Faithlife Sermons

Seeing People with Spiritual Eyes

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As we enter into our Bible study this evening, I want you to think about what is the biggest obstacle for you when it comes to sharing the Gospel.

Knowing who needs to hear it?

Knowing when the time is right?

Having the courage to step up and do it?

Something else?

I want you to think about the following question as we go through tonight’s study.

What does the phrase “seeing people with spiritual eyes” mean?

Most of us not only know that we are supposed to be sharing the Gospel with those around, we believe we are supposed too. But, what that looks like today and how we get involved in it is another thing. Having the compassion to share the Gospel with others isn’t a knowledge issue as much as it is a transformed heart. Jesus looked at all the people around Him as ones who needed to accept the gift of forgiveness He was getting ready to offer all. This affected every conversation and relationship he started with people. Until we see people who are in need of salvation the way Christ saw them, we will continue to struggle sharing the Gospel with everyone.
Matthew 9:35–38 ESV
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
When a person has a physical ailment or has something going on in their lives that is very traumatic, it is all they can think about. This is the reason why Jesus healed those with disease and feed the ones who were hungry among other miracles He performed. Once He got these physical and/or emotional needs out of the way, He could then focus on their spiritual needs.
In verse 36, we see that Jesus had great compassion for the people He was around. They had been abused by the very ones God had instructed to take care of them. We talked about this on Sunday, how the priests, pharisees and sadducees had treated the people. Because of this Jesus thought of them as sheep without a shepherd, left to find their own way.
In verse 37, Jesus is comparing those who were open to hear about the news of the New Covenant were many, but those who were knowledgable of it were few. Even the ones who know weren’t committed to sharing it.

Do you believe the harvest if truly plentiful?

If you truly believe this, then what implication should this have on your life? How should it affect the way we see other and relate to them.
Acts 8:26–40 ESV
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” 34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
From this encounter Philip had with the Ethiopian, we can see how he saw someone who came from a totally different background than him, but was willing to share the Gospel message with him. This man was someone Philip had never met before, but he felt compelled to share with him.
Philip saw he was reading from the book of Isaiah and simply asked him if he understood what he was reading. When the man said no, Philip took the opportunity to join the man in his carriage and begin to share with him the Gospel story of Christ.
When in a Gospel conversation, when you ask questions, you can see where people are and go from there. There may be some people who are right there at accepting the gift of salvation, but just need a little bit of guidance. You may find some others where you are responsible for planting the seed for them to coming to know Christ, and that may be all you are called to do.
In verses 39 & 40, we can see how both men reacted to what had just taken place. After being baptised the Ethiopian saw that Philip had gone, but continued on his way rejoicing. He was sharing what had happened to him.
Phillip is taken away to the next place where God wanted him to share. He preached from the city where the Spirit placed him to the city of his next destination. Each time we share, it does build our confidence. The walls we have placed around us don’t seem quite as high.
Most of the interactions we have with people won’t come to us as easily as what Phillip’s did here.

What conversations do you have daily that could lead to a Gospel conversation with someone?

Have you ever thought of this before?
If you try to start a conversation with someone about Christ and it doesn’t end up going the way you thought, should you be disappointed?
My answer would be no. The timing may not be in God’s timing. You must be patient and allow for the Holy Spirit to work. If we go before Him, the effort will be in vain.
Even though the conversation may not swing into a full blown out Gospel conversation, you could be the one God is using to plant the seed in the person.

Never think your efforts are in vain.

God can use the smallest thing to bring about His will in someone’s life.
Colossians 1:28–29 ESV
28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
In verse 28 of this scripture, we see that we need to be about God’s business in our daily lives. We need to be able to share with those around us the gift of salvation. We need to be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit not only in our lives, but also the way God will lead the conversation in others lives. If we are, I think we will find ourselves in more situations where we can share our faith than not.

So when we find ourselves in the situation where our conversation begins to head towards where you can share about the gift of salvation, how do you react?

I think if we find ourselves there, all we have to do is claim verse 29 in this reading. As the conversation leads itself to the point about sharing what Christ did for us on the cross, we pray for the Holy Spirit to work mightily through us. We pray that He will give us the words to say and let us know how far we need to take this conversation.
The back of the bus.
Our prayer as we become better witnesses for Christ is that every Gospel conversation we have with people will lead them closer to Christ and not further away.
So some questions for you to think about after tonight’s lesson.

What changes would take place in your life if you were to truly see people with spiritual eyes this week?

What steps can you take to develop a heart to see people like Jesus does instead of overlooking them because you’re caught up in your own stuff?

Who is someone you need to start seeing with spiritual eyes? What is hard about that for you?

We as a group need to pray for each other. I think one of the things we always need to realize is we are not in this alone. If we all lift each other up and pray for each other as we are in the places of ministry where God has placed us, we have one of the most powerful tools to help us reach the lost, but we also have one of the most powerful weapons against Satan.
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