Summary: Paul tells us the world is blind to the gospel. What is the key to help them see?
- Earlier, use this for the Children’s Sermon. Have a box with one side open and that open side up against the wall. Let the kids guess what might be in the box. Then have helper pick up the box and hold it front of their face, causing a light to shine on their face from the flashlight in the box. Don’t turn the open side of the box toward the kids, though. Ask them again what’s in the box and they’ll now correctly guess a flashlight. Question them on how they know that if they still can’t see inside the box. They’ll say because they see the light on the helper’s face. Make your point: “You know there is a flashlight because there is light on his face. People know that God is real because they see God’s light in our face.”
A GOOD QUESTION: Why are so many uninterested in the gospel?
- I have heard it said countless times by Christians: “Why would anyone not want Jesus in their lives?” Often at a funeral visitation a family member has said, “Why wouldn’t you want God in a moment like this?” And it’s a genuine question for them – the benefits of knowing Christ seem so clear.
- Yet it’s beyond question that most people choose not to grab onto the gospel. Why?
- Why are so many uninterested in the gospel?
- This passage deals with a major piece of that puzzle.
THE REASON MORE DON'T BELIEVE: Unbelievers are blind to the gospel.
- Some of the key phrases and ideas shared here:
a. v. 3 – “gospel is veiled”
- This points us to back to chapter 3 and an idea that Paul spoke about at length. It takes us back to Moses. After being in God’s presence, he put a veil over his face because the radiance of God was still reflecting from him (3:13). Paul uses this “veil” idea as an analogy for the way that truth of God is “veiled” (i.e. obscured, hidden) from Israelites. Just as you can’t clearly see someone’s face when it’s veiled, so Israel couldn’t clearly see God’s plan in Christ because their understanding was veiled.
b. v. 3 – “veiled to those who are perishing”
- Back to 4:3.
- Paul notes that gospel is not veiled to everyone (those of us who have received it see it clearly), but it is veiled to those who are perishing.
- Who does he mean by “perishing”? He is speaking of those who are lost spiritually. Without Christ, they are perishing spiritually.
- So, in the last part of v. 3, he is saying, “To the lost the gospel is veiled.”
- Is this because God has chosen to hide His truth because He doesn’t want people to turn to Jesus. Of course not. Verse 4 tells us the reason.
c. v. 4 – “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers.”
- Here we come to the main point.
- Who is the “god of this age”? The obvious answer is Satan. We know that he is the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). This world is his domain (Matthew 4:8-9). Jesus called him the “prince of this world” (John 12:31).
- It’s no surprise that Satan would want to do everything within his power to veil the truth of God.
- How exactly has Satan blinded unbelievers? We are not told precisely. It may be by making the things of this world so attractive. It may be making people comfortable in their sin.
- What is clear, though, is that this answers our question: why are so many uninterested in the gospel? In large part because they are blinded to the truth of the gospel.
- Also, unpack “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
- The rest of v. 4 is an interesting phrase.
- “Gospel” means “good news.” The “glory of Christ” speaks of the fact that Jesus is worthy of praise and honor and that He is a glorious being. “The image of God” gives us that essential truth that when we see Jesus, we see God.
- So we could paraphrase this section to something like: “the good news that Jesus is worth of honor and praise and that when we understand Him, we understand God.”
HOW DOES GOD DRAW THEM? God’s light shines in our hearts.
- This is either exciting or daunting: we are one of the main ways that God uses to draw people to Himself!
- In v. 6, Paul begins by comparing the spiritual light that is not shining out of the spiritual darkness to the physical light that shone out of the physical darkness in the creation. That’s a pretty big analogy.