Love God Intellectually

https://ebcstanton.org

Luke 10:27; 11:33-38

BIG IDEA 

You are what you love, but you do not always love what you think you love.

INTRODUCTION

When I was a kid, I always had problems finding simple things my parents sent me to find. “Douglas, go get the jelly. It’s on the third shelf on the left side next to the Mayonnaise.” I’d dutifully go to the fridge, open the door, look at the appropriate shelf…no jelly. “I can’t find it,” would be my reply.

It was then that my parents would draw upon the wisdom of the ages. In these moments of fruitless searches, they would draw upon the classic wit of the sages of old.

  • “It’s right under your nose.” No jelly under this schnoz. Just some lips.
  • “If it were any closer it would bite you.” If it’s gonna bite me, do I really want to find it?
  • “It’s right in front of your face.” How do you know which way my face is turned?
  • “It’s been staring at you the whole time.” Now jelly has teeth and eyes?
  • “You couldn’t see the forest for the trees.” I thought we were looking for jelly!!!

Invariably, one of my parents would get up, go to the fridge, and put their hands right on the jelly that had been there the whole time. My eyes had the ability to see, but whether it was nerves or laziness, I had blind spots. 

Blind spots are interesting. While there are real things that happen to the physical eye, like macular degeneration and cataracts that can cause true blind spots, there are also psychological, mental, and spiritual blind spots. The blind spots that I will be speaking about today are not blind spots in the eye; they are blind spots in the soul.

You see, there is a linkage between sight and belief. Let me give you a hierarchy of belief, actually starting with disbelief and moving toward faith.

  • I see it but I will not believe it
  • I cannot see it and will not believe it
  • If I see it I will believe it
  • I cannot see it but I believe it

Three of the four of these have blind spots. The blind spots are linked to disbelief.

For a few weeks, we have been using one passage as our launchpad. Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” For two weeks we have considered loving God emotionally and today I want to talk to you about loving God with all your mind, that is to say loving God intellectually. It is to love God with your beliefs, but to do this, we must all overcome some blind spots.

But here is the problem: spiritual blindspots will keep you from loving Jesus with your whole mind. And so, in our time today, I want to investigate the scriptures, identify spiritual blind spots, inspect our lives to see if there is anything that is keeping us from worshipping Jesus, loving God, with our whole mind.

Why is this so important? If you were with us last week, I discussed the stages of our spiritual journey.

  1. Meeting
  2. Learning
  3. Serving
  4. The Door
  5. Being
  6. Loving others

I argued that after meeting Jesus and learning about Jesus and engaging in serving Jesus, we encounter a door. Instead of opening the door to see what is on the other side, we often are caught in an endless loop of learning and doing that prevent us from the very thing that matters most: sitting at the feet of Jesus. And I argued over the last two weeks that there are emotional blocks and legalistic blocks that keep us from opening the door and abiding in Christ. Today, we will see that there are intellectual blocks that keep us from entering in and sitting at the feet of Jesus.

EXPLANATION

  1. Intellectual Blind Spot (Who God Is)

In Luke 11:14, Jesus was casting a demon out of a man who could not speak. When the demon left the man, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. And the people said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. But Jesus, knowing their thoughts…”

Jesus, not only cast out a demon, he made a mute man talk! Truly astounding. And notice please, the people marveled. They were amazed. They were startled. They were awestruck. They thought, “Wow. This is incredible.”

But even though they saw the miracle, they did not see the true meaning of the miracle. They had an intellectual blind spot. “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons.” Literally, it means, “He casts out satanic forces by the power of Satan.” They could not deny the obvious, so they disparaged what was patently obvious. They had a blindspot.

Essentially, the people said, “We’ve made our own determination. We’ve reached our own intellectual conclusion. You are not the Savior; you yourself are Satanic.”

And so in verse 16, they say, “give us another sign. Show us more. If you want us to change our minds, you’d better give us a better sign.” They saw it, but they chose not to believe. But they said, “If we see something we like, then we will believe.

“But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a house divided falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they are their own judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you…Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’”

Jesus shows the theological blind spot in their life: a house divided cannot stand. God cannot oppose God.

I know the chances of you seeing a demon exercised and a mute man speak are rather low. But there is still a lesson for us! It is possible to have a wrong view of Who God is! When someone we love is needlessly and brutally murdered, we say, “How could God do this to me?” We lose a job, or a home, or a dream dies, and we scream at the heavens, “God, why have you done this.” And unwittingly, we attribute to God something that has resulted from evil.

On the flip side, something good happens. We receive an unexpected check in the mail, and we say, “Aren’t I lucky?” We are given a promotion at work and we say, “The stars must have aligned themselves just right.” And unwittingly, we attribute something that God has done to the random Satanic forces of the universe.

You will never be able to love God with your whole mind until you truly understand who God really is, and you will never be able to understand who God really is until you regularly, continually, consciously open the door and sit at the feet of Jesus. For it is in these moments of silence, solitude, scripture, and supplication that we learn who God really is.

  1. Theological Blind Spot (What God Does)

Not only are their intellectual blind spots, there are also theological blind spots. These are blind spots regarding what God does. In Luke 11:29, as the crowds were increasing, Jesus said, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, but no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.”

Here is the theological blind spot: the crowds wanted a sign, but what they needed was a Savior. They wanted to see something amazing. But already, just here in the Book of Luke, Jesus had:

  • Healed a man with an unclean spirit (4:31)
  • Healed many (4:38)
  • Cleansed a leper (5:12)
  • Healed a paralytic (5:17)
  • Healed a withered hand (6:6)
  • Raised a widow’s son (7:11)
  • Calmed a storm (8:22)
  • Exercised a demon (8:26)
  • Healed Jairus’s Daughter (8:48)
  • Healed a woman with a blood issue (8:48)
  • Fed 5,000 (9:10)

What more of a sign did they need? Jesus is saying, “you don’t need a God who only solves your problems; you need a God who saves your soul!” What is the sign of Jonah? Matthew 12:40 answers the question. “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth…someone greater than Jonah is here!”

Just as Jonah was swallowed up by a great fish, buried under the sea for three days, and rose again to go and preach to Nineveh, so would Jesus be swallowed up in death, buried in a tomb, and three days later rise again.

The crowds did not have a light problem, they had a sight problem. Everything they needed was displayed before them, but they chose not to see it!

Look at Luke 11:33. “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore, be careful lest the light in you be darkness.”

Jesus is saying, “you have seen it. Believe it! You have seen that I am God, so love me as God! You don’t need more signs; you need salvation!” But the people were persistent. If you want us to change our minds then give us another sign. 

Listen, some of you have been wrestling with God for so long. “If God would just do this…then I would believe.” There is enough light for you to see God; you just have to adjust your sight. Look at verse 34. “When your eye is healthy…” That means “when your eye is clear, whole, and holding nothing back.” When your eye is clear, whole, and holding nothing back, your whole body is full of light.

Are you like the crowd today? “God, if you will just fix this problem, then I will have more faith in you.” Look around you. The fingerprints of God are everywhere. The fingerprints of God are displayed:

  • In every beautiful baby that is born
  • In rose-colored sunrises and sunsets
  • In the majestic mountains and the roaring oceans
  • In the complexity and diversity of life
  • At Calvary’s Cross, in Christ’s shed blood, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the salvation He has offered

Don’t look for another sign. Just see what is right in front of you and believe. Then you will be able to open the door, walk in, and sit at the feet of Jesus and worship Him with your whole mind.

  1. Relational Blind Spot (How God Relates)

There are intellectual blindspots (who God is), theological blindspots (what God does), and finally, there are relational blind spots (how God relates).

Look at Luke 11:37. “While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at the table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not wash before dinner.” Let’s be clear. In these COVID-19 days, washing our hands is good. Washing before you eat is good. Even in Jesus’ day, it was customary to wash before eating.

Was Jesus being gross? Of course not. He chose on this given night to illustrate a spiritual truth through a practical exercise. He knew how the Pharisee would respond, and Jesus was using this as a teachable moment.

The Pharisee was amazed, astonished! But Jesus said, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” The Pharisees thought that the Law would save them. They did not understand that a relationship with Jesus would save them!

Jesus continued:

  • You tithe, but you do not love God
  • You want to be seen, but do not worship God who is unseen
  • You burden people with the law, but do not teach people to lay their burdens down
  • You have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves and you hindered those who were entering.”

Jesus is saying, you have a relational blind spot. You think the answer to knowing God is found in keeping rules and following rituals and being religious, but the answer is found in a relationship with me! “You Pharisees cannot lead anyone into the Kingdom of God, because you yourselves have never entered the Kingdom of God! You are the blind leading the blind!” 

The Pharisees knew the Old Testament. They knew it was not religious activity that God desired. God wanted their heart in a love relationship founded on the shed-blood of Jesus Christ.

Look back at Luke 10:23. Jesus said to his disciples, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you, that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” What is Jesus talking about? He is talking about Himself. “You disciples have seen me, you have heard me, and kings and prophets for centuries have longed to see what you now behold.”

You cannot understand the Christian faith until you understand the importance of relationship over religion. God invites you to commune with Him because of what Christ has done!

Don’t look for another way. Just see what is right in front of you and believe. Then you will be able to open the door, walk in, and sit at the feet of Jesus and worship Him with your whole mind.

APPLICATION:  Others can see what you cannot see..

  1. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal your blindspots.
  2. Allow the Scripture to reveal your blindspots.
  3. Allow faithful friends to reveal your blindspots.

CONCLUSION

Gene Edwards, in his book, The Inward Journey, wrote this:

“There are always a few hidden flaws in each of us, flaws so well hidden we don’t know we have them. Why is it that many Christians never change, even in some of the most ideal spiritual circumstances ever known? I don’t know the answer, but, I would ask you: ‘Are you willing ultimately to be confronted concerning weakness in your life, which you seem to be totally unaware?’ Whether you are confronted properly or improperly, the fact remains that your reaction to that confrontation will speak volumes of the kind of person you really are.” (Page 100, 101).

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