The Blessing of Spiritual Vision

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THE BLESSING OF SPIRITUAL VISION by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

theblessingofspiritualvisionIntroduction: So glad all of you are here this morning and also glad to have all those who are joining us by radio! Thank you for tuning in! We’re back in our series called Salt and Light on the Sermon on the Mount and this morning we will be looking at the sixth beatitude in our message called – THE BLESSING OF SPIRITUAL VISION.

Matthew 5   1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Overall Background: 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” Just when you think that you have a handle on these beatitudes, this one throws you for a loop. Think about this – As a Christian you can be poor in spirit and have the kingdom of heaven, mourn and be comforted by the Holy Spirit, meek and inherit the earth, hunger and thirst for righteousness and be satisfied, merciful and receive mercy but if your heart is impure, you’ll never see God. In other words, you can be stable emotionally, growing biblically, and acting mercifully but if you are living sinfully, then you will be blind spiritually. You can do a lot of things right as a Christian and even be a salt and light to the world but if there is sin in your life, then God will be hidden from you.

There are two words that have all but disappeared from Christian vocabulary. First is the three-letter word – Sin. We talk about everything from prayer, worship, ministry, God’s will, conservative values, and reaching the world but sin? Who wants to talk about that! Another word that has gone out of her vocabulary is holiness. In fact, that word is looked down upon as legalistic, negative, old-fashioned, judgmental, and boring.

Question: How is your sin life? What do you think about holiness? When was the last time you repented before God? Has the Holy Spirit convicted you recently of some sin in your life? Have you done anything about it? There is no substitute to holiness in the Christian life. Here’s the heart of the matter – are you saved? If there is no conviction of sin, it’s probably because there is no Holy Spirit in your life. You’ve never seen God and you’ll never see God until you see Him on the Day of Judgment.

This morning ask the Holy Spirit to remove the trash in your heart so that your vision may be clean enough to see God. Once again – three questions in this passage:

I. HOW TO HAVE A PURE HEART?

“Blessed are the pure in heart…”

Background: Before we run to Webster’s to define purity, we need to look in the immediate context. Jesus was quoting this beatitude, almost word for word, from Psalm 24, a psalm of David. To give you a little context – this psalm begins with the declaration that everything belongs to God – 1 The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters. This earth, this universe, and all of us human beings are God’s property and He is the Creator King but He is not satisfied with just that. Listen to vs. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Meaning: God is not some almighty sovereign ruler, despot, and dictator who lives in His grand palace and can never be seen and approached by the common people. To the contrary, He wants to meet us, talk to us, and connect with us. He wants us to come to Him, hang out with Him, and live with Him. But there’s a problem – “Or who may stand in His holy place?” There’s a barrier/barricade that keeps us from getting near Him. It’s God’s holiness. He is holy and we are sinful.

People ask, “What is sin?” Paul gives a detailed list in Galatians 5 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 John 5:17 simply says, “All unrighteousness is sin…” Bottom Line: Sin is anything that is contrary to the nature of God and goes against the will of God. It is neither neutral nor passive. It wants to spread and take control and destroy everything. But God is holy and He cannot and will not let sin rule. That’s why His wrath is against sin and since we are sinners, it is against us. In fact, Romans 5:10 tells us that sin has made us “enemies of God.” Don’t misunderstand – God’s wrath is not some bad temper. He’s not some bully going around threatening people or a cantankerous old man, always angry and yelling at people to get out of His yard. Isaiah 28:21 reminds us that God’s wrath is His unusual act.” Think of it this way – “It is a love which is so jealous for the good of the loved one that it blazes out in fiery wrath against everything that is evil.” (Leon Morris, Apostolic Preaching of the Cross)

So sin invokes God wrath but that’s not the final word. To the question, who can stand in His holy place, the answer comes in vs. 4 “He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” Meaning: To come close to God you need to purify yourself, externally and internally. In other words, you need total holiness. No hypocritical, half-hearted, pretend holiness will do. God sees the heart. We are like an open book in His sight.

Application: Are your hands clean before God? Is your heart pure before God? Proverbs 20:9 says, “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin’?” It’s a rhetorical question. Jeremiah 17 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart…” David clarifies in vs. 4 “…Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.” 2 things God hates: 1. False gods – anything that is taking the place of God in your life. It’s more than just some idols in a temple. 2. False swearing – claiming God’s name falsely. When you say you are a Christian and yet disobey Christ and His Word, that’s swearing deceitfully.

Application: Is someone or something playing God in your life? Are you taking God’s name in vain? Have you ever received a spiritual heart transplant? Have you ever received Jesus as your Savior? That’s the only way you can receive a clean new heart.

II. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SEE GOD? 

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

Background: How does that work? We have to go back again to Psalm 24. Listen to vs. 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5 “He shall receive blessing from the LORD…” Now listen carefully to vs. 6 “This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.” For over 2000 years people have struggled with this verse. What exactly is David saying here? “Those who cleanse their hands and purify their hearts will receive a blessing from God. They will be called the Jacob generation. Who are they? They are those who are determined to see the face of God.”

Who was Jacob? Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah and twin brother of Esau. Esau was the firstborn but despised his birthright. Jacob wanted that blessing and bought it for a bowl of stew. Later when Esau tried to get the blessing back, Jacob went as far as to deceive his father to get what was rightfully his. By the way, the Bible never condemns him for that. Esau made a vow that he would kill Jacob and he had to flee for his life. Twenty years later, it was time for Jacob to head home but he had to face Esau. The night before he prayed to God foe help. What was God’s response? Genesis 33:24 “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.” How strange?!! Just when you’d think that God would have sent a cool breeze, put some angels around him, and given him sweet dreams on a soft bed so Jacob could wake up fresh and ready to take on Esau, some stranger jumps on him and tries to pin him to the ground! This goes on all night but the worst is about to come. Genesis 39:25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint…” Ouch! So now he’s sleep deprived, physically exhausted, and limping in incredible pain. Will he finally give up?

What in the world is God trying to do? God is testing Jacob. “You tricked Esau and got the birthright. You tricked Laban and got your Jacob wrestling with Godfamily out. You are about to trick Esau and head back to your home. Are you going to trick Me too? But how much do you really want the blessing?” Somewhere between the grappling and tussling, pushing and shoving it hits Jacob – his opponent is not just some man or even some angel (He had seen some earlier in Mahanaim). This person is a whole different being and immediately he tightens his grip. Did he pass the test? Maybe. The person says in vs. 26 “…Let Me go, for the day breaks” but Jacob replies, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” It was no longer about Esau. It was no longer about his livestock. It was no longer about his family. Did he pass the test? Maybe. 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Meaning: You wanted the blessing. You fought for it and got it. Did he pass the test? Maybe. 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. Did he pass the test? Now he passed the test.

Listen to Jacob’s response in vs. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Who was this? There’s only one who qualifies to be both God and man. It’s Jesus Christ pre-incarnate. The same way he came to Abraham and later to Moses, Daniel, and others, he came to Jacob.

Application: Do you really want to see God? God doesn’t reveal His face so easily and cheaply. How much are you willing to purify your heart? What would happen if you and I had that kind of determination to seek after God? The Holy Spirit is waiting to do that kind of work in our lives.

III. HOW DOES THIS BLESSING WORK? 

Jacob and Esau reconcile by Francesco HayezBackground: Keep in mind the true blessing of the beatitude is not to self but to others. We are blessed in order to be the Salt and Light to others. Let’s go back briefly to Genesis 32:31 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. You can silhouette of a truly broken man. He sees Esau and bows seven time to the ground. What was Esau’s reaction? Genesis 33 4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. What a beautiful sight! 8 Then Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company which I met?” Remember the hundreds of animals – goats, ewe lambs, rams, camels, cows, bulls, donkeys, and foals? And he (Esau) said, “These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.” 9 But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10 And Jacob said, “No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me.

Our world is so broken right now. Our country is so divided right now. What is the answer? It may sound simplistic but here goes – “Men and women, boys and girls with clean hands and pure hearts who have only one desire – to see the face of Jesus.” When we go out like Jacob who saw the face of Jesus, then and only then will forgiveness and salvation come to the Esaus. Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” Is your heart pure before God? David said in Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do you need a new heart? Are you saved?

THE RIGHT TIME TO BE SAVED IS NOW

THE RIGHT TIME TO BE SAVED IS NOW by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

THE RIGHT TIME TO BE SAVED IS NOWThere are people here this morning that know that they are lost. They also know that Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross for them. They also know that they have to make a decision to be saved. But for one reason or another, they keep pushing it off. For some reason they think that they will live forever or God will wait for them forever or something else.

Luke 14:16-24 16Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

Overall Background: During Jesus’ earthly ministry of 3 ½ years, many people received His teaching with an open heart. Mark 12:37 tells us “the common people heard Him gladly.” But then there were those who were self-righteous who thought that they didn’t need to be saved. They mocked Him, questioned Him, criticized Him, and ultimately rejected Him. Jesus gave to them this parable (a short story given to make a point) to illustrate how God saw their rejection.

In fact, Jesus told this parable at the home of a Pharisee – self-righteous Jewish leader. The Pharisees trusted in their own good works to get to heaven. They had a long list of do’s and don’ts. They had endless rituals and traditions and religious standards. They had a tough time trusting in Jesus. Such a one had invited Jesus over – not to get to know Him but to trap Him. Jesus knew that. At one point when Jesus was teaching them of the resurrection of the just, one of them said in Luke 14:15 “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” This man was just making a toast. Three cheers to that great day when we’ll sit around that grand dinner banquet in heaven with our friends and family. All our burdens will be lifted. Only problem: this man did not believe that Jesus was the way to heaven.

Application: There are a lot of people who think that if they are good enough in their own eyes that they are on their way to heaven. “After all, I haven’t murdered anybody or raped anybody. I always try to help people. I occasionally drop a couple of dollars in the offering plate. My good will outweigh my bad.” Some think that since they had a hard life that God will just let them into heaven. Some think that as long as you feel you are going to heaven, then you must be.

For e.g. One time I was at a funeral and there were a couple of drunks there. Then they began to sing Squire Parsons “Beulah Land” and those drunks began to cry. They thought they were going to heaven but there was no evidence in their life. It was funny but sad.

When Jesus heard this toast, He said – “Wait a minute. Let me tell you a story.” This morning the Holy Spirit is telling you the same story. Listen to Him and respond. There are 4 parts to this parable:

I. THE INVITATION OF GOD

16Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,

Background: The word for “great supper” is deipnon – a grand dinner banquet. Jesus’ listeners were quite familiar with such banquets for wedding or birthdays or a promotion. The host would send out an invitation, much in advance. The servant would come and read the announcement and give the date of the banquet. The actual time was not given but it was assumed that it would be late in the day. It was a big honor to be invited to this banquet. Of course, the answer would be “yes!” Now the work began for the host – he had to order the lambs, hire the cooks, make seating arrangements, get things fixed around the house and an endless list of things.

Why did Jesus invoke imagery of a banquet? Because heaven is God’s banquet for us. In the Old Testament Isaiah 25:6, 8says,“…The Lord of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces, A feast of wines on the lees, Of fat things full of marrow…8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces…” Jesus repeatedly talked about heaven as a banquet. Matthew 8:11 “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down (recline) with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” In the last book of the Bible – Revelation 19:7, 97“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. 9Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ”

Heaven is a grand banquet and God is the host who has sent out the invitation. The invitation is the cross.

Application: Has the invitation to this banquet come to you? Have you heard God’s announcement to join Him for the great feast? Is there an expectation in your heart for that great feast?

II. THE EXCUSES OF SOME PEOPLE

17and (the Master) sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’

Background: The day of the feast (grand banquet) would finally arrive. This was a hectic day to say the least. Very early in the morning, they would start preparing the food – the meat, the vegetables, the bread, the fruit, and the drinks. Not only that but the decorations had to be done and the banquet tables had to be set. Sometime in the mid-afternoon, the host would check with the head cook to determine the time for the feast. Once again the servants would go to the home of the guests. But this time there is no long invitation. Just a quick reminder that dinner would begin at 6 or 7 that evening.

But listen to what happened: 18But they all with one accord began to make excuses. Jesus’s listeners would have laughed at this point. Who in their right mind would make excuses to miss such a grand dinner banquet?

What were their excuses? The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ At 7 in the evening, when it will be dark in an hour, you want to go to see a piece of land? By the way, who would buy a piece of land without seeing it first? Can it not wait till tomorrow? What a lie.

19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Didn’t he have all day to test his oxen? Didn’t he test them when he bought them? Can’t he wait till tomorrow? What a lie.

20Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ This was the most ridiculous one. Can you picture any newlywed saying: “Let’s eat at home”? Free food? Someone else is cooking? Let’s go!

Meaning: It was obvious these people were blowing off the invitation.

When it comes to getting saved, people make all kinds of excuses:

  • Crazy busy right now – when things settle down, I’ll come. One of these days, I’ll surprise you.
  • Give up my bad habits – If God expected you to change, you wouldn’t need Jesus.
  • If I get saved, all my fun will stop – destroying your life and going to Hell forever is not fun. Finding Christ and getting saved is the real fun and adventure.
  • I will when I feel like getting saved. You will wait forever.
  • Hypocrites in church – “I know some people who go to church on Sunday and cuss on Monday. If a hypocrite is keeping you from getting to God, just remember that the hypocrite is closer to God than you are.
  • Bible Questions – where did Cain get his wife? How did Noah get the animals on the ark? Then they have a dozen questions about the Devil.

 Application: What is your excuse? What have you been hiding behind?

III. THE GRACE OF GOD

21So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry

Background: Any wonder that the Master was angry?!! He knew what they were doing. It was a terrible insult. In eastern culture of the time, to reject a banquet invitation with some lame excuse was as good as declaring war. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, this could be a family feud for generations.

What happened next:(The Master) said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ The Master could have shut down the banquet but, in his grace, he didn’t.

Meaning: Jesus was saying to the self-righteous Pharisees, scribes, and the religious leaders that since they had rejected the Messiah, God had thrown open the door to the outcasts of the Jewish people (the shepherds, the fishermen, the tax collectors, and the prostitutes.

Application: Are you self-righteous? If you think that you are good enough to go to heaven, then you fall into the ranks of the Pharisees and the scribes.

But this wasn’t enough – 22And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ (Meaning: The Outcasts of Israel are in but there’s still more room.) 23Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

Meaning: Jesus was giving a prophecy of things to come. Not only were the Outcasts of the Jewish society welcome but now the door to the banquet was thrown open to those who were not even part of the Jewish society – the Samaritans, the Greeks, the Gauls, the Persians, the Chinese, the Indians, the Africans, etc. These people would have a hard time accepting the invitation so anakatsw them, which means strongly urge, persuade, explain, and compel them to come in. They will reject at first but don’t give up.

Application: Right this moment, the Holy Spirit is compelling you to come to the banquet. You say – “I’ve been a bad person. You won’t believe the things that I have done.” You are the perfect candidate for the grace for God. Will you come this morning and be saved? “I don’t understand the Bible.” That’s all right. Just come to the banquet.

IV. THE WRATH OF GOD

24For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

Background: Now the parable shifts from the third person, where Jesus is telling the story, to the first person, where Jesus is speaking. There is anger in His voice. “It is a terrible thing when love is angry.” (Scroggie) No longer the issue is that you are not coming. Now, I’m not going to let you come.

Sometimes we are so presumptuous of the GRACE OF GOD. I don’t know what it means:

  • When the flood came and the door of the ark was shut. People beat on the door but it did not open.
  • When Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Later he repented and tried to get it back with a lot of tears but he could not get it back.
  • When the 5 foolish virgins returned and beat on the door but it do not open.
  • When the Lord says, “My Spirit will not always strive with man.”

For e.g. Young man who made fun of dad and the deacon who went by to see him.

For e.g. Satan was having a special meeting with his demons. How can we keep people from getting saved? #1 “Let’s tell them there is no God.” #2 “Let’s say the Bible has mistakes.” #3 “Let’s tell them that Jesus was not that Son of God. #4 “Let’s tell people that there is plenty of time.” That’s it. That will work.

Application: If you haven’t received Christ, you are under the wrath of God. Now is the time to accept His invitation.

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