God Is Not the Author of Confusion
The thought of vision, or how we see things, is a lesson which is much needed today. James 3:16 tells us, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." This Scripture helps us to see that singleness of eye is very needful. There may be things which people see differently and still hold the right spirit, but I'm saying that it's very needful that we, as the people of God, see things alike to a great degree.
In Matt. 6:22, Jesus started out very bluntly by saying, "The light of the body [or if you want to use the Greek, the "lamp"of the body] is the eye..." He takes the natural eye to teach us a spiritual lesson. Every one of us agree that the light of the body is the eye. All of the light which the natural body enjoys comes through the two delicate organs called eyes. There's no light to a natural body except through the eyes. They are the organs of light and reception; without these organs, the body is in darkness.
Jesus not only said, "The light of the body is the eye,..." but He came forth with the next fact that the eye must be single. We have two eyes, but they must be single; they must receive a single image for us to see clearly. The very minute we begin to see two things, we're not only in trouble, but there's confusion because we don't know which image is the true picture.
If the natural eyes are confused and see double, this distorts our vision. Jesus wants us to understand that not only is it necessary for the natural eyes to see single, but the same thing is true in the spiritual realm. The spiritual eyes must be single for the soul to be full of light.
Now, we have to understand that we are out of the cloudy day; we are out of the time when Truth and error, light and darkness, were mixed together. We are back to where the morning Church was (almost), where it is either light or darkness, Truth or error. We must be delivered from this spirit (the spirit of the second beast, Protestantism) which allows people to look at things two or three different ways. That's one hundred percent contrary to what Jesus taught in this lesson. If we're going to have spiritual light in our dwelling (in our soul), our eye must be single.
It's so needful that the spiritual eye be single or have one image or mark in view. I want us to see why many people are in confusion. I believe I could bring up some subjects right now which some of us are confused about. We can prove by the Bible that if there's confusion in our mind, it's because the eye hasn't been kept single. God is not the author of confusion. The psalmist said, "Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord..." (Psalm 25:15). The eye is single when we only have one mark, one prize, or one aim in view.
Confusion is Not Necessary
The enemy is out to bring confusion. He's trying to lead men and women to a place where they become deceived and in a pitiful condition. I want to tell you that Jesus has set forth a plan whereby we can have singleness of eye. When we come in old-time repentance and crucify the old man, the sinner man comes to an end and we become a new creature. Jesus Christ is our Lord and master; He's the Captain of our salvation. We need to get our eyes fixed on Him and have singleness of eye---one aim, one desire. Keep it single, and we will never go into darkness or be deceived.
These other things happen because people don't keep their eye single. Let's hold the thought that we must have one end or purpose in view which we are pressing toward. Then, let's read Psalm 27:1-4: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear [There must be somewhere people can stand without fear of being misled. Right here it is, singleness of eye.]? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell [We don't have to fall; let the enemy do the falling.]
"Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing [not two, three, or four] have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after..." In other words, we want to get deeper into this. We want to know more about it and have a greater understanding of God and His Truth. This is having singleness of eye. If we will listen to the simple teachings of Jesus, He will let us know that we don't have to be deceived; we don't have to be in confusion.
God doesn't want His people in confusion because it brings heartache, remorse, and sorrow over the heart. David said, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple."
Just look around and watch people who have gone far in the things of God, and there you will see people who have singleness of eye. When they left the world, they were through with the world and sick of sin. When they turned to Jesus, all they ever wanted was more of Jesus and more of His way; they have singleness of eye. If we will hold the singleness of eye, our body will be full of light; there will be no darkness come over us.
In Luke, 10, we read where Martha was cumbered about with many cares, but Mary had chosen that good part which wouldn't be taken away from her---she had singleness of eye.
We Must PRESS Toward One Mark
The Apostle Paul had been a preacher for quite awhile, but he said in Philippians 3:10-14: "That I may know him [He knew Him well, but he wanted to know Him better], and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend [or lay hold of] that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
When the light shone down that day on the road to Damascus and Paul went into the city, following the lord's instructions, he found real salvation. He said in verse 14, "I press toward the mark..." He had a desire to finish his race with victory, so he kept his eyes on the finish line---he had singleness of eye.
Just as a runner in a race has singleness of eye, Paul didn't look to the right or to the left; he looked and pressed toward one mark---that finish line. It does no good for us to be on the track unless we cross the finish line. We must run to win, and if we're going to run to win, we must have singleness of eye.
Paul said in verse 13, "...forgetting those things which are behind..." Verses 4-6 tell us what he left behind. Then verse 7 tells us, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ."
Furthermore, Paul exhorts us to "...rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (verse 3). Right here is where the eyes become blurred. Hardly a day goes by that I don't meet people who are interested in knowing how many educational degrees I have. Paul tells us that he put those things behind him and counted them but loss for Christ. Paul had one desire---to know more about Jesus. He said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Too many have allowed darkness to come into their lives because they didn't retain the singleness of eye which they had when they first started living for God. Paul said, in so many words, "My conduct is not regulated or influenced by that of others. My conduct is regulated by my calling, my master, my work, and my end. If others think they have time to trifle, I have none. Eternity is at hand, and my soul is at stake."
Do All to the Glory of God
There are lots of things which need to be put behind by the people of God. Things have gotten up front, and the eye is not single anymore. If we have an up-to-date experience with God, they shouldn't even be out in front of us. Let's read Paul's admonition to the Church in 1 Cor. 10:31, "Whether therefore ye ear, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, all to the glory of God." This is singleness of eye.
There are many things which the Bible doesn't come right out and name. There are many decisions the Bible won't make for us. But a good way to put a test on something is to ask ourselves: How much glory is God going to receive from this move? When God saves us, He saves us to glorify Him. We're His servants. Paul, therefore, tells us to do everything to the glory of God.
We read in Colossians 3:23-25: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons."
When we go to work as a Christian, we are doing our work not only for our employer, but we are doing it as unto the Lord. We may think we're giving our employer all that's coming to him, but how about the lord? Are we giving Him all that's coming to Him---singleness of eye? Length of service doesn't make any difference; there's no respect of persons concerning singleness of eye.
In Philippians 1:20-21 we read: "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." When we can truthfully say, "For me to live is Christ," we're really the Church, the body of Christ.
There would be no confusion if we would hold singleness of eye. If we aim honestly and set right objectives before our eyes, seeking only the glory and honor of God, then the eye is single and the whole body will be full of light. All the actions will be regular, gracious, pleasing to God and comforting to us.
We must ever war against that which would draw us from the singleness of eye and away from Christ. Paul used this language, "...I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor 11:3).
Through and following the Dark Ages, many rose up and said, "I am Christ; I am the Lord; I am Pope." It was just another effort to take away the simple truth of the single eye, that salvation is in Jesus Christ, alone. I say again: If we keep the eye single, we will never be in confusion or go into deception. There may be lots of things we don't know, but if we'll keep the eye single, our soul will be full of light.
Lets consider together why people see things so many different ways. We may be ready to become settled on some truth, but if we're not careful, we'll be interrupted by a babble of clamorous voices in our mind.
One of the voices speaks out of self-interest: this is a bad one. Another voice insists on worldly maximums...telling us how the world does it. Another voice tries to get us to assume wisdom: "Well, it's just not wise anymore to do such and such." Another voice is pleading policy. This voice tells us that others do it, and they attend the Church. This is how we're led away from the single eye and get carried over into confusion.
If we're not very careful and get a hold on God, our confusion can open a door to deception: thereby, we can take hold of darkness for life and be led astray. This truth is more serious then we're able to make it. We need to fear this device which the devil has used progressively to wreck and ruin souls, congregations, and movements of men.
So, we must war against these voices, or impressions, which will arise to spoil our singleness of eye. These interpretations are fatal to a sound decision. We must run from all of these and focus our spiritual eyes at one point, the right way.
When God definitely sees the deep desire in our heart is to do His will, He will come to our rescue. On the other hand, if we don't have an honest desire to know what is right, we won't know it. In John, Chapter 7, Jesus said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine..." (verse 17). We must have a desire to know what is right for one reason---to do it!
Some people have ideas of their own: "It's more comfortable if I do it this way. It's less trouble if I do it this way." We must lay those thoughts aside and come to a place of honesty before God where we want to know what is right, regardless of how much trouble it puts us through. It put Jesus through a little trouble to perfect our salvation; it wasn't all so easy.
Now, when these clamoring voices begin to affect our mind and begin to confuse us from the singleness of eye, unless we lift up the standard against it and show God an honest desire to do His will, it is right here that the eye becomes evil.
The Evil Eye
We've studied the single eye, but now let's study about the evil eye. You may ask, "Why didn't He call it a good eye and a bad eye?" Well, that's not the truth which He's setting forth. Our Scripture text says, "The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, the whole body shall be full of darkness..."
It's called the "evil eye" because it spoils the clear vision of the single eye. It presents more than one way to us, puts us in confusion, and opens up the way for deception. The evil eye causes us to look at God's cause for more than one reason. An evil eye, instead of aiming only at the glory of God and our acceptance of Him, causes us to look aside to the cause of men and see whether a good brother accepts it or doesn't accept it.
That's how the Church at Corinth was carried away. They had their eyes on men and off of Jesus. Paul said, "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Cor. 1:13). He was trying to bring them back to singleness of eye.
Someone may ask, "After a Christian has had a single eye, where does the evil eye arise from?" An evil eye arises from an evil heart. The evil eye never starts operating until we have already failed God in our heart. We read in Mark 7:21-22: "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness."
Jesus nailed this truth down tight: We never begin to look in another direction for some other understanding of Truth unless something has already raised up in our heart against God's will. When the heart is right and the desire is for God's way, no matter what it costs, the Truth rings clear in our heart. But when the heart gets rusty and begins to get lukewarm, then we start looking for another interpretation. When we start looking for another one, we'll find it.
We know and understand enough about the Truth that the eye operates from the condition of the heart. If the heart is right, the eye will be right. An evil eye come out of an evil heart.
Too many people fear that they will go into deception, even though they have a single eye and hold the Lord in the right position. Never! If that were true, then there would be no hope for God's people; they could all be deceived. But the truth is, God made a plan by which we don't have to be deceived; we don't have to go into darkness. If we keep a single eye and keep our heart right toward God by not allowing anything to get in our heart which is contrary to Truth, we'll not be deceived. It's when we lose our desire to follow God's will explicitly that we're in danger of being deceived.
A Bad Heart Causes an Evil Eye
We must be careful that we don't get to "playing around" down in our heart until we don't really want God's way. A lot if times, it's plain, old pride which rebels against God's will. There's some human pride in each one of us. It's earthly and looks to things of the earth. Nevertheless, this human pride has to be brought into subjection. It won't submit on its own; we have to make it submit.
The evil eye is called such because it is an evil eye. Any eye is evil which looks at something contrary to what God says to look at. Any eye is evil which will cause our soul to be cast into a lost hell. Let's read in James, Chapter 3: "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts [This is where it starts], glory not, and lie not against the truth(verses 13-14).
This is where darkness and deception takes hold on people. When they already don't want to do God's will, they start shopping around, " I'm going So 'n So's book." If we're not accountable to walk in anything we don't see, we don't have to go out of our way hunting for something else.
Bitter envying and strife is the result of differences of understanding. We don't have to look far to see that today."...if y have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual , devilish" (verses 15-15). This is what we've been talking about. This earthly wisdom comes from a natural standpoint (self-interest), it comes through natural ability, and it comes from the devil. When we get wisdom from God, it will never cause us to have strife or envy.
Verse 16 tells us, "For whereenvying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Some take this verse out of its context. They say that where there is confusion, there is every evil work. This is not what James is saying. He lets us know that if the heart is not right, the result is confusion and strife. There may be adultery and every other evil work, but it's the result of an evil heart.
Anyone who meddles with confusion, bitterness, and envy has the same kind of heart the adulterer has. There may be any kind of evil work come out of an evil heart.
Let's consider these verses from the book of James in the light of Mark 7:20-23: "And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
When bitterness, envy, or strife shows up, mark it down, there is every evil work. That heart is bad, and there just may be any one of the evil works which comes out of a bad heart comes out of that individual
An evil eye arises from a heart which has already made some decisions against Truth. We need to be fearful of an evil eye. When we don't want to see it and do it God's way, God will give us half a dozen other ways we can choose, but they don't lead to Heaven. We can't make it "as black as it is".
Darkest of All Darkness
There are only two groups of people; we either have a single eye or an evil eye. We've shared on the blessings of the single eye, but now we want to talk on the troubles of the evil eye. "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." Oh, the terribleness of perversion! This thing affects the whole man. We must lay aside the idea that, "I may allow a little darkness, but I'm going to hold onto my light." When darkness comes in, the light goes out.
Jesus said in John 12, "...Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you..." (verse 35). When a man loses his natural eyesight, the light is right here, but he is blind to it. That's a terrible darkness, but there's a worse darkness. The individual who turns from the light goes into darkness by choice. It's a far greater darkness than the darkness an individual is in when he has never experienced salvation.
The darkest of all darkness comes when one becomes so deluded and so demented that he takes night for day, or darkness for light. Therefore, he follows darkness for his guide. One of the worst states of perversion is to become so deceived that we start following darkness and call it light.
The man who turns his back on Truth says, "Preacher, I won't take that light," is in bad shape. Yet, he is in a better position than people who will sit in the light and hold things in their heart which are not right. Because they lose the singleness of eye, an evil eye takes over and they lay hold of some darkness and start calling it light. They follow darkness around for light. It's more dangerous to sit under the Truth than we're willing to own.
When people take light for darkness, it's hard to help them; sometimes you can't help them. Many people in Pentecostalism are in this condition. We win few to the Truth because they are following darkness, but they call it light. It's better to face a dark coast with no light at all and take your chance on getting in, than to have a lot of false lights come up on the shore and mislead you. It's better to have no compass at all, than to have one that's not working right. It's better to be without a pilot than to be steered by a pirate. I want us to see how great this darkness is.
This darkness is what put the prodigal son in the hog pen. If we could cause people to comprehend how great this darkness is, sinners would run "to an altar of prayer". On the way down we don't have to go to the bottom before we wake up. That's what the Gospel was given for. God sets the ministry, or watchman, in our pathway waving the red flag, "Don't go any further. You're in darkness and can't see you true condition. You don't know where you're going or where your going to end up".
We read in Isaiah 5:20-21: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" This just describes many of the young people today. It's the reason they're lost---they are too wise in their own eyes. Their actions and talk show that they're not as far up the ladder as they think they are.
I repeat verse 21, "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" There's the evil eye---our own sight. The Bible tells us, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes..." (Prov. 12:15). Regardless of what he does, he feels that nothing is wrong with it; that's an evil eye.
We're going to have to get away from what we feel about ourselves and what we think we are. We must get a real picture of what we are in the sight of the Lord. Without Christ, young or old, we're a lost sinner on a sinner's highway. We're heading down a road that only leads to one place---the hog pen.
If we can get some wisdom, we'll turn around and get off of that way. But if we allow ourselves to get built up in our own conceits and our own ideas, we're going to go right on down the road calling evil good and darkness light. Oh, how we need to fear this evil eye. Nevertheless, when we, from within our heart, don't want to do it God's way and search for some other way, out of that heart will come an evil eye. We will take a look at Truth in the wrong way, and darkness will come into our soul.
Anoint Thine Eyes With Eyesalve
Revelation 3:17-18 tells us that the Church today has eye trouble. An evil eye stops the single eye from functioning. Jesus writes to the Church today and says, "I counsel thee to ...anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" (verse 18). God will furnish the salve, but we have to put it on.
What kind of eyesalve does God want us to put on so that we can see? His eyesalve is an old-fashioned love and desire for the Truth. Show me a people who love and desire Truth, and I'll show you a people who see Truth.
If we read that whole lesson, we'll find that the Church needed to repent. She had lost her real love and desire for Truth. When we lose that, it will bring spiritual blindness on us quicker than any other way. However, just the opposite takes place if we keep our love and desire for Truth and keep that single eye; we will have the Truth. We'll rejoice in the Truth. Philippians 4:4 tells us to , "Rejoice in the Lord alway..."
Let's not allow these clamoring voices to seduce us away from God's Word and Truth. We can always put a test on these clamoring voices (impressions): They'll always want us to do less than what God requires. Very few of them ever come in our mind that want us to do more than God requires. We don't have much trouble with people overdoing it today. People get all excited because somebody overdoes it a little, but the overdoers are in the minority.
Our text says, "...if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 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." I say again, the sinner man can live in darkness and know what light is. Even though he has rejected it, he has a hope. He knows that if God has mercy, all he has to do is turn from the darkness and come to the light to find salvation.
On the other hand, when we play around with God until we get in a perverted state where we feel that which is within us is light when it is actually darkness, we're in a terrible state. In that condition, we actually have a leading force in our life which we are trusting to be light, but it is actually darkness.
Is your eye single? Are you sold out to...and interested in one thing above all else? Are you living a life where that which you do, you are doing to the glory of God? If your eye is evil, trade it off. You can do that by repenting and receiving a new heart. Out of that new heart will flow the sweet water of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and so forth
If you get your heart right, your eye will be single. There has never been a person yet who was really converted who didn't have but one purpose in mind, "I want to live for God and please Him. I want to do everything God wants me to do."---singleness of eye. [The End]