Open Your Eyes
Scripture: Luke 24:13-35
Summary: For you see: properly working eyes of faith see the world as Jesus would see it.
“Open Your Eyes”
Now that same day two shepherds were going south to the city of Hebron, about thirteen miles from Bethlehem, to sell their sheep and barter wool. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened the night before. They talked of angels. They talked of inns and barns. They talked of the little Child who was born. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, a traveler came up in a chariot and rode along with them. This was not unusual, this was a busy road and there was safety in numbers. In addition, the sheep made it impossible for the traveler to pass by.
He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces beaming. One of the shepherds, named Alan, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Bethlehem and the surrounding area and do not know about the things that happened last night?"
"What things?" the traveler asked.
"About the king that was born in Bethlehem," they replied. "He was announced by a whole host of angels. They lit the night sky in announcing His birth. We went and saw the place where He lay. He was there, in a stable next to the inn. He was there, in a feeding trough. He was there cared for by His mother Mary and Joseph.”
The traveler said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of mind you must be for me to believe that a king was born in a stable with no attendants and no fanfare.” And he began by explaining to these poor shepherds all about the expectations of royalty for he was royalty. “In fact,” he concluded, “I stayed at that very inn last night and my horses were in the very stable next to the inn. I saw nothing of import this morning.”
“We know it is strange to tell you that a king was born in a barn, but it is true!” the shepherds exclaimed all the more. We were there last night and the baby and family were staying in the stable. We have seen it and testify to it!”
As they approached the city to which they were going, the rich traveler on the chariot acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, "Go back and see the child! Go and see the king who was born!” The traveler was unsure if he should believe these shepherds, but they urged him all the more as they traveled along. Soon, he turned his face north towards Bethlehem and squinted his eyes at the horizon. Was that man who hitched the horse team to the chariot this morning involved for he did seem like he had been up all night and looked like he was staying in the stable? Should he go? Were these shepherds telling the truth? He closed his eyes, turned, and went on his way.
An adult eye is about 1 inch in diameter and has about 12 million photoreceptors which are light sensitive cells and six muscles that move the ocular sphere with such a precision that it allows the eye to follow moving objects. Like a camera, the eye has a diaphragm (called iris), whose opening degree adapts to the brightness of the environment. The light rays that cross the opening of the iris, the pupil, have been previously concentrated by the action of the cornea. The crystalline lens is charged with the focusing of the light and its refraction index and is adjusted by the ciliary muscles. After crossing the vitreous humour (that is not your funny bone, but part of the eye), the light reaches the retina, a membrane possessing 120 photosensitive rods and 7 million color photosensitive cones. On the retina an upside down image is formed which is an image that is reverted by the brain. The rods and the cones turn the light into electric signals which are transmitted through the ganglionic cells to the optic nerve and from there they reach the brain.
Sounds complicated doesn’t it? That is because it is. Human sight is a miracle of God’s creation. When I read the description of what happens when a person sees, I think it is strange that any of us can see at all! So many things must go right for a person to see and so many things could go wrong. It seems like if any of those rods or cones or muscles do not work right vision problems occur. Most of us here probably have some kind of corrective lenses or vision issue. According to the CDC, 67% of people in the state of Florida went to see an eye-care professional in the last year (http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/index.htm). Most of us are concerned about our eye sight. That is because our eyes are important. You know how I know eyes are important? What was the very first thing God created?
Genesis 1:1-5 records for us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Hell Bent and Hell Bound
"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."-John 5:40
The Lord Jesus plainly tells us that the one real reason for anyone's being unsaved is that he is not willing to be saved. He is deliberately "Hell-bent." He simply WILL NOT be saved.
In revival work, one hears many excuses as to why various people are unsaved. One will say, "There are too many hypocrites in the church"; another, "I'm afraid I cannot hold out" or "I don't feel like it," and so on. But the fact is, there is only one honest-to-goodness reason for anyone's being unsaved. That one reason is given in our text in the words of Jesus Christ who said, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
People are unsaved because they are not willing to come to Christ. They are deliberately unsaved, purposely away from Christ and Hell-bent!
I. SALVATION IS FOR ALL
A. God Predestines No One to Be Damned
Some time ago I spoke one Sunday morning in a Baptist church near Charleston, Illinois. The power of the Holy Spirit was felt in the entire service. It was a time of heart-searching, of repentance, of salvation. When the invitation was given to come forward publicly and claim Christ, seven came. It was a happy occasion, and we rejoiced over those who had been saved.
But when the service was dismissed and I was about to step down from the platform, a man with a Bible under his arm barred my way. "Look here," he said to me sternly, "don't you know you will be held accountable to God for the invitation you gave this morning? At the invitation, you invited all the lost to come forward and be saved, and seven came. Now, what if some of them are predestined to go to Hell? Think how surprised they will be if they die and go to Hell when you have made them believe that they are now saved because they accepted Christ! You surely know that some people are predestined to be saved and some are predestined to be lost and cannot be saved no matter what they do!"
Now I know that there is a doctrine of predestination, but I also know it does not contradict the clear teaching of the Bible that anyone may be saved who is willing to be saved.
John 3:16, the best-known verse in the Bible, plainly says "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
In John 6:37 Jesus said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Hebrews 2:9 tells us that Jesus tasted death for "every man."
Second Peter 3:9 tells us that God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
It certainly is clear, then, that anyone can be saved who is willing to be saved. No individual or special group of individuals has a corner on salvation. God loved the whole world so much that He provided a way of salvation for every single man and woman and boy and girl, and any person who is willing to be saved can be saved.
Of course, God knew there would be some who would reject Christ and others who would accept Christ. He even knew ahead of time the decision each one would make; and in His goodness and mercy, God determined that everyone who would accept Christ should one day be like Christ.
This is plainly stated in Romans 8:29: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Every person who accepts Christ is predestined to become like Christ. But whether or not you accept Christ is a matter of your own deliberate choice. God does not predestinate anyone to be lost.
B. Even the Vilest May Be Saved
Nor are people unsaved because they have sinned so much that God will not save them.
I spoke with a man in Fort Worth, Texas who had killed another man and who was certain God would never forgive one whose sin had been so great.
I spoke with a man in Brainerd, Minnesota who told me of a great sin in his life that he felt would make it impossible for him to be saved.
Many girls have gone into the scarlet sin and feel there is no hope for their souls. But the fact is: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Tim. 1:15).
Christ died to save sinners! Jesus Himself said that well people had no need of a physician, but rather those who were sick. He came, He said, to call the wicked people to repentance.
In Isaiah 1:18 we read, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
In Hebrews 7:25 we read that regardless of one's degree of sinfulness, Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who will come to Him.