Good morning Signal Mountain! Welcome to the second Sunday of 2020!
Another reminder: This year’s Bible reading calendars are ready for you to pick up in the foyer or you can get them online at our website. We will be reading through the New Testament twice and the Psalms 3 times this year! Also, our group ministry is focusing on the life of Christ this winter/spring, in perfect timing for our Bible readings through the gospels. You don’t want to miss these!
Ok, for our lesson: Reading – John 4:4-26
God is Spirit. He is seeking worshippers who worship in Spirit and in truth. What does that look like?
Here’s a start up question: What in the world is a spiritual vision? Do you and I have one? That’s what we’ll look at today. Jesus told us that God is Spirit and they that worship Him, must worship in spirit and in truth. If worship is just something we do at church, (here on this Mountain) then whatever we do outside of church has a different vision. But if Romans 12:1-2 is describing God’s vision for our spiritual worship, then what we do wherever we are is by the same vision. What does the Bible say? We know that the Bible is the book that God’s Spirit wrote for us. The Bible is the one true spiritual source for our spiritual vision. Is God’s vision of worship biblical services or living sacrifices? How about both (and much more).
After much prayer, study and interaction with our membership, our elders have placed before us a vision and mission statement that clarifies for us what God’s word calls us to be and do as a congregation. As shepherds of this church family, they are guiding us according to God’s word into God’s vision for this congregation as God’s people in this time and place.
Proverbs 28:19 says: Where there is no vision the people perish (or, as some translations render it: where there is no revelation the people run wild or cast off restraint). But blessed is he that keeps the law.
In the Old Testament, God gave Israel His law to show them His vision and mission for them as His people. It certainly involved specific ways of worship such as prayer, sacrifice, offerings, praises, and gatherings, but it also extended into all of life. Loving God and loving your neighbor, these were what all the law and prophets hinged on, said Jesus. God’s spiritual vision for Israel was that they as a nation be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. God’s vision for them was that they be a holy priesthood.
God’s law describes not just God’s will for His people to do, but more than that, it describes the very character of God Himself. What God values and prioritizes are stated in His laws. God tells His people what He wants them to be as well as what He wants them to do. We can look at this in two ways: 1. What we are to be is God’s vision for His people. 2. What we are to do is God’s mission for His people. What we are (our being) and what we do (our actions), these are tied together. God wants our being and our doing to agree, not just during worship gatherings, but 24/7/365. Jesus said, “A good tree bears good fruit, a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree can’t bear bad fruit and a bad tree can’t bear good fruit. A tree is known by its fruit.”
Jesus told us in Matthew 5, last verse, “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Jesus is giving us a spiritual vision for our lives. To be like our Father in heaven. While we certainly want our worship services to be guided by God’s word, and we would not want to deviate from doing our church services according to the commands, examples and inferences of scripture, we need to go much further. God’s vision for us spiritually doesn’t stop with a dismissal prayer. Our assemblies begin and end with prayer, but God’s vision for us begins when we enter Christ in baptism and continues throughout life on earth and into eternity.
Last week I talked about discipleship and how our assemblies are not enough to make disciples. We need much more. Our spiritual warfare goes on throughout our lives, just as our spiritual worship continues after the closing prayer of our assemblies. Jesus never took time off from being Jesus, God’s Son. Who He was and what He did were given to us as an example of who we are to be and what we are to do.
Our small groups are going through the life of Jesus and this affords us a great opportunity for a fresh spiritual course in following Jesus. Also, our Bible reading this year will be through the New Testament twice, and this again makes for a great occasion for spiritual growth.
All of us are building a spiritual legacy. What will yours be?