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Clear Eyes Full Heart

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2024 9:00 am

Clear Eyes Full Heart

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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May 23, 2024 9:00 am

Imagine driving down a windy mountain road and having your headlights go off! When we’re driving blind, we’re asking for trouble. And as we continue our series called, Something Greater, Pastor J.D. explains that many of us are going through life with spiritual blindness.

Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Welcome to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of pastor, author, and apologist, J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Bidevich. Okay, imagine you're driving down a winding mountain road at night, and all of a sudden, boom, your headlights go off. I mean, talk about a moment of sheer panic. Obviously, when we're driving blind, we're asking for trouble and need to stop and wait for clarity. Well, today, Pastor J.D. explains that many of us are going through life with a similar kind of spiritual blindness, and maybe even purposely closing our eyes to what God is doing. We're learning how the eyes of our hearts can be opened so we can move from darkness to light and see what God is up to. Don't drive blind and wreck your faith. Thankfully, you've joined us today for a message Pastor J.D.

has titled Clear Eyes, Full Heart. So grab your Bible and let's get into God's word right now. Whenever you hear about an injury that involves somebody's eyesight, there's something particularly frightening about that, because we all know that to lose your physical sight would change life very dramatically. We know that to lose physical sight, there's just so much in life you'd miss out on. Spiritual sight is 10,000 times more important than physical sight, because spiritual sight is how you perceive God. Without spiritual sight, you'll miss out on one of the most glorious and beautiful displays in all the universe, what makes life worth living. And one of the most tragic curses of the fall was that our sin left us spiritually blind, and perhaps even worse, it left us unaware that we were blind.

You see, physically, when you're physically blind, you usually know it, but when you're spiritually blind, you think you see so clearly, but you're not really seeing anything. In our passage today, you're going to see the prophet Elisha heal blindness. Elisha's ministry was remarkable. He did things that no prophet who had ever come before him had ever done, but I explained to you that Elisha, the greater prophet, is really there just to give you a shadow of Jesus, who would be the greatest prophet ever, that what Elisha does in shadow, Jesus would fulfill in substance. Everything Elisha did was there to point to the greatest, the greater ministry of Jesus.

Elisha's name in Hebrew literally means God saves, Eli, God, Sha, salvation. So we're going to have to read this story in 2 Kings through the lens of what Jesus accomplished, what he fulfilled, because this story, like all the stories in Elisha, are there to point you to the unique saving power of what Jesus would accomplish. 2 Kings chapter 6 verse 8 is where we're going to begin. 2 Kings 6 verse 8. Now the king of Aram, some of your translations may say Syria, same place, was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, I will set up my camp in such and such a place and we will ambush the Israelites. Verse 9, but then the man of God would send word to the king of Israel, be aware of passing that place because the Arameans are there.

Time and again, Elisha warned the king so that he was always a step ahead of the Arameans. Well, as you can imagine, this enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded to them, tell me, which of you is the rat who was on the side of the king of Israel? None of us, my lord the king, said one of his officers. None of us is the rat.

There is no mole here. It's Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel. He tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom. He's like the original NSA. He knows your emails. He knows what you're talking about on the phone. He's got it all. Verse 13, you go find out where he is, the king ordered, so I can send men and capture him. The report came back. He is in Dothan. He's in Alabama.

No, I'm kidding. Not that Dothan. Then he sent horses and chariots and a mighty army there. Then they went by night and surrounded the city, an entire army to capture one man. Verse 15, when the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. Oh no, my lord, what shall we do? The servant asked. Don't be afraid, the prophet answered. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Now Elisha's servant at this point is like, are you, what have you lost your mind?

There are two of us and there are thousands of them. And so Elisha prayed, Lord, open his eyes that he may see. Then the lord opened the eyes of the servant's eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha then prayed to the lord, strike this army with blindness. So God struck them with blindness just as Elisha had asked. Elisha then told them, this is not the road and this is not the city.

Follow me and I will lead you to the man that you are looking for. Hebrew scholars tell us that the way this is written, it's most likely not a total blindness. Why do I know that? Because if the whole army is struck blind, they're not going to be interested in carrying on with their mission. Hey, we're all blind, but you know, why don't we keep going, you know, looking for this guy? No, it means it has to be a delusion. It's a blindness where what they think they're seeing, they're not actually seeing and what they're not seeing is actually what they're seeing, right?

So he's deluded them, not with actual physical blindness, but with a delusion so that they're not really seeing what they think they see. And then so he leads them to Samaria, which is the capital of Israel where the king of Israel lives with all of his armies. Now, it's about 12 miles away, Dothan's 12 miles away from Samaria, so they had to walk, so it's like three hours.

Now remember, Elisha is the guy that they're looking for and now he's leading them to this city. I mean, like, what do they talk about for those three hours, right? You ever think about, like, what kind of small talk do they make? You know, what do you do again? Well, I used to have a farm, but, you know, now I help people.

I don't really do that anymore. Where are we going? We're going to this city over here where this guy you're looking for lives. He's awesome.

You're going to love him. You know, the barbecue's great. I don't know what they talked about.

And when my professor told me to always ask questions of the text, that's probably not what he was talking about asking, but I'm curious about that. Samaria is the capital of Israel. After they enter the city, Elisha says, Lord, now open the eyes of these men so that they can see. Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked and there they were inside Samaria, standing now virtually as captives in front of the army of Israel. Verse 21, when the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them? Do not kill them, he answered. Would you kill those you captured with your own sword and bow? In other words, is that normally how you treat a prisoner of war? You just kill them?

Even in those days, the answer is no. And Elisha says, these aren't even your captives. You didn't get them with your sword and bow. These are God's captives. So set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master. So he prepared a great feast for them. And after they finished eating and drinking, he sent them away and they returned to their master.

And I love this next line. So from then on, the bands from Iran stopped raiding Israel's territory. Ultimate victory is when you turn your enemies into allies and friends, which is what Elisha has done with these soldiers from Syria. Now, I'd be curious if I had you raise your hands, I won't do it. How many of you have never heard that story before? I would bet there's probably two-thirds of you in here that would say, I've never heard that story before, but it is so crucially important to understand who Jesus is and what he accomplished. Because see, the plot of this story revolves around two sets of blind people. The first set of blind people only has one person in it and it's Elisha's servant. He's a religious, God-fearing man, but he is blind. The other set is going to be these soldiers and they're going to represent unbelievers.

Both of them need the same thing. Both of them need to have their eyes open. So let's talk first about, number one, the blindness of the believer, the blindness of Elisha's servant. Elisha's servant was terrified because he saw the size of the army that was arrayed against them, but he was blind to the presence of the God who was fighting for them and the size of the army that he was bringing to the battle. Essentially what he doubted was two things about God. He doubted God's steadfast love toward him and the strength of God's power for him. He thought that God had abandoned them.

He looked around, saw this army, and he thought, we're surrounded. We've been abandoned. There is no hope. We are doomed. The essence of sin, listen to this, for a believer or an unbeliever, the essence of sin is to doubt the goodness of God. Martin Luther said it this way, every sin grows out of an evil heart of unbelief. For the believer or for the unbeliever, it all goes back, you trace it back, it's going to go back to you doubting God's goodness. If you're not walking with God here, the reason is because you think that your plan is better than God's plan because God is not really good and God's rules are oppressive.

He wants to ruin your life. That's why you resist him because God is your adversary. God is there to hold you captive. God is there to ruin your life.

Whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, if you're not walking with God, that's why. Until you correct that, I can beat you up and make you feel guilty and get you to act a certain way for a couple of days, but until you're convinced of the goodness of God, you're never going to follow his plan. Your view of sexuality is superior to his. Your view of your career is superior to his.

Your view on your marriage is better than his. So I'm not going to go with your ways because my ways are superior because I doubt your goodness. But see, what this story shows you is that's not just an unbeliever thing. That's a believer thing. Unbelievers show their disbelief in God's goodness by walking away from God.

Believers show their disbelief in God's goodness by the way they worry all the time about the future, the anxiety, the fear, the panic attacks, the fear that they have when they think about their future because the assumption is, God, you're really not that good. And God, you really have forgotten my plight. And God, you're not going to provide for my needs. You may not even know them. You're probably not that concerned.

So I've got to worry about it because ultimately it all comes down to me. That's how a believer shows their fear. That's how Elisha's servant is showing his.

God, you have forgotten. Or how about this? For a lot of religious people, they show their unbelief in God's goodness by thinking that they got to perform at a certain level before God will love and bless them. So whenever something goes wrong in your life, you're always like, well, God, what did I do wrong? How often do I got to go to church so that you will feel favorably toward me? How much money do I have to give? Is that enough now, God? Have I done enough? Have I been kind enough? Have I talked enough?

What is it? Because deep down, you believe God is your adversary who needs to be won over through good works. Martin Luther, and I just finished a couple of books on Martin Luther, so I'm going to quote him like 150 times.

All right, so just deal with it. Martin Luther said, now look at this. This is deep. Our good works are a defense against the goodness of God.

Think about the irony of that statement. Our good works are a defense against the goodness of God. We don't really believe that God could be that good, so we have to erect a structure of good works so that we can win God's favor rather than receive it as a gift because he's good and because he promised it. See, the greatest obstacle to you walking in the favor of God is thinking you have to earn the favor of God and you're not receiving it as a gift. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. We'll finish our teaching from the book of 2 Kings in a moment, but I'm so excited to again tell you about our featured resource this month. It's called Elijah and Elisha, an eight-day scripture guide through 1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 6, and it highlights portions of Elijah and Elisha's ministry. It's an eight-part devotional meant to give you a deeper grasp of how God works so powerfully through these two prophets.

I think it's safe to say that we're all learning through our current teaching series that God moves in miraculous, unexpected ways, and he can still use us just as powerfully today as he used Elijah and Elisha in the Old Testament. And the beautiful part is it's in direct alignment with everything we seek to do here at Summit Life. We want you to be drawn deeper into the gospel and to fall more in love with Jesus, and this resource hopefully points you in that direction. This study will look at how to walk in the power of God and experience his blessing as we follow him each day.

To get your copy, give your gift of $35 or more today by calling us at 866-335-5220 or visit us online at Now let's get back to today's teaching here on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. So what God does in answer to Elisha's prayer is he opens the eyes of this servant to see that the armies of God's love surrounds him and that the armies of God's love are so much bigger than this huge Aramean army that is standing before him. That the millions upon millions of angels that God has surrounded his servants with are so much greater than even the largest Aramean army.

When you are afraid, what you need is clearer vision. That's probably why in the middle of the book of Ephesians, Paul, the most articulate spokesman for Christianity, does this. In the middle of the book of Ephesians, he starts to pray. He says, Ephesians 3 18, I pray that you may have strength to comprehend what 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.

Hear the irony in that statement? To know, know is a concept of like to feel the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, which means to be able to explain it, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. In case you're unfamiliar with Paul's writings, Paul just did something there that is very uncharacteristic of him.

He lost his words. You see, normally Paul is like, okay, A, I'm an apostle. B, I'm wicked smart. C, I'm inspired by the Holy Spirit.

So my words are pretty much sufficient, so you shut up. That's kind of Paul's MO when he writes. But what Paul does here is he starts to stumble and he loses his words and he says, there's just no way to describe the love of God. It surpasses knowledge.

I can't do it. Even under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I can't do it. So I've got to pray that God would open your eyes so that you could sense it, so that you could feel it. Because there are some things that cannot be described that have to be felt. So he says that the length and the height and the width and the depth of God's love. How long is God's love for you? Paul actually would tell you in Ephesians 1, verse 4, that God chose us in him before the foundation of the world. You realize that means, listen, if you are a believer, that before there was even a universe before the foundation of the world, God knew about you and had set his love on you. There has never been a time in all of human history or any other history when God did not know you and had set his love on you and determined to save you. It means before you were born, he had appointed the day of your salvation. It meant that when you were wandering away from him, he had orchestrated events in your life to bring you back to himself. What else could set his love on you before the foundation of the world mean? There's never been a time when God did not loathe you, love you, chose you, and determined to save you. When a parent adopts a child, there's nothing the child is doing to earn the parent's love.

It's there. He doesn't know what's going on, but the parent walks in and sets his or her love on that child and says, you, you're going to be mine. I'm bringing you into my family. That's what God did. He walked into the nursery of sin and death, and he set his love on us. He didn't choose us because we were lovely. No, if anything, we became lovely because he chose us.

That's an important distinction. He didn't choose you because you had potential. Ephesians 2 says you were spiritually dead.

Dead people don't have potential. He gave you potential because he chose you. In fact, Luther, again, the love of God does not first find.

Instead, it creates that which pleases it. God did not choose you because you pleased him, because you were spiritually dead. You were a child of wrath. Paul's explaining in Ephesians 2. He chose you, and then he set his love on you, and that's what made you lovely.

That's what gave you potential. There has never been a time, believer, never, ever in all of history where God did not love you, had determined to save you, and had orchestrated the events of your life to bring you to himself. How high is God's love? Well, King David would answer that as high as the heavens or above the earth.

You ever walk out on a starry night and look and think about the expanse of the universe, but then have this thought, as mind-boggling as that is, that's the measure that God chose to measure his love for you. And we know so much more about it now than even David knew, because we know, for example, that light travels at 186,282.2 miles per second. By the way, in case you were looking for a point of reference, it means it circumnavigates the globe six times by the time you snap your fingers.

That's how fast that is. It takes light eight minutes to get from the surface of the sun to our earth. We know that light travels in one year the unfathomable 5 trillion, 865 billion, 696 million miles.

The outer edge of our universe, according to astrophysicists, is 15.5 billion light-years away. That's the measure that God chose of his love. If that seems incomprehensible to you, that's because it's virtually unimaginable.

And that's why Paul said, I can't describe it. You have to feel the crushing weightiness of God's love, the breadth of God's love. How wide is God's love?

Wide enough that it controls all things. Paul would say in Ephesians 1-11 that God works all things according to the counsel of his will. There is not one stray molecule in all of the universe. Or as you see here in this story, he has 10,000 upon 10,000 angels surrounding every square inch of this planet, working on behalf of those that... What if you really actually believe that this morning? What if you... This was not a stage production, right? It wasn't like God said, oh, we got to put on a show, so let's send down these angels.

No, they were already there. You just had to open the eyes. What if your eyes could be open and you saw that, how would you start to feel about your life?

Right? What if you saw that over every rejected job application, those angels hovered? What if you saw that over every broken relationship, those angels hovered?

What if you saw that in every accident, every situation, every moment of sadness and brokenness, that there was an army that was larger than the army of the Arameans against you, and that army was fighting for you? How deep is God's love? Deep enough to go into the lowest hell to save you. That's what Paul would explain in Ephesians, while we were dead in our trespasses and sins, God reached down into the grave, even though he had to go into the grave himself and be slain by sin for us, that's how deep and how far he was willing to go to save us. Or like he would say in Romans, while we were still weak, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might dare to die, but God demonstrates his love for us, and that while we were still sinners, while we were dead in our sin, while we were rebels, it was then that Christ died for us.

That's how deep his love is for you. And see, there's certain things that you can't understand, you just have to feel. So to the believer, to the believer, see, the Abolition has opened the eyes of your faith. Listen to this, Psalm 34-7, the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Oh, you taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. What if I really could open your eyes to let you see the size of the army and the steadfastness of the love of God who fights for you? Do you think men, maybe, then you might finally be able to say with Paul that you are convinced that neither death nor life nor angel nor ruler nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth will be able to separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus? Do you think you would then be able to say with him that, yeah, if that God really is for me and if the armies of angels in heaven he has amassed on my behalf and they're larger than any other army on earth, that if you saw that God was fighting for you, you would say, if God be for me, who can be against me? Do you think you might then finally concede that all things really are working together for good to them who love God, who've been called according to his purpose, because his purposes will stand because they have the extreme commitment of his love and the ultimate power of his armies?

You think you could say that? You think life would look different to you then? You think you would interpret things differently?

I think that you would. It's interesting to me how Paul in Ephesians sets up a contrast to being filled with the Spirit, spiritual sight, and being drunk with alcohol. You know, the command is do not be drunk with wine, do not be drunk with alcohol. You know, the command is do not be drunk with wine, but be filled by the Spirit.

And that's not, he didn't just choose an arbitrary sin and just start to pick on it. He chose that because both being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit are two ways of dealing with the same problem, right? When you've got problems, when you feel like armies are arrayed against you, country music's favorite remedy is turn to alcohol, right?

There's a tear in my beer because I'm crying for you, dear, or whatever, however that song goes, right? So what I've got to do is I've got to numb myself to the pain. I've got to numb myself to reality so that I can get through this difficult chapter of my life. You see, the Bible actually takes the opposite. When you walk through the valley with the Arameans, it doesn't numb your heart to reality, it enlarges your vision of reality. So that yes, the army against you is great, but the army of God's love that is fighting for you is greater.

You see, there are two fundamentally different ways to approach your issues. The number one prescribed pill in America is Abilify, which is a pill that is the number one pharmaceutical drug which is primarily used to treat depression. It's a numbing effect that helps you deal with the pain of day-to-day life. That is our country's savior. I'm not saying there's anything wrong, I know there are times that you need to take it, but I'm saying our country's salvation is to numb yourself to reality, to hide yourself from the pain. And God's view of it is you open your eyes to the armies of God that are working and fighting for you because He is greater than the reality that is arrayed against you. Open our eyes, Lord.

We want to see you at work each and every day, no matter the circumstance. You're listening to Summit Life and a message titled Clear Eyes, Full Heart from Pastor JD Greer. Pastor JD, as we recently learned through our teaching series, the prophet Elijah confronted a religious environment somewhat like our own, didn't he?

Yeah. We hear words like deconstruction, de-Christian, post-Christian. For a lot of people, especially if you're in a part of the country where a lot of people go to church, it's just, well, the old-fashioned word we used was backslidden Christian. But whatever it is, it's kind of like religion is a very private thing. You got your God, I got mine.

You got your way of doing this, I have mine. Elijah shows us that knowing the one true God requires something different and it produces something different. That study that we're providing is called Elijah and Elisha, a devotional through 1 Kings 17 through 2 Kings 6.

You can work through it on your own and bring somebody along on the journey with you by just taking a deeper dive into 1 and 2 Kings. We would love to give a copy of this to you when you support the ministry of Summit Life. We are so thankful for our listeners and for those who reach out to us and for those of you especially who financially partner with us to be able to keep this ministry on the air and to expand it into new places. We know life with Jesus extends beyond Sunday mornings and that's why we provide resources like this to our Summit Life family. So donate today and remember to ask for your copy of this new resource from Pastor JD. Call us at 866-335-5220 to give. That's 866-335-5220 or you can give and request the book online at I'm Molly Bidevich inviting you to join us again next time when Pastor JD continues this message explaining how God can open our spiritual eyes. Be sure to listen Friday to Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-23 12:14:49 / 2024-05-23 12:25:54 / 11

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