"SEEING THE INVISIBLE"
I. WHAT WERE THE TEMPORAL THINGS THAT HE COULD SEE?
A. Vs. 8 Trouble on every side.
1. Did you ever think that that is your circumstance? Trouble everywhere you turn.
2. When you read the accounts of Paul's ministry, we realize that we haven't seen anything.
3. In chapter 11 he enumerates some of the troubles he experienced in preaching the gospel.
a. Five times he was beaten by the Jews with 39 stripes. The Jews had evidently adopted this form of Roman punishment.
b. Three times he was beaten with rods.
c. Once he was stoned.
d. Three times he was on ships that sunk.
e. He spent a night and a day floating in the sea, probably holding on to a plank.
f. He was imprisoned many times.
4. And you think you have trouble.
1. Perplexity can be very innervating. In the confusion of not knowing what to do, many people do nothing.
2. When everything you do seems to turn out bad, you get fearful about trying anything new.
3. Paul said though he was perplexed, he had not despaired.
1. I think of the great persecution that Paul went through in the preaching of the gospel.
2. He was not only persecuted by those who were the enemies of Jesus Christ, he was not fully received by the Apostles and the church in Jerusalem. They were always a little wary of him and never seemed to fully accept him.
3. Paul wrote to Timothy that at his first hearing in Rome no one stood with him, but all had forsaken him.
4. Here Paul said that he was persecuted but not forsaken. In his letter to Timothy when he said that no one stood with him, he was talking about men. However Paul said, "The Lord stood with me."
1. Discouragement is a tool of the devil.
2. It is discouraging when people you have trusted in let you down.
3. It is hard when people who you thought were true friends turn on you.
4. Paul added, "But not destroyed."
E. Paul spoke about the outward man perishing.
1. The many beatings, the stoning, the hardships and perils of travel in those days had left their mark on the body of Paul.
2. He declared that he bore in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. When he wrote to the Galatians he declared that they did not despise his infirmity in his flesh, but they had so much love for him that they would have plucked out their own eyes and given them to him if it were possible.
4. The old body is falling apart, but the inward man was being renewed day by day.
II. PAUL CALLS ALL OF THIS LIGHT AFFLICTION, WHICH IS BUT FOR A MOMENT.
A. These things that we see, are but for a moment. This too shall pass.
1. What is life? It is as a vapor that appears for a moment then vanishes.
2. Job said, "My life is swifter than a weavers shuttle." He also said, "Man comes forth as a flower and then is cut down."
3. David prayed, "Remember how short my time is." Again he said, "Man's life is like grass that grows up in the morning and in the evening it is cut down."
4. In your youth you feel immortal, like you are going to live forever, but as you get older it seems that time has passed by so rapidly, and here you are almost at the end of the road. It is interesting to realize that I have lived for more than 1/100 of recorded history. Adam lived almost 1/10th of recorded history.
5. When the Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was he answered 130 years, few and evil have been the days of my life.
6. Paul calls it a light affliction. We might take exception to that, it is surely more than any of us have ever had to face.
B. They are light when compared to the eternal weight of glory.
1. The contrast is between the temporal and the eternal.
2. The Bible encourages us to take this comparison into account as we make our decisions for life.
a. "What should it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world but lose his own soul."
b. Jesus said that if you were persecuted for His sake, to rejoice and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven.
c. Paul wrote to the Romans that God is going to render to every man according to his deeds. If you are patient and continue to do good, you will receive glory and honor, immortality and eternal life.
d. Paul wrote that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.
2. The light afflictions are contrasted with weight of glory.
III. BECAUSE OF THIS, WE DON'T LOOK AT THOSE THINGS THAT WE SEE, FOR THEY ARE TEMPORAL.
A. God does not promise us heaven now on this sin cursed earth. Those who preach that are preaching heresy.
1. Jesus said to His disciples, "In this world you will have tribulation."
2. "You are not of this world therefore the world will hate you."
3. Paul encouraged those in the churches telling them that through much tribulation they would enter the kingdom of God.
4. Paul wrote to Timothy, "They that live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
5. Peter wrote:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
B. The things that we see are temporal.
1. It is amazing how that things that you grew up with you somehow thought they would always be around.
a. Karls shoe store.
b. GallenKamps shoes.
d. The Broadway Dept. Store.
f. Bob's Big boy.
C. The things that we can't see are eternal.
1. The things that we can't see are in the spiritual realm. Two worlds co-existing side by side, passing through each other, one unconscious of the existence of the other.
2. God has gifted some to see through the veil into the unseen world, and they have written about what they saw and experienced.
a. The prophet Elisha could see the spiritual realm.
b. He asked God to let his servant see.
c. The spiritual realm is in a different dimension, we live in a three dimensional world, that is all that we see. There may be as many as 10 dimensions.
d. The unseen world is not subject to time and space as we know it.
e. That is how those who could see in the unseen world could write of things that would happen 2000 years later as though they had already taken place.
3. We by faith see the unseen world, the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.
D. How is it that the servants of God have been able to endure so much persecution and hardship?
1. The Bible speaks of Moses, that servant of God who refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked at the end results. He forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king for he endured as seeing the invisible.
2. That is the key to endurance, seeing the invisible, look beyond our problems to the eternal God who is our help and strength, and to the eternal rewards of living a godly life.