Oct 25, 2017
WOFCF Bible Explosion
Blinders of the Heart (Guarding Your Heart Series - John 12:20-43)
So far, we have covered great topics in Guarding Your Heart Series such as Battle of the Heart, Reigning with a New Heart, Following the Heart of God and tonight concluding with, Blinders of the Heart.
Point #1 Declaration of two worlds
To experience the fullness of faith promised in the Scriptures, we must recognize the reality of two very different worlds. The listed biblical passage, along with numerous others, declares that our lives are affected by two worlds. We possess a plural existence. Notice the "other world' concepts mentioned in John 12: glorifying the Son of Man, losing life to find life, a voice form heaven, healthy eyes and ears that are blind and deaf to spiritual things, and understanding hearts. We know how to comprehend things with our mind, but how do you understand with your heart? When Jesus was asked why he taught with parables, he said parables communicate spiritual truth that cannot be understood by those with a hardened heart. Those consumed with the things of this world will never see the truth of Christ's Kingdom.
A recent Time magazine article attempted to explain the popularity of fantasy or mythic films like the Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the Lord of the Rings. Some suggested that stressed out Americans look for a brief escape from reality, but the primary reason suggested by the author was closer to the truth. These stories appeal to a deeper level of the heart reminding us that there is something greater going on here than we realize. Dorothy awakens after the tornado and discovers that she is not in Kansas anymore. Luke Skywalker discovers "the force' affects everything in the universe. Frodo is introduced to a cosmic battle of good versus evil when he finds the ring or the "ring finds him." John 12 declares that almighty God controls the universe to bring glory to His name. Some see and hear this truth while others dismiss the voice of God as nothing more than thunder from a storm (John 12:29).
Point #2 Rejection of truth
The intensity of John 12 increases significantly as the story moves from declaration of two worlds to rejection of the truth. The Bible identifies that Satan conceals the truth from unbelievers. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Cor 4:4). Satan is a powerful enemy, but the Scripture also clearly states that individuals choose to follow or reject Christ. Jesus exhorts us to "Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness will not overtake you ... believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light" (John 12:35-36). Verse thirty-seven emphasizes personal accountability for rejecting the truth by informing us that Jesus performed many miracles, but they refused to believe in him. Satan conceals, individuals choose, but the most dramatic revelation of in John 12 is that God closes the door of opportunity.
Verses 39-42 reveal another side of the God's divine character. God is loving and compassionate, but He is also holy and just. Jesus had already taught with the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 that no one could come to the Father unless the Spirit drew him to God (John 6:44). Now, the apostle John reaches back to the prophet Isaiah to explain the the danger of rejecting God's invitation. After hearing a voice from heaven and seeing miraculous signs, God close the opportunity to receive Christ by blinding eyes and hardening hearts. This divine act of judgment prevents the rebellious soul from being converted and experiencing the healing power of God (John 12:39-41).
Point #3 Description of traps
Knowing the reality of the spiritual Kingdom and the possibility of missing what God invites us to receive, we must now consider the traps that prevent us from receiving the truth. The first trap illustrated in the text of John 12 is a lack of instruction. The Greeks mentioned in verse 20 were seekers of the truth, and Andrew takes them to see Jesus. Often our blindness is the result of our lack of training or instruction. We must continue to grow in faith to experience the fullness promised in following Christ. A second trap is the lure of the world. Jesus consistently taught that this world could seduce you to the extent that you miss the greater world of His Kingdom. He says in verse 25, "the one who loves his life must lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." In the parable of the sower, Jesus warned of the "thorns of the world" consisting of worries of the age and the pleasure of wealth that choke out the word of God.
The third trap which is the loss of identity is the saddest and the most severe. John makes a powerful and emotional statement in verse 42. Many believed but did not confess Christ as Lord because, "they loved the praise of men more than praise of God" (12:42). Why? Because they had lost their identity. We are created by God and for God. When we look to other people or things to validate our lives, we lose our identity. Much of our frustration in life and in our faith is due to seeking fulfillment from some outside source instead of abiding in Christ who abides in us. How much peace is lost or joy forfeited because we are more concerned about the opinions of sinful man in instead of the promises of a loving savior?