Jesus did a strange thing. He spit on the man’s eyes. What’s that about? How many ministers would you allow to spit on your eyes? ‘Come down to the altar. I have the ministry of spitting. I want to spit on you.’ Only Jesus knows exactly what is required to open our eyes so we can see clearly. For some of us it takes something pretty radical. We were and are all blind to a degree. How radical does Jesus need to get?

INFLUENCE 3-D
By Pastor Delbert Young

Please Spit On My Eyes Again

Please Spit On My Eyes Again

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Please Spit On My Eyes Again 

Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20, Mark 8:22-25

It was around thirty-five years ago now. Our children were young and active in sports. Judy and I were active with them. I either coached or helped coach the teams Lance played on and somehow through that, I met a man named Billy Shirah. He and his wife Frances had two sons close to the age of our children and an older daughter. Billy also coached his sons in ball. Our sons ended up on the same team and Billy and I found ourselves coaching together. Billy was a mess. He was very charismatic and one of those people you enjoy being around. Back then, none of us served the Lord. Though, at seventeen I met the Lord, I drifted far from God. Billy was similar. As far from God as I was, Billy was probably farther. Over the next few years, I got to know Billy fairly well as we coached together. Then Billy went to the next league with his oldest son. As I remember, it was just prior to the baseball season I heard, “Billy Shirah got saved. He and his whole family are going to church.”

As probably many of us do when we know someone’s character pretty well and know how far from God they were, I laughingly said, “Sure! That won’t last. There’s no way Billy Shirah is going to serve God.” So, of course, when baseball season began, I watched Billy and talked with Billy. One Wednesday evening Billy’s team was playing on the same field my team was scheduled to play on next. Billy had the 6 o’clock game and I had the 7:30 game. It was a very close game and Billy was a competitor who loved to win. Someone sitting with us said, “It’s Wednesday, church night. I wonder if Billy will stay and coach ball or go to church.” I didn’t say it, but I would have taken bets Billy would stay. Not only was he the head coach, but his oldest son was the star of the team. Though the church Billy attended was only a few minutes away, 6:30 p.m. came and Billy kept coaching. I was thinking, “I knew it.” There was something dark about that thought which made me happy back then. However, at 6:40 I watched Billy take his sons out of the dugout, meet his wife and daughter, and they all left the ball field for church. I cannot explain in words what that did to me, but what it did was change my life. It INFLUENCED me 3-D.

When we see people, we usually see them one dimensional or at best two dimensional.  What I mean is we see a body and if we know them, we may see a soul – attitudes, emotions, thinking, etc, but God sees us in 3-D.

1 Thessalonians 5:23  May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you THROUGH AND THROUGH. MayYOUR WHOLE SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY [3-D] be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (emphasis added)

“… through and through…” God wants to get into every cell of your body, every thought and every whisper of your soul, and every dark place in your spirit. So, when God sees us he sees us SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY, or 3-D. When he sanctifies, or touches our life, that’s how he touches – 3-D. That’s how he INFLUENCES us and that’s how he wants us to INFLUENCE others, in 3-D.

Not long after that evening at the ball field, I called Billy one morning and went by his place of work. We had a talk in his office and he told me his story about how he came to the Lord. He told me about how his life had changed. He told me about his church. Several other people were around. Billy asked me to do something a little strange. He asked me to go out and sit in his car with him and talk. We got out to the car and he pulled out a Bible attempting to take me down the “Roman Road” to “get saved.” I wasn’t comfortable with that and neither was I ready to make that commitment. However, not long afterwards, one Sunday morning in April, I woke and waited for Judy to wake. When she did, I asked her if she wanted to go to church. She asked me what church. I said, “The church where Billy goes.” We went and a short time later, Judy and I did truly commit our lives to Christ as the pastor and Billy prayed with me and then her.

Since then, I’ve been on an adventure with God. Seven years later, I found myself in LaFayette, Georgia leading a church and using my INFLUENCE to point people to Jesus Christ. In a way, it’s all because of Billy that I’m here today and maybe also who and what I am today. Maybe it’s because of Billy that Life Gate Church exists and your life has been INFLUENCED by something I’ve said or written or done. Who knows? At any rate, Billy’s INFLUENCE on my life went 3-D.

That’s my story. If you are a believer in Christ, you have a story too. Someone, or perhaps several people, influenced your life 3-D. They helped you, guided you, and nudged you to a place where you crossed the line so God could do something in you THROUGH AND THROUGH, spirit, soul, and body.

Since Christ came into my life, I’ve been able to enter into influential situations with many, many people. I’ve been able to use my INFLUENCE to help them along their journey to meet Jesus. In every one of those influential situations, I take a deep breath and ask God to help me not blow it. I remind myself as I look into the eyes of that person, how important they are to God and how much they matter to God. I’ve never looked into the eyes of anyone God didn’t love. I remind myself how much God loves them. I realize this person is 3-D – spirit, soul, and body. Hanging in the balance is this person’s future and eternity as was mine and if what happens to them is anywhere close to what happened to me, their life will change more than they can possibly imagine. Their family will change. Their marriage will change. Their children will change. Their occupation may change and all that because of my INFLUENCE. I realize my INFLUENCE is a high stake. I realize my INFLUENCE is perhaps the most powerful thing God has given me.

When’s the last time you were in a conversation with someone who’s future and eternity was in the balance? It is probably not as long ago as you think. In fact, who was the last person you spoke with? You being here today will influence people – children, spouse, friends, people who know you are a Christian. But, sometimes we get to help someone cross the line of eternity from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s dear son. When that happens, it’s the most energizing, life giving experience a person can experience, not only for them, but for us. Take a moment and think of people you know who need to cross that line and who you would want to help do exactly that. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your influence to make that happen?

I want to talk about INFLUENCE 3-D for the next few weeks. I want to talk about how God will use you and your influence right where you are in life for his purposes. John Maxwell said, “There are people whose feelings and well-being are within my influence. I will never escape that fact.” I want to convince you how powerful your influence is and those people you care about can and will come into the kingdom of God when INFLUENCED 3-D.

There’s all kinds of great ways people use influence, but one of the most important ways is to influence people to be reconciled with God. I know the word “reconcile” is not one we usually use in our daily vocabularies and sounds “religious” and frightening, so we avoid it. So, I have to ask you a question. Is it a word we should use frequently in our daily vocabularies and is it a word we should not avoid? Is reconciling people with God something we should talk about and do more?

You may say, “That’s not my thing. Delbert, you can do it because that’s your job and you’re a pro. However, that’s not my thing.” That’s exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t have to be a preacher and probably can do better at it if you are not. You don’t even have to go looking for someone to “evangelize” or “reconcile.” God will make certain they find you exactly as God made certain I found Billy. If you are a Christ follower and know Jesus, this is your “thing” and I want to talk about it for a few minutes to help us get it.

2 Corinthians 5:18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and GAVE US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION

Every single person God reconciled, he gave that person the ministry, let’s say it this way, the INFLUENCE of reconciliation. Every single person, that’s you, right?

2 Corinthians 5:20  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…

In other words, “You are therefore Christ’s INFLUENCER, as though God were making his appeal through you.” God gives his appeal through you. You are God’s spokesperson.

Synonyms for reconciliation are reunion, bringing together, harmonize, ceasefire. We understand those words. A marriage experiences reconciliation when the husband and wife were separated, but experience a reunion, ceasefire, and harmony. Their differences are reconciled. We get so unnerved when we think about reconciliation in the spiritual dimension, but none of us would blink if we thought we could reconcile our child’s or close friend’s marriage using our influence.

A reason for divorce today is “Irreconcilable Differences.” In other words, in the minds of the couple there is no way to bring them back together. Sometimes though, and we’ve probably all seen it happen, someone can come into the picture and, as it were using their influence, take this one’s hand and the other one’s hand and bring them together in ceasefire, reunion, and harmony. It’s a powerful thing when two human beings reconcile. Hostilities end. People come into a proper relationship. Harmony and cease fire happens because of someone’s influence.

Man and God had “Irreconcilable Differences.” However, God reconciled us to himself THROUGH CHRIST’S influence. Jesus joined the hand of people with God’s hand. Now we are men and women walking around the planet taking the hand of someone not in union with God and putting their hand into God’s hand. And, when we get to do it, it provides one of the greatest joys of life. God made us to love doing that.

What I need to ask, do you ever use your influence as a reconciler? Does it ever come into your mind to influence people and put their hand into the hand of God? Do you ever see people 3-D? The idea of 3-D is you see people with the backdrop of eternity. You see them clearly – spirit, soul, and body. Then, you use whatever influence you have on them to guide them to God’s hand.

Mark 8:22-25  They came to Bethsaida, and SOME PEOPLE BROUGHT a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. HE TOOK THE BLIND MAN BY THE HAND and led him outside the village. When he had SPIT ON THE MAN’S EYES and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I SEE PEOPLE; THEY LOOK LIKE TREES WALKING AROUND.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and HE SAW EVERYTHING CLEARLY.

At one time, as it were, you and I were blind. Some people used their influence to get us to Jesus and to join the hand of Jesus. By the hand Jesus led us away from our villages of darkness and familiar surroundings. It was frightening. There’s nothing more frightening to a blind person than to be taken to unfamiliar surroundings. The darker our lives were, the more frightening it is to reconcile with God. Jesus did a strange thing. He spit on the man’s eyes. What’s that about? How many people would you allow to spit on your eyes? “Come down to the altar. I have the ministry of spitting.” The point is there is trust and submission, but mostly, only Jesus knows exactly what is required to open our eyes so we can see clearly. For some of us it takes something pretty radical. Jesus touched our eyes. Today, right now, right where you are sitting, he’s asking you and me, “Do you see anything?” “Well, yes, but it’s at best 1-D, or 2-D. I see people, but I don’t see them clearly. In fact, I really don’t see them as people you came to love and save.”

Some of us see people so fuzzy. We see people who are far from God and we are annoyed by them. We see their excesses and faults and that view so clouds and blurs our vision of them. Rather than trying to put their hand into the hand of God, we avoid them. The language people use, the life choices they make, their sexual preferences, the way they vote, their “this,” and their “that” blurs how we see them. They may as well be trees walking around. We forfeit our ministry of reconciliation and ignore the fact they matter to God because we don’t look 3-D. People, we’ve, I’ve, got to allow something radical to happen to us. We have to let Jesus spit in our eyes and touch us again. We’ve got to realize those obnoxious people are only one prayer away, one decision away, from putting their hand into the hand of God. What I’m asking and believing God to do for Life Gate and each of us is to touch our eyes again so we can see everything about people – spirit, soul, and body – INFLUENCE 3-D.

How important is your doing the reconciliation thing? A personal example comes to my mind. I had three brothers-in-law. Two of them married Judy’s two sisters and one married my sister. Several years ago, a spot was found on a lung of one of my brothers-in-law. It was cancer and Jimmy was far from God. Jimmy wanted to talk to me. I obviously was an influence on Jimmy and I didn’t even realize it. During the next months, I got to use my influence to help put Jimmy’s hand into the hand of God. I got to talk and pray with Jimmy making sure he was where he needed to be with God. One night while I was with Jimmy, he, his wife Brenda, and I had communion together. When Jimmy felt he needed baptism, he asked me to come baptize him. Then, within just a few months, Jimmy was gone. So, you tell me. How important was the reconciliation thing to Jimmy? I think if we could ever see the importance of this and the influence we have been given, it would rock our lives, rock your families, and rock this area.

We’ve got to take the hand of those far from God and join it with the hand of Jesus.

Other Related Sermons:

Extraordinary People – sermon video audio notes

Am I Making Mile Markers? – sermon video audio notes

Spiritual Development in Giving – sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young