Maintaining Our Vision

"Where there is no vision, the people perish:" (Proverbs 29:18)

Maintaining vision and future hope is an essential part of the purpose of every individual believer and the ecclesia should play an important role in this objective. We all know how important natural vision is to normal life; if we cannot see where we are going we are seriously handicapped. Spiritual vision is even more necessary for the servant of God; if we are walking toward the future glory of the Kingdom of God on earth, we must be able to see clearly the strait and narrow way through the eye of faith.

Light is a critical ingredient in both natural and spiritual vision. Jesus, the word made flesh, was the light of the world. It is in this light that we must walk as children of light, having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. It is through the generation of light that our ecclesias can help their members to see the way leading to the fulfillment of our hope.

The teachings of Jesus are highlighted in our conference theme, "The Lightstand Initiative". Jesus taught: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) These verses speak directly to the Biblical Purpose of our ecclesias to be a lightstand, to provide light for all that are in the house and to let that light shine so that others may share in the vision.

Light is only possible when fuel is available and if we hope to be among the wise virgins, we must provide for oil in our vessels with our lamps. The ecclesia can be a tremendous help in the liberal distribution of the Word of God so that everyone in the house will have a sufficient supply of oil for their lightstand. The Word of God must be the cornerstone of our teaching and preaching efforts so that our vision of the future can be communicated to others. (1 Peter 3:15)

Paul exhorted Timothy to "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:2-4) We are living in evil days in which lust pulls many into darkness, away from the truth and into fables. Without clear and positive reinforcement from the Word of God our vision will fade and our little ones will fall victim to the cares of this life.

The oil for our lamps must be pure and without the perversion that comes when sprinkled with the interpretations of men. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:20-21) Our ecclesia must guard against the promotion of either the writings or teachings of men into a more exalted position of prominence than that held for the pure Word of God.

Prophecy and vision are necessarily linked together as elements of the pure Word of God that help us to maintain our hope. Prophecy provides our vision for the future, it tells us about the coming Kingdom and glory. The Word of God is filled with inspiration for spiritual vision related to our present hope in Christ Jesus, but "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1 Corinthians 15:19) Even as our Master was motivated by the joy that was set before him, we also are most inspired by the Words of God that speak to our future hope.

The presentation of prophetic vision within the ecclesia must be without confusion. Debate over the detail of prophetic interpretation must not become the only prominent feature for our prophetic discussions. We have a wonderful hope in the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, and there are a multitude of Bible verses that provide clear, unmistakable detail of the broad outline of this vision. The Apostle Paul suggested to the Corinthians that that "all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted...For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:31-33) We should learn and be comforted by the prophetic word. Our ecclesias must create an environment where this is the objective, yes, even the rule for prophetic presentation.

Hope through patience and comfort of the scriptures. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4) A majority of the things which were written aforetime are prophetic in nature; they are the foundation for our vision.

Peter wrote to the strangers scattered abroad who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:" (2 Peter 1:1) speaking specifically of the last days he gave this reminder. "I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:" (2 Peter 3:1-2) Be mindful of the words spoken by the holy prophets, stir up your pure minds, remembering the words of vision and hope that you once read and were stimulated by.

The words of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and all of the prophets; words such as the beautiful vision of Micah when he wrote: "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it." (Micah 4:1-4)

How can we help but find inspiration and motivation is words such as this? The ecclesia is the place where these visions should flow freely and without restraint. How often do words of controversy or lengthy exposition on the types and shadows in the Law take the place of a prophetic presentation? Not that teachings from "all scripture" are not important, but unless there are abundant opportunities to be reminded of our special future hope, our vision will fade, we may become dull of hearing with eyes that are closing, even as others "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Blessed are your eyes for they see. Jesus spoke to his disciple's words that we would want him to be able to say also to us: But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." (Matthew 13:16-17)

We have a wonderful and precious hope in the soon coming Kingdom of God to fill this earth with glory and peace. There is tremendous comfort in this vision; when men's hearts are failing for fear, we are can look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Let us always encourage and promote the steadfast maintenance of a good healthy spiritual vision in our ecclesias; let us watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Jim Millay
Springfield, VT