THEIR EYES WERE OPENED
Scripture Texts: Genesis 3:4-7, 21; Acts 9:1-9, 17-21; Luke 16:19-31
In the three portions of the scriptures to which we are making reference, we read of three separate instances when people had their eyes opened. In Genesis 3:7,17, we read that Adam and Eve had their eyes opened to SIN, and the SACRIFICE for SINNERS. In Acts 9:8,18, we read that Saul of Tarsus had his eyes opened to SALVATION, and SERVICE for the SAVIOUR. And in Luke 16:23, we read of the rich man in Hell that had his eyes opened to SUFFERING, SEPARATION, and SUPPLICATION.
In Genesis chapter 3, we're told of how our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against the word of God, and how they partook of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. They, like so many people living today, listened to the lies of Satan, the enemy of God, and their fellowship with their Creator was broken. Yes, S-I-N, SIN, raised its ugly head to mar the fair creation of God, and there was a breach between man and God. In verse 7 we're told that after they had sinned, "their eyes were opened." Yes, their eyes were opened to the fact that they had rebelled against the word of God, their Creator, Who had told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Their eyes were opened to the fact that they had sinned and, like many people today, they sought to hide from the eyes of God. In Hebrews 4:13 we read, "neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." In Genesis 16:13, Hagar declared, "Thou God seest me."
Adam and Eve also realized that not only had their sin brought about their spiritual death, or separation from God, but it had also promised their subsequent physical death, which separates the soul and spirit from the body. In Genesis 2:17, God had warned them faithfully, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Well, we know what happened, the Devil beguiled Eve, and after she ate the fruit she gave it to her husband, Adam, and the human race had fallen, because SIN had become a part of man's nature.
Yes, they had rebelled against the God of all creation, and when they realized that the Devil had lied to them about the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit, "their eyes were opened." And sad to say, their sinful nature, and its consequences, have been passed on to all of their offspring, including you and me. We read in Romans 5:12, "Wherefore, as by one man (meaning Adam), sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned." In verse 19 of that same chapter we're told, "for as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners." Even the Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:22, "In Adam all die." Yes, I believe that those are the four saddest words in all the Bible, "In Adam all die."
Friend, have you ever had your eyes opened to your spiritually sinful condition in God's sight? Have you? Do you realize that you're a hopeless and helpless sinner in God's eyes? Do you realize that your sins have separated you from God? Well Friend, if you've never had your eyes opened to your true spiritual condition in God's sight, then it's about time that they were opened. Yes, you're on dangerous ground today, because you're spiritually blind, and probably don't realize it. Perhaps you think that you're on your way to Heaven, but in reality, you're still on your way to the place that the Lord Jesus Christ called Hell. It can be said of us, like David the Psalmist said of himself in Psalms 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Again, in Job 14:4, we're told quite clearly, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one."
Friend, we're not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we're sinners. We were born that way, and it is just as natural for you and I to sin, as it is for a fish to swim and a dog to bark. That's the reason the Lord Jesus Christ tells us in John 3:3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Now if you don't understand what that means, then it is obvious that you are spiritually blind, and your eyes have never been opened to your sinnership in God's sight. I would also remind you that physical blindness is unfortunate, but spiritual blindness is far worse. In II Corinthians 4:3,4 we read, "But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Friend, it is really pitiful the way that the world, as we know it today, has been led astray by the enemy of their souls, the Devil. He still has many people believing that there is a little bit of God in everyone. He has people believing that we're all children of God, and therefore we're all "brothers and sisters". He also has people believing that the Bible is not the word of God, but rather that it is one of many "religious guides", such as the Koran is to the Muslims. He has many people believing that they can reach Heaven by their so-called "good works", religious rituals and activities, or trying to keep the "ten commandments", or the "golden rule", or their education, culture, or high moral character.
Listen my friend, there isn't one verse in the entire Bible which says that a person can reach Heaven by "trying to do the best they can". No, the word of God is very clear in this regards. In Titus 3:5 we're told, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." In Ephesians 2:8,9 we're reminded, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." The Apostle Paul again makes it very clear in Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
Remember this important fact, my friend, the eyes of God are always open; because according to Psalms 121:4, God does not "slumber nor sleep." He sees and knows everything we do; everywhere we go; and He knows everything we think or say. And knowing all this, He declares in Isaiah 64:6, that "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Would that people today would open their eyes and see themselves as God sees them. God tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:20, "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." Yes, then turn over to Romans chapter 3, and open your eyes to what He says from verses 10 through 23. The summation declares that "there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
In addition to Adam and Eve having their eyes opened to sin, they also had their eyes opened to the sacrifice for their sin. In Genesis 3:21 we read, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." Yes, they were the first to see innocent animals slain, in order to provide "coats of skins" to cover their sinfulness in God's sight. Their eyes were opened to see the pattern, principle, and precept to be followed throughout the entire Bible, regarding the fact that in Hebrews 9:22 we read that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins. Yes, it is the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, that cleanseth us from all sin.
Now that leads us to our second text for today, Acts chapter 9, where we read of how the religious Pharisee, called Saul of Tarsus, was on the road to Damascus with authority to persecute the Christians. We're told how a bright light from Heaven blinded him and he fell to the ground. Friend, he met the Lord Jesus Christ that day! Yes, he met the One Who died for his sins at Calvary's cross. In Acts 9:8, we're told that "his eyes were opened", and I thank God, that they were opened to salvation! In verse 18, we read that when he received his sight he arose and was baptized. Then we read in verse 20, "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God." Yes, the former persecutor of Christians became the Apostle Paul, and he was used of God to write much of the New Testament Scriptures, which have led countless people all over the world, to their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Saul's eyes were not only opened to salvation, but also to service for his Saviour. In Acts 9:15, the Lord says that Saul "is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." I must add that Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, also knew what it was to suffer for his beliefs, and service for His Lord. If you read in II Corinthians 11:23-33, you'll see how Paul suffered much for his service to the Saviour. Yes, Saul of Tarsus was very religious, but he had been spiritually blind. He was sincere, but sincerely wrong, just like some of you who are reading this message today.
Friend, have you ever had your eyes opened to your sinnership in God's sight? And if so, have you ever had your eyes opened to God's salvation? Well, if not, I want you to know that you can become a child of God today, because we read in II Peter 3:9 that He "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Afterall, was that not the purpose for which God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world? In I John 4:14, we're told that "the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." And I'm sure that most of you reading this message have heard the best known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." In the next verse we're told, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
Yes, and that's the reason that the Apostle Paul, after his eyes had been opened, told King Agrippa in Acts 26:18, that the Lord had sent the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me." The sad part about that conversation which the Apostle Paul had with King Agrippa that day, is the response of King Agrippa in verse 28, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
Friend, King Agrippa heard the Gospel faithfully presented by the Apostle Paul, and his eyes were opened to the fact that he was a sinner and needed a Saviour, but what was his response which the Holy Spirit of God has left on record for our benefit? "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." And we have every reason to believe that King Agrippa is in Hell today because, even though his eyes were opened, unfortunately, his heart was closed to the love, mercy, and grace of God expressed in the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary's cross. I wonder if someone reading this message today will soon join King Agrippa in Hell, and for the same reason. Oh, I hope not!
There is one important fact which I should present before I go any further, and that is, only God can open a person's eyes to their sinnership, as well as to the salvation of their soul. And He does this by the Holy Spirit and word of God. In Psalms 146:8 we read that the "Lord openeth the eyes of the blind." In John 6:44, the Lord Jesus Christ declared, "No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me, draw him." In Jonah 2:9 we read that "Salvation is of the Lord." And that is the reason why it is so vitally important for the unsaved person to give heed to the word of God. In Hebrews 11:6, the Apostle Paul reminds us that "without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)". Now where do we get the faith necessary to please God? In Romans 10:17, Paul again tells us that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Friend, that's the reason why both my written and spoken ministry always contain so many scriptures. God promises in Isaiah 55:11 that His word, "shall not return unto Me void." And neither it shall!
Friend, if the still small voice of the Holy Spirit of God is working in your heart and soul today, and if your eyes are open to your sinful condition in God's sight, then why not have your eyes opened to salvation too? Yes, why not trust your soul's eternal destiny to the value and virtue of the finished work of Jesus Christ, and His precious blood that flowed for your sins at Calvary? When the Lord Jesus Christ hung on the "old rugged cross", He was the Just One, dying for you and I the unjust, so that He could bring us back to a new and proper relationship with His Father, God. Yes, and I thank God for "His Unspeakable Gift", the Lord Jesus Christ. Friend, if you're still unsaved, and reading this message today, I trust that you will come, by faith alone, to the foot of the cross, and there open the eyes of your understanding to see the salvation provided for you by the Lord Jesus Christ.
I often think of what the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:8,9, "God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH through Him." Solemn thought, is it not? And that also reminds me of what we read in John 3:36. It is a verse in which everyone on earth is mentioned. Listen to this, "He that believeth on the Son hath EVERLASTING LIFE; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the WRATH OF GOD abideth on him." In which part of that verse are you, my friend? I hope it is the first part!
Up till now, we've mentioned how the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened to sin and sacrifice; and how the eyes of Saul of Tarsus, now the Apostle Paul, were opened to salvation and service. Now let us consider our third text as found in Luke's Gospel chapter 16. There we read of two men who died. One was a poor beggar named Lazarus, who was carried by the angels into a place of rest and comfort. The other was a rich man who died unsaved, and we read in verses 22 and 23 that when he died, "in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments." Yes, his eyes were opened to the suffering and separation, which were to be his portion throughout the endless ages of all eternity.
What a contrast we see in these two men. On earth, the former rich man "fared sumptuously everyday and he was clothed in fine raiment", but the rich man on earth became the beggar in Hell, whereas, the beggar on earth became the rich man in eternity. You recall how the rich man in Hell was begging for Lazarus to dip his finger in water and to touch the rich man's parched tongue, why ?, "for I am tormented in this flame." However, Abraham told the former rich man that there is a great gulf fixed, which separated the saved from the unsaved, and therefore, the rich man could not even receive a drop of water to cool his tongue. Yes, his eyes were opened, not only to suffering, but also to eternal separation.
I believe that it is worth emphasizing the fact that when the rich man realized that he could not be relieved of his suffering and separation, he immediately resorted to supplication. Yes, he pleaded with Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth in order to warn the rich man's 5 brothers, "lest they also come into this place of torment." However, his supplication was answered with these words by Abraham, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Listen friend, you and I both know that if someone stood on a busy street corner in one of our large cities today, and cried aloud, "I've just come up from Hell and I'm pleading with you to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, or you'll suffer in Hell for all eternity." Would they listen to his warning? No, of course not. They would soon wrap him up in a strait jacket and haul him off to the nearest insane asylum.
Friend, if you're reading this message today, and you've never been saved by the sovereign grace of God, then I want you to know that you also are hastening on to eternal suffering and separation from God, and that simply means Hell and the ultimate Lake of Fire. Sure, there are a lot of people today who don't like to hear about sin, death, Hell and judgment, but friend, it's in the word of God. So you can hide your head like an ostrich in the sands of unbelief, and you can close your eyes to the truth of God's word, but it will, in no way, detract from these same divine and God-given truths. Yes, there really is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun!
Lord willing, I'll soon begin my 51st year of radio ministry, and I get absolutely no pleasure in speaking about the flames of eternal torment; ah no, my friend, but I must be faithful to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And I must, in love for your soul, warn you that if you reject the love, mercy, and grace of God, as expressed in the sacrifice of His Son, then you'll have to suffer the consequences, eternal suffering and separation from a loving God!
Friend, if the Holy Spirit of God has opened your eyes to your sinful condition in His sight, please don't let this message come to a close without opening your eyes to the salvation provided by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, simply acknowledge before God that you're a lost and Hell-bound sinner. Admit that you can't do a thing to save your own soul; for if you could, then why did Jesus Christ die that agonizing and ignominious death on the cross? Then just look by faith alone, to Calvary's cross, and see the Lord Jesus Christ bearing away your sins in His own body on the tree. Yes, it is simply trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ alone, which is still able to cleanse you from all your sins.
But friend, please don't put it off. Why not? Because there are countless poor souls in Hell today who had expected to get saved "someday", but their "someday" never came. As I've often said, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!" In II Corinthians 6:2 we read, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation." In Proverbs 27:1 we're warned, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." In Hebrews 4:7 we read, "Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Friend, I would remind you of this solemn warning from God in Proverbs 29:1,"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
God gives us another very solemn warning in Deuteronomy 32:29, "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end !" Friend, if today's date was on your tombstone as the date of your death, where would your soul be, up in Heaven, or down in Hell? Well, God wants you to be wise and to consider your latter end, or your eternal destiny. In Proverbs 15:24 we read, "The way of life is above to the wise, that they may depart from Hell beneath."
Well, friend, that's it! What more can I say? You've read the message that God has laid on my heart to present to you today. You are now making a decision that will determine whether you spend eternity in the glories of Heaven, or whether you exist in the sufferings, separation, and in the solitude of Hell. So once more, I plead with you, in love for your soul, and in view of eternity, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour. And if you do that right now, according to God, Who cannot lie, you'll be saved for time, and thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. And remember, my friend, this is for eternity! YES, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY!
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk