Faithlife Sermons

Seeing is Believing

Follow the King   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Seeing boy pulled out of water at Isle of Palms - Lifeguard didn’t see clearly and hesitated - I saw clearly and resulted in immediate conversation with the boys. Reminder of how important it is to see clearly.
You need to see clearly. You need to see clearly the realities of life, the realities of your own soul, and the reality of God.
God wants us to see clearly - to see Him for who He is, to see His plan for our lives, to see His purpose in the world - BUT we all struggle with spiritual blindness. For some of us, we simply don’t want to see life God’s way. For others, we do, but it’s blurry. We want to follow Jesus, but we don’t understand what Jesus is trying to teach us or trying to do in our lives.
This morning, three ways to see clearly - to overcome our propensity toward spiritual blindness so that we might understand what God is doing in our lives, and so we might live out His purpose.

Look past your agenda and see your hard heart.

Jesus no longer in Galilee but in the region of Tyre - among the Gentiles. Preparing the disciples for the day that they would take the Good News to all the world.
Feeding of the 4,000 - Jews aren’t the only ones who need the Bread of Life. Idol worshipping pagans need the bread of life as well. Similarities: Jesus has compassion on the crowd, a desolate place, loaves and fishes.
Not the same miracle - 4,000, seven baskets, seven loaves, etc., mostly Gentiles
Leaves and goes to Dalmanutha, and He is met by the Pharisees. Again, the pressure is ramping up to discredit Jesus.
They don’t come questioning - they come arguing - seeking a sign from heaven. The signs they have seen have been earthly - feeding people from His hands, healing sick, etc. Impressive, but doing it in the power of the demonic ()
Pharisees want to see a “heavenly sign” - something in the sky - to prove that Jesus is from God. Simply put, “God needs to write it in the sky that you are the Messiah. We’re not buying it.”
The sign from heaven was standing in front of them, but they refused to believe. They didn’t need signs, they needed hearts that would believe.
Pharisees = the epitome of hard-heartedness. Their minds were made up. Jesus was a threat to everything they held dear.
Pharisees = the epitome of hard-heartedness. Their minds were made up. Jesus was a threat to everything they held dear.
Jesus sighed deeply in His Spirit - anger and amazement. “No sign given to this generation.” In Greek, an incomplete statement… “If shall be given to this generation a sign...” Rest of statement, “… may I be cursed.” An oath - strong emotion.
Matthew’s account - - the only sign would be the sign of Jonah - the resurrection - but they would deny that as well.
Jesus turned and walked away! Left them in their spiritual darkness - gave them no help in understanding who He was.
The Pharisees were men on an agenda - to protect their religion and their way of life, and they would not let the truth of God standing before them alter their agenda. The epitome of a hard heart.
Maybe that’s you - your agenda keeps you from responding to Christ in faith. You refuse to surrender!
What agenda in your life is keeping you from walking by faith?
Pursue your own sinful desires?
Pursue your own goals and dreams?
To discredit Christianity? Refusal to accept the claims of Christ?
You don’t need signs - You see signs in the lives of people who have been changed - you need to believe!
There will come a day that it will be too late for you. Today, look past your agenda and see your hard heart. Repent!

Look past your pettiness and see your immaturity.

Disciples are believers - they’ve given up everything to follow Jesus, but they suffer from spiritual blindness as well.
Lost people are certainly spiritually blind, but believers can be spiritually blind as well. We can be stuck in spiritual immaturity and not see clearly what Jesus is wanting to do in our lives.
In the boat with Jesus, and they’re hungry! They didn’t bring enough bread for the journey - one loaf.
Jesus still angry over Pharisees - sees an opportunity to teach the disciples. “Beware the leaven of Pharisees and Herod.”
Leaven = yeast - put in bread to soften and make rise. Once in the dough, it cannot be removed. Permeates - bad yeast ruin the bread - Influence of Pharisees or Herod and his evil ways would negatively impact their lives. They needed to keep eyes on Jesus and not these men.
Bread? Why is Jesus talking about bread? We need bread… We’re hungry...
Disciples - immature - the King of the Universe is in the boat with them - teaching them about how to live for God. No one else on the face of the planet had this opportunity to be so intimately connected with God in the flesh, and all they can think about is bread?
Jesus - “Do you not remember 12 baskets? 7 baskets?” Twelve = twelve tribes of Israel - Jesus is the Bread of Life for the nation of Israel. Seven = the seven nations Joshua drove out of Canaan - the area where Jesus fed the 4,000. “The Land of Seven” Jesus is the Bread of Life for the pagan.
“You’re worried about bread, and you have the Bread of Life with you - you should be focused on me.”
We get so focused on the trivial that we miss so much of what life is really about - knowing Jesus and doing His will. It’s a sign of immaturity! Worried about cares of world, distracted by problems of life, focused on complaining about what we don’t like about our lives, our church, etc.
Problem - like disciples, you are stunting your spiritual growth because you are overly concerned about what’s petty in the big scheme of things.
How long will you choose to stay in immaturity? Some of us have been stuck in the same place spiritually for years! How long will you let things that are petty drive the decisions that you make? How long will you let the worrying about things that are out of your control keep you from growing in Christ?
What’s keeping you from listening to Jesus? The Bread of Life is with you - why aren’t you listening? No desire? Lack of time? Not a priority? How long will you make excuses?
What’s keeping you from being? You listen, but you don’t do. Like disciples, it’s in one ear and out the other. What’s keeping you from responding?
What are we missing? As an individual? As a church? More peace? More confidence? More faith? More harvest? Renew your focus, get rid of excuses, pursue!

Look past the haze and see with clarity.

Spiritual blindness plagued Pharisees and disciples - now an encounter with someone who is physically blind.
Notice - takes blind man out of the village - just the disciples are witnessing this - they need to see this miracle just as badly as this man needs to see.
Spits on his eyes (strange) - maybe significance of man feeling the touch of Jesus? Certainly got the attention of the man!
“What do you see?” “People that look like trees.” Did Jesus botch this miracle? Could he not get it right on the first try?
A lesson for the disciples - “This is like you - you believe, but you don’t see clearly.” Then puts his hands back on the blind man, and completely restored His sight.
To disciples: “If you would focus on me and my work, you would see clearly.”
And they would… Death - they wouldn’t see clearly then, they wouldn’t understand. But, Jesus would rise from the dead - ascend, give His Spirit, empower them for ministry to the world. Then they would see His plan clearly.
If you look to the cross and the empty tomb, you’ll see clearly too. You’ll see that if you trust in His death and resurrection, He will open your eyes to see His plan and purpose in your life. He will open your eyes so you can see that He wants to grow you into a mature follower who does His will.
Look past the haze and see with clarity. Look past all the stuff that keeps you from growing. Look past your problems, your sins, your worries, and see that there is a Savior who wants to help you see clearly.
Three challenges:
Don’t get discouraged. Maybe you’re not seeing progress in your walk with the Lord. Or, life isn’t making sense right now. You can’t see what God is doing in your life. Press on, He will help you see clearly as you trust Him.
Don’t get content. Have you become content with blurred vision? With spiritual immaturity? Ask God this morning to shake you from your contentment and give you a renewed desire for spiritual growth.
Don’t get unfocused. Let’s not lose sight of what God is doing in our lives. Let’s not let distractions keep us from knowing the Bread of Life and living on mission for Him. This morning, repent of spiritual blindness or poor eyesight, and let Jesus give you clarity.
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