The Eyes of the Heart

Bible Book: Ephesians  1
Subject: Graduation; Baccalaureate; Faithfulness; Heart, The
[Editor's Note: Though I prepared this sermon for graduates, it can be adapted to fit any and every group in a congregation. I trust it will be useful to you as you prepare to preach God's Word.]
Introduction

Does your heart acutally have eyes? Shoes have eyes, needles have eyes, and even a hurricane has an eye; but I did not know that my heart had eyes until God told me. The prayer of Paul was that we might have the eyes of our hearts opened (enlightened). Yes, you have eyes in your heart. These eyes are just as important as, or more important than, the anatomical instruments of vision with which you view the physical world. The eyes of the heart are for seeing deeper, wider and much further than your physical eyes can possibly see.

We live in a world where heart‑vision has largely been lost. Look at the people in the news who surely started out with proper ambition and worthwhile motives but who became misguided somewhere along the way and now are paying dearly for it. There is no need to name names in this message, but each one of us can think of people on an international, national or personal scale who apparently closed the eyes of their hearts and fell from lofty positions.

Training, education, equipment and enthusiasm are not enough to assure victory in living. Bob Zuppler was a great football coach at the University of Illinois and a contemporary of the great Knute Rockne. Once he gave his team a tremendous halftime speech, after which he pointed to a door leading from the locker room and told them to go through that door and win the game in the second half. As one man the team rose, ran through the door and fell into the indoor swimming pool of the school. Zuppler pointed at the wrong door, and the team ran forward without watching where they were going. You see, we must be careful when listening to someone and we must always keep the eyes of our hearts open!

As you graduate from High School in a few days, you will go forth into a new arena of life. Some of you have high goals and great ambitions. Even those whose goals may seem a little less ambitious have a hope of success and happiness. Some of you really want to serve God and others with your lives and is a worthy duet of purposes! But waiting out there before you as you seek to fulfill your goals are many pits and stumbling stones. How can you go through the maze of life and not fall into one of the many traps that Satan will set for you along the way? You must have the eyes of your hearts opened and that is what I want to talk to you about today.

I. That You May Know (See) the Person of God

A mother overheard her teenage son praying, "Good-bye God, I'm going to college." Far too many church-going young people seem to have this attitude after high school graduation. It is our prayer today that you may keep the eyes of your heart open so that you can see that God is real, that He is near, and that He loves you. In reality, no matter where you go, God is there. He is the unchanging Lord.

Lloyd Douglas tells of going to see a famous old man who taught violin lessons. He asked the teacher, "What is the good news today?" The old man picked up a tuning fork and stuck it with a padded mallet and a beautiful note filled the room. The old man said, "You hear that? That is an A note. It was an A note yesterday. It will be an A note tomorrow. It is unchanging. That is the good news!"

Let me remind you that your Savior Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Do not close the eyes of your heart to Him. Stay close to Him, for to do otherwise is to bring great sorrow on your life and future.

A father once told a boy to drive a nail in a board every time he did something for which he had to be corrected. He also told him to pull out a nail every time he did something for which he was commended. Soon the board had several nails in it representing his mistakes. The lad got busy and won the commendation of father, mother, teachers and others. He proudly began to pull out the nails from the board. His dad came to him and said, "Son, I see there are no nails in the board. You have done well. But, son, what are those holes left in the board?" The boy replied, "Why, father, they are the holes left by the nails when they were removed." The father said, "Yes, son, and that is the way it is with sin. You do things that displease God and they can be forgiven. Jesus died so that you could know His forgiveness. But, son, God's forgiveness does not remove the consequences of your sins. The holes of pain and hardship may well be left in your life and in the lives of others for your sins. Be careful, son, to be true to God in your life."

As you go off to college you may think that you can do whatever you want. After all, God will forgive you. Believe me, the sorrows that will come on your life and those you hurt may never end in your entire lifetime. Be careful to keep your eyes open to the Lord who loves and will keep you from many days of anguish.

II. That You May Know (See) the Purpose of God

A young man, valedictorian of his graduating class at an Ivy League college, stunned the entire student body at commencement. He stated, "I have been at this university four years. I have studied my courses; I have done all I could. But in these four years I have not found out what life is all about. I don't know why I am here. I don't know why I exist and if anybody knows, I wish you would please come and tell me."

The greatest awareness in this world is to know the purpose for your existence. That purpose is only known in Christ!

There is statue in Washington, D.C. of the doctor who discovered sulfur ether. Upon the base of the statue you will find the words: "To me, my work was a ministry to God". Oh, that it might be so of us all.

For that to be true, the call from above must be heard. A mother bird built her nest very close to the ground. Soon little eggs appeared in the nest. Then little birds came with their youthful chirping. Then a snake came and devoured the little birds. That is what happens when you build your nest too close to the ground.

President Woodrow Wilson said, "Our civilization cannot be redeemed materially unless it is redeemed spiritually."

Find God's plan for you. Don't just do what everyone else is doing. Someone said, "Every person is born an original and dies a copy." That simply means that we listen to our society until we become just like everyone else ‑ especially in terms of the mistakes we make. Listen to God! Find His unquestioned plan for your life and live it!

I have never known a man or woman who regretted living a life of total devotion to God, but I have met many who told me through bitter tears of the sorrow of sadness of having thrown away the one life God had given them for sinful pleasures and worthless worldly pursuits. Just a few years ago a man called me to his home. He was successful, had plenty of money and looked to everyone who knew him as a man to be admired. He wept and told me of the days of his youth when God tried to speak to him. He shared how he pushed God away because he wanted to have fun and promised God that he would turn around and come to Him later. He sobbed as he told me that he had wasted his life. He knew he could not go back and be what God desired him to be. That story is repeated again and again. Don’t become a part of that weeping crowd who throw away the chance of serving God faithfully.

III. That You May Know (See) the Power of God

There is a power available to help one realize life's purpose. This power is the same as that which raised Jesus from the dead. This is a Spiritual power available only to Christians, and it is available to all Christians who will avail themselves to it.

Margaret Sangster reportedly told a story to a large gathering of people many years ago. She worked in an inner city day school. A little boy with a twisted body, hand and right leg was in that school. With the help of a doctor and banker she got him operations which helped him to walk, run and play. She asked the group if they could guess where he was at that very moment. Some guessed he was a doctor, a lawyer, or maybe a preacher. She told that he was in prison for a heinous crime. She said, "We taught him how to walk, but not where to walk."

My dear young people, you graduates with all of life before you, only God can give you power to walk where you are supposed to walk! Keep the eyes of your heart on the Lord and follow His will for your lives!

Bud was a faithful Christian. One day at work Bud told another man that he would pray for him because of his awful language. The cursing man told Bud that he did not need his prayers. A few days later the vile man had an accident. His supervisor asked if there was anything he could do for him. "Yes," the man said, "please ask Bud to pray for me."

Paul was praying a great prayer for the Ephesians, and for you and me. Oh, that we might have our eyes opened to see the Lord, love the Lord and follow the Lord all our days. That is my prayer for you as graduates, and for all of us as we live out our witness to Him in this world.

Conclusion

In 1984 a woman in Bogota, Columbia, rushed her 10 year old son to the hospital because he had severe dysentery. She left him overnight and went back the next morning to take him home. She noticed that his head was bandaged and there were specks of dried blood on the bandages. She asked what had happened and was told that her son was dying and she needed to take him home. She quickly took him to another hospital where they removed the bandages to reveal that both of his eyes were missing. The doctors at the second hospital explained to the mother that the boy’s eyes had been removed and sold to an underground system which supplied them to an illegal cornea trade. His eyes had literally been taken from his head.

Don’t let pleasure, pride, power, position and the influence of peers strip you of the eyes of your heart. Don't be blinded by the dazzle of the world. Turn your eyes upon Jesus! If you don’t know Him, you can know Him starting at this very moment. For those of you who are Christians, make a new commitment to keep the eyes of your hearts upon the one who saved you and will guide you through all of life until you see Him at last in the home He has prepared for you.