RENEWED VISION Romans 12:2b Week 3 

  • When you hear or use the word “vision”, what comes to mind?
  • One dictionary definition of vision goes “All that comes into view when the eyes are focused in one direction”
The job of the church can be summed up in the great commandments: ‘love your God’ and ‘love your neighbour’ (see Mark 12:30,31), and the great commission: ‘… go and make disciples of all nations …’ (Matthew 28:19).
The entire Bible can be said to express God’s relationship with the human race, and how humankind should respond in the light of his attentions. Old Testament prophets such as Micah challenge us today to live lives that demonstrate God’s love towards other people by being a people of justice and mercy. The wonder of the gospel is that God has created a message of life eternal that is wholly complete, coherent and applies to all people, everywhere, at all times. It is designed to be heard!
Throughout history and in different parts of the church, teachers have focused on different aspects of the call on our lives. Some have emphasised the need for holiness and discipline, others how we are to live in grace and freedom. Some major on power, some on gentleness. All these, and others, are highly valuable to us in developing strong Christian lives, yet what God wants most is more worshippers – to see the lost people of the world coming into his presence, full of praise, fully enjoying the beauty of a relationship with him.
Different members of the church have different gifts, different callings, and different passions for how we spend our lives following God. But all churches are called to love God and extend his kingdom by bringing the gospel to the people they encounter. We may not all be evangelists, but we can be evangelistic in the way we live. As Peter writes, ‘Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God …’ (1 Peter 2:12).
  • Romans 11:33 – 12:2
All for Jesus
At 25 I didn’t have many ties but my career was shaping up before me. Having completed 2 degrees in Geology I was about to embark on a 3rd, eventually leading (I hoped) into a good job in the oil industry and a potential six-figure salary!
A year later my career plans began to crumble around me as I yielded more and more to the God who wanted to shape and mould my life into what He wanted, not what I had been planning. By 28 I was embarking on theological studies to become a minister in the Church of England! “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Having yielded my life to God, what I received in return brought more meaning and depth to my life than anything I’d ever dreamt of. Now, years later, I’m married with two grown up children.
As we advance in years we have more to surrender to God, so it becomes more challenging. But we can take strength from the song of 11:33–36, and the response to it in 12:1,2. If we are open to God, gazing on his glory should bring forth in us a natural desire to surrender our lives to him as the ultimate in worship.
The implication of surrendering ourselves to God and his will for us is that we resist the world’s way of living and operating. Because of God’s greatness and power (11:33,36) we can choose to conform to his pattern in all things, thereby submitting ourselves to a process of renewal, thereby discovering something more of God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” for our lives.
Use the words of the following song by Robin Clarke & Jennifer Atkinson as an act of worship:
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
All of my ambitions, hopes and plans
I surrender these into Your hands.
All of my ambitions, hopes and plans
I surrender these into Your hands.
For it's only in Your will that I am free,
For it's only in Your will that I am free,
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be
Take a sheet of paper and write down your hopes and dreams. Now surrender them to God, asking the Holy Spirit to put God’s hopes and dreams for you on your heart.
The church body is bigger than the local church here in Ashtead. The world God so loves (John 3:16) is bigger than your world and the people around you
In Acts 1:6–11 Jesus promised the apostles this: ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’.
Try and take 20 minutes for the following meditation (individually or in your small group). It might widen your horizons!
On a piece of paper list countries or languages starting with each letter from the alphabet. You are allowed to consult an atlas when you get stuck; this is a meditative exercise not a geography test! And don’t worry if you can’t find a country beginning with X!
Ask yourself how much you really know about the countries you have listed and what life might be like for Christians and non-Christians in those countries. What are the daily challenges and prevailing attitudes in the cultures of the countries you listed?
Now write a separate list. An A–Z of attributes and descriptions of God. (The best one I heard for X was ‘xenophilic’, meaning lover of outsiders!) Don’t worry if you don’t get something for every letter straight away. Use this list to praise God for who he is and thank him that he has revealed so much about himself to you.
Now pray for Christians to be strong yet sensitive in how they share the good news about Jesus in two or three of the countries from your first list.

Congratulations! You’ve just played a small but vital role in world mission.

Bob Kiteley, 23/11/2009