“There Is a Sickness in People That Stops Them from Seeing the Truth”

Chalkboard with "knowledge" written on it“The Secret Scripture”

Back in 2016, based on a novel of the same name from 2008, the movie “The Secret Scripture” was released. I have not seen it and don’t plan to, but I did see its trailer on Vudu. Within that trailer there was a statement that seemed so appropriate for the modern age:

“There is a sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth.”

Do you agree?

Does there seem to be a devastating epidemic that is blinding the world, stopping them from seeing the truth?

Spiritual truth that is obvious if…if only…if only they would open their eyes and hearts and see it?

“There is a sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth.”

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Romans

A fair question back would be, “How can you say it is obvious Alan? People have been arguing about spiritual truth since the foundation of the world.”

I can say it because Scripture does. 🙂

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (Romans 1:18-23).

Why are people without excuse?

Because the truth is obvious:

9 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20).

The rest of that set of verses makes it clear it was their choice to reject a God they knew.

And speaking of the modern world…how much does this ring true of academia and scholars today?:

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”

Of course, my focus on the modern day has one problem. Romans was written 2,000 years ago. The rejection of obvious truth isn’t new.

Although, I wonder if we have perfected it.

Whose Fault?

Romans 1:18-23 says everything is clear, but other parts of Scripture speak of a lack of knowledge being the issue. Let’s look at Hosea 4:6 followed by Isaiah 5:11-13:

6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;

because you have rejected knowledge,

I reject you from being a priest to me.

And since you have forgotten the law of your God,

I also will forget your children (Hosea 4:6).

11  Woe to those who rise early in the morning,

that they may run after strong drink,

who tarry late into the evening

as wine inflames them!

12  They have lyre and harp,

tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,

but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD,

or see the work of his hands.

13  Therefore my people go into exile

for lack of knowledge;

their honored men go hungry,

and their multitude is parched with thirst (Isaiah 5:11-13).

The first said that people destroyed for a lack of knowledge…and the second that they go to exile for a lack of knowledge.

“Lack of knowledge” is a pretty severe condition, isn’t it?

However, in Romans we read that “what can be known about God is plain to them.”

What gives? Why the conflict?

Hosea and Isaiah are actually completely in sync with Romans. Romans says they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God,” Hosea states “people rejected knowledge,” and Isaiah connects the lack of knowledge to “not [regarding] the deeds of the Lord.”

People choose to be ignorant. They exchange truth for a lie. They reject knowledge. They do not care what the Lord has done.

They choose not to see the truth.

What was true of Stephen’s murders back at the foundation of the church…is true now:

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you (Acts 7:51).

But why? Why would they reject the gracious work of the Spirit? Why would they choose lies over truth? Ephesians 4:17-19 gives us a clue:

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

Why do the lost have darkened understanding? Why are they ignorant? Why do they have a heard heart?

Because “they have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”

Short version: the lost love sin.

Listening to the Holy Spirit would mean they have to give up sin.

They love sin.

Accepting the truth would mean they have to give up sin.

They love sin.

They are blinded by sin. That is the sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth.

And that blindness is an intentional result of someone who truly hates us:

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

The devil derives joy on the world’s ignorance. In veiling the gospel to those who are perishing. He’ll use any tool he can to pull it off! Remember this part of what we read in Isaiah:

12  They have lyre and harp,

tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,

but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD,

or see the work of his hands.

13  Therefore my people go into exile

for lack of knowledge;

their honored men go hungry,

and their multitude is parched with thirst (Isaiah 5:12-13)

I wondered if it could be modernized like this…

They have XBox and Playstation

Netflix and Hulu and Youtube in their homes

but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD,

or see the work of his hands

Therefore my people go to hell

for lack of knowledge

Of course, the devil doesn’t just use entertainment…I wonder how many children go to college in the faith and leave it out of the faith.

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools…”

Good News

This has been a pretty depressing sermon up to now, hasn’t it?

I’d apologize, but that was intentional. 🙂

However, I’ve got some pretty awesome news for the lost. Let’s see it together in Ephesians 2:1-10:

2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I know that was a long quote…but I just couldn’t bring myself to cut out any of it.

The good news is that if God can change us…and He has…He can change them!

Yes, the god of this world has blinded them…but we also followed the prince of the power of the air…”but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”

Amen to that!

Getting the Cure to Our Disease

There is a sickness in people that stops them from seeing the truth. Sin.

We are proof positive that that sickness can be cured…well, at least treated until we are perfected on the other side of eternity.

How do others…blinded…get what we get? 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 answers that:

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

How does one remove their blindness…their veil?

By turning to the Lord!

By turning from sin and turning to the Lord.

Or, as an apostle responded at Pentecost to those who asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:38-39).

  • Don’t love your sin.
  • Don’t choose to be ignorant, exchanging truth for a lie.
  • Don’t be blinded by the god of this world.
  • Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

And notice who Peter says the promise is for:

  • The listeners.
  • Their children, and…
  • For all who are far off.

We are those “who [were] far off.”

The lost today are also those “who [were] far off.”

Let’s pray that they…

  • Don’t love their sin.
  • Don’t choose to be ignorant, exchanging the truth for a lie.
  • Don’t be blinded by the god of this world.
  • That every last one of them will…repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

Can I get an amen to that!?


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