Relevant-The Gift of Seeing

Sermon Summary

This message comes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and is very relevant to the Christmas season. Jesus talks about true treasures, true light, and true peace. Each one of these things only come when we are willing to receive the gift of seeing from God and allow our spiritual eyes to be opened to see what we should value most, to allow God to shed His true light on what really matters in life, and to experience the true peace that comes when we are no longer enslaved by the worlds priorities. The gift of physical sight is amazing, but the gift of spiritual sight is truly awesome and can change a person's life!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. We don't know the number of wise men, but we usually think three because of the three treasures the wise men brought to Jesus. But they also gave Him another very special gift. It was the first gift they gave Him as a group. What was that gift and what are some ways we could give that same gift to Him this Christmas?

Mat 2:11  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

2. Can you give an example of God helping you to see through the deception of this world's treasures to find the true treasures of life? Tell us about it!

Mat 6:19  "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Mat 6:20  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

3. Even with 20/20 vision, our physical eyes need a source of light to be able to see! Without that light we are unable to see. We also need a source of light for our spiritual eyes. If we don't have true inner light Jesus says the darkness of our souls will be great. We have to decide whether or not we're going to be motivated, directed, and guided by the world's priorities or whether or not we're going to allow Jesus to illuminate our hearts, our minds, and our souls with His light and to let Him reveal to us the things that matter most in this life! What are some ways God shines this inner light into our lives? Hints are found in the following verses...

Psa 119:104  I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Psa 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

John 14:26  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

1 Cor 11:1  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

4. Many people live without true peace in their lives. Worry, fret, and fear can lead to depression and discouragement. However, Jesus gave some advice in His sermon on the mount that should help us find peace. Read the following verses and discuss the secrets to finding true peace contained in these words. Hint: There are four things listed and underlined in the full sermon notes under the last point.

Mat 6:25  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Mat 6:26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Mat 6:27  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
Mat 6:28  "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Mat 6:29  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Mat 6:30  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Mat 6:31  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
Mat 6:32  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
Mat 6:33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Mat 6:34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Full Sermon Notes

Relevant: The Gift of Seeing

"Emmanuel, God with us!" Jesus was God with us when He left heaven and came to this earth and Jesus is still God with us because He allowed His precious Holy Spirit to come to dwell in our hearts and lives! God with us! He is the hope this world desperately needs, but they can't see it! They are blinded by this world and it's entanglements. But here's the good news, Jesus gives sight to the blind! This is a Christmas gift the world is desperately in need of! The gift of seeing! In Jesus' sermon on the mount He is teaching with the hopes that His hearers would not just hear, but understand, and that they would not just see but perceive! Why is this? Because Jesus wants to bring healing to the spiritual blindness that plagues this world! He wants to give the gift of seeing to anyone who desires to know true treasure, true light, and true peace!

Let's pray and then I'll explain what I'm talking about.

"Father God, thank You for Your willingness to give us the gift of spiritual sight! Although I know there are those who refuse to open their spiritual eyes, I know You want them to see. Help us to help people see Your truth, to see You are truth, and to see how truth can set them free. Today I pray that You will help us to see the life altering truths You desire us to see with our hearts, our minds, and out spiritual eyes! Give us eyes to see and ears to hear and then let the truths we discover truly set us free!! Thank You for being here in this place and I know You will show us some amazing things in Your precious Word! Hide me behind the Cross and let me honor You with this message, for it's in Jesus Name I pray and I believe! Amen!"

Before we get to our text today, I want us to listen to a discussion between Jesus and His disciples found later in Matthew 13:10-16...

Matthew 13:10-16 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might
see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear."

Some people believe Jesus was saying He had already chosen who would hear and who wouldn't. But He clearly says they had allowed their heart to become calloused, and they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise, they might see, hear, understand and turn, and I would hear them. Here's a very important truth...

When Jesus said "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them,"  we must understand this: Not given does not mean not offered! Dr. Frank Stagg put it this way in his commentary on these verses...

"Jesus does not say that God withholds His secrets from some, but that man can hear only because God has spoken.
The principle taught is that God can impart His higher gifts to those alone who are open to receive. Those not having this openness sink deeper into their deafness and blindness."

So with this in mind, let's not plug our ears or close our eyes, but let's be open to God's gracious gift of seeing! With this in mind let's look at our text for this morning which is found in our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, Matthew's Gospel chapter 6:19-21...

Matthew 13:10-16 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

The Gift of Seeing
True Treasure

Far too many people are blind in this matter. It's so hard to see the real treasures in a world of intrusive advertising. The world is pushing it's goods on the tv, the radio, billboards, targeted ads on your email, Facebook, and even when you simply want to search for something on Google, the computer has already searched your search history and there's adds everywhere.

Let me tell you something funny. I once saw a watch in a magazine at an airport. It was a ritzy magazine for wealthy people. This watch was designed after a Ferrari car engine. It looked really cool, but the price was a little out of my range. Are you ready for this? Take a guess…It was around $300,000.00. For a Watch! A month or so ago, I wanted to show someone this outrageous priced, but cool watch so I googled it. Guess what, now it's showing up in adds on my Facebook page, one of my favorite music sites, and by the way, it's on sale now, only $241,500.00! What???? At least I know Google hasn't accessed my bank account, because if they had they wouldn't be wasting their ads!!

But for me, just realizing there are enough people out there who could afford one of those that a company would actually spend the time and resources to make it in the first place amazes me. Now, here's one of the problems with these kinds of treasures…Things can be lost, stolen, or broken. And if I had a watch that cost that much I would be more concerned with protecting it than wearing it! Dr. Stagg said it well when he said, "There is no ultimate security in material things." Material things are not bad in and of themselves, but the priority we place on them can be very destructive!!

As Americans, we take great pride in our freedom and defend it tenaciously, but far too many have lost their freedom to the tyranny of things. Some people work 24/7 so they can have more stuff, but they never have time to enjoy their stuff, because they are so busy working to pay for it! Be careful, not to fall into the trap of letting your heart be captured by the lure of things. Jesus said it well...

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In other words, what you treasure is what you will love. What you love is what gets your time, your attention and your resources. Moms and dads, let me ask you a question. What gets the bulk of your time, your attention, and your resources? Spouses, let me ask you a question. What gets the bulk of your time, your attention, and your resources? Singles, and youth, let me ask you a question. What gets the bulk of your time, your attention, and your resources? Now I know students, you have to go to school 5 days a week, and those of you who work, probably work at least 5 days a week or more. I realize the bulk of your time may go to work or school, but how you spend the bulk of your discretionary time hints at your priorities. Followers of Christ, let me ask you a question. What gets the bulk of your time, your attention, and your resources? I'm trying to be a legalist here. I'm not saying you need to keep a chart and log your time with God in prayer and make sure the God column has more check marks.

I am saying that we all could make adjustments in our priorities! We could all do a better job of letting God be a part of our daily lives! When we make the daily decision to allow Jesus to not only be our Savior, but to also be our Lord and life director for the day, we will make better decisions as to what is really important and what is not! We will begin seeing life's real treasures!

And once again, before you call me the grinch who stole Christmas, I want you to know I'm really trying to give Christmas back to you! Nothing wrong with gifts, and treasures. Gift giving and gift receiving go all the way back to that first Christmas. The wise men brought gifts to the Baby Jesus. Do you remember how many wise men there were? The Bible doesn't tell us. How many gifts did they bring?

Let's read the passage…

Matthew 2:10-11
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their
treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

So how may gifts where there? Three or four? There were three treasures, gold, incense and myrrh, but there were four gifts. Did you miss the first gift they all gave?

Matthew 2:11…they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures…

They first gave Him worship! So this Christmas, the question is, what will be your greatest treasure? Will it be what you get to get or what you get to give? Will it be that you get to worship God and give Him thanks for the amazing things He has done for you already? Will it be that you get to spend time with family and friends and focus on the gift of relationships? The gift of seeing real treasure is so important. God wants us to be giving people this Christmas, and it's okay to be receivers, but what He wants more than that is for the treasure of hearts to be our love for Him and that is shown when we first give Him our worship! And this leads us to another gift Jesus talked about in His sermon...

The Gift of Seeing
True Light

Matthew 6:22-23

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.
If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

The ability to see with your physical eyes depends on your eyes themselves and their ability to process light. But physical eyes depend on light from the outside to illuminate things. Without an outside light source you can't see even if you have 20/20 vision. There's an interesting twist in Jesus' words here. He then says ...

Matthew 6:23 "If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

Our ability to see spiritual things comes from within. If we have not allowed the source of all spiritual truth to enlighten our hearts then we are darkened in our souls. Jesus describes this by making the following statement...

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

In other words, you have to decide what your internal source for light is going to be. We have to decide whether or not we're going to be motivated, directed, and guided by the world's priorities or whether or not we're going to allow Jesus to illuminate our hearts, our minds, and our souls with His light and to let Him reveal to us the things that matter most in this life!

 If you've been coming to Northshore for very long you've heard me say this...

"The most important things in life are not things at all, but are the relationships we have with one another and most importantly with God!"

Your ability to see this truth depends on the light within you! Have you allowed Jesus to illuminate your heart and soul with the true light? Let's go back to the Christmas story and something that happened a short time after Jesus was born. It has to do with the gift of seeing that God gave to someone.

Luke 2:25-33
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.
He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus
to do for him what the custom of the Law required,
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

And listen to what Jesus would later say...

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Paul would later say it this way to the church at Corinth..

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts
to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Paul told the church at Ephesus to remember something very important about the light...

Ephesians 5:8-11

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
and find out what pleases the Lord.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

The gift of seeing the true light of Jesus and having that light illuminate our hearts, our minds and our spirits will change your whole life for the better, and that's an understatement!! Without the light of Jesus in your heart, your whole body, your whole life will be in great darkness! Live in the light! Jesus goes on in His Sermon on the Mount to help us see another gift God gives us when we understand real treasures and  have seen the true light…

The Gift of Seeing
True Peace

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"

True peace comes when you give up worry!

Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

True peace comes when you realize how important you are to God!

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?

Matthew 6:27-30  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

True peace comes when you realize it doesn't all depend on you, but on God!

Matthew 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
True peace comes when you stop chasing the world (which you'll never catch) and start chasing God (who wants you to catch Him)
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Real peace comes when you realize your future is in God's hands!

Isn't the peace of God what Jesus came to give us on that first Christmas?

Luke 2:8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Let's pray!!