Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Thursday, September 21, 2017
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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                                                                                                                                                                                      September 19, 2017

 

And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains."

~John 9:39-41

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                I got glasses when I was around 9 years old. I fought that for as long as I possibly could. In my juvenile insecurity, I heard all the things that people might say about me. “Hey, four-eyes. Look at the geek. What a nerd! Coca-Cola called and wants their bottles back.” I was petrified about the prospect of being a person with glasses, but I couldn’t see. I found myself squinting and forcing my ailing eyes to make sense of the writing on the schoolroom chalkboard. I was frowning every time I’d read because I couldn’t see. Even for me, you eventually get to a point where you just can’t deal with the consequences anymore and I embraced my glasses (until I got contacts and could, literally, throw the glasses into the ocean). I didn’t like having to admit my reality and I liked even less having to wear those glasses, but the benefit of admission was something that outweighed everything else for me.

                I find in that experience somewhat of a metaphor for how we live our lives spiritually speaking. None of us like to admit that we have frailties and that we at times have fallen. Somewhere along the way Satan has convinced us that we really can handle things, fix things, and endure things on our own. And we might even concoct noble excuses why we don’t turn to the Lord. How many of us haven’t thought (or said) at one point or another, “The Lord has more important things to worry about. I can handle THIS on my own.” But nothing can be more contrary to the practice of faith in our lives. When the Lord came into our hearts, He came in knowing full well the strengths and weaknesses He would find. He knew with perfect clarity the successes and the failures that you and I would have over the course of our lives with Him. And not once has He rejected us out of hand when we’ve called upon Him. Why then do we persist in this notion that we can do things on our own, or that we really don’t have a problem?

                Our passage today follows on the heels of a great miracle Jesus did when He saw a man who was blind from birth. His disciples questioned Him as to the cause of this man’s blindness, but Jesus points to the opportunity for God to be glorified in spite of the blindness. There is not an accusation from Jesus, but the opportunity to see the power of God worked out in this man’s life. So the first point in our discussion today is this: perhaps we need to start seeing our frailties and failures differently. Maybe God wants us to view them as opportunities to praise Him for what He does through them and in spite of them. I can’t help but to think of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” right here. Whatever it was that was afflicting Paul, he prayed three times that God would take it away. But the Lord affirms the sufficiency of His grace rather than the removal of the infirmity. In essence, God says, “I will help you THROUGH it rather than to keep you FROM it.” And there is purpose in that decision. Paul concludes that he is now able to BOAST in his infirmities rather than to try to deny them. For it is then that the power of Christ might rest fully upon him (2 Cor. 12:9-10). The devil wants to deceive us into believing that fault overwhelms the opportunity for God to receive glory from your life. But Jesus says in John 9:3 that those infirmities are opportunities for God to reveal His works through us.

                There is another portion of this story that is extremely important for us to understand. The infirmity of this blind man (and his subsequent healing) was not embraced by the very ones who ought to have glorified God the most. Instead, they ended up castigating this man and excommunicating him from the synagogue as a worshiper of Jesus. As bad as this rejection hurt, the overcoming of his blindness by the Lord Jesus Christ was of much more importance. Knowing what God had done for him allowed this man to stand up against some of the most learned, self-righteous people the world has ever produced. And I love the calm confidence that this blind man has about the situation: “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see” (9:25).  The only thing…yea the most important thing…that this man held to was the reality of what Jesus had done to him in spite of his blindness. The Light of the world had come to him, touched him, and made him whole. That was the reality of all realities. Suddenly this man could evangelize the multitudes because he had been touched by God. He was no longer the broken, blind man that was led around by the hand. This man stood before all and declared what God had done for him. And he knew the reality of his healing more than anyone else! Folks, you know what the Lord has done to you. No one has to confirm what God is doing inside of you – you already know it! His Spirit has revealed that truth to you and you cannot silence the voice of truth inside. Sure the devil will try to convince you that you are mistaken, that God really didn’t heal you of your spiritual blindness, but you know the truth. Rather than to shrink back in shame from what you’ve been healed from, let us boldly proclaim as this man did on this day: “Lord, I believe” (9:38).

                But there is a corollary point to this one. There are going to be those who just ain’t gonna get it. I don’t know how the transition takes place from genuine worshiping to stubborn self-righteousness, but I know it does and I know it happens often. Let this parable be a warning to you: it NEVER works out for the self-righteous fools who fail to glorify God for His marvelous goodness. These men could not see through this blind man’s eyes, but they should not have denied the change that had taken place. He wasn’t stumbling around. He wasn’t feeling for walls and testing the ground. This man was seeing as clearly as if he’d done it every day of his life. But even if he didn’t display those traits, they ought to have received his testimony by faith and glorified God. Now, let’s move away from blindness and consider, say someone who has received Christ or someone who has repented of sin. Do we REALLY presume to know the content of someone’s heart in these matters? You’d better not, for the Lord reminds us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it” (Jer. 17:9). It is hard enough to know our own hearts, much less to presume on someone else’s. How many lives have been permanently injured because the church and the people of God failed to believe that God’s work is powerful enough to forgive even THAT person or THAT sin? You run a tremendous gamble when you judge someone else’s sincerity when you’ve not been able to see what’s going on in their hearts. And how dare any of us deny the true work of the Lord in someone simply because it doesn’t fit into our theological boxes OR it doesn’t benefit us for that to be true! (Let’s be realistic – many of these men denied simply because they didn’t want to lose their way of life – truly sad.) You and I are not called to judge the truthfulness of someone else’s words without real discernment from the Spirit. Instead, let us trust God enough to make ourselves vulnerable on the chance that God really does still make blind men to see.

                The final point brings everything back to where we started. Imagine how differently the story would have been if this man had denied his blindness. There he was on that day staring with milky, blind eyes into nothingness. The piercing sun did not affect his countenance not one iota because he couldn’t see it. He would have held to the walls and tested every surface to make sure he wouldn’t have fallen. Imagine this man if he’s have denied his blindness before the Lord. “Dear soul, I am the Light of the world, and I have come that men might see the glory of God. Do you want me to cure your blindness?” “Blindness? What blindness? I have no blindness!” “Sir, I perceive that you cannot see since you’re looking at a person who is NOT speaking to you. I know that you are blind, and I can give you sight. Will you receive this gift from My hands?” “I appreciate the offer, good sir, but as I’ve told you already, I am not blind. There is no need for the healing.” You and I both know how he would have left from that place on that day – persistently blind in spite of the power of God.

                Yet so many of us do that. Certainly not about physical blindness (we’d go to the doctor in a minute if we woke up unable to see). We do it more regarding the spiritual blindness and infirmities that we have. “We’re not blind,” the Pharisees say to Jesus.  And therefore their sin remains (9:41). All it would have taken for healing would be for them to admit that they had a problem. They might not have known what the problem really was, but they most definitely knew there was some kind of a problem. Ignoring or denying it didn’t make it go away; it only made things worse. Here was the cure standing before them and they refused His healing. Why? Pride. They knew what they stood to lose if Jesus was real. They didn’t want those that they’d ministered over for the last decades to look at them as being hypocrites. It was better to continue the façade than it was to receive the healing they desperately needed. They were no better than the Laodiceans who believed they could provide everything they needed for themselves (Rev. 3:17-18). So let us consider their fate: they kept their privileged pride for a little while longer only to lose it all in the end. Truly Jesus spoke when He asked, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). They lost it all by trying to hold onto the lies they’d built around themselves. What a senseless tragedy…

                Let us not be guilty of the same thing, brothers and sisters in Christ. Sure, we all want people to believe that we’ve got it all together and that we’re impervious to temptation and failure. Only problem is you’re not! None of us are immune to failure. In fact, just the opposite. The more we’re convinced that we are impervious, the closer we are to falling. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). It is far better for us to cry out to the Lord and then celebrate His forgiveness and healing with the body of Christ. That doesn’t mean that we must tell all in an effort to exalt Him. No, simply tell your story for His glory. That’s all that is required. But by all means, don’t pretend that you aren’t still blind in some areas. It is only in that refusal and denial that the Spirit of God finds closed doors and impossibilities. This man’s story is included for all of us today not because he did it on his own, but because he allowed the Lord to cure the sickness inside of him. The burdens he bore were not nearly as important as the healing he sought, and he stands even today as a testimony to God’s power. Perhaps the Lord is still writing that story today. What would your chapter be like? It’s worth thinking about!

 

                Have a blessed week!

 

                         ~Bro. Benjamin

 

Previous Postings                                                                           This Week's Sermons
September 19
September 5

August 29
August 22                                                                                               September 17 (AM)
August 15                                                                                                   "Know Your Enemy"
August 8                                                                                                 Ephesians 6:10-13
July 25                                                                                                             
July 18                                                                                                     September 17 (PM)
July 4
                                                                                                                 "First Things First"
June 27                                                                                                               Ephesians 1:1-6
June 6                                                             
May 23                                                                                                    
May 16                                                                                                     September 20 (WED) - Acts 2:42  
May 9                                                                                                     
April 30                                                                                                     
April 25                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                                             
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page
 

September 17 (AM) "Know Your Enemy"--Ephesians 6:10-13
September 17 (PM) "First Things First"--Ephesians 1:1-6
September 10 (AM) "An Army of One"--2 Samuel 23:11-12
September 10 (PM) "Refresh My Heart"--Philemon 20-25
September 3 (AM) "When Satan Touches You"--Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-8, Luke 22:31-32, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

August 27 (AM) "He Really, Really Does Love Us"--1 John 4:9-11
August 27 (PM) "Put It on My Tab"--Philemon 17-19
August 13 (AM) "Godliness with Contentment"--1 Timothy 6:6-10
August 13 (PM) "A Brand New Man"--Philemon 12-16
August 6 (AM) "Calling All Sinners"--Matthew 9:9-13
August 6 (PM) "For Love's Sake"--Philemon 8-11

July 30 (AM) "Good Things Are Coming!"--Acts 3:17-21
July 30 (PM) "Accolades to Pursue"--Philemon 1-7
July 23 (AM) "Our 'Lot' in Life"--Genesis 19:1-29
July 16 (AM) "A Gospel You Can Trust"--2 Peter 1:16-21
July 16 (PM) "Take Heed"--Colossians 4:16-18
July 9 (AM) "Look Ahead"--Isaiah 43:18-19
July 2 (AM) "As Close As His Hands"--Isaiah 49:14-18

June 25 (AM) "Who is the REAL Lord of the Sabbath?"--Luke 6:1-5
June 25 (PM) "Paul's Supporting Cast"--Colossians 4:7-15
June 18 (AM) "Will the REAL Family of God Please Stand Up?"--Matthew 12:46-50
June 11 (AM) "When Opportunity Knocks"--Romans 12:17-21
June 11 (PM) "Watch Your Mouth!"--Colossians 4:2-6
June 4 (AM) "Walking in the Midst of Storms"--Matthew 14:22-33
June 4 (PM) "New Relationships for the New Man, Part #2"--Colossians 3:22-4:1

May 28 (AM) "Remember"--Luke 24:13-35
May 21 (AM) "The Effect Calvary Had"--John 19:16-20 [Bro. Larry Morelock]*
May 14 (AM) "Hope for the Future"--Genesis 3:20
May 7 (AM) "What We've Got, We Give"--Acts 3:1-10
May 7 (PM) "New Relationships for the New Man, Part #1"--Colossians 3:18-4:1

April 30 (AM) "God First"--Haggai 1:1-15
April 23 (AM) "Sheep Among Wolves"--Matthew 10:16-26
April 16 (AM) "Look Unto Jesus"--Hebrews 12:1-3
April 9 (AM) "But the Gift of God Is Eternal Life"--Romans 6:23
April 9 (PM) "Six Absolutes for the Christian's Life, Part 3"--Colossians 3:12-17
*April 2 (AM) "Forsaken"--Mark 15:33-34 [Bro. David Amburgey]
April 2 (PM) "Elements of Revival"--Ezekiel 37:1-10 [Bro. Louis Durbin]

March 26 (AM) "One Way or the Other"--Matthew 7:13-14
March 26 (PM) "Six Absolutes for the Christian's Life, Part 2"--Colossians 3:12-17
March 19 (AM) "The Only Cure for the Human Condition"--Luke 5:27-32
March 19 (PM) "Six Absolutes for the Christian's Life, Part 1"--Colossians 3:12-17
March 12 (AM) "He Really Does Care for You"--Matthew 10:29-31
March 12 (PM) "Put On the New Man"--Colossians 3:10-11
March 5 (AM) "The Keys to Salvation: Repentance & Faith, Part 2"--Mark 1:14-15; Galatians 3:5-9
March 5 (PM) "Put Off the Old You"--Colossians 3:8-9

February 26 (AM) "The Keys to Salvation: Repentance & Faith, Part 1"--Mark 1:14-15; Psalm 51:1-9
February 26 (PM) "Put Them Out of YOUR Misery"--Colossians 3:5-7
February 19 (AM) "Sufficient Grace"--2 Corinthians 12:1-10
February 19 (PM) "Look Up!"--Colossians 3:1-4
February 12 (AM) "We're ALL Part of Something Bigger"--1 Corinthians 12:12-27
February 5 (PM) "Free Really Does Mean Free"--Colossians 2:20-23

January 22 (AM) "Are You All In OR Not At All?"--John 6:60-71
January 22 (PM) "Christ: the True Substance of Our Life & Worship"--Colossians 2:16-19
January 15 (AM) "Practical Implications of Our Justification by Faith"--Romans 5:1-5
January 8 (AM) "Know Who You Are"--Philippians 2:12-18
January 1 (AM) "Just One"--John 1:40-51

*Recording Unavailable

 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a special educator at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 3rd grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!