Perceptions Versus Reality

0814103

By John Thiel

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

Jesus is all we are needing.  We know that our strength is weakness unless we behold him. Humanity in its fallen state prides itself in its perceptive qualities.  Perception, what does it really mean?  To perceive.  To be perceptive, to have perception.  These are words describing a personal ability to discern, to be able to see and understand.  It has to do with discernment, awareness, discrimination.  All these words are dependable upon human sense your eyes, and ears.  Your faculties of mind.  We often say I sensed something, I felt an atmosphere and I perceived it was because of this and that under the backdrop of egocentricism.  We fall into the dilemma of vying with one another’s perceptive qualities.  We esteem our personal perceptive qualities in advance of others.  We fall into this trap that I understand that this person doesn’t seem to understand.  My perceptive qualities are very advanced.  It’s our purpose to explore the revelations of God’s word to place human perceptions in their rightful estimation. Are perceptions necessarily reality?  Can I rely upon my perceptions and know with certainty that they are correct and they are the reality?

To illustrate we will identify a few perception scenarios whether we can trust our perceptions.  There are conscientious cooks who provide a meal, when the one who receives them is satisfied.  The cook will say eat more, the person says, I’ve had enough.  What perception has just been made?  That person has made a perception that the person didn’t like their food. Perceptions are interpreted.  Scientists around us today rely upon their perceptions.  They look into space and judge everything they read from space from their personal perceptions and they have such a sound idea.  They think of the truth of what happens our in the starry space.  They teach you, this is reality and it sounds very convincing.  When you think about it, it’s their own perceptions. It’s the things they interpreted of what they see in space.  We know they are wrong in their conclusions and assertions because we rely not on our perceptions but on revelation.  There was another man who relied upon his perceptions.  He was a very intelligent man who relied upon his perceptions.  He was like all the Jews in the time and the disciples.  He relied on his perceptions where from misreading scripture.  They belied the messiah would come as a king and release them from roman captivity.  They acted according to the those perceptions.  Judas really acted on those perceptions.

The case of Judas has been presented to me as a lesson for all. Judas was with Christ through the entire period of the Saviour’s public ministry. He had all that Christ could give him. Had he used his capabilities with earnest diligence, he could have accumulated talents. Had he sought to be a blessing, instead of a questioning, criticizing, selfish man, the Lord would have used him to advance His kingdom. But Judas was a speculator. He thought that he could manage the finances of the church, and by his sharpness in business get gain. He was divided in heart. He loved the praise of the world. He refused to give up the world for Christ. He never committed his eternal interests to Christ. He had a superficial religion, and therefore he speculated upon his Master and betrayed Him to the priests, being fully persuaded that Christ would not allow Himself to be taken.  {5BC 1101.7}

But Judas was a speculator.  What did he speculate?  He thought that he could manage the finances of the church and by his sharpness in business get gain.  He used his faculties, his perceptions, he was divided in heart.  He was divided in heart, he refused to give up the world.  Notice what he did.  He had a superficial religion and speculates on his master. What was his perception?  His perception was that Jesus was the son of God that he was the all-powerful God and he was going to be king over Israel and he is just playing a game of being very humble.  His perceptions caused his death.  They were derived from a false sense of direction that he had.

But when the conscience is guided by human perceptions, which are not subdued and softened by the grace of Christ, the mind is in a diseased condition. Things are not seen in their true bearings. The imagination is wrought upon, and the eye of the mind sees things in a false, distorted light.  {1MCP 323.2}

That’s what our message is about this morning. Perceptions verse reality.  Remember what we read in our scripture reading.

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

The understanding , the perceptions will be correct.  But if that same eye be not single, your perceptions are darkness and that is the condition of our fallen state.  How very important it is to heed the words;

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.

It seems right, it’s in the perception of the man.  That way does appear to be right.  Judas was convinced that Jesus would not permit himself to be crucified.  We all when we come face to face with certain circumstances of life that we are right and being blessed by the Lord.  Didn’t the disciples?  Their perceptions were not to be trusted and neither are mine or yours.   How are we to heed this?

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Here are lifesaving pointers in the word of God.  This message is perhaps one of the most important messages that we will ever hear and think about.  Sometimes our perceptions are so easily false and not reality. Is this an important Scripture.  Life and death.  If we follow our perceptions, our own understandings, our own discriminatory abilities, and we trust them, we will end up like Judas.  What only can we trust?  Trust only the Lord with all your heart does not lean unto your own understanding. In the light of these realities that we are contemplating, there is a Scripture that is most alarming;

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Do you like this Scripture?  I don’t like it.  God will send them strong delusions that they should believe a lie that they should be dammed.  God sending strong delusions?  This is a frightening and alarming scripture because we all are in danger of falling under this because if we rely upon our perceptions we according can be deceived.  We can be affected by powerful signs and lying wonders relying upon our perceptions upon these things.  Like Judas we can end up the way he did.

When sin has deadened the moral perceptions, the wrong-doer does not discern the defects of his character nor realize the enormity of the evil he has committed; and unless he yields to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit he remains in partial blindness to his sin. His confessions are not sincere and in earnest. To every acknowledgment of his guilt he adds an apology in excuse of his course, declaring that if it had not been for certain circumstances, he would not have done this or that for which he is reproved. But the examples in God’s word of genuine repentance and humiliation reveal a spirit of confession in which there is no excuse for sin or attempt at self-justification.  {5T 641.1}

This is a revelation this statement of the great need we have of the Holy Spirit to illumine my perceptions because in my human ways, I will always wriggle my way around to satisfy my own human judgements.  That has to be acknowledged in what we have been reading in Thessalonians.  We will see that this frightening revelation has an answer so that it doesn’t have to destroy our hope.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

The people that are going to perish with their perceptions are those who are not comfortable and have a love of the truth.  Truth hurts.  We don’t like to be hurt.  Unless I have a love for the truth, I will not let myself be hurt anymore.  As it reads here, we are going to be safe from these wrong perceptions if we have the love for the truth.  We will have no fascination with the signs and wonders of the fallen world around us.  As we just read, sin is the thing that blunts our perceptions.  We are familiar with the dual nature that contends for our life.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

We do not speak in words from mans wisdom but of the Holy Ghost.  Do you have a natural man?  Are you a natural man?  That was the problem with Judas.  He got his natural man with the spiritual revelations.

There are two kinds of experience–the outside showing and the inward working. The divine and human were at work in the character of Judas. Satan was working the human, Christ the divine. The Lord Jesus longed to see Judas rise to his appointed privileges. But the human side of Judas’ character was confused with his religious sentiments, and treated by him as essential attributes. By taking this view of things, he left an open door for Satan to enter and take possession of the entire man. If Judas had practiced the lessons of Christ, he would have surrendered to Christ, he would have consecrated his heart fully to God; but his confused experience was misleading him (MS 28, 1897).  {5BC 1101.6}

There was Jesus that he regarded as the Messiah.  The spiritual side was worked by Jesus and the human by Satan.  Unless we understand that I must not rely on my human perceptions and regard them as valuable then I will naturally fall. Our sharp and natural human minds can be worked upon by Satan.

May God pity those who are watching, as did the Pharisees, to find something to condemn in their brethren, and who pride themselves on their wonderfully acute discernment. {15MR 199.1}

Do you have acute discernment?  This is a discernment that comes from the natural man. That which they call discernment, is cold, satanic criticism.  They are like the enemy of God, accusers of the brethren.  Judas was doing that very thing.  There was Mary breaking the alabaster box and he said ‘oh come on, that cost a year of wages, that is ridiculous, she should have given the money to the church.’  That is not rational thinking.

God does not wish us to hear all that is to be heard or to see all that is to be seen. It is a great blessing to close the ears that we hear not, and the eyes that we see not. The greatest anxiety should be to have clear eyesight to discern our own shortcomings and a quick ear to catch all needed reproof and instruction, lest by our inattention and carelessness we let them slip and become forgetful hearers and not doers of the work.–1T 707, 708 (1868).  {1MCP 332.3}

God wants us to exercise our perceptions on a different level then to be so discerning than to be listening and watching of others.  That’s what the Pharisees did.

It is a natural, but not a pleasing, trait in our characters to be keen in our perceptions, and tenacious in our remembrance, of the faults and failings of others.  {3T 444.3}

It is not a pleasing trait in our characters.  We are in the presence of God standing there with a fall appreciation that everything we’ve considered so far, makes me very vulnerable if I rely upon my human natural man.  Even the unfallen angels in heaven we are told, were deceived by Satan how even managed to twist their perceptions.

We are all to understand there was a fallen angel who was We are all to understand that there is a fallen angel who was once next to Christ in honor among the heavenly host. His work of deception was done in so great secrecy that the angels in less exalted positions supposed that he was the Ruler of heaven. Satan made the representation that all wrong insinuations existing in heaven originated among the angels, while he himself had made suggestions which would never have been entertained by the angels, had he not created them. He artfully presented these things to God, as having come from the angels, while they all originated with Satan himself. . . .  {TDG 256.1}

Their perceptions were not to be trusted.  Why did they perceive that he was the ruler of heaven?  He was created before them.  Do you remember your childhood before you grew you, you believed everything your mother said?  As you got older, different things developed. Lucifer communicated his side of the story in such a way that they really believed that he was the ruler of heaven. This is the way that your perceptions can be twisted.  Even unfallen angels can be affected that way.

Take heed how you hear, how you understand, and how you appropriate the Word of God. .–MS 32, 1896. (2SM 115).  {1MCP 275.3}

Like the Jews they didn’t appropriate it correctly.  How easy it is to read the word of God and from our human perceptions.  If we don’t resign our natural man.  Indeed things are not always as they seem.  Whose perceptions should we trust.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Whose perceptions can we trust?  Those who love the truth?  Those who believe the truth?  Those who have pleasure in righteousness?  Those who demonstrate, like the unfaithful servant that eats and drinks with the drunken that smites his fellow servants. Those who enjoy the social pleasure of those who have already fallen.  Those who like the sorcerer who resisted Apostle Paul.  These were beings that had power.  What is our scripture reading this morning? Our eyes must be kept single in the right direction.  Our perceptions need to be guided not by the natural man but by these principles.

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

Those who demonstrate pleasure only in righteousness.  If they eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.

These words have a first and second sense, a literal and a figurative meaning. They are full of truth in regard to the bodily eye, with which we see external objects. And they are true also in regard to the spiritual eye, the conscience, with which we estimate good and evil. If the eye of the soul, the conscience, is perfectly healthy, the soul will be taught aright.  {1MCP 323.1}

But when the conscience is guided by human perceptions, which are not subdued and softened by the grace of Christ, the mind is in a diseased condition. Things are not seen in their true bearings. The imagination is wrought upon, and the eye of the mind sees things in a false, distorted light.  {1MCP 323.2}

You need clear sympathetic eyesight.  Your conscious has been abused and become hardened.  That was sin has done. If you follow the right course, renewed sensitiveness will come to it. That which has blunted and confused your sense, can be erased and a new sensitiveness can come to your mind.  Only those with the eye single to the glory of God will have correct discernment.  We cannot trust our human senses.  All we behold with them is not lasting reality but deception.  Only spiritual perception is safe and this comes by revelation from heaven to the humble dependant, teachable mind. Let us confirm our reality today.  There is a way that seems right unto a man but the end thereof is the way of death.  There is a way.  Jesus said, I am the way that leads to everlasting life, therefore, let us keep our eye single upon him and upon his way.  This is what we should be occupying ourselves with not looking at other people.

Amen.

Posted on March 21, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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