Plant the Vision
There is a missing element in our ability to reach out to some of these brothers and define these things clearly to them. If I tell a brother to come to the Body of Christ, he says, “I’m not missing anything. What am I missing? What do you have that I don’t have?” I don’t think we’ve done a very good job expressing the vision of what the Lord is after because that brother has no idea what he is missing.
People don’t clearly see, “I am outside and I’m missing out. I can see in them this vision of Christ and His Bride and how beautiful it is and how needed it is to us as believers. I don’t have that, but I need it too.” If we haven’t made that vision very clear to people, then they won’t understand what they are missing.
So now you know two things that you all need to be doing. :) “Without vision the people cast off restraint” (Prov. 29:18). If they can’t See it, they will fuss about what you’re telling them, even though they may not want to fuss. Jesus said it a little differently but with the same meaning, “Repent, for the Kingdom is at hand” (Mat. 4:17). If you can see the Kingdom, then you have the incentive to repent. If you can see the vision of what God is after, then you don’t cast off restraint.
One thing then, is to make sure that people are given a vision. Do whatever it takes to let that happen. Get as much opportunity as you can for verbal teaching situations or putting things to read or listen to in their hands or whatever. Make sure people understand what God says the Church is, not what the traditions of men say the Church is. What does GOD say?
What does God say a Christian is? Make sure people understand the things we talked about regarding what a covenant is. What we talked about earlier can’t be any simpler and more basic and Biblical, but most people don’t know what it means to be a Christian. People think that being “Christian” means you have a new belief system and a basic lifestyle. But that’s not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that it’s a reBirth with God coming to dwell inside. Has that happened or not in a person? Yes or no?
A person is only a Christian if they have been miraculously translated from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of the beloved Son (Col. 1:13). Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you embrace a different lifestyle and a different belief system, but a Miracle happens that’s just as real as a first birth miracle. Life out of nothing—that’s the second Birth.
You’re not a Christian if you don’t have that. You can’t enter the Kingdom if you haven’t been Born a second time. The Bible says everyone born in the Kingdom, of the water and the Spirit, is like the wind (John 3:3-8). In other words, there’s something significantly different in that person. And it goes for everyone! Everyone that believes has rivers of living water gushing from the inner man (John 7:38). Everyone who believes. That’s not a maturity verse. That’s a conversion verse.
If people come to understand what the Bible teaches, they’ll begin to say, “You know, I don’t think I have rivers of living water gushing from within me. I don’t have that, do I? Has anybody ever seen that in me?” :) Then I’d have to be honest enough to say, “That means I really need to look toward Jesus! That’s not bad news. That’s Good News, because now I have an opportunity that I didn’t know about.”
In Acts 10, what did Cornelius have before Peter showed up? He prayed and gave to the poor, and he even had an angelic visitation, right? But then Peter came and told him how he and his household could be saved. He had the Spirit come and dwell in him, around him, and through him in some pretty significant ways. So he had something before Peter came along, but he didn’t have what God wanted for him, and that’s why the angel sent Peter to him.
That’s something that we tell people all the time that are caught in this middle ground—instead of being depressed about it, use it as an opportunity. Cornelius had something good, but he didn’t have what God wanted for him. Do you have it pretty good right now? Great. The Bible says there’s even more than that available. This is good! This is a new doorway for you to go through. You’re not even saved yet, but God has been good to you, like He was to Cornelius. You’ve had a general belief system like Cornelius, but there’s something significant that’s missing here. Face it. That’s good news, not bad news. However good it is now, it can be better than that. I mean, miraculously better than that! Why should you hold out for something worse? That’s dumb!