Our four-fold vision as a church has one focus only. Our purpose is clear as we mark another milestone. Our vision across four dimensions – Biblical, Spiritual, Heavenly, and Christlike. It’s all about our one-word vision: the heartbeat of God: Souls.
Extracts from 38 & various previous messages
Have you ever had a problem with your VISION??
You go to THE EYE DOCTOR and you get your eyes checked…
When things are out of focus it can be frustrating… You get your eyes looked at.
The Bible talks about VISION.
Without vision people perish.
With vision we can flourish.
WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH: BUT HE THAT KEEPETH THE LAW, HAPPY IS HE.
VISION is SEEING THE FUTURE…
- It is not where we are now.
- It is our DESTINATION
We NEED VISION.
Vision helps us find…
- Where are we going?
- Where do we want to be
It seems like some churches have a problem with their vision. It’s interesting what God said to the church at Laodicea – the lukewarm church:
(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:
(18) I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Notice that, God says to them – you are blind. You have a problem you’re your vision.
The vision often looks something like this:
God says to Laodicea, get your eyes checked. You have a vision problem. You need some eye treatment.
Someone has said:
“A leader without vision is like an octopus on roller skates, going everywhere and nowhere.”
As we look back today on seventeen years as a church…
- We look BACK and see God’s BLESSINGS and HELP
- And, we look FORWARD, in FAITH.
It is good to consider our VISION as a church. Our focus.
After year one,
I said this, in a sermon on VISION:
What is our focus?
Have we got it right?
Are we willing to make some changes, to correct the focus?
I believe the focus must be Souls. Reaching souls. Teaching souls. We need to keep this focus ever before us.
Draw SOULS on board…
Our vision is still the same.
And it is as clear as ever.
It hasn’t changed.
What is this church here for?
Our vision is… in simple terms, this ONE word…
We are here for reaching and teaching souls.
We want to sharpen our focus and reach our community for God.
It is THIS VISION that we REFRESH…
- A renewed REVELATION of God
- A fresh PASSION for the old Gospel
- This vision for souls.
The Lord told HABAKKUK about vision.
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
God says make the vision plain.
Make it clear and simple.
So everyone can see it.
He said, write down.
God told Habakkuk write my message down.
They placed stone tablets in the town square where everyone could see what was written.
Our vision can get BLURRED or BLOCKED.
Let’s make it CLEAR. Make it PLAIN and SIMPLE. Make it known.
So that everyone knows our PURPOSE.
WHY WE ARE HERE.
Write the vision and make it plain.
WHAT IS THIS CHURCH ALL ABOUT?
WHAT IS OUR VISION?
We are not IN-DEPENDENT, we are utterly an God-dependent church. God empowered.
What is the VISION we need?
Our vision MUST COME FROM GOD.
A vision from God is in accord with HIS WORD:
The vision that we must have is a
The vision that we must have is a BIBLICAL VISION.
We are committed to function BIBLICALLY.
That, at the foundation of what we do, we honour the Word of God.
It starts as we OPEN OUR EYES.
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
That’s BIBLICAL VISION.
May this be OUR PRAYER…
A learned Chinese man was employed by some missionaries to translate the New Testament into Chinese.
At first the work of translating had no apparent effect upon him.
But, after a time, he became quite agitated, and said, “What a wonderful book this is.”
“Why so?” said the missionary.
“Because,” said the Chinese man, “it tells me so exactly about myself. It knows all that is in me.
“THE ONE WHO MADE THIS BOOK MUST BE THE ONE WHO MADE ME.”
This man truly “saw the light.”
That’s BIBLICAL VISION.
Getting a right vision starts with looking into the Word of God.
It is here by this book we can make a wonderful, personal discovery…
Wondrous things are there to be uncovered and discovered…
GOD’S WORD truly is wonderful and reliable.
It is BY THE WORD that we TEST things to see what is true. To see what is truly OF GOD, and WHAT IS NOT.
It’s by the Word that we are kept safe.
The deceiver can be sneaky – like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Biblical Vision brings DISCERNMENT, and keeps us from getting caught up in error, or false teaching.
Biblical vision is having your eyes open, and being in the Word.
Even the world uses marketing slogans like, ‘Built up to a standard, not down to a price.’
We have A GODLY STANDARD.
This must be OUR STANDARD.
We will stand firm on God’s truth.
Our standard must be THE BIBLICAL STANDARD.
Some will do whatever it takes to draw a crowd.
The Bible dictates what we do, and what we don’t do.
What we believe in.
What we fight for.
We are not here to CONTEND FOR A CROWD, but to CONTEND FOR THE FAITH, once delivered to the saints.
It’s here, in this true word.
THE BIBLE is GOD’S WILL.
Our vision must spring from His Word.
So, our vision must be a BIBLICAL VISION.
The vision that we must have is a SPIRITUAL VISION.
Not man-made. Or fleshly.
We want to have…
- GOD’S FOCUS
- GOD’S HEART.
Vision is enduring faith in the unseen Master.
We can see better spiritually as we PRAY…
DAVID was prayerful, looking upwards…
In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up
When we have SPIRITUAL VISION it helps us think of THE GOD-DIMENSION…
Do we see things from God’s point of view?
By prayer we sharpen our focus.
Is what we do geared to please Him?
Vision is seeing Him who is invisible.
It’s been truly said, “Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
“It goes beyond what we can see with our eyes.” (Frank Gaines)
ABRAHAM had spiritual vision, as he was MOVED BY FAITH.
When he was over 80 years old, Abraham seemed unable to have even one child by his wife, Sarah.
God told him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, or the dust of the earth.
That was a remarkable vision.
Abraham had the vision to see the invisible, to step out into the unknown.
He had spiritual vision.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Abraham didn’t know where God was taking him, but by faith he went.
Abraham could just have seen the impossibility of his situation – and all the negatives that were at play.
The amazing thing is, it says:
Abraham believed God.
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
He looked with the eye of faith…
“Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud, and one the stars.”
When we have a spiritual vision we will see beyond our present difficulties to see who controls our future.
When we have a spiritual vision we will act in faith, not in the flesh.
During the terrible days of THE BLITZ, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb.
In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow.
Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, “I can’t see you!”
The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, “But I can see you. Jump!”
The boy jumped, because he trusted in his father.
He acted in faith.
By faith we can face life or meet death.
Not because we can see, but because we know that we are seen.
We can trust God, even when we are in uncertain times.
FAITH gives us VISION.
And VISION is FAITH…
- Being willing to take a step of faith.
- Bold, risk taking faith.
Just as MOSES… – He had spiritual vision.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
By faith we see spiritually, what is invisible.
By faith, we feel the fear and do it anyway.
By faith, what seems impossible is made possible.
By faith, we trust God, and we take action.
Our focus is not focus on what people think, but only on pleasing God.
The vision that we must have is a HEAVENLY VISION.
Paul speaks of a HEAVENLY VISION that he could not be disobedient to…
His world was rocked and his life was changed by this heavenly vision, on the Damascus road. Acts 26:19…
Vision SHOCKS us and SHAKES us from complacency.
It brings AN ETERNAL DIMENSION into focus.
Paul got a heavenly vision that shocked him, and shook him to the core.
A heavenly vision will turn our world upside down.
It’s a disturbing vision.
When we get a Heavenly vision we can see beyond our human limitations, beyond what we know now…
It’s a whole new way of looking at things.
In the year 1870 the Methodists in Indiana were having their annual conference.
At one point, the president of the college where they were meeting said, “I think we live in a very exciting age.”
The presiding bishop said, “What do you see?”
The college president responded, “I believe we are coming into a time of great inventions. I believe, for example, that men will fly through the air like birds.”
The Bishop said, “This is heresy! The Bible says that flight is reserved for the angels. We will have no such talk here.”
After the conference, the bishop, whose name was Wright, went home to his two small sons, Wilbur and Orville. And you know what they did to their father’s vision.
There is nothing wrong with progress and innovation and doing things different.
The message is the same but the method may change.
It’s been said that:
“People who THINK that nothing can be done usually end up DOING nothing.”
Do we see the PROBLEMS – or the POSSIBILITIES, BY FAITH?
Let’s catch a glimpse of Heaven – and realise what can be possible by God’s true Holy Ghost power, and put ourselves at His disposal.
For Him to use us…
ISAIAH beheld a stunning Heavenly vision… it says,
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
We see the Lord.
Sitting upon a throne.
High and lifted up.
In all His majesty and power.
We see His glory.
We turn our eyes Heavenwards and see the Lord… And we want to honour Him.
Holy, holy, holy…!
And the more we see Jesus the more we see our need of Him and our great insufficiency.
Yet, praise God, our sufficiency is of God.
2 Corinthians 3:5
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
Isaiah was set ablaze… by the Heavenly vision.
Will we be responsive to the Lord’s vision, the Lord’s voice? Like Isaiah?
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
The Lord didn’t say to Isaiah it would be easy. But Isaiah said, yes Lord.
Vision means SEEING, HEARING… and then SAYING, like Isaiah, “YES LORD.”
Like Paul, who cried out, Lord what would you have me to do…
Paul says, Acts 26:19
…I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
What about us? What will we do with the Heavenly vision?
We dare not sit back in disobedience…
This Heavenly Vision moves us to action here on this earth. It gets us into gear.
It brings an eternal perspective into view.
This Heavenly Vision moves our earthly feet into motion.
It motivates each one of us to find our place in the body and use the gifts God has given us.
This Heavenly Vision shows us what is way bigger than our little patch of the world where we live here…
In faith we can do more.
It’s important that we have our vision right.
Let’s not lose our vision.
Let’s expand our horizons.
May we, each one, see the Heavenly Vision today…
As did JOSEPH… He was called a “dreamer”…
HOW is our vision as a church?
What are we dreaming of…
A vision from God can be DISTURBING…
- Eternity is approaching
- We encounter the awesome challenge
- The overwhelming challenge of it.
JOHN also caught sight of heavenly visions.
He saw VISIONS…
- Of fearsome creatures
- Of judgments
- Of Heaven
- And of Hell.
A Heavenly VISION speaks of ETERNAL THINGS.
We see what Heaven makes possible on this earth.
We see things from God’s perspective.
What do you see?
What’s your perspective?
As Paul writes,
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
We need a Heavenly vision.
A Heavenly perspective.
It’s like being on a chairlift…
The higher we are, the further we see…
Let’s go higher up the mountain.
Stand on higher ground…
Our vision must also be a CHRISTLIKE VISION.
We must be like our Saviour.
We are called to see through eyes alike to our Saviour’s eyes…
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it…
We will see better when our eyes are filled with tears.
When we have wept for the lost, and the hell-bound.
To find the MASTER PLAN – we must have the MASTER’S PLAN.
We must have a Christ-like vision. Christ centred, God glorifying…
The great designer and builder of the universe has drawn it up for us. This plan… His call.
The blueprint of life – it is right here in our hands.
Vision sees the need.
And creates a burden.
The motivation to do something.
We must seek God first. We must catch a glimpse of Him. He must be Central.
May our cry be… as some Greeks who came to Philip, and said to him:
…Sir, we would see Jesus.
Our Vision must be of Christ; magnifying Him; lifting Him up.
The Church is always one generation from extinction.
May our hearts be ready, our feet, and our lips – to present Christ to others around about us.
Our Lord calls us to this Gospel work.
He calls us to look with fresh eyes and see the need. That’s a Christ-like Vision…
And when we see people we will see them as Jesus our Lord sees them.
Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
We must spread the Gospel.
We want to be Christlike in our vision. Christlike, Christ-led, Christ-centred.
All glory to God.
Our Lord calls us to this.
To see the world through His eyes.
We want to effectively reach our city.
We want to reach souls.
When we see things like Jesus sees them we will launch out.
Out into uncharted waters.
We will embark on the great voyage of discovery. To come to know and do the will of God.
We want a God-directed vision. In all of these domains…
We want to be IN HIS WILL.
And this VISION drives us to ACTION…
We don’t want to make the mistake of talking and planning and theorizing of this vision, yet fail to put it into action.
General Stonewall Jackson wanted to get his troops over a certain river one night, so he gave orders to the engineers to make a way for the artillery and wagons and men to cross over.
He also called his wagon master, who was a blacksmith, to headquarters and gave him instructions to get the wagon train across the river as fast as possible.
The engineers gathered in a tent and went about their work in their usual expert manner to draw up plans for a bridge.
The blacksmith, knowing only that something had to be done, and that right quickly and something practical had to be the outcome. He proceeded to gather a group of men and with logs and rocks and fence rails they built a crossing over that river.
Just before dawn the blacksmith awakened the general to inform him that the wagons, artillery and men were across the river.
In astonishment the General asked, “Where are the engineers?”
The blacksmith replied, they’re over in their tent still drawing pictures and planning a bridge.”
Never have we had so many experts sitting around drawing pictures and making plans as today!
What we need are a few good men and women who will get a vision of the need of the hour and get involved in the work.
VISION must be combined with VENTURE.
VISION must TRANSLATE into ACTION.
We have seen our need of VISION:
Vision is VITAL.
The vision that we must have must be…
- BIBLICAL VISION, founded on the Bible
- SPIRITUAL VISION, by faith
- HEAVENLY VISION, stirring us
- CHRIST-LIKE VISION, causing us to see and reach souls like Jesus.
Will we be…
- A People of Vision?
- A People of Faith?
- Be part of the action
- Seize the opportunities to do God’s will
- Step out – in faith!
Vision activates us…
It drives us…
To take the step of faith…
It drives us…
To action – to work – to do something.
It means saying Yes, Lord.
Here am I Lord, send me.