more about their rules and regulations than they did about people. They would help an animal out of a ditch on the Sabbath but not a man because that would have been considered work. Or, if a beggar came to your house then you could only give him money if he reached his hand through the door but you could not reach your hand through the door because that would have been considered work. A person who is spiritually blind does not place much emphasis on the Word of God, instead he/she focuses more on the traditions of men which are easier to obey than the Word of God yet at the same time contradict the Word God.
- When a person seeks arguments to annul the authority of the Word of God (18). A person who is spiritually blind will not admit the truth even if it is staring him in the face. I have had many discussions with people who have found so called “mistakes” in the Bible. During the discussions I take them to the source of the so called mistake and explain the context, both Biblical and social/cultural yet as they see the truth with their own eyes, that their argument has no basis they will not admit that they are wrong. Just like the Pharisees, they were not interested in the truth, even when they saw with their own eyes they tried to annul it. Why do they do this? Because if they admit the truth of the Word of God then their lives will have to change and they are very comfortable with the power and position that they have.
- A person who cares more about what others say than about the Word of God (22). The blind man’s parents saw the truth that their son had been healed and they knew that he had been healed by Jesus Christ yet they would not admit it because they feared the religious leaders of the day. In other words, they cared more about what others would say about them instead of what God has to say, instead of standing for the truth. How many people choose not to follow the truth of the Word of God even when they see it for themselves because they are afraid of what might happen to them? They fear the ramifications of this step, for example, what will happen to me at work or at home, etc. etc.?
- A person who is arrogant in his convictions, believing that he knows it all (24). The Pharisees claim to “know” that Jesus is a sinner even though they really do not know anything about Him. They spoke to the blind man like they are all knowing yet in verse 26 they do not know what Jesus did to the man, how He was able to heal him. They contradict themselves in their arrogance. Many people claim that they “know” that the Bible is not from God but just a book written by men even though personally they have never actually studied and analyzed what the Bible teaches nor have they studied the history of the Bible. They usually just have their heads filled with the garbage that someone else has written about the Bible instead of going to the source yet they will talk as if they know the Bible from cover to cover. They are arrogant and talk down to you even though they really do not know the info. And the more they argue and talk the more they begin to contradict themselves.
- A person who does not know the Word of God (29). The Pharisees claimed to be experts in the law of Moses, the first 5 books of the Bible yet Moses spoke many prophesies concerning Jesus and when Jesus stood face to face with them they did not recognize Him. This is proof that they really were not followers of Moses and they did not know the Word of God at all because they focused on their interpretations of the Word of God and their traditions. Are people not the same today? They go to church all of their lives and have no clue what the Word of God actually teaches because they do not study. They just listen to what other people say about the Word or live by their denominations set of traditions.
- A person who self deceives through his religion (34). Do you see what the Pharisees did when they could not answer the blind man and they could not counter his argument? There was a permanent change in this man’s life and instead of accepting their defeat they just kicked him out of the synagogue so they could continue on in their self-deception. When speaking with people who claim that God does not exist, all I do is share how I was before accepting Christ and how my life has been changed which destroys just about anyone’s negative argument about God. Many people choose to believe the teachings of their religion instead of the Word of and when the two come in conflict, instead of leaving the false teachings of their religion and accepting the Truth, they just close the truth and continue on in their self-deception.
- A person who choose not to believe in Christ. The whole problem comes down to what your religion does with the person of Jesus Christ. If you see Him as a great teacher/leader but not God Himself then you are just a religious person living in spiritual blindness. The Pharisees could not humble themselves and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They liked their lives to much to give it all up to follow Jesus. Contrasted with them is Paul, a man who had all of those religious merits yet gave them all up to follow Jesus. What have you done with the person of Jesus Christ? Is He just a good man or is He the Lord and Master of your life?
I pray that this message has spoken to you the way that it spoke to me. God bless you and thank you pastor Vasile for this great message.