Friday, April 11, 2008

Without a Vision

In Proverbs 29:18 we read: "Where there is no vision the people are unrestrained." The word for "vision" refers to a vision or oracle from God. The word "unrestrained" (translated "perish" in the KJV) refers to a people who go their own way, do their own thing. In other words, without a clear Biblical understanding a people will be without direction.

In our postmodern American generation we are plagued by a low view of the church. Even pastors who give themselves to consistent expositional preaching find it difficult to impress upon the modern Christian a Biblical view of the church. Most Americans are fully indoctrinated by a high sense of individualism. In other words, they are motivated primarily by that which affects them personally.

In Christian salvation individualism loses ground to the concept of "body." The Christian is a part of the Body of Christ. The local church (ekklesia) is a body of believers. Spiritual gifts are dispensed, not for personal edification, but for the edification of the body. Membership in a local church is a covenant agreement whereby the individual pledges accountability to the body. In similitude to JFK's "Ask not speech" during his 1961 inauguration, instead of asking, "What can the church do for me," the church member should ask himself, "What can I do to strengthen the church?"

Unfortunately, most church members today continue to operate strictly on the level of the individual. They join churches according to their needs, and they leave without any regard for the wellbeing of their congregation.

May God grant us to see our church as our Divinely appointed place of service and may we give ourselves fully to its health and prosperity. May God grant us a Biblical "vision" of His church and our place in His church.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Dale,
We are always excited when we find a new way to relate and interact with our church family; especially if it involves a word of teaching from the pastor. So we are very excited about the new blog. And in keeping with the spirit of your message today, let us know if there is anything that we can do to help.
William and Taryn

Robert Shelby said...

Pastor Dale,
Amy and I were talking about this last night, and as were talking about the "church" - I commented to her of the great blessing that it was to be brought up attending a local church body as a young child. Though I lived as as a heathen for many years - upon conversion, joining a local church was certainly important as a faithfull expression of Christianity. I am certain that the years of being brought to church faithfully by my parents was instrumental in preparing me to live as a covenant member of a local church body.