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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Mirror For The Soul


Sermon of the week 3200630 for 7/30/06

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible is God's mirror for the soul. If you open it up and look carefully you will see your own reflection. James told us that when he said, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man that beholdeth his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

In the Proverbs it is said that all the ways of a man are right in his own eyes. And so it may be in the mirror of your imagination, you may view yourself as a perfect specimen, but God’s Looking Glass is like those mirrors in an amusement park that distort your reflection. In God’s mirror you could see the reflection of yourself the way God looks at you; you might look like you are five feet wide and two feet tall with a gooby-gooby expression on your face, or ten feet tall and as thin as a toothpick.

According to James you can see your own reflection in the Bible and forget how you look. The Bible is God’s Looking Glass. You have no idea what your soul looks like until you see yourself as you really are reflected in the mirror of God’s Word. So let us look at the human soul the way God sees us in God’s Looking Glass—the Bible. We can often times see the reflection of ourselves in the lives of the characters in the Bible. So hold up God’s mirror for the soul and take a good look at yourself. You may be shocked at what you see. In fact some of you may think that your reflection in God’s Looking Glass is the scariest looking thing you ever saw; worse than any spook you ever saw on Halloween.

I read of a missionary one time that gave a mirror to a chief of a jungle tribe. The chief had never seen a mirror, and when he saw his reflection in the mirror he broke the mirror. I know the feeling. That chief was not like Narcissus of Greek mythology who when seeing his reflection in a pool, fell in love with himself. There is no way you can fall in love with yourself by seeing your reflection in the Bible, God’s mirror for the soul.

So take a good look at yourself in the mirror of the Word of God; it is like the three-way mirrors in clothing stores; you can look into the mirror at your soul and see yourself from every possible angle. Don’t expect the reflection to be too complementary, like the words of the nursery rhyme: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who’s the fairest of them all?” Now some may look into the mirror and see their reflection in an incident in the life of David and Bathsheba.


Look in God’s Looking Glass at King David, “And it came to pass at evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the


 roof of the King’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very fair to look upon.” Now hold up the mirror of God’s Word. Do you see your own reflection as you watch a porno movie, or as you put a porno tape into the VCR, or look at a pornographic magazine? The accusing voice of Nathan the prophet to King David speaks also to you, “Thou art the man!”

In the fourth century, there were people who thought the way to live above sin was to live the monastic life in seclusion apart from the opposite sex. The big trouble is you cannot get away from yourself. One Christian magazine recently tells of one monk tormented with lust and found the answer to controlling his thoughts was to stick his finger, one by one, into a burning lamp. Another would cool his ardor by taking off his clothes and jumping into a briar patch. The main objection to that procedure is that a briar patch is not always handy, so what are you going to do? I have been told the best answer to that is a cold shower and if that won’t work, how about prayer?

         David’s sin was great but don’t look upon it lightly. There was a terrible price he paid for his sins. Although he was forgiven the Lord’s edict was that the sword shall not depart from his house.

A son died in infancy, a daughter was raped by her half brother, who in turn was murdered by another half brother. Absalom rebelled against his father and was slain; Adonijah, another son, was slain by Solomon. No wonder David declared that his sin was ever before him. The proverb states that the way of the transgressor is hard, and was fully understood by David. The Bible is the mirror for the soul.


Look again into the mirror for the soul and see the refection of Felix in Acts 24. Felix sent for Paul the prisoner to hear him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. Felix came in with Drusilla, a woman who had been married to a small-time king, and Felix persuaded her she could be better off with him. She was a daughter of the Herod who had cut off the head of James.

Now Felix wants to hear Paul concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. At the first of this chapter it is said that Felix had more excellent knowledge concerning the Way. He already knew much, and now Felix wants to hear more about Jesus. That is always commendable when a person wants to add more to his knowledge of Jesus than he already knew before.

Paul met the issue head on. He spoke of righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. Felix, like a lot of people today, was shocked when he heard that knowing more about Jesus had something to do with repentance from his sins, and the Judgment Day. Many are like Felix now; they like to hear about Jesus, they just don’t want to hear what Jesus said. Actually Jesus is the living Word. We cannot separate Jesus from what He said.

When Felix heard the sermon, he trembled. He was convicted, but not willing to give up his sin. He postponed salvation and told Paul, “Go thy way and when I have a convenient time I will call thee again unto me.” He called for Paul frequently and heard him, but he never trembled again. God said, “My Spirit, shall not always strive with man.” We will do what God wants us to do when He tells us, or we may never do it at all.

According to the preaching philosophy of the present day, Paul should have preached like Isaiah said of the false prophets, “Speak unto us smooth things.” Preaching smooth things is to preach the truth


 in such a way that everyone feels inspired; no one is convicted of sin.

Paul probably told Felix what he said to the church at Rome, “Let not sin reign in your mortal body”, and again he may have reminded Felix of the words of Jesus, “No man can serve two masters, for either he will love the one and hate the other, or hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Tomorrow he promised his conscience  

Tomorrow I mean to believe

Tomorrow I will think as I ought to think

Tomorrow my Savior receive.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, thus day after day it went on
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow till youth like a vision was gone.

Till age and his passions had written this message of fate on his brow And forth from the shadows came death with the pitiless syllable NOW!

Every Person who has heard the gospel of Christ and waited for a convenient season needs to look at his own reflection in this account of another rejecter of Christ in God’s mirror for the soul.


Now take a look in God’s mirror for the soul at Ananias and Sapphira in Acts five. The account begins in a very significant way, “But a certain man named Ananias with Sapphira his wife sold a possession.” Up to this time the Church was on a roll. It began with a bang! Three thousand were added the first day, then the number grew to five thousand, the enemies could not stop the steamroller progress of the soldiers of the cross, and then all of a sudden something went wrong. The first problem the church faced was from the inside, and it was over money—BUT a certain man named Ananias with Sapphira his wife.

These two sold a possession and brought a certain part and gave it to the Apostles as though it was the full amount. They did not have to sell the land; after it was sold


 they did not have to give it, but they gave a part as though it was the full amount. They were looking for the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

When Peter asked them about it, they dropped dead. Looking at these two in God’s Looking Glass, many of us will see our own reflection. I have heard many say through the years, “I am giving all I can.” Only God is qualified to say if we are lying to the Holy Spirit. The fact that many of us do not drop dead as we put our contribution in the offering plate does not mean that God has changed His mind about lying to the Holy Spirit.

As we hear the voice of the Macedonian crying out in many lands, and hands reaching out begging for Bibles, that many members of the Church never read, it behooves me never to say again: “I am giving all I can.” Look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira and many of us will see our own reflection in God’s mirror for the soul.


Take another look in God’s Looking Glass at the evangelist, Philip. Philip was called by an Angel to arise and go toward the south on the road that goeth down from Jerusalem to Gaza, and he arose and went. God did not tell him the exact destination, He just told him to GO, and he rose up and went.

Many of us can understand that command. It is evident from our own lives in service that the Lord called us to different ministries. Paul told the Roman Church, “We have many members in one body, and all have not the same office.” We have all been called to serve in one-way or another; while we do not hear the audible voice of an angel, but subsequent years give evidence of a God-given plan of work.

Like Philip, none of us had any idea where the journey would lead when we first realized it was our duty to GO! Our first duty is to rise up and go, and further instructions were given along the way. When he arrived at the right place, the Holy Spirit gave instructions to preach a sermon to a man going home after a visit to Jerusalem. The man was reading the scripture in the book of Isaiah, and Philip started at that point and preached unto him Jesus from that text.

After the sermon the man said, “Behold here is water what doth hinder me from being baptized?” There is not a word about baptism in the text that Philip used. We do know that Philip preached about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, but on the basis of what he heard, he asked the question as to what hindered him from being baptized.

Evidently you cannot preach Jesus without including the necessity of baptism. The act of baptism was accomplished by going down into the water, and coming up out of the water.

Many good folk may tell you that they cannot be immersed because their dear old grandma was never immersed. May I kindly ask, “Did Jesus say,  'If any man would follow Me, let him take up his cross, and follow grandma?'”

As you look into God’s Looking Glass at Philip preaching this sermon, do you see your reflection following Jesus, or is the image blurred, and you see yourself following the word of the preacher rather than the Word of God?


Let us take one more look in God’s Looking glass and look at the reflection of the former days of our lives. In First Chronicles 11 King David had taken the city of Jebus, from now on called Jerusalem. The Philistines had control of Bethlehem. Bethlehem was where David lived as a boy. David longed and said, “Oh that one would give me drink of water of the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate.” Perhaps many of us long for a drink from the old well of days gone by.


There were three of his captains who heard him thinking out loud and broke through the Philistine lines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate and brought it to David. David was so overcome by their devotion that he symbolized the water as their lifeblood, and poured it out on the ground as an offering to God.

This was no small sacrifice. It was an offering to God that could not be taken back. The offering of our lives in service to the King of Kings is the same; it should never be taken back. It was a great sacrifice also because it was an offering of great value. It is easy to give God something we don’t need anyway. People offer a sick body to the Lord. Lord, get me through this operation and I will serve you better. Promises to serve God with great zeal are easier to make when sick than when perfectly well. Lord, here is my sick body; you can have it. See what you can do with it. If it gets well, I don’t need God.

Listen to the words of David again, “Oh that someone would give me a drink of water of the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate.” He remembered the old days as a keeper of his father’s sheep. He longed to go back even though he was now king, to the way it was when he was a boy. He wanted a drink from the old well. Although we cannot go back and drink from the old well of Bethlehem that is by the gate, it will always be enshrined in our memory. But it would be a nice place to visit for a week.

On Sunday I would attend the Church services, and visit with most of a congregation now crossed over Jordan. I would hear the kind of preaching of the gospel that would be completely out of style today. In fact if that preacher were alive today and asked to preach, most of the congregation would get up and leave in the middle of the sermon. Not that there would be anything wrong with the preaching, but there might be something wrong with the people.

If I could go back to the old well that is by the gate in the spring when I graduated from Bible College, I could visit with twenty-five other young men; one hundred percent of which would be going out into the world as preachers. Not even one would go out as a psychologist, or even as a youth minister. One may ask what is wrong with that? I did not say anything was wrong; I just said I would like to drink water from the old well at Bethlehem that is by the gate, and as I received my diploma again, I would muse, “I wonder what percentage of preachers will be turned out fifty years from now from any Bible College?”

These lines from a familiar poem expressed it well for us all who long for a drink from the old well of Bethlehem that is by the gate, “Backward, turn backward time in thy flight; Make me a child again just for tonight.”

But it is fair to ask why would you wish to go back to the old days; we have it much better today? While it is true, our life style is much better. We have so many things today unavailable then. Perhaps the reason many people would like to go back to the old days would be because there are more important things in life than the possession of things.

And so along with David I wonder if someone will break through the


Philistine lines of conformity; the lines of faith without repentance and obedience; the lines of everybody is right no matter what you believe, and bring me a drink from that well at Pentecost, the day when the Church began. Let me hear again the way it was when penitent believers were told to repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and the reception of the Holy Spirit. And so I look into God’s mirror for the soul, and see the reflection of an old man who longs to go back, and once again drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate.