(Summary of the sermon – 06 Sep 2015)
SEEN TO UNSEEN
“while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18
Newspapers are full of stories of young children committing suicide. Their lives hit roadblocks and they feel that they can’t see any way out. Their physical realities overwhelm them.
2 King chapter 6 tell us a story of a man who was frightened by his reality. Elisha’s servant woke up one night and saw that the enemy soldiers had surrounded the gates. Worriedly he asked his master Elisha what to do. Elisha replied, ‘Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them’. He then prayed that the Lord would open the servant’s eyes. Immediately the servant’s eyes were opened. He looked around and saw angels and chariots of fire standing guard for them. The enemy skunked away.
God wants us to open our eyes and move from the ‘seen’ to the ‘unseen’. He wants to let go of the temporal and step into the eternal. The temporal is disappointing. But the eternal is glorious.
Let us look at three Biblical principles that we can follow in this journey from the ‘seen’ to the ‘unseen’.
STANDING ON THE PROMISES OF GOD
About 4000 years ago, God asked Abraham to leave his father’s house and go to a land that He would show. Abraham wasn’t given any blueprint or brochure of the Promised Land. He just had to follow God.
Abraham trusted God and obeyed.
God also promised Abraham that He would make a nation out of him. It kind of seemed like a farfetched dream. How could a 90-year-old woman who was way past her child-bearing age give birth to a child?!
Romans 4:19-21 says, ‘And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform’. The Bible says that Abraham didn’t doubt God’s promise. He was fully convinced that God would be able to fulfill it.
Let me tell you a real life incident in this regard. In 1989, Armenia experienced an earthquake of a magnitude of 8.2 on the Richter scale. Within four minutes 30,000 people died. In the midst of all that chaos, a father rushed to his son’s school site. Needless to say, the school building had collapsed. Without a second thought, he went to the place where his son’s classroom was and started digging through the rubble. Well wishers, rescue team and the police force tried to dissuade him from continuing. They said that there was no chance of finding the boy alive. Undeterred, the father kept at it because he had promised his son that he would always be there for him. At the 38th hour, he pulled out the last stone. Suddenly, he heard the feeble voice of his son. The father shouted out his son’s name. The boy replied emphatically, ‘Dad, I told them that you would come. You had promised and you did it!’
Doesn’t that give us goose bumps?
If an earthy father can go to such an extent to fulfill his promise to his son, wouldn’t our Heavenly Father fulfill his promises to us? Let us exercise child-like faith in God’s promises for our lives.
WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT
Moses grew up as a prince. Acts 7:22 says, ‘And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds’. His life was cut out just fine for him. All he had to do was flow with it. But Moses took a different path. Hebrews 11:24-27 say, ‘By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible’.
To the physical eye, Moses’ life in the palace was pleasant. But Moses looked through the eyes of faith and saw that Egypt’s pleasures were trash. He wanted a life of lasting joy with God. God honored him and his name is found in the book of faith.
Let me tell you another story to explain this. One night, a house caught fire. A little boy was trapped in the house. Somehow he managed to escape to the roof. His father was standing on the ground. The father called out to him and asked him to jump from the roof. He reassured him that he would catch him. The boy took a step forward and looked down. All he could see was flames, smoke and darkness. Fearfully he said, ‘Dad, I can’t see you. I am scared to jump’. The father replied, ‘Son, don’t worry. Jump. I can see you’.
Our God can see us even if we can’t see Him in the maze of our lives. That’s all that matters. He will catch us.
Let us walk by faith in our God. Then, the invisible God will become visible to us.
WALK IN OBEDIENCE
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life – John 3:16
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” – Mathew 4:8-9
Jesus came to the world to find and take back what was lost. Now, one day during Jesus’ life on earth, Satan approached Him and said that he would give the whole world to Jesus if He worshipped him. If Jesus had thought that He would be able to fulfill His calling by conceding to Satan’s request it would have ended drastically. Jesus would have lost the battle of eternity. Taking a shortcut was not the way to fulfill God’s plan. He could do it only by obeying God. Philippians 2:6-8 says, ‘who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the Cross’. Jesus obeyed even though it meant that He had to be hung on the Cross. As a result the Cross which is the symbol of defeat and failure became the symbol of triumph and victory.
Let us be people who listen to God’s call on our lives. Let us deny ourselves, stand on God’s promises, walk by faith and obey Him every day. Then we will be able to step from the ‘seen and temporal realities’ of our lives to the ‘unseen and permanent’ future that is ours.
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