We Must Catch The Vision

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We Must Catch The Vision

2 Kings 6:8-23

There once was a man who very adamantly believed in living by faith. He believed that, God would provide his need and he would receive whatever he asked for. One day he stood up in church and said that from that day forward, he was trusting God to supply all his needs. He quit his job and moved into a dingy little house on the rougher side of town. The first night he prayed very fervently for God to send him some food, because he was beginning to get hungry. The next morning he walked outside, expecting to find food, but nothing was there. Figuring that he didn’t pray fervently enough, he dedicated the whole day to praying for God to provide food for the next day. The next morning came, and still no food. That day he prayed even more fervently for God to provide nourishment, for by now he was growing really hungry. "God, you must provide me with food, or I will die out here," he prayed over and over again.

The next morning he walked outside, and still no food. By this time he was beginning to get angry with God for not providing He promised in His Word. That afternoon and evening he redoubled his efforts, as he prayed. "Dear God, I’m going to starve to death unless you feed me. I haven’t eaten or had anything to drink in 4 days!" When he went to bed, he heard a faint voice calling out his name. "Bill! Bill!"

"I’m here Lord," he cried. "Are you finally answering my prayer?" "I’ve been answering your prayers," the voice replied. "You’ve just been looking in the wrong direction."

"What do you mean Lord?  "Walk outside," said the voice. Bill walked outside, looked all around on the dirty porch, but still found no food. "There’s nothing here, Lord. I don’t see any food." "You’re looking in the wrong direction. Look up." Bill looked up, and there was a huge billboard that said, "DAY LABORERS WANTED! LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED."

2 Kings 6:8-23 “Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, "I will set up my camp in such and such a place." 9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there." 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. 11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?" 12 "None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom." 13 "Go, find out where he is," the king ordered, "so I can send men and capture him." The report came back: "He is in Dothan." 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16 "Don’t be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. 19 Elisha told them, "This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for." And he led them to Samaria. 20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, "LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see." Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, "Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?" 22 "Do not kill them," he answered. "Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master." 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

What is vision? Vision, in the biblical sense of the wordm, is spiritual sight. In this story we notice that Elisha’s servant had vision problems! He could see and yet he could not see the spiritual things around him. He was like someone who has lost his glasses or contacts. He saw the enemy surrounding the city, but not the greater host of God’s angels who protected the man of God. He could see the danger, but not the deliverance! We have the same problem in churches today. We have people who can see the problems, but cannot see the potentials and promises of God for His church.

When Jesus was asked by His disciples why He taught the crowds in parables, He answered, “This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ’You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’” Matthew 13:13,14

Helen Keller said, “I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing. They see nothing in the woods or sky, nothing in sports, nothing on the street. Their soul’s voyage through this enchanted world is a barren waste.”

The wisest people are those who see further and deeper than others. Jesus saw what blind eyes could not see. And He was therefore calm and joyful, even in the presence of agony and death. The truest vision, however, is the vision of faith. The world says, “Seeing is believing”; the Gospel says, “Believing is seeing.”

There is a great spiritual world that we’ve never seen with our physical eyes. We have two sets of eyes the physically blind have keen eyes of faith. The clearer sight we have of the power of heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth.

There is a minnow-like fish called “Four Eyes,” which makes its home in Central and South America. What is unusual about this fish is his large, bulging eyes. They are so situated on his top of his head, so that he can spend his time cruising along under the water with only the upper half of each eye above the surface. The top half has a water lens, which amounts to a set of bifocals, giving him the ability to see in both the upper and lower world.

That’s the kind of vision we need as Christians. We need to have our eyes fixed on the needs of those around us and be aware of the snares of the enemy; at the same time, we should be careful to look up!

An old hymn goes like this: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.”

Elisha’s servant was gazing so intently at the Syrian army that he couldn’t see the chariots of fire! Chariots are symbols of God’s power! Habakkuk 3:8 says, “Were you angry with the rivers, O LORD? Was your wrath against the streams? Did you rage against the sea when you rode with your horses and your victorious chariots?”

Psalm 68:17:”The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands.”

Do you remember what happened to Elijah? Chariots of fire appeared when he was taken to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha’s servant represents those today who concentrate so much on problems and obstacles that they don’t see the power of God.

Now before we’re too harsh on this servant of Elisha’s, we need to ask ourselves how we would do when it comes to having eyes of faith?

Do we see the chariots of fire when we are facing the future of our church? Do we see them when we’re facing serious surgery? Do we confidently trust in God when we’ve been gossiped about unjustly? When we’re down to our last dollar, how do we react? Do we believe that God will somehow provide for us? Do we see the chariots when a hurricane or terrorists strike? Do we see them when our church faces the tragic loss of some of our members?

As I see it, Elisha’s servant represents most of humanity. He’s so overcome by the magnitude of the problem that he failed to recognize three things: 1. He didn’t see God’s presence. 2. He didn’t see God’s protection 3. He didn’t see God’s provision

This teaches us three things:

1. We Must Catch the Vision of God’s Presence

When we speak of the presence of God we must be careful to distinguish between the omnipresence of God and the special presence of God as Father to His children. The Bible teaches that one of the attributes of God is His omnipresence His presence fills the universe. A little girl was asked, “Why is there only one God?” She answered, “°Because He’s so big He fills up every place, and there’s no room left for any other god.”

If you look carefully at Psalm 139, it is telling us that “wherever you are, God is.” The special presence of God is promised to those who follow Jesus Christ who know and love Him. God is so big that the heavens can’t contain Him and small enough to dwell within our hearts.

Elisha lived within the presence of God. That’s why he was so victorious. Surrounded by the enemy, it looked as though his fate was sealed...for the Syrians had come for him. But there was no terror in Elisha’s face, no panic in his heart. With calmness, courage and confidence he replies, "Don’t be afraid," "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (vs.16). The Apostle Paul echoed those sentiments when he wrote to the Christians at Rome, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

When you feel all alone in your struggle, lift up your eyes the chariots of God are all about you. See the chariots of fire! If you have eyes to see, you will feel yourself surrounded by the protecting care and the plan of God.

Elisha’s servant stands as proof that even God’s own people sometimes don’t practice the presence of God in times of stress. No doubt he believed in God, but when the time came to put his belief to a practical test, he panicked. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" he asked. Have you ever felt like that? You believe that you are a child of God, that He takes care of people, yet perhaps there are times when you become very anxious about your business, your health, your financial status, etc. and you weigh yourself down by causeless fears. Oh that we would learn to realize God’s presence with us. Oh that our church would be a place of God’s manifested presence. 

Possible Video Clip story by Erwin McManus…

The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who trusted in God’s presence. Abraham went forth because he knew God was with him. Moses went into the wilderness, confident of God’s presence. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem despite the ridicule from even his companions.

2. We Must Catch the Vision of God’s Protection

Two missionaries in Malaysia walked to a distant village for some money which had been sent to a bank for them. When they were returning to their station, night overtook them. They prayed and committed themselves to God. Then they lay down to sleep on a lonely hillside. Some weeks later a man came to the mission hospital for treatment. He looked intently at the missionary doctor. “°I have seen you before,” he said. “No, I don’t think we have ever met, the doctor replied. “But we have met before,” insisted the man. “You were sleeping one night on a hillside. Several of us saw you withdraw some money from the bank. We followed you, intending to rob you when it was dark. But we could not get near you because of all the soldiers that were surrounding you. “Soldiers” exclaimed the missionary. “There were no soldiers with us!” The bandit said, “But there were soldiers with you. I saw them and so did my companions 16 of them, with guns drawn. We ran away.

Psalm 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encamps round about those that fear him, and delivers them.” Look up and see the chariots of fire!

3. We Must Catch the Vision of God’s Provision

The provision in this case was deliverance. And notice in verse 18 that the deliverance comes as a result of prayer. Prayer moves the mighty hand of God. God specializes in deliverance. He delivered the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage. He delivered Daniel from the lion’s den. He delivered David from Goliath. He delivered Peter and John from prison. He delivered Paul from the angry mob.  He delivered all of them, but does God still that kind of stuff today? Yes! He is still in the deliverance business. And He will deliver you and He will deliver our church to what He desires for it to be, if we will be faithful to His vision.

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul writes, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.” But Jesus has come to correct our spiritual vision! Luke 4:18: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

So the next time your heart is filled with fear, look up and see the chariots of fire!
If you’re afraid of death and judgment, then look to Jesus as Savior. Don’t be blind to His love and power to forgive you. If you’re afraid of life’s trials and battles, then look to Jesus as your source of peace, strength, and grace. Prayer for salvation…

A poem called The Christian’s Horizon says, What do I see as I look back? Millions of mercies along life’s track; God’s love shining where all was black; That’s what I see, looking back. What do I see as I look within? A heart by my Savior redeemed from sin; A hope, through His grace, heaven’s joys to win; That’s what I see, looking to Him. What do I see looking forth today? Blessings granted before I pray; A sheltering arm, a guiding ray, Today. What do I see as I look on? Burdens lifted and trials gone; A light at evening, surpassing dawn; That’s what I see, looking on. What do I see as I look above? God’s own banner, whose name is love: Love unspeakable, wonderful love; That’s what I see Above!

 Now I want to add a non poetic question to those rhymes I have just read; What do I see when I look ahead? Or another way to ask it is: What is my vision for Faith Community Church? If you want to see where our church is headed look to Him and trust that His vision for us is true.

            Go through “Vision Statement” and explain…

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