Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Biblical hope is not something you're unsure about at all. Biblical hope is something that you are very sure about that just hadn't happened yet. But something that you look forward to with great anticipation and that literally reshapes your entire outlook on life. And what is Paul saying that we are certain is going to happen? What is our hope that God is going to finish what He started in us? Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author and theologian J.D.
Greer. And as always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. Have you ever felt like something is missing in your spiritual life? You know, I think what's often missing is the difference between knowing something in our head and then having it come alive in our heart. And today's message from the new Love Incorruptible teaching series. Pastor J.D. shows us why it's not enough just to know facts.
God has to grant a spiritual sight if we want to know Him more and see His true glory, the thing that plain old facts simply cannot explain. If you'd like to follow along with the transcript of each message, you can always find them free of charge at our website, JDCreer.com. Pastor J.D. titled today's message, Open Up Our Eyes.
So if you got your Bible begin to turn into Ephesians chapter one. As you're turning there, let me just ask a question here. How many of you have had LASIK surgery?
Why don't you raise your hands, right? You had LASIK surgery. I had it several years ago so I can see a few of you out there.
I probably need to have it again. But I had it about 14 years ago. And if I remember correctly, it was pretty new on the market.
I actually heard an advertisement for it on the radio. And I was wearing contacts at the time. And they said, hey, if you pay for one eye, we'll throw in the other eye for free. And I thought, well, who takes the one eye only option?
I wasn't sure about that, but I got two eyes. So that sounds perfect. So I went in and I got my little exam done and made my appointment. I went in on the day for the appointment. And I'm thinking, surely, you know, I sit in this little waiting room for like, you know, seven or eight minutes. And the doctor calls me back in. And I'm thinking, surely there's got to be some kind of prep, you know, process or some kind of, you know, long whatever.
I got to wear a robe or something, but nope. She talks to me for two or three minutes, sits me down and straps my head back in a chair. Then she hands me a couple of Valium pills and she straps me down. And immediately as my head is strapped to the chair, I start having second thoughts like, do good eye doctors advertise on the radio?
I mean, I'm not sure that that's really, you know, did I just really sell my eye out to the lowest bidder is what I kind of feel like I just did. But at that point, you know, when you get strapped down, the little machine has already taken over. And so this little like, that's why I can describe it's like a little vacuum cleaner comes out and just kind of locks on your eye and kind of pulls it up just a tad. I will skip most of the details.
I will tell you that they have gotten a lot better in the last 14 years. And so my experience is not necessarily what everybody's is. But the little essentially they have to take this little. I hate to say this, but this little like knife cuts off the top of your cornea. And they the doctor takes these little rubber tweezers and she pulled the cornea back and then the laser starts to go to work. On your eye. And it kind of looks like a little kaleidoscope that's taking place in your eye. And I mean, you have to watch because where else are you going to look?
It's like right there in your eye. And so I'm watching this thing and then I start having these are these just like crazy thoughts like like what if there's an earthquake? Yeah, I know Raleigh Durham is not known for its earthquakes, but there's a first time for everything. So maybe like did somebody check the Weather Channel? Is there an earthquake schedule?
How do they schedule things like that? And I'm kind of because, you know, my wife is pregnant with our first child. And at that point, I'm thinking, what if I lose my sight and I never see my child? Well, just about as soon as we started, the thing was over. She switched over to the other eye and then the kaleidoscope on that one. And she sat me up, said, You're all done.
I think the whole thing took 11 minutes. I sat up and I could see 20, 20, except for one thing that the very last process she takes was a rubber tweezers and she put your cornea back on and she put what I guess was like some kind of super glue to, you know, get it all fixed. But you can't see for like 30 seconds.
And that is a scary 30 seconds because I'm like, something just went wrong. And I can't see anymore. The reason I tell you that is not to dissuade you from LASIK. It's been a great experience for me. I'll say that. But it's that sight is something that is very precious to you and something that you would never want to be without, because so much of your life would be different if you didn't have sight.
Me sitting there thinking about my daughter that was going to be born and never having the chance to look into her face, life would be so much incredibly different if you couldn't see. I share that because right here at the beginning of the book of Ephesians, Paul pauses in his theological instructions and he writes out a prayer for the Ephesians. And the focus of the prayer is for spiritual sight. If you were here last weekend, you remember that Paul in the first part of this chapter, the first 14 verses, has dropped a series of theological bombs.
And he is about to drop some more in chapter two. But Paul knows that simply explaining these things to the Ephesians is not going to be sufficient unless God grants spiritual sight to them. It's all useless. So in verse 17, he kind of stops his theological instruction and he says this, I pray, I pray that God may give you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation and the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened. You see what he's praying for? He's praying for God to help their eyes to see. You need the eyes of your heart to be enlightened. God's got to give you through the spirit this spirit of wisdom and he's going to reveal to you the knowledge of me.
It's got to be something the spirit of God opens your eyes to, because even if you know all the facts, but the eyes of your heart haven't been opened, you'll never feel them and they'll never transform you. There are two words, by the way, for knowledge in the Greek language. The word that's not used here is the word Oida. Oida, and Oida refers to knowing kind of facts or data. I know that Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina.
I know that the square root of 256 is 16. I know that the little plastic piece at the end of the verse and the piece at the end of your shoelace is called an aglet. Those are cool facts that I know. But that is not, that's Oida. That's not the word that he uses here. The word that he uses there is the word ginosko. And ginosko in the Greek language refers to a different kind of knowledge.
It's personal. It's a felt knowledge that is gained through experience. I might know, I might Oida that Krispy Kremes donuts are made of sugar and baby angel nectar, but that is different from that experience of putting one in your mouth and having it just melt into, you know, taste bliss or whatever. That's ginosko when you put it in your mouth.
You might know, you might Oida how parachuting works, but that's different from the moment that you step out of the plane. At that point, your Oida becomes ginosko. I knew my wife, my Oida, my wife was about to give birth, but that was different than holding my first daughter in my arms.
That was ginosko. The Hebrew version of the word that Paul uses here often referred to sexual intimacy. When a man or a woman would unite their souls in sexual intimacy, the Bible says, if you've read the Old Testament, that they knew one another.
Let it mean that they got together and introduced themselves and exchanged some relevant facts about each other. It means that they experienced each other. That's the kind of knowledge that Paul is praying for us to have. It is a felt knowledge of the love of God, a felt knowledge that you experience deep within your soul. When God grants spiritual sight to us, he takes the doctrines of the gospel that we understand with our mind, Oida, and he makes them ginosko burst alive with sweetness in our hearts.
We come to know them as real, as personal, and as felt. You see, it is very possible to be around Jesus for a long period of time, maybe a lifetime, and to hear the very best preaching and never really knowing. And just consider Judas. Judas hung around Jesus for three years without ever developing personal love and trust in Jesus. Judas didn't start out as an outright hypocrite. He was interested in Jesus.
He didn't come in as like a double agent or an emissary of Satan. He wanted to be around Jesus like everybody else. He believed that Jesus was telling the truth. He was pulling for Jesus. He wanted Jesus to be a part of his life. But the eyes of his heart were never enlightened to see the true glory of Jesus. And so his knowledge of Jesus never turned into personal trust or love. And so when the hour of trial came, he departed instead of staying with Jesus.
Let me make a really big statement here as we get started this morning. Almost all of your spiritual problems come from a lack of sight. Almost all of your spiritual problems come from a lack of sight because what you know with your mind, what you oida with your mind, has never become ginosko, known, or felt with your heart. For example, do you feel dry spiritually? Do you just feel cold spiritually? Like something is missing in your life? You feel like Christianity ought to be about something more?
This is what you're looking for. What you know here has got to become alive here. Many of you have been Christians since you were very little. And that means that you're very well versed in the facts, but you don't feel them anymore. If you ever did feel them, you don't feel them in your heart.
They no longer wow you or captivate you. It's not some new fact about Jesus that you need to learn. I'm not going to explain to you some new angle on doctrine, and you're going to be like, oh, I get it now. That's the missing piece, and suddenly I'm alive in Jesus. No, basically, you're like the Grinch, and the Grinch that stole Christmas. Your heart is shrunk so badly that you can't feel the things you ought to feel.
You need the Spirit of God to make your heart grow three sizes in one day. Some of you are bored with Jesus. You come to church, you go through the motions, but there's no passion in your life. I mean, you go through the motions, but you don't really read the Bible or pray on your own. You don't really feel anything in worship. Obedience feels like drudgery. Why have you gotten bored with Jesus?
Is it because you know everything? How do you fix your boredom with Jesus? It's not new facts about Jesus that are going to make him interesting.
Stars like Lady Gaga have to reinvent themselves constantly in order to remain interesting. Jesus didn't like that. He didn't like that. He didn't like that.
He's ever fascinating, ever satisfying. You simply need to have the eyes of your heart enlightened to the truth you already know. I've heard Jesus described like a well. You don't get better water from a well by widening the circumference of the well.
You get the best water from the well by going down deep into the hole you already have. Are you discouraged? Do you feel sad or overwhelmed? You need God to open your eyes to who Jesus is and who he is for you. I've always loved the words of Christian counselor Larry Crabbe, who admitted in a time of his personal discouragement something that I know has been true of me throughout my life. He says, God, I know, I know that you're all I have, but I don't, I don't ginosko.
He was speaking in English, not in Greek, but that's the word he's thinking of. But I don't, I don't know you well enough to know that you're all that I need. I know in my head, I know you're all that I have, but I don't know you in my heart well enough to really know that you are all that I need. For the vast majority of us in this room, this is our primary spiritual need, to know him. And to know him, we need the eyes of our hearts enlightened. And the only thing that can yield that in your life is prayer. And so we turn to this prayer. I memorized Paul's prayer last year, and this is what I most often pray for myself. It is what I most often pray for my wife. It is what I most often pray for my kids. It is what I most often pray for you, my church. This is given to us as a model prayer for how you should pray for people in your lives. You parents, it's how you ought to pray for your kids. Specifically, Paul prays for us to see four different things.
Help them to see four different things. Number one, the certainty of our hope. The certainty of our hope, he says, I pray that you may know the hope to which he has called you. The word hope in English doesn't really communicate what the Greek word means here either. The word hope in English, the Greek word for hope is really poorly served by our English translation. Because in English, the word hope usually refers to something that you want to happen, but you're not quite sure will happen. So Carolina fans really hope that they can avenge their tragic loss to the Blue Devils come March. That's what they hope.
Man, it's a really good possibility that happened, but nobody's sure. You know, Patriot fans really hope that Tom Brady will pull out a miracle and come back in the second half. And it just seemed like a false hope, but it happened. So a hope is something that you really want to happen, but you're not sure if it's going to happen. Biblical hope by contrast, listen, biblical hope is not something you're unsure about at all.
Biblical hope is something that you are very sure about that just hadn't happened yet, but something that you look forward to with great anticipation, and that literally reshapes your entire outlook on life. And what is Paul saying that we are certain is going to happen? What is our hope that God is going to finish what he started in us? That we're going to be holy and blameless before him and love. That we are going to be reconciled to him, filled with him. We're going to be with him eternally, and we are certain that is going to happen because he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.
And his choice of us was not conditioned on our good works, which means that his keeping of us is not conditioned on our good behavior. And because he is above all things, we know that no ruler, authority, dominion, or power can thwart his purposes, and the certainty of that hope is going to reshape how we see everything in life. This is Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer and a message titled, Open Up Our Eyes. To learn more about this ministry, visit jdgreer.com. One of the things that we hope to impress upon you in this current teaching series is that you must love Jesus's kingdom more than your own. If your heart prayer is, my kingdom come, let's be real, you will never be effective for him.
In fact, you won't really even try all that hard. God has to take our eyes off of our kingdom before he can build his through us. Ephesians is a book that brings great joy about all that we have in Christ. It transforms our view of the church, thrills us as we see our part in God's amazing plan, and challenges us about our day-to-day lives, and more specifically, as church members. We are offering you an eight-session study guide that will take you or a group of friends through the whole letter of Ephesians, explaining and personally applying it. It's called Your Place in God's Plan.
Reach out today in support of this ministry and give us a call at 866-335-5220 or go online to jdgreer.com and get this Bible study today. Paul knows when you actually see this, all you got to do is see this hope. When you see this hope, it's going to change.
I don't have to tell you how to behave in certain areas. He's just going to reshape everything. It'll change how you look at your pain.
It'll change how you look at your pain. I went to visit the most precious girl this week, who she joins us each week via the web from her hospital room at Duke Hospital. Her name is Shauna. She is very young.
She's in her late 20s, early 30s. She has cystic fibrosis and she had a lung transplant, but then shortly after that she got cancer and the doctor said they can't give her the other lung transplant she needs for a couple of years and that she's not going to make it for those two years. And here she is, a girl that is facing what feels like certain death.
The doctors say it's just a matter of time. She can't speak. She has a tube, a breathing tube in. And so she had to write out things for me. She says, I joined the summit church every single weekend. She said, you know, people are just, they constantly come in here and they say to me, man, your whole life you're losing it.
You're likely going to pass away when you're 30 years old. She says, you know, the way I'm beginning to see it is whether you die when you're 30 or whether you die when you're 80, she said, compared to what God has for me in eternity, it's like a drop, like a thimble cup in the ocean. She said, eternity is the ocean and our lives are like this little tiny cup, right?
And so it doesn't matter how long, how big this is, because what matters is what God has for me in eternity. That's hope. That's biblical hope. That's biblical hope that looks into the face of cystic fibrosis. It looks into the face of cancer. It looks into the face of death. It could look into the face of poverty and say, that's not that big of a deal. That's not that big of a deal because of what I have in Jesus.
I think I've described it before. Like, imagine if you heard that you had an uncle that you didn't even know that you had who was filthy rich. And he, when he died, he left you a billion dollars and was going to, they transferred it to your bank and said, we're transferring you a billion. All you got to do is come sign for it.
One signature and a billion dollars is yours. So as you're driving over to the bank, you know, you get about a half mile from the bank and your car breaks down. What do you do in that moment? Do you get out of the car? Do you start kicking the car, swearing at it, cursing God?
Why are you doing this to me? No, if you just, if you just got a billion, you're going to skip and sing the rest of the way to the bank and leave that piece of junk on the side of the road. Who cares about that when you got a billion dollars? Paul says, when you see the certainty of the hope to which you've been called, it doesn't mean that pain's not painful. What it does mean is it's reshaped in the view of what God has for you. When you understand your biblical hope, it reshapes what you do with your blessings. What you do with your blessings.
I read something this week that really just kind of convicted me and gripped me. The unspoken goal of most Americans is to get enough money so that you don't have to show up to work anymore. That's like success, right? If I could just, especially if I could do it for 65 and then just not have to show up to work and then just rest and play all day, I'm just going to go ahead and tell you that is not God's purpose for making you wealthy. That is means you have forgotten your hope. You are enriched on earth, not to give you 70 years of creature comforts and pleasures. You are increased on earth to better pursue God's hopes for the world. And if God frees you out, that means you ought to focus on the mission. And if he's blessed you with abundant resources, it means you ought to leverage them for the mission of God because that's what hope does to your life. That hope, by the way, is what enables you to overcome temptation.
You're never going to be able to say no to the enticements of sin until you're more excited about what you have in Jesus than you are in the temporary thrills that's offered to you in sin. The way I've described this one before is when my wife and I, when we got engaged, she was a student at the University of Virginia and I was a student down here in North Carolina. And so a lot of times we would spend time together on the weekends and the hardest thing for us to do every week, the hardest thing for me to do was to leave her and come back to North Carolina because I knew I was going to leave her up there and from one, I couldn't see her. The other thing is I knew that because she was really, really, really, really pretty, that guys at the University of Virginia constantly hit on her. So I made sure that she knew every week when I left, I'm committed to you and I'm coming back for you next weekend. That was the hope that I gave to her. See, that was her hope. And eventually I bought this big fat diamond and put it on her hand to prove that I was coming back.
That was like my earnest money, right? Because if I wasn't coming back, she was keeping it. That's partially what gave her the ability to resist the flirtations of other guys, right? Guys would flirt with her and she looked down on her hand and see the certain hope that I had given her, right?
That and I'd put out flyers on her campus that said, if you flirt with her, I will come and punch you in the throat. That also helped. Paul wants us to see and he wants us to feel the certainty of that hope because he wants because that hope simply seen it, what you already have seen it will transform your life. Second thing he prays, number two, I want you to be able to see your great worth to God, our worth to God. I pray that you may know what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Now, honestly, y'all, people read right over that because it just sounds like religious mumbo jumbo, doesn't it? The riches of his glorious inheritance of the saints.
What does that even mean? But let's take a closer look because it is an awesome thought. First of all, whose inheritance is it? You want to think it's ours, don't you? Our inherit, no, no. Look, what are the riches of whose? His glorious inheritance in the saints. God has an inheritance coming to him?
Yes, he does. Well, what does God not already possess that he is going to get in an inheritance? You ever had the dilemma of having to buy a gift for a really, really, really rich person and not knowing like, what do you get for a really rich person that they don't already have? Or if they wanted it but don't have it, they would just go out and buy it.
So how am I supposed to give them something that they need or want? Well, what do you get for a God who can literally speak anything into existence? The answer, Paul says, the one thing that God doesn't have that he really wants is you. The one thing that God didn't have that he was willing to be tortured for on the bloody cross of Calvary to obtain was you.
And that is a thought that is almost too glorious to comprehend. The God who literally had everything, who could have just wiped the creation board clean and started over, set his love on you and was willing to submit to the pain and humiliation of the cross just so you could be with him eternally. For God to create everything that there is cost him nothing. He could have done it again with no cost to himself, but in order to redeem you, to save you, it cost you his very life. And Hebrews 12, 2 tells us that he went to that cross with joy. For joy, he endured the cross and despised the shame. Isaiah 53 says that when he hung on the cross, Isaiah 53 says that Jesus from the cross looked into the future and he saw the offspring that his sacrifice was going to produce. He saw you and me and that made him satisfied in that moment and willing to undergo the pain. In the hour of greatest trial, you were the son of God's living hope.
You were the inheritance that he labored for and you get to share in that hope and enjoy the intensity of that love forever. Paul says when you see how precious you are to God, that will totally transform your life. Later in Ephesians 3, Paul does it again. He stops after another few chapters of instruction and he prays again.
It does basically the same thing. Here's what Paul prays. He stops again at the end of chapter three. I pray that you may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and the length and the height and the depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. I am the inheritance. I was his living hope on the cross and I get to share in that hope. You are listening to Summit Life with pastor and author J.D.
Greer. Today's message is part of our new teaching series called Love Incorruptible, going through the book of Ephesians. This book will transform your view of the local church. And while there are many vibrant, healthy churches, so many just feel like they're stuck. And that might be your church. I encourage you to look back at your beginning, even if it was way before you were born. Your church was founded on the hope that Jesus brings and the hope of reaching a specific community with the good news of the gospel.
And God had that in mind when he saved you, too. I want to encourage you to study the book of Ephesians and to assist you with that. We have a Bible study that we're offering to you this month called Your Place in God's Plan. This study guide comes with our thanks when you donate today to support this ministry. Give and request the eight part Ephesian study when you call 866-335-5220. One more time, that's 866-335-5220. Or you can request the study when you donate online at jdgrier.com. You can also write to us and request the Ephesian study at JD Greer Ministries, P.O.
Box 122-93, Durham, North Carolina, 277-09. While you're on our website, sign up for our e-newsletter. It's the best place to get ministry updates, sneak peeks of new resources, and Pastor JD's latest blog posts delivered straight to your inbox. You can also subscribe to the Summit Life podcast on your favorite device and take this teaching on the go. Stay connected with Summit Life when you go to jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vitovich. Be sure to join us again Friday as we continue our teaching series in Ephesians on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
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