Summary: Life in the spiritual world is complicated by the fact that we still live in a physical one. How do we do this? That’s what Jesus came to tell us.
Living In Two Worlds
Following Jesus, prt. 4
October 23, 2005
Wildwind Community Church
Matrix day. You’ll realize today that all of our clips come from a span of the film that encompasses only four minutes of the total length of the movie. If you hated the movie you might think, “Why didn’t you just have us watch those four minutes.” But you’ll realize that those four minutes would be completely meaningless to you if you hadn’t seen the film. This film can teach us more about spiritual reality than anything else I can think of, if we will allow ourselves to look into it for a moment, and that’s what we’re going to spend our time doing this morning.
Morpheus says, “You have sensed since you were born that something is wrong with the world.” We believe that sense that there is something wrong represents spiritual hunger. We also believe most people have it and that it is a sign of God’s continuing efforts to make contact with us. Our theologians have a term for this – it’s a lofty term called “prevenient grace.” That simply means that God has placed a longing in all of us to know Him – a God-shaped hole. Through this longing God reaches out to us because we are incapable of reaching out to Him.
Romans 5:6 (NLT)
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Romans 5:6 (MSG)
6 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.
Utterly helpless – far too weak and rebellious to do anything. In other words, in our sinful condition, we cannot reach toward God unless God helps us reach toward Him. We believe that God has given us enough of his grace to know that we need Him, to be aware of this God-shaped hole. We believe people sense this deeply as a feeling that our lives are not what they should be – that all is not right with the world, at least not with OUR world. It’s a vague sense, but it’s there for many of us.
I love the way Peterson says, “Even if we hadn’t been so weak and rebellious, we wouldn’t have known what to do to reach God anyway.”
Romans 5:6 (MSG)
He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.
That leads right into our next point this morning. Even if we were not in some kind of rebellion against God, we still would not be able to reach him because of spiritual delusion.
This clip illustrates spiritual delusion, or the state of spiritual “lostness” better than anything I have ever seen. Why can we not reach God? What keeps us from moving toward Him? Spiritual delusion, or you could call it spiritual blindness. Spiritual blindness keeps us from seeing our need for God. It keeps us from making sense of this hole inside of us. And how exactly does that work? It works by presenting itself as insight. Think about that. Spiritual delusion works by presenting itself as insight – something that blinds us to the fact that we are blind.
Jesus spoke of this rather frightening phenomenon of spiritual blindness on several occasions. Here are two of the clearest.
John 9:39-41 (NLT)
39 Then Jesus told him, "I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind."
40 The Pharisees who were standing there heard him and asked, "Are you saying we are blind?"
41 "If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty," Jesus replied. "But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.
Notice what Jesus said. He came to give sight to the blind, and to show those who think they can see that they are blind also. In other words, everyone is blind. Unless we approach God fundamentally from a perspective of blindness – God, show me the truth, show me who I am, I cannot properly understand myself without you – we can never learn to see.
Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT)
22 "Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul.
23 But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!