A Holy Vision
A Human Vehicle, a Heavenly Visitation!
Proverbs 29.18 tells us that “where there is no vision, the people perish” Looking around me today I see a world in ever increasing despair. I see falling economies, rising unemployment, spiralling costs, increasing lawlessness, and growing prison populations. I see Governments in panic, Banks and Financial institutions in meltdown and people struggling to retain their jobs and pay their bills. Many are fearful for the future and many, even within the Church are doubting the promises of God, and falling under the challenges to their faith. But all is not lost, there is hope, there is a way out, there is a solution, and God wants men and women of “vision” who can turn things around for the betterment of the whole community. So in the moments left to me today, I want to talk about vision, or more accurately, a Holy Vision!
The late President John F Kennedy in a presidential election campaign speech once said “you look at the things that are and ask why? I look at the things that are not, and ask why not?” Kennedy was clearly a man of vision. Vision asks, why not cheaper fuel, why not better social housing, why not full employment, why not a lower crime rate, why not tolerance and love for our neighbour in spite of their ethnic origin, their sexual preference, or their religious persuasions, why not a caring and sharing society…. why is it that we cannot catch a vision of better things, can we not see that with Gods help these things are possible?
It is largely because we have left God out of our reckoning and reasoning that the world is in the mess we find it in today. We have banned God and His word from the classroom, from the courtroom, from the parliament, from the media, and there are moves afoot to remove every mention of Christ from the great Christian festivals such as Easter and Christmas, and simply to make us refer to these as the Spring and Winter Holidays!
Is it any wonder that God prompted Habakkuk to catch the vision, and to catch what I am calling…
A Holy Vision v2
We read …“And the Lord answered me “write the vision …”
This vision I believe can be threefold, in that firstly we need a vision of the Lord.
Without a Holy Vision, without us getting a glimpse of God, of His greatness, of His power, of His provision, – we shall continue to make a mess of our world, and destroy everything good within it. Only the Lord can save us, only the Lord can rescue our fallen humanity. Only the Lord can help us turn around the problems and difficulties we have manufactured for ourselves. I am convinced that we serve a Mighty God, a God who is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think” Eph. 3.20. What we cannot do, God can do through us! What we are fearful of, He can give us courage and strength to overcome! What we may never have attempted on our own, we can do in Him, as the apostle Paul testified: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me”. The Hymn writer said “Be Thou my vision, Oh Ruler of all” So with this vision of the Lord, we then need to catch a vision of the Lost.
The inference given in the text already quoted from Proverbs 29.18, implies that where there is no vision, there is death.
Look around you at our empty and emptying Churches, many of them are dead or dying due to lack of vision. Yet with vision, a Holy Vision, an Inspired Vision, one can see that there have never been so many people in our towns and villages, never been so many who do not attend Church, never been so many who have no Church connection whatever, and never been so many
in need of “answers” to their problems and pressures. But these precious souls will be lost, lost for time and lost for all of eternity, unless and until God grant His Church a Holy Vision.
Years ago the great Visionaries of the past would have filled our Churches and Chapels to overflowing with these hurting people, and until we catch a vision of them “lost” we will never be motivated or moved to gather them in. Jesus himself said “The Harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few”
The strange thing is that in spite of many empty Churches, there is a hunger for God out there, amongst our people like never before. People are hungry for the word, hungry to find answers from God, hungry to know Gods leading, and in just a month, more than 400 have logged on to my new web site “the Sanctuary today” –
If that does not spell hungry, I don’t know what does? Many people feel abandoned by the Church and many have lost hope in the Christian community. We need fresh vision in the pulpit and fresh vision in the pew! Have you caught this vision, this picture of them, – “lost souls” and do you care?
So having seen the Lord, and his ability, the Lost and their abandonment, we need to focus on the work or what I will call a vision of the labour!
I remember in 1977 just before I graduated from College, reading the life story of that great American Evangelist
Dwight L. Moody, and genuinely being challenged through reading of his many missionary and ministry exploits for God.
I remember as a young student, still in my twenties, asking God to make me like D. L. Moody! A man of Vision and Victory, a man of Prayer and a Purpose, a man of great Accomplishments, and great Acclaim! Years later, I discovered that I had been a little foolish in asking such a petition or prayer. You see, God did not want me to be another D. L. Moody, or another Billy Graham, ….. And neither does God want you to imitate or be a copy of any other man or woman, BUT he does want us, you and I to be like JESUS!
We are to imitate him! God wants us to reflect his beauty, his love and his life wherever we go, and in whatever we may say or do. If we are going to labour for the Lord to reach the lost, then we must realise that we cannot do the work in our own strength, we need to work “in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son”! Service should not be what I can do, but what He can do through me, and then it will not be overwork, but overflow! Do you have this kind of vision, … a Holy Vision of just how mightily God could use you, and utilize your gifts for His Glory.
The Bible reminds us that a mighty Forest can be set ablaze by just one tiny spark, James 3:5 – and you may be like a tiny spark on fire for God. If a spark can set a whole forest on fire, and 12 disciples can turn the world up-side-down, then who knows what God can do through you… but first you will need a Holy Vision. So then this is your need, but let us consider in the second place what God needs, – it is what I am calling
A Human Vehicle v2
“So that he may run who reads it” God needs a “runner”, God needs a man or woman willing and ready to run with the vision, and to run its course. I could easily have said that God needs a “Human Vessel” and that would also be true…. but a vessel implies something stationery, rather than something on the move! Sadly there are too many stationery Christians around us, and not enough of us mobilized and moving for God. God needs his Church to be “up and running” and “running to win”!
Writing to young Timothy and nearing the end of his own ministry, the great Apostle Paul talks about finishing the course.
1 Tim 4:7, and in a very real sense he was comparing the Christian life of Service to a “race course” a course that had to be found, followed and finished. Many may easily find the start, and continue even for some distance, but sadly too many give up and do not finish. The Prize or Reward is never given to those who merely run, but rather, to those who run well, and finish well, and keep the rules!
The successful athlete will run the race set before him with as little weight as possible. Even his clothing will be as light-weight as he can find, and he would never dream of carrying his kit bag around the course with him. Many of us as believers get bogged down in our race with God, simply because we carry with us too much baggage from our past! These are the issues that cloud and crowd our lives and which often render us ineffective and can distract us from the Prize before us. If God is going to use us and make us a blessing to others, then we must learn how to abandon the baggage of our History, that keeps us from our Destiny. Roy Hession, greatly used of God in the Rwanda Revivals and in Uganda writes, “I asked God to allow me just to be the sandals for Him to walk in” That’s lovely, Just to be the sandals for him to walk in. Sandals are not items of great splendour, or great significance, they are not placed on pedestals to be admired, but they are merely to be pressed in the dust under ones feet! Are you willing to be pressed in the dust under Gods feet, for his glory and the good of others? Am I?
God needs us to be moved and motivated because the time or day of opportunity is short and getting shorter by the minute. Jesus said “the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4) and that night is upon us. My dear friend, I firmly believe that we are living in the last of the last days. I believe that the time is running out for our world, God is about to “rend the Heavens and come down”. The message of the gospel is being preached all over the world, even as I speak, that “good news of Jesus” and his coming again is more relevant and more imminent than ever before.
God is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should be saved and come to an understanding of the way of the Cross. That is why he has promised that in the last days he will “pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh” Acts 2,17-18 and Joel 2,28-29
I believe that the Church is about to experience the greatest change since the reformation. Jesus said that within the Church there would be sheep and goats, wheat and tares, and both would co-exist side by side until the end. ( Matt ch13 and Matt ch25) and we know that Judgement must begin at the house of God. (1 Peter ch4 ) I believe that this time of separation is already upon us.
It is a frightening time, a disturbing time, yet with holy vision, it can be an exciting time. Across the world today there is a hunger within the heart of every true Child of God for the “truth” about God, a hunger for “reality” – a disgust with pretentious religion, and a spiritually bankrupt community that calls itself the Church. A hunger for the “word of God” not the traditions of men, a hunger for the “power of God” not for the platitudes of an erroneous theology!
Our Young people want reality, tell it like it is, of course it will offend, the Gospel will always be an offence to the unenlightened. ( Isaiah 8:14) But the truth will out, and people want the truth. My Bible tells me in ( Jeremiah ch23.) that in this coming judgement there may well be prophets, priests or pastors who will hide away in fear, because they have been telling stories, pleasing people, and not truthfully representing Gods Word. Throw stones at me if you will, but you will never be able to say that I failed to tell you the truth! It may not always be pleasing or palatable, but the truth it is, none the less, and only the “truth can set you free” (John 8:32) Some of you may be offended, but that always comes from pride. A humble man will never be offended. It’s Gods word. Prov.13:10
God needs a Human Vehicle, a man (or woman) like David, who “ran” to the battle with Goliath, fearless and careless (in the true sense of that word) utterly depending on God, and without a care for himself, his reputation or his safety. Could you be such a vehicle, an instrument in the hand of God, a polished arrow, a sharpened sword, a successful soldier? Remember the words of Paul in Romans 8:31, “If God be for you, who can be against you”… and go forward “in the strength of the Lord.” And so it is that when there is a Holy Vision, and a Human Vehicle, there will most definitely be a …
Heavenly Visitation v3
We read: “If it seem slow, wait for it, it will surely come…”
If it is true that our need is a Holy Vision, and Gods need is a Human Vehicle, then it is most assuredly true that the worlds need is a Heavenly Visitation!
The cry of Isaiah the Prophet was “Oh that you would rend the Heavens and come down ….” (Isaiah 64.1) for just like our world today the world in his day was a world living in rejection and rebellion towards God. Isaiah noted that the nation had been “in sin for a long time,“ and he wondered “would they ever be saved”. I don’t believe that Isaiah wanted God to come down in Judgement, somehow or other I feel that he was wanting the “name of God” to be known, or the “fear of God” to be realized, rather than the “pain (or punishments) of God”
to be experienced.
That’s exactly how I feel today, and more significantly, I firmly believe that that is what God wants also. That is why I believe we are on the brink of a “Heavenly Visitation”. There may of course be elements of the “pain” of discipline, for although the Lords discipline is a loving discipline, it is also as Paul discovered, “painful” in its time. God is angry, yet merciful, towards the sinner every day, and is “not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) The apostle Paul encourages the Church to labour and work for the day when there will be a great and glorious harvest of souls swept into the Kingdom of God, and he tells us to labour without growing weary, knowing that in due season, we shall reap that harvest (Gal. 6:9) but he slips in a little condition … he adds, “if you faint not!”
Of course down through the centuries, there have been seasons of great spiritual harvest, when hundreds and even thousands have been swept into the kingdom in one day. These times of Revival, Refreshing or Harvest have been a great encouragement to the Church, and of course the greatest Miracle we can expect and pray for, is the salvation of a precious soul. However, (and I must be honest) there are times when we can become tired in the Church, tired of preaching, tired of teaching, tired of work and witness, tired of outreach and ministry, tired of preparation and problems. It is in those times, and particularly if we are not walking in the Spirit, that a weariness sets in. We reap a little harvest, now and then, here and there, but there is little or no real “Heavenly Visitation” … and that is when we often faint!
David the Psalmist says “I would have fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” Psalm 27.13 In other words the Psalmist was telling us that it was because he fully believed he would be alive to see the results, to see Gods blessing, and this kept him from fainting, and from giving up. Expectation is one of the essentials of Faith, and if we are to see a “Heavenly Visitation” in our lifetime, in our land, then we must EXPECT such a move of God. Verse 3 says “if is seem slow, wait for it, it will surely come”.
When God grants a Dream or Vision it is usually a vision for what can or will be in our lives, and we may have to wait some time before that vision is realized, or until it becomes a reality. But God says “it will surely come” … “wait for it” in other words “expect it”. I remember Dr Billy Graham (the American Evangelist) tell a story of how on one occasion a minister pointed out that although he had preached Dr Grahams Sermons, word for word, he had never seen anything like the great harvest or results that Dr Graham had seen. “Of course you don’t expect to have my results , do you” asked Graham, to which the preacher replied “of course not!” Dr Graham responded “there’s the problem!” I believe God gives what we expect? Expect a little, and you’ll get a little, but expect a Heavenly Visitation and you’ll get a heavenly visitation!
What are you expecting God to do in your Church? If you are expecting a diminishing congregation, rising church debts, and a falling membership, then that’s likely what you will get. But catch a vision, a Holy Vision with me today for your Church. Close your eyes and ask God to show you a Church full to capacity, heavenly praise and worship with music that sounds nothing like the world, challenging and comforting Preaching from the Word, Tears of repentance in the pews, Bible Classes for the Converted and the Changed, Great funds being channelled to overseas third world countries, and people queuing up to join the membership… Can you see it?
It is possible,- is it only a dream, or a figment of the imagination? … well that’s entirely up to you. If you don’t expect it, it will never happen, but God is waiting and watching for those who will mount up with wings like Eagles and meet the challenge of the hour. God is not looking for great intellectuals, great heroes of the faith, great motivational speakers, or great miracle workers, – God is only looking for willing hearts, and if you will bring him your emptiness today, you can experience his fullness right now. The vision and the visitation will follow. This first visitation, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is to ensure you are ready for the second, the calling away or Rapture of the Church. Are you ready? Are you prepared? Aren’t you excited?
Now this final word
The History of Revivals and the great Spiritual Awakenings
across the world have shown us that these were the Sovereign Actions of God. Heaven must “come down” for it is not possible for us to “work up” a Heavenly Visitation. Many have tried, but failed – and the results have been a disaster for the Church and the Community alike. But in Acts Chapter 2, when the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, there was nothing that man could do about it, with it, or in it, it was all of God, and 3000 souls were converted. When God steps out of Heaven and visits us, believe me, you will know it was God!
“Wait for it, it will surely come!”
God Bless you – Amen.