One reason John recorded Christ’s miracles was to provide evidence that would produce belief in Jesus. When Jesus gave the blind man sight, though, the spiritually blind Pharisees were more concerned about undermining his testimony than rejoicing in his transformation, since his story challenged their religious formalism. Even the man’s parents seemed scared to face the reality of Jesus’ healing power. Alistair Begg challenges us instead to pay careful attention to the evidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Sermon Transcript: Print
Father, what we know not, teach us. What we have not, give us. What we are not, make us. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Well, we’re turning now for the third time to John chapter 9. It won’t be our last time. And these studies in John chapter 9 have emerged from our consideration of what John says at the end of this particular Gospel. In John 20:31, he explains to the readers of the Gospel of John that all of the signs that Jesus did in the company of his disciples, all of the miracles that he performed, have not been written down. He simply says there wouldn’t be enough space for a book to contain them all. But rather, a selected number have been provided for us in the Gospel of John, and they are in the Bible to provide evidence—an evidence which may in turn produce belief in Jesus as the Son of God, and then that belief in Jesus as the Son of God may issue a life which is really life.
And we’ve been thinking very much about the privilege that we’ve been given as a church to go into our communities and amongst our friends and neighbors and to encourage them to consider the claims of Jesus—in a very straightforward way to say, “Have you ever examined the evidence? If you will consider the evidence, the evidence provides a basis for belief, and belief opens the door to spiritual life, to eternal life.”
And it has been our desire that in studying this record of a man who received his sight—a man who’d been born blind—that we as individuals might recognize that we too are as spiritually blind as he was physically blind and that our eyes may be opened by Jesus, just as his were. And at the same time, that those of us who have come to a knowledge of Jesus in this way might be better equipped to go into our communities and to speak to folks in light of the fact that we understand what the Bible says concerning this absence of spiritual sight.
We need to be very, very clear, or we will lose our way very quickly in this chapter, that in providing physical sight to this man, Jesus is displaying his purpose and his power to provide spiritual sight to men and women who are as devoid of spiritual seeing as this man was of physical seeing.
Now, I think most of us know the hymn “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”—certainly the opening two lines. And many of us will know the following two, in which John Newton, the writer, employs this particular metaphor. Remember? “I once was lost, but now [I’m] found; was blind, but now I see.” John Newton there is not referencing some physical impairment that had marked his life, but he is testifying to the fact that although he’d gone through his life thinking that he understood and saw things properly, it was only when he was brought face-to-face with Jesus that he first of all discovered that he didn’t see things properly—indeed, that he didn’t see things correctly at all. That he was actually spiritually blind. And then, when the truth of who Jesus is and what he had done upon the cross dawned upon this slave trader’s hard and stony heart, he said, “My eyes were opened to it, and I, who was once John Newton the blind man, became the man who could see.”
Now, we need to be very clear that the Bible makes plain to us that sin has robbed us of spiritual vision, and that in this respect, we too are, like this man in John 9, blind from birth. Like this man, we are unable to rectify our condition. And like him, each of us is in need of Jesus to re-create in us the faculty which sin has destroyed.
Now, all of that by way of introduction, but purposefully, because without that as the framework, we will very quickly lose our way in this particular chapter.
Last time, some of you will remember that we noted in the opening twelve verses or so that the transformation in the life of this man had really set the cat among the pigeons in his community. Now, communities are used to things happening as they normally happen, and it often takes some time to adjust to something that is out of the ordinary. Well, this was definitely out of the ordinary, because this man was familiar in his neighborhood as a blind man, and as a man who begged because he was blind. And as people would go about their day, they would listen to the familiar sounds; they would almost disregard the man, he would be so much a part of the surroundings to them. They knew he was there. They heard his cries. They knew his desire for money. And now, all of a sudden, he’s reappeared in the streets, and he’s no longer asking for money, but he’s walking around, and he can see perfectly well.
The neighbors, according to verse 8, who had formerly seen him begging, said to one another, “Isn’t this same man who used to sit and beg?” And some said, “Oh yes, I think it is,” and others said, “No, I think it’s probably someone who looks like him.”
And they asked him, “How is it that your eyes are opened?”
He said, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes and told me to go to Siloam and wash. And I went and washed, and then I could see.”
“Well, where’s the man?”
He says, “I don’t know where he is.”
Now, we pick up the story from that point.
They’re unable to resolve their dilemma, and so they do what was customary to do: they determine to take this man to the court of public opinion, as it were, represented by the religious leaders. The place of the synagogue in the small towns and communities of the time was a significant place. And in the same way that, in events unfolding in contemporary life, journalists go to ask for a statement from certain significant individuals in the community, so in this context they were essentially going to the significant individuals in the community—namely, the religious leaders—to see if they could shed some light on what had happened to this man.
Now, Peterson, who paraphrased the New Testament, might be a little zealous when he paraphrases verse 13—“They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind”—he paraphrases that, “[So] they marched the man to the Pharisees.” Almost as if they took him by the ear and said, “Come on, you’re coming to the Pharisees.” You can imagine the man saying, “Oh no, not the Pharisees! Please, not the Pharisees. I don’t want to go to the Pharisees.” And that would have been with some justification, because what follows is not so much a conversation as it is an interrogation—an interrogation which at the beginning has the Pharisees, the religious leaders, very much in the driving seat, but by the time it reaches the end, the man himself has turned the tables on them.
Verse 26, they ask him again, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” And the man said, “I told you that already! Why do you keep asking me the same question? You didn’t listen when I told you the first time. Why do you want to hear it again? Aha! You want to become his disciples too, don’t you?”
Oh, well, that infuriated them! No, they were angry then. They insulted him. They threw him out. “Who is this upstart that can see? Who does he think he is? Smarty-pants, going around the community, coming to us, the religious leaders, we who know everything, and speaking as if there is something he knows that we don’t know? We don’t usually like people knowing things that we don’t know.”
Now, in an attempt at clarity and simplicity, I’m going to draw our thoughts around three words. Word one is formalism. Word two is fear. Number three is faith. Formalism, fear, and faith.
First, the formalism that is represented by the attitude and the actions of the Pharisees to whom we’re introduced in verse 13. These religious leaders were focused on the externals without any real regard to the inner significance of the things that they paid lip service to. Jesus was on one occasion to refer to these religious leaders as sepulchres: he said, “You’re white on the outside, but inside is dead men’s bones.” A graphic picture. A reminder to us, incidentally, that Jesus was more than willing to get down beside those whose lives were in disarray and who were aware of their predicament and who sensed themselves in need of the salvation that he came to bring, but at the very same time, he reserved his most stinging and scathing rebukes for religious orthodoxy that was only skin deep.
And you can see that the religious orthodoxy of these individuals was skin deep. Because they brought the man to the Pharisees—the man who had been blind. And instead of these individuals rejoicing in the man’s story—instead of them saying, “We’ve been hoping for a chance to meet you! The word is out in the community that you could see, and we’re so glad that you’ve chosen to come along and meet with us.” No, there is none of that at all. Instead, they react in such a way as to challenge what he’s saying, looking for ways to discredit him and at the same time to incriminate Jesus.
Now, you say, “Is that not surprising? Does that not represent some kind of callous heart on the part of these men? Surely, the normal milk of human kindness would say that when somebody whose life has been marked by darkness is ushered into light, irrespective of our particular focus and concerns about our own interests and so on, don’t you think that we would find it in ourselves at least to say, ‘We rejoice with you that although you have been blind from birth, and although we cannot understand what has happened, we share the wonder of what has taken place’?” But not so.
Now, their problem, John tells us—at least on the surface—was the Sabbath. Verse 14: “Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was [the] Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees … asked him how he had received his sight.” It’s interesting that it’s a “therefore.” Why “therefore”? Why “so they asked him”? Well, because they were the custodians of the Sabbath. They were the ones who knew what was to happen on the Sabbath and what wasn’t to happen on the Sabbath, and they knew for sure that there was no spitting on the Sabbath!
You see, the Pharisees not only had the bald statement of the law of God in the fourth commandment—that you shall not work—but they had decided that that needed a little help. And so they had added to it a whole list of their own regulations. For example, if a man had a runny nose, and he was downstairs in the kitchen, and he knew his handkerchief was up the stairs, it was a violation of their perspective of the Sabbath to go upstairs and get the handkerchief, let alone start rubbing his nose with it. It was not possible, from their perspective on the Sabbath, for a man to cut his toenails. Nor, if he found that he had one of those strange hairs that grows right out of the front of your eyebrows—if he happened to see that, as sometimes happens, he was not allowed to reach for it and pluck it out until the day after the Sabbath. And certainly there could be no spitting in the dust and stirring around and making up any kind of paste, no matter what you’re trying to do with it.
Now, Jesus had already run into this. Turn back a few pages to chapter 5, and let me just show you that these folks had a fixation with this. Chapter 5—you’ll need to read it for yourself as homework—is the story of another dramatic healing, one of the signs. The man who has been at the pool of Bethesda, an invalid for thirty-eight years, is healed by Jesus. And as a result of that, off he goes walking down the street. And who do you think he runs into? Ha ha! Our friends!
“The day”—verse 9—“on which this [miracle] took place was a Sabbath, and so”— therefore—“the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.’” You’d think at least they might have said, “Hey, nice to see you walking! How’s it feeling after thirty-eight years lying there on a mat?” But no. Because the fact that this man could walk, and what they were then to discover concerning how he came to walk challenged their religious formalism, challenged their religious externalism. And so, once again, they use the Sabbath as the mechanism from distancing themselves from the impact that the transformation in this man’s life may potentially make upon their own.
Now, you say, “Well, isn’t this all so very far away from us?” Well, no, actually not. This Sabbath question was enough for them to be divided amongst themselves. Verse 16: “Some of the Pharisees said, ‘[He’s] not from God, for he does[n’t] keep the Sabbath.’” What they meant by that was, “He doesn’t keep the Sabbath our way.” Of course Jesus kept the Sabbath! He kept the law in its perfection. Jesus was sinless. In fact, Calvin suggests that Jesus performed these miracles purposefully, deliberately on the Sabbath. I kinda like that idea! So that it wasn’t like he said, “Now take up your mat and walk,” and he healed the man, and somebody said, “Hey, Jesus, don’t you realize it’s the Sabbath?” He said, “’Course I know it’s the Sabbath. Watch this!” And then he does it again: the man born blind, they go, “Sabbath!” He says, “I know! Watch this!” And right on cue, they come.
Religious formalism cannot cope with transformed lives. Religious formalism can’t cope with conversion. Religious formalism cannot face the fact of the dramatic impact that Jesus makes when he takes a person and turns them upside down, which is actually to turn them the right way up. Why? Because the religious formalist then recognizes that he or she is upside down and therefore needs as much to be turned the right way up as this individual, and not wanting to face the challenge of that, they hide behind the smoke screen of their ability to maintain all of the externals in terms of their religious experience. There’s no indication on the part of these folks that they examined the evidence, that they had any interest in the evidence at all. Their interest was to deny the miracle and to discredit Jesus.
Now, I’m sure that some of you can identify very quickly with this. You became a Christian; you may have become a Christian just recently. You came and acknowledged that you were blind and that you had things completely wrong, that you were lost, and that Jesus came seeking to save the lost, and you asked Jesus to save you and to be the shepherd of your soul. And what you’ve discovered now is that religious formalism has no place for that kind of radical change.
If you go to the religious formalist, whether it is your pastor or your priest or your rabbi or your next-door neighbor, or perhaps your mom and dad, or your brother, or whoever it might be, and tell them about this amazing change, if they are religious formalists, they probably will not give you a wonderful response. Oh, they may give you some kind of superficial, pacifying reaction, but they will not enter into your joy. They can’t.
Because, you see, religious formalists do what these folks had done: while failing to keep the law of God, which they know themselves incapable of keeping, they create a convenient smoke screen by adding their own little rules and regulations, so that as long as they keep their lists of what is acceptable, the fact that they are still confronted by the challenge of God’s law does not really concern them. And there can be nothing more challenging, nothing more embarrassing to the religious formalist than the presence of someone who comes and shares with them that they have found Jesus to be their Savior, to be the one who has opened their eyes, to be the one who has turned them from darkness into marvelous light.
You see, if you look at the text, you see that that’s exactly what happened to them. When they come a second time, in verse 24, and summon the man, and they say, “Come on now, tell the truth. We know that Jesus is a sinner. This man’s a sinner.” He says, “Well, I… I don’t have a comment on whether he’s a sinner or not. I don’t know anything about that. But I do know this. One thing I do know: I was blind, but now I see.” And they couldn’t cope with that. Very, very quickly, they began to insult him. “They hurled insults at him”—verse 28—and eventually, in verse 34, “How dare you come and lecture us!” they said. They just threw him out.
See, what they were doing was they were saying, “We have tradition and we have orthodoxy on our side.” Verse 28: “You are this fellow’s disciple! We[’re the] disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but … we don’t even know where [this chap] comes from.”
Well, that wasn’t true, as I’ll show you from 7:27. But if you go back to chapter 5, I’ll show you that they condemn themselves right out of their own mouths. John chapter 5, once again. The healing has taken place. The story of life through Jesus unfolds. There are testimonies about Jesus. And they began to challenge this testimony. And Jesus speaks to them, and he says, verse 39, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
He said, “In one sense, you’re on the right track. You believe that the Scriptures lead to eternal life.” In fact, the Pharisees used to attach them to their wrists in little boxes. You may have seen some Orthodox Jewish people in the Heights wearing the same thing—phylacteries, on their wrists, and also strapped around their heads on their foreheads—as an expression of their devotion to the Scriptures, unashamed of what people may think in seeing them walking around in such a strange garb, because of their commitment to the Scriptures.
But Jesus says to them, “These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” I mean, if one might put it in terms of Parkside, what he’s saying is, you may have a big fat Bible, and you may underline it in at least three colors. You may have symbols of diagrams, and triangles, and circles, and all kinds of mechanisms whereby, when your Bible is around, you’re able to show how much the Bible means to you. But that Bible may never have brought you to faith in Jesus. You may still refuse to come to Jesus to have life. It’s unlikely, but it is possible.
So look what Jesus says. Verse 45: “Do[n’t] think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses.” Ha! Moses? What are they saying in chapter 9? “We are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses.” Jesus said, “I already told you about Moses”: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” He says, “You don’t believe the Bible. If you believed the Bible, you would come to me. Oh, you talk about the Bible, and you say the Bible is very important, and you strap parts of the Bible to yourself, and you walk around and let everybody know…”
You see, what these individuals were saying was something like this: “Whoever does not bow to us…” This is really what they’re doing in seeking to intimidate this young man, who knows, clearly, that he was once blind, but now he can see. But they’re giving him a bad time. They’re back at him again and again and again, seeking to intimidate him and rob him of the reality of what he’s conveying. And what they’re saying is this: “Whoever does not bow to us and our knowledge knows nothing. And whoever knows something we don’t know is a fool. Whoever doesn’t bow to us and our knowledge doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And whoever comes in here to tell us something that we don’t know, they’re foolish.”
That’s not only the approach of religious formalism. It is also the approach of agnosticism and skepticism and intellectual elitism, isn’t it? Isn’t that what the young university student, what the tenth-grader, is up against within the public square? If they would be bold enough, in a context that is allowable and understandable, to say, “I once was blind, but now I see. I’ve discovered that Jesus is the creator of the ends of the earth, and that he died upon the cross, and that the death of Jesus is the pivotal event of human history, and that everything needs to be understood in light of that.”
“Ha! Oh, please. Sit down, would you? Unless you bow to what we know, you know nothing. And if you think you know something that we don’t know, you’re a fool. Sit down!”
“Well, I believe that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing and out of chaos.”
“Sit down, idiot! You exist as a result of time plus matter plus chance. Bow to what we know.”
See, religious formalism, when it is challenged by the radical claims of Jesus, reacts in the same way.
“Well,” you say, “what about it?” Well, let me just say this to you. Some of you may be here, and this actually describes you. You say, “Well, I hope not.” But let’s just hold out the possibility, shall we? You may be here, and you actually are a religious formalist. That’s been your whole background—forms and structures and the doing of things. Do you have peace with God? Do you have the assurance of the forgiveness of your sins? Do you rest in the reality of your hope that one day you will see Jesus and be made like him? I wager that you don’t. You actually can’t. Because the religious formalist is relying on their capacity to continue maintaining the externals without the radical internal transformation which gives significance to the form and structures of religious life.
Indeed, these very forms and structures may prove to be a barrier to you coming to faith in Jesus. Because if you have a little list of whatever it is that makes you acceptable to God—and it’s easy for us to come up with this list: “Well, I always go by the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would do to yourself.’ And that’s my credo, and that’s my good.” Well, that’s fine. But what about your jealous heart? What about your dirty mind? What about your dishonesty? How does this little Golden Rule deal with these things? Of course, it doesn’t.
You see, if religious formalism was enough to get a man or a woman to heaven, then there would be no need for Jesus to die upon the cross, would there? If doing it ourselves is sufficient, then there would be no need for this amazing grace.
Now, we’ve just got a moment to go to the word fear. Don’t be afraid that we’re going to go much beyond our time. We’re not. That’s not the fear that I’m referencing.
The fear here is the fear that is found in the reaction of the man’s parents. The Jews send for the parents. They “still did[n’t] believe”—verse 18—“that he[’d] been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents.” After they sent for the man’s parents, there was nowhere for them to hide. And they brought the parents there. It’d be a little intimidating for them, I think you would agree, if somebody summoned you to the synagogue of the day, and there the elders sat in their robes and in their finery, and you came along, Mr. and Mrs. Levi, or whoever you were, and they said, “Thank you for coming out. We were hoping for a chance to talk with you. We have three questions. Number one, the fellow over here, is he your son? Number two, is he the one you say was born blind? And number three, how is it that he can now see?”
And the husband looks at the wife, the wife looks at the husband, and then the wife responds—’cause she’s the braver of the two: “Well, we can answer one and two very easily. He is our son, and yes, he was born blind. But when it comes to your third question, well, we really don’t have a comment on that at all.” They’re reticent, they’re timid, and they’re quick to pass the buck: “Why don’t you ask him? He’s a big lad. He can speak for himself.”
Well, clearly, they must have known something. They knew that a person was involved; otherwise, they couldn’t have mentioned the person. Can it be that they were more concerned for their reputation and for their status than they were thrilled and excited that their son had received his sight? I mean, why are they not linking arms with this boy and saying to these religious leaders, “This is the kind of thing we need in our church. I mean, we need some of this stuff, guys! We’re listening to your sermons, and frankly, they’re like dust in your mouth. And now comes the Galilean prophet, his sermons are understandable, and look what’s happening to people’s lives! Yes, we know Jesus is the key to this. Our boy’s here, and we’re here, and what do you have to say for yourselves?” But they don’t: “Why don’t you just ask him? He’s there. He can speak for himself. He’s a big lad.”
Now, admittedly, the prospect of being removed from the synagogue, which is the explanation in verse 22—the reason the “parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews,” because “the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the [Messiah] would be put out of the synagogue”—we’re not going to make little of that. There’s some significance in it, isn’t there? The embarrassment that would be attached to that kind of removal. But if they had truly understood what had happened, if they had truly come to understand who this Jesus was, then they would have taken their stand with their boy. But as it was, they didn’t take their stand with the boy, because they couldn’t take their stand with the boy, presumably because they had not come to trust in Jesus. So the Pharisees are distanced from this great good news by their formalism, and the parents are distanced from this great good news by their fear.
Now, lest this sounds so far away from us, let me finish by contemporizing the story for us. ’Cause this is not an uncommon story. In thirty-four years of pastoral ministry, I’ve seen this happen again and again.
A young man goes off to university. He leaves his local community. He’s well known. He’s been well known in his school, perhaps for his athletic prowess, and also for his ability on the debating team. In the debating team, he has chosen very strongly to adopt certain positions which were clearly opposed to Christ and to Christianity. At one point he had professed himself to be an atheist, but then he discovered that that would demand knowing everything in the universe and knowing that there was no God there, so he backed off that to just being a straightforward agnostic. He’d gone away to university convinced of these things, and everyone anticipated that he would eventually come back reinforced by all the information that he was to derive from his university education.
And yet, here he comes, and he’s back. And there’s something up with him. He’s done a 180 in his views. And when asked, he actually uses this terminology. He says, “You know, my sight has been restored. Yes, that was what I said in leaving, but this is what I’m saying in returning.”
For a summer job, he works as a caddy at the local country club. And because the rounds of golf take such an interminably long time at this particular country club, he uses the opportunity on every occasion to put in a little word to these golfers about the straight and narrow, about telling the truth, about life in the rough—and about Jesus.
A couple of the guys are annoyed. Oh, they wouldn’t mind if he had become some kind of religious formalist, or if he’d embraced some form of Buddhism, or if he sat down every fourth hole to contemplate his naval just for a moment or two. After all, we can cope with all that kind of thing. But this stuff he keeps mentioning about Jesus is frankly annoying. It’s infuriating. And since a couple of them are the business associates of his dad, they can’t wait to get to the father to find out, “Is this your boy? Is this the one who went away as an agnostic, who despised Christianity and Jesus? And what’s he on about now?”
Well, you may be here, and that’s exactly your story—with little variations. One day your son or your daughter came into your home and said, “I’ve discovered that Jesus is my Savior and my friend,” and you said, “You don’t need that kind of nonsense. We brought you up in the way that you needed to be brought up. We gave you every kind of opportunity for religion.” And you did. And it was good. And it was helpful. And it actually was a foundation that led the youngster to the point where they said, “Doing all this stuff isn’t giving me forgiveness, isn’t giving me peace, isn’t giving me hope.” And then they discovered that it wasn’t in the doing of the stuff, but it was in what had been done by Jesus that there was faith and there was grace and there was forgiveness and there was freedom. And the parents now have the same decision to make as the religious formalists: “If we acknowledge that what has happened to Junior is true, then that means it needs to happen to us as well. And that may be too high a hill to climb.”
So I say to you, do not allow formalism to keep you from Jesus, and do not allow fear of your peer group to keep you from Jesus.
See, the fear of going back to the country club and the friends saying, “What happened to your boy?” and for you to have to say, “The same thing that’s happened to me.”
“What! You’re in it as well?”
“How did that happen? What did you do?”
“Well, somebody had to do something.”
“Somebody did do something. Sit down, I’ll tell you what he did.”
That’s the story. Get out there and tell your friends! Get out there and turn Cleveland upside down with this fantastic good news. Come on!
Father, thank you for the Bible. Thank you that we can all go home now and check and see if this stuff is in the Bible. And the bits that are made up or elaborated, or are untrue, or are just off whack, we can immediately get rid of. But we cannot sidestep the insistent demands of your Word. Save us from and out of our formalism. Lift us, we pray, out of our fearfulness. And open our eyes, so that we might rejoice in the life that is really life.
We commend each other to your care and keeping, asking you to watch over and between us, to bless us in the hours of this day and as we gather, many of us, this evening around your table to look away from ourselves and what we do, to Jesus and what he has done, as our only confidence and our only hope.
And may the grace and the mercy and the peace of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit rest upon and remain with each one, now and forevermore. Amen.
 John Newton, “Amazing Grace” (1779).
 See John 9:8–12.
 John 9:13 (MSG).
 Matthew 23:27 (paraphrased).
 See Exodus 20:10.
 John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke, vol. 2, Luke 14:3.
 See 1 Peter 2:9.
 John 5:45–47 (NIV 1984).
 See Matthew 7:12.
Copyright © 2022, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.