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INTRODUCTION

What did you do this past week?
Did you brush your teeth, did you eat?
Did you buy anything, did you spend time with your family?
Did you read the Bible, did you share the gospel?
Did you serve someone you’d never met before?
Did you call your mom, did you, did you, did you?
Why?
So much of what we do – we do without thinking about it and being intentional with our life.
Most people won’t articulate a vision – but we all have one.

 

THREE DIFFERENT VISIONS

The Selfie Vision - a vision of self

One purpose is that which is inherent within us: the drive to please self, the drive to please others, pride, success. Whether you’ve actually ever held a camera and taken your own picture or not this is in us. The selfish desire to please the one and only me. This can be our vision – this is what drives us and gives our life meaning – ourselves.

It makes sense for as much as we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes we can’t really get inside their heads – the only real perspective we see is our own. We want for ourselves. In wanting this we reject God’s vision for our life that calls us to take our eyes off ourselves and look to something greater!

The Advertisement Vision

A vision of the world not even as it really is but how others want us to see it. A second purpose that influences us is the world: advertisements, others opinion of what’s good.
In some ways this is just a variant on the first one but I think it’s different enough. We focus on the world around us and how it can please us.

We also focus on what it has to offer us, to entertain and motivate us. Its advertisements and amusement, its distraction and a deafening thunder of dissatisfaction that draws on us and pulls us away from God.

This can be our vision – this is what drives us and gives our life meaning – keeping up with the world – doing what it says is valuable – following its commands. We want what it tells us to want. In wanting this we reject God’s vision for our life that calls us to take our eyes off the world and look to something greater!

In a list like this you’re always supposed to pick the third option. But I want you to realize that you can’t take this vision on and take on the other two at the same time. They are incompatible.

You cannot please your fleshly self and God –

Matt 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
You cannot please the world and Christ!

James 4:4  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Then what should our vision be?

The Jesus Vision – a vision of faith

Hebrews builds through chapter 11 towards living a life of faith and what that has looked like (Hall of Faith) and what it should look like for us.

Heb 12:1-2  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Because we have examples of faith we should imitate their faith by putting ours in Christ.

Lay aside weight
Lay aside sins
Run with endurance the race set before us
Keeping our vision fixed on Jesus and his example

What did he tell us to do?
We’ve taken what we feel is the central themes of our vision given to us in the word of God – his vision for us.
We’ve put them together like this:

Our passion is:  to love God and all people by living, proclaiming, and teaching the Gospel of Jesus, God’s Messiah.

What does this mean? Where do we get this?
 

To love God and all people...
Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was and this is how he responded:

Matthew 22:37-40   And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

...by living [the Gospel]... (the good news of Jesus and what he’s done)
We are called to live a certain way. A way that continues on in God’s power doing what he does. Breaking this phrase out can seem a little odd because I see this being interconnected with the rest.
We are to live as ones who have been freed from slavery to sin, in lives of joy and holiness, resisting temptation and the devil, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, and persevering steadfastly under trial, in every circumstance. 

Colossians 2:6-7   Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

... proclaiming [the Gospel]
The primary mission of Jesus’ Church is the proclamation of the Gospel.  We are to do this publicly and privately, with believers and unbelievers, in our large and small group gatherings as well as outside our walls in our neighborhoods, classrooms, and workplaces.

Romans 10:14-17   How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

… and teaching [the Gospel]
We are to disciple and instruct one another in the gospel leading us to the “house order,” way of life, and doctrine of the Christian life. 

1 Thess 2:8   So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
Col 3:16   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
1 Timothy 3:14-15   I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
the Gospel of Jesus, God’s Messiah.

The Gospel is the good news that sinful people can be reconciled to their creator God through repentance and faith in the promised Savior, Jesus, and His life, death, resurrection, reign, and return. 

Romans 3:23   for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 5:8   but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 6:23   For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:20   Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Do you see the power of this vision and living this out? There is a radical, otherworldly quality to living this way! You’re going to look different if this is your vision. This is all encompassing – as I said earlier you just can’t mix this in with the selfie or the advertisement – they are oil and water.
How we then do we apply that to our life? You go about life with purpose and direction – with vision. You do what you do with intentionality and focus.

 

THIS IS A WHOLISTIC VISION

Col 3:23-24   Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Col 3:17   And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I challenge you to evaluate your life from the mundane activity of brushing your teeth up to your career path. What fits? What doesn’t?

I think that we can say that brushing your teeth is a good thing that honors God. Can you do it in faith trusting that using that time to take care of your body and be a good steward of what God has given you in your health is worth the time expense? You could use that time to be feeding orphans or earning money to send oversees or some other extra altruistic endeavor! I think we can justify brushing our teeth.

What about watching that TV show? What about surfing those websites? Spending that much time on Facebook? Keeping up on the latest commentary on that sports team? Those of you who say that you don’t have time to serve others or share the gospel – take a really hard look that the leisure and expendable time in your schedule – this is our charge this is our vision.

What’s your excuse? Everything has a price. There are deeds done in the Spirit and faith and there are deeds done in the flesh and sin. There is a black and white component to this.

Rom 14:23   But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

We should do the things that God wants us to do – the deeds in faith – that proceed from faith. You cannot sin in faith. For some of you there are things that you do habitually that are sin. Cut it out – do a faith-filled activity instead. For others of you it’s the amount of time that you do something that becomes sin. Every good thing becomes sin when it becomes an ultimate thing.

Pleasure: enjoying yourself is something that God has designed for you for but it is easy for it to get out of hand. It can easily become sin when you elevate it to become the vision.

Work: we are also designed to work but work can also easily get out of hand and become an idol.

Ministry: this joins the list – we are to serve and love other people but we can depend on it for our identity.

Family: how can we criticize family? This has become the value in our society but some of you spend too much time and energy on your kids – it doesn’t fit with the vision.

 

BLACK AND WHITE?

There is a foil to all of this. It’s easy and blatant – I’ve been painting a perfect scenario where everything is black and white, right and wrong – something that follows Christ’s vision for our life or follows our self/advertisement. It’s not that easy or simple. We’ve got mixed motivations and can do a good thing too much and make it an ultimate thing.

If I spent too much time in the dorms reaching out to people and sharing the gospel I would neglect my family and the responsibilities I have at home. If I spent too much time at home training my children and serving my wife I would neglect the mission out in the world that God has called me to. How do we solve this dilemma?

1. We ask God for wisdom

James 1:5   If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

2. We get transformed by the renewing of our minds

Rom 12:1-2   I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

3. We put a priority on Love

Rom 13:8   Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
1 Cor 13:4-7   Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

4. We do the sorts of things that Jesus did – caring for the least of these, giving his life up for others, asking for guidance

Mark 10:45   For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
John 5:19   So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
Matt 25:40   And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

 

CONCLUSION

We all are driven by vision – our own selfie vision, the vision of the world the advertisement vision or by the Jesus vision. Life can be so ordinary – so everyday. I call you out of the mundane, the ordinary, the everyday. I call you to this extraordinary vision – to see the world around you differently. Keeping your eyes fixed on Christ. Loving God and all people by living proclaiming and teaching the gospel. I call you to return to the mundane, the ordinary and the everyday with this vision. To live this thing called the gospel in your life – not in some other life – you are not needed to be something else than what you are – you are God’s child and that is enough. But even as that life can be boring – God did not intend for you to be bored – he intended that you have life and have it to the full – I see this vision there.

Col 3:17   And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.