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3-12-23 We Can See!

We Can See!

David Peterson / General

Love; Jesus dies on the cross; Regeneration / Ephesians 5:8–14; John 9:1–7; John 9:13–17; John 9:34–39

Sermon Type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: God’s love revealed in Christ awakens us to the love of God and his death breaks down the barrier between us and God so that we become alive to him and to his way of being which is love.

Introduction

1. Young child colorblind given glasses—Enchroma glasses

I. Who We Were: People in the Dark (Ephesians 5:8a)

1. The origin of our darkness: separated from the light. We WERE darkness. (We are the instrument, the eye, for knowing God)

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, (Ephesians 5:18-19a) READ Ephesians 2:1ff and especially 2:12 (without God, without hope)

2. We didn’t know God—(1:17 prays that they will know him better) NO relationship, NO reality

3. We were stuck in the ways/patterns of this world, under the rule of an evil influence/spirit

An issue of the highly regarded science magazine New Scientist asked several basic philosophical questions and attempted to give answers from a strictly scientific point of view. One of the questions was “What is the meaning of life?”

In trying to answer about the meaning of life, the author begins with a bleak reality:

The harsh answer is “it has none.” Your life may feel like a big deal to you, but it’s actually a random blip of matter and energy in an uncaring and impersonal universe. When it ends, a few people will remember you for a while, but they will die too. Even if you make the history books, your contribution will soon be forgotten. Humans will go extinct; Earth and the sun will be destroyed. Eventually the universe itself will end. Against this appalling reality, how can a human life have any real meaning?

Source: Graham Lawton, “What Is the Meaning of Life?” New Scientist (9-3-16) cited PreachingToday.com

II. Who We Are: Those Who Can See (Ephesians 5:8b)

1. The origin of our sight and light—brought near, no longer separated (Light fills us within)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

Eyes of our heart (1:18) are enlightened, our knowledge is the love of Christ (3:18)

2. To know love is to know a relationship, love comes from a person.

3. We can see the true patterns—goodness, righteousness, truth vs. fruitless deeds (vv. 10-11) because we came to know Christ (4:20)

In his sermon titled “Think Hard, Stay Humble,” Francis Chan told the following story about a man named Vaughn who radiated the love of Christ to everyone around him:

A few years ago, a missionary came to our church and told a beautiful story about sharing the gospel with a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea. At the end of the story this missionary said, “I should really give the credit to Vaughn, my former youth pastor who loved me and inspired me to live for Christ and share the gospel with others.” The next week another guy came to our church and he challenged us to start sponsoring kids living in poverty. The second speaker also concluded by saying, “I’m involved in this ministry because of my youth pastor, a guy named Vaughn.” I found out those guys were from the same youth group!

Then the next week another speaker named Dan told us about his ministry at a rescue mission in the inner city of L.A. After Dan’s talk, I casually mentioned, “It was so weird: the last two weeks both of our speakers mentioned how much impact their youth pastor, Vaughn, had on them.” Dan looked surprised and then he told me, “I know Vaughn. He’s a pastor in San Diego now, and he takes people into the dumps in Tijuana where kids are picking through the garbage. I was just with Vaughn in Tijuana. We would walk in the city, and these kids would run up to him, and he would show such deep love and affection for them. He’d hug them and have gifts and food for them. He’d figure out how to get them showers. Francis, it was eerie: the whole time I was walking with Vaughn, I kept thinking, If Jesus was on earth, I think this is what it would feel like to walk with him. He just loved everyone he ran into, and he would tell them about God. People were just drawn to his love and affection.” And then Dan said this, “The day I spent with Vaughn was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”

Hearing this made me think, Would anyone in their right mind say that about me? Would anyone say that about you? … As I thought about all this, I prayed, “Lord, that’s what I want. I don’t want to be the best speaker in the world. That doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be the most intelligent person on the planet. That’s not what I want to be known for. I want to be known for someone saying, “Wow, he’s a lot like Jesus.”

Source: Francis Chan, “Think Hard, Stay Humble,” PreachingToday.com

III. What We Should Be Doing: Exercising our Gift of Sight (Ephesians 5:10)

1. Wake up (v. 14)—don’t be lulled to sleep, the world around us is confused and wrong

2. Use your gift of sight! You see to the depth. You see that God is love.

Conclusion

O love of God, how strong and true,

eternal and yet ever new,

uncomprehended and unbought,

beyond all knowledge and all thought!

O love of God, how deep and great,

far deeper than man’s deepest hate;

self-fed, self-kindled like the light,

changeless, eternal, infinite.

Author: Horatius Bonar (1861)

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