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Openness

Receiving God's grace
This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Ripple Effect". See series.

Introduction

I don't know many people who want to come to the end of their lives and say, "I never made an impact on anything or anyone?but I'm okay with that." The living God who made you in his image wants your life to matter; he wants you to make an impact. When a stone plunges into the water, it makes waves. That's the ripple effect. In the same way, as Christ begins to change our hearts, he empowers us to change the people around us. In order to do this, we must begin by receiving from God. That's the lesson of Bartimaeus.

This passage is a story about receiving grace from God. It's the story of a man?a poor, blind, powerless man?who not only receives, but goes hard after God's grace. He's a man who says, "If God is really gracious, if Jesus is real and alive, if the power of the Holy Spirit is truly available, I'm going to ask big and live large. If God is generous with his grace, I'm not going to ask for a thimbleful; I'm going to ask for a fountain-full." There were hundreds of people tagging along with Jesus on that day, but only one of them shines as a model of discipleship: the poor beggar named Bartimaeus.

The blind beggar

We pick up the story when Jesus and his followers are leaving Jericho for Jerusalem. Imagine a mob of people hanging around Jesus, all walking on a road, leaving the city. There is tension in the crowd. On three separate occasions, Jesus has told everyone that he's headed into Jerusalem so he can die for the sins of the world. Mark 8:32 reads, "They were on the way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid." I want us to enter into the feelings of this scene: astonishment, fear, uncertainty. Everyone is on edge, uptight, ...

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Matt Woodley is the pastor of compassion ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

I. The blind beggar

II. Understanding grace

III. Living with confidence

IV. Desiring deeply

Conclusion