Summary: You cannot always trust what you see, because our eyes were not designed to see everything there is. The spiritual world holds much we cannot see.
Don’t Trust Your eyes. Joke:
a. A woman walks in a store to return a pair of eyeglasses that she had purchased for her husband a week before. "What seems to be the problem, madam?" "I’m returning these glasses I bought for my husband. He’s still not seeing things my way."
b. Never lie to an x-ray technician. They can see right through you
3. Last week, when I talked about not “trusting reason” or “understanding” I mentioned that the weakness of reason lies with the problem that it does not always have all of the facts.
a. Reason is limited by perspective or by the amount of information available to it.
b. It is the same with our eyes.
i. No one prior to the invention of the electron microscope could SEE things that existed at the atomic or subatomic level.
1. Just because we couldn’t see them, did that mean that they didn’t exist?
2. No, it simply means that our eyes have limitations in regards to seeing small objects.
ii. Prior to the Hubble telescope, most people had never seen a photograph of a nebula, because they are too far away to be seen by the naked eye.
1. Did that mean they didn’t exist?
2. No, it simply means that our eyes have limitations when it comes to the distance an object is from them.
iii. Before World War II, no one could ever imagine being able to see in the dark. Scientists since then have learned to energize photons so that through specialized equipment, you can see objects at night. Some of you have video cameras that have night-vision. You can actually see in the dark.
1. Before you had this technology, your eyes were limited by the amount of light that they had.
iv. Your eyes have another limitation, that is they cannot see into the spiritual realm.
1. It is not discernable to the human eye.
2. Does that mean it not exist just because you cannot see it or we haven’t invented something that can peer into it and take a photo of it? Of course not!
4. My major premise this morning is that “You can’t trust your eyes because they can’t see what is unseen”
a. On the contrary, we must learn to look to and to trust God, who is unseen:
b. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed; day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
i. This is a very odd statement because we are told to fix our EYES on what is unseen – even though they cannot see the unseen.
1. Fix our eyes: (Skopeo): observe, contemplate, to fix one’s eyes upon, direct one’s attention to.
2. Seen: (blepo – 4x in this verse) - to see with the mind’s eye, to have the power of understanding, to discern mentally, perceive, understand.
ii. What is it that we are told to fix our attention on, to perceive and understand?
iii. These instructions seem to contradict everything our world seems to tell us:
iv. Every day our attention is grabbed by things that are visual.
1. We live in and communicate in an increasingly visual society –
a. Television, camera phones, video telephones, and You-Tube almost seem to run our lives.
2. How do we stop focusing on the things that are visible and temporary and look to the unseen, permanent things?
3. I believe that we will focus on the unseen and eternal when we realize that the unseen spiritual world is significantly greater, more powerful, and incredible than anything we have ever known.
v. I think about the prophets who had visions of heaven, of angels and of heavenly beings, of Daniel, Ezekiel and Isaiah. I think about John who found it difficult to put into human words. And then I think about a man named Elisha.
1. 2 Ki 6:8-17 Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel; and he counseled with his servants saying, "In such and such a place shall be my camp." 9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there." 10 The king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him; thus he warned him, so that he guarded himself there, more than once or twice.
2. 11 Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, "Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?" 12 One of his servants said, "No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom." 13 So he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him." And it was told him, saying, "Behold, he is in Dothan." 14 He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.