- 20/20 Vision
- John 14:17, 26, 16:15; Ephesians 1:17-19
- Lyndol Loyd August 31, 2020
Digging In: 20/20 Vision
John 14:17, 26, 16:15; Ephesians 1:17-19
Good morning church! This morning we are continuing in our series, “Digging In: Going Deeper Into God’s Word.” Last week we looked at the idea of the Bible as a foundation for our lives. This week we’re going to look at the issue of illumination.
Recently, two of the three light bulbs above my sink in the master bathroom went out at the same time. I got a couple of replacement bulbs, but the two new bulbs were a higher wattage than the bulbs I had been using. The only thing I have to say is, “Wow! What a difference.” The brighter the bulb, the clearer you see. Isn’t that true? Brightness increases clarity. The more light, the more you can see.
This is true when it comes to God’s Word. The more light, the more enlightened your mind; the more illuminated your mind, the more you’re going to get out of God’s Word. It’s not just the Bible, it’s illumination.
What is illumination? Letting the Holy Spirit show me the meaning of God’s Word and how it applies to my life.
Before Jesus went back to heaven, He said, “I’m going to send my Spirit to live with you and live in you – the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit illuminates the Bible and helps you see things that you would not otherwise see. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you will miss a lot in the Bible. This is part of the Holy Spirit’s job.
Ephesians 1:17-19, “I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Let’s look at the phrase, “the eyes of your heart.” What does this phrase mean? When you were born physically, everything you learn in life comes through the five senses that God gave you. When you were born, God gave you five senses – hearing, taste, touch, smell, and feel. Everything you experience in your entire life for as long as you live, you’ll experience through the five senses that God gave you. If you don’t have those, you don’t experience anything. That’s when you’re physically born.
When you’re spiritually born again, when you are saved, when you become personally acquainted with God, when you develop a relationship with Jesus, God gives you a second set of senses. He gives you spiritual ears to hear things you never heard before. He gives you spiritual eyes to see things about life you didn’t see before. All of a sudden, you feel some things that you didn’t feel before. These are the eyes of your heart, the spiritual senses.
You actually live in two worlds. There is the spiritual world which we cannot see, which is God and angels and all of that. Then there is the physical world which we can see.
The spiritual world is more real than the physical world. You just can’t see it unless God opens your eyes to see things that you would not normally see. That’s called illumination.
Ephesians says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened.” The word for enlightened in Greek is the word “photizo.” The word “photo” comes from this word.
What is a photo? It is the image of light on a piece of paper or through digitization. It is an image of light. To enlighten means to shine the light on something.
Let’s apply this to reading the Bible- one day the light bulb comes on in your mind and illuminates Scripture like you’ve never seen before. It’s the ah-ha moment! “Whoa! I’ve read that verse a lot of times, but I’ve never seen that before. That’s exactly what I needed today, right now, to encourage me, to help me to know which way to go. I’ve found it! I get it! Yes! I understand it!” That is illumination.
For many of you, that has never happened in your life as you’ve read the Bible. You just read words – blah-bah, blah-bah, blah-bah, blah-bah. You’ve never had one of those ah-ha moments.
Some of you have had this happen infrequently. It’s happened every once in a while. I’m going to teach you today how to make this a regular part of your daily Bible reading. The Bible is more than just print on a piece of paper. You’re going to read the Bible, and it’s going to come alive.
And you’ll say, “That is so good. That is wonderful. I never saw that before. I needed that. It’s God speaking directly to me.”
One of the greatest benefits of having your spiritual eyes opened is that you see how God is walking with you. He’s been there all along, you just didn’t see it.
I don’t know what you’re going through right now. You may feel lonely, alone, like you’re out there by yourself, as if you’re fighting this battle on your own. You don’t think that God is with you because He feels a million miles away. You’re dead wrong! He’s been with you all along; you just can’t see it until your mind is illuminated.
The story I want to share on this one is in Luke 24. This is the story that happened on the day that Jesus rose from the dead, the very first Easter Sunday. A lot happened in 72 hours- Jesus Christ had been arrested, He had been whipped and beaten and tortured, crucified and died, then they buried Him in a tomb.
All of the disciples are crushed. “We thought this guy was God. We thought he was the Messiah. Now that they’ve killed him they’re probably going to kill us.” They’re all fleeing for their lives. Nobody knows what’s happened. They’re confused, they’re in grief. They’re fearful because they think they will be killed as well.
Then on Easter morning, some women go to the tomb, and they find the tomb has been broken open, the body is gone, and the angels there are saying, “He is risen.” This is too much to believe, so they go back and tell the disciples.
But later that day, a couple of Jesus’ disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus. They’re getting out of town. They’re leaving Jerusalem in fear for their lives. They’re grieving big time. All of a sudden, Jesus shows up and appears to them and starts walking with them. But because they’re in so much grief, they don’t even recognize Him. Their eyes are closed. They can’t see Him. They don’t even notice who’s with them.
We pick this story up in Luke 24:15-24, “Suddenly, Jesus himself came along and joined them and began walking beside them. But they didn’t know who he was, because God kept them from recognizing him. Jesus said, ‘You seem to be in a deep discussion about something, what are you so concerned about?’ They stopped short, sadness written on their faces. Then Cleopas said, ‘You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened in the last few days.’ Jesus said, ‘What things?’ And the disciples said, ‘The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,’ they said. ‘He was a prophet who did wonderful miracles. He was a mighty teacher, highly regarded by both God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders arrested him and handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had thought he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. That all happened three days ago,’ they continued.
‘Then some women were at his tomb early this morning, and came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and that they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, Jesus’ body was gone, just as the women had said.’”
They are all confused. They haven’t seen Jesus. He’s walking right there with them, but they haven’t seen Him yet. They don’t know what to believe. V.25-27 “Then Jesus said, ‘You are such foolish people. You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering into his time of glory?’ Then Jesus quoted passages from the writings of Moses and all of the prophets, explaining what all the Scriptures said about him.”
- 28-31“By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus would have gone on, but they begged him to stay the night with them, since it was getting late. So hewent home with them. [They still don’t recognize him.] As they sat down to eat, Jesus took a small loaf of bread, asked God’s blessing on it, broke it, then gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”
“Holy guacamole! It’s Jesus! We’ve been walking with Him all day. We’ve been talking with Him. We’ve been telling Him what we saw, and He’s been explaining to us the meaning of it. Now He’s eating dinner with us.
What in the world?” Their eyes were open, “and he disappears from their sight.”
That was illumination. In their grief, they could not see that Jesus was with them. They’d had this enormous loss, and they couldn’t see.
They just couldn’t see it. They needed illumination.
I don’t know what you’ve lost this last year. You may have lost a loved one, your health, your job, an important relationship, or a big deal, and you are grieving. You cannot see that every step of the way Jesus has been walking with you. You have never been alone. You have never been by yourself. God is walking with you, but your eyes are blinded. You can’t see it.
Now do you realize how important illumination is? Without illumination you just look at the book, and a lot of it doesn’t make sense. It’s just words on a page. Great story. But when God opens your eyes, Bam! I see the solution to my problems. Bam! I see the barrier to my progress. Bam! I see God’s protection from all the things that are attacking me. And bam! I see He’s with me all the time.
How do I get that kind of illumination? You must do five things. Five things to get your eyes open, to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so He can illuminate, so He can “photizo” and enlighten your mind.
I must begin with a relationship with Jesus.
That’s the starting point. If you don’t have this one, you are spiritually blind, and you don’t have any hope of seeing things from God’s point of view. You have to get the connection first. You can’t just know about Jesus. You’ve got to know Him. You must accept His salvation. Until you begin that relationship, you’re blind. Sorry. You can only see from a human viewpoint.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
That’s why Jesus says in John 3:3, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God until he is born again.” So it starts with connecting to Jesus.
I must ask God, in faith, to open my eyes.
I pray Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your laws.”
Here’s the point, there are wonderful things in the Bible. It’s filled with wonder-filled things. But when you don’t see them, it’s not the Bible’s fault. It’s because you’re blind. You can’t see the wonder-filled things until your eyes have been opened. So if your eyes are not opened, you can read the Bible, but you don’t get it. It just seems dull because you’re not seeing. It takes more than revelation. It takes illumination.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, [Lord, I need wisdom on this business deal… I need wisdom with my kids… I need wisdom on my health… I need wisdom whether to says yes or no, whether to hold on or let go…] if any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt.” I ask God in faith.
I come with a humble attitude.
If I come to the Word of God with an attitude of, “I’ve got it all figured out. I don’t really need God’s help on this marriage issue, or this financial issue.” Then you’re not going to get anything.
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I cleanse my heart of sin and conflict.
I cannot get my eyes open if my body and mind are full of junk. That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” You can’t see God unless your heart is pure.
That doesn’t mean perfect. If only God illuminated the minds of people who are perfect, nothing would happen. None of us are perfect. Pure doesn’t mean perfect. Pure in heart means there’s nothing between me and God. I confess. I don’t allow the garbage to pile up in my life.
If I’m over here and watching or reading a bunch of junk, then I come and say, “God, I need some instruction about what to do in my job.” It isn’t going to happen; it just isn’t going to happen. “Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God.”
And not just sin but conflict. 1 John 2:11, “Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and he walks around in the darkness. He does not know where he’s going,”
If you really want your mind open, you want to see the solution to your problems and the barriers to your progress, and the defenses to your attackers, and the fact that God is with you, you may need to make a phone call this afternoon. Or write a letter. You may need to forgive somebody. You may need to ask for forgiveness. You may need to let somebody off the hook.
I commit, in advance, to do what God says.
This is unqualified, unconditional obedience. I say, “God, I’m getting ready to sit down here. I need you to teach me what I need to do this week with my kids, with my spouse, with my family, my business. I need you to teach me. I’m telling you in advance that I’m going to do what you want me to do even when it doesn’t make sense, even when I don’t understand it, even when I don’t agree, even when it isn’t popular, even when it isn’t easy. I’m saying yes, even before you tell me what to do.”
Psalm 119:33-34, “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.”
Whatever you show me, I’m going to act on it. Why? Because acting on it is the bottom line, and God’s not going to give you step two until you act on step one.