Never Without Vision – Always Say Never, pt.6   Leave a comment

Ephesians 3:14-21.

The words of Proverbs 29:18 can be rather daunting if you think long and hard about them.  “Where there is no vision, the people perish” is the way the King James translates these words.  While I love many translations I have to admit I appreciate how The Message states this verse, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.”

A church without a vision or dream from above loses its purpose.  God’s vision for the church is essential for forward motion as we strive to drive on into the center of His will. Why have a vision?  What is “vision” in terms of the church?  To break it down into its simplest form, “vision” is what we do while “mission” describes how we do it.

Ephesians 3:14-15.  All members of the body of Christ have a common identity.  Each one of us who follows the Lord call ourselves “Christians” which can also be stated “little Christs.”  Don’t read too deeply into that because the label of hypocrisy will quickly be visualized.  But as the body of Christ, we are one.  So Paul is establishing here that we need to be thinking on a “group level.”  We are a group, a family, a team.

So as a church, how do we find God’s vision for us?

I.     Accept God’s Leadership

Vv. 16-17a.  Paul is praying for God’s Spirit to be present in the group. We as the children of God must understand that we not only have a personal relationship with the Lord, but that this same relationship can also be defined on a group level.  Christ is the head of the body, and we collectively make up the body.  You could also look at it from this angle – our church is a body within the greater body of Christ.  We are a singular group that is part of the whole.  With God as our guide, we must accept and obey His leadership.

II.     Live Together in God’s Love

Vv. 17b-18.  Paul’s prayer continues in that he wants us to have power in unity, power from above that helps the group understand the limitless love of Christ.  Let’s face it, if the love of Christ Jesus our Lord is not an overpowering force in our lives as Christians and as the church, then we are basing most of what we do on false pretenses.  Our common goals must spring from our common source of strength – the love of God.

III.     Understand God’s Power

V.19.  Paul wants the group to have a complete understanding of all things God.  We will never know the fullness of God if we are independently wandering around doing our own thing.  There is a remarkable thing that happens when we join together as a community of faith.  God’s power seems to somehow manifest itself in new ways and the excitement that is generated from this is nothing less than contagious.

To me, verses 21-22 are the key to this whole passage.  I have a pretty wild imagination and this isn’t restricted to my own personal life or the dreams I have for my family, but they also include the church.  What does your imagination tell you?  Not using your imagination even for the church leads to stagnation.

I remember reading some time ago a statement called the Seven Steps to Stagnation by Erwin Soukup.  Here they are:

  1. We’ve never done it that way before
  2. We’re not ready for that
  3. We’re doing alright without trying that
  4. We’ve tried it once before
  5. We don’t have the money for that
  6. It’s not our job
  7. Something like that won’t work here

I won’t let that happen on my watch and neither should you.

God is able to take even our wildest dreams and exceed them to unimaginable levels.  That is the God we serve and the God who runs this church.  It’s time to dream again.  It’s time to dream again as a group.

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