StoneBridge Community Church
Revealed - God at Work: "Who Sinned?"
Senior Pastor Jon Saur
Locations & Times
  • StoneBridge Community Church
    4832 Cochran St, Simi Valley, CA 93063, USA
    Saturday 9:15 PM, Saturday 10:01 PM

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In Revealed: God at Work we will be looking to the signs that Jesus performs in the Gospel of John. "Signs" are more than just miracles - they point to deeper truths about God's work in the world and what the eternal life that God offers us looks like. Join us, so that you can see God's work in your life more clearly!
"Signs" in the Bible

New Testament scholar Marianne Meye Thompson writes about "signs" in the Old Testament and what they signified, so that we can better understand the context of Jesus' "signs." Thompson writes:

The term "'Signs,' often linked with 'wonders,' occurs frequently in the Old Testament to refer to plagues and others acts accompanying God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt. But many other things are also called 'signs': the rainbow; circumcision; the lamb's blood on the doorposts; the Sabbath; the words of God to be bound on one's hand, forehead and doorposts; the birth of a child; the fertility of crops in the land; and heavenly portents. Such things are "signs" because they are indicators of God's work in the world. Whether extraordinary (portents in the heaven) or ordinary (the slaying of the lamb; the circumcision of a baby), these things are 'signs' because they are not ends in themselves; signs function primarily to point to to God's work."
Sermon Outline

This weekend's sermon focuses on the question the disciples asked Jesus right before he performed his sixth sign, "Who sinned, this man or his parents... ?" Sin is an important topic and ought to be taken seriously by everyone. When sin is discussed, Christians should talk about sin the same way Jesus did, focusing on God's transformative work in someone's life more than on the human behavior.

To assist in following along with the message, an outline of the sermon is provided here. Disclaimer - the outline is subject to change as the sermon is being preached live.

I. Two bothersome things in John chapter 9.
A. Spit?
B. The Disciple's Question
1. This isn't a random question. It reflects views of physical ailment and sin, popular in Jesus' day.
2. Sadly, these views are still with us today.

II. Examples of the Disciple's view of sin.
A. Cotton Mather/Salem Witch Trials
B. Hurricane Katrina
C. Doesn't take long for other examples to come to mind.

III. Talking about Sin
A. Christians have to talk about sin. It is real, it is a problem and the Bible talks about it.
B. When Christians do talk about sin, it must be done very carefully and thoughtfully.
C. Four Things to keep in mind.
1. We can't talk about sin to control people's behavior.
2. We can't talk about sin to control our own lives.
3. We must have humility when talking about sin, because our perceptions of sin are tainted by our own sin.
4. Follow Jesus' example - he was less focused on pointing out people's sin than he was on pointing out God's work in their lives.
D. If we are more focused on human sin than we are on God's work in someone's life, we may miss out on seeing God's work.

IV. Question of Disciples
A. Bothersome, but also something to be grateful for.
B. The disciples were willing to expose their views of sin, so that Jesus could correct them.
C. Jesus correcting their views of sin allows us to clearly see the character of the man born blind.
1. He becomes a devoted follower of Jesus.
2. Whatever he gained from being healed in terms of access to a synagogue, he then lost because he refused to say bad things about Jesus.
3. He points to Jesus clearly and consistently and becomes a model for how to follow Jesus.
D. May we also question our views of sin, allowing Jesus to correct us when needed, so that we can see the work of God in people's lives more clearly.

The Text In Context

This young man will never again be the same. He has received more than physical sight. His spiritual eyes have been opened, so that he “sees” much more than his... neighbors...

Cotton Mather

Pastor Jon mentioned the preacher Cotton Mather in the sermon. While Mather made positive contributions, he is most famous for his involvement in the Salem Witch Trials. Mather gave license to the witch trials by using "sin language" to elevate the sin of witchcraft and condone the death sentence of women and girls accused of witchcraft, even if the accusations were flimsy. Here is a link to Mather's wikipedia page, where you can read about both his positive contributions and his negative ones.
Views of Physical Ailments in Jesus' Day

When the disciples ask Jesus in John chapter 9 "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" they aren't just asking a random question. They are reflecting a specific view of sin that was prominent in Jesus' day.

In Jesus' day, people who were blind, deaf, mute, hunchbacked, had mutilated faces or limbs, or were born with any sort of physical deformity would have been viewed as "sinners." The assumption was that someone, either them or their ancestors, had committed a sin, that led to them having that physical ailment.

So people who dealt with physical ailments in Jesus' day didn't just deal with the physical ailment, they also had to deal with being labeled a "sinner" and being ostracized, isolated and alienated.
Plank in One's Eye

Jesus highlights how sin can cloud our perception in Matthew 7:3-5.
Important Truths to Remember When Talking about Sin

Christians have to talk about sin. It is real, it is a problem and the Bible clearly talks about it. However, we have to be very careful when we talk about sin, taking great care to talk about sin responsibly. Pastor Jon mentioned four things that are important to remember when we talked about sin. They are:

1. We can't talk about sin in order to control other people's behavior.

2. We can't talk about sin in order to control our own lives. While unhealthy behaviors will lead to unhealthy lives, avoiding behaviors doesn't mean we can completely avoid sin or the consequences of sin in the world.

3. When we talk about sin, we have to remember that our views of sin are affected by our own sin. We don't have a perfect perspective on sin - only Jesus does. So whenever we talk about sin or point sin out in someone's life, we must do so in absolute humility.

4. We should look to Jesus' example when talking about sin. Jesus was less focused on pointing out a person's sin than on pointing out God's work in a person's life. We should seek to be more like Jesus when we talk about sin.

1. How would you define "sin?"

2. What are some examples of when people define others by their sin?

3. Pastor Jon said that Christians have to talk about sin, but that we have to be very careful when we do so. Do you agree with this idea? If so, why? If not, what points would you debate and why?

4. Jesus seems more focused on revealing God's work to people than on pointing out sinful human behaviors. This doesn't mean Jesus never points out sinful behaviors (he does), but he always does it in a way that reveal's God's work in their lives. What are some examples you can think of of people who approach sin in the same spirit in which Jesus did?

1. Have you done anything bad? What was it?

2. Would you want to be known for doing this bad thing and have that be what everyone thinks of, when they think of you?

3. God never defines us by the bad things that we've done. God forgives us of our bad things. How can we treat other people the same way God treats us?

On Sunday, May 23 at 2:00pm, there will be a congregational meeting over zoom. The purpose of the meeting is to elect our new church officers and to approve our pastors' terms of call.

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