Seeing Yourself

Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-13, 2 Corinthians 4:6
Date: 11/04/2013 
This second program in the Formula 4 Faith series about the science of salvation is about truly seeing ourselves.
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Well, we're back again for another presentation in the "formula 4 faith" series, where we're talking about the science of salvation. In our first presentation, using the conversion experience of Isaiah, we talked about seeing God and how important it is that that's the first step, that we see the goodness of God, we see the Lord in the year that our king died. Christ is lifted up as a sacrifice. And that leads us then to step number two, and step number two is where we, in contrast then, see ourselves. After we see the glory of God that illuminates that something is wrong with us.

And I'm gonna return to our story again, and so if you have your Bibles let's just read that one more time, and go to the book of Isaiah chapter 6. We're gonna read again this story where he puts his conversion here. Verse 1, "in the year that king uzziah died, "I saw the Lord, sitting on a throne, "high and lifted up; "and the train of his robe filled the temple. "Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings: "with two he covered his face, "with two he covered his feet, "and with two he flew. "And one cried to another and said: "'holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; "'the whole earth is full of his glory!' "And the posts of the door were shaken "by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

" This is talkin' about the temple. There were great pillars on either side of the entrance of the temple. After he sees God we now get to point number two. "Then I said: 'woe is me, for I am undone! "'Because I am a man of unclean lips, "'and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; "'for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.'" It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, but for us to be saved we really need to have a new point of view. For us to have the new birth, we need to realize that there's something wrong with that first birth or that old birth and be yearning for a transformation.

God does not force conversion on us. We must welcome it, and that means that there needs to be an epiphany of sorts where we need to see ourselves as we really are. That comes by first seeing God. When we know the Lord and we see his holiness and his goodness, then by contrast we realize that there is a problem. I had an experience when I was very young.

I think I was about 4 years old and living with my father in southern California. Parents divorced when I was 3, but my father and my stepmother, my brother and I lived with them and my stepbrother as well in southern California. And I remember distinctly this one experience. My father in the hall upstairs outside his bedroom, he had a shoe shine machine, and it was a chrome motor with a furry, red wheel that came out of one side and a furry, black wheel that came out of the other. Since then I've seen these in hotels and different places.

Have you ever seen one of these? You press on the button, and it just begins to spin these furry wheels, and you put your shoes underneath, and it buffs your shoes, and I would sit in the hall. My dad had one. Before he went to work in the morning, he'd just step on this clicker button on the top, and the thing would go... And the thing would start to spin. And he'd buff his shoes, and then he'd step on it, and he'd go to work.

Well, I was fascinated with that because it was such a powerful machine, and I remember one Sunday morning I woke up before anyone else in the family. I was the youngest, and I went in the hall. It's quiet. Everyone's sleeping, no one to play with, and I thought, "well, I'll entertain myself," so I played with the shoe shine machine. So I stood there, and I pressed on the button.

It would go... And I'd try and stop the brushes--they were so powerful--with my hands, and my hands would get hot because I couldn't stop it. And then I'd turn it off, and I'd turn it on. I'd turn it off, and then I thought to myself, "well, that's a shoe shine machine. "Why don't I make dad happy, and I'll shine his shoes for him?" So I tiptoed into his bedroom where he was still snoring, and his shoes were right there, not far from the bed.

And I picked up his black dress shoes, and I went back out, shut the door. And I looked at the machine, and I looked at the shoes, and I thought, "a shoe polish is gonna make 'em really shiny, so I'll get some shoe polish." So I toddled off into the bathroom, and I knew there was some shoe polish under the sink because I'd seen someone use it before. And I got a bottle of this black griffin liquid shoe polish, and I went back out, and I stood there and looked for a moment. And it occurred to me that obviously the black shoe polish is going on the black brush and not the red brush, so I fought the lid off. I didn't realize this was the kind of shoe polish that you put on with an applicator, so I tore off the applicator, and I poured a generous amount of this liquid shoe polish on the black brush.

And then I turned on the machine, and evidently a lot of it had kinda settled to one side of this brush, and so the brush was now, the whole thing was out of balance. And at first it began to hop like a washing machine out of balance, and then it began to splatter as it lost some of the initial contents in the brush. And then it began to whir, and this all happened in micro-seconds, but I was totally shocked because it just went... And it sprayed this virtual black rainbow up the wall, across the ceiling in the hall, and down the other side, and, of course, plenty on the white carpet. And right then, almost in an instant, I turned off the machine, but it was too late.

And I looked at that, and I thought to myself, "I better go back to sleep." And I thought to myself--you know, you're young, but you learn deception early, and I thought, "nobody saw me do this. Nobody will know." 'Cause I had, you know, my brother and my stepbrother in the house, and so I went back in the room where my brother was. And I climbed into bed, and I acted like I was asleep, and I laid there for the longest time just waiting for my father to get up 'cause as soon as he walked out of his bedroom there was that mess. And he walked out of his bedroom, and I heard, "what? What?" He's making these noises, and then he said, "dougy!" Which was what my dad called me, and I thought, "why is he calling me?" 'Cause I had my brother and my stepbrother. It could have been the maid.

Anyone could've done this. And I laid there, and I thought, "he didn't see me. He will never know." And then he opened up the bedroom door, and the light came flooding in, and he said, "dougy, get up!" And I knew he meant business. I'm actin' like I'm asleep, "what?" He said, "get in here." So I go toddlin' off into the hall, and he said, "do you know anything about this?" A little voice inside wanted to tell the truth, but, you know, once you start lying it's hard to turn back, and so I thought, "nobody knows. I'm gonna get in trouble.

" And I said, "no." He said, "I'm gonna ask you again. Do you know anything about this?" I said, "no." He said, "okay." He said, "well, I'm gonna spank you until you tell me the truth." So right there in the hall there was actually a bench, and he sat down. He pulled me over his knee, you know? That's before this was illegal, and he began to paddle me on my posterior. And I'm going, "I didn't do it! I didn't do it! I didn't do it!" And then finally, you know, you break under so much torture, and I go, "I did it! I did it! I did it!" Then he sat me down, and I'm cryin', and he said, "now I didn't spank you because you made a mistake." He said, "I spanked you because you lied to me." He said, "now get in there and wash your face." So I went whimpering off into the bathroom, and I had to actually stand on a plastic stool, so I could look in the mirror. And as soon as I got up on the stool and I looked in the mirror I saw I had black spots all over my face from the shoe polish.

Not only had it sprayed all up the wall, but it sprayed all over my face. And so here I was with black spots all over my face. I'm goin', "I don't know anything about it. "Not me. I don't know who it was.

" But when I turned on the light and I went in the bathroom, I had a new point of view, and I said, "woe is me. I am undone." Can you hide anything from God? Does God know not only what you do but he knows why you do it? Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. And when we're brought into the presence of God, we have one of those experiences where we see, contrasted by his glory, when his light is shone on our souls, we realize, wow, we're sinners, and we need cleansing, and we feel this desperate need for a change. You know, the Bible talks about this light in a number of places, and you can read, for instance, in 2 Corinthians 4:6, "for it is the God who commanded light "to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts "to give the light of the knowledge "of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." When we see the light of God, when we see the glory of God, in the year that our king died, we see in the face of Jesus his holiness, his goodness, it makes our selfishness stand out by contrast. And so conversion begins by looking at the Lord, and then what'll happen is we then get a new picture of ourselves as we truly are.

And it's not always a pretty picture, but this then ultimately leads to repentance. You know, there's a story in the Bible that you can read if you turn to 2 Samuel, in the 2nd book of Samuel chapter 12. Now I'm not gonna go into all the sordid details, but I think most of you here, if you've got an elementary knowledge of the Bible, you remember when David made that terrible, fateful mistake of having an affair with bathsheba, which is bad enough 'cause she was married, but then David orchestrated things where bathsheba's husband--of course, she got pregnant, and so he orchestrated things where her husband, who was David's friend, one of his mighty men, uriah, would then be killed in a battle with the ammonites. And then nathan the prophet came to David, and David is sitting as judge, and he was sort of the supreme court judge, and nathan brings him this difficult case that he thinks the King needs to weigh in on. So the King listens to this case.

Chapter 12, verse 1, "then nathan sent to David. "And he came to him, and he said, "'I've got this case I want you to hear. "'There were two men in one city, one rich, "'the other poor. "'The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. "'But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb that "'he had brought up and nourished; "'and it grew up together with him and his children.

"'And it ate from their own food, "'and it drank from its own cup, "'and it lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. But a traveler comes to his rich neighbor--'" verse 4, "and he refused to take from his own flock "and from his own herd to prepare for the one "wayfaring man that had come to him; "but he took the poor man's lamb and he slaughtered it and prepared it for the man who had come." And David, when he hears this, you can just see his eyes flash with anger and the veins stand out in his neck. And it says, "his anger was greatly aroused against "this man, and he says to nathan, 'as the Lord lives, "'the man who has done this is dead. He's a dead man.'" That's how it translates. "And he's gonna pay fourfold for this lamb, because he did this thing, because he had no pity.

" And these are some of the epic words in the Bible. Nathan the prophet sets his eyes on David, and he said, "you are the man. You are the man." I mean, he was so quick and ready to judge what this person had done in the story, and he didn't realize, he didn't realize the horrible thing that he had done. You know, sin is very sneaky. It's insidious, and at first we sort of tolerate it, and then we embrace it over time.

And that's a change that happens gradually. And he said, "you're the man." And he says, "thus says the Lord God of Israel: "'I anointed you king over Israel. "'I delivered you from the hand of Saul. "'I gave you your master's house "'and your master's wives into your keeping, "'and I gave you the house of Israel and judah. "'And if that had been too little, "'I would have given you more! "'Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, "'to do evil in his sight? "'You've killed uriah the hittite "'with the sword; "'you've taken his wife to be your wife, "'and you've killed him with the sword "'of the people of ammon.

"'Now therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, "'because you've despised me, "'and taken the wife of uriah the hittite to be your wife.'" And he goes on, and he tell him what a dastardly thing that he had done. Now David, when he heard all this, he says in verse 13, "I have sinned against the Lord." Now what's the most powerful psalm in the Bible about repentance? Do you know? It's psalm 51 written by David, by the way, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But before he could write that psalm and the Holy Spirit could return to him, and even in that psalm he says, "take not your Holy Spirit from me," he had to confess. But before he could repent and confess he had to see himself, and that's really the step that we're talkin' about today. We've gotta come to the place where we see ourselves through God's eyes.

You know, a big mistake that people often make is we have the tendency to compare ourselves among ourselves and by ourselves, and Paul said, "they that do that are not wise." A Christian is a follower of who? A Christian is not a follower of Christians. A Christian is not a follower of religious crowds. A Christian is a follower of Christ, and so ultimately we must see ourselves reflected in the light that comes from the glory of Christ through his image. Then by contrast it's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. Another verse I'll share with you, in 2 Corinthians 7, verse 10, "for Godly sorrow produces "repentance leading to salvation, "not to be repented of, or not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

" There is a Godly sorrow that produces repentance that leads to salvation. So in this formula of faith and understanding the sequence and the science of salvation, one of the important steps is one, see God, two, you gotta see yourself. And when we see ourselves through God's eyes, then we realize that we've got a serious problem. You can find a number of examples in the Bible where this happens. If you look, for instance, in John 12, verse 35, "Jesus said, 'in a little while the light "'will be with you.

"'Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you; "'for he that walks in darkness doesn't know where he's going. "'While you have the light, believe in the light, that you might be the children of God.'" And, of course, he then says in 1 John 1:7, "if you walk in the light as he is in the light, "we have fellowship with one another, "and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin." Now this step that we're talking about today of seeing ourselves is not something that necessarily happens one time, on an ongoing basis-- you know, Paul says, "I die daily," and that stands to reason that you need to be born again every day. Otherwise you're more dead than alive. And so every day we sort of need to examine ourselves as Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 13, "prove your own selves, examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith." We need to be looking at ourselves in contrast to Christ and say, "am I becoming like my master?" And so we're gonna often find that we need to humble ourselves and ask him to cleanse and transform us. Now Peter--i relate to Peter a little bit because Peter often spoke without really thinking.

Peter kinda jumped in the middle of every situation, and he said, "I'll take charge," whether he knew what in the world he was doing or not. Peter had a pretty high estimate of himself, and he needed to be humbled and realize who he really was. And Jesus at the last supper, he told the disciples, "I'm telling you tonight that one of you here is going to betray me." And all of them said, "lord, is it i? Is it i? Is it i?" And even Judas said, "is it i?" And Jesus said, "thou has said." But even though the other 11 didn't betray him, Jesus said, "and for the rest of you, before the night's over you'll all forsake me." And Peter, bold and proud, arrogant, conceited, he stood up, and he said, "though all these might forsake you, "I will never forsake you because I am your most loyal-- I'll die for you." And, you know, when he said it he meant it. Then the Bible tells us that John followed Jesus into the judgment hall. Peter--and this is, I think, Mark chapter 14, verse 52.

It says Peter followed Jesus from a distance. Right there you can make a note of that. There's a lot of people out there that say, "I wanna follow Jesus, but I don't want people to notice I'm following Jesus, so I'm gonna be a secret Christian." You know, there's no such thing as a secret Christian because either the secrecy will destroy your Christianity, or your Christianity will destroy your secrecy. So Peter is following from a distance, and he's trying to hang out with the crowd that's making fun of Jesus, so they won't notice him. It's dark, you know.

He thinks he can just keep an eye on Jesus. I love Jesus but not enough where I'm gonna get right up close to him. So when Jesus goes in the judgment hall, Peter stays outside, and he sits with the mob that was involved in arresting him. He sits with the servants of the high priests and the guards, and eventually in the glow of the fire light they see his face. And, you know, they'd seen Jesus before, and they said, "you were in that crowd.

You look like you're from Galilee from your dress." And they said, "aren't you one of his followers?" And you know what Peter says? "Who me? I've never seen the man, not me." You can read about this in Matthew chapter 26, verse 34, "Jesus told Peter, 'assuredly, "'I say to you this night, before the rooster crows, "'twice you'll deny me three times.' "And Peter said, 'even if I have to die with you, "'I will not deny you!' And said all the disciples." He wasn't the only one. But when that girl came and said, "aren't you one of--" well, first one of the servants did it. "I don't know him." And then another servant said, "I can almost swear you've got a galilean accent, "and in the crowd when we arrested Jesus "weren't you the one with the sword that cut off malchus--" he said, "I don't know what you're talkin' about. You got me confused with somebody else." Peter fluffed up his beard and tried to hide his face a little more. And then a girl came along, and she said, "you can't fool us.

You're one of his followers." And you know what it says, Matthew 26, verse 74? "He began to curse and to swear, and say, 'I don't know the man!'" This the third time with cursing and swearing. He's all, "you think I'm one of them Christians? "I can prove I'm not a Christian. "Listen to this. I'll turn the air blue like a sailor or fisherman," which he did. And with all these oaths and cursing and swearing, he denied knowing Jesus.

It's probably a good place to mention that sometimes I meet people, and they say, "Pastor Doug, "can God forgive me? "I once swore that I would never accept Jesus. Did I blaspheme the Holy Spirit?" Or I've met people who've said, "I made a vow to the devil. Do I have to keep that promise?" I say, "no, did Peter swear that he didn't know Jesus "and take a vow? Yeah, and Jesus forgave him." And right after he gets done doing it, it says the rooster crowed. And you read in another gospel right at that same moment soldiers were punching Jesus in the face, and Jesus looked up, and he turned and looked through the pillars out of the judgment hall where they were gathered around the fire in the courtyard, and he looked right at Peter. It says Jesus looked at Peter.

Peter had just got done denying Christ with swearing and cursing, and Jesus looked in, and their eyes met, and there was a look of love and compassion. And then he hears in the background the rooster crowing again for the second time, and all of it came back to him, what Jesus had said. Just then as their eyes met, another fist came down and pummeled Jesus. And Peter suddenly realized, "woe is me. "I am undone.

I don't know myself as well as I think I know myself." Here he was not only a Christian, he was a leader in the church. He thought he knew himself. He thought he was loyal. Gotta be very careful about trusting in yourself. You know, "let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall," the Bible says.

"A haughty spirit goes before a fall." And one of the safest things we can do--you know, if you stay on your knees you don't fall very far. Isn't that right? And one of the safest things we can do is to stay in a humble attitude with the Lord and realize, you know, our helplessness, that without him we can't do anything. After Peter's conversion--oh, by the way, it says after he has this experience, he went out, and he wept bitterly. Peter then went through a dramatic repentance. He probably went back to the garden of Gethsemane not far away where Jesus had been sweating and crying tears and sweat of blood, and he knelt down there in that spot, and he poured out his heart and prayed that God would forgive him.

One reason I believe that is the first thing that Jesus says after he rises from the dead, he tells mary, "go tell the disciples and Peter that I am risen." Because Peter thought, "I've gone too far. "I've reached the point of no return. God can't forgive me now." And the Lord was saying, "I heard your prayer. You are forgiven. I still love you.

" He went out, and he wept bitterly. What was the turning point for Peter? He had to see himself in contrast to--he saw the love and the goodness of Jesus for him, and he saw his pride. So he could so easily and quickly deny the Lord when he was afraid it was no longer popular. Okay, we're gonna take a few minutes for some of your questions on this subject. So who'd like to start, got a question? Over here, michelle? Yes, when God's light shines on you, does he reveal it all at once, or does it come in degrees? Good question.

You know, there's a verse that you can find in 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 19. It says, "we have the prophetic word made more sure "which you do well to take heed to "as a light that shines in a dark place "until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." And so this is a light that grows and increases. You know, when your children are young and you're teaching them, you know there's some things they just can't handle when they're kids. You don't tell 'em about all the bills and the problems when they're kids. You might give them a few nickels to play with.

You give them more money as they mature and the responsibility grows. You don't need to tell kids about all the politics and the struggles that are going on with the government when they're young. As they get older you reveal more to them as they can handle it. You don't tell 'em everything about the birds and the bees when they're young children. You gotta find simple ways for them to handle this so that it doesn't overwhelm them.

As they mature you reveal more, and that's the way it is also with God. He knows that, like being born again, we're babies, and we start with milk. The Bible says that you might desire the sincere milk of the word, but then you need to grow. He says if you're still drinking milk and you're an adult, there's a problem, if you're not eating the meat of the word. And so it is progressive, absolutely, and God reveals things to us as we grow.

The danger is for those who have been Christians for years, and they're still on milk, or you've been Christians for years, and you're still crawling. You're not walking and running. Then there's a spiritual health problem there. So, yes, it comes in degrees. Okay, thank you.

Another question? Yes. Yes, Pastor Doug, how can we be sure that we're being transformed? Another good question. If you've come to the light and you've surrendered to the Lord, how can you know that your life is actually--if your character's going through a transformation? Well, you know, it tells us in Romans chapter 12, it says, "do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." And so as our minds are renewed, Jesus said ultimately you'll know by the fruits. And I was thinking here in--is it Ezekiel-- that the prophet, he goes through some of the criteria, and it says in verse 21, Ezekiel 18:21, "but if the wicked man turns from his sins "that he's committed and keeps my statutes "and does what is lawful and right, "he will surely live and not die. "None of his transgressions that he has committed "will be remembered against him.

"Because of the righteousness which he has done he shall live." And so he's asking us to also have the evidence. There should be the fruit of our spirit that the old things are passed away, all things are become new. The things that we once did we don't do, and at least there should be progress in that direction. And, you know, so if we're not seein' any progress then we'll wonder if we're being transformed. Alright, I think our time's up for our questions.

I wanna thank you and thank our TV audience for studying along with us, and I look forward to our time studying together again in the future.

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