Community Bible Chapel
Monday, September 16, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 Love Like Jesus – Sharpening Our Eyesight – 6/22/14
 

American artist James Whistler, who was never known to be bashful about his talent, was once advised that a shipment of blank canvases he had ordered had been lost in the mail. When asked if the canvases were of any great value, Whistler remarked, "not yet, not yet." 

Today in the Word, December 3, 1992.
 

Whistler had a vision for what those canvases would be when he combined

the medium of paint with the application of his talents to them.

-Our world is much like those canvases.
-Can I ask you:  What is your vision for those canvases?

                    -Are you looking to paint a six figure income?

                    -A perfect family?
                    -An endless golf game?
                    -Just a day at work that goes well?    
-Maybe we need to ask:  What is God’s vision for those canvases?

          -What is He painting?

          -Romans 8 tells us that this world is in “bondage to decay”.

                   -It’s broken, wasting away, and getting worse.

                   -Some might say that God can’t be loving if He allows suffering.

          -Yet there is great hope!         
I Peter 5:10

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you

 have suffered a little while (in the midst of this broken world),

 will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Romans 8:21 states God’s vision:

          “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay

and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

          -The “big picture” is that God will make all things new in Christ.

          -That is what God is painting.   

-And He has given us the great privilege to paint on His canvas.

          -Are we adding grace and love or are we trying

                   to add our selfish little desires to what God is painting?

But imagine the possibilities if the church of Jesus Christ came together,

not to judge sinners, but to love them into the kingdom.

          -Far too often, the church expects that non-believers to think – act - speak

like believers should.

-They can’t!!

-But the church directs all kinds of energy in the right direction,

                             but with the wrong methods.

 

                   -Yes, there are many social ills that plague our world, but they are all

                             just symptoms of not knowing Jesus.

          -The church must love the world in practice by feeding the hungry, helping the poor,

                   fixing the family as an expression of God’s love for us.

                   -The Gospel has to be the bedrock truth that supports them.

                   -The fact that we are sinners in need of the grace of God enables us

to reach out to those who are in need.

 

Last week we looked into the account of Jesus raising the widow’s son to life.

          -The text we focused on was

“Jesus saw her and His heart went out to her.”

          -The NASB says “He felt compassion for her”

          -We talked about seeing people that are in need and moving to connect the dots

 between our sin and suffering and the grace of God.

          -We also talked about the link between our heart and our eyes.

                   -Our heart “sees” things (and people) from “what I want or love the most”.

                   -Meaning that, “what I want” influences the way I see things in life.

Today, I want to look a little deeper into that heart – eye dynamic and help us to

          correct our heart so we can Sharpen our Eyesight.

And we need to start by . . .

X  Dealing With The Real Problem

          -There are many obstacles to truly seeing people that all come from our own hearts.

          -Although we often use the excuse that the other person did this or that,

they were drunk – gay – angry – sex addict, mean etc..

                   -That is not the real problem.

-When you boil it down, loving them has nothing to do with them,                  

and everything to do me.

-How I love someone is directly related to my heart!

Let’s look at some things that will hinder our seeing people with compassion

 and moving toward them in love.

          X  Judgment  John 9:1-7

                   -The disciples wanted to place this poor man into a box.

                             -He was a sinner, he’s from a dysfunctional family, he’s disabled,

                                      he’s depressed, he’s unemployed, he’s something.

                   -A judgmental person always see’s the consequences (blind man) and use it for

                             proof of wrong-doing.

                   -But Jesus sees a needy person and the wonderful potential for ministry

and moves to compassion.

              -Judgmental people move to put people into categories.

-And those catagories always move away from them.

-You never see judgmental people asking others to join them.

                   -If they are a sinner – then we stay away from them to protect ourselves.

                   -If they are too “religious” – then we might stay away from them so they

don’t ruin our fun.

                    -And worse than that, once we have judged them, we gather un-ending lists

of evidence to prove our judgment is right.

              – And we grow farther apart and hope is lost.

                    -Our judgment has accomplished its goal, but it has destroyed my

                             opportunity to love them.

                   -And I do it all the time.

-When I go to the jail, I have heard the story enough times.

-I’ve already judged them in my mind.

                                      -So when they tell me their story about how it’s not their fault,

I don’t believe them.

                             -But whether I believe them or not is really not relevant.

                                      -I’m not the judge, I’m there to minister God’s grace to them.

                             -If you yell at me, I will judge you as mean, angry, and nasty.

                                      -It will keep me from seeing that you have had a difficult day or

 week and I will put distance between us.

                                      -Not that having a difficult day is an excuse for you to yell,

                                                but seeing you helps me have some compassion toward you.

                                      -It will help me to move past my hurt and move toward you.

                                      -It will ask you if you are okay – if there is anything I can

do to help you?
 
                   Jesus said this about himself

                              “I didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it.”            John 12:47

                    -Now, if Jesus hasn’t judged the world, then I’ve got some work to do.

                   -The Gospel brings them not only hope for eternity, but also hope that they

are not stuck in their sinful ways.

-They can change by the power of being in relationship with Christ

 and in the sufficiency of the Word of God.

                   -So I see their sin, but rather than looking for move evidence, I use

what is there and grow in compassion for them.

-I look hard to consider how I might come along-side them to help them

connect to the Gospel.

                             -I move toward them to love them with the same love that Jesus moved

toward me with.

                    -That will be hard work, but it will add beauty and truth to what

God is painting.

          X  Self-righteousness  Luke 7:36-47

                   -The self-righteousness of the Pharisee prevented him from seeing that

he was a lost sinner and caused him to look down on her.

-The Pharisee thought he was better than this woman.

                             -The fact of her sin disgusted him.

-Self-righteousness is like bad breath – others are repelled by it,

                             but we don’t have a clue.

                    -Self righteousness hinders our ability to see people.

                             -As soon as we begin to think we would never sin like that,

                                      we begin to think we are better than that person.

                             -Then  we begin to think that we don’t need to change all that much.

-And we remind ourselves that we are “okay”.

                   -The proud heart of self-righteousness cripples us by our lack of seeing our

own desperate need and it hinders our ability to see others

as God sees them.

                   -Self-righteous people are not very forgiving, and they almost have to be

 cornered before they seek forgiveness from others.

                             -They are far too interested in seeing your sin because it puffs up

their view of themselves.

                   -In evaluating your own self-righteousness today, you might ask yourself

                             how desperate you are for Christ.

                   -Do you need him

not at all      less than them     more than them

 can’t do anything without Him.

-In dealing with our own heart of self-righteousness this morning, we need to look

at Jesus.

-He saw her need and had compassion on her because she was lost.

                   -Then He turns to the woman and asks the Pharisee.

                             “Do you see this woman?”

                             -She has lots of sin and is lost, you ought to be seeking her forgiveness

For your self-righteous heart that has not moved toward her

in God’s love.

                   -If we are going to learn to “see” people, we have to understand that

we are a mess too.

-I read this in two different books this week . . .

                                      “Rejoice, you and I are much worse than we think.”

                             -We don’t rejoice in our sin because of the sin, but we rejoice

in our sin because we see it.

                                      -If we don’t see it, we don’t come close to God in desperate need

                                                of His grace.

                             -It can be a little scary to move in that direction, our reputation. . .

                                      . . .  our pride is at stake.

                             -But as I move toward a lower view of myself, the larger my need for

Jesus becomes.

                             -And the larger my need for Jesus is, the more I will see other people,

get off my holy high horse and minister grace to them.

 

          X  Legalism Luke 11:37-43

                   -Jesus defines legalists for us in this passage.

                   -They are concerned to follow all the rules, but are not concerned about

 the heart and motivation of keeping the rules.

                             -And he uses this cup metaphor to point out that it’s silly to clean

                                      the outside of the cup when the inside is all moldy and nasty.

                   -Legalism might look good in relationship to others because it obeys,

but in relationship with Jesus – it’s sick.

                             -And just like the culture of Jesus’ day, our culture also holds to

a set of prescribed rules.

                                      -To measure up, women have to have a career, raise perfect

 children, and look like a fashion model.

                                      -Men have to be athletic, able to fix the car,

and be sensitive “quiche eaters” at home.

-Ah, just give me some bacon.

                             -Even in the church, we have a legal code that keeps us all looking

the same.

                   -Legalism cannot produce the fruit of love because it never deals

with the heart. . . it’s all on the outside.

                             -Legalism assumes that the inside of the cup is basically good,

and that it just needs to keep the outside clean in obedience.

                             -The ability to follow a list of rules brings comfort to the person

                                      and causes them to look down on those who don’t.

                   -Paul Miller in “Love Walked Among Us” speaks of legalism this way.

                             “Unless you deal with self (heart), focusing on the rules is like

 re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while it is sinking.”

                   -Following the rules puts all its energy in the wrong place.

-It’s useless if we don’t get to the heart and see

our need for the grace of God.

-Paul stated that in I Cor 13

                             “Even if I do all these wonderful works, but have not love, I’m just

a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

 

          -I realized something about myself this week that I’m struggling with.

-I communicate this legalistic bent all the time.

                   -I’ve parented that way and I think I might pastor that way too.

-I’m sure that Seth gets it the most.

                             -Did you mow the lawn, call the college, can you do this before you leave.

                   -A continual list of things to do.

                             -I wonder if the endless list of things to do doesn’t communicate

                                      that his value to me is bound up in his keeping my to-do list?

                   -That is not the truth and it not what I want to communicate.

                   -Jesus never focused on what we might do for him,

but what He would do for us.

                   -He saw our need and met it.

                   -His work was infinitely more valuable than any work we might accomplish.

                   -Ah, still lots of work to do.  Praise the Lord.

 

          X  Loving is Risky

          -Sometimes we don’t even look to see people because we already know it’s

going to cost us.

                    -If I stop and help this person, I will fall behind my schedule . . .  it will

cost me financially . . . I have other responsibilities.

          -But God saw you in your sin and paid the cost to redeem you by coming to earth

and dying in your place so that you could have life in Him.

          -Loving means losing control of your schedule, money, and time.

          -Actually, when we love as Jesus did – we give up the rule of our lives

and we become a servant.

-That may make us cringe.

-We are willing to serve when it fits our schedule or budget, but then it

 pushes beyond that, most of us get a little testy.

-But Jesus changed our perspective on serving others.

      “If anybody wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

          -A servant of God is not someone who is forced to be last or to serve,

but someone who puts themselves there.

                   -The servant of God is someone who understands that God has saved them

and provided everything they have.

-They look around and see others who are lost, and they feel compassion

toward their state and act in love toward them.  

          -Loving means that I have to be willing to lose control of my schedule, money,

time, and energy for the benefit of others.

 
 

          -It’s our relationship with Christ that makes the risk valuable.

                   -Where I realize that what I have in Christ dwarfs anything

that I might lose in helping you. 

                   -My relationship with Jesus provides abundantly more than I could even hope

                             or imagine.

                   -When my eyes are focused on me – you become much more fuzzy

in my peripheral vision.

                             -You are there, but only as you move closer to my focus.

                             -Meaning that if you come to help me, I see you more clearly.

                   -Jesus focused on His Father, and as He did that, He saw us in the refection

and anything that He wanted became fuzzy in his peripheral vision.

                   -That’s the focus that will sharpen our eyesight.

 

As we tie this up today,

-The real problem is not something “they” are doing, it’s our own hearts.

                   -We can always move toward someone, have compassion for them,

                             and love them as Jesus would.

                   -Those actions are not dependant on what they do, but they come out of you

                             because you are in relationship with the Living God.

         

          -This week, consider what you are painting.

-Pick up your paintbrush and join the Lord Jesus Christ as he paints

                             reconciliation and love on the canvas of life.

                   -Paint with kindness, compassion, grace, mercy and love.

                   -As you do, God will be paint a masterpiece in your heart that will

Love like Jesus.
                  
 
                    
 
 

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