2020 Vision: Glorify God
This is a Snellen chart. The Snellen chart was designed by a Dutch ophthalmologist named Herman Snellen, way back in 1862. All of us who have ever been to see an eye doctor have looked at a Snellen chart. The Snellen chart tests our eye sight, to see if we have normal vision or what needs to be done to have normal vision. Normal vision is usually identified as having “20/20” vision. That means that you are able to see the same line of letters at 20’ that a person with normal vision sees at 20’. That also means that you can have better than 20/20 vision. For example, you can have 20/15 vision - you can see objects clearly at 20’ that a person with 20/20 vision can only see at 15’.
On the first Sunday of each month in 2020, I am going to be using “20/20” as a metaphor for perfect vision, or focus. Who are we as a church? Who are we as a body of believers, a body of Christians? Well, let’s make sure we are focused on what is important. A few months ago, back in September, I gave you a definition of the Swartz Creek church of Christ that I wrote myself, but was, of course, based on what Scriptures teach. The Swartz Creek church of Christ exists, by the blood of Jesus, to share the gospel with the lost, strengthen the weak, encourage the members, and worship God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, I want to focus our vision on the part of that vision statement: The Swartz Creek church of Christ exists “to worship God.”
Who are we and what are we about? Not only does the year “2020” compel us to focus on what is important, but it also compels me, at least, to consider what the church is going to look like 20 years from now. In the year 2040, what will Swartz Creek church of Christ look like? That’s vision. Who are we going to be? What are we going to be about? Who is going to be sitting in our pews in the year 2040? I will be 69 years old in March of 2040, if God blesses me with 20 more years of life. How old will you be in 20 years?
We have new babies and little children in our audience this morning who will be 20 years old or early 20s in the year 2040. They will be moving out of your homes and into adult life. Will they take Jesus with them? Will they be worshipping beside mom and dad in 2040? What do we need to do to make sure they are? Will you be here, in this physical life, in 2040? Many of you will not. Over the next 20 years, many of you will be in paradise, enjoying the spiritual blessings that God has promised us in His word. Your faith will be fulfilled before these two decades are over. We will be celebrating your life and your faith before these two decades are over. Swartz Creek will change in some ways over the next twenty years. Will we change for the better or will we change for the worse? What do the next twenty years have in store for us?
With the changes that come in life, it will help us move in the right direction if we stay focused on what is important. That’s why we start in 2020 with what is most important, why we focus our vision on what is most important and we begin at the beginning - worshipping God.
WE GLORIFY GOD BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS:
Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God
Who is God? If we begin at the beginning, then God is the Creator. “Let there be light,” and there was light. God opened His mouth and things happened, things came into existence from absolutely nothing. Listen to the words of the psalmist: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Psalm 33:6-8).
Who is God? God is the Sustainer. He brings water out of rocks and sends bread from heaven and blows quail in from nowhere, in order to sustain His people. Let’s read together Exodus 16:4-7, 13-18; 17:5-7. God, through His awesome power, brought His people out of slavery in Egypt and led them into a wilderness. But God did not abandon them in the wilderness. He sustained them in the wilderness!
When Moses looked back, forty years later and he rehearsed for Israel how God had sustained them in the wilderness for those 40 years, Moses told Israel: “Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years” (Deut. 8:4).
Yes, God created us out of nothing and God sustains us. Two verses later, Moses tells Israel (Deut. 8:6): “Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
There is a connection between being sustained by God and fearing God. You respect God because He takes care of you. You praise God because He takes care of you.
You say, “Okay, that was then. What has God done for me lately?” Jesus comes along and tells us that He is the bread of life that sustains us. Let’s read John 6:29-40.
Family, Jesus continues to sustain us. He told us that He is the bread of life and He tells us that we should not worry about what we can eat or what we can drink or what we need to wear (Matt. 6:31). People who don’t have a heavenly Father worry about those things! Our Father knows that we need those things, even before we ask Him! Our God sustains us.
Of course, in that very context, Jesus tells us: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all things thins will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). That’s our focus: the kingdom of God, putting God first in our lives. Why? Because of Who He is!
Because of Who God is, we respect Him and we praise Him.
WE GLORIFY GOD BECAUSE OF WHAT HE DOES:
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depths of your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above
And I stand, I stand, in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you.
I want to first illustrate what God does by taking us back to the exodus out of Egypt, specifically to the beginning of the Passover meal with Israel: Exo. 12:23-27. Notice that God tells Israel that every time, every year, when they observe the Passover, the parents, the adults, are supposed to remind the children that the reason they take the Passover meal is because God brought them out of Egypt. Every year, at least once a year, Israel was to be reminded of what God had done for them. God brought them out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. In fact, that phrase “house of slavery” is used through the OT, from Exodus 13:3 all the way until Micah 6:4. At the end of the OT, God was still reminding Israel what He had done for them in the exodus.
In the same way, you and I still glorify God for what He continues to do for us through Jesus Christ. Let’s take a look at Romans 3:23-26 and notice what God does for us: He justifies us; He makes us righteous; He redeems us. Jump over to Romans 5:10-11: He reconciles us to God; He saves us. Look at Romans 6:6-7 (which, of course, is in the context of baptism): He crucifies our old self; He does away with our body of sin; He makes us dead to sin. One more example from Romans: 8:34: He intercedes for us.
Because of what God does for us, we love Him and we worship Him.
WE GLORIFY GOD BECAUSE OF HIS PREPARATIONS FOR US:
There’s a beautiful place called heaven,
It is hidden above the bright blue,
Where the good, who from earth-ties are riven,
Live and love an eternity thro’
Above the bright blue, the beautiful blue,
Jesus is eating for me and for you.
Heaven is there, not far from our sight.
Beautiful city of light.
We know not when He shall call us,
Whether soon, the glad summons shall be,
But we know, when we pass o’er the river,
The glory of Jesus we’ll see.
Jesus told His disciples in John 14, words that are familiar to us (14:1-4).
Where is Jesus going? He went back to the Father. Where was that? In heaven. What does heaven look like? When was the last time you read the book of Revelation? Dona prints a Bible reading schedule in the bulletin every week to encourage all of us to read through the Bible every year. It’s only the 5th day of the year, so you’ve got time to catch up! If you follow that schedule, you’ll read a description of heaven in April. That’s when you’ll read the book of Revelation. Rachel and I, together, have read the Bible through in 2019 so we just finished reading the book of Revelation at the end of December.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus went to prepare for us. Let’s read Revelation 21:10-21. Now let’s jump down to Revelation 22:1-5…
I heard a preacher many years ago say that “heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.” Take a look at a few verses here in Revelation 22, as God concludes this whole revelation of Himself and His plan to save man, the whole Bible concludes with a description of heaven, which we have just read, and these other ideas: 22:7, 12-14, 18-21.
God has prepared a beautiful place called heaven and He offers that to us freely if we will listen to His message and do what Jesus tells us to do…
Because of what God has prepared for us, we thank Him and we follow Him.
Take home message: Let’s focus our vision on praising God, worshipping Him, and following His lead because we respect Him, we love Him, and we are thankful to Him.