What do you want most? What is your vision?
The most important vision God has is to seek and save the lost.
The balance of vision between discipling believers and reaching the lost is vital to the mission of the kingdom of God.
Over the past few weeks we have covered five of the stages necessary in order for God's vision to be realized in our generation:
- Observation of the need
- Conversation with the person
- Presentation of the truth
- Examination of the problem
- Revelation of God
Today I'd like to look at the two final components of God's vision found in the John 4 narrative: Hesitation and Invitation.
- Hesitation of the Disciples
Did you ever notice that when the disciples returned from the city with food, they brought no one else with them to see Jesus?
The disciples had completely missed the vision of Jesus. They had returned from a city with food, and yet brought no one with them to meet the One who provides the bread of eternal life.
The moment the woman knew who Jesus was however; she was ready to immediately share Christ with an area that even the disciples considered untouchable.
In John 4, the disciples were hesitant. We have a picture here of just a few of the hesitations that they needed to overcome in order to embrace the vision God wanted to release.
Their reluctance stemmed from their cultural baggage. They had preconceived ideas about the Samaritans and women, or what we call racial and gender baggage. These baggages keep us from seeing the vision of God.
Perhaps the disciples were hesitant because they were just too busy with the ministry business of Jesus to care about His people?
As a leader we must be patient, giving the Holy Spirit ample time to work in peoples' hearts.
We also must model an ethic involvement in the vision. When the disciples saw Jesus effortlessly overcoming these barriers, they were able to see themselves doing the same. Only when we model servant leadership will others be able to overcome their hesitation.
Finally, we come to the last stage:
- The Invitation of the Woman.
This is found in John 14:39-42.
John gives more attention to this woman that he does to just about any other narrative in his Gospel. Why? Perhaps because she was indeed a woman who announced the message of Christ to her people. Furthermore, she was of a scandalous background—a woman with a checkered past, and a Samaritan as well. Talk about a reason for gossip in their day and age.
Most readers in the early church would have recognized just how enormous the challenges were in front of this woman. Who could blame her for an inability to get any real traction in her newfound walk with Christ?
It would have been easy to hide in the rejection of her present, cower behind the flaws of her past, or refuse to move into the challenges of her future.
Yet, what we see is the exact opposite unfolding. She makes a full surrender to Christ, becoming a most useful servant for His vision immediately.
And here must lie John's real message: Jesus can change the vilest of hearts and demolish the strongest of barriers when people grasp the kingdom's ultimate vision.
As she sees and accepts Christ's gracious invitation, she intuitively knows what the next step must be: invite others to experience the same.
The vision is reaching those that don't know Jesus. It always has been. It always will be. And only those who have responded to the gracious invitation of Christ can extend such a gracious invitation to others.
Because of this women's invitation to the vision of Jesus, the entire city came to know Him and be restored.
There are still so many people and so many in the cities in the world who need to be saved—and we know that all things are possible through God.
The salvation of your entire city could come as easily as asking a stranger for a drink of water.
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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