20/20 Vision – New Year’s Sermon – Pastor Eric
Happy New Year and 2020!!! Now, if you have 20/20 vision, then you are blessed!!! You can see with clarity. It so important to see clearly, because without proper vision, then we can get into trouble. The same thing is true with our spiritual vision.
Sadly, we are imperfect people with imperfect vision, because we are blinded by our own sin and selfishness. Sin distorts our vision and leads us down dangerous paths. Thus, it is imperative that we see properly with a biblical and godly vision for ourselves and the church.
(1) We must envision a gospel community. We must continue to be a gospel community. The gospel must be central to our church and to our lives. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) In 1 Corinthians, Paul deals with several conflicts between individuals and factions within the church. Paul begins and ends the book with the gospel in order to hammer home the point that the gospel takes precedent over all those things, because it informs all things. The gospel puts into perspective what is essential and what is non-essential for life and the vision of the church.
At the core, the gospel is the good news of Christ, who died for our sins and He rose again to save us from our sins. There isn’t anything more than we can add to the gospel. It is all about Christ’s death and resurrection for His glory and our salvation.
Therefore, we never graduate or move on from the gospel. We are both saved by the gospel, and we live by the gospel. We are saved by grace and we live by grace. This is our desire for every believer at SANLO, and this is the vision for our church to be a gospel community.
(2) We must envision a vigilant community. Let us be a watchful and sober minded church. Let us take our faith seriously and let us safeguard our community from Satan and his deceptive schemes. (1 Peter 5:8) Here Peter uses the words be sober-minded and be watchful. These are two imperative statements and commands. Generally, these statements are used for the watchful eye of the second coming of Christ or the end times. But this is a different focus as Peter understood what it meant not to be watchful as he not only failed Jesus three times but actually five times on the fateful night. Peter denied Jesus three times, and he fell asleep on Jesus two times. Peter experienced Satan deceptive ways and warns us all.
Unfortunately, we settle for a childish perspective of Satan as a man with a red face and pointy ears, but Satan is far from that as he is the most ruthless, dangerous, and cunning being in the universe. We can’t be spiritually naive to Satan, and we must never forget that the Christian life is a spiritual battleground, not a playground.
(3) We must envision a healing community. Let us be a church that cares for each other, especially when we are hurting. Let us be a place filled with compassion and mercy no matter the circumstance, suffering, or sin. Let the gospel empower us to deeply minister to one another beyond culture and beyond shame. (1 Peter 4:12-13) As much as we should not be surprised by Satan, Peter exhorts us to not be surprised by suffering. The mature focus of a believer is never to be shocked by suffering.
Pastor Matt Chandler said this about suffering, “It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way.” When we live in the gospel, especially the hope of the gospel, then we are free to see our present suffering not as a nuisance, but as a benefit, and even a joy. Beyond the initial hard feelings, we can grow to have a healthy and gospel perspective of suffering.
Ultimately, we can see suffering as a way to better understand God’s suffering for us. This is where one can find joy in suffering and in relation to Christ’s suffering upon the cross, because we grow to appreciate what Christ did for us.
(4) We must envision a purpose driven community. Let us be a church driven by a gospel vision so that we can be a vigilant and healing church. Let us be a church continually committed to the Word so that God and His Word will drive our vision and our future. (Proverbs 29:18) This verse comes from Proverbs, which is the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. A proverb is a universal truth for practical and godly living. Solomon gives both a negative and positive side to this proverb. The negative side is that with no vision or no revelation, then people will be led astray, and they will run wild.
Solomon expresses the need for vision, and he also expresses the need for the Word. He anchors the Word to this verse here. It is out of the Word that vision and happiness come. There can never be an absence of the Word from ourselves. The Word is where we gain insight from, for the church and for our lives. Our purpose must always be driven by the Word, so that our delight is driven by the Lord.
In closing, who will you let run your life this year? Will it be your schedule - your job - your kids - your relationships? Will it be your feelings - whether it’s anxiety, depression, or happiness? Or will it be Christ and His enduring Word? There is no other way to live than to set your sights on Christ and His Word. Let Christ and the gospel be your vision this New Year!
Praise Songs: Build Your Kingdom Here, Great Are You Lord, Be Thou My Vision, Doxology