Summary: A church needs to know that it needs a vision
"The Great Adventure of Vision"
God Almighty is a God of Vision. Now when I say "vision" I am not necessarily talking about some mystical sight that someone sees. Occasionally a vision from God is like that as the Bible shows us. Paul saw a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. John saw a vision of a New Jerusalem coming out of heaven. More often than not a vision is a mental image that expresses the truth of something.
1. Why does God use Visions?
Why a vision? Have you ever heard it said that a picture paints a thousand words? Sometimes the meaning of something is best expressed through an image. Words simply fail to express the idea. I believe God communicated his will to his people through visions. God does this because if God tried to explain it in detail it would boggle our minds. God gives us an image that we can hold onto and comprehend. And this image communicates the essence of what God want us to know about God’s will for us.
Just consider Ezekiel’s vision. God showed Ezekiel a valley of dry bones and said, "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel said, "Lord you know." God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones; to preach at them. Then God proceeded to join the bones together. Then God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind and he did and the wind breathed life into the bodies. Israel was a valley of dry dead bones and God was bringing it back to life! If God had simply said, "I will bring Israel back to life" the message would not have had the same impact. If God had explained in detail how event would unfold, Ezekiel would not have been able to convey the information to the people. So God showed Ezekiel a vision, an image that summed up the redemptive work God was about to do.
2. God communicates through visions
That God communicates through visions is unmistakable. All through the Bible God communicated through visions. When God was going to send his son, he gave the prophets visions of a suffering servant, a shepherd who would die for the sheep. Peter saw a vision of unclean animals and was ordered to eat them to show that Gentiles who do such could be Christians. Paul saw a vision of a man calling him to Macedonia and he realized he was called to go there to preach the gospel. And in the darkest hour of the church when Christians were killed and imprisoned for their faith God gave a vision. John was given a Revelation of God’s coming judgment of the world and the deliverance of God’s people when Jesus returns.
Abram, better known to us as Abraham, was a man of vision! He was old when he had his vision. Most of his contemporaries would not have blamed him if he had simply stayed on his porch and watched the world go by. That’s what most people do at his stage in life.
Not Abraham. He had other ideas. He had this crazy dream of becoming a father. Never mind that his wife Sari had long ago passed that age of child bearing. Never mind that he was old enough to be a great grandfather. Abram still dreamed of being the Father of a nation. Abraham also dreamed of going to far off land and establishing a new nation. Never mind that he was so old that he might not survive the journey. Never mind that he had no idea where this nation would be located. He still dreamed. Abraham had a vision. He could see his descendants as a great nation serving God in a Promised Land somewhere just over the horizon.
People must have thought Abraham was crazy. If not crazy at least a foolish old man. Here was a man in the later years of his life setting out to do what very few had ever done in their prime. How can a man and woman in the seventies or eighties begin a family from scratch? How can they, old and barren, establish a great nation? I am sure people laughed at Abraham and Sarah.
Many people believe it’s truly foolish to follow your dreams. People dream up all kinds of things. Some would tell you that you have the power inside yourself to do what ever you can dream. "If you can visualize it you can make it happen," those people say. I don’t believe that.
I know that I am incapable of anything profound! I know that human beings cannot make things happen just because they want them bad enough. That is silliness. But that is what so many people are saying today. They say "You have the power within you to make your dreams come true."