Do Religious Leaders Really Believe in the Works of God?
Do religious leaders really believe in the works of God? From reading the Bible we find that some religious leaders did believe, but most did not; and from our own personal experience, we have come to the conclusion that the situation hasn’t changed even to this very day.
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
30 March 2014
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Do religious leaders really believe in the works of God?
From reading the Bible we find that some religious leaders did believe, but most did not; and from our own personal experience, we have come to the conclusion that the situation hasn’t changed even to this very day.
In John 9:1-41, we encounter a vivid example of this problem of religious leaders failing to believe the works of God when Jesus restores the sight of a blind man on the Sabbath.
1. And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.
2. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?”
3. Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Jesus very clearly explains that not every problem in the world is caused by a person’s individual sin. It may be simply to glorify God as He told His disciples, or it most likely came about because we live in a fallen and corrupted world.
However, no matter what the cause, every time one of these problems or maladies is eliminated or restored to God’s creation intent, our Father in heaven is glorified.
4. “We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.
5. “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Let’s pause here for a moment and take a look at John 14:12, for in it Jesus confirms that we who truly believe can do the works of God, our heavenly Father.
12. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.
This is why we believe Jesus told the disciples, and us, by its inclusion in the Bible, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me.”
This really isn’t any different than us praying for our Father’s heavenly will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, as we are taught in the Lord’s Prayer, and then actually applying His heavenly will to everything we do in our lives.
And a vital part of this is having God’s unconditional caring love that we talked about last week as part of our entire being or nature.
Keep this in mind as we go on.
6. When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,
7. and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). And so he went away and washed, and came back seeing.
What Jesus did may not have been sanitary by our standards, but He’s the Lord, and the man who was blind from birth could now see.
This was a truly miraculous work of God.
8. The neighbors therefore, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?”
9. Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.”
We hope we’ve all noticed how quickly the disbelief of this man’s neighbors has crept in, which is really a denial of the miraculous work of God.
10. Therefore they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?”
11. He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam, and wash'; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”
12. And they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”
13. They brought to the Pharisees him who was formerly blind.
The Pharisees were part of the religious leadership of their day.
Will these religious leaders really believe, or will they be like the man’s neighbors and deny the miraculous work of God?
14. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
15. Again, therefore, the Pharisees also were asking him how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”
16. Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them.
Very quickly we see that many of these religious leaders really don’t believe in this miraculous work of God, whether or not it came about on the Sabbath.
17. They said therefore to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”
18. The Jews therefore did not believe it of him, that he had been blind, and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight,
19. and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?”
Now it appears that none of the Pharisaical religious leaders really believe in the works of God.
20. His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
21. but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he shall speak for himself.”
22. His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed, that if anyone should confess Him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
23. For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
This whole scenario shows the depth of the religious leaders’ denial of the truth of God, for they had decided beforehand on what is and isn’t from God.
They’re obviously motivated by self-interest, and not the heavenly will of God.
24. So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man [Jesus] is a sinner.”
25. He therefore answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
26. They said therefore to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
27. He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”
28. And they reviled him, and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.
29. “We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.”
30. The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.
31. “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him.
32. “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.
33. “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
34. They answered and said to him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they put him out.
This man is both wise and brave to take such a stand against the Pharisees.
Do religious leaders really believe in the works of God?
Obviously these Pharisees do not believe.
These Pharisees don’t even possess enough caring love to rejoice with this man who now sees. Instead, in their hardness of heart, they deny the truth and put him out of the Temple.
We have encountered these same kinds of denial and disbelief among religious leaders in many of the churches of today, most often when it concerns animal issues and the people who care about them.
They may not kick these caring people out of the house of worship, as they did the formerly blind man, but we hear from many of them who have been made to feel very uncomfortable even to the point of leaving the church.
35. Jesus heard that they had put him out; and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36. He answered and said, “And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37. Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”
38. And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.
As it is today, many of the laity have more faith than their religious leaders.
39. And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind.”
40. Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”
41. Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
We cannot try to justify ourselves before God as these Pharisees are trying to do.
Part of being a true believer and follower of Jesus and the heavenly will of God is being honest with ourselves and others, especially God.
Paul picks up on this theme in Ephesians 5:6-14.
6. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Words are cheap, but this is what we keep hearing from religious leaders who don’t believe that we should be living according to the heavenly will of God, and being compassionate toward every other living being, whether human or animal.
7. Therefore do not be partakers with them;
8. for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light
9. (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
What is happening to billions of animals every year is anything but goodness and righteousness.
10. trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
11. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
This is what we have been doing on our website for more than seventeen years, and in our ministry for over thirty years.
12. for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
This is also what we mentioned previously when we said that we have encountered these same kinds of denial and disbelief among religious leaders in many of the churches of today, most often when it concerns animal issues and the people who care about them.
Instead, most of them seem to enjoy the fruits of suffering and dying animals, which is evident in their church suppers, and from those who promote hunting.
13. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
14. For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
We believe that this is speaking directly to the religious leaders who do not believe in the works and heavenly will of God, and the compassionate teaching of Jesus.
If God could wake us up, then surely He is urging those who are strenuously holding on to their hardness of heart to wake up, too, into the heavenly light of God.
We all can and should be loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God who sincerely seek to free the whole of creation from its present corruption.
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