The All-Seeing Unseen Eye of God and Other Sermons
The man got up and walked right before the eyes of the multitudes. When Lazarus died, the whole neighborhood knew about it. Many saw this, and they believed in Jesus because of what their physical eyes had seen. But according to Hebrews There is nothing wrong in believing in God after witnessing a miracle. What kind of faith do you have? Did you become a Christian after reading a biography? Saving faith, according to the New Testament, has to do directly with God. Intellectual faith involves the analysis of facts and data. You weigh various propositions, and arrive at a logical deduction.
You saw a miracle, and you deduced through a logical process that God is real and has the power to heal. That is intellectual faith. It is based on an investigative procedure similar to that used in a court of law, where the judge and the jurors listen to the witnesses.
They weigh the evidence, the arguments, and the credibility of the witnesses, and then arrive at a verdict or conclusion. Intellectual faith, too, is based on intellectual analysis.
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There is nothing wrong with that. In this world we cannot do without intellectual analysis. Every day we must assess whether something is true or false, and then accept or reject it. But we must distinguish between these two vastly different types of faith. One is the intellectual acceptance of certain statements.
Saving faith, on the other hand, is the seeing of eternal things that are invisible to the physical eye. That is the vital transition from second-hand to first-hand faith. Seeing is a primary means by which we know someone or something. What do the Scriptures tell us about how this relationship with God is to be understood? As we have seen, even if we have met someone, shaken hands with him, and exchanged a few words, we are still not entitled to say that we know the person until a relationship or friendship has been established.
In our lifetimes we have met with, shaken hands with, and talked with a lot of people; but of most of them we could not say either that we know them or that they know us. Only where a friendship or a relationship has been established can we really say we know them and they know us.
In other words, knowing has to be mutual where real knowing is concerned. In the same way, Scripture makes it clear that knowing in regard to our relationship with God is also mutual. For example, 2Tim. Or 1Cor. Likewise Gal. As for these people, their relationship with Jesus was not mutual and therefore not recognized. Like the question of acceptance that we looked at previously, we now see that the same is true of knowing.
It is not a matter of whether we think we know God, but whether He knows us as one of His own. We come to our second point: The physical component of man tends to prevent him from seeing spiritual things. Let us use baptism to help explain this point. Baptism symbolizes death. It is death to the self and to the old way of life in the flesh. Why is death so important? Through death we die to sin. That is because you cannot die to sin unless you first die to the flesh.
Romans chapter 6 expounds the meaning of baptism using the picture of death to sin. In chapter 7 the link between flesh and sin is clearly seen, so it becomes evident that we cannot die to sin unless we die to the flesh. People find themselves in the dilemma of wanting to do something good but are powerless to do it. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. What is Paul saying? Something is stopping me from doing the good I want to do. What is it? Sin which lives within me. Sin is not just an act or a deed; it is a power that compels me to do something contrary to my intentions.
In verses Paul continues:.
II. How to See The Unseen.
Nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. This confirms what we observed earlier: You cannot die to sin unless you die to the flesh. It is as simple as that. That is why baptism involves death.
Death at baptism signifies the putting off of the flesh, and the finishing of life in the flesh. When we experience this death and receive the Holy Spirit, what happens next? Obviously, your body has not disappeared. We are in the Spirit if we have become new persons in Christ, and now live by his power.
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It describes my situation perfectly. I want to do good, but I do evil instead. The flesh is a veil that covers your face and prevents you from seeing spiritual things. No one in the flesh can see the things of God. We can tell whether we are in the flesh or in the Spirit by whether spiritual things are real to us. To the man in the flesh, spiritual things are conceptual, abstract and even mythological. What matters to him is material reality: the car, the house, the ice-cream shop—the things he can see and hear, or taste and smell, or touch with his fingers.
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To the natural man, the things of God make no sense; to him they are foolishness 1Cor. What makes sense to him is physical reality. Hence it takes a radical and fundamental transformation to become a whole new person in Christ. At baptism a spiritual transition takes place through faith. We now gladly place ourselves under the control of the Spirit. This is a radical transfer from one sphere of power to another. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Paul continues to speak of the veil in the next chapter:. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The gospel makes no sense to those whose faces are veiled. They are in the flesh, and sin rules the flesh. They are perishing because the wages of sin is death Ro. But thanks be to God, the veil of the flesh is removed in Christ. It is in and through Christ that we have access to God. Now we see why we must put off the old way of life dominated by the flesh, a way of life preoccupied with the pursuit of material and earthly things such as cars, houses, computers—the things that are visible; and if not with these particular things, then with the other things of this present world like the praise or applause from men, or their respect, or all sorts of earthly concerns and aspirations.
To an earthly-minded person, to someone who lacks the spiritual perception of faith, to someone who remains stagnant in second-hand faith, spiritual things appear abstract, remote and nebulous. But something else is defective about a second-hand faith: It costs you nothing. Intellectual faith does not require you to deal with the flesh. If you take up your cross, you are finished with the flesh.
Intellectual faith, on the other hand, does not require you to deny yourself. It toys with interesting theological concepts, and is the perfect remedy for intellectual boredom! True spirituality takes place when the veil of the flesh is removed through death, that is, death to the old life in the flesh. If you ask me how I know that a certain person exists, I would reply, I have seen him with my own eyes. Seeing is eyewitness evidence; this evidence is the basis of assurance. When the apostle John  , as one of the Twelve, is asked for evidence for the truth concerning Jesus, his reply is based on the strength and truth of eyewitness evidence:.
In this passage, both kinds of seeing physical and spiritual are present. Seeing is a necessary basis for knowing, as distinct from knowing about. The quality of the perception, as well as its extent, obviously affects the quality i. That is to say, the more superficially I see, the more superficially I know; the less I see, the less I know in the direct sense of knowing. The converse is also true: The deeper my perception, the better my knowing. The wider my scope of perception, the fuller my knowledge. The link between faith, seeing, and knowing should now be clear. His faith, being spiritual sight, allowed Paul to know with full assurance the one who is now seated at the right hand of the Father and who cannot be seen with physical sight at the present time.
At the end of his earthly ministry, Stephen was granted to see the ascended Christ, while Paul was granted such a vision at the beginning of his ministry as an apostle. There can be no doubt that in both cases they saw what cannot be seen by the physical eye, and they saw it with the faith that sees the spiritual and the eternal. This is confirmed by the fact that both accounts of those events report that the other people who were present at the time did not see with their physical eyes what Stephen or Paul saw.
If those who were stoning Stephen cf. A dialogue is recorded in verses 5 and 6 but there is still no mention of physical vision. They believe only their physical perception. If that is also our reaction, then it reveals how carnal our thinking is. Actually, it is our physical sight that is unreliable. It is common to encounter people giving descriptions of something which upon closer investigation of the facts turn out to be incorrect. Not surprisingly, eyewitness accounts often disagree with one another.
Why is spiritual seeing reliable whereas physical sight is not? It is God who opens the eyes of the blind when they call upon Him. It is God who enables us to see with the eyes of faith, and it is God who reveals to us the things we need to see for our eternal welfare. Notice again the link between seeing and knowing. Since so much is at stake regarding true spiritual vision, we must for that very reason always be on high alert to any form of spiritual deception, which is an ever-present threat in this age. What precautions can we take?
We need to be ever watchful for every machination of the powers of darkness because these operate through the deadly reality of sin. We must be alert to the sobering fact that if any one harbors sin in the heart, genuine spiritual vision cannot be found in that person. Sin will give Satan the opportunity to deceive by means of false visions and delusions of all kinds. Only when our hearts are pure can we see as God would have us see with the eyes of faith.
Any one of the other eleven apostles could have given this kind of answer. But the latter option seems implausible for the reasons mentioned in relation to v. Skip to main content. Login Register. We Who Died to Sin Death: Goodbye to Self and the World Regeneration and Renewal Regeneration and Victory Seven Marks of a Regenerated Christian He knows all things and possesses all wisdom. It took the intelligence experts more than 2, years after this to be able to bug a room, but God is much more effective than the CIA!
He knows every thought and motive of every human heart! Nothing is hid from Him Heb. The Aramean king stupidly thought that he could send troops and take Elisha captive. Elisha could have hidden himself, but he knew that God wanted to solve this problem in a way that would teach the Aramean king and the king of Israel some lessons about the reality of the living God. Our God knows everything. We are foolish to think that we can hide anything from Him. He knows all our secret thoughts, let alone words and deeds. We can go to Him for the wisdom we lack.
He not only knows how to solve our problems, He has unlimited power to deal with the biggest problems we can conceive of. Is your problem as big as a hostile army that is trying to get you? David puts it Ps.
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There is no man or nation so powerful but that God can easily bring him or it to nothing. That means that God is able to deal with any problem you have, no matter how big it is to you. I always chuckle when I think of the woman who came to the well-known Bible teacher, G. Morgan, do you think we should pray about little things, or just about big problems? He spoke the universe into existence. Nothing is too difficult for Him Jer. If only I could utter a short prayer and all my problems were instantly solved just like these soldiers were struck blind!
If we belong to God, we can trust Him to protect us until the moment He calls us to be with Him. When he saw them in the morning, he panicked. Some godly people suffer for years or die through disease or persecution. The Lord provides a clue in a minor detail of the text that we might easily miss. Did you notice where Elisha was when this army surrounded him? He was in Dothan It seems like more than coincidence that this town is mentioned only one other time in the Bible. It was the town where Joseph found his brothers when his father sent him to find out how they were doing Gen.
When Joseph arrived there his brothers threw him in a pit and were about to kill him when a caravan passed by heading for Egypt. So instead they sold him into slavery. You know the story, how, after many years as a slave and prisoner, God finally appointed him over all Egypt under Pharaoh. As he sat in the pit in Dothan or as he traveled in chains to Egypt or as he sat in chains in the Egyptian dungeon, Joseph never had a vision of chariots of fire surrounding him.
Where were the angels and chariots when Joseph was suffering? Even if you spend years in a dungeon, our sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent God has not abandoned you. Even so, we are safe because we are identified with our Master, Jesus Christ, who said that our Heavenly Father even has our hairs numbered! Prayer is our means of access to our all-sufficient Savior.
As Paul wrote from prison Phil.www.cantinesanpancrazio.it/components/wuvygudus/909-come-copiare.php
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And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Major trials can hit so suddenly! Life is fragile! The uncertainty of life should make us live every day in dependence upon God. I believe that Elisha knew how God wanted him to deal with this crisis because he had prayed. On a previous occasion Elisha himself had cursed in the name of the Lord a bunch of young men who taunted him, resulting in some bears killing 42 of them 2 Kings But on this occasion, I think that Elisha knew through prayer that God wanted to deal differently with this foreign army.
Though it is not stated directly, I believe that Elisha had gained the wisdom to know how to handle this trial the way he did through prayer. God may or may not grant us miraculous insight and power, as He did here with Elisha. But if we are people of prayer and commune with God through His Word, we will have unusual wisdom for dealing with trials when they hit. But there are two warnings we need to take to heart. First, the time to gain such wisdom is before trials hit.
Seeing The Unseen
Proverbs tells us that if we neglect to get wisdom during calm times, we will not have it when calamity strikes. Elisha warned the Israelite king of where the Arameans would attack. It warns us of the consequences of sin. But those warnings only profit us if we obey them. These warnings only help if we follow them. Most of us determine reality by our physical senses. If we can see, hear, feel, smell, or taste it, it must be real.
For him, reality was the even greater and more powerful army of angels surrounding the city. These angels were there all along. And spiritual reality is the ultimate reality, superceding the reality of what we perceive with our physical senses. The Apostle Paul knew how to see the unseen. The real thing was the eternal glory that awaited him in heaven 1 Cor. He also said that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Remember, he was chained to a very real Roman guard as he wrote that! Our real struggle is against these unseen forces of darkness in the heavenly places. And the way we combat these forces is through prayer Eph.