FearLess 3 - Eyes

During difficult times, it can help to turn your eyes to Jesus.

Doyle Jackson
Jun 10, 2018    33m
In this sermon Pastor Doyle Jackson reminds us that the key to overcoming difficult times is turning our eyes to Jesus, he will show us the way. When troubles and fear set in, we forget to look to the only one who can truly save us. Video recorded at Columbus, Ohio.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Doyle Jackson: 00:00 Nice, we're going to have a lot of fun and I hope you'll be here for it this summer. We're going to do something a little bit different. I want to tell you about in terms of, we're reading through the Bible together right now. And in the summer we're going to read through the Psalms, the book in the Bible, The Psalms, the big one. Like the book that if you want to try to find where to begin in the Bible, and you like open up right in the middle, and you hit Psalms every time. That's what we're going to be. It's a long book, and so we're going to take the months of July and August, and part of our worship series in terms of our lessons is going to be about the Psalms, we're going to dive into them. So in July we're going to do a whole series, we're calling it War Cry, and it's all about the Psalms. And how David, this warrior he really reached out to God, and gave his heart to God. And we're going to learn how to do that together. And then in August we're going to do a whole series on prayer, and we're going to use the Psalms as kind of our kickoff for that. I hope you'll be with us. I hope you'll read through the Bible with us.

Doyle Jackson: 01:04 It's going to be exciting today. Right now we're doing fearless. Okay. Do me a favor. Would you put your hands together and welcome everybody who's watching online right now? All right. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you very much. You know, I love being a part of the world where we get to share God, and our lives, with so many people in the great ways that we do. And we're talking about living fearless lives right now. I was watching this, like I don't know, nature channel. I don't know if was National Geographic, I can't remember. But they were all talking about the eagle, and the eagle's eye. And I didn't know all these facts about the eagle. It says that the an eagle's eye weighs about the same as your, and my eye, but they weigh a 10th of what we do. So proportionally they have a much larger eye, for the size body that they have. And their eyes are five times stronger than yours and mine. So the way their eye is designed, and the length of it and everything, the lens of it can contract and adjust, so that he can see over a mile away. And so in this program, they're like showing this eagle fly in the air, and a mile away it sees this tiny white bunny. Ouch, not a good scenario for the bunny. Right? But what it talks about is how your eye is important, and how that eye was so powerfully designed. And because the eye of the Eagle is so sharp, it can do things that you and I cannot do. Your eyes impact the way you live.

Doyle Jackson: 02:47 Then they shift over to the bell jellyfish. I don't know anything about the bell jellyfish other than what they told me. Okay? It's from the deep part of the ocean, and this jellyfish, you know, it has no brain, it has no heart, it has no skeleton. I'm like, wow, I must have been a jellyfish as a junior higher. And then they say, but it's got these tiny little dots kind of on the underside of it, which are its its eyes. It detects light, and it can sense the world. I mean this jellyfish is nothing but just a little bit of bundle of nerves, and yet these eye sensors are on there. And these scientists are like, they put it in a tank and they changed the color of the light, and the jellyfish changes direction. It can see what's going on in the world around it. That what you see, determines how you can live.

Doyle Jackson: 03:54 And that's what the Bible invites you and I to. And when it comes to living a life with less fear and more hope, more love, more life, more faith, to live a life with less fear is largely determined by how you see the world around you. In the Old Testament, there's a story in the time of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Alright? In the time of the northern kingdom, Israel, God raises up this prophet by the name of Elisha, and Elisha is serving the people, in leading them closer to God. And sharing the hope that God has during a very troubled period in the nation of Israel. Now, north of Israel is this kingdom, that's headquarters is in Damascus, same city we're still dealing with today. Alright? There's a king there by the name of Ben-Hadad. And Ben-Hadad is a tough guy, and he's kind of like a mob boss. Okay? He uses his army to go around and harass the different nations around him, and then they give him money, to keep them off of them. Well, one of the nations that he's been harassing has been the northern Kingdom of Israel. Interesting though, Elisha when he's in his quiet time every day, you know he's like seeking God, spending time with God, he's praying. You know, the kind of things that we invite you to around here. God will speak to him and say, Hey Elisha, just want you to know Ben-Hadad is up to it again. He's assembling an army, and he's headed out to this place, and he's going to attack Israel. You probably should warn the king. It's so Elisha, he goes over to the king and says, Hey King, how's it going today? Just want you to know, if you want to deal with Ben-Hadad, this is where he's going to be. And what starts happening is this, is Ben-Hadad is like, how is it that every time I go to attack Israel, they know it beforehand? And so he begins to think that there's leaks in his palace, and we're not talking about roof leaks. Okay? Almost like a president with a really fast twitter handle. You know, he goes off. And then one of his servants says, you don't understand. The reason you think that they hear everything you say in your bedroom and in your house, is not because there's a spy inside the kingdom. But there's this godly man by the name of Elisha, and he lives in the land of Israel. And he's so close to God, that he tells everything that's going on. And he says, well, I can solve that. Like a good politician of his day. We'll kill him. So he sends out an army to kill Elisha.

Doyle Jackson: 07:04 Now, the reason this is really an interesting story to me in the Bible, is because it all takes place at the city of Dothan. Alright? The city of Dothan is in the hill country, and it overlooks the Jezreel Valley. Now, the Jezreel Valley, just across from where Dothan is, there's this famous city called Megiddo. It's where we get the word Har Magedon, Armageddon. So Dothan overlooks, that's right you get it, Armageddon, the end of the world, revelation, flames, fire, loud noises. You know what I'm saying? And it is a really cool city, because it sits there and it sees this plain. And Elisha on this day, he's in his house, and he's got this young man who's serving in his house to learn about what it is to be a godly man. He's learning what it is to be like a prophet, like Elisha, and this, this young man serving goes outside. I don't know what he's checking on, I don't know what he's doing in the morning. And he's like, oh my gosh, Ben-Hadad's men are here, Aram is going to kill us. And he goes running back into the house, you know, arms flailing, and he's like they're her to kill us.

Doyle Jackson: 08:26 And that's where we pick up the story. In your notes, open it up, it's Second Kings chapter 6. The eyes have it, is what I call it. Alright? The eyes have it. That's a dad joke, for those of you who don't know what that is. Alright? Second Kings chapter six, the servant walks in, and this is what Elisha says to him. He says, "Don't be afraid, the Prophet Elisha answered. Those who are with us, are more than those who are with them. And Elisha prayed, open his (That's the servant's) eyes, Lord, so that he may see. Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes and he looked, and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down towards him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, strike this army with blindness. So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. Elisha told them, this is not the road, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you're looking for. And he lead them to Samaria." I love this story, there's so many levels of it. I love it because it teaches us about, you know, choose a good mentor he'll really open your eyes. You know what I'm saying, there's so many little lines, and lessons in it. But just think about the courage of Elisha. Elisha really believed God. I mean he understood God. I mean, he walks right up to the guy, he walks in the midst of the army, because he knew God's got my back. They can't do anything to me, that God has not determined. He walks right up to him and says, Hey, follow me. I'll show you the right way. You say, well that's just a Bible story.

Doyle Jackson: 10:27 There's a woman by the name of Corrie ten Boom. She, and her sister Betsy, were captured by the Nazis during World War Two. and they're being taken into this concentration camp, they're are being stripped down of all their clothing and everything. They're having to get rid of everything, and Corrie has this Bible. This little bit of a New Testament, that she's wore on a string around her neck, and she's like, oh Lord, please, please protect my Bible, Betsy and I need this Bible. And she just drops it down in her clothing, the little bit that they have left, and she prays that they won't see it as they go through this inspection, and they don't. See, God can do some miraculous things. I mean, we have to believe, we have to understand that this is a realm beyond what we see.

Doyle Jackson: 11:32 Ben-Hadad is powerful. Elisha takes Ben-Hadad's men, he says, follow me. He marches them into Samaria, right into the center of the town. You should read this, this afternoon. Go back and read Kings 6, it's a powerful story. He walks them right in the center of town, and then they close the gates in Samaria. They've got all these guys here, and then suddenly their eyes open, and they realize they've just been captured by the king of Israel. Elisha talks to the king of Israel. And the King of Israel says, Hey, what am I supposed to do with these guys? Should I kill him? And he says, no, don't kill them. Serve them lunch. He says, feed these guys a great meal. And what Elisha is trying to teach the king now, at this level, is this. He teaches him, thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies. God can take your enemy, and bring them to lunch. And then what does that do? Every one of those men knows, every one of those men knows that the rest of their life they owe to the King of Israel, and to the man of God, Elisha. And it's like the scripture says, it's like heaping coals on their head, they feel the guilt. You feel the guilt, I've felt guilt, you know what I'm talking about? When someone has forgiven us, and we don't deserve it. When someone has loved us, and we don't deserve it. When someone's been kind to us, and we feel the heaping coals, and we are like, oh, I'm just such a...I'm just so...oh, man. It's because you then recognize, you have this conviction, that you need to repent. And see in every one of these stories, if you can begin to imagine, if you could see your life, if you could see what was going on in your life from God's perspective, it might change the way you respond. And God invites us to that.

Doyle Jackson: 13:24 So in your notes, I wrote it down this way. Fear believes what it sees. That's what the servant said when he comes running into Elisha. Faith believes there is more, faith believes there's more than meets the eye. Faith believes that there is a realm beyond this realm. I mean listen, we believe in things that we don't see every day, all the time. Gravity, can't see it, know it's still here. Stepped on the scale this morning, little disappointed in it. I was hoping it would let up a little bit, you know, give me a good day. See, we believe in things that we can't see. But the Bible invites us to a world where every day there are spiritual forces around us, angels. There's a lot of things that are around us that are beyond our sight. I put this in your note, because I think it's really important. Every day you have to realize, you know you can have a flat tire, you're like oh no, It's going to be a really bad day. No, it doesn't have to be, it's just a flat tire, flat tires happen, tires get flats. Cars sometimes won't start, it's just part of it, can you have a bigger picture? Say, okay God, what are you doing today? God is it just that it's a flat tire, or is there something more going on? That's what you want to do, change your perspective, so I wrote this down on your notes.

Doyle Jackson: 14:55 This is a great quote, by a really neat guy, me. Fear tries to hold us captive, by blinding us with temporary issues and problems. Faith invites us into an unseen realm, where forces reach into eternity, and God's presence. Faith opens the door to resources more powerful than money and time. Faith is the oxygen of this unseen territory, and the key to greater life now. Now, it's not just for eternity, but now. Invite God to open your eyes, invite God to open your eyes. The way you do that is prayer. I mentioned Corrie ten Boom, Corrie ten Boom had this prayer that she prayed regularly. She said, Lord, help me to see the world around me as you do, and respond accordingly if you would.

Doyle Jackson: 15:54 I'm just going to say a prayer right now, to invite God to help us to see the world around us, as he does. Lord, it's so easy for us to get caught up in the troubles. Lord, it's so easy for us to get caught up in the little things, the things that happen every day in our lives. Lord, help us to see, help us to see the bigger picture. Help us to see what you're doing in our lives, in our homes, in our jobs, in our communities. God, open our eyes to see the world as you do, and to respond the way you would have us to. In Jesus' name we pray, and all who wanted it said, Amen. I just challenge you to say that prayer regularly, it'll change your perspective.

Doyle Jackson: 16:45 There's an incident in the life of the disciples, and Jesus, it's the transfiguration. You know, it's in the gospel of Mark Chapter 9. Jesus has been up on the mountain with Peter, James and John, and they see Elijah and Moses, and they have this great experience. They come back down, and the other nine disciples and the followers of Jesus are dealing with this huge crowd. And there's one guy, has this son that has vexed by an evil spirit that's trying to kill him and all this stuff, and the disciples don't seem to be able to overcome it. And in the King James it says, well, these come out by prayer and fasting, and Jesus says, guys you just got to lean into it a little bit more. You have to understand that some things don't want to just leave immediately. And they've already had experience dealing with evil forces before, because Jesus has sent them out, and they came back and they said, wow, we prayed for people and they got delivered. We prayed for people, and they got healed. You know what I'm saying? Sometimes we just have to lean it a little bit more, okay, is the way I interpret that. But there's an interaction that goes on here I want you to hear when Jesus addresses the father in this situation, the father is like, well you know, if you can do anything for me, Jesus. If you can do anything for me, Jesus. Can I tell you that we're guilty of that a lot of times. Oh God, well you know, if you think maybe you got time today, I need a little help in this situation. And maybe you know, if you're feeling kind of good about it, and you feel like it'd be a good thing to do to help me out, maybe, you know, possibly. And we still approach it, so big time optional, you know what I'm saying? If you've got an extra moment God. He created time, he's got time. If you can said Jesus, it's almost like Jesus was like, if I can? Who let you into this meeting? I realize it's outside, and there's no security, but really dude, why are you even here? Why did you even come if you already didn't think I can do it? Come on guy, give me a little bit more than that, you can do better than that. So Jesus is...He's trying to...You know, we talked last week about stirring up? Jesus is trying to help this guy stir up something within himself. Move from the negativity, to the positivity. Move from the if maybe, to the more than likely the glass is half full, if Jesus is here. Who knows, he may turn it into wine, while he's at it. If you can, said Jesus. Everything, say everything, is possible for one who believes. Immediately the boy's father exclaims, I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.

Doyle Jackson: 20:00 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. You deaf and mute spirit, he said, I command you to come out of him, and never. Say never. Never enter him again. Now, the reason I believe that's important, is because Jesus had authority to set the boy free for good, for good. And sometimes in your life, when you need God to show up, yes you feel like you got to still battle that one. But there are other times like this, when you know it's done, this problem has done for good. I never have to deal with that again, I'm done with that, it is so over for me. That's what I pray you get, that's what I pray you understand, that's what I pray you get to in your life. When you get to the point that you say, I'm done with this, I want no more to do with fear. Fear has run my life long enough, I'm going to live with no more fear, you get out, go on, get, gone, go. And the reason is, you got to get a little bit of that in you, or those emotions will keep coming back. Those feelings will come back. It'll take you back to that bad spot. And what Jesus knew, Jesus knew when this guy said, help my unbelief. He said, okay, I can work with that. God can work with the fact that you're struggling with unbelief, please know that, but choose to get on the upward side of that instead of the downward side. The unseen realm, there's more to being fearless than meets the eyes.

Doyle Jackson: 21:39 I remember my boys were little, and they'd want to play baseball. Now you need to understand what this means, what they wanted to play was you throw, I hit. Alright? That they wanted to fun side of baseball, you know what I'm saying? Where you throw, you chase balls, all day long. Alight? And so we got them one of these whiffle bats, that's looks like something off The Flintstones. You know what I'm saying? It was huge. Huge. And then these huge balls, because what are you trying to do? You're trying to take their skill level, and bring it into line, you're trying to help that out. But what do you? You always look at them and you say what? Keep your eye on the ball, right? Because I'm sorry, but little kids will be like, wow, there's a bug, you know. And you're like, we're playing ball right now aren't we?

Doyle Jackson: 22:35 In Second Corinthians, Paul's trying to help the church, and he says, keep your eye on the ball, don't lose your focus, just because you have a bad day. Don't lose your focus, because trouble is arisen. He says, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory, that far outweigh them all. So he's saying that there's an eternal glory, that's more important than our no good, very bad day. And you say, yeah, but you don't understand, I think I've been in a bad day for the past three years. I'm hearing you, help my unbelief. Open my eyes, Jesus. Open my eyes, Jesus, I need you really bad. Jesus, I need you to come and help me with this, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. Since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. What Paul invites you and I to, what Jesus invited the disciples to, what God invites all humanity to, is to believe that there's more to this world than flesh and blood, that there is an eternal level. And that we're going to get off of just the temporary, does not mean that this world is not important. It is. What you do with your mind, what you do with your body is important, okay? You're a body, a soul and a spirit, but realize this, that there's also an eternal part of who you are, and don't always get caught up in this world. Everyone in this world seems to get caught up on, eating and drinking, and food and pleasure, and that's important to a sense, but it's not important in the big picture eternity. So realize that if you having a bad day or things aren't going well, it's okay. It's going to be okay. Take a deep breath. God, help me to see what you're doing today. Why is this going on?

Doyle Jackson: 24:47 Keep your eyes on Jesus, focus on Jesus. And I believe the best way to focus on Jesus is through prayer, is through prayer. This week, right now, we're reading through the Bible, and as of today, we're reading in the book of Hebrews. And Hebrews was written to a group of people that had grown up Jewish, come to know Jesus, and believed that he was the Messiah. But then after a period of time, it got a little bit difficult, people began to persecute them for believing in Jesus. They had to deal with some troubles, and some frustrations, in life. And they said, you know, it'll just be easier, I'll just go back to the old way. I know how to follow the law, I know how to follow all the rules and regulations of Judaism, they liked me better back then. And this is the same thing that happens to us in our faith, we come to know Jesus. Or we say, well, I'm going to try a new way, because what I've been trying so far has been insane. It hasn't worked for me, all it does is take me down a bad path, bad emotions and everything. He said, well, I'm going to abandon that. You see what I'm saying? You go to abandon that old way of life, and then what happens is all your friends go, well you were so much more fun when you were drunk all the time. All I remember was being beat up, sick, angry, and losing another job, it wasn't that much fun for me. I remember what it was like without Jesus, because my life was in constant turmoil. It was drama, it was like a reality TV show, it's not what I want. And people will try to convince you, why don't you come back. When you begin to experience just a little bit of peace with God, and he begins to work in your life. There are other people are going to try to convince you to go back, and that's what this whole book of Hebrews is about. It's saying, please, please, please do not go back to the world where you try to do one good thing to outweigh one bad thing, it didn't work before, and it ain't going to work. Now you've got to rely on the grace of Jesus Christ.

Doyle Jackson: 26:51 Tonight, at Deeper Life, we're going to talk about maturity. Because in Hebrews 6, that's what he says, "Let's go on to maturity." Let's go on to maturity, and what happens is this. There's some things about maturity that are not fun, let's be honest, adults in the room. Okay? There's some things about maturity that are not fun, but there are some great things that come along with it. See, with freedom comes responsibility. What we don't like about maturity sometimes is the responsibility piece, but we love the freedom piece. And see there's greater freedom in Christ Jesus.

Doyle Jackson: 27:31 Now in Hebrews 12, there's this passage where it talks about the great men and women in the faith, and how they relied on God through difficult times, and difficult seasons, and difficult things. It goes through Noah, it goes through Abraham, you name it, they go through them, and he talks about that. Then in chapter 12 he says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything, say everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." What's he saying? He's saying, run to win, he says the finish line is Jesus. Now you may have to get rid of some things in your life that are holding you back, things from your past, things that you know are not healthy for your spiritual life. He says, I'm not going to make a list for you, and tell you what to get rid of. You know it, you know those things, you know them, you feel it. You're just like, yeah, I know, every time I do that, it takes me down. Okay, you get rid of that. And he says, run with perseverance. And listen, when anybody says perseverance, you know that means it's not going to be easy. Perseverance is never put on the Sandals vacation brochure, right? You watch Sandals vacations on TV, and it's like, come, we'll take care of it. No, it does not say persevere to get to Sandals. But what the author of Hebrews says is this, if you want to win in life, and you want to step right on into eternity one day, you're going to have to persevere in the tough stuff in the world today. You're going to have to forgive some people. You're going to have to love some people. You're going to have to make some hard choices on what you get rid of. I love this passage because it says, do this because you're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. You can't see it, but there's these people that have gone on before you. He's talking about Moses, you know what I'm saying? He's talking about, he doesn't mention her, but you know, but Mother Mary and Joseph, he's talking about the men and women that make good choices throughout their life.

Doyle Jackson: 30:25 And sometimes I'll read this at a funeral. A couple of years ago, were standing out at Sunset. Do you know what I'm talking about? The cemetery out here to the west. And we're burying grandma, grandma was a godly woman, she was a good woman. Knew her for years, right here. Alright? Faithful, coming all the time, serving and loving Jesus. Okay? And can I just be honest, that some of the grandchildren weren't so close to Jesus. Alright? They're precious, but you know what I mean, you may have been them. I don't know, I'm not recognizing anybody, I'm not picking on you. And I said, you know, grandma's now part of the great cloud of witnesses. And from what it says, according to the story of the rich man and Lazarus, that Jesus told, she can see what we do. There's a chasm between us and her, but she could see what we can do. And they went, she can? Their eyes got real big, and I laughed, I said, she can. But can I be honest with you? She may not be so interested in your shenanigans, as Jesus, whom she's with in heaven. Right? I mean, honestly, grandma is not going to hang around if you and your hubby or fighting again, she's not going to want to watch that. But she might want to watch when you worship him, as she worships him, in glory. Doesn't mean that you can go have lunch with granny, but you can do something, and go, you know, if grandma were here she would enjoy this., she liked this kind of stuff. I don't know if she's watching, but she would enjoy that.

Doyle Jackson: 32:25 Here's our prayer today. It's just a conversation with God. It says, forgive me for playing games with fear. Help my unbelief, open my eyes to the unseen realm, and the power Jesus to heal my life. I want to live in freedom. If you want to say that prayer, I invite you to stand with me and say it with me now. And if your neighbor will hold your hand, that's a good thing, alright, that's a good thing. We're together in this. Let's say it, forgive me for playing games with fear. Help my unbelief, open my eyes to the unseen realm, and the power of Jesus to heal my life. I want to live in freedom. Amen. God bless you. If you want to talk some more, we'll be down here. Have a wonderful day. It's beautiful outside. Get your air fresheners.

Recorded in Columbus, Ohio.
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