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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 2, 2001

"Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see" (II Kings 6:17).

Helen Keller was born deaf and blind. She was not able to communicate with other people until she was a young person. She learned to talk by a long process of feeling the touch of her teacher. Her experience is portrayed on TV in the movie “The Miracle Worker.” When she finally learned to talk, Helen Keller said:

I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing. They see nothing in the woods or men or sky, nothing in the struggle, nothing in books…nothing on the street. Their soul’s voyage through this enchanted world is a barren waste.

Ian Fleming was the author of the James Bond novels, which have been made into a series of movies. He became fabulously wealthy. Yet shortly before his death, Ian Fleming said, “I’m now, my God, ashes, just ashes. You have no idea how bored one gets with the whole silly business of life.” Ernest Hemingway was another famous and wealthy writer who came to the end of his life in despair. He said, “I feel like a burned out tube in a radio.” He took a gun and shot himself in the head. Many psychologists and psychiatrists are now saying that the higher the civilization is, the higher the suicide rate will be.

The suicide rate is very high in America. People who kill themselves see no way out – they come to believe that there is no reason to live. As Helen Keller put it, their “eyes are full of light but [they] see nothing…Their soul’s voyage through this enchanted world is a barren waste.”

Many of you young people are attending college. Your college teachers tell you all about the physical world, but they do not tell you about the world of the spirit. Western education is based on a materialistic view of life. This has filtered down into our education system from the rationalism of the “Enlightenment” era. But a mere rationalistic, materialist view of the world has not satisfied many young people. That is why many of them are flocking to see the “Harry Potter” movie. They are looking for a spiritual side to life. Although the “Harry Potter” movie presents a demonic answer to materialism, it also presents an opportunity for us as Christians to talk openly about Satan, and demons, and the other side – God, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We should take this opportunity to “preach Christ unto them,” as Philip did to those who were bewitched by sorcery (Acts 8:5). The Bible tells us of an unseen world – with demons and Satan on one side, and God, and Christ, and the holy angels on the other side.

When Elisha the prophet was being attacked by the armies of Syria, his servant came to him in great fear. He said to Elisha, “Alas, my master! how shall we do? [what shall we do]?” (II Kings 6:15). And Elisha answered him:

“Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”

(II Kings 6:16-17).

An army of angels were there to protect them. And the Lord smote those armies of the enemy with blindness, and they never came.

There is an unseen world that you have never experienced, and you will never know about it unless your spiritual eyes are opened in an experience of conversion to Christ. You have two sets of eyes – your physical eyes, and also, the eyes of your soul, your spirit. And I am going to speak about how Christ can open your spiritual eyes this morning. And my prayer is the same as Elisha’s: “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes [open her eyes], that [they] may see” (cf. II Kings 6:17).

I. First, there really is a spiritual world that you do not know about –
because you can’t see it.

As I said, you have two pairs of eyes. First, you have two physical eyes – that you see the material world with. But, second, you have spiritual eyes also – to see the spiritual world.

But your spiritual eyes have been blinded by sin. The Scripture says, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you…” (Isaiah 59:2). Most people do not even know that they have something wrong with their spiritual eyes. The Bible says that such a person:

“Knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind …” (Revelation 3:17).

They are spiritually blind and don’t even know it!

Now the Bible teaches that you are born spiritually blind. All of us have inherited a depraved and spiritually blind nature from Adam. There are no exceptions. Everyone is born in a state of spiritual blindness. That’s why the Bible says:

“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11).

Notice that this verse emphasizes the fact that there are no exceptions: “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” And that’s a major flaw in the preaching of Billy Graham, and other modern “decisionist” evangelists. Graham often says, “You’ve been searching for God.” But the Bible teaches that no one is searching for God. The Bible says, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11).

In forty-three years of ministry I have never met a single exception to that. I have never met – or even heard of – anyone who was searching for God. People often search for religion, or peace of mind, or philosophical answers – but no one ever seeks for God! I have never met one – or even heard of one. I know of no one in history – and I’ve read quite a bit of history! No one in recorded history searched for God when he was in an unawakened state.

It is God who searches for us. God says:

“With lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

It is only when God begins to draw you that you start having an interest in finding Him. God must take the initiative, or you will go on just like your parents – with no real interest in God at all! Your father never thinks seriously about God, does he? Your mother doesn’t attend church regularly, or pray regularly, does she? They really have no practical interest in seeking God. But if God begins to draw you – then you will begin to think about Him – and perhaps seek Him.

But right now the whole thing is unreal to you. Your spiritual eyes are closed. The Bible says:

“The natural man [the person who has never been converted] 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” (I Corinthians 2:14).

That verse tells us that the Bible will seem like foolishness to you until you experience awakening and conversion. And merely learning what the Bible teaches won’t help you at all. A Chinese man looked at me with a proud smile, and said, “I must study the Bible slowly. You can’t expect me to become a Christian right away. I have to learn slowly.” Like many lost people, this Chinese college student thought that becoming a Christian is like studying for an examination at school. But he was wrong. No one can ever become a Christian by study alone. No matter how much you study, you will still be blind – in the dark – because the Bible says, “Neither can he know them [the saving truths of Scripture]…Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned [they are spiritually understood]” (I Corinthians 2:14).

As long as your spiritual eyes are blind, no amount of Bible study, and no amount of preaching, can save you, or make you a Christian. In II Corinthians we are told:

“The god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (II Corinthians 4:4).

And Satan will do everything he can to keep you in a darkened, blinded state.

Samson experienced that. He was a big, strong, handsome young man. He was about the age of a college student. Samson thought he knew everything – but he was wrong! He really didn’t know anything about the important things of life. His spiritual eyes were blind – but he didn’t even know it. He did not know that he was wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind (cf. Revelation 3:17). He didn’t know that he was spiritually blind. “He wist not that the Lord was departed from him” (Judges 16:20). When God left him, Samson didn’t even know it! Later, the Philistines gouged out his physical eyes. But he was spiritually blind long before – when he was a college-age student like you. He was spiritually blind, but he didn’t even know it! And that’s the way you are this morning!

My prayer for you is the same prayer that Elisha prayed – for that young person who was with him:

“Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see”

(II Kings 6:17).

II. And that brings me to the second point – Jesus Christ opened the eyes
of several people, when He was on earth, to illustrate the new birth.

Now, the Bible speaks of an experience called “the new birth.” Christ said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Why do you have to be born again? One of the reasons is that the new birth is the only way to gain spiritual sight. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). You will never see the reality of the things in the kingdom of God unless you experience the new birth! Jesus said:

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not [don’t be surprised] that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:6-7).

And I say to you, without any hesitation, you must be born again! If you want to know the reality of God, the meaning of life, and the joy of living Christianity – you must be born again!

That’s the only way the eyes of your spirit can be opened. The apostle Paul prayed:

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened …” (Ephesians 1:17-18).

The apostle prayed for their spiritual eyes to be enlightened. He called your second set of eyes, “the eyes of your understanding.” The word “understanding” means the deepest part of your thinking (Strong’s). It refers to the eyes of your spirit.

Now Christ healed several blind people when He was on earth. He healed these people who were physically blind largely to illustrate the new birth. Christ opened their physical eyes – and He can open your spiritual eyes! That’s the point God is making in these accounts.

First, there was a young man who was born blind. They brought this man to Christ and,

“When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam…He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (John 9:6-7).

Now this young man was not yet born again. He was “awakened” when Jesus opened his eyes. He was not converted until verse 38, when he said, “Lord, I believe.” But when Jesus opened his physical eyes, it was a picture of awakening – which comes before conversion.

You begin to think, “I’m lonely. I need to go to church.” God put that thought in your mind. A spiritual thought like that has to come from God. It couldn’t come from your totally depraved heart or mind.

Then, you begin to think, “I really am a sinner. I am sinful. My heart is wicked, and I can’t trust it. I am so sinful that I can’t trust my own mind. I can’t do anything to save myself. I deserve to be punished for my sins.” When you begin to think like that you are awakened – and you may be converted soon. You may experience the new birth before long.

But first your eyes must be opened to your sin, your sinful, helpless nature, the reality of Judgment and Hell, and your own guilt before a thrice holy God! You must be awakened.

The second blind man Jesus healed was a young man named Bartimaeus. We read about him in the Scripture lesson before the sermon. Jesus was passing by in Jericho. Bartimaeus didn’t wait. He didn’t want to study more and think it over more. He knew he was blind and he knew Jesus could open blind eyes. He thought, “This is my only chance!” So he began to yell at the top of his lungs, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47). “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Have mercy on me!”

And the Bible tells us that Jesus stopped. Jesus stopped in the middle of the great crowd that was following Him down the street. Think about it. This was the last time Jesus ever went to Jericho. Jesus was almost out of sight when Bartimaeus began to shout. He knew it was his last chance. He cried, “Jesus, have mercy on me!” The people around him said, “Shut up! Be quiet, you fool!” But he wouldn’t listen. He kept yelling, “Jesus, have mercy on me!”

“And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called…And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus…And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way [the road]” (Mark 10:49-52).

Bartimaeus was poor and he was blind. This young man was in a hopeless condition. And that’s really the condition you are in if you don’t know Christ. Without Christ, your life is hopeless.

I recently read about a college student’s experience at a psychiatric institution. He went there to do a project for one of his college courses. Later he said that he was greatly disturbed by seeing a man who was dying of syphilis of the brain. Before he went insane the doctors had told him there was no cure and that the disease would kill him. Here’s what the college student said about him:

When I saw him in his small, barred room, about two weeks before he died, he was pacing up and down in mental torment. His eyes stared blankly, and his face was drawn and ashen. Over and over he muttered two words, “No hope! No hope! No hope!” He could say nothing else. He had forgotten all other words. All he could say, over and over and over, was “No hope! No hope! No hope! No hope! No hope! No hope! No hope! No hope!”

And that’s the way life is. The existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote a short story called, “No Exit.” His message was that there is no hope in life – and no way out – no exit!

Many people push the thought out of their minds – but it’s always there, lurking in the shadows of your brain – there really is no hope!

And that’s the way blind Bartimaeus was. He was poor, and blind and hopeless. You may not feel that way this morning, but it’s because you aren’t in touch with reality. You know not “that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). All of those things are true of you, and you don’t even know it!May Christ open your spiritual eyes as He opened the physically blind eyes of Bartimaeus!

“Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see”

(II Kings 6:17).

III. Then, thirdly, you must strive to enter in to Christ if you want
to experience the healing of your spiritual blindness.

Before the sermon, our deacon, Mr. Griffith, sang that old gospel song:

Open my eyes, that I may see Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me, Place in my hands the wonderful key That shall unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see,
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit Divine!

(“Open My Eyes, That I May See” by Clara H. Scott, 1841-1897).

Young person, if you want Christ to open your heart and set you free from spiritual blindness, you have to be dead serious! Bartimaeus did not let anything keep him from Christ. The people around him told him to shut up! They tried to pull him back! It seems that they clutched his garment as he tried to come to Jesus. He didn’t let that stop him! “And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:50). He was completely serious about finding Christ. That was the main thought in his mind. Finding Christ was the main purpose of his heart.

You will not receive spiritual sight unless you are serious. You will not be converted without going through a serious inner struggle. Jesus said:

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24).

The Greek word translated “strive” is “agonizomai.” It means “straining every nerve to the uttermost to reach the goal” (Vine’s). Our English word “agonize” comes from this Greek word. You must go through striving and straining and agony to experience real conversion. Although I disagree with him on some things, Arthur W. Pink was absolutely correct when he said,“The sinner’s despair of any hope from himself is the first prerequisite of a sound conversion.”

Have you come to that place in your life? Have you given up all hope in yourself? Bartimaeus knew that he couldn’t find any cure for his blindness. He knew that no one else could cure him either. He was utterly helpless and utterly hopeless. If Christ could not save him, he had no other hope whatever!

That’s really the only kind of young person Christ can help, you know. If you have any hope of getting to Heaven by yourself, then Christ can’t help you. He only came to save the lost. Jesus said:

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Are you lost? Have you given up all hope of saving yourself? Are you willing to go through psychological and spiritual turmoil, and agony, to be converted? Are you willing to struggle and strive and sweat “to enter in at the strait gate” and find Christ? (cf. Luke 13:24).

Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins. Christ rose literally and physically from the dead. Christ is alive, on the right side of God, up in Heaven.

But none of those mere facts about the gospel will do you the slightest bit of good unless you

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24).


You have no hope. None at all, without Jesus Christ! You have no future and no forgiveness of sins without Jesus Christ.

“Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see”

(II Kings 6:17).


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Mark 10:46-52.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Open My Eyes, That I May See"
     by Clara H. Scott (1841-1897).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see" (II Kings 6:17).

I.   There is a spiritual world that you do not see, Isaiah 59:2;
Revelation 3:17; Romans 3:11; Jeremiah 31:3;
I Corinthians 2:14; II Corinthians 4:4; Judges 16:20.

II.  Christ opened the eyes of several blind people to
illustrate the new birth, John 3:3, 6-7; Ephesians 1:17-18;
John 9:6-7; Mark 10:47, 49-52: Revelation 3:17.

III. You must strive to enter in to Christ, if you want to experience
the healing of your spiritual blindness, Mark 10:50;
Luke 13:24; Luke 19:10.