Intro. Paul is sharing how that the Lord had met him on the road to Damascus and commissioned him to take the gospel to the heathen. He was commanded:
I. "TO OPEN THEIR EYES."
A. The correct assumption is that men's eyes are closed. The Bible speaks of a spiritual blindness.
1. Paul spoke of those
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
2. One of Satan's strategies is to blind a person to the reality of their own condition.
a. Look how long it takes an alcoholic to admit it, some never do.
1. To everyone else it is so obvious.
2. Their family and friends all know it.
3. They keep insisting that there is no problem they can quit any time they want to.
b. Rarely do you hear a person admitting to a drug addiction.
1. You don't hear them say, "I am a dope fiend."
2. Or "I am a drug addict."
3. They may admit to having a slight problem with drugs, but they somehow feel that they are still in control, when the truth is they are hopelessly addicted.
c. People are blind to the fact that one day they will stand before God and have to give an account for their sins.
1. They feel that death is the end of all existence. The Bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die, but after that the judgment.
2. There are those who somehow feel that their good works will placate the wrath of God against their sin. The Bible says that our good works or righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God.
3. Paul asked in his letter to the Romans, "Do you think that you shall escape the judgment of God?"
d. They are blind to the fact that unless a person is born again they will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
1. The gate is much narrower than man has been led to believe. Jesus said, "Straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to everlasting life, and few there be that find it.
2. It is true that all religions lead to god, but not God the Father, the creator of the Universe. There is only one way, and that is Jesus Christ who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man cometh to the Father but by Me."
3. The way to heaven is not as easy as they think or they try to make it.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
3. A person living in sin is to be greatly pitied for he is walking in darkness, and does not realize that he is on the road to hell. John wrote
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
B. If your eyes have been opened to the truth of God, then they have been opened to the truth about yourself.
1. It is seeing myself in the light of God or His Son Jesus Christ that is so important.
2. If we compare ourselves with others, we may not fare too bad.
3. If you compare ourselves with Jesus then we must admit that we are hopeless undone.
a. Isaiah, "In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord high and lifted up, and His glory filled the temple. Then said I, "Woe is me, for I am undone for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips."
b. When Peter realized who Jesus was he said, "Depart from me for I am a sinful man."
c. Daniel describes the effect of his great vision of the Lord, he said, "My beauty turned into corruption."
4. Paul said that those who were measuring themselves with themselves, or comparing themselves with themselves were not wise.
C. The first work of the Spirit of God in our lives is to open our eyes to the truth.
1. The truth about God.
2. The truth about ourselves.
II. TO TURN THEM FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT.
A. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of light and life.
B. The world today is wrapped up in the kingdom of darkness.
1. When Paul was writing to the Colossians he thanked God for making us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light delivering us from the power of darkness, that He might translate us into the kingdom of His Son.
2. I am appalled at the darkness in the world today.
a. I cannot conceive the things that are being reported in the news media.
b. I cannot imagine a father sexually abusing his own little daughter.
c. I cannot imagine the darkness of a man's mind who would make love to another man.
d. I cannot conceive the millions of babies that are being destroyed in our land today by government consent, and many times government subsidies.
e. That same government will fine you heavily and possibly imprison you if you destroy an eagles egg, or kill a kangaroo rat.
f. There is something radically wrong with a government that will protect an unborn eagle, but not a unborn child. That puts the life of a rat above that of a child.
3. Surely the whole world is lost in the darkness of sin.
C. Paul was commanded by Jesus to bring men into the light.
1. Darkness is a symbol for evil.
2. Light is a symbol for purity.
3. To the Ephesians Paul said,
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
4. Jesus said that men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
D. There is always that sharp contrast, and you are either walking in darkness or in light.
III. THE POWER OF SATAN UNTO GOD.
A. You were at one time held by the power of Satan. You were a slave to sin.
B. Jesus died that He might redeem you from your slavery to sin. Paul said in Romans 6
beginning with verse 16, don't you realize that whoever you yield yourselves servants to obey, you become their slave? Whether it is to sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness. Thank God, that though you were the slaves of sin, now because you have obeyed from the heart that doctrine which was delivered you. You have been freed from sin and have become the servants of righteousness. For even as you once yielded your bodies as slaves of uncleanness, and iniquity, even so now yield your bodies as servants of righteousness unto holiness. For when you were the servants of sin, you had no righteousness. You have no fruit in those things of which you are now ashamed, for the end of those things is death. Now that you have been made free from your slavery to sin, you have become the servants of God. The fruit of your new life is holiness and the final result is
1. Jesus said, "Whoever sins, becomes a slave to sin."
2. Speaking of false teachers Peter said, "While they promise you liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption, for by whatsoever a man is overcome, of the same he is brought into slavery."
3. John is even stronger for he wrote, "He that practices sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. This is the reason God sent His Son into the world, that He might destroy the works of the devil."
a. Jesus and only Jesus can free you from the hold that sin has on your life.
b. The Bible says that if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.
c. Would you like to be free from those evil desires that have brought you into bondage?
d. This is what the gospel is all about.
4. Opening a persons eyes to the truth, bringing them out of darkness into the light, freeing them from the power of the devil that they might become the servants of God.