HOWS YOUR VISION 1-5-20
How’s Your Vision?
January 5, 2020
2020 is not only the year we have recently entered into, it is also a term used to express normal visual acuity. If you have 20/20 vision, “you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet. Having 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. Other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision, contribute to your overall visual ability.” (https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/visual-acuity).
So how is our vision in relation to the Word of God and what the Holy Spirit is calling us as a church to do? Some people have very near-sighted vision when it comes to God’s Word. They read it only in the context of what they want it to say. The blinders they wear keep them from seeing any verses that might challenge their personal ideology. And if the Holy Spirit implores them to expand their vision, they quickly shut Him out. Such was the case with the Pharisees, whom Jesus called out as the blind leading the blind. They would memorize entire books of the Old Testament, and yet be so focused on the outward religious rules and their own self-righteousness, that they completely missed not only the prophecies of Christ as fulfilled in Jesus, but the very heart of the Scriptures as well.
Today, we have some religious leaders, and their followers, that are at the opposite end of the visual spectrum. They only see the fluff – the promises, the blessings, the grace – and completely ignore the calls to holiness and living our lives for Christ.
We, as individual Christians, and as a church, are called to be neither near-sighted nor far-sighted. By yielding to the Holy Spirit, and allowing Him to guide our understanding of Scripture, as well as guiding our lives, we can have perfect vision, both near and far. Not only can we see the challenges that are right in front of us, but those that are still at a distance as well. We can have peripheral awareness, seeing how we can relate to and draw into the Body of Christ those who are still on the sidelines. We can coordinate our resources and see how they can make an impact in our church, our community, and the world.
Throughout history, as recorded in the Bible, God has given his people a vision for the future. He has made promises to those who are willing to follow his lead and be obedient to his instructions as to how to achieve it. And when the people failed to listen, failed to see what God was showing them, inevitably disaster was the result.
The church is at a crossroads. There is division among us. There is rebellion. There is even apostasy. Church attendance is on the decline in our country, and yet in other nations it is on the increase despite intense persecution. Why? We have become complacent. We often take God’s blessings for granted. We have allowed other areas of our lives to take precedent over worship, prayer, and the study of God’s Word. A county club mentality has crept into many churches and they no longer go out to seek and save the lost and bring them into the fold. The struggle between the diehard traditionalists versus the contemporaries in regards to mode of worship has driven even more away.
In the Book of Revelation, an angel gave the apostle John a vision of seven churches, and was instructed to write to them. Let’s take a look at three of them, and as we do, I ask you to look into your hearts. What is the Holy Spirit showing you in regards to today’s church, and the church in the years to come?
First let’s look at the church of Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:15-18)
Second let’s look at the church of Sardis: “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” (Revelation 3:1-5)
I pray we are not, nor destined to become, either of those. Instead, let’s see what the angel showed John in the church of Philadelphia: “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars - I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” (Revelation 3:8-10)
This, I pray, is our church. Although we are small and have little strength, may we indeed keep God’s Word and not deny His name. May we endure patiently until the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so be kept from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world, by being taken up in the Rapture.
Throughout the centuries, God has always used a chosen few to accomplish His work in this world. May he strengthen our vision, and may we heed His call to shine the light of Christ in a world in which the darkness is rapidly increasing, while the people are sadly becoming more and more ignorant of their blindness. Amen.
“Love is on the Move” (Leeland) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etXqqGAPYhY
“I Will Go” (Starfield) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg1_KXcrg-8