Vision of Increase
The original meaning of the word “saw” is to “cleave, or split, then to see into, to see through, to go beneath the surface and to discover the real nature.” Biblical vision means to be “perceptive.” Biblical vision also includes the ability “to see the final state, to see the end in the distance, the completion.”
Three things essential to complete a vision are listed by George Barna in his book, The Power of Vision; vision of self, vision of task, and vision of God. George Barna’s components are accurate but their sequence is out of divine order. If vision of self and a vision of the task, precedes a vision of God, then we are trying to fit God into our vision. When you TRY and MOLD God into your vision and when we try to fit God into our plans; we are out of ORDER! When our sequence is out of order then God becomes the one who is manipulated, molded and shaped into our image. When we see God before we see self, God transforms us in order to fit His vision. If it is His vision, there is an anchor of the soul that keeps us returning to GOD to get new orders to accomplish the continual unveiling of HIS vision.
In his book, In Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer said, “Sin has twisted our own vision and getting God into focus. Sin has twisted our vision inward and made it self-regarding.” Unbelief has put self where God should be and is perilously close to the sin of Lucifer who said, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” When our vision is out of order, we become dangerously close to the attitude of the enemy.
Sin can misalign the order of vision
A lack of faith can also do this
The Divine Order of Vision: (Isaiah 6:1-9)
Vision of God – “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1).
The starting point of all vision is death to the old rulers of life, “In the year King Uzziah died.” In order to have first the vision of God, the vision of our self must die. It cannot be in the picture. The vision of God will recreate the vision of self.
John said in 1 John 3…when we see God as He is…we will be like Him
A ministry that is going to impact and conquer must see,
- God in the seat of Supreme authority “Upon a throne”
- God as the only object of worship – “high and lifted up”
- God who can bring victory into any situation – “His train filled the temple”
Vision of Self – “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged” (Isaiah 6:5-7).
We must be willing to examine ourselves in the laver of water. Even though Isaiah was a mighty prophet he understood that he was still a sinner in need of grace. We must never forget that we need God’s grace and mercy.
“After seeing the Lord, he now sees himself. Seeing God first radically conditions how one sees oneself. In every case, a stripping comes first. Every vestige of one’s ownership of oneself or one’s ministry is stripped away. Not only is all subtracted, but prior to any addition, the stripping must be accompanied by conscious surrender and admission of personal inabilities. Qualification for ministry comes by being touched with fire from heaven.” (Wilson)
Vision of Mission – “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people…” (Isaiah 6:8-9).
No successful ministry can begin with Mission. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is at the heart of any successful ministry. We cannot allow ourselves to become more enamored with ministry/mission than with our Savior.
Isaiah had to go back in order to go forward. Back from mission to vision, and back from vision to Spiritual Formation. He had to undergo a radical transformation by a crashing in on his world, from another world. New Testament Leadership lives and thrives under this same order.
Paul became blind to get his vision! The spiritual event (a Kairos moment) on the Damascus Road shakes Paul to the very center of his being. This resulted in Paul’s being driven backward from Mission, backward to Vision, which in turn drives him further back to Spiritual Formation, of which he had no prior knowledge. He was a genius—rabbi-educated above virtually all others—who discovers a level of personal Spiritual Transformation totally beyond his awareness!
Education can never replace a personal walk with God. Paul’s personal encounter with Jesus did more for him than his education ever could. Spiritual Transformation comes from a personal and continual encounter with Christ. In discovering overpowering identity of God (“Who art thou?”), he finds self-identity in his call to the Gentiles. This inner order of vision kept Paul from disorder when suffering struck in the form of a whip across the back!
Mission, Program, and Action outside of godly vision that comes from a spiritual encounter makes Moses a murderer of Egyptians. When he is driven back into the wilderness and “sees” he becomes a Deliverer.
To circumvent any part of this Leadership Wheel is to invite disaster.
Jesus said, “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” (Matthew 22:9).
Mission is where the CHURCH brings a visible manifestation of heaven to the world. The essence of something is in its perfect state. The life and ministry of JESUS is the pattern of all things in the mind of God. In the beginning was the word. the word became flesh. Jesus was the “express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). He ALONE is our model for ministry and mission.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth . . . I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me . . . But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” (John 5:19-20, 5:30, 14:31)
“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 17:16-17)
The church can only remain defined as the church as it maintains its “alignment” between doctrine and mission. There is an Apostolic mandate upon us! In mission, there must be integrity in “holding on to” and “passing on to.”
Doctrine, Deliverance and Demonstration go together.
“Breaching of this integrity dissolves the potency of the church into increasingly grotesque creations until the resulting product is, from a biblical standpoint, virtually unrecognizable.”
However, to fixate only on keeping the theological mandate will create a rigid, deteriorating atmosphere. As in the parable of the talents, to preserve that which is initially given by “burying it” is tantamount to aborting mission and, as Christ points out, is unacceptable. Concepts such as “we may not be evangelizing but we are preserving the truth” and similar ideas are examples of misinterpreting Christ’s command to “occupy until I come.” The Church is to be a city set on a hill, a light that cannot be hid, if we are hiding from world then we are like the steward that hid his talent.
A theologically sound concept of “occupy,” as the word is used by Jesus Christ, includes a preserving element and an investing element. Like a steward over a great estate, the church is responsible to utilize the resources of the estate in such a way that it is enlarged and has a positive return on the investment.
A common practice among billionaires and financial gurus is called ‘Wealth Preservation’… “A wealth preservation strategy can ensure that assets not only grow over time but also provide a legacy for one’s family.” Primacy of place belongs to preservation. Without a preserving of the pristine condition of the gospel, the MISSION is threatened.
However, preservation alone is not acceptable. An INCREASE must result from planting, harvesting, and investing. This is the apostolic mandate; that is to invest the gospel in the world. This investing process is OUR mission. Our greatest TASK as the church is to LIVE out the mission of Jesus Christ in the world by ALWAYS keeping the mission in the authority of the gospel.
First Steps is a program with the goal of getting people recognize their areas of gifting, at which time we plug them into a job. Many times, they are won by BELONGING BEFORE BELIEVING. First Steps is an on ramp to belonging.
Anyone who’s ever been part of a successful team knows the feeling of camaraderie that comes by working together. First Steps gives people hope. It helps them feel like a part of the great vision of the church – to win the lost. When you become part of a team, you invest in it. You grow with it and you are proud of it.
Meaning it is the MANDATE from GOD. All that we do must flow from a VISION of GOD. “I saw the Lord High and lifted up. . .” (Isaiah 6:1) Without a true order of divine vision, the mission of the church will just become vain tradition.
To keep the vision in order you must 2 Timothy 3:10 “hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions…”
In Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress, the protagonists Christian and Hopeful near the end of their journey when they encounter Ignorance. Ignorance entered the King’s Highway from a crooked by road. Justifying his salvation by his religious works and “obedience to the law.” Ignorance was on the mission, but he lacked the vision of God and of himself. Paul warned Timothy of this in the church that men would have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).