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Clear Eyes Full Heart, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 24, 2024 9:00 am

Clear Eyes Full Heart, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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May 24, 2024 9:00 am

If you wear glasses, you know how important they are for everyday life. And if you ever lose or break them, you’re not going to waste any time getting a replacement, because without our eyes, most of us are pretty helpless. And we also miss out on seeing all the beauty around us! As we continue our series called, Something Greater, Pastor J.D. reveals that you might be going through life blind, without even knowing it!

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Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D.

Greer continues the story of Elisha. Many of you are under the same delusion these soldiers were under, and their blindness is a picture of your blindness. You think that God is your adversary.

You think that you will find what you want in life by capturing the blessing of God, but you will only find what you are looking for when you are captured by God's man, Jesus. Hello and welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. Okay, so if you wear glasses, you know how important they are for everyday life. And if you ever lose them or break them, you're not going to waste any time getting them replaced because without our eyes, most of us are pretty helpless. I am one of these people.

We'd miss out on so many practical things in addition to simply the beauty around us. Well, today Pastor J.D. reveals that it's possible you might actually be going through life blind without even knowing it. We're in a teaching series called Something Greater. If you've missed any of the previous messages, you can catch them online at jdgreer.com. But for now, let's dive into part two of our message titled Clear Eyes, Full Heart.

Here's Pastor J.D. Second Kings chapter six, verse eight is where we're going to begin. 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 nine, but then the man of God would send word to the king of Israel.

Don't 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. 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. 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, have you lost your mind?

There are two of us and there are thousands of them. 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. 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. And then so he leads them to Samaria. Samaria is a 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.

And this is the the old crud moment. 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. 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. 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. 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. When you are afraid, what you need is clearer vision, right?

When you've got problems, when you feel like armies are arrayed against you, country music's favorite remedy is turned to alcohol, right? 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. Now, I know what you say is this. You're like, oh, but I can't see those angels, and I can't feel their effects.

I don't know where they are. Well, let me point out one little detail that you may have overlooked when we went through this, but one that a Hebrew person would never have overlooked. It's in verse 13, right?

Here's the question. Where, watch this, where did this vision take place? Dothan, that's right, Dothan, not Alabama, but Dothan in Israel. Here's what a Hebrew person would have recognized. There's only one other place in the Bible that Dothan is mentioned. Genesis 37, 17. And it was a place where another man of God got into deep trouble. His name was Joseph, who was put into a prison, Genesis 37, 17, in Dothan. And Joseph, from that prison, watch this, prayed for deliverance.

Did God answer his prayer? Yes, but not in the way that Joseph was expecting, right? Joseph was not delivered from the prison.

He was sold into slavery. And from slavery, Joseph prayed for deliverance, and God answered his prayer by letting him be falsely accused and sent from slavery to prison. In prison, Joseph prayed for deliverance, and God answered his prayer by taking a sliver of hope, where a butler promised to get him out and letting the butler forget it for a few years. But then, God, through all of these things, who was working, got Joseph into a place through these events where he could rescue both himself, his family, and all the people of God. If God had answered Joseph's prayers from that pit the way that Joseph wanted him to, all of Joseph's family would have perished physically and spiritually. So yes, the chariots of fire and the angels were there in Dothan for Joseph, too, but they were in stealth mode.

They had their silencers on. You see, and that's how it often works for you. For you, believer, you can be sure that God is always fighting for you, even when you cannot track the footprints of the angels, or you can't even hear the rumble of his chariots. I will lift up my knives to the hills. From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord. Fear not, for I am your God. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. Do not be dismayed, for I am with you. I will strengthen you.

I will help you. I will uphold you through my right hand, and I am always working. Sometimes, yes, I reveal the angels, but a lot of times, I'm working behind the scenes. I'm in stealth mode like I was with Joseph, because I got a greater plan for your life than you've got. God did not answer Joseph's prayers from that pit and the way Joseph wanted it, because God's plan for Joseph was better than Joseph's plan for Joseph, and God's plan for you is better than your plan for you. For confirmation of that, you need look no farther than the cross itself, because the cross is where God shed his blood to purchase you. Do you really feel like after God put that much investment into your life, that he's just going to leave the circumstances of your life to chance?

Why would you make that kind of investment in somebody if you weren't determined to see it all the way through? Now, I know what you say to that. You're like, well, why does God do it that way? Why does God work in stealth mode?

Well, you know what? To be fair to me, I'm not God, so I can't really answer that question. But what I do know is that one of the things God is always doing is perfecting our faith. He's always testing our resolve and his goodness. You see, listen, God is not just interested in resolving our situations. He's also interested in restoring our faith. The greatest thing God wants to do in you is get you to a place where even if you went through hell itself, you would not be convinced that God was not good and that he was not committed to you, because you would look at everything in your life through the eyes of the cross.

Luther, like a child trying to push against the hand of a parent, the parent gives only enough resistance to test the resolve of a child, so God resists us in prayer to test our resolve and his goodness. Which means when you don't know where else to look, you look through the cross. John Calvin said the cross were like the spectacles of faith. We look through the cross and otherwise blurry situations come into the sharp focus of God's love.

Gospel spectacles give you the ability to see a world that's filled with horses and chariots, working all things according to the counsel of his will. You see, what you most need, believer, listen to this, what you most need is not a sight of the angels. What you need is insight into the heart of God, which is what Paul prayed for in Ephesians 3. He prayed that you would taste and see the height and the depth and the breadth of God's love, that you would see these setbacks that you're going through. They're not permanent, they're things like Joseph experienced.

That broken relationship that you're sure is going to destroy your life, that failure that you think will ruin your career, that you're worthless, that nothing but failure and pain are in your future, that they're all lies, all of them. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him. You taste and see that the Lord is good towards you, and blessed is the man or woman who takes refuge in him.

That's the blindness of the believer. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. If you want to know more about this ministry, visit us online at jdgreer.com.

You know what? We appreciate you. We love being here every day as a source of encouragement for you, because at the end of the day, we want you to be drawn deeper into the gospel and to fall more in love with Jesus. Well, did you know that these Summit Life broadcasts are only one of the ways you can keep up with Pastor J.D.

's ministry? We know life with Jesus extends beyond just Sunday mornings, so we have resources available to help you every day of the week, including our social media platforms. Just search for Pastor J.D. Greer on Facebook, at Pastor J.D. Greer on Instagram, and at J.D. Greer on X, formerly Twitter. And don't forget Pastor J.D.

is on YouTube as well, so join us over there anytime. Follow along on all your favorite social media platforms and stay tuned for more social media platforms and stay up to date with this ministry, while filling up your timeline with encouragement from God's Word. But wait just a few minutes, we've got some teaching to finish up.

Let's get back to it. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Now very quickly, let's turn to the blindness of the unbelievers. The blindness of the unbelievers.

How are the soldiers blind? Well, first, they think God and His people are their enemies. And they think if they can just capture and eliminate the man of God, all their problems are going to be over. So Elisha strikes them with a kind of physical blindness, which you can see is a picture of spiritual blindness. Remember, that's where the detail that he gave them a delusion, that's where it's important, because like someone who is spiritually blind, these people think they can see.

They think they understand what their life needs, but they're under a delusion. So Elisha blinds him, and then he confounds them. He tells them they're seeking the wrong person, and then he walks them into the heart of Israel's capital, which puts them in a completely indefensible state. You see, that's what God does. Paul would say in 1 Corinthians that he confounds the wise with their wisdom. He would, for example, God, when the people of the Tower of Babel decide they're going to unite, pull their strength, and build a mighty kingdom in rebellion against God, God just mixes up their languages.

He says, why don't you try that on for a little while? So when Isaac decides that he is going to give the blessing to his favorite son, Esau, even though Jacob's the one that God chose, Eliezer, who is already mostly blind, God blinds him further all the way. And then Isaac accidentally blesses Jacob, which is the one that God chose, thinking he's blessing Esau. It's God, you know, one million, and humanity's zero. That's what God always does.

And the tragedy is you never know he's doing it. But see, when you set yourself up as an enemy of God, God then takes, Paul says, your wisdom, and he uses it to further blind you, and he confounds you. So Eliezer confounds them, but then leads them to this position of complete vulnerability, but then he does something that nobody is expecting. He throws a huge feast and lets them go.

When their eyes were finally open, they expected an onslaught of judgment. Instead, Eliezer gave them a feast of grace. Do not miss the irony here.

Watch this. They thought the resolution to their problems would come through capturing and destroying God's man. Instead, they found blessing when they were captured by God's man.

There's so many overtones of Jesus here. When Jesus came, everybody missed him. They were blinded.

They were seeking the wrong guy. The Jews thought they needed a political deliverer. The Romans thought they needed a mighty ruler.

The Greeks thought they needed a philosopher king who would educate everybody and lift them out of darkness. So when the Son of God showed up as a carpenter who washed feet, sided with the oppressed, hung out with prostitutes and sinners, died as a condemned criminal on a garbage heap as a substitution for sin, they all missed him. Like Eliezer, Jesus would take his enemies into the heart of the capital, into the throne room of God's justice, but instead of judgment, he gave them grace. He could have called down the legions of angels, but he didn't. When he finally did speak, he said, Father, forgive them. This was the foolishness of God that confounded the wise, but it was ultimate victory because it turned the enemies into allies and friends.

Many of you are under the same delusion these soldiers were under, and their blindness is a picture of your blindness. You think that God is your adversary. You think that you will find what you want in life by capturing God, by capturing the blessing of God. You think that you're going to obtain what you want by looking for it somewhere, but you will only find what you are looking for when you are captured by God's man, Jesus.

Because you know what? The happiness that you're searching for, it's not in the boyfriend, it's not in the pay raise, it's not in the retirement package, it's not in the new house, it's not in the extramarital affair, it's not in the reputation of fame, it's not in the adoration of your friends, it's not even in the love of your husband or your wife. All those things you were looking for have been found in reconciliation with God. The arms that you sought in romance were actually his arms.

The pleasure, the security you sought in money are actually found in him. You think that you're going to be delivered by capturing something from God, you're only going to find that freedom you're looking for when you're captured by God. And the tragedy is that many of you feel like God is your adversary and you are resisting the very one who can bring salvation. You feel like your rules are restrictive, you're there to hurt me, I've got to continually prove myself to you so that you don't throw me into hell and you think you see life so clearly, but you are blind because the one that you're resisting is the one who gives freedom and salvation. It reminds me of what Jesus said to the Pharisees after he had healed a blind man in John 9. If you really were blind, you wouldn't have guilt, but because you say we see, your guilt remains. In other words, if you knew you were blind, you would seek God for sight.

It's because you think you can see that your guilt remains. So how is Jesus, listen, how is he attempted to wake you up? He did more than simply throw a feast and let you go. He poured out the feast of his flesh and his blood and then brought you in to the very palace room, not as an enemy, not as a servant, but as a son and daughter of God. These Aramean soldiers were changed by the slightest touch of grace. What should your heart be like when God didn't just give you a feast and send you away, but poured out his flesh and blood for you to feast on and then brought you in as a son or daughter?

You see, that ought to do two things to you. It should change your heart toward God and it should show you that you can trust him in whatever situation. You see, all, listen, all the previous prophets, all of them had the angels come to their aid when they were in trouble. Jesus was the only one who in his great hour of need lifted up his eyes and said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Forsaken by both God and the armies of angels and he did it willingly so that he could save us. Muslims have a hard time with the crucifixion.

If you've ever talked to one, you'll know this. Here's what Muslims say. They say that right before Jesus, they believed he was a prophet, right before he was crucified, that Allah switched Jesus and Judas so that they thought they were crucifying Jesus, but they were actually crucifying Judas. And if you ask them why, they would say this. They always say, because God would never let one of his servants, one of his men, one of his prophets die like that in weakness and shame.

It's foolishness to them. But that foolishness is how God saved you. So the believer looks at that foolishness, the believer whose eyes have been opened, and they say, amazing love, how can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Tis mystery all, the immortal dies, who can explore his strange design? In vain, the firstborn angel tries to sound the depths of love divine. Tis mercy all, let earth adore, let angel minds inquire no more. Amazing love, how can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? These soldiers and second kings were changed.

From then on, the bands from Iran stopped raiding Israel's territory. When the soldier standing beside Jesus's cross saw what was happening, he said, surely this man was the son of God. When you behold the wounds of Christ, does it have the effect of waking you up? Does it seem to you like foolishness, or does it become to you the saver of life? Because you want to know what'll change your heart? You want to know what'll melt that heart of stone? You want to know what'll give you the ability to trust God? You want to know what'll give you the ability to see him not as your adversary, but as your friend, not as someone who is there to destroy you, not as there is someone to take you captive, but as someone to free you? You want to know what'll give you that kind of heart? It is the sight of the height and the width and the depth and the breadth of God's love that turns enemies into friends.

Have you seen it? Because, see, I'm at a loss. We come to a place where I say, if the Apostle Paul could not reveal that, then how could I possibly reveal that to you? It's spiritually given.

You see that? There's just nothing that I can say or do, which, by the way, you'll insight every single message I preach, the goal of it. The goal of it is not to leave you with a page full of Bible facts. You see, there's a discussion in preaching about what the most important deal is. Should you leave people a lot of Bible information?

And you know preachers like that. I mean, you just leave full of notes, and I know this Hebrew word, this Greek tense, and you know. Then there's other guys like, no, no, no, it's got about life change, about relevance.

You got to tell people how it affects their lives. So you can leave with like 10 practical steps. Respectfully, I will just tell you I don't follow either of those strategies. My goal at the end of every message is to leave you not with a page full of facts about God, not with a list of things you need to go do for God. My goal is to leave you in awe of the wonder of what God has done for you. Because, see, I know that when you are left worshiping, I know that when your eyes are filled with wonder at what God has done for you, I know it'll turn enemies into friends. I won't need to tell you what to do for God.

It'll come as naturally as roses on a rose bush. Because when you see the love of God for you, the love of God, though it does not find you where you are supposed to be, it creates you into the person you're supposed to be. And I know that you'll begin to love God because it just comes out of your heart, and you'll love others, and you'll fulfill the whole law. So I don't want to leave you with a page full of Bible facts. And I would say this respectfully, there are some of you that I think your Bible, like, desire to know all these knowledge, it's actually wearying to God. Because I'm going to tell you this, a page full of Bible facts, 10,000 Bible facts, and knowledge of Hebrew verbs ain't going to do near as much for you as one sight of the cross of Jesus Christ. And that's something the Spirit of God's got to give to you. Paul couldn't do it.

I can't do it. Paul knew that from experience, right? Because Paul knew more Bible than anybody that he was blind on his way to persecute Jesus.

God had to knock him off his horse and give him actual blindness so that he could get one glimpse of Jesus. And Paul would say that all of his Bible knowledge was as dumb compared to one sight of the knowledge of the glory of Christ. Believe the gospel fully and the power it provides can be yours. A compelling message today from Pastor JD Greer here on Summit Life. We have a special resource this month to accompany this study of Elisha we're in now and the first part of the study from last week about Elijah. It's a study guide called Elijah and Elisha, an eight-day scripture guide through 1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 6. As we study Elijah, we will see how he confronted a religious environment very much like our own. Elijah shows us that knowing the one true God is better than every other rival. And in the second half, the portion on Elisha, we'll take some time to examine the life of one of the greatest miracle workers in all of scripture.

The secret behind Elisha's power here on earth was his fierce devotion to the God of heaven. Your gift to Summit Life opens the door for listeners all across the country and around the world, helping them dive deeper into the gospel through this program and all of our free online resources. Join that mission today when you give by calling 866-335-5220. The number again is 866-335-5220 or head online to give and request your copy at jdgreer.com. While you're on the website, you can also sign up for our email list to get ministry updates, information about new resources, and Pastor JD's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign up when you go to jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vitovich. Have a great weekend of worship with your local church family and be sure to join us again next week as we're talking about desiring God himself, not just his blessings. We'll see you next time here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-24 10:11:46 / 2024-05-24 10:22:43 / 11

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