Summary: This sermon challenges us to have our spiritual eyes examined to see if we are "seeing" our calling from God’s perspective.
How many of you wear glasses or contacts at least part of the time? Why? That’s right, because you want to be able to see! My wife Lenea had a vision appointment this week because her vision hasn’t been as clear as it used to be. Do you know what that Eye Doctor told her? He told her she was getting old! He’s lucky he got out of there alive! If I’d said that, blurry vision or not she would have punched me good.
The Doctor’s point was that as we age things simply aren’t as sharp as they used to be. That while Lenea still has 20/20 vision, she could probably use some reading glasses to magnify the print in her books, or her needles when she is sewing. She didn’t need corrective lenses; she just needed a little help in focusing on what she needed to do.
Vision is such a major part of our lives. My theme this evening is vision—but I want to talk about more than our physical ability to see—I want to focus on our spiritual vision, our ability to see God’s plan for our lives, and for the life of His church. What that Eye Doctor told Lenea we may all need to hear tonight—“You’re getting old, and things may not be as sharp as they used to be.” Where might you and I need a little help focusing on what God has called us to do?
Eugene Peterson who is responsible for providing us with the Paraphrase of Scripture called The Message wrote the following in his book Living the Message:
When we find ourselves deficient in wisdom, it is not because the Word of God has pages missing, but because we have not seen all there is on the pages we already have. It is not another book we need, but better attention to the book we have; it is not more knowledge we require, but better vision to see what has already been revealed in Jesus Christ. (Eugene H. Peterson in Living the Message. Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 7.)
We need a clear vision of what has been revealed in Jesus Christ. We need to see with certainty and with clarity what Christ has called his people to be and to do. I want us to look at our text today from three different translations so that we can have a clear view of what I believe God wants us to see in His Word.
When I first learned Proverbs 29:18 I learned it from the King James, which says:
Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
As I looked at various translations, I found that God’s Word for Today does a very good job of bringing the verse into English:
Without prophetic vision people run wild, but blessed are those who follow God’s teachings.
Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the Proverbs helped bring the verse to life:
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.
Henry Blackaby is probably best known as the author of Experiencing God. One of the most basic principles found in the book is the challenge to: Find out where God is working and join Him there. That is what I want to challenge you with today—to find where God is working—to help you catch a vision of His will and His work so that you can join Him there.
Someone once said that Vision is—Hope with a Blueprint. I like that image. Spiritual Hope is “confident expectation”—the assurance that God is at work in our world and in our personal lives. The blueprint for our hope is God’s Word which, when we study it faithfully, and apply it consistently can give us a vision for what God has done, is doing, and will do, in and through us in our world.
Spiritual vision comes when we do what the Proverb says:
1) When we are…“keeping His law… (KJV)
2) When we are…following His teaching… (GW)
3) When we are…attending to what He is revealing.” (MSG)
I want to draw on two images from this proverb to help us see the importance of Spiritual Vision, one from the King James translation, and another from God’s Word for Today and The Message.
Why Do We Need Spiritual Vision?
I. Without Spiritual Vision We Cannot See God’s Primary Mission
The KJV says, “Where there is NO VISION, the people perish.” When we are lacking in Spiritual Vision we cannot see what God’s Primary Mission is all about. God’s greatest plan is redemption. That is what Peter wrote in his second letter:
9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 HCSB)