I Feel Like I’m Spiritually Dying – Ask Pastor Tim

I Feel Like I’m Spiritually Dying – Ask Pastor Tim
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This is something that I know that James and I encounter on a regular basis. And maybe some of the others of you can relate to dealing
with people like this or even maybe in your own life there’s these kind of wrestlings. From Joseph Foster: “Pastor Tim, I feel like I’m spiritually dying.” In fact, I thought, that’s probably a good name for the study tonight. I feel like I’m spiritually dying. “My desires for God have come and gone, and I don’t know what’s happening. Maybe I committed the unpardonable with my willful sin. I need help, because I can see God in everything except for my life. I know that the gifts and call of God is without repentance, but somehow I feel like He’s done with me. I pray every day and ask the Lord to deliver me or shed light or show me what I must do. Maybe I have some unrepented stuff. I don’t know. All I know is God is silent and I think He left me. Yet, I’m still holding on and praying. I’m the worst ever, and I need help. I don’t know what to do or say to Him. Please, if you could possibly pray for me and maybe pray about it and see what the Lord says to you, I’d appreciate it. I don’t know if I’m even saved, but I heard God call me once. I remember when He delivered me and changed me, but I’ve fallen into somewhere I don’t want to be. I’ve never been in such
a bad place spiritually. I haven’t been a Christian long, but I know the Word.” And obviously, you can see some back and forth here. I don’t know if I’m even saved, and then he says, I remember when He delivered me and changed me. He says I haven’t been a Christian long, but I know the Word. At the same time, he says, I’m in a place where I never wanted to be. I’ve never been in such
a bad place spiritually. I may have committed the unpardonable sin with my willful sin. So, it’s obvious there’s
lots of confusion. “I’ve fallen into somewhere
I don’t want to be. I’ve never been in such
a bad place spiritually. I haven’t been a Christian long,
but I know the Word. Maybe, I don’t know the power of God. I need help. Please.” James, how often do you get something of this nature? James: Every week. Tim: Yeah, when the church phone rang my phone, and when my email address was public information, I got them oftentimes
more than once a week. In fact, some people, once they start calling – do you get that? Some of the same people over and over and over? Like, sometimes even more than once a day. James: I’ve been emailing him for years. Tim: So, this is a guy that you didn’t just get one message from. James: Yeah, and he probably
sent that a year ago. Tim: Probably. And I thought answering this is not just good for him if he happened to listen, but numerous people – for one, you’ve got numerous people that they don’t know if they’re saved. They’re back and forth. Am I in? Am I out? They’ve got things happening in their life that they’re not certain
what to make of it. Am I Christian? Am I not a Christian? They recognize something’s not good. Something’s not right. They recognize God is silent. And on top of that, you have people all the time, and I think it’s a favorite with the devil to really use the unpardonable sin just to paralyze people spiritually. And I know, when we did a full-blown message on the
unpardonable sin one time and I mentioned in there my own testimony that
shortly after I was saved, I came under the grips
of that kind of thing, and God took me through it and just gave me real assurance in my own soul. But, you know, one of the things is James has been dealing with this guy for a long time. And see, the thing about
one paragraph like this is there’s so much that you really need clarity on; there’s so much that you need to talk to somebody about; there’s so much you need to dig into. Because here’s the problem, when people give you
a paragraph like this, the thing is people often – because we kind of have this built-in protection mechanism – people often present things in a way that they are wanting pity. I mean, you see this. You can see this if you’ve got a situation like in a pastoral situation where we’ve got a problem
between two people, and you know, if you
hear one person’s side, you’re going to get a story a lot of times that is very one-sided because you’re getting their side, and it’s going to be that way. And oftentimes, when
you hear it presented, well, it’s presented in a light – they’re going to emphasize the things that they want to emphasize, because there is an agenda here to prove oneself right. Oftentimes, it’s not surprising that people have defense mechanisms up and they want to protect themselves, and they desire to be in the right, and they desire to have pity, and they desire other people to show compassion to them and feel for them. So there’s a sense, when you can present things, and you don’t always get all the details. Sometimes you don’t get some
of the most relevant details, and James, if he just
unfolded with this guy, he could probably tell you things that are not expressed here that are really critical and necessary to try to properly diagnose where a guy like this is at spiritually. But, I think there’s some general things we can say about a situation like this that can be really helpful. Think about what he’s saying. Think about the impression
that you get here. You get the feeling that very often, very often, you get the feeling from people that they are in a situation that if it was in their control, they would not be in. See what I’m saying? You get this sense that they want to be saved, but God’s not saving them. Or they want to have assurance, but God’s not giving it to them. You see, it’s presented in a way: Well, I want this. I want this. I would gladly be converted. I would gladly be a healthy Christian. I would gladly have all this assurance, if it were in my power to do it. If it were up to me,
that’s what I would have. That’s the condition I would be in. I would be a very healthy Christian. I would have assurance. I would be walking well. I would be pleasing the Lord. (Incomplete thought) It’s presented in the way it comes across, they believe that they’re doing everything they can possibly do in order to make things right with God, but God isn’t coming through. And if you didn’t hear that in this, let me emphasize something again. He says this: “Maybe I have some unrepented stuff. I don’t know. All I know is God is silent, and I think He left me. Yet, I’m still holding on…” God left me. I’m holding on. “…and praying. I’m the worst ever and I need help.” Do you see the feeling
that you’re getting? I need help and God’s not helping me. He says, “I don’t know what to do or say to Him.” In other words, I’ve expended myself. I’ve gone to Him for help. I’ve said everything I know how to say. I’ve done everything I know how to do. And He’s not helping me. “Please. If you could
possibly pray for me. Maybe pray about it and see what the Lord says to you. I’d appreciate it.” And so, you see what he’s saying here? He’s saying I’m holding on. I’m praying. You get this idea again that he’s assuming he would gladly make
everything right with God. Brethren, let me tell you. Look, I feel for this guy in this sense. Is there confusion? Yes. Is there frustration? Yes. Is there ignorance? Yes. I mean, to be in the place he is. I feel pity for him. But listen, we need to
listen very carefully when people speak this way. Listen, if anybody says to us; they come across in this way, that I’m doing everything and God won’t save me. I’m willing to be saved. I’m willing to be right. I’m willing to have a
relationship with God. But God is silent. God’s not helping. God’s not coming. You see, you need to be very careful – very careful that you pity an individual like that, and fall into basically putting your arm around them and staring at God like this. You know? What are You doing? Lord, what are You doing? And you can do that. You can do that. You have to be real careful. Because look, the fact is that when you go to Scripture, do you ever find – do you ever find? I was thinking the other day, years ago, years ago, years ago… I saw this Hollywood production – Was it called “The Robe?” Something that was made about some Roman soldier. It was “Ben Hur” or it was
“The Robe” or something. And there was a woman portrayed in the movie who was basically on a stretcher – on a bed – and they were hauling her around. And she said, I asked the Master to heal me and He didn’t. And He told me that it was God’s will that I not be healed. Anybody see that movie? Anybody know what I’m talking about? Maybe it’s probably best you don’t. But I’ve always remembered that, that how dare Hollywood do that! How dare they do that! That is no small thing, because there is no account
like that in the Bible. There is no account of somebody genuinely going to the Lord for help and He turned His back on them. Never. In fact, do you know what you find? Weeping. “How often I would have gathered you, and you would not.” Brethren, we need to be aware of just how God presents
Himself in Scripture. Look, what can happen is you begin to get exposed to accounts like this, and you can begin to suppose because this is how they feel, God is cruel. God is standoffish. God doesn’t want to help me. God is just up there and in all my desperation and all my cries for help, He just ignores me. And that’s not the case. That’s not how we find
the Lord in Scripture. That is not how we find it at all. And I know I’ve brought
this verse up before, but I think it’s worth looking at again. Look at Luke 14. I really dealt strongly with this text when I dealt with hyper-Calvinism. But brethren, we want to think right. Don’t let sinners who claim to be seeking for
God and not find Him – don’t ever let them
change your view of God from a solidly biblical view of God, and from a solidly biblical view of the free offer of the Gospel. Sometimes, we can take sinners just far too much at their word to the place where we
begin to question God. And to the place where
a shadow comes over. Be careful when unconverted people or people like this, who they don’t know if they’re in, they don’t know if they’re out, that they’re doing everything that He requires, and they’re praying, and they’re calling upon Him, and they’re believing,
and they’re trusting, and they’re repenting, but God isn’t doing anything. Because that just isn’t true. Listen, if God hasn’t saved somebody, be certain they have not believed. Be certain. But anyway, Luke 14. Let’s look at this. Verse 16 We need to have this in
our mind all the time. This is such a helpful and balancing text. “He said to him, ‘A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many.'” Notice the invitation. Notice that the people aren’t doing everything that they possibly can do to get into the banquet, and he’s keeping them out. Scripture never paints a picture of a banquet going on in here, and the crowds are
amassed around the house trying to get in at the door. Now once the door’s shut, people try to get in. After it’s too late. But in this day, at this time, in this age of the free
offer of the Gospel, there is never a picture of a closed door. The picture is: you’re invited. There’s never a picture of people gathered at the door saying, please, let us in;
please, let us in. And He’s saying, oh no, no, you can’t come in. That’s not what we find. Remember what Scripture says? The kindness of God is meant to lead us to repentance. Not to harden us. God didn’t give Joseph his meal the day that he wrote this to convince him that He was a cruel God and unwilling to help sinners. Just the opposite. Just the opposite message was sent by the meal he ate that day. You see, the way Scripture
presents it is this: It presents it as here’s this banquet. Here’s this banquet – v. 16. “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.'” But what? They didn’t flock there and then he turned them away. They all alike began to make excuses. “The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field. I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.'” You see, it’s not God turning them away. It’s them making excuses and running away. That’s what we have to see. And look, if somebody comes along and they’re questioning whether they are even saved at all, they put God in a bad light. Brethren, be careful that
you don’t take sinners – unconverted sinners – too much at their word as far as the picture they paint of an unwilling God to save. Don’t go there. Because you know what? Lost people are in the
power of the evil one. Lost people are deceived. Lost people do not have proper views of God. Be careful that you don’t
buy into that view. Because what God does is He shows Himself in Scripture very willing to save. And He sends His Son into this world to actually even look at a city of His rejectors and weep tears, and say how often I
would have gathered you, as a hen gathers her chicks, and you would not. You would not. Not, I would not. You would not. That’s how God communicated to this world. That’s the kind of Messiah
He sent into this world. “They all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I bought a field. I
must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ Another said, ‘I bought five yoke of oxen and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ Another said, ‘I’ve married a wife and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the
house became angry.” Why? Is He angry at a bunch of people that want to be saved and are standing at the door trying to get in to the banquet? But He’s angry because
He didn’t elect them? Nothing like that. He’s angry because the
invitation was free; it was full; and they refused it. Sinners on judgment day will not talk like this. They won’t talk like this. Look, I know there’s confusion here. But, did you hear? He said maybe I committed the unpardonable with my willful sin. Do you know what he’s acknowledging here? Willful sin. Do you know what Scripture says? Can you think of
anywhere in the Scriptures that it speaks about willful sin? Two texts come right to my mind. Can you think of one? Hebrews 10:26. Let’s turn there. Keep your finger here because we
need to finish out this account. See, he’s acknowledging
that he has had light. He’s acknowledging that he has been exposed to the Gospel it would seem. He’s acknowledging that he even believes he was exposed to so much that he thinks he may have been saved. He says, “I haven’t been a Christian long, but I know the Word.” I know the Word. And yet, he admits willful sin here. Hebrews 10:26 “If we go on sinning deliberately (or willfully) after receiving the
knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains
a sacrifice for sins.” Let me tell you something
else you don’t want to do. You don’t want to come to people like this and assure them that
everything’s going to be ok. Or even assure them that
everything is presently ok. In other words, you don’t have to worry. You haven’t committed
the unpardonable sin. You haven’t gone too far. You haven’t been overly willful and tread upon the blood of Jesus Christ. You can’t tell people that. Because you know what? There are such things in Scripture, and when you know the Word and you’ve been exposed to the truth, and you go on in willful sin, that is extremely dangerous. And you don’t want
to tell people it’s not. You don’t want to tell
people at all that it’s not. Anyway, back to Luke 14. “Another said, ‘I have married a wife (v. 20) and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported
these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city. Bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame. And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you’ve commanded has been done. Still there is room.’ The master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges…'” Spurgeon preached a tremendous message on this text called,
“Compel Them to Come In.” Notice this. Notice what the master is saying. “Compel people to come in that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.” But it’s not because they got invited and then they desperately wanted to come and were turned away. It was only because
when the invitation came, they thought there were better things than the banquet. See, there’s only one thing that prevents people from coming to the banquet. It’s clearly that they loved other things more than the banquet. They were more important. You know, one of the things is we have to be honest. He’s obviously a young guy using “IDK.” That “IDK” shows up a lot of times here. I don’t know. I don’t know.
I don’t know. I don’t know. You know what? You need to know. You need to know. Can I tell you something? Blind Bartimaeus is a great picture. Why? Why do I say that? Jesus came passing by
on His way to Jericho. Blind Bartimaeus – what did he do? He heard the throng of people going by. That’s Jesus. Jesus, Son of David. What did he do? What did blind Bartimaeus do? He cried out! What did the crowd do? James: Rebuked him.
Telling him to be silent. Tim: Shut up! Hold your tongue! What did he do? He kept going. You know why? Two realities gripped that man. Be sure of it. I’m blind. And my only hope is Christ. You see, you don’t yell like that until there’s a proper assessment of who you are, what your condition is, and who He is and that your only hope is found there. That is key. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. You know what? You do need to know. We need to be honest with ourselves. You know what, no sinner ever gets saved until they come face to face with what they are. Why do sinners flee to Christ? Because they come to recognize like blind Bartimaeus, “Lord…” I mean, they’re
not going to give up. I can remember that night when I cried out. I mean, I saw what I was. And He was my only hope and my only help. We do need to know. Because you remember what Jesus said. He said the doctor comes for the sick. See, if you waffle around. Sometimes the thing with people who they don’t know if
they’re saved or lost, the real issue is: they don’t know if
they’re a sinner or not. That’s the real issue. That’s the real issue. Well, I don’t know if I’m
really that bad or not. See, blind Bartimaeus was not waffling about his blindness. He knew. He knew. We need to know. We need to do serious and honest spiritual evaluation. We really do. Because you know what? Nobody, until they recognize, I’m blind. You see those people in Scripture. It was desperation. The woman – she had that issue of blood. “I’ve got to get to Him.” That’s the one thing that occupied her. Versus what? Luke 14 What were they occupied with? A bunch of other things. Bunches of other things. There’s one thing that keeps those people. It’s their idols. It’s their sin. It’s when you love that ox, that team of oxen; it’s when when you love that wife, that land more than the banquet. Your heart is pulled after other things. But they don’t recognize, because when you get to the place where Bartimaeus is, you know what? Oh, remember those words? Remember when the invitation came to him? Remember when the invitation to the banquet came to him? “He’s calling you.” Did you have that looked up? Do you have Mark’s account? Listen when they call him. Read what happens when they call him. “And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart. Get up. He is calling you.’ Throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.” Listen to that. “Jesus said to him, ‘what do you want Me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to Him, ‘Rabbi, let me recover my sight.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way. Your faith
has made you well.’ And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.” Don’t you love that? (Incomplete thought) That was the invitation. Call him. He’s calling you. That’s exactly Luke 14. Go call them. The Master’s calling you. Remember, there was a master there? The invitation went out. The Master’s calling you. Do you know why the wife, the field, the oxen? Because you don’t really know who you are and how bad you need that. You see, that’s the issue. Brethren, we have to know. I don’t know. What? I don’t know if I’m sick. I don’t know where I’m at. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. Brethren, the thing that
you find in Scripture – that leper that went to Christ, he knew he was a leper. The blind man that went to Christ, he knew he was blind. That Syropheonician woman knew her daughter had a demon. The man down there at the bottom of the Mount of Transfiguration knew his son had a demon. People in Scripture – they knew. They knew they had a problem. They knew – my daughter is sick. I’ve got an issue of blood. They knew it. And I’ve got to get to Christ. Brethren, there’s only one
way to come to Him. And that is desperate, and that is helpless, and that is broken, and that is seeing in Him our only help and our only hope. “I feel like I’m spiritually dying.” That’s what he said. But you know what, we have to step back and we have to say, well, is there not a cause? I mean, is there not a cause? We have to ask ourselves that even if we’re in a place where we’re solidly
grounded as Christians. If we start getting into a cold state, a backslidden state, some kind of spiritual declension, we need to ask ourselves this. Is there not a cause? Did I not get here some way? Brethren, we have to be honest. We really have to be honest with the state of our own souls. You know the people that run to Christ? The ones that look up and recognize I don’t have anything to offer. I’m poor. I don’t have any righteousness. Lord, I’m guilty. I’m guilty. That’s where I was. I don’t have any righteousness. And I don’t have any hope other than in Him. I am hellbound and I’m going there and I deserve to go there. And if Christ doesn’t save me, there’s no hope. And I cried out. You see, when you get to the place where you do know you’re a leper; you do know Lazarus is dead in that grave; you do know you’re blind. When you do know your daughter has a demon. You’re not ignorant. You’re not playing games. Because you know what? A lot of times when we say we don’t know, it’s a mask. Because the fact is we do know. This statement here, “Maybe I have some unrepented stuff. I don’t know.” That’s not true. You do know. (Incomplete thought) Look, I’m not talking about looking under rocks for stuff. We’re sinners. We’re sinners by nature. We’ve done things in our life and we have idols and we’re wrecked in ways we do know. I mean, you know, the truth is if this guy even is a genuine Christian – if he is after all this – or if you are, brethren, if we begin to go into a place where we find ourselves spiritually dying, the way out is honesty. Because you know, the only way you get
saved in the first place is honesty. I’m a sinner. You see, that was the tax collector. God, be merciful to me, the sinner. God doesn’t save the righteous. He never has. He doesn’t save those who are well. And you know how any sinner who really gets saved, gets saved in the beginning? They come desperate.
They come broken. They come bankrupt.
They come guilty. They come vile.
They come filthy. They come a sinner to a Savior. And you know, the thing is, if we begin to fall into some kind of spiritual lethargy, in the same way we came honest in the beginning, we need to come again. Lord, the truth is, I do have things in my life
I need to confess to You, and I need to repent of. And we do know. We know. It’s just a matter of being honest. If we really think, if we really think… we do know. Brethren, no concealment. No concealment. If we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive. I really believe there’s so much in 1 John 1 about fellowship and that relationship. It’s true when we come at first and it’s true in maintaining that relationship with God. You cannot be hiding things. No concealment. There needs to be honesty. We can’t be compromised. Unreserved openness. We talked about, Sunday, with open face. We need to deal with God with an unveiled, open face. Open hearts before Him. We go to Christ as sinners. Once we’re saved, we go to Him as we really are. And brethren, the thing is, it’s the same whether
we go to Christ at first or whether we go to Him now. The truth is that we go to Him to receive. He doesn’t want anything. That’s what He says. The water of life without price. But you know the same thing goes in the Christian life. Yes, He expects us as Christians to be living the righteous life, but it’s still abiding in Christ. He supplies all of our needs. He supplies through His riches. It doesn’t come from us.
It doesn’t originate with us. There’s no starting point with us. We’re not the source. We’re not the originator of anything we need to live this life. And we can lose sight of that as we walk in this Christian life. We can lose sight of the fact that we are just as dependent on God now as we were at the very beginning. And if we become careless and negligent of that reality, we become self-sufficient; we become independent. And look, we need to be honest. Don’t conceal anything. And he’s admitting willful sin. And then he says maybe I have things that I need to repent of – I don’t know. That’s the kind of attitude that’s going to leave you in a condition like this. I mean, look, when you recognize, I’m just like blind Bartimaeus. Unless the Son of David comes to me and answers my cry, there’s no help. And so what do you do? When you really recognize you’re blind and when you really recognize
He’s your only help and there is no other, you are going to cry in desperation until He says, “Call him.” “Come.” And then what do you do? You throw off the garment and you run! Why? Because you really saw what you are. And you really saw that
He is your only hope. He says here, “I feel like He’s done with me.” Well, I don’t know that
and he doesn’t know that. But I can tell you this, Jesus Christ is the only Savior of sinners and there is no other hope this guy has. What are we going to say? If we feel this way, or if somebody else feels this way, what are we going to say? So, ok, you feel like God’s done with you. What? Should you assume He is? And just be content to go to hell? I wouldn’t advise that. I wouldn’t advise anybody to take that. If I’m sitting there
like blind Bartimaeus, might I say to Christ, I’m bad. I’m real bad. I’m so bad that I don’t know
if there’s any hope for me. But, He’s the Savior and if
anybody’s going to help me; if anybody’s going to provide
hope for me it’s Him. Lord, help me. Help somebody that’s committed
the unpardonable sin, because I want to be saved! Anyway, brethren, you guys understand, saving faith is not
believing you’re saved. That’s assurance. Saving faith is like blind Bartimaeus where you recognize, He is my only hope. And I’m trusting Him. I’m trusting Him to save sinners as He shows in His Word that He will for those who trust Him. Faith believes, not that I’m saved; faith believes in the Person and the work of Christ, and that that alone is my hope and it satisfied God. My only hope. Anyway, I think my primary reason for bringing this up is that we want to be careful, brethren, that we don’t think wrongly of God when we find sinners struggling, and assuming and wanting to convince you that they’re doing
everything in their power and that they’re actually responding in a biblical manner, and God wants nothing to do with them. Don’t fall for that. Don’t fall for that. Listen, those who do not
want to give up their sins, typically find the Gospel
very difficult to understand, and typically find fault with God for not saving them on their terms. People that are scared to death of hell, but love their sin, they will tell you stories that will cast a shadow
over God’s character. Beware. And the reason they will is because they want to get to heaven holding their sins, and God won’t save them because they want to skip hell and hold on to the sin
they so dearly love. And you see, that is precisely the thing and the only thing that keeps men and women from responding to the invitation. They love their stuff. They love their sin. And you know, you can imagine the guy. You can imagine the guy, right? That went to see his oxen? Once he comes to recognize, you know, ok, I’ve checked them out now. I might like to get into the banquet. Now, God’s going to keep me out? Yeah, be careful. Scripture says that if you hear the fullness of this truth; you hear about the blood of Christ, and you go on willfully sinning, you may find that the Master is angry and you’ll never get in. Be very careful.
Be very careful. Brethren, the big thing
that I want to stress in situations like this is we want to stand for
the character of God. And in Scripture, God sent His Son into this world to shed tears over His rejectors, and to shed tears and to exclaim with great pathos that I would have gathered you. I would have gathered you and you would not. See, that is the character of the God that we find in Scripture. Anybody want to add anything to that? James: We could maybe just give a thought, you mentioned a couple times: Come to Christ broken, and constant response to that is then they look inwardly and think, am I broken enough? Tim: Yes, and that’s so good. I was just reading
Lloyd-Jones the other day, and he said this: He said there was a day when the term repentance communicated weakness. What a saying. What a thing to say. Today, I get this distinct feeling when we talk about repentance, it doesn’t make people think of weakness. It makes people think of
something they need to do in order to get God’s attention or to get on God’s right side or to twist His arm. But you see, the very
nature of saving faith and the very nature of true repentance – it’s blind Bartimaeus. It’s, “Lord, I don’t have
anything to offer.” You see, that’s what repentance is. The idea of repentance is this idea that remember, we talked about this, it’s re-thinking, but more than that, that Greek term metanoia has to do with changing your mind. What happens? Well, basically, we’re going along and we’re thinking we’re pretty good. We think we’re not blind. We think we have strength. We think we have something to offer God. We really think – we heard
it today at the funeral – people assume that they’re good. Blind Bartimaeus was in a position where there was no assumption that he had sight. You see, repentance is really a mindset that Christ is mighty and I don’t have anything to offer. And then saving faith is beholding, that’s trusting Christ. That’s seeing the reality of Him. That’s hearing this One can restore sight; this One can cure the leper; this One has raised the palsied; He’s raised the dead;
He’s calmed the storm. Ah, that’s what I need. And so it’s not so much, oh, what can I do so that I can get to heaven? All it’s about is in my desperation and my emptiness and my bankruptcy, I just have to get ahold of Him. I have to get His attention. That’s blind Bartimaeus. He cried out. People told him to shut up. But he wasn’t going to shut up. Why? Because his mind had been changed. He knew. There may have been a day when Jesus didn’t mean anything to him. There may have been a day when he had no idea about Jesus having that ability, but somewhere along the line he came to learn about this Savior. He came to learn about this One: He can heal. Word came to him. And you remember, that was the very thing that Jesus said to those cities where most of
His mighty works were done. He faulted them for not having repented after He did those mighty works. Well, here’s Bartimaeus. And he caught wind of those works. And something happened in his mind and something happened in his thinking, and he wasn’t thinking, oh, how can I produce a repentance that is somehow going to
work out God’s favor here. You see, the whole idea of repentance is weakness. Real repentance brings us to a mindset of weakness; not of strength. And he recognized, I can’t do a thing to restore my own sight. But if I can just cry out to Him, He is my only hope. The cry doesn’t save me. It’s the cry to Him. I’ve got to get to Him. He’s my only hope. Oh, think about when he heard those words: “He’s calling you.” He threw off his cloak. Think about that. Blind men don’t throw off their cloak. Blind men are going to keep in contact with the stuff that is precious to them, and I guarantee you a blind man would have valued his cloak. He threw it off because it
didn’t matter anymore. Because it wasn’t like the wife or the oxen or the field. It didn’t matter. He’s calling me and He’s my only hope. And if I can get to Him, I don’t care about anything else. I’ve got to get to Him. I don’t care. People that talk like this guy talks, and then if you were to take a snapshot of their life and see them
surfing the Internet, and see them spending hours on video games and see them watching smut on TV. See, when you know He’s my only hope, and I’m sick and I’m blind and I’m bankrupt and I’m in trouble and I’m guilty and I’m a sinner before God and I’m going to hell – you will cry out. Bartimaeus did not all of a sudden decide that he was going to go over to the other side of Jericho and beg for awhile and then he would worry
about finding Jesus later. When you come to the realization, when you do a proper spiritual inventory and you recognize, I am lost and I’m going to hell and I am under God’s wrath, and it is not well with my soul, and I’m going to perish, and I need Christ. He is my only hope and my only help. That’s it. (Incomplete thought) If you’re here in that condition, throw off the cloak and run. But the throwing off of the cloak and the running don’t do you anything, don’t look at that. Can you imagine him? He threw off those things. Can you imagine him? Can you imagine watching, here’s a blind man. He had some idea of the direction that Jesus was in. He might have heard Jesus even. I don’t know, but he took off. Can you imagine a blind man just running? It’s like he didn’t care. His one thought: I’ve got to get to Christ. Get to Christ. I’ve got to get to Christ. And his life proved it. What he did proved the
nature of that repentance and of that faith. Yeah, such a question, it would be so ridiculous to Bartimaeus. Are you blind enough? Do you sense your blindness enough? Obviously, he was blind enough. And obviously, he did sense his blindness. But his focus was on that reality, that I’ve got to get to Christ. I’ve got to get to Christ. Anybody have anything else? Father, Father, we know that You save sinners. Lord, we know that from beginning to end, we don’t love first. You love first. We don’t call first. You call first. We don’t see first. You see first. Being saved does not originate in our own minds. Being able to behold the reality of our only hope being in Christ. We even read about this on Sunday. There’s a veil. We recognize that the god of this world blinds the eyes of unbelievers and those that are perishing. Lord, have mercy and save sinners. Lord, please, in this day, bring sweeping – Lord, sweeping salvation to multitudes, we pray, Lord, may this be a day of salvation. May today be the day of salvation. Lord, would You have mercy upon the masses of humanity in our country. Lord, I pray for Joseph. Lord, I pray. I pray for him. Lord, there’s no sinner beyond Your reach. We just pray that You’d have mercy. We pray, Lord, have mercy upon sinners, just like him. Just like we were; maybe some of us are. Mercy, Lord. We pray for mercy. Aside from Your mercy, aside from Your compassion – Lord, You sent Your Son. And we see His tears by faith as articulated there for us in Luke 19. We see those tears. Lord, may the reality of those tears be demonstrated in our presence in this generation, by You sweeping many into the Kingdom. We pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.

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