Joshua Jones reflecting on Sunday’s Vision Sermon by Simon Elliott.
It is important to be doing the right things, but it is even more important to know why.
And so vision is key for the church.
God has a vision for us both as individuals and as Everyday Church. His mission statement calls us to be in presence and to engage in his Kingdom purpose.
We see this right at the outset of Jesus’ ministry in Mark 1:16-20.
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” Mark 1:16-20
Jesus called his disciples to “come follow me”. This was not a generic invitation but a personal call rabbis would make to develop a deep relationship with their best students. But Jesus chooses fishermen, previously overlooked by the rabbis, to be his disciples.
God is in perfect unity in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet he invites us into the family. He calls us into his presence through a personal relationship.
A relationship with the King of Kings alone would be enough… but there is more! God also calls us to adventure with him through our purpose. Jesus will send the fishermen out to “fish for people”.
To grasp this, we read earlier in Mark 1:14-15.
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” Mark 1:14-15
Throughout the gospels, Jesus declares the kingdom of God is here. God is breaking in through his rule and reign and invites us to be part of the adventure.
What, then, is our purpose?
Firstly, to call others into their own personal relationship with him. Salvation.
Secondly, we are given the same Holy Spirit power that raised Jesus from the dead to see miracles. Signs and wonders.
Thirdly, Jesus cares desperately about justice and wants us to speak up for the voiceless on the edges of society. Social action.
Reading our Bibles, praying and attending events are helpful, godly habits I thoroughly recommend and enjoy. But they are not the be-all-and-end-all. Instead, they are vital in pursuing presence and equipping us to live out our missional kingdom purpose.
Christianity is not a religion, it’s about a relationship with God.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus reminds the disciples of their original call, but with a slight difference:
“Jesus said: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20
In Mark 1, the incarnate Christ calls these first followers out of the world to be with him – Presence, and then equips them for the Kingdom – Purpose.
But in Matthew 28, the resurrected Christ sends them out into the world to make disciples – Purpose, and promises always to be with them – Presence.