Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)
TITLE: “Where there is no vision……(Prov. 29:18 NASB)”
By Doug Laird
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Of all the issues that have divided the Church, there are two that cannot be denied as the chief contributors of the past, present, and future apostasy that has been (Isa.56: 10/Hosea 4:6) and will be (1Tim. 4: 1) the downfall of Godâ€™s people. One is the lack of focus on the mission â€śto make disciples (Matt. 28: 19 NIV)â€ť that our Lord ordained just before His ascension. The other is the rejection of the Word of God as its final and only (Prov.30: 6) tangible source of divine instruction.
Once the vision is lost, Man inevitably replaces Godâ€™s plans and means with Manâ€™s own agenda and human means. Only by â€śkeeping the lawâ€ť (obeying the Bible) can this be avoided. This principle applies to both the Church as a body and the individual members that comprise it.
Satan capitalizes on the vulnerability of the fallen nature in Man that is by nature, â€śhostile (Romans 8:7NIV)â€ť to God and the things of God. Satan is wise enough not to have it appear that the false doctrines and practices of â€śreligionâ€ť are from him, but deceives Man into thinking that they are speaking and acting for God when introducing and promoting teachings and practices that cannot be Biblically substantiated (Deut. 4: 2/Prov.30: 6).
In the name of religion, Satan presents counterfeits to virtually everything that God has established. Like all counterfeits, they must appear to be the real thing and from the real source if the deception is going to work.
Government agencies learned a long time ago that we way to combat the counterfeiting of currency was not to keep all those involved with the exchange of money updated to the latest attempts to produce counterfeit money, but to train those involved to be able to spot the real thing when they see it. Christians must learn to do the same in the spiritual realm.
Any teaching or practice that contradicts or cannot be Biblically substantiated must be rejected as products of religion. Unfortunately there arenâ€™t enough â€śBereans (Act. 17: 11)â€ť to be found in the Christian Community of our day.
Religion appeals to the pride of the fallen nature in Man, as it appears to provide Man with the means to satisfy its insatiable desire to do something (or to refrain from doing something) in order to make or keep himself right with God. True spirituality, on the other hand, is a matter of acknowledging Manâ€™s inability to do so (Matt.19: 26) and his need to believe (John 3:18) in what God has already done for him.
The true mission or vision of Church is revealed in what is called the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28: 19, 20 (NIV), â€śGo therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.â€ť
The word â€śdisciplesâ€ť in a translation of the Greek word â€śmathetesâ€ť found in the original transcripts. One of the meanings of mathetes is to be a technical student in a teacher-pupil relationship. The subject matter and textbook is none other than the Word of God. All legitimate forms of worship and all that a disciple needs to learn and apply are found in the Word of God.
The objectives of the Great Commission are partly fulfilled when unbelievers are presented with the Gospel Message, believe it, and are then baptized by the power and function of God the Holy Spirit (2Cor. 1: 22). The objectives of the Great Commission are then completely fulfilled when the born again (John 3:3) believers enter into and remain (Luke 8:14) in discipleship by learning and applying the â€śmind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16)â€ť to the events and activities of their personal peripheries that God engineers.
To the degree that the Church drifts away from these objectives of the vision that it was given, it enters into many other activities and functions that are no more than the products of religion or human good. Assuming functions and deviating from what can be Biblically substantiated has brought and will bring the Church to and through some of the darkest days in both Church and secular history.
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