Summary: Every year we struggle with New Year's Resolutions or goals set that we fail to reach. The church is no different. Does the church have a clear vision for Jesus and the authority of His word? Its time to separate the garbage from the truth in our walk!
On September 27, 1991, as was his custom, Gerald Sittser, a professor of religion and philosophy at Whitworth College, prayed, asking God to protect and bless his family. Something went terribly wrong. Later that afternoon, returning from a family outing, a drunk driver lost control of his car and smashed into the Sittsers’ minivan. Sittser’s wife Lynda; his daughter Diana Jane; and his mother, who was visiting for the weekend, were all killed in the collision. Sittser write: "To this day I have been unable to understand what made that day different. What prevented my prayers from getting through to God? Did I commit some unpardonable sin? Did I fail to say the right words? Did God suddenly turn against me? Why, I have asked myself a thousand times, did my prayer go unanswered?" He still cannot explain it, but concludes an article on unanswered prayer with these words: "… Jesus charges us to view life from a redemptive perspective. There is more to life than meets the eye when God gets involved. He works things out for good. … We view unanswered prayer from the perspective of our immediate experience and our limited vision. But God is doing something so great that only faith can grasp it, wait for it, and pray for it."
A lady of society was gazing upon an image she had never seen before in the city’s art museum. "My dear fellow," she said condescendingly to the Curator, "I have never seen this painting before. I find the image shallow and rather crude in appearance. What do you call this?" The curator answered without giving the slightest expression," That madam, is a mirror." The lady’s vision was not very focused.
Losing focus on the Jesus of Scripture blurs our own view—not only of Christ—but of ourselves, as well. The Bible is also a great mirror. We may go to it to observe its content with a critical eye, but in the end, we are under its criticism.
The KEY to the success of the church for the 21st Century until Jesus returns is VISION!
Once you have determined where you stand with Jesus, you need to gain a VISION to lead your walk (REMEMBER THE VISION IS WHAT GIVES YOU THE PATH TO YOUR GOAL OF HEAVEN)!
Do you know how your church….defines VISION?
(HOLD UP Vision Statement)
Do you realize that this don’t mean NOTHING without each of us having our OWN vision for Jesus Christ??
Let us not be like the people Isaiah spoke of in 29:13 where he said:
“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.’” (NIV)
WHY VISION? *Read Acts 26:8-18*
• Because it changes your perspective from YOURS to Jesus Christ’s!
• Because to have it, WE MUST ALLOW GOD TO TAKE US TO UNCOMFORTABLE PLACES! (Example: Saul before Paul) Verses 9-11
How do you get a Godly 20/20 Vision: (4 Things)
1. Begins with an ACCURATE VIEW of Jesus! (Verse 15)
a. Before the plan, we must BUY into the person of Jesus!
i. Saul after persecuting the Christians for so long finally was confronted by Jesus, yet Saul still asked who He was?
b. We can’t be on FIRE for Jesus if no one really knows Him!
i. INTIMATELY, INTELLECTUALLY, SOCIALLY!
c. When we make ANY agenda the churches problem other than Jesus’ – WE PROSTITUTE THE CHURCH!
We might be called to leadership by God, We might be able to worship well before God, We might be Bible-Thumping, Hand-Raising, Soul-Saving Instruments of God….BUT WE ARE NOT GOD! It isn’t our battle to win!
2. We are DRIVEN to ACTION! (Verse 16)
a. God is setting off the alarm to us and LEADERSHIP is lying in bed praying about it!
i. Jesus is not asking us….He’s TELLING us to GET UP!
b. No one is waiting on God (in reality), God is waiting on US!
c. Leaders take ACTION, Committees just TALK about it!
d. Churches have been infected with the same relentless disease we have lost so many loved ones to….CANCER!
i. IF YOU DON’T CUT THE CANCER OUT OF THE BODY, IT WILL KILL IT! (Who is the Body? WE ARE!!)
e. To protect the body there MUST be action! Because IF PEOPLE AREN’T LEAVING, I’M NOT LEADING FOR JESUS!
f. We need to open up the church’s back doors during services….You know what they’re there for right??
i. The CHURCH is called the body and ALL LIVING THINGS HAVE BOWEL MOVEMENTS….WE MUST OPEN UP THE NEGATIVE VALVES AND….LET THE CRAP OUT!
3. VISION will impact me PERSONALLY!
a. You cannot see through the eyes of Jesus WITHOUT enduring the pain of sinful DENIAL!