FIXING OUR EYES ON THE UNSEEN
INTRO: Jesus said that we are blessed when we believe even though we have not seen. We can become caught up in the problems we face, but Paul said that all of our trouble cannot compare to the eternal glory we will receive if we fix our eyes on Jesus.
I. GAINING THE INVISIBLE
> What are we going to do with what is perishing in order to gain what is invisible?
- The outward man is perishing day by day.
- We will all die.
- We suffer physically, and we do need to minister to our bodies.
- But there are greater things in our lives.
> Paul is talking about the difference between the visible things and the things of God.
- “Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (v. 16).
- The inward man is being renewed day by day, the opposite of our outward man.
- There is an invisible realm of which we are not aware.
- For each of us the invisible things of God are available.
II. AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
> Our light affliction is but for a moment.
- Paul speaks of his “light affliction”: in prison, stoned, whipped, beaten, shipwrecked, and more (2 Corinthians 11).
- All of the stuff we go through, Paul says, is producing in us a greater sense of God’s manifest presence.
- Our “light affliction” is working for us an eternal weight of glory.
- Glory in original Hebrew and Greek means the weight of God’s presence, the manifestation of God’s presence.
- Glory is feeling the weight of God’s presence.
- We can feel it in different levels.
- We all have different experiences of intimacy with God.
- We focus on the visible, our aches and pains, our offenses.
- We all have to go through stuff.
- The invisible thing that is happening is that God is using these situations to produce a greater weight of His presence.
- Our outward man is perishing so that the inward man can come out.
III. A WORLDLY PERSPECTIVE
> In modern cultural Christianity, we have developed the idea that Christianity is about us and our needs.
- We even give so that we can get something in return.
- That makes it all about the visible.
- Modern cultural Christianity is more about getting (the visible) than about the manifest presence of God (the invisible).
- Name it and claim it; we are limited by the visible.
- Faith is not about “I possess and confess.”
- Faith is about the Word of God.
> We have to learn to reach in for what is invisible.
- Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father in heaven.”
- He taught us to pray “YOUR kingdom come.”
- We are to bring God’s kingdom and God’s will into our lives.
IV. BRINGING THE INVISIBLE TO THE VISIBLE
> God brought into the visible something that was invisible.
- God created the heavens and the earth, but the earth was formless and void (Genesis 1:2).
- There was no form, and there was darkness.
- God spoke, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).
- The kingdom is not limited to the visible.
- God’s always been about revealing the invisible.
> Then God created Adam.
- He created man in His image.
- We are created in the image of God so that we bring the reality of God’s kingdom here to earth.
- God wanted a connection between our world and heaven.
- The connection between the visible and the invisible was there while Adam was in the Garden of Eden.
- The first Adam was given dominion over the earth.
- Because of his sin, he gave up that dominion.
- Adam lost the ability to represent the kingdom of God in the invisible realm.
- So God had to send the last Adam, Jesus, to bring the invisible things back.
> Jesus took things that were invisible and made them visible.
- Jesus cast out demons; Jesus gave sight to the blind.
- It was up to Peter to respond to Jesus when Jesus told him to come to Him on the water.
- Peter had to step into the invisible when he stepped out of the boat.
- He was walking on the Word of God; he was not walking on water.
- There is the invisible realm, the kingdom of God.
- Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a man who finds a treasure in a field (Matthew 13:44).
- The man gives up everything he owns (the visible) for that which is invisible (the kingdom of God).
> There is no formula to bring the invisible into visibility.
- We don’t know why sometimes God heals and sometimes He does not.
- Our obedience plays a big part in it.
- Moses’ face was changed because he saw God, yet he still was not allowed into the Promised Land.
- There is no darkness in God; there is no invisibility.
- He chooses to share things with certain people and it is up to us to do whatever He tells us to do with it.
- He called us with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9).
> People are waiting for the manifestation of the presence of God.
- The whole of creation is waiting for the sons of God to become visible (Romans 8:19).
- Let’s start to manifest the kingdom of God the way that God would have us.
CONCLUSION: Jesus made the invisible attributes of God visible. He demonstrated to us how we are to live for God, how to bring God’s presence into our lives. Even though we have a tendency to focus on the things in front of us instead of focusing on an eternal perspective, God uses even our “light afflictions” to draw us into His presence. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and His kingdom, we are able to let go of that which is perishing and perishable.