Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 1

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1 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 1 Title slide A man is sitting at home one evening when the doorbell rings. When he answers the door, a 6 foot tall cockroach is standing there. The cockroach immediately punches him between the eyes and scampers off. The next evening, the man is sitting at home when the doorbell rings. When he answers the door, the cockroach is there again. This time, it kicks him and karate chops him before darting away. The third evening, the man is sitting at home when the doorbell rings. He looks through the window and sees the cockroach is there again. He refuses to answer the door, but instead calls 911. When the operator answers, the man says, You re not gonna believe this, but I ve been assaulted and I don t know how to tell you by what. The operator replies, Let me guess. Was it at your front door? The man says, Yes. That s right. Was it about 6 foot tall. Yes. It was. Did it have 6 legs and antennae? Yes, but how did you know? We ve had several calls. It seems there s a nasty bug going around. My kids told me I need to put more jokes in my sermons. They should have specified more good jokes. I m glad you are here in spite of the nasty flu bug going around. How many of you wear glasses or contacts? If I didn t have these glasses, I could see you, but not very well. I m near sighted, so I can t see things far away well. Did you know that it wasn t until the 12 th century that an Italian named Salvino D'Armate created the first pair of eyeglasses? Picture glasses Until then, all people with poor eyesight, were without remedy. Then, it took 500 more years, until 1590, that a Dutchman named Zacharias Jansen, a spectacle maker himself, is credited with the invention of the microscope. Picture microscope

2 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 2 Jansen took two lenses and placed them in the end of a three tube cylinder. The tubes slid in and out making it possible to magnify up to 9 times when it was fully extended. Within 100 years, with minor improvements by others, people could see bacteria, microorganisms, the cell, and more. A whole new world was revealed. It changed what people could see and that changed what people believed. Before the invention of the microscope, people believed some things about the human body that we now know to be false and absurd. The discovery of this other, unseen world, radically changed how they saw the seen world. There was a reality beyond what the eye could see. All the microscope did was allow them to see it. When they were able to see it, it changed their whole view of the world and life. Title slide We are talking about SoulShifts. SoulShifts are changes that need to happen in our inner life, in our souls, that help us follow Jesus. They are outcome focused goals, something we can look toward. But they are also action oriented. And they are all about being more like Jesus, not just about doing more to follow Jesus. Last week we talked about a SoulShift from Me to You. Even after the disciples had followed Jesus for 2 years, they still were self-centered. While Jesus thought of others. The disciples needed a shift from thinking primarily of me to you. So do we today. Today the SoulShift is: Seen to Unseen. The shift from Seen to Unseen is like what happened when the microscope was discovered. Only this idea is a call for us to open our eyes to the spiritual realities that have always been there. They are just as real as things in the visible world, and even responsible for the condition of the visible world, but they remain invisible to those who cannot see. Our world today says that the truly smart people only accept was is seen as real. Only what is seen is real. But this is not the whole reality the Bible teaches. This is not what Jesus taught and what he wants for us to believe, even in our modern world.

3 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 3 Returning to our story of the disciples following Jesus. Last week we talked about the disciples arguments about who was greatest in Mark 9 & 10. Immediately after the event where James and John ask Jesus to sit on his right and left hand, Mark tells us that Jesus and the disciples went in came to the city of Jericho (NOT READING THIS SHOW SLIDE WHEN I GET HERE) (Mark 10:46 52 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me! 49 Jesus stopped and said, Call him. So they called to the blind man, Cheer up! On your feet! He s calling you. 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 What do you want me to do for you? Jesus asked him. The blind man said, Rabbi, I want to see. 52 Go, said Jesus, your faith has healed you. Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. And as they were leaving, alongside the road was a blind man named Bartimaeus begging. who cried out, Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me! Son of David was kind of like saying, I believe you are the Messiah, the Savior! When Jesus heard him, he called Bartimaeus over & asked the same question he asked the disciples earlier: What do you want me to do for you? The blind man s answer was different though. He said, Rabbi, I want to see. And in that moment, Jesus healed him and immediately he received his sight And he followed Jesus along the road. In the Bible, blindness is a metaphor, a picture of, what is wrong with us in our natural state. The healing of blindness is often a metaphor for, a picture of, what God is trying to do in salvation in our soul. In the Gospels, blindness is never just physical; it is always spiritual, too. Just a short time before this event in Mark 8, Jesus had fed 4000 with miraculous bread and fish. And later, when He was teaching the disciples about it and they weren t getting it, He asked them, Mark 8:18, 21 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?... Do you still not understand? You have eyes but you can t see the spirituality reality in what I am doing. Then, Jesus and his disciples head out on the road, where the disciples continued to fail to see and understand one thing after another. So by the time Bartimaeus was healed of his blindness and joined Jesus on the road, there were the disciples who had followed Jesus for two years, but who were still blind; and there was Bartimaeus, who had followed Jesus only a few minutes, but who could see clearly.

4 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 4 The shift from Seen to Unseen is like being healed of blindness to things that are spiritual & eternal. Blindness to the kingdom of God. But it s not just believing in things you can t see. It goes beyond believing in things you can t see, to seeing things because you believe in them. Most Christian say they believe in things they can t see. But that s like a blind man saying he believes in the world around him, even though he s blind. Instead, when we are cured of spiritual blindness... 2 Corinthians 4:18 We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. The Apostle Paul says, We are to fix our eyes on, to see, that which is Unseen and eternal. We see the unseen world that is filled with the things of God. God awakens our abilities for discerning and sensing his activity in this world, and we see his fingerprints everywhere. The Apostle prayed Ephesians 1:18... that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you. He wants the eyes of our heart, the eyes of our inner person our soul, to be enlightened, to see. God has given us two sets of eyes: one on our face to see what is happening in the visible world, and the other in our hearts to see what is happening in the invisible world. Opening the other eyes never changes anything in the visible world, but it explains and reveals a completely different set of realities that can teach us how to live in the visible world. (Black slide) Here s a great example of this from the Old Testament. Elisha is a great prophet in the OT. He is a prophet and a miracle worker in Israel about 900 years before Jesus. In 2 Kings 6 the king of the Arameans keeps attacking Israel with raiding parties. But the Lord tells Elisha the prophet each time where the Arameans are heading and the King of Israel is able to defend it. It gets so bad that the king of the Arameans says, Okay tell me who is a spy for the king of Israel. But his captains reply, It s not us, it s Elisha. He tells the king of Israel where we are going.

5 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 5 So the king asks Where is he? They tell him in Dothan. The king says, let s go get him. So the Arameans surround Dothan in the night. In the morning, Elisha s servant looks and sees the city surrounded by Aramean men and chariots. And he runs to Elisha and says, Man we re in a tight spot. Elisha tells him not to worry. Because? Does anyone know what Elisha says? 2 Kings 6:16 Don t be afraid, the prophet answered. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. With us? Elisha s servant wondered who? Who is with us. And Elisha prayed, O Lord, open his eyes so he may see. Then the Lord opened the servant s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. O Lord, open his eyes so he may see. Then the Lord opened the servant s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. IT was the army of the Lord s angels. There was this reality that was there all along. It was a spiritual reality. Elisha could see it. The eyes of his soul were opened. He saw the Unseen things of God. His servant didn t. But in that moment inside he changed. In that moment that God let him see the heavenly reality all around him, his eyes were opened. I m sure he never went back to believing in only what he could see with his regular eyes. So, what happens when God does this for us. What might happen if we prayed as Bartimaeus did, Jesus, son of David... I want to see! what happens when we are healed of our blindness? 1. We Discover That We re Never Alone Elisha s servant saw that they were not alone.

6 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 6 And, there s another story of followers of Jesus who don t see. In the Gospel of Luke after Jesus is crucified and risen, He appears and walks the road with a couple disciples. They walk and talk with Jesus, but they don t recognize him; they don t see Him with their other eyes. Until they stop and break bread together. Luke 24: 31 says, Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him. When our eyes are opened, we recognize Jesus in the everyday places of life. He has always been there, but now we really see that he is truly there. A reporter once asked G. K. Chesterton, a Christian author from the early 20 th century he asked, If the risen Christ suddenly appeared at this very moment and stood behind you, what would you do? Chesterton answered, He is! He said he is standing right beside him at that very moment. The reporter didn t have eyes to see Him. But Chesterton had eyes to see the unseen. what happens when we are healed of our blindness? 1. We Discover That We re Never Alone 2. It Causes a Shift in Our Values. We begin to assign to things the importance they have in reality. Things of the Spirit are the most essential in the world, not possessions or hobbies or houses. Right alongside this reality, is the reality of the kingdom. Right next to our heads is a world where the poor in spirit own the kingdom of God and the meek inherit the earth, the poor are rich, and the rich go away empty. When we see what is unseen, we do not just wait for heaven to come; we see the elements of the kingdom of heaven at work in this world and we value them, we prioritize our lives around the unseen. HOW CAN YOU SHIFT FROM SEEN TO UNSEEN? How can your SoulShift?

7 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 7 1. Pray. We need to pray as Bartimaeus did, Jesus, son of David... I want to see! 2. Believe. Every day and before every service, meeting, event, and appointment in your week. Pray it every morning and watch your soul shift into seeing the unseen in your life. Jesus told Bartemaus, your faith has opened your eyes. 3. Focus. Faith is believing. Believe in Jesus. And believe in his unseen kingdom all around you. Focus those eyes. Luke tells us about the two disciples who couldn t see Jesus on the Emmaus road. He says, As they walked, they spoke about events that both deeply troubled and genuinely puzzled them. Things had not turned out with Jesus the way they had hoped, the way that expected. Maybe, that is why they could not see the unseen. Maybe when we focus on our loss and our problems and our unmet expectations we go blind to the things of unseen kingdom around us. Elisha s servant couldn t see the armies of God because his focus was on the armies of man. 4. Confess. His focus was on his problem. Put your problem behind you or it mayblind you! Bartemaus speaks his faith out loud. He sees it with his words. He calls Jesus Son of David... have mercy on me. Learn new ways to talk about ordinary things. Instead of saying something happened, say the Lord allowed it. Instead of telling what you received, share how God provided it. Speaking of the world in physical terms (whether scientific or humanistic language) is only one way of describing what happens. Begin to practice using other language.

8 Sermon, , SoulShift, Seen to Unseen 8 5. Read. In Luke on the Emmaus Road Jesus unpacked for them the story of what had to happen to the Him, to the messiah before their eys were opened. They heard the word from Jesus. That helped to open their eyes. God s word will give you new eyes to many things. 6. Listen. Elisha was there to help his servant. Jesus was there to help Bartimaeus and his disciples. We can t always see what others see. They can t see what we can see. If your spouse... If your parents... If a friend... If your pastor... Like the servant of Elisha, may God open our eyes to see that the hills are on fire with the presence of God. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we have been kept from seeing the reality of another world. May Christ open our eyes today. Like Bartimaeus, may we have faith to ask him to open our eyes to the unseen. May God continue to open our eyes. May He help us develop our faculties for seeing the unseen. May we see here on earth what everyone will see in heaven. Title slide Let s pray for that together. Song: Open the Eyes of My Heart

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