Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Vision of a Champion

We had a guest speaker at church this past Sunday. The title of his message was, "The Vision of a Champion." I'd like to share the notes here because it was indeed, a powerful message.

Joel 2:25-28 - The Spirit of the Lord enables us to have great vision.

1. Champions have the ability to see beyond their circumstances and situations.

2 Corinthians 4:13-18 :

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

2Cr 4:14
Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present [us] with you.

2Cr 4:15
For all things [are] for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

2Cr 4:16
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.

2Cr 4:17
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;

2Cr 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.

Note: Don't fix your eyes on what you see - it will change. (v. 18)

Vision is defined as "the power of seeing." In the Joel verse, the Spirit of the Lord enables us to have great vision through faith; a kind of supernatural vision.

Don't be nearsighted. Don't walk in 'tunnel vision.'

Remember when Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers and thrown into a pit? We can learn to trust God through the "pit" (trials) of life.

2. Champions see what they will become before it happens.

"For as he thinks within himself so is he." Proverbs 23:7a

"What happens in your mind will happen in time." - Dr. Mark Murdock

We ALL are champions of Christ.

Note: We must seek God to find out what He is calling us to be (Isaiah 46:8-11)

Let's look at Isaiah 46:3-11 (NASB):

Isa 46:3
"Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb;

Isa 46:4
Even to {your} old age I will be the same, And even to {your} graying years I will bear {you!} I have done {it,} and I will carry {you;} And I will bear {you} and I will deliver {you.}

Isa 46:5
"To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?

Isa 46:6
"Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it {into} a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it.

Isa 46:7
"They lift it upon the shoulder {and} carry it; They set it in its place and it stands {there.} It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress.

Isa 46:8
"Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors.

Isa 46:9
"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; {I am} God, and there is no one like Me,

Isa 46:10
Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

Isa 46:11
Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned {it, surely} I will do it.

Notice how the verses in bold compare dead idols to the living God. Idols cannot deliver a person from their distress.


Note from Christine: Isn't it amazing to think that God spoke the Creation into existence? He will bring all that he has planned to fruition; despite what man does against such plans. He has planned it, He will surely do all that He has promised.


Next, look at Isaiah 42:9 - "Behold, the former things have come to pass. Now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you."

Now, look at the warning in Isaiah 42:17 - "They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye [are] our gods."

What graven image have you placed and trusted in your life and made it 'your god'?

We need to spend time with God to see what He has for us before it happens.

Psalm 138:8 (KJV) - "The LORD will perfect [that which] concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, [endureth] for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands."

Champions have the ability to see what others do not.

2 Kings 6:13-17 reveals Elisha's final prophecy. We are to have the eyes of Elisha. "Open my servant's eyes so he will see." God will use us in this same way.

Note: God will use us to help others see what God is doing around them and to encourage them.

Look at Isaiah 41:18-20:

Isa 41:18
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

Isa 41:19
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, [and] the pine, and the box tree together:

Isa 41:20
That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Think about it. How can you make the dry land (desert) have springs of water (v.20)? What 'dry land' in your life has become a 'spring of life-giving water? I can think of many. There is no doubt that God has worked in my life. Can you see the ways He has worked in yours? I truly hope so.

4. Champions look beyond the rim of impossibilites and see that which is possible.

Romans 4:18 - hope against hope we must believe.

"Did I not say that if you believe you will see the glory of God?" John 11:40

Recall the story of Lazarus. Remove the stone, believe Him!

5. Champions do not allow the vision to be obscured.

"Guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23

Note: Don't allow anything in your life that will keep you from seeing clearly!

What is holding you back?
Ask God to show you.

Fact: Adam and Eve's vision was obscured.

In Order to Have Great Vision You Must Develop Your Faith in God. The Greater Your Faith, the Greater Your Vision.

He (God) will bring it to pass in His time. What is obscuring your vision? Do you have 'one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom'?

Note from Christine: Romans 12:1,2 (NIV) tells us: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not comform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."

These verses contain a week's worth of study. To summarize, we can see that we must dedicate ourselves to God. (v.1) We are to offer our total being to Him. Real worship is voluntary, not out of obligation, but out of gratitude! Worship is practical. Offer your body. Give your body in service for where your body is, is also where your spirit is.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 (LB) - Haven't you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it."

As Christians, God owns our bodies! The concept of a "living sacrifice" means complete dedication to God. Worship is a moment by moment dedication.

Jesus told us, "In this world, you will have trouble." This tells us that we must learn the principle of insulation (v.2). This does not mean isolation, that we don't engage the world. It also does not mean that we imitate what the world does (e.g. don't be infected by the sin in the world.) We are to insulate ourselves from the negatives but we are to infiltrate the world for Christ and the Good News of the Gospel.

We are called to learn the principle of transformation (v.2b). We do this by focusing our minds on God.

"I always keep the Lord in front of me. When he is by my side, I cannot be moved. That is why my heart is glad and my soul rejoices. My body rests securely." Psalm 16:8,9 (GW).

Worship always transforms us! It is likened to the "bug" to butterfly concept. A kind of metamorphosis.

Back to the sermon.

Conclusion: True Champions of Christ Are Fully Committed to the Cause of Christ and the Task at Hand.

Are YOU sold out to Christ?

Paul was a 'bondservant' to Christ, despite the difficulties in his life.

2 Chronicles 16:9 a - "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him."


Anna said...

Hi Christine -

Amen! Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!


Christinewjc said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for your words of encouragement! I know you are 'busy as a bee' but I certainly appreciate it when you drop by and share something that we all need to be reminded of daily!

Love in Christ,