We Envision, pt.2 (Revelation 5)

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My girls love playing with balloons. They pat them around and sometimes can get in the way of adults in the house. Did you know that when you rub a balloon on a little girls head, her hair will stand straight up? And did you know that if there are 3 other girls in the house, they will laugh but the one who’s hair stands up will cry? Seriously, when one positively charged object rubs together with a negatively charged object, static electricity is formed. A balloon is then charged to attract to another object, so a balloon will stick to a wall or ceiling. The same action occurs when your feet rub against carpet and catch friction that a spark occurs and static electricity is formed. Likewise, worship of God is an electric spark in one’s life. When a person runs together in fellowship with other believers to the praise of God, a spark occurs. Being close to God produces a spiritual electric vitality and vision to one’s life. This series is about vision. When God wants to change a world or nation, or even a neighborhood, He instills vision in an individual. Our goal is to envision eternity. Christians are headed to heaven and we need our hearts captured with that vision. Envisioning eternity will help fuel our faith in the present.

In this 2 part series we examine Revelation 5 for 1 vision with envisioning 7 application aims for SPBC. We Envision_Revelation 5_logo

 

EXAMINE       We Envision pt 2        Revelation 5

When God wants to change a world or nation, or even a neighborhood, He instills vision in an individual.

–        God envisioned a world and spoke it into existence.

–        God gave vision to Noah to build an ark to save his family (Genesis 5).

–        God gave vision to Abraham to start a nation with just him and his wife (Genesis 12).

–        God gave vision to Moses to rescue a nation from slavery (Exodus 3).

–        God gave vision to Joshua, Caleb, and later to David to form an army for God’s Kingdom.

–        God gave the prophets vision to promise God’s plan for conquering humanity’s greatest enemy through the sending of Messiah.

–        Jesus gave His followers a vision to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

–        Jesus gave John a vision that he wrote down in the book of Revelation.

 

John’s vision was for him and written down for us (Revelation 1:19).

Vision for the worth and worship of Jesus Christ (Rev 5)

Jesus is uniquely worthy creator (4:11; 5:2-4)

Jesus is unrivaled conqueror (5:5-7)

Jesus is unparalleled Lord and Savior (Rev 5:8-14)

è “Spiritual growth is about recapturing your awe.” @PaulTripp[1] God hardwired all human beings for awe. There is a quest inside of us to be amazed, to wonder, to have something that is so great and so awesome and so compelling that we want to live for it. That we are willing to make sacrifices for it. It will be the thing that will get us up in the morning. That is all of humanity. So being connected to God through Jesus Christ is essentially being given back my awe again, because what happens in sin is that awe of God is replaced by awe of other things — most centrally, awe of myself.

è Vision prioritizes values. If being a Christian meant prolific persecution

o   loss of job – had to work in a group

o   loss of community status:

  • unable to make purchases bc few would sell to you
  • loss of banking
  • loss of social relationships
  • house marked for neighbors to not speak to you / do you harm
  • couldn’t send your children out to play in the yard without fear
  • constant looking over shoulder

o   loss of family relations for those who compromised or caved

o   loss of finances with a penalty tax for being a Christian

o   loss of morale from the weight of persecution

o   potential physical endangerment for torture, martyrdom

 

Do you have a vision for the worth and worship of Jesus to sustain prolific persecution?

 

Some (perhaps not exhaustive) applications from this vision…

 

Severna Park Baptist Church vision is to grow godly generations. We believe this means envisioning a church in Anne Arundel County & beyond that…

 

v is united in membership and urgent in Jesus’ mission.
–        Unity: Doctrinally, Relationally, Missionally

o   Doctrine: Meaningful Membership with Believer, Baptism, Beliefs

o   Relationally: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1John 4:7

  • Gathering is important. If you are not present you cannot be pastored. If you are not accessible you cannot be accountable.

–        Gather to engage the word in Bible Groups. You can’t grow if you don’t go.

–        Gather to exalt the Savior in worship.

–        Gather to encourage believers in fellowship.

–        Gather to evangelize those within and without the body.

–        Gather – when we don’t gather for these areas we lack unity

o   Missionally:

  • Severna Park, Anne Arundel, MD (Baltimore)

–        Ministry Teams (Loving God Worship, Loving Others Ministry Services B/G, Personnel, Stewardship, Trustee, Loving Others Deacon, Leading Generations Nursery/Children/Youth/Adult)

  • SBC NAMB/IMB

–        Ministry Teams (Leading Generations Great Commission)

–        Nicaragua

o   Teams of pray.give.go.

o   Trailers of food ($4k each)

 

impacts the spiritually lost through truthfully and lovingly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus with our lips and promoting the gospel with our lives.
–        Each one reach one. What if each family unity reached one person or other family unit? SPBC has about 100 family units?

 

Revelation 19:6-10; 20:11-15 6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy… … 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

v impacts the spiritually disconnected through church strengthening and church starting among our neighborhoods and among the nations.

–        Churches matter. The church is Jesus’ bride, which Christian’s do not have the right to dismiss. Jesus created and commissioned His church and perhaps over 50 years later gives a vision to John for His churches (Revelation 2-4).

o   àThere are Christians who are disconnected, dejected, and discouraged of the Church. How can we assist in their reconnecting?

o   àThere are churches in our area that need strengthen. How can we assist in their revitalization?

o   àThere are churches in our area that need starting? How can we assist in their beginning? Jesus’ message to the church – Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

v impacts the fragmented family through enriching marriages, encouraging parents, and equipping families for relational unity and spiritual mission.

–        Families matter. The family was God’s first creation with man and woman as husband and wife (Gen 1-2). The family was in God’s mind from before and following the fall of humanity (Gen 1:28; Gen 3:20). The new heavens and new earth will remove the curse and restore the tree of life with access to its fruit as the healing of all families and nations (Revelation 22:2; cf. also 2:20).
o   Enriching marriages / Encouraging parents / Equipping families: Church provides models and mentors. Life on life occurs through the gatherings of the body. Enrichment, encouragement, and equipping can further occur both informal and formal discipleship formats: relationships, teachings, books/video, conferences, etc.

v impacts the generationally segmented through intergenerational worship and ministry experiences.

o   The church is one of the last intergenerational communities.[2] Pervasive age-segregation includes public schools, retirement communities, nursing homes, and sometimes family dinners, and some church services or ministries. However, intentional intergenerational experiences can provide unique emotional development and spiritual growth in both children and adults.

o   Breaking the trends of younger generations leaving the church. Generational replacement in the church is lacking among those who are religious and, perhaps obviously, increasing more so among those who had no religious affiliation to begin. Passing of faith from one generation to another is being neglected.[3]

 

v impacts the racially divided through a hospitable church culture and through multi-ethnic ministry & church partnerships.

o   The church is unfortunately one of the last standing segregated communities. However, the gospel and early church requires a multi-ethnic community of faith.[4] Many Scriptures, Revelation 5 included, remind us that God designed and purposed to have a very diverse people. The fact that God purchased the diversity of people at infinite cost and them to be a kingdom and priests reflects the intention for profound harmony and unity among these people. Revelation 5:9-10; 7:9 “by [Jesus’] blood, ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

  • Hospitable church culture

–        Speak with love about people. Guard your words, jokes, judgments and bias about ethnicity.

–        Share friendships with those of different ethnicity.

o   Eat at ethnically diverse restaurants to interact with individuals

o   Visit ethnically diverse churches

o   Visit different countries

–        Accept and affirm diversity within church body.

  • Multi-ethnic ministry & church partnerships

–        Pray for and participate in missions with [not just “to” – we learn and receive benefits in return in “with”]

o   The Well

o   LCC  / ALKBC / others…

 

v impacts the disinterested community through tangible acts of love & service in Jesus’ name.

o   The church is called to tangible acts of love in Jesus’ name among unbelievers that they may see good works and praise God in heaven (1Peter 2:12, 15; Job 6:14; Proverbs 3:27-28; Matthew 5:13-16; Luke 6:33; Romans 12:21; Galatians 6:9-10; 1Thess 5:15; 2Thess 3:13; 1Tim 6:18; Heb 13:21; James 2:8, 14-17; 3John 1:11)

The Christian’s goal in culture should be that though they may not believe as we do they may say of us: “Those Christians are the ones who run in when everyone else is running out. Those Christians are the ones who didn’t give up on the crumbling inner cities. Those Christians are the ones who brought peace to [war-torn nations]. Those Christians are the ones who put an end to human trafficking. Those Christians are the ones who helped win the war on AIDS around the world… Those Christians are the ones who [ministered to families dealing with alzheimers, mental disabilities and illnesses…] Those Christians are kind and make me want to believe in God.” (Margaret Feinberg, Quoted in David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, UNChristian, 234).

 

APPLY/THINK

–        Prayer & Fasting from Feb 10 – Mar 25 Revelation 5:8 “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” Revelation 12:11 “And they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony”

àPrayer to 1) Follow Jesus 2) Faith Dedications 3) Life Challenges

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – –

[1] http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/god-s-glory-must-enchant-us

[2] Holly Catterton Allen, Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing The Whole Church Together In Ministry, Community, and Worship, p. 30.

[3] “Twentysomethings Struggle to Find Their Place in Christian Churches” Barna Group (2003) <https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/127-twentysomethings-struggle-to-find-their-place-in-christian-churches&gt; (Accessed on May 27, 2014). The publisher of this site is The Barna Group, Ltd.

“‘Nones’ On The Rise” The Pew Research Center (October 9, 2012) < http://www.pewforum.org/files/2012/10/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf >, 9. (Accessed on May 27, 2014.). The publisher of this site is The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

[4] http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2010/june-online-only/theology-of-multi-ethnic-church.html

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