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Seeing With Christ's Eyes

2Corinthians: Paul Most Underappreciated Epistle

Mar 10, 2019

by: Jack Lash Series: 2Corinthians: Paul Most Underappreciated Epistle | Category: NT books | Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:16–5:16
I. Introduction
 A. 2Corinthians 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
 B. Meaning of flesh — the old man: our unredeemed humanity
  1. Gal.5:17 The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
 C. Here Jesus is subtly criticizing the false apostles, and defending himself. They are viewing him according to the flesh, not according to Christ. He’s hoping this will dawn on the other Corinthians.
II.  From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh (5:16a). 
 A. Because we no longer live by the flesh ("for ourselves"), we no longer view other people according to the old, fleshly perspective.
 B. The implication here is that now we regard people according to Christ.
 C. Let’s take a few examples of how Christ transforms the way we view people:
  1. How does the nonbeliever look according to Christ? It is easy to view them with disgust or envy, when we view them according to the flesh. But the way Christ calls us to view them is that they are made not just of earth, but of heaven too. And they desperately need to know the love of Christ – just like us!
  2. How does the Christian look according to Christ? In the flesh, we view fellow Christians maybe as worldly or legalistic or shallow or smart, etc. But Christ wants us to view other Christians as the precious objects of His tender affection – His beloved ones who, though imperfect and constantly in need of the grace of God, are on their way to the presence of Christ in glory where we will share sweet fellowship with them forevermore.
   a. How differently Christ sees His people from the way the world sees them!
    (1) The world may think the people of Christ are the scum of the earth – 2Cor.4:13.
    (2) But God says they are the apple of His eye – Psalm 17:8, Proverbs 7:2, Zechariah 2:8.
    (3) And that the world is not worthy of them – Heb.11:38.
    (4) Hidden treasure in a field parable – Matt.13:44
   b. God’s little ones are the reason the world exists! They’re the reason everything happens! (Rom.8:28) Even the wicked are raised up for the purpose of making known the riches of God’s glory to the vessels of His mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory. (Rom.9:23)
   c. When we view believers according to Christ, there should be a little awe involved.
   d. The fleshly mind may be in awe of Tom Cruise. The spiritual mind is in awe of Tom Hines.
    (1) Johnnie Depp, Jonny Poe, Elon Musk, Katy Perry
   e. Jesus was the most loved and the most hated person in history. And His followers, those who are being made more and more like Him, will be characterized by the same — they will be greatly loved, and they will be bitterly despised as well.
  3. How does one’s spouse look according to Christ? It is easy to view one’s spouse as boring, as unlovable, even with bitterness or disrespect. However, our Lord desires that we view our spouse as the one He has graciously and perfectly fashioned for our companionship and sanctification. A husband is a picture of Christ for us to revere and obey. A wife is a God-given opportunity to show how Christ loves and sacrifices Himself for His bride, the Church.
  4. How do our civil authorities look according to Christ? There is nothing more natural than to have a fleshly attitude those in authority over us – to grumble, to resist, to resent. But Jesus calls us to view them as ones He has put over us for our good. We are to honor them in their God-given role. We are to appreciate the good things they do for us and pray for them as our leaders.
  5. How should I view MYSELF according to Christ and not according to the flesh? It’s easy to view ourselves according to the flesh. Some view themselves with pride and a sense of superiority, and others as useless worms.
   a. Some people view others with suspicion, maybe even claiming it is a result of the doctrine of sin. But they often don’t extend that view of sin to themselves. They are quick to trust themselves; they just refuse to trust others.
   b. Others take the worm approach. “I am a worm and not a man.” – Psalm 22:6 (what others say)
   c. Some fluctuate between the two.
   d. But God wants us to see ourselves according to Christ: as wicked sinners, yes, but beloved and redeemed by the Lamb, and destined for glory with Him.
 D. Coming to Christ involves surrendering to Him all of our evaluations of people. We no longer rely on our intuition or our first impressions or our past experience or the way we feel inside. Christ guides us in our understanding of people.
  1. We’re not allowed to think of people however we like to think of people. We’re not allowed to dislike someone just because we dislike them.
  2. We don’t just have new love for people when we receive Christ’s new life. We are also transformed in the way we view people.
III. No longer regarding Christ according to the flesh (5:16b)
 A. Paul remembers the time when his view of Christ was according to the flesh. (And it’s not a pretty story – see Acts 8:1-3; 22:4, 19; 26:10-11; Gal.1:13.)
 B. Before He was a Christian, Paul regarded Christ according to the flesh, but then he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and the scales fell from his eyes and the way he viewed Jesus changed suddenly and radically.
 C. When someone asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He was not content to give only one. But here the order is switched.
 D. You see, when people operate by the flesh (i.e. and that’s what we are when we are left to ourselves), no one seeks after God (Rom.3:11). By nature man hates Christ (John 15:18-25). In their sin, people see the friend of sinners as their great enemy. They see the great deliverer as a great enslaver. They see the great healer as a great poisoner of life.
 E. Unless their hearts are changed by the Spirit, people’s hearts are bent against the Lord.
  1. This includes very smart people. It includes scientists. It includes historians.
  2. They may be very objective and scientific when it comes to earthly things, but when it comes to the question of who Christ is, they are just like every other unredeemed sinner.
  3. "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (Romans 8:6-8)
  4. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." (John 6:44, 65)
  5. "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing." (John 6:63)
 F. This is why wherever Jesus went, people were divided into two distinct groups, those who saw Him for who He was, and those who only saw Him according to the flesh:
  1. John 7:12 There was much grumbling among the multitudes concerning Him; some were saying, "He is a good man"; others were saying, "No, on the contrary, He leads the multitude astray."
  2. John 7:40-44 {Some} of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." Others were saying, "This is the Christ." Still others were saying, "Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" So there arose a division in the multitude because of Him. And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him.
  3. John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees were saying, "This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." But others were saying, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And there was a division among them.
  4. John 10:19-21 There arose a division again because of these words. And many of them were saying, "He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?" Others were saying, "These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?"
 G. This is one reason why the same sermon, the same lecture, the same book, the same worship service is often loved and enjoyed by one person while another person can barely endure it – because one is fascinated by the Subject of the presentation, and another just doesn’t see the magic.
 H. Who is Jesus Christ? That is the biggest question facing mankind.
  1. But people can’t answer it correctly unless the Lord transforms the heart and opens the eyes.
  2. He opens our eyes to see that He is not our enemy but the greatest friend we could ever have.
 I. Who do YOU think He is?
  1. Maybe you see Him as a harsh taskmaster, as a result of your childhood.
  2. Maybe from stained-glass windows you saw Him as a super-religious guy in strange clothes doing strange things like putting His hands on people and raising His hands up.
  3. Master of boringness – Just because all your friends think He’s boring doesn’t mean He is.
 J. Worship and worthship
  1. Antique/art hunting
  2. Harold OJ Brown in SS
 K. 2Cor.3:18 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.
  1. Unveiled face
IV. Conclusion
 A. The greatest two commandments.
  1. You’ve got to see the Lord before you can love Him.
  2. You’ve got to see them right before you can love them.
 B. Revelation 3:17–18 You say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing,” not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.