June 10

Today is exciting as Pastor Trent will be hosting the first teen event since COVID hit. Please keep them all in prayer if you would!

One of the great challenges for us as Christians is to allow God through His immutable Word, to open our eyes to truths we have never seen before. I cannot tell you how many times and over how many years of my life I read John 6, Acts 13:48, John 10 (which we’ll begin this Sunday), Romans 8-9, Ephesians 1:3-6, etc. and never saw the sovereignty of God in salvation. Yet, the more and more I read my Bible and seek God, the more these truths pop out at me that I never saw before, and the more clarity I have about many biblical and theological topics.

Last week our topic was discipleship since Jesus kept emphasizing that discipleship means continuing in His Word. This week we’re discussing being real, forsaking our pride, and allowing His Spirit to open our spiritual eyes. Since my assumption is that most of our church is truly saved and has had their eyes open to their sin as well as to their need for Christ, let’s then talk about having our eyes opened further for our spiritual growth. So, let me ask you, if someone had never seen anything before, and had lived in blindness for decades, do you think he would crave seeing as much as he could as soon as Jesus healed him?

Or how about someone thirsting in a spiritual desert and Jesus gives spiritual, everlasting water. Or spiritual hungering, and Jesus gives spiritual bread. Would those people who had never experienced these things before crave even smore? I think I would.

  • Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
  1. What do you crave? Experiences? Fulfillment? Praise? Happiness? Personal Peace? Success? Something else? ________________________________________________________
    1. Now, since none of these things really matter since none of them are spiritual or satisfying, what does this verse tell you issatisfying, thus isimportant? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

We all get sidetracked, and we all get blinded by what we’ve been previously taught, or think we know. But, remember, facts and truth do not care about our feelings, or about the changing times, or about cultural shifts. Facts and truth are foundational because they never move. Our feelings shift constantly, “But the Word of the Lord endures forever” (I. Peter 1:25). When we approach our Bibles, we need to ask God to open our eyes and show us His truth. We need to forsake letting our feelings dictate reality. We need to ask Him to open up our eyes to identify false teaching, false ideologies, false teachers. We need to see others with the love and compassion Jesus had for them.

The spinelessness of our Christianity today has convinced us that it’s unloving to stand on truth, to pronounce biblical proclamations against sin, to actually tell those living in opposition to God that they are not saved but are on their way to Hell. Yet, Jesus did this all the time. Truth was what divided and offended the masses.

  1. So the question is, is true Christian love a mushy, touchy-feely sort of thing, or is it loving God first (and obeying Him above all else), and loving others by proclaiming His truth to them with the goal of edifying, encouraging, and motivating them to live righteously? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. Look up Exodus 20:6 and Deuteronomy 5:10. To whom does God show love and kindness towards? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Would it stand to reason that He does not show this same love and kindness towards those who hate Him? _______________________________________________
    2. Look up John 14:15 & 21. What is one evidence of our love for Jesus? ___________________________________________________
      1. And, would it also stand to reason that the Father does not show this same love towards those who disobey Him? ______________________________________________
    3. Then, look up I. John 2:9 & 11, and 4:20. If you hate your brother, does that mean you hate God? ___________________________________________________
      1. And, if you hate your brother, does that mean you are spiritually blind? _________________________________

Tough stuff, huh? The old acronym I grew up with was J.O.Y: Jesus First, Others Second, Yourself Last. Good stuff there. But remember, Jesus First comes at a cost, especially in today’s world where feelings-based decision-making has supplanted truth/facts-based decision-making. If you love Jesus, you will definitely be persecuted. But, you absolutely show no love for Jesus when you disobey Him, and that includes when you disobey Him by hating your brother. Discipleship means helping Christians see, by the light of the Word, that Jesus is to be first and foremost, and that’s to be followed closely by loving our fellow Christians. The second part never replaces the first, however. Obeying Jesus, including preaching His biblical truth, must always be paramount in our lives or else we are not really loving at all. I believe there is no greater evidence that we hate people than when we fail to tell them the truth from God’s Word.

  • “The prophet comes to set up that which will upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality.”—Leonard Ravenhill
  • “Does it matter to you today that God’s spiritual Jerusalem, the church, is now married to the world? That there’s such a coldness sweeping the land, so many people I know that were my friends and I see them go one by one, husbands and wives into such passivity, going to churches where they can find smooth messages, no longer wanting to hear anything of wrath or correction. Some of my closest friends, I see them falling by the wayside. Is it nothing to you? Closer than that, does it matter about the Jerusalem that’s in our own hearts? The sign of ruin that’s slowly draining spiritual power and passion, blind to lukewarmness. Blind to the mixture that’s creeping in. You see when spiritual blindness comes very few recognize it, it’s the last recognized thing that happens to a child of God.”—Bruce Wilkerson
  • “Signs of decadence, which are patent to others, are undiscovered by ourselves; and we go on, and on, and on, the victims of ebbing strength, spiritually and morally becoming degenerate, without knowing it! We are blind to the signs which are self-evident to onlookers. There is no condition more perilous to our highest well-being than this of unconscious decadence.”—G. Campbell Morgan
  1. The world, the flesh, and the Devil all work so smoothly at seducing us to spiritual blindness and sleep. J.R.R. Tolkien expressed this accurately in The Return of the Kingwhere Theodin cannot even discern reality, right or wrong, because the wicked character, Wormtongue has blinded him into a stupor. Look at your life now and try to identify some areas where you have spiritual blind spots and identify them here (look for theological, personal, moral, and any other areas God opens your eyes to): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. That’s not an easy step, so the next thing to do is to ask those spiritual Christians closest to you to let you know what they see in your life: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. What might some of the cultural ideologies be that have influenced/blinded you in the past, but that you have discovered are actually lies from the pit of Hell? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Open My Eyes, That I May See  Hymn by Clara Scott

1 Open my eyes, that I may see

Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;

Place in my hands the wonderful key

That shall unclasp, and set me free.

[CHORUS]

Silently now I wait for Thee,

Ready, my God, Thy will to see;

Open my eyes, illumine me,

Spirit divine!

 

2 Open my ears, that I may hear

Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;

And while the wave-notes fall on my ear,

Ev’rything false will disappear.

[CHORUS]

Silently now I wait for Thee,

Ready, my God, Thy will to see;

Open my ears, illumine me,

Spirit divine!

 

3 Open my mouth, and let me bear

Gladly the warm truth ev’rywhere;

Open my heart, and let me prepare,

Love with Thy children thus to share.

[CHORUS]

Silently now I wait for Thee,

Ready, my God, Thy will to see;

Open my heart, illumine me,

Spirit divine!