Summary: On the day of Pentecost Peter declared that Dreams and Visions would be part of the foundation of the church. This message looks at why vision is so vital for churches.
We are not drunk! Interesting way to start a conversation but that’s basically how today’s scripture begins. And if you are going to start a conversation by telling people that you aren’t drunk it’s safe to assume that at least some of the folks you are talking to thought you were drunk.
So let’s put things into context here. The passage that was read earlier is a part of the description of the Day of Pentecost. You might recall that Jesus has ascended back to heaven and has left the Apostles behind to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. And come he has. In the first thirteen verses of the second chapter of the book of Acts we see the coming of the Holy Spirit described. There is the sound of a rushing wind. Then what looked like flames settled on each of those who had gathered together. And then we pick up Acts 2:4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. Now the languages that they began to speak in were not unknown languages, but other languages. If we continue with the story we discover that there were Jews in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, from various Roman provinces who spoke different languages and they all heard the followers of Christ praising God in their own language. That would be cool. There are folks in Cornerstone whose first language is not English, think if while I was preaching in English they were hearing in their native language.
Some thought it was a miracle, but not everyone, Acts 2:13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”
And that was where we come in, as a response to that Peter stands up and preaches his first recorded sermon. I heard Andy Stanley a preacher from Atlanta sum up Peter’s message this way: God sent his Son, you killed him, say you are sorry. And while that is the essence of the message there is a little more. And part of it is the foundation that the church will be built on.
And Peter is telling them that what is happening shouldn’t be a surprise, that one of God’s prophets, a man by the name of Joel had pointed people toward this particular event. The prophecy that Peter is referencing comes from the Old Testament book of Joel 2:28 “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.”
And that is neat, it includes both sons and daughters as well as multi generations. The young and the old. And they are all doing the same thing, they are pointing people toward what could be. Prophesies, dreams and visions all look ahead. I love dreams and visions, and I realize that there are times that I spend too much time in the future and not enough in the present. But I can live with that.
One of my favourite passages of scripture is usually taken out of context. As a matter of fact it is when it’s taken out of context that it becomes my favourite passage of scripture, which makes it really difficult to preach on because I’m really not being true to what the passage means. But I guess if I’ve warned you that I’m taking it out of context then I’ve absolved myself a little bit of my responsibility to you. The passage that I’m speaking of is Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish
Now what Solomon actually was trying to say is more accurately conveyed in the New Living Version where the passage is translated Proverbs 29:18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful. And that is a great passage and tells us a lot about our society as a whole right now. And some day I might preach on it the way it is, but not today. So let’s go back to Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Time and time again when I talk to people who are in churches that seem to be in trouble I discover that they are so concerned with today that they have no vision for the future. Because there is no vision . . . well you know the rest.
This morning I want to talk about vision and so the first thing that we need to do is to define what vision is exactly. Collin’s English Dictionary defines vision four ways: The Power of Seeing, Something seen in a dream, A mental image and the ability to perceive something not actually visible. What I want to do this morning is focus on the last meaning and that is the ability to perceive something not actually visible.