The Pursuit Of Holiness

by Ralf Bergmann on June 26, 2002

Blind Bartimaeus knew who Jesus is and what He can do. Bartimaeus stopped at nothing to receive his blessing from Jesus – How about us?

I think the chorus that we just sang, “Shout to the Lord”, is one of my favorites. We have reason to shout if we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We have reason to shout when there is no one in our lives that we hold higher than Jesus. We have a promise of eternal life with Him if, and I cannot stress the “IF” enough, we have given Him every last nock and cranny of our life. What are the nooks and crannies? I think many of us can come up with a good size list, but at first thought, how many added to that list the skeletons that might reside in our closet? How about the grudge we may be holding for something that someone has done to us? How about the bad habits that we think no one knows about?

We have reason to shout because our Lord is all-powerful; all the majesty is ascribed to His name. We have reason to shout because even the great mountains and the mighty sea bow down before Him. All that power and yet He promises us life eternal, all that power and He laid down His life willingly to guarantee that promise.

Our text this morning deals with another person’s shouting to the Lord. This morning we look at the problems that faced blind Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus depended on the kindness of those that past by his spot on the road for his living, and when he heard a greater than normal commotion on the street in front of him, he listened for the reason for the excitement. It was Jesus, and he had heard of the wonders of this man, and without ever seeing, hearing or being near, Bartimaeus knew and had the faith that so many that have even walked along side of Jesus lacked. Bartimaeus knew what he needed to do.

Please join me in the reading of God’s Holy Word!

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:46-52

46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging.47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

As I looked through this mornings text, I saw a progression that was followed by blind Bartimaeus. He knew who was coming so he seized the opportunity. He met with opposition, yet he persevered despite those that were trying to silence him. He knew what his needs were and was not afraid to be bold and ask Jesus for healing. Finally, his needs met, rather than go on his own way, he found more than his physical eyes opened, his spiritual sight was restored as well.

There is a great deal of truth to the old saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” We look back in our lives and we can see where we were on track in making certain decisions, and then there are other times when we dragged our feet and either got less than what we could have or missed out entirely. Oh I remember an opportunity that I had once, where I really failed to get a grip on what I had. A friend of mine while I was in the service, stationed at Ft. Hood Texas, knew that I liked to tinker with cars, he told me that he had a pick-up that I could have, all I had to do was pay the impound charge on it. I paid the thirty nine dollars and had it towed back to the barracks parking lot. I worked on it, cleaning it up and had it to the point where it was almost ready to put on the road. About this time, I received papers to go to Korea, and I had about two weeks to process out and head out for leave. I gave that pick-up away. It was a 1962 Corvair side cargo truck, of which they made 500. I priced that truck, and today it would be worth about $15,000. I had an opportunity to have a collectors truck, but never realized what it was that I had, I gave up on claiming ownership and I walked away from what materially at least was a good opportunity.

We are not here this morning to talk about trucks, material opportunities and such. We are not here this morning to talk about missed chances, missed money or lost personal gain. We are here this morning to talk about lost souls becoming children of our Lord. We are here this morning to talk about diverting the hellbound to a destination of heaven. We are talking about taking marginal Christians and allowing the Spirit to work in their lives until they attain the process of seeking Holiness, a process that continues from the point that we earnestly an honestly begin seeking ti to the very instant that we are called from the face of this earth, for whatever the reason may be.

Let us pause for a moment of prayer!

Point 1: Seize the opportunity!

In this morning’s text, we actually find out that Blind Bartimaeus is not as blind as many of us may be. Let us look at verse 47:

47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Bartimaeus knew who Jesus is and he was certainly aware of the power that Jesus possessed. He had heard of the many wonders and miracles that Jesus had performed, he knew that this was indeed the Son of David whom that Scripture had long foretold of His coming. He knew that Jesus indeed had the power to show the ultimate mercy, and that was a power that could be had by none other than God Himself.

Oh how lost we can become safe in the fellowship of Christianity. We can see God’s hands in our deliverance from a life of sin. We can see God’s hand in our rescue from oftentimes dangerous and near fatal situations. We can see God’s hand in what appears to be impossible situations. Yet we fail to see God’s ability in some of the less extravagant examples. We look at the minor and the meager and for some reason we fail to bother God with those. We allow things to interfere with our devotional lives, and yet we have been saved and we live “good”, so what is the big deal? We maintain an air of distain for some who have without a doubt in anyone’s’ eyes, done us wrong. At least we didn’t do that so what is the big deal? We get ourselves all agitated at the shortcomings of other people that profess Christianity and wonder what it will take for them to fully realize the potential that God sees in them.

We must wake up! Just like blind Bartimaeus, we need to realize who Jesus is and the power that He has at His command. If we are distracted then let us shout to the Lord for the focus that we need. If we are in need of a spirit of forgiveness then why not shout to the Lord to show us how to forgive, like the forgiveness of us that He went to the cross to attain. If we have concerns over the spiritual walk of others then let us shout to the Lord top reveal His will to them in a mighty way and perhaps at the same time, we should ask Him to examine our hearts to ensure that we are concerned for their relationship with God out of the purest of intentions.

Point 2: Seek regardless of the opposition!

Blind Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was and the power that He held, so despite all of the opposition that he faced in seeking the Lord’s will for his life, he continued seeking, perhaps even all the more. We read in verse 48:

48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

When a need for change is placed upon our hearts, we must seek regardless of the climate that we find ourselves in. When Jesus calls, it is we that must answer. There is a picture that is quite popular and that is the picture that depicts Jesus knocking at the door. I used that picture in our bulletin cover. If you look closely at the picture, there is a sermon in itself. The door is hinged so that it opens to the inside and there is no visible door handle on the outside. We must open the door initially before Jesus can ever enter in. We release the latch, then and only then can Jesus pass through and be with us. The latch is an obstacle in our relationship with Jesus. Those in the crowd were an obstacle to Bartimaeus’ calling out. They said be quiet, but Blind Bartimaeus shouted all the more. Jesus knocks at the door of our heart, a door which we have latched. We must huury to that door and we most through open that latch, lest we miss out of the blessing that is waiting for us, at the present and in all of the future from that moment on.

Point 3: State your need boldly and bravely!

Bartimaeus told Jesus exactly what was weighing heavily upon his heart. Jesus knew that he had a need and asked him directly, let us read verse 51:

51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”

This is a powerful section of Scripture, and in order for us to receive what Jesus would have for us, we need to shut up long enough to listen. Bartimaeus did not ask for anything extravagant, he had asked for something that most of us have probably taken for granted so many times. Bartimaeus wanted to be whole. Jesus wants each and everyone of us to be whole as well, not just strictly in the physical sense but in the spiritual sense as well. We talked about the uneasiness that can overcome us when we are made to realize the inadequacy of our study and prayer. Jesus is asking, “What is it that you want me to do for you”. It is at that point where it is our responsibility to say, “Lord, give me the desire to desire more time in Your Word.” It is at that point where it our responsibility to say, “Lord, give me the desire to desire more time with You in prayer.” We need to go beyond the mere doing the things that we should be doing, we need to get to the point where we want to do those things, not out of duty but out of love and devotion. “Lord, I want to desire to desire the best for each and every person that I come in contact with.” This should be our response.

To often we arrive at a point in a service when we feel the need to come to the altar for prayer, and like Bartimaeus, we feel the opposition. “If I go to the altar, then what will sister so and so thinks?” “If I go to the altar. What would brother what’s his name say?” Oh this is a common fear, and there are indeed the tongues that wag, however, if those that tend to think and feel that way were honest to themselves, and realized like blind Bartimaeus that they were blind, and that Jesus was near, and Jesus had all the power, and that Jesus could heal them, if they only knew Jesus for Who He really is, they would be knocking you down on the way to the altar to pray for the healing of their own spiritual blindness.

Point 4: Stay the course!

Bartimaeus was true to his faith, he knew Jesus and the healing that He offered, he sought that healing and received the promise that he knew Jesus could deliver. Let us read verse 52:

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

As I was doing my morning devotions Wednesday I ran across these quotes on prayer in faith:

“Is it any wonder that, when we stagger at any promise of God through unbelief, we do not receive it? Not that faith merits an answer, or in any way earns it, or works it out; but God has made believing a condition of receiving, and the Giver has a sovereign right to choose His own terms of gift.” Rev. Samuel Hart

“Prayer without faith degenerates into objectless routine, or soulless hypocrisy. Prayer with faith brings omnipotence to back our petitions. Better not pray unless and until your being responds to the efficacy of your supplication. When the true prayer is breathed, earth and heaven, the past and the future, say Amen. And Christ prayed such prayers. PCM

“nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.”

[Taken from Streams in the Desert]

Bartimaeus had unwavering and undoubting faith. He knew Jesus and He knew what Jesus could do. His faith allowed him to receive his sight. If we really know Jesus, if we really know what Jesus can do in our lives, then through unwavering and undoubting faith our eyes also can be opened and like Bartimaeus we will follow Jesus down the road.

Conclusion:

As we close this morning, perhaps we should consider the following: What was Jesus’ response to the lawyer who asked of Him the greatest commandment? We read the Words of Jesus in Matthew 22: 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. If we shout to the Lord as Blind Bartimaeus did we can ask and receive the desire to desire to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind. If we shout to the Lord as Blind Bartimaeus did, we could ask and receive the desire to desire to love our neighbors as we ought. We read the God’s words through His servant Moses in Le 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. Perhaps like Blind Bartimaeus we should shout to the Lord and ask to be continually Sanctified so that we can truly walk the path of holiness following down the road that Jesus has laid out before us. We must truly Seize the opportunity! If we fail then we fall short of the calling that has been placed on our lives.

We cannot fail in our quest for holy living if we know Jesus and realize Jesus’ power in the same manner and magnitude that was displayed by Bartimaeus. We must continue to Seek regardless of the opposition! Even when attempts were made to silence his shouts for Jesus to intervene in his life, Bartimaeus boldly continued to seek Jesus. There are those that belittle the call to holiness, they know not the Jesus that was known by Bartimaeus, they know not the power that they are denying. There are those that fail to follow the true and total call to holiness, they have failed to shout to the Lord and seek that power for themselves. Let us shout to God for the desire to desire the manner in which we can assist in their moving in the direction of holiness as well.

Just as Blind Bartimaeus stated his needs to his Lord and Savior, so to are we also to approach Him in our time in prayer. We are to State our needs boldly and bravely! The like Bartimaeus we are to listen to what Jesus would tell us to do.

Many times, we compare our relationship to Jesus as a race. Just as Bartimaeus did, we must put ourselves in a place where we can meet our Lord. “Stay the course! “ is the battle cry.

I am going to softly play a hymn. This morning, what is it that our hearts wish to shout to the Lord? Before we go to the Lord’s table, let us take time individually to pray at the altar and if there is a need to have someone pray with come and raise your hand and we will raise our petitions together.

https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/the-pursuit-of-holiness-ralf-bergmann-sermon-on-holiness-47907

Author: Narrow Path Ministries

Non-denominational, Independent, Bible believing Church

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