Saturday, January 15, 2011

Discovering God's Vision For Our Lives

This is an outline for a sermon developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett and preached at Faith Community Church on January 16, 2011.

Proverbs 29:18 - Where there is no vision, the people perish: but the one who keeps the law will be happy.

1. Vision
• In this verse, the word “vision” is the Hebrew word “hazon.”
• Hazon literally means a “revelation from God.”
• A “hazon” vision is one that God Himself puts in our hearts.
• This kind of vision is a command from God that must be obeyed. It is not a suggestion, nor an option.
• In that sense, this kind of vision can be dangerous because that if we do not follow it, we will perish.

2. Perish
• The word for “perish” is the Hebrew word “para,” which means to “waste away” or “become unusable.”
• People who have no clear vision of what God wants them to do slowly waste away and become unusable.
• “Para” can also mean “to lose all restraint” or to become a wild person.
• When people have no clear word from God, they lose all their natural inhibitions and go wild.
• That wildness will can also result in them become unusable for anything.

3. Law
• The word “law” refers to the Word of God, which is the Bible.
• We live in a day in which a lot of people no longer believe the Bible.
• Even those who claim to believe often ignore the Bible’s teachings when it is inconvenient to daily life.
• But living according to the Bible’s teachings leads to happiness.
• The word “happy” literally means “to be satisfied.”
• If we want a satisfying life, we must learn to obey God’s Word.
• The principles and concepts in the Bible are not just arbitrary statements by God, they actually have a purpose.
• God is trying to keep us from pain and help us have a satisfying life.
• When we ignore God’s advice, we reap the natural results of our choices.

4. Discovering Vision
• We must ask ourselves what is God’s vision for our lives.
• The real question is not what OUR vision for our lives may be, but what is GOD’S vision for our lives.
• When we discover God’s vision for our lives and we begin to follow it, then we will have the most satisfying life possible.
• While we all have some special things that we are supposed to be doing for God, there are also some common things that ALL Christians should be doing. As we obey those common things that we find in God’s Word, we will discover the special things that are unique to us as individuals.

5. A Vision for Evangelism
• Luke 14:23 - Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.
• Jesus told a parable about a rich person who invited a lot of people to come to a big banquet he was holding.
• For a variety of reasons, most of the invited guests did not show up.
• So the master of the house told his servants to go find as many people as they could and bring to the party so the house would be full.
• Jesus is the Master of the Universe.
• He has invited us to party in heaven with Him for eternity.
• But most people have ignored that invitation.
• Therefore God has told us to go find anyone we can and bring them in.
• We do not need to look for “church people” to invite to church. We should be looking for ANY people to invite to church.
• Part of God’s vision for each Christian is that we would be involved in evangelism.
• Evangelism is not just the pastor’s job, it is everyone’s job.

6. A Vision for Discipling and Baptizing New Believers
Matthew 28:19-20 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
• Notice the order of this verse:
• We GO and make disciples.
• Then we baptize.
• Then we continue to teach them to obey what Jesus commanded.
• If we get these steps out of order then we are not fulfilling God’s vision.
• We are not just to convince people to come to church; we are to disciple them in the Christian faith.
• Discipling a person means taking the time to talk to them about what is going on in their lives and help them learn how to apply the Bible to those daily experiences.
• It can be done formally, with a book or study course.
• It can be done informally, through relationships and conversations.
• But it MUST be done.
• Discipling others is not just the pastor’s job.
• Parents should be discipling their children.
• Older women should be discipling younger women.
• Older men should be discipling younger men.
• If we lead a person to faith in Christ, we should take the initiative to disciple them.
• Part of discipleship is to help people understand what baptism is.
• Baptism is one of the first steps new Christians should take.
• If people have been Christians for a while but somehow missed this step, they should go back and take this step as part of their discipleship process.
• We should also teach newer Christians some basic Christian stuff such as; how to read and study the Bible, how to use the Lord’s Prayer, the importance of obeying the Ten Commandments, to memorize Psalm 23 and the Beatitudes and the importance of regular church attendance.
• We should help new Christians discover their place of service in the church.
• Discipleship takes time but it is an important part of God’s vision for His people.
• We should look for ways to increase our own level of discipleship and we should be discipling someone else.
• Discipleship is a life-long aspect of our faith so that we never stop growing in Christ.

7. A Vision for Helping Those in Need
• James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
• Orphans and widows represent the most helpless in society.
• Matthew 25:35, 40 - For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' . . . 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

8. A Vision for Missions
• Acts 13:47 . . . 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'
• Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
• Both of these verses remind us that God wants to use US to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
• That is why our church gives a lot of money to support a network of missionaries through the Baptist convention.
• It is also why we encourage our young adults to take mission trips to other countries to share Jesus.
• It is why we pray and ask God to bring people from every nation to faith in Christ.
• Missions is not just for the “professional missionaries.” It is for all of us to pray, give and participate in.

God’s Vision includes:
1. Evangelism
2. Discipling and baptizing new believers
3. Helping those in need
4. Missions around the world
As we do these things that ALL Christians are called to do, God will help us also discover the special vision that He has for us that is unique to us. Are we willing to join God in His vision?