20-20 VISION WITH SPIRITUAL EYES
Yesterday I heard a minister share a story. He asked his little girl what she learned in Sunday School. She said several interesting things about her learning experience. Then she said, "we also sang a song." The father asked, "What song did you sing?" She replied, "Jesus knows me this I love."
Most of you recognize the child meant to say "Jesus loves me this I know." But there is good theology in recognizing Jesus knows me and singing Jesus knows me this I love. The Lord knows what kind of spiritual eyesight you have. Although 20-20 eyesight is not the very best you can have it is a good place to judge quality of sight.
Notice in your Bible Acts 20:20. It talks of public witness and house to house witness. That 20-20 vision in the entire text verses 18-27 I see
The attitude of 20-20 vision
The method of 20-20 vision
The reward of 20-20 vision
I. The Attitude of 20-20 Vision
In verses 18 &19 notice the attitude of humility. Paul was humble. He didn't work for his glory but for God's glory. He was willing to do anything for God. Sometimes humility is interpreted as being someone who goes around shy and afraid. That's not humility, that's pride that has been introverted.
If you're afraid to do something, it may be because you've got too much pride to make a mistake. You're afraid to be a fool or look foolish for the cause of Christ. But if you're really humble, you're so willing to do for God and His glory that you'll pick yourself up from your silly mistakes and learn from them. Because of your experience you'll serve better.
Paul's humility is described in verse 24. He does not count his life dear to himself. He has sold out to Jesus. Call him names, stone him, jail him, turn him upside down and he'll come out standing on his feet for Jesus.
Notice in verses 20 and 27 the phrase translated in NAS Bible, "I did not shrink" (in KJV, "kept back nothing" or "have not shunned"). This represents a past attitude of determination. Paul's attitude inspired his vision., He was determined in the past not to shrink from telling the message of Jesus. The 3 words "did not shrink" translate on Greek word. It has in its etymology a said boat usage. It meant not to lower the sail but to leave it lifted high and to go full sail ahead.
Paul wasn't a quitter. He was a builder. His spiritual eyesight was 20-20 because his attitude was never one to shrink from declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now look at verse 23. Paul's attitude was also determined for the future. The Holy Spirit told him you have not only had trials, but there are more awaiting you. You have been in bonds and you're going to get locked up again. Paul's attitude was still one of determination.
Take the following quotes to heart. They are from a book by Mack R. Douglas titled, "How to Make a Habit of Succeeding."
William James said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." p.24
I have talked with patients who had decided to die. I've seen some take my challenge as they responded to dynamically and enthusiastically their medical case history immediately reveres itself. p. 30
Remember there is only one principle that all philosophers of all ages have agreed upon, and that is this, "We become what we think about." "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." p. 68.
Booker T. Washington said, "I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed." p. 102.
What's your attitude? Is it an ally or an enemy of your personal growth? Your attitude should be one of humility, willing to do all God asks you to do. It should also be one of determination. This kind of an attitude will improve our spiritual eyesight.
Please notice the second point.
II. The Method of 20-20 Vision verses 20-23
The method of this vision is declaration of the gospel anywhere. Paul was willing to talk about Jesus in any public assembly. He did so in synagogues, temples, street corners, and philosophical gatherings. His subject was always the same, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Paul also declared the message of Jesus from house to house. You see the idea for people search didn't originate in Nashville or Jefferson City. It began in the heart of God. It continues in the hearts of His people. This 20-20 vision is public and private declaration.
Paul's method is further described in verse 21. It is a sharing of a testimony to Jews and Greeks. Paul's method was testifying anywhere, but it was also testifying to anybody. These folks were either Jews or Greeks (Gentiles), Paul's method was also one of sharing to anybody.
Verse 23 also shares Paul's method of not only sharing a testimony but hearing a testimony. Anytime Paul heard the testimony of the Holy Spirit, he shared. Some will say, :"Well, I'll do the same thing anytime God tells me to witness, I'll do it." Then turn to the Great Commission and get your shoes on because you are expected to Go.
Paul's method was testifying anywhere, to anybody and anytime. Paul had a lot of irons in the fire and they were all hot on the trail of witnessing.
Jack Hyles is a pastor of the First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana. I heard him share a soul winning lecture several years ago. His basic emphasis was win anybody, anywhere, anytime. He told of being out cutting his lawn. He was hot, smelly, sweaty, and just plain dirty. He ran out of gas and went to his neighbors house to borrow some. The neighbor had several guests in for diner and they were all dressed up. Bro. Hyles was introduced as Rev. Jack Hyles. (How out of place can you be.)
Jack said he was inspired to go around the room asking folks if they were saved. He proceeded to lead several of those people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Are we determined to testify to anyone, anywhere, anytime? It's a shame
that cults are more known for their public and house to house witness than
Christians. If you say you couldn't go house to house, you're saying you're
not as good as a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness or Hare Krishna. Paul was
better than any of them and so can we be because we have the truth. Follow
as we develop the third point.
III. The Reward of 20-20 Vision verses 18, 24, 26
18 And when they had come to him, he said to them, "You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. 26 "Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
When a person has this kind of public and private witness that I'm calling 20-20 spiritual vision, they are rewarded in many ways. First, they have the reward of past performance. In verse 18 Paul says you know how I have ministered since the first day I set foot in Asia. Paul could remind them of his example. He didn't ask people to do things he hadn't already done.
Secondly, he had the reward of opportunities to share. Check verse 24b in your Bible. Paul relates he had a ministry to testify of the gospel. How did Paul get such opportunities to share? He had 20-20 spiritual vision. He wanted to tell people publicly and privately. He had witnessing experiences all over to many different people at some very unusual times because he was willing to share anytime, anywhere to anybody.
Thirdly, he had the reward of freedom from guilt. Read verse 26. He declares he has not failed to witness to everyone. He is innocent of the blood of all men. That means no one went to hell because Paul failed to witness. No one could accuse Paul of having the message and not declaring it. It would be good that all of us had these 3 rewards because of our faithful witness.
A druggist sent his son with an urgent message. The message was a matter of life and death. The boy was instructed not to delay his run to deliver the message. However, on the way the boy saw a bird in a tree and took out his slingshot and wounded the bird. He went over and picked up the bird and for some reason tried to fix the wound he had inflicted.
When he got to the house where the message was to be delivered, there was no answer. He returned to his father's drug store. Dad sadly said, "Son, did you go straight to that man's home?" The boy replied, "Yes." The father then noticed some blood on the boy's shirt and said, "What is this blood?" The lad responded concerning the bird he shot. His did said, "Son, that's not the blood of a bird, but the blood of a man. As you stopped to play a man was shot and killed."
While you stopped to play someone didn't get the message they needed so desperately to hear. A Christian that plays more than witnesses doesn't have 20-20 vision. A Christian that has more time for socials than outreach doesn't have 20-20 vision. Our church needs greater vision. Our world needs Christians and churches with greater vision.
We are singing a hymn of decision for you to respond as the Holy Spirit leads you. You
can come as we sing.
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!