Pastor Jon’s Sermon Notes
(2 COR 4:1-7)
INTRO- Sharing w/ an SKEPTIC named Kell on the U of L campus
*He said, “If God showed up right now & proved He’s real I’d believe…”
*Cases like this cause many of us to hesitate to share the Gospel:
-Many of us are fearful of sharing b/c we think “I don’t know enough…”
-I don’t know enough arguments for the existence of God (proofs)
-I don’t know enough about science & how to prove miracles occur
-What if they ask me a question or raise a doubt that I can’t answer?
*There are those who say “I just am not that smart…I can’t have those kinds of conversations…”
*This kind of thinking in all of us betrays that we think witnessing is simply about information transfer!
-We think witnessing is about making the right argument
-If I can just have right evidence that can’t be refuted then they’ll have to become a Christian
-If I out argue them/If I can stump them instead of them stumping me, then they’ll be forced to say “Jesus is awesome,” & bow their knees & confess Him as Lord!
PROBLEM > we are missing what is REALLY going on…We don’t see reality right
-Problem is that it is NOT about evidence & arguments & logic primarily
-There is a SPIRITUAL WAR/CONFLICT going on that so often we’re oblivious to!
-There are SPIRITUAL REALITIES at work that determine the outcomes
-Behind the arguments there are POWERS at play
*And the Spiritual reality is more central to what happens than the physical
-Our worldview as Americans keeps us from seeing it
-Even as Christians who believe in miracles we approach life w/ scientific/empirical outlook
-If we can’t observe it physically then we won’t accept it
-YET, The UNSEEN reality is more cent’l than the SEEN!
*It’s important that we understand this as we wrap up the SKEPTIC series…
-“I can’t talk to a skeptic till I know all of the answers to their skepticism”
-NO! It’s not about information transfer/it’s not about evidence
-There is a spiritual war at play & if you know Jesus you’re fully equipped for skepticism
-Let’s READ 2 Corinthians 4:1-7 and see what’s really going on…
- SATAN BLINDS THE EYES OF SKEPTICS
*4:2 the Gospel is VEILED to those who are perishing (the lost)
-WHY? B/c the god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep from seeing
-Seeing what? The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ!
-Satan blinds unbelievers/skeptics so can’t see gospel & will perish (HELL)
*So, Skeptics are NOT skeptics b/c of a lack of evidence or a lack of information
-YOU are skeptics b/c of a spiritual reality (captivity to Satan)
-They can’t see things rightly! They can’t see REALITY (things for the way they really are)
-Matthew 28:16-17 “Now the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.”
-WOW! The 11 who ate/touched him…some doubted!
-Say: “If Jesus showed up right now I’d believe, but until He does I won’t.” NO, you wouldn’t!
*It’s not about EVIDENCE…it’s about a spiritual captivity so you can’t see world rightly!
*Illust > Colorblindness > “What color is this?” is 1 of our favorite games in the Akin household…
*We like to think we are all basically good
*And we think we all come into the world as neutral beings who can make informed decisions
-We think presented w/ the right case/evidence we all will basically choose the same
-WRONG > we are NOT blank slates
-We are PREJUDICED so we can’t see the evidence clearly or rightly
-Jer 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, & desperately sick; who can understand it?”
-Illust: Song Walk Away Joe
*We don’t WANT it to be true so we convince ourselves that the lie is true (Rom 1:18-25)
*Why do we convince ourselves the lie is true? B/c we desperately want it to be true!
-Mormonism is ridiculous (occultist/sex addict/con-man, polygamy, etc.): want it to be true
-Darwinism is ridiculous (nothing became everything & single-cell becomes you): want it 2b true
-Materialism is ridiculous (can’t take anything w/ you/most toys doesn’t win): want it to be true
-WHY? B/c we don’t want to be accountable to God/accept what seems more powerful/appealing to us at the time
*Satan blinds us w/ sex, pursuit of $/things, & even w/ morality (my salv) to keep us from Jesus
-We love the lie b/c we want it to be true
-Light has come into the world & men loved the darkness rather than the light
-Evade the light b/c looking at glory is painful for sinners
-Hide me from the VOICE that says “Where are you? What have you done?”
-We don’t want to be held accountable (answer to God)
*Those who refuse to believe in Jesus are blind
-They can’t see HIM as supremely valuable above everything else
-So, they won’t receive HIM as their treasure & remain unsaved!
APP: this is true of everyone on the planet at some point (born into world blind)
- ONLY GOD CAN OPEN THE EYES OF SKEPTICS
*4:6 God created light in the darkness at Creation, so he also shines light in the hearts of Christians for salvation
*God is the one responsible for this
-He created light in the darkness at Creation (Let there be light)
-He shines light into our hearts to SEE the beauty of the gospel, understand it, & rec it!
-God spoke light for creation…speaks light for new creation
-Acts 16:14 says of Lydia “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul”
-He’s done this for EVERYONE who is saved (looks down into our darkness & says LIGHT)
-MUD on the eyes like Jesus in John 9 > Amazing Grace (was blind but now I see > our testimony)
*This is TRUE of ALL Christians…only way the lost are saved!
-This happened at some point in your life
-NOT always been saved (born again at some point)
*God shines light into the heart of the skeptics/unbelievers to see light of the gospel/Jesus (salvation)
*This is what we want for our kids (6 or 26), parents, spouses, siblings, neighbors, colleagues, friends…
- GOD OPENS EYES THROUGH CHRISTIANS SHARING JESUS
*God is the one who does the saving, but he does it thru a MESSAGE (Jesus) & a MESSENGER (you)!
*He uses US as the MEANS to open the eyes of the blind (WOW!!!!)
*To be saved one must SEE the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (read 3:18)
*God opens eyes thru a MESSAGE > the gospel/Jesus (see w/ your EARS)
-Behold God’s saving glory thru the WORD (see God thru HIS WORD)
-1 Sam 3:1 (Word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision)
-1 Sam 3:21 & the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh, by the WORD of the Lord
-You must see God to be saved & you see Him thru His WORD > the gospel of Jesus
-This is what happened to Lydia in Acts 16 > thru Paul sharing Jesus/the word
-If you’re saved then this is what happened to you
*This is BREATHTAKING! (Amazing that he uses us)
*God opens the eyes of the blind to see the truth about Jesus, but he does so by sending people to tell good news! I pray God would give us a passion to be his means for opening blind eyes!
*How does this happen? Look at the text
-4:5 We preach JESUS > it’s all about HIM > point people to HIM
-4:7 God does this thru FEEBLE human instruments who preach/share Jesus
-God’s agents are stewards/holders of the gospel & we hold it in Jars of Clay!
-WHY? To show that the power/credit/glory belongs to Him not us (We’re nothing!)
*Acts 26:17-18 “…the Gentiles to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
*God says I’m sending YOU (Fairview) to open blind eyes (agency of gospel is removing Satan’s blinders)
-we share in CONFIDENCE knowing that some will be saved/some eyes will be opened
-God is good at it
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US > PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
- Skeptics are not skeptics because of a lack of evidence, but rather because they are spiritually blind to the gospel
*You and I must be aware of the spiritual reality/condition of lostness
-If you’re a skeptic, then you can’t even COME to Jesus until He draws you like this (Jn 6)
-If you’re a Christian, you must understand this, otherwise you’ll think power for conversion lies in your skills, and it doesn’t! If you think that you’ll be discouraged when it doesn’t go well when you share!
- Pray to God to open the eyes of the lost
*Pray/beg God regularly to open the eyes of the lost around you, you love, & the unreached of world!
-God, do verse 6 (for your glory)
-BUT, you can’t stop there b/c God uses means to open eyes > YOU!
-People are born again by you sharing the gospel!
- Learn to share the Gospel
*Learn a simple way to share the gospel > Way of the Master (Romans road, John 3:16)
- Share the gospel in confidence that God will save some
*In the cubicle, porch, bleechers, coffee shop, facebook, text messages, classroom, hallway, etc.!
-It’s NOT about your ability to share (not about your skill or eloquence or arguments)
-4:5 we preach JESUS…it’s about HIM > point to HIM (even if weakly/timidly)
-Not about communicating info > spiritual war > Jesus is the conquering hero
*I’ve tried to do that consistently in this series (arguments can poke holes but mainly about Jesus)
*The answer to every objection = JESUS (the Gospel)!
*Hell? Jesus took it. Hypocrisy? Yes, it’s about Jesus’ grace. Suffering? Jesus suffered for us!
- Don’t compromise or be embarrassed about your faith
*Worldly wisdom versus godly wisdom
-We’ll always look like fools in eyes of the world
-Don’t compromise to be seen as smart, intellectual, or wise
-Acts 17 thought Paul was wise till said a dead man came back to life
- Skeptic, ask God to remove your blinders so you can see the truth of Jesus! (3:16)
Conclusion- Kell told me if God would show up He’d believe > I told him God did & you still don’t!
*Reminded me of Luke 16:19-31 > Rich man says NOT enough evidence > If a man goes from dead then my brothers will believe, but Abraham says “No they wouldn’t. The WORD is enough to save.”
-Lazarus did walk out & people didn’t believe (so did Jesus)
-God says “YOU HAVE the WORD!”
-That’s how people are saved > A man who did walk out of God’s judgment! Turn to HIM!