Sermons

Summary: One has not really begun to live until he begins to look, not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for these alone are the things that last forever.

A young sportsman just back from a hunting trip in India was criticizing

the efforts of the missionaries there. He said that in all the months he was there

he never saw any good they were doing. It was all a useless waste of money and

effort. A returned missionary overheard him and asked him a question: “While

you were in India did you see any of those lions and tigers we hear so much

about?” He responded, “Indeed I did. I saw many of them.” The missionary

then added, “I spent about 7 years in India but in all that time I never saw any

lions or tigers, but I saw much important work being done by the

missionaries.”

The point is clear, men see what they are looking for. There is

much even on the level of the visible that men miss because they have no eye for

it. Their interests capture their vision and monopolize it, and this blinds them

to the reality of all that lies beyond the narrow realm of self-interest. Lichtze,

the Chinese philosopher, told of a man who went into a shop that

sold gold. He grabbed some and ran. The police easily arrested him and asked

him how he could be so foolish as to try and rob in broad daylight before all of

those people. The thief replied, “When I reached for the gold, I saw only gold, I

didn’t see any people.” His greed for gold blinded him to the reality of the

visible world that ordinarily would have prevented such folly.

If men can be blind even to the visible world, then it is no cause for wonder

that they cannot see the invisible. It would seem by the very definition of the

word invisible that it would be impossible for anyone to see it. But Paul speaks

of looking at the unseen and in Heb. 11:27 we read that Moses endured “…as

seeing him who is invisible.” In Rom. 1:20 Paul says the invisible nature of God

has been clearly revealed in the things he has made. Paul is again in the realm

of paradox. How can we see the invisible? It means that we see it by means of

the visible, which we can see, but we see behind the visible to the invisible cause

for it to be. It is being aware of the more than the visible.

The first thing we need to do is recognize the reality of the invisible. This

should not be hard in a day in which even science is preoccupied with the

unseen. Atoms, forces, waves, and rays innumerable are invisible, but are the

tools science works with every day. Even materialists recognize that the

greatest powers man knows of are invisible. Behind visible phenomena are

invisible forces. It is the unseen magnetic pole that controls the compass needle.

Invisible wind forces can cause planes to crash even though nobody can see

them coming. We can see acts of good and evil, but we cannot see the invisible

forces and motives behind them. It is the ability to grasp the reality of the

unseen forces behind history that enables the Christian to enter into the

purpose of God for history.

Man has the capacity of dual drive in the motor of his mind. He can chug

along on the road of life in low gear and see only the reality of the ruts, mud,

detours, and dead ends, or he can, by the grace of God, shift into high and glide

down the superhighway of the spiritual with all of its fuel stations of faith,

motels of meaning, and visions of eternal values. Those who receive Jesus as

Savior can travel along sky line drive and catch glimpses of the city of God.

Now this may sound like unrealistic mysticism of no practical value. We need

bread and butter food for our souls and not fancy cotton candy visions spun

out of a hyper-active imagination. This would be a valid objection if all of

reality was on the level of the visible, but since the Bible teaches that the

majority of reality is on the level of the invisible, it will be my challenge to show

that nothing is more relevant and practical than the ability to see the invisible.

It is the key to the effective Christian life to be able to see the invisible. It is

the very essence of worship. Herman Hagedorn wrote,

Lift up the curtain: For an hour lift up

The veil that hold’s you prisoners in this world

Of coins and wines and motor-horns, this world

Of figures and of men who trust in facts;

This pitiable, hypocritic world

Where men with blinkered eyes and hobbled feet

Grope down a narrow gorge and call it life.

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