Faithlife Sermons

The Vision of the House

"The Vision of the House"
Habakkuk 2:1-3 "I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry."
Now, here the prophet Habakkuk is waiting on God for a word of direction, correction, and instruction.
God finally breaks through and what He tells the prophet reveals for us what a real vision from God looks like, and how it affects us...
He's told first to "write the vision" down...This is so that he can return to it over and over again for refreshing...
The second thing we see about a vision from God is that it is PLAIN....It is clearly understandable....not veiled in mystery, not hard to comprehend, but plainly laid out for all to see...
Then next we're given the REASON for a plainly laid out vision--"That he may run who reads it."
The idea is that the plainly laid out vision empowers the person who reads it to obey the vision with full understanding of what they're to do and what their goals should be.
For instance, Jesus laid out a vision for reaching the whole world with the gospel...He said, "Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
His plainly laid out words have been the catalyst for millions of people through the ages to go forth with a vision for reaching the world with the good news!
So tonight I want to lay out as plainly as I know how what the vision for TPC is, what the purpose is for which God planted us so that we can RUN with it in 2017!
Our vision is wrapped up in 3 words easy to remember: in-reach, out-reach, and up-reach. Or IOU.
In-reach refers to building Christ in every is the issue of spiritual maturity, bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit...Personal spiritual growth.
Some great verses on this are...
"My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you" (Gal. 4:19).
Paul says, "I'm literally like a woman in painful labor until Christ is formed in you through personal spiritual growth.
Another great one is:
Eph. 4:11-14 "Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip Gods people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of Gods Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We wont be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth."
Notice, it is the calling of pastors and teachers (and thus the calling for every local church) to bring the body of Christ out of immaturity into maturity, out of instability into stability...
This is the IN-REACH I'm talking to you about!
One more great "in-reach" passage is:
John 15:1-5I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesnt produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
These words of Jesus are all about IN-REACH.
We find Jesus fully focused on what is happening in our interior life, whether or not we're bearing inward spiritual fruit.
He said, "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you that you should go and bring forth fruit..." (15:16)
So the first aspect of the vision God has given to TP is IN-REACH....building Christ in every person.
And this is what almost all of our classes and all of our services are geared toward--building Christ in every person!
Then secondly, the plain vision of TPC is...
II. Out-reach
Out reach is reaching every person with Christ...
Any healthy church should be reaching the lost with the gospel.
Spiritual babies should be being born on a regular basis in a healthy fellowship.
Let me show you some verses on this:
When the early church exploded, it not only experienced great "in-reach" but also dynamic "out-reach."
Acts 2:46-47 "They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lords Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved."
I'm very thankful for the many souls that have come to Christ at TP. Even in the last 4-5 weeks we've seen from 50-60 people get saved.
But I look forward to the day (and I believe it's coming) when the Lord is adding DAILY to our fellowship those who are being saved!
What I want us to see here is that the early church not only focused on inward personal spiritual growth (In-reach) but their eye was ever and always turned outward to a lost and dying world with dynamic out-reach.
When Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, he told him, "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry" (2 Tim. 4:5).
What many don't realize is that Timothy was a local church pastor--yet Paul instructed him to "do the work of an evangelist."
One of my favorite local church "out-reach" passages is in 1 Thes. 1:5-8:
5 "...because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lords message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaiayour faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it..."
These financially poor Thessalonians didn't let limited resources hinder their out-reach, but they managed to take the gospel to "every place!"
So TPC's vision is IN-REACH (building Christ in every person), OUT-REACH (reaching every person with Christ), and finally...
Up-reach is leading every person into Christ's presence through worship.
Jesus tells us something very important about God in John's gospel.
John 4:23 "But the time is comingindeed its here nowwhen true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way."
God is looking for people who worship Him first "in spirit,"...not out of religious duty, not by rote, not mechanically with no heartfelt affection...
But "in spirit" flowing out of their true inner being, from a heart touched by His Spirit and that holds true affection for Him!
One commentator writes, "...adoring his majesty, revering his power, humbled before his purity, confiding in his mercy, praising him for his benefits, loving him for his unspeakable love to us; being subject to his sway, obedient to his will, resigned under his dispensations, devoted to his glory, and aspiring after a closer union with him, and a more full conformity to him."
And also "in truth" meaning by way of "the truth," His Son Jesus Christ.
True worship is not the kind Cain offered, which was the way of his own choosing...
But that of Abel who came to God by a blood offering, the way that God had designated.
We worship God "with sincere hearts touched by His Spirit" and "in the truth" of Jesus Christ, who is the designated way into His Presence!
Study our church and you will see that everything we do, every dollar we spend, every class we launch, every step we take will be in keeping with the vision of the house--IOU!
And we invite all of you to step in and help us fulfill the vision...
Paul wrote, "Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip Gods people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12).
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