Date: Sunday, April 29, 2012.
The Written Form is Adapted from the Sermon and includes a few extra verses withing the .
"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor.4:18).
The Bible makes a very paradoxical statement here. It tells us that we can see the unseen and calls us to fix our eyes not on the visible transients of this world but on the invisible constants of divine reality.
Our human eye is an amazing member. It is something like a very advanced camera, equipped with lenses, a capturing wall called retina, and wires called optic nerves to a processing and storage system called the brain. However, the human eye sees only a very small range of the wider spectrum of light. Our visibility is confined to only the light range between the infrared and the ultraviolet. We only see a very small percent of even light; and, our sight is limited to what light reflects from bodies out there.
We understand by all this that the visible is not all the reality that is out there. Our eyes can't hear sound waves nor smell odors; the ears and the nose bring that part of reality to our experience. However, there are many things that are not perceptible to even our physical senses. The Bible tells us that the physically visible are temporary. The face that we see on the mirror today will not look the same after some 30 years. Change is characteristic of the visible world around us. However, the Bible talks of some invisible constants that are immutable through eternity, that is unchangeable regardless of everything else. The Bible calls us to fix our eyes on these invisible constants and let these lead our life.
I must ask the question here: What are the things that control our life? Are they the visible things or the invisible things? Are are reacting to what we can only see around in the very present or do we conform to the eternal things that are simply invisible to the natural eyes.
The Bible tells us that the invisible things of God are perceived by faith and revealed in our hearts by the Spirit of God.
"We live by faith, not by sight." (2Cor.5:7)
"God has revealed it to us by his Spirit." (1Cor.2:10)
Today, we'll look at three important invisible constants that must govern our lives.
THE INVISIBLE CONSTANT GOD
"he King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God" (1Tim.1:17)
I remember some scientists, philosophers, and Christian theologians once engaged in a debate. The scientists and philosophers were contending that God's existence cannot be believed in because He is never visible. The atheists asked the theist if there was something which is invisible but so real that one can't deny its existence. The theist answered, "Yes, the laws of logic." Isn't it amazing that scientists believe in microscopic particles like the electron without ever having seen it.
A missionary was once travelling in a ship. The captain of the vessel was an atheist and was very intolerant about the missionary's work. He said that he didn't believe in God. The missionary asked, "Why?" "For the simple reason that I've never seen him," the captain replied. The missionary remarked, "You are a mindless being!" To which the captain, stunned, retorted, "Why do you say so?" The missionary replied, "Because I've never seen your mind!"
God is invisible, but He is the Reality that holds the universe together. Acts 17:28 says "For in him we live and move and have our being." The Psalmist cries out in Psalm 139,
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
This invisible God is timeless and eternal. This universe will one day pass away, but God will remain forever:
["They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end." (Heb 1:11-12)]
GOD'S INVISIBLE CONSTANT PLANS FOR HIS PEOPLE
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him" (1Cor. 2:9)
God has a plan for every person born in this world, because they are born not by human will, but the "fruit of the womb is a reward" from God. (Psalm 127:3). Recently, I saw a very interesting cartoon work in which a man angrily raises his fist to heaven and asks: "If you are a loving and merciful God, WHY didn't you send someone to cure cancer, or true leaders to govern US? What's your problem GOD???" God answers from the clouds, "I DID!!! You ABORTED Them."
We might not be able to see what plans God has for us, but those plans of God are real and constant though invisible. However, when we fail to be able to perceive them in the spirit by faith, because we are still carnal in our thinking, we can end up falling away from His good plans for us. So, no matter what the circumstances and people around us are trying to say, we must fix our eyes on the invisible constant of divine plans. Wonderfully, God has revealed them to us in His Word in the form of His divine promises. These help us to escape the death-process active in the world and attach ourselves to the eternal constants of God.
["by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2Pet 1:4)]
THE INVISIBLE CONSTANT CITY OF GODWe live in an age where people are continuously buying and selling land. The Bible talks about a man in the Old Testament, Abraham, who became the Father of Faith because though God had told him that he would give him a land, and he arrived in Palestine, he never fixed his eyes on this perishing parcels of land. He knew that one day he will have to leave this world, so all the acres of land wouldn't go with him. He fixed his eyes on the invisible and imperishable heavenly city of God.
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. " (Heb 11:8-10)
Abraham lived all his life in tents and never owned a parcel of land except the grave that he bought for Sarah, his wife. He was the citizen of heaven. [Jesus portrays heaven as the bosom of Abraham in His Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus].
"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (Heb 11:13-16)
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is a Sacred Truth of the Scriptures. We must preach it and believe it because our eyes must not be fixed on the immediate things of the world. Jesus told the rich young man to sell all his possessions, give them to the poor, and follow Him, and he would have treasures in heaven; but the rich young man turned back sorrowful for he was controlled and governed by the visible treasures of this world. He couldn't see the invisible. God wants us to be able to look at, gaze at, and fix our eyes on the invisible treasures of God, on the heavenly city.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:20-21)
May our lives not be a reaction to the physically visible, but let our lives be founded and controlled by the Invisible Constant of God, His Purposes for us, and the Blessed Hope.