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STUDY 1


THE VISION

INTRODUCTION

HABAKKUK 2:2
"And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it."

Why must we have a vision?

Where [there is] no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18, KJV)
"Perish" as translated in other versions:
a) Unrestrained - New American Standard
b) Run wild - Living Bible
c) Cast off restraints - New King James

The implication is clear. We may therefore amplify it as where there is no vision, the people become unrestrained, run wild, and perish.

It is therefore very important that a ministry must have a vision and make the vision clear to the people who should then seek God for their part in it.

THE LEADER

The leader or leaders concerned must receive from God His specific purpose and plan for the ministry. Throughout the Bible, it is the pattern of God that He speaks to the leadership who then transmits it to the people. This is an important concept. There is no scriptural record that it has been the other way round. A vision is to be shared. After the vision is transmitted to the people through the leader, the people must set out to fulfill what God has spoken.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLES

We find many examples from the Bible:

God told Moses to build the tabernacle according to the pattern shown to him and the people brought it to fulfillment by doing it under his leadership.

David received the pattern for building the temple. He communicated it to Solomon for the work to be done (I Chr 28 & 29).

Joshua received the plan on how to cross river Jordan and the way to conquer the promised land. He called his people together, transmitted the plan to them and did the work together.

This is a clear biblical pattern. It is not that God cannot review His plan to other members, in which case such become the channels of His voice (eg the prophetic ministry), but the plan will have to be first presented to God's leadership who carries the responsibility to discern its validity before any execution.

 PROCEDURE 1 - GET A VISION

We will have to seek God for a vision until we receive it. We do not try to visualize one ourselves. We may by the inspiration or guidance of the Holy Spirit and also using our God-given wisdom project or extend a vision, revelation, word, conviction, etc. However, a vision must first originate from God and not from ourselves or it will surely fail. God will not fit a man-originated plan into eternity.

Remember, we don't originate or visualize a vision, we perceive and receive a vision that originates from and given by God.

God will continue to speak, to confirm and build on the vision that He has given. God will not annul it or change it into something else. He will add, and expand on it from time to time as we remain faithful and obedient.

Every time when Abraham obeyed God, He would speak to bless him further to enlarge him to increase in His promises.

If we seek Him with all our heart we will find Him and we will know the plan He has for us. (Jer 29:11-13)

It is not necessary that every vision must birth a brand new independent ministry. It can be a vision within another wider vision of an existing ministry.

PROCEDURE 2 - WRITE IT DOWN AND RUN WITH IT

"And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2)

1) We will have to write it down, that is to declare it on paper. We have to make it plain, on black and white. The purpose is to declare it and to confirm it in writing. It is a way of giving substance to the things hoped for. It is a way of committing and binding ourselves to it. Unless we do it, it remains as something of a dream, an idea or a fantasy that can be changed.

2) Another reason to declare it is that the people may read it. The vision is now communicated, shared and imparted. The people may then understand it and consider to make a decision that may require sacrifices in effort, time and money.

3) Let everybody run, but everybody will have to choose, whether to run into the direction of the declared vision or away from the vision. After you make it plain on paper, never force or convince anybody who wants to run away to stay in the vision. Let them go. They will end up hurting others or the vision if they stay. They will talk against the move, drag their feet, hinder the progress and influence others and create rebellion. After you have make it clear, some will stay and some will go. It will likely be. That is another purpose of making it plain on paper.

4) After reading it, the people may run. The committed people will then go into action - to run, not to sit and laze around, but to move into it. After they have grasped what the vision is on paper, they can then plan, run in the same direction, to the same goal, in the same unity and for the same purpose.

PROCEDURE 3 - HAVE FAITH AND PERSEVERE IN IT

"For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:3)

THE WAY VISION IS FULFILLED

1) It is yet - God speaks to us to declare what He is going to do and to prepare us to co-operate with Him, and not to run ahead of Him. It will not be fulfilled immediately but in the future. In the meantime there is a lot of praying, planning and preparation to do before the birth of it.

2) for an appointed time - It will happen only at the time appointed by Him, not at our time. We are not to hurry Him or to delay Him but prepare ourselves, to work faithfully and patiently towards the goal. He is telling us that we have to have faith and to persevere in it. In the mean time, sow in righteousness until the right time comes when the Lord will bring the rain.

3) at the end - When the right time come. The appointed time will come, and will surely come. Rejoice, it will surely come.

4) it will speak - The vision when manifested will be attacked, and those that run after the vision will be attacked by the devil, the world, the carnal Christians and the ignorant Christians. Nevertheless, it will prove to be true. It will speak for itself. People will then know we had obeyed God. We may explain the vision to those who need to hear, but we need not justify ourselves or fight for Him.

5) and will not lie: though it tarry, wait for it - God is not man that He should lie. He will not lie, He will surely fulfil it. He is telling us to pay the price, to persevere right to the end, to see the vision manifested and completed. Though it may take sometime, wait for it. After having done all, stand. (Eph 6:13)

6) because it will surely come, it will not tarry - It will surely come to pass. God knows our heart. Though it may be hard at times, and may appear to be much longer and tougher that what we expect (which is the case most of the time), it will surely come. Here, He is encouraging us, telling us that it will not be unnecessarily delayed. He will bring it to pass. What is righteous will ultimately be proven to be true.

PROCEDURE 4 - BE HUMBLE & LIVE BY FAITH

Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)

This may seem to be rather disjointed from the previous verse. But it is not. It will make manifest the truth and the untruth. Time is going to be very trying for those carrying the vision - before, and during the process of the fulfillment of the vision. The mission can be very tough, and God gives us 2 very important keys to carry us through:

1) Be humble and lowly. The one who carries the vision will manifest the fruit of the Spirit if the vision is originated from God, while those that do not carry the vision will attack arrogantly. Joseph after receiving his visions, was very severely attacked by his own brothers, also partly due to his own imperfection. Therefore the carrier of the vision is also sanctified in the process. One truly occupied with a vision will have no time or heart to retaliate in the flesh. There will be so much to do, and there will be no time or heart to attack others.

Those without visions are unoccupied, restless, aimless and without restraints, and therefore become victimized by the evil one to attack those with a divine mission. Therefore be humble and lowly for the Lord to bring you through in due time.

2) Live by faith in the vision that God has given you. Work towards it.

Don't be side-tracked by persecution or temptations. Consider Joseph again. It was the vision that kept him through all the trying situations until the vision came to pass in his life.

Faith is the humility to recognize the reality of the present lowly state, at the same time having the courage to project and to run towards the vision with the full trust in God to reach it.

Rev Israel CS Lim
MA(Th), D.Min
Copyright reserved

ASSIGNMENT (for ministry training)

Pray and draft out a vision list in point form of:
your present ministry
or
God's calling in your life,
or
what you hope to see taking place in the Church of Jesus Christ or in the local church that you are involved in.

Summarize it into a few points totaling no more than 30 words and memorize them.

RESTORATION OF BIBLICAL PATRIARCHY

HEBRAIC ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY

Copyright Israel CS Lim, 1997

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