Summary: This is the first of three sermons composed directly from Wayne Schmidt's book "Ministry Velocity: The Power for Leadership Momentum." The messages were related to our church's purchase of a new building, moving out of a rented facility.
Catch the Vision
The book of Joshua is a book of vision. It’s the story of Israel moving into the Promised Land. And we’re going to focus today on chapter two, but we need to know that three times in the first 9 verses of Joshua 1, God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. And the third time he tells Joshua to be strong and courageous, he tells him WHY. He says he is to be strong and courageous BECAUSE “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I want to let you know right up front today, that the Lord OUR God is with US wherever WE go.
Chapter two of Joshua is a spy mission. It is a MISSION that is accomplished as part of fulfilling the VISION God has given the Israelites of entering the Promised Land.
This spy mission allows us to see the reality of any vision that comes from God. Several things that we need to understand fully, if we are going to be like Joshua and gain the promised land. And it doesn’t matter if we’re a church trying to buy a building, if we’re trying to win a family member to Christ, if we’re a missionary leaving the comforts of home and going half way around the world, OR if we’re a motorcycle association trying to expand our membership. In moving forward to pursue anything we think God is calling us to do, there are some things we need to understand about a vision that comes from God. Any vision that comes from God, will include:
1. A vision of the lost.
These two spies went into a world that was condemned by God. They were lost. Rahab confirmed for them that even in a pagan, sinful world, God is the Lord of heaven and earth. Look at verses 9-11. Rahab says, “I know the Lord has given you this land.” “We’re all afraid of you.”
The people living on the other side of the Jordan river recognized the God of Israel and were afraid!
We live in a society today that has little to no fear of God. And we do it ourselves. Do you REALLY view God as sovereign Lord? Do we REALLY believe that people who do not submit their lives to God are eternally lost.
Do we have a vision of people who are condemned and need Jesus? Do we see every opportunity to tell people about Jesus as critically important because if we don’t tell, they might spend eternity in hell?
Every decision we make must include the reality of lost souls.
Secondly, we need to have
2. A vision of Salvation
Lost people matter to God. Verses 12-14 give us a beautiful picture of Rahab pleading for her life and the spies ministering to her.
Their mission, certainly, was to spy out the land, but I believe God saw Rahab’s faith while Joshua was still telling the spies where they were to go, and despite their mission, they didn’t loose trace of their vision - they didn’t loose track of who they were - the children of God. And even here, in the Old Testament, with all it’s ritual and ceremony, and bloodshed, these two men, find a lost soul and rescue it for the kingdom of God.
Rahab put down a scarlet rope - a cord. And throughout church history, the scarlet cord, has been a symbol of the blood of Christ shed for lost people.
There were conditions on Rahab’s salvation. But this mission gives a clear idea of the longing of God for the salvation of people.
Every decision we make must include the courage necessary to reach people for Christ.
Finally, we must have:
3. A vision of action.
It’s no good to have a vision and not do anything about it. The spies committed themselves to Rahab. They guaranteed her safety.
We can say:
“Wouldn’t it be great to have our own house of worship?”
We can say:
“Wouldn’t it be great if their whole family was serving the Lord.”
We can say:
“Wouldn’t it be lovely if we had more members.”
Every decision we make must move beyond how we feel about it to what we will do about it.
Every vision is three-dimensional:
Without a vision for the lost, we won’t see the eternal difference our actions will make.
Without a vision of salvation, we might judge the lost, but not reach them.
Without a vision for action, our faith is useless - it’s not going anywhere. James refers to is as being dead.
All the legs of the vision have to be in place, in order to gain new territory.
Another thing any vision of God will include is:
4. A blend of fact and faith (2:23-24)