What is the basis for the decisions you make in life? Are they based on how you feel in the moment? Proverbs 29:18 explains that without a vision the people perish. Vision is the quintessential characteristic of a successful man or woman.
- You need a vision.
- Your marriage needs a vision.
- Your family needs a vision.
Without a clearly defined vision, your purpose and priorities will be wishy-washy at best.
Vision is not some magical potion that jumpstarts a movement. It’s a unifying objective that defines our reach. The local church and those in it need a vision to rally behind because the local church is a representation of heaven!
The church is not an institution created by man, the church is God’s idea. Jesus said, “… I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 18:16 Jesus is building “His” church and the gates of hell will not overcome it.
The church is a life-giving, life-transforming, dream-casting, hope-fulfilling, chain-breaking, relationship-restoring movement, matchless in every way.
Every organization has a purpose for their existence, regardless if it is communicated. It is the driving force behind everything they do. Communicating and buying into the vision is a make or break moment for an organization.
In Matthew 11, John the Baptizer is in prison and is about to be executed. He sends his disciples to ask Jesus a question. His question sounds like John is having doubts about who Jesus is.
John’s role of announcing the arrived Messiah was prophesied hundreds of years before his birth. So how could someone who had such an important part in Jesus’ life, suddenly have doubts about who Jesus said He was?
Doubt will always creep when…
- Crisis hits
- New Responsibility
- Uncharted territory
Doubt is an assault on the faithfulness of God. Faith is confidence in God to do what He said He will do. To extinguish doubt, turn to the Bible and declare God’s promise.
If John was considered the greatest of all men born and yet had doubt, don’t be discouraged when questions or doubts appear in your life.
The key to the vision of the church is unlocked in the phrase “The kingdom of heaven.” This phrase is found 32 times in the Bible, all of them in the book of Matthew. Jesus says the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force.
The kingdom of heaven is different from the Kingdom of God. In John 3:3-5 we are told that “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born again.”
1 Corinthians 15:50 says, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” The kingdom of God is used in the context of the place where those who are born-again exclusively reside.
In comparison, the “kingdom of heaven” in Matthew 13 is compared to “sowing seed in a field which produced both wheat and tares, (saved and unsaved), with a separation coming at the harvest time.”
The kingdom of heaven is the place where people are saved and transformed out of darkness into light. The local church represents the kingdom of heaven.
The word “kingdom” is key to the mission of the church. In every kingdom, there is a king. In the word kingdom the suffix “-dom” means “authority and jurisdiction.”
This means that a king has all-authority and all-jurisdiction within his kingdom. What the King says goes. His word is the final authority, He has full dominion.
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18
God has given us His authority to set captives free and to make disciples. You are a vital part God is using to advance the kingdom of heaven where you live! God has commissioned you to lead the charge in reaching your neighbors, co-workers and unsaved family and friends. Our efforts will not go uncontested.
This kingdom has a persistent enemy, seeking to kill, steal and destroy. God has provided you with authority to pull down strongholds the enemy has built to oppose the kingdom of heaven, 2 Corinthians 10:4.
This enemy seeks to confuse, discourage, divide and to defeat the kingdom of heaven at every second, every minute, and every hour of the day. He will use every tactic available which stresses the importance of unity.
Unity is the conduit where the power of God flows.
When the church is unified, praying and standing on the authority of God, Satan cannot resist. He is powerless against the faith-filled prayers of God’s people. Prayer is putting your confidence in God to do what He is capable of doing.
A church built on the teaching and preaching of God’s word, united by faith is unstoppable. John the Baptizer gave his life to make Jesus known. He sacrificed everything for the establishing and advancing of the kingdom of heaven!