The Vine: A Christian Church
What Jesus Said About Spiritual Eyes
What Jesus said About Humanity
September 27, 2009
I am not an eye person. That is, I usually do not notice people’s eye color. The one time I do remember noticing was about 14 years ago when I met a fellow preacher named Phil Fish. Phil had one eye that was a bright green and one eye that was bright orange. The moment I met him I said, “dude you have cool eyes.” He chuckled a bit while his facial expression said, “Dude, I’m 35 years old and have heard enough about my eyes.” Sensing his frustration I said, “Were you born that way, or ordered the wrong color eye transplant?” He changed the subject.
My wife is an eye person. She always notices people’s eye color and when a new baby is born in the family she literally can’t wait those several months before the eye color sets in. Does the baby have daddy’s eyes? Does the baby have Mommy’s eyes?
Some people have eyes that look perfectly normal but they do not work perfectly normal. Some of you have worn glasses since you were children. Some (like me) had to start when adults. My eyes seem to get worse every month.
Some people’s eyes do not work at all. In 1994, ( the most recent stats I could find) 1.3 million Americans were legally blind. This does not count the many that are illegally blind and afraid to come forward. J
The term “legally blind” simply means a person is blind enough to receive government benefits for the blind.
We have been in a year long series we’ve called “Jesus Said.”
We have found out that Jesus had a lot to say about a lot of topics. Today, in this thirty-seventh message in this series we find that Jesus had something to say about eyesight.
He said, (to paraphrase) “Just because you have eyes and can see doesn’t mean you can see what is really important. To see what is really important – you must have spiritual eyes.”
We are going to look a t two texts today – two conversations Jesus had with his Disciples…
First, turn to Matthew 13:10-17 READ
Jesus said, there are two reasons for parables
The first reason for parables Jesus says is:
1. To Conceal
v. 11 – the secrets of The Kingdom are given to you but not to them.
Who is the “them?” The unbelievers!
We conceal things!
We might conceal a habit or behavior from others because we don’t want them to know.
This past Friday and Saturday 15 men from The Vine went to Rock River Christian Camp for the fall men’s summit.
I found a long time ago that when going to any type of retreat or summit with a bunch of other men the most important thing—the most crucial moment is that moment when you choose you bunk mates. There at
As we walk toward the lodge, I always ask, “Who DOESN’T SNORE?”
Some guys won’t answer that question. Sometimes I think they’re in denial. Other times I think they believe I won’t notice. “My wife complains all the time but these guys probably sleep sounder than my wife.”
This past week-end, I found my bunk-mates—three other guys who don’t snore. Call it fate or call it providence I’ve got em. I’m going to call them my dream team – all pun intended.
We might conceal a big surprise
Christmas is Christmas and we all give gifts to one another. But, it is not every Christmas we can really surprise someone.
My wife is a “Phantom of the Opera” lover. She has wanted to go for years.
Two Christmases ago the Phantom of the Opera was in
I didn’t. So one day while in
We might (for a time) conceal the truth from a loved one. Three years a go my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She and dad came up from
Surgery followed in just a few weeks. Tam, the family and I went down to
The doctor said that the cancer had spread like (he used the phrase) ‘pepper’ all over her abdomen. There was now way he could remove even a bit of it. To make any difference she would have to undergo big doses of chemotherapy.
The catch was, she had told dad that she would not undergo chemo.
The plans for Tam and I was to get her out of recovery, talk with her, and head back home to
But, as so many people are, she remained very groggy and was slow to get fully awake. Every time she aroused she would ask, “how’d it go, am I ok?” --- Did they get it all…?” While in her dazed position we didn’t want to give her the bleak news, so we concealed it for a while. You’re ok mom, don’t worry, just rest.
You may wonder why God would conceal a spiritual truth with a parable and
You may read into this that God gives understanding to who He chooses and keeps the rest in the dark, but then Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 READ
Divine sovereignty and personal responsibility are carefully balanced in this passage.
Jesus is saying that a certain understanding is open to Jesus’ followers and not open to everyone else.
God, if you will --- confirms people in their hard-heartedness. If you choose to live in disobedience God is going to withhold from you the divine secrets of the Kingdom.
So whereas unbelievers will find disillusion in parables those who’s hearts are open to God will find much nourishment.
That brings us to the second reason Jesus gives for parables. That is:
2. To Reveal
READ Matthew 13:16-17
Do you realize that even the most faithful and enlightened saints of the Old Testament were not given the insights that are available to every believer today?
You see, the one who accepts the ‘true light’ of John 1:9 will receive even further light as he or she grows.
Part of the Lord’s ministry was to give understanding to His word—a ministry, by-the-way that was picked up by the Holy Spirit beginning with Pentecost.
We like to have things revealed to us. We generally hate to be left in the dark.
We want to know. If there is a deep conversation in the room and we are not involved we will either interject or at least ease drop so we know what is going on.
One of the most telling moments of this part of our nature is when a group of people are laughing at something and we don’t know what it is.
I must know! Partly because I want to laugh too and partly because I want to make sure they are not laughing at me!
BUT, when it comes to spiritual things an unbeliever will not only want to stay in the dark, but will believe he is in an enlightened position, a privileged position.
You see it is only those religious Bible thumpers that have thrown reason to the wind and believe all that mumbo-jumbo, fictitious, spiritual stuff that no-one can prove.
As Jesus said in John 3, men love the darkness because they know that the light will expose them.
O can remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach as a young college graduate who had just accepted a position as the Minister of Central Christian Church in
How in the world was I going to come up with something to say each and every Sunday? And, Sunday after Sunday? And in those days it was Sunday morning, something different Sunday evening and a Bible study Wednesday night. Some my comrades did all that and taught Sunday school.
My prayer that has now continued for fourteen years was-- “Lord reveal to me the truths of your word.”
How do I have these spiritual eyes that Jesus is talking about?
The answer to that question is given in the second passage I want to look at.
Jesus had just finished feeding the four thousand people. He had already fed another group of five thousand. READ 13-21
The development of spiritual eyes begins with something as simple as faith.
FAITH – The complete definition of that word eludes us. What is faith?
The writer of Hebrews says this;
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
(Heb 11:1-8 NIV)
Let’s stop at Abraham. I stop there because Paul called Abraham “the father of all who believe.”
Out of all the faithful men in the Bible, Abraham is given such a title. Why?
Listen to just the beginning of his story from Genesis 12:
1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him… (NIV)
God told Abram to do one thing ---- Leave.
And God would give him eight blessings…
What is faith? Here it is. If you want to know what faith is there is no better man to consult than the father of the faithful. Here it is:
Believe God’s promises and act on them!
I’m sorry it is not profound. I’m sorry I can’t sing it with rhyme and rhythm or click it off my tongue with wit and ware.
It’s not my fault.
You may want God’s central truths to be difficult to understand but they are not.
Why do we do that? Why do we constantly struggle to understand things of God that are so simple?
Is it because we want to play ignorant before God hoping He will hold us less responsible?
God if you withhold your truths from me then I wont have to live up to them!
Faith is ------ To Believe God’s Promises and Act on Them.
If you say you believe and do not act, James says your faith is DEAD.
In other words, it doesn’t exist.
Faith. Faith that God is who he says he is
Faith is the threshold of spiritual maturity. Without faith you not even get in the door of understanding God’s truths for you.
Faith that God will do what he said he would do.
Faith that even though God chose not to save my mother, I will see her again someday in paradise.
Men and women try to understand God with their intellect but God is understood through simple, easy to understand faith, what the Bible refers to even as “childlike faith.”
John MacArthur said, “All men are either progressing or regressing spiritually. No person remains static in his relationship with God. The longer a person knows and is faithful to Christ the more his Lord is faithful to reveal His truth and power… [BUT] When a man says no to God, God says no to that person. God confirms men in their stubbornness and binds them with their own chains of unbelief.” (Matthew 8-16 – Moody 1987, pp. 352)
Much of our human eyesight problems can’t be cured, but they can be corrected through lenses we call glasses or contacts.
Man has no fix however for Spiritual Eyesight Problems. I can’t put a solution in your heart to dilate your perception. I can’t write you a prescription that will fix your disobedience of God’s truths, your rejections of His promises.
I can however, led you to the one who can. But, you must approach Him with faith. When you do so, He will answer the prayer of the Psalmist, who prayed,
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things… (NIV)
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