Our Need for Vision

These are my notes from Mateen Elass’ sermon on January 8, 2012, at 1st Presbyterian Church of Edmond. Our focus verse was Proverbs 29:18. The sermon title was, “Go West, Young Man.”

If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. (Proverbs 29:18 MSG)

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18 NKJV)

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. (Proverbs 29:18 NIV)

Consider the history of “manifest destiny” on our nation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_Destiny

Three world views competing for our faith today

1. The new atheism, coming from some scientific circles – no God, no overarching truth or ethics
– groups agree on shared values
– cuts ties between earth and heaven
– fend for yourself mentality
– spawned materialism, a strong vision for many in our country (more is better)
– also spawned hedonism, using the world to satisfy myself and maximize pleasure / comfort

2. Radical Islam
– does believe in 1 God, known as the sovereign one
– God holds all power, demands his creation bows before Him in submission
– holds that all humans will submit to God, all nations will be dissolved into 1 nation to live under Sharia law
– no freedom to dissent or create other laws, since Sharia law is divinely instituted

3. Biblical Christianity
– this is our vision of our church
– God sits on his throne, but our central understanding of God is love rather than a focus on power

Our vision

We need an outward focus
We are called to be ambassadors of Christ and bring his reconciliation

Responses of 3 different workers
– I’m breaking rocks
– I’m earning money to feed my family – I’m building a cathedral

Do we see our work each day in the context of a grand vision which God has for our lives?

MY THOUGHTS: INTERESTING BUT PERHAPS NOT ENTIRELY HELPFUL TO COUCH THIS DISCUSSION IN THE CONTEXT OF “MANIFEST DESTINY.” HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE BE SAAVY TO THE TRUE CALLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND NOT BE MISLED BY THOSE WHO SEEK TO USE MESSAGES ABOUT GOD’S WILL TO PROMOTE POLITICAL CAUSES. (LIKE THE ANNEXATION OF MEXICO.)

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Not Understanding God’s Actions Responding to Satan

Why did God respond this way to Satan? I don’t understand this.

Job 2:4-7 NLT

“Satan replied to the Lord, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.”

See it at YouVersion.com:

http://bible.us/Job2.4.NLT

Imitate What is Good

Happy New Year! It is 2012, and as Christians we are called to live differently than “the world.” John reminds us we are called to imitate what is good, not what is evil. Others around us constantly encourage us to listen to worldly voices, rather than God’s voice. Evil behaviors are modeled and championed around us in our culture in media, music, films, and advertisements. 

As we consider what resolutions we will make and follow in 2012, let us commit to imitating what is GOOD.

3 John 1:11, 12 NIV

“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.”

See it at YouVersion.com:

http://bible.us/3John1.11.NIV

Friends Never Joke About Lying

We should not lie and should never joke about lying to friends. Here, then, is a partial litmus test for true friendship. Passing this test is no guarantee of true friendship, but failing it is surely a sign of false friendship.

Proverbs 26:18, 19 NLT

“Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.””

See it at YouVersion.com:

http://bible.us/Prov26.18.NLT