Fourth Sunday of Lent: 1 Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

Don’t settle for second best …
‘Samuel did what the Lord commanded’ (1 Samuel 16:4). Real obedience comes from ‘the heart’. It is more than just ‘keeping up appearances’(1 Samuel 16:7). ‘The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart’ – This is something we must never forget!’. ‘It’s the presence of Your Spirit, Lord, we need’ (Songs of Fellowship, 256) – This is the lesson we must learn from the stories of Saul and David. The great difference between the two men is summed up in verses 1 Samuel 16:13-14: ‘the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David… the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul’. David exerted a good influence upon Saul (1 Samuel 16:23). Sadly, however, Saul’s best days were behind him. He was only a shadow of what he could have become if he had chosen to become ‘ a man after God’s own heart’ (1 Samuel 16:13-14). Don’t settle for second best when you can have God’s very best!

Awake, O sleeper.  
God wants us to ‘grow up in every way into Christ’ (Ephesians 4:15). We are to ‘walk in love’ (Ephesians 5:2), a life which is ‘pleasing to the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:10). 
It is so easy for us to settle for something less than God’s very best. We settle down into a state of spiritual complacency. 
What does God have to say about this? – ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’ (Ephesians 4:30). He gives us His wake-up call: ‘Awake, O sleeper…’ (Ephesians 5:14). God says to us, ‘Awake, awake, put on your strength… Shake yourself from the dust, arise’ (Isaiah 52:1-2). 
Have you become ‘lukewarm’? – ‘Be zealous and repent’. Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him’ (Revelation 3:16,19-20).

One Thing I Know … 

“One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).Every believer can share his /her personal experience of Christ.Many people say, “I don’t know very much.” They use this as an excuse for their failure to speak a word for Jesus.The man, who received his sight, didn’t use his lack of knowledge as an excuse for not speaking for Jesus. He said, “I don’t know.” Then, he said, “One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).To help us learn the lesson that every believer can and should share his / her personal testimony, when the opportunity, let’s look at the context in which these words were spoken. There are three factors which contribute significantly to this context: the relation between Jesus and the man; the relation between the man and his world; the man himself.

(1) Jesus and the man

There are two moments of contact between Jesus and the man:
In both instances, we note the initiative of Jesus.
  • In the first instance, there is no indication that the man came looking for healing from Jesus. All we are told is this: Jesus healed him.
  • In the second instance, we are told that Jesus “found” the man. Isn’t that the right order? Sometimes, we say, “I found Jesus.” Is it not more true to the Gospel and Christian experience to say, “Jesus found me”?
When Jesus found and healed this man, He changed the man. When a person encounters Jesus, he / she can never be the same again.
One of the first changes was this: the man’s new-found faith was put to the test. No-one can become a disciple and expect to evade the testing of his / her faith.
(2) The man and his world
The man’s world was made up of three groups of people. Each of these groups had a different attitude towards him.
  • the man’s neighbours had an attitude of indifference towards him;
  • the man’s parents had an attitude of compromise towards him;
  • the Pharisees had an attitude of rejection towards him.
These attitudes of indifference, compromise and rejection face us today.
  • Think of the indifference of the person who hears the Christian’s personal testimony and says, “So what!”
  • Think of the compromise of the person who hears the Christian’s personal testimony and says, “I know, but … “
  • Think of the rejection that comes from the person who hears the Christian’s personal testimony and says, “Rubbish!”
We must learn not to be influenced by such attitudes. we must learn to be faithful to God.
(3) The man himself
Here, we look at the man’s experience, testimony and influence.
  • The man’s experience: his eyes were opened. This is what happens to the believer when Christ is received into his / her heart (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
  • The man’s testimony: he had received his sight. This is the Christian’s testimony (Acts 26:18).
  • the man’s influence: a whole lot of people started thinking about Jesus.
This man gave Jesus the opportunity to call the Pharisees to trust Him as their Saviour.
As we consider the man’s experience, testimony and influence, we must ask some important questions about our own experience, testimony and influence.
  • Have I any personal experience of Christ, opening my eyes to see Him as my Saviour?
  • Have I a personal testimony to Christ as the Saviour, who has changed my life?
  • Has the Lord used me to bring other people to Him?
These are questions which require a personal response from each and every one of us.

 

One thought on “Fourth Sunday of Lent: 1 Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

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