Illumination- Ben week 3 10-14-12 John 14:17, 26, 16:15; Eph. 1:16-18
Video Snippet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjrqaw8584g&list=UUICkNQr5gf_nL__Pv50JVYw&index=1&feature=plcp
For so many people the Bible doesn’t make any sense. It seems like reading some old, dusty, boring history book, and they can’t get anything out of it. They can hear or read the words but it doesn’t touch them, it in fact turns them off.
If that is how you feel, then you are in the right place today, because we are going to focus on an important principle of Biblical theology called, “Illumination.” Illumination is the idea that God opens our eyes so that we can see wonderful things in His Law. Illumination is the Holy Spirit’s showing us God’s Word. It is what happens when the Old Word becomes new and applicable to us.
Have you tried out those new light bulbs and found they were not quite bright enough? Especially as I get older I have found that the brighter the light bulb, the more I can see. Illumination is the bright light bulb. That is what the Holy Spirit does- The Spirit illuminates our world, and illuminates the Bible. The more God enlightens our mind to Him, the more we get out of scripture.
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT OPENS OUR EYES- Let’s look at some scripture. Jesus was the living Word and He was getting ready to go to heaven. But he said he didn’t want to live us alone- leave us as orphans, so he gave us a gift. It is a way to speak to God and a way for God to speak to us. Jn. 14:17, 26, 16:15
“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.” John 14:26“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:17 (NLT)
“…the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” John 16:15
There is a great application I have used several times to talk to Kay when she has been up in Greenville with our 1 year old grandbaby and I have been around here. It is called, “Facetime.” She not only talks to me on her phone, but the camera on her phone shows her, and the video on her phone shows me. So we see each other while we talk. It is the next best thing to being there- as AT&T used to say. The Bible is the only book, we believe, that we get to talk to the author while we are reading, and the author speaks to us- not only through the words, but through His presence- the presence of the Holy Spirit. When you read scripture, ask , “Lord what does this mean?” “How does this passage apply to me?”
II. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OUR EYES ARE OPENED? (Eph. 1:17- eyes of your heart are opened”) We see things that we didn’t see; We get things that we didn’t get- the light bulb comes on. Christians believe that all around us is a dimension we cannot see. We know- we really do that there are things all around us that we cannot see. Just as I cannot see well without my glasses until I put my glasses on- so we cannot see God well without the scripture- and we cannot understand the scripture without the illumination of the Spirit.
1) We See God’s Providing for us- (Gen. 21- Hagar and Ishmael)- We find a way out. Hagar and her son were kicked out- left in the desert to die- no water. She thought they were both going to die. But God heard her cries, and scripture says, “an angel said, “Do not be afraid…God has heard your cries… the boy will not die…Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. God opens our eyes to see His provision- His way out of our impossible situation. For Christians, there is always a way to life both here and ultimately in the world to come.
2) We See God’s Protection (2 Kgs. 6-Elishah and his servant- seeing the armies of angels)- The king of Syria sent an army to bring Elishah to him. Elishah’s servant was quivering with fear. Elishah was not afraid. He prayed, “Lord show him that those are with us are greater than those with them.” The eyes of the servant were opened and he saw a mighty army of angels all around them- and they blinded the Syrian army. Some of you are afraid of the future, and it seems like the opposition against you is too great to overcome. May your eyes be opened through God’s Word to see God’s help and your hope.
3) We See Jesus- (Lk. :3124-Road to Emmaus-)- Jesus had died and the disciples were grieving. They had invested and put their hopes in Jesus and now he was gone. A man came alongside these two disciples talking about these things shortly afterwards. They were distressed. But then their eyes were opened to see that it was Jesus who was walking with them. When we are grieving- He comes.
We have become so electricity and computer dependent, our computers have become our eyes. Can you imagine what would happen if our computers were closed? Trucking industry and railroads depend on computers. I can remember trying to buy something in Walmart once, when the power flickered. The cash registers shut down. I told the cashier- I have cash- you know how much it costs- can’t I just pay for it? I could not. The item still existed, I still existed, I had money- but I couldn’t buy ANYTHING. When our computers are shut down- we are in a way shut down. Ephesians 1 talks about God opening the eyes of our heart. He is talking about the spiritual switch in our hearts that enables us to understand and respond to God. May the switch in your heart always be on- in the open position. It is God’s Spirit that turns that switch on- that makes a way for us to live, that keeps us from being shut down.
III. PREPARING FOR THE EYE OPENING- We cannot force God to act. It is by God’s grace that He acts, and it is by God’s grace that we know what it is to prepare, and by God’s grace that we do it. It is all of God- yet it is also all of us- we are responsible. The Boy Scouts motto is “be prepared” and I have taken that to heart. Years ago when we went camping my scoutmaster told me to make a fire for everyone. He told me where the wood was that He provided, he told me how to do it, and he told me that we needed it done and I would be the one responsible to do it. He really did everything- but I was still responsible.
1) Come and Hear- (where two or three gather together in my name- gather in His name Mt 18:20) If you want to hear God- be at the place where God promises to speak- Church yes- but the Bible yes.
2) Come to Hear- wait with expectation. Nehemiah 8 tells of a time when the people had come back to their own country- the walls of the city had been built- and now they wanted to hear what God had to say to them. They all gathered together- He read aloud and they remained standing from daybreak til noon. It says, “And all the people listened attentively to the word of God.” That is a long time to listen attentively! We have shorter attention spans, I think. But the key is they were attentive, and they stood for so long because they believed.
3) Come Prayerfully- Ask SPECT- (or spacepets)- All scripture is profitable- to equip us (2 Tim 3:16, 17). So what does it say? Sin to forsake; Promise to keep; Example to follow; Command to obey; Thought to keep. Believe that the Bible is for you- and that it applies to you. Asking the right questions means asking how scripture applies. You can learn from human words, but God’s Words are more than that- they give life.
This past week was my only grandbaby’s birthday. She is also the only grandbaby on my son-in-law’s side. I don’t think she realized how many presents she got. Toys that were meant to sing, play, pop up, jump- many of which had to run on batteries. Some of which had a little sign on the box that said,
“batteries not included.” If the toy didn’t have batteries- it is still a toy- it looks like a toy- it may even fascinate us. But when we put the batteries in, it comes to| life. The Holy Spirit- and His illumination is the battery to God’s Word- it makes it real- it makes the ancient words come alive. So I invite you to, not cut off the supernatural from the natural- but let God empower the Bible to make it alive to you.