Understanding The Lost
Believers have advantages over unbelievers that can help win them to Christ. One advantage is that believers should understand unbelievers better than vice versa. Believers have been on both sides of the fence. Unbelievers have not.
God*s assessment of unbelievers is more accurate than our memories. His Bible can teach us truths about ourselves before and after our salvation as well as present truths about unbelievers. Having God*s perspective can help us minister to them. We must recognize that they are blind and helpless just as we were until we got God*s help. We must recognize that they are blind to the fact that they are not headed toward Heaven. That means they are also blind to the fact that they are headed toward the Lake of Fire.
Believers should give unbelievers the same gentle patience they would give a physically blind person. It can be helpful for believers to know some specifics about what unbelievers do not know. It can help them to understand that unbelievers* lack of knowledge is due to a total disability. Believers should not be angry with unbelievers. Unbelievers should be pitied.
John 3:3-5: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother*s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
The words see and perceive are used almost interchangeably in English translations of the New Testament. To perceive is a more complete action than just to see. Those words are most often translated from these four Greek words: Eido rhymes with I know: To see, to know, to be aware, to perceive, to be sure, to understand. Blepo: To look on, to regard, to take heed. Theoreho pronounced thee-o-ray-ho: To be a spectator of, to discern, to acknowledge, to behold, to consider. Horao pronounced ho-ray-o: to stare at, to discern clearly, to attend to, to experience.
These meanings specifically detail what the unregenerate cannot do. He cannot see the Kingdom of God. He cannot know it. He cannot be aware of it. He cannot perceive it. He cannot be sure about it. He cannot understand it. He cannot look on it. He cannot regard it. He cannot take heed to it. He cannot be a spectator of it. He cannot discern it. He cannot acknowledge it. He cannot behold it. He cannot consider it. He cannot stare at it. He cannot clearly discern it. He cannot attend to it. He cannot experience it. More important than those definitions is the Bible*s clear statement that the unregenerate cannot enter the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14: 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.
There are many things about the Kingdom of God that can be understood and experienced by those born of the spirit that cannot by those not born of the spirit.
Mark 4:11-12: And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
They cannot discern that the Kingdom is within the regenerate and it is not within them.
Luke 17:21: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
They cannot discern or enjoy righteousness, peace or joy as do people who have the Kingdom within them.
Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
They cannot discern the power that is in the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 4:20: For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
Matthew 22:29: Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
They cannot discern who the Kingdom belongs to.
Matthew 5:3: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:10: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness* sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 19:14: But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
They cannot understand the requirements for entrance to the Kingdom or that they and all unregenerate men fall short of those requirements.
Matthew 5:20: For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
They cannot discern the way into the Kingdom.
John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
They cannot discern the superiority of the present blessings or the everlasting blessings of the Kingdom of God.
Luke 18:29-30: And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God*s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
They cannot discern that the Kingdom of God is superior in every way.
John 18:36: Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
They cannot discern the value of the Kingdom.
2 Corinthians 8:9: For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
They cannot discern their own poverty and desperate plight.
Revelation 3:17: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
They cannot discern the love and favor of the King.
1 John 3:1: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
They have no access to the wisdom of the King.
Proverbs 9:10: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
They have never experienced being rescued by the King.
Psalms 40:2: He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
They cannot discern what it is like to be brought into the Kingdom and be recreated.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
They cannot clearly discern the most important feature of the Kingdom. They cannot discern the KING! Without a King a Kingdom would not be a Kingdom. They cannot possess Him as their King. They are not willing to possess Him as their King. They cannot see their need to possess Him as their King. They cannot discern the functions of the King. They cannot discern the power of the King. They cannot discern the authority of the King. They cannot discern the righteous judgment of the King. They cannot discern the Holiness of the King. They cannot discern the things that are excluded from the Kingdom. They cannot discern the mercy of the King. They cannot have a proper relationship with the King. They cannot be the subjects of the King. They cannot discern the functions of His subjects. They cannot discern the superiority or the perfection of the goodness of the King.
Luke 18:19: And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
They cannot love the King.
Luke 10:27: And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
They cannot discern that the King is the one and only source of all goodness.
James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
This lack of discernment is temporary. Some will begin to acquire spiritual discernment when they become born again and some will be force-fed discernment after their death when it will be too late.
Philippians 2:10: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Revelation 19:16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Their belated discernment will be an unavoidable and unpleasant part of their judgment. They will know forever that they missed paradise.
Luke 13:27-28: But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.