On Various Subjects
By Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Text: Matthew 6:19-24. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Introduction: Here is a great tongue twister you can attempt if you dare. "Wash Washington's windows with warm washing water." No one likes to wash their windows. This is the one task that is left undone, in most homes. People keep the inside of their houses reasonably clean, but windows are too much trouble to maintain. Windows however do get dirty. Ever so often, the screens need to come off, and windex needs to come out.
Did you know that our bodies and souls have windows? Jesus speaks of them in our text. In verse 22b He says, "The light of the body is the eye." The idea expressed here by Jesus is very simple. Jesus is telling us that our eyes are the windows through which light enters into the whole body, ....our whole being. Individuals without their eyesight, live in a world of perpetual darkness. We can never appreciate enough the gift of sight, until it is in jeopardy!
As Jesus continues, we realize that our light or vision, can be threatened by more than physical blindness. Jesus continues in verse 22b, "...if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" A physically blind person could be compared to a building without any windows at all. Some rooms are designed without windows. Why? Windows can make for distractions. This sanctuary has windows, but they are stained. A house without windows is another thing. Most people want windows in their houses. Why? Windows allow the sunlight into our homes to cheer us, and to help us feel less confined. Praise God for eyesight and windows!
Windows however, get dirty. This is what our Savior is speaking about. The condition of a window, determines the amount of light that gets into a room. If the window is clear, clean, and undistorted, the light will come flooding into the room, and will illuminate every corner of it. If the glass of the window is colored or frosted, distorted, dirty, or obscure, the light will be hindered, and the room will be darker. The amount of light which gets into any room, depends on the condition of the window through which it has to pass.
In much the same way, the windows to our soul can become dirty or distorted, affecting our vision. The amount of light which gets into any room, depends on the condition of the window through which it has to pass. Jesus is saying, the light which gets into any person's heart, soul, and being, depends on the spiritual condition of the eye through which it has to pass, for the eye is the window of the whole body. Part of this window to the soul is our conscience. Our conscience can become defiled or even dead. A dead or defiled conscience, is the consequence of an unkept spiritual house! When a believer fails to keep himself or herself in the Word of God, full of the Holy Spirit, developing spiritual discernment, the windows to our soul become dirty, distorted, leaving us in darkness. This is what Jesus is picturing here. The Savior speaks of two types of eyes or windows.
First, there is what we will call the clean window. Notice verse 22. "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." The word "single," simply means undivided or whole. A clean eye or window, is one that is clear, not cluttered with impure, ulterior selfish motives. I Timothy 1:5 reads, "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."
Second, there is the dirty window. Notice verse 23. "But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" The word "evil," means full of labors, annoyances, and hardships. A dirty eye or window, is one that is clouded to the point of opaque, blocking out rays of truth and reality, giving a distorted view of the world around them. Titus 1:15 says, "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."
Here is a warning from our Savior. While we all have our eyesight, and are not victims of physical blindness, there is in this world the constant threat of spiritual blindness. The windows to our soul can become dirty and soiled by a sinful, evil spirit, which in turn distorts our vision, our sense of reality. When the windows to our souls are opaque with the wrong spirits, our vision becomes evil and our lives dark.
Years ago, I read a book entitled, "Into Thin Air. A Personal Account Of The Mount Everest Disaster." The book was about a mountain climbing expedition that took place in March 1996. It tells of people from all walks of life who have one thing in common, a passion to climb Mt. Everest. The mountain had clouded their vision. They each paid $65,000 for the opportunity to die! Some of these people had sacrificed their jobs, careers, families, spouses for what they considered the ultimate thrill, ...the ultimate prize! This adventure would cost five of them their lives.
It cost Dr. Beck of Dallas, Texas, his fingers and thumbs on both hands, as well as the nose on his face to follow his obsession. Dr. Beck now admits that his vision was distorted. His values were upside down! He says he was foolish to place at risk his most precious possessions, such as his wife, children and family, for the prize before him! Two of the world's greatest climbers and guides were among the five that died, all because they violated their own rules and time proven judgment. Why? Their vision was clouded by potential profit and greed. This whole tragic tale is about some people who were blinded, dominated by the wrong spirits, to the point they couldn't see the obvious!
We all know by experience how easy it is to focus on the wrong thing. It is often easier to see what is wrong with a situation or someone, than what is right; what we don't have, rather than what we have; what we cannot do, rather than what we can do; on our problems, rather than on the problem solver! An improper focus can set you up for an improper spirit. Soon we are controlled by a spirit of depression, fear, anger, jealousy, bitterness, and so on. The windows to our souls, become boarded up, and we are walking in darkness!
One thing that most of us learn in life, is that our vision changes. We discover that we are "far sighted," or "near sighted," so we wear corrective lens. As the years pass, we must strengthen our lens. Then we turn forty, and need reading glasses, because for some reason, our arms are shorter!
Jesus is telling us to keep in touch with your vision. Things can happen, both good and bad, which can alter your ability to view the world as you should. The windows to your soul can become soiled by several things. Five Sources Of Window Pollution
First: A spirit of materialism. In our text, Jesus is speaking of the things of this world. The Lord created the world and all it contains, for us. They were created for our function, not our focus! Jesus said our treasures are to be "in Heaven," not "on the earth." We are to serve and live for God, ...not mammon. The Lord knows we have need of food, shelter, clothes to wear, and such, and He has promised to provide for us, Your focus is to be upon God, not the things of the world! In verse 33, Jesus says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." G. K. Chesterton made the observation that "There are two ways to obtain enough of this world's possessions. One is to accumulate more and more, the other is to desire less and less."
When we focus on the things of this world, rather than our riches "in Christ," we can set ourselves up for a life of pain and disappointment. I Timothy 6:6-10 reads, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Beware lest a spirit of materialism grips your heart, blinding your eyes.
In Luke 17:32, Jesus speaks three powerful words that conjure up the testimony of a life lived. He says, "Remember Lot's wife." Do you remember Lot's wife? She was so blinded by a spirit of materialism, that she turned her back on her own freedom and her family. She sacrificed everything on the commodities market. I believe it was salt! She sacrificed everything for one last look! She loved a lifestyle, more than she loved her family; more than she loved the Lord!
Second: A spirit of sensuality. Read your Old Testament, and you will discover that sensuality and sexual perversion, are nothing new. Sex is God's idea, and it is good and wholesome when performed within the bonds of marriage, but sinful man has taken the gift of sex, and made it something dirty, devilish and smutty. A study of God's Word will reveal that the number one sin spoken against in the Bible, is fornication, or sexual sin. The Lord used an adulterous relationship to describe Israel's unfaithfulness to Him and His covenant. God said Israel was guilty of spiritual adultery. Time and time again, God speaks of Israel, His wife as "playing the harlot." Sexual sin is one of the favorite hooks Satan uses to lure people away from God.
Our present generation faces the greatest threat to fall prey to Satan's sexual seduction, than any previous generation. With the advancement of the electronic media and the internet, sexually explicit photos, innuendos, language, opportunities, are made available and private, within reach of every child or teen. If you let your eyes linger a moment too long, the windows of the most righteous soul can become dark.
Sensuality can be a controlling force in the lives of men and women. We see this in the life of Samson. He is called by one Bible teacher as, "A he man with a she weakness." This young man had every advantage under the sun. He had a wonderful mom and dad who loved him and prayed for him, a godly heritage, a good education, the prospect of a great future, plus he was good looking and the world's strongest man! Samson was destined for greatness, but he focused on the women, rather than the ways of God. The next thing we know, his head is in the lap of Delilah, literally the lap of death, again and again. It is obvious that this woman was using him, and everyone sees it, ....but Samson. Why? He is blinded by his own lust!
Keep the windows to your soul clean! It is only God's grace, that keeps you from being consumed by your own sinful, sensual lust.
Third: A spirit of envy and jealousy. There is a distinction between jealousy and envy. To envy, is to want something which belongs to another person. Jealousy is the fear that something which we possess, will be taken away by another person. Either one can distort your vision and destroy your life!
The apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 13:4, that love does not envy. Love rejoices in the good fortune of others. Time and time again, our Savior warned us of a spirit of covetousness. He said, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." If we are not careful, we can all turn a shade of green, focusing on what others have, afraid of not getting our fair share, afraid of being left behind, giving too much thought about what we deserve.
An old crab fisherman was asked why his crab basket had no lid. He replied, "If one of the crabs starts to climb up the sides of the basket, the other crabs will reach up and pull it back down." A spirit of jealousy and envy is like that. It will turn your heart against others, because you perceive them to be more gifted or blessed!
We see this spirit of envy and jealousy in King Saul. In I Samuel 18, King Saul came down with a bad case of "green eye," jealous of David's success and praise. David was a multi-talented young man, as well as a mighty warrior. When King Saul and David returned from battle, the women would come out to greet them with singing and dancing. They would shout and sing, answering each other, "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Verses 8-9 give Saul's response. "And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward." How powerful is a spirit of jealousy? It literally drove King Saul mad as he chased David all over the country side.
Fourth: A spirit of un-forgiveness and bitterness. In Hebrews 12:14-15, we are instructed to, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." Truly, forgiveness is something we do for ourselves! Offenses are bound to come. We all possess the ability both to offend and be offended. If we do not forgive others and instead focus on the offense, playing it over and over in our minds, the end result will be a bitter spirit.
II Samuel 6, records the story of David's celebration as he brought the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. King David was thrilled and worshiped the Lord, leaping and dancing as he led the way. Everyone was thrilled except one. Verse 16 says, "And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart." What a tragic verse. Because of an earlier offense, Michal's heart had become bitter toward her husband David. To Israel, David and the ark was a joyful sight. To Michal, it represented the source of her bitterness. Later, she lashed out at David, and suffered the judgment of God. Verse 23 says, "Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death." This woman's heart was defiled by bitterness.
Hit the delete button on your un-forgiveness, before it turns to bitterness. Comedian Buddy Hackett once confessed, "I've had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you're carrying a grudge, they're out having a good time."
Fifth: A spirit of pride. A young woman asked for an appointment with her pastor to talk with him about a besetting sin about which she was worried. When she saw him, she said, "Pastor, I have become aware of a sin in my life which I cannot control. Every time I am at church I begin to look around at the other women, and I realize that I am the prettiest one in the whole congregation. None of the others can compare with my beauty. What can I do about this sin?" The pastor replied, "Mary, that's not a sin, why that's just a mistake!"
Pride is that way. It inflates your view of yourself and distorts how you view others. The Bible tells us that God hates a proud look. Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." It was pride that filled the heart of Lucifer, God's anointed cherub and cast him to the earth. It was pride, the desire to be like God, that moved Eve to taste the forbidden fruit. In Revelation 3, the church at Laodica saw themselves as rich, increased with goods and in need of nothing. Their vision was blurred by their own pride. Jesus saw them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. Jesus said they needed some eye salve!
All of these and more can steal our focus, capture our spirit, and destroy our lives and testimonies for Jesus Christ. David laments, "How the mighty art fallen." Paul warns, "Take heed lest you fall."
The good news is, "God does windows!" Do your windows need washing? Confession is the way to keep our windows clean, and our hearts pure. Proverbs 4:23 gives us this admonition, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."