Abundant Life Crusades
Tony and Marge Abram have been preaching the Good News for over 61 years!


THE NEED FOR A VISION (multiple sermon points below)
Proverbs 29:18
Intro: It is important that each of us have a vision for what God wants us to do. The church should have a corporate vision true, but each of us must see ourselves as individuals with personal visions that come together make up a greater vision.
Churches need to understand that today --- God has a purpose and plan for each Church --- and they need to be devoted to accomplishing it.
The average Church today though is like a football game --- you have 22 players in desperate need of rest being watched by 50,000 people in desperate need to exercise.
So what should we do about getting a vision?

I.  Seek God For Direction
1. You donít need to ask God what you need to do as much as how you need to go and do it.
2. Most want to make the idea of a vision a difficult accomplishment.
We want to sweat, toil and agonize over ďWhat does God want me to do?Ē
- 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
a. Persuade men (2 Cor 5:11 KJV) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;
b. Fulfill ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18 KJV) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
c. Be ambassadors for Him (2 Cor 5:20 KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
d. Mathew 28:19 - teach & baptize
e. Mark 16:15 -
f. (Luke 14:23 KJV) And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
g. (John 20:21 KJV) Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
h. (Mark 13:10 KJV) And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
i. (Psa 96:3 KJV) Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

3. WE HAVE A MISSION and we cannot afford to lose sight of that mission illustration (ILLUS):
About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway? Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great obstacles to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. Many preachers surrender to preach with a vision for lost souls and leading Godís people in service to Him. In the midst of a committee meeting far, far away, that flame, that fire of vision for the Lordís work begins to die out. Friends, if we fail as the leadership of the Lordís churches to have a vision, not our own mind you, but Godís vision for us, we will be like the people in this illustration. We will lose our pioneering spirit. We will become grumblers. We will become ineffective.

4. We need to seek God for His method.
- It is not Godís perfect will:
a. That any should perish
b. That should walk in sickness
c. That any live under a curse
d. Any remain under Satanís bondage

ILLUS. Moses God told him to build a temple, but it did not stop with just a vision for a temple God gave him the plans in detail.
Noah, God said it is going to rain, build an ark. Not only did he have a vision but also God gave him direction or a detailed plan as to how it was to be done.

II.  Trust God
1. One of the hardest things that God has to deal with from us is our lack of trust in Him.

2. Donít be afraid to do what he has called you to do.
- If He has called you He will not only empower you but He will go with you.

3. It may seem impossible for you but God sayís, ďtrust meĒ
Luke 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Psalms 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

4. We have all of these great promises from Godís Word but yet most live as if they are not true.
- Many Christians live as if this Bible is not the never failing Word of God.
- ďIf God really wanted me to tell others about Him He would have made me a missionaryĒ
- ďIf God wants those people to get saved then He can lead them to a church.Ē

ILLUS. Gladys Aylward, missionary to China more than fifty years ago, was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng. But she could not leave her work behind. With only one assistant, she led more than a hundred orphans over the mountains toward Free China. In their book "The Hidden Price of Greatness," Ray Besson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker tell what happened:
During Gladysís harrowing journey out of war-torn Yangcheng ... she grappled with despair as never before. After passing a sleepless night, she faced the morning with no hope of reaching safety. A 13-year-old girl in the group reminded her of their much-loved story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. "But I am not Moses," Gladys cried in desperation. "Of course you arenít," the girl said, "but Jehovah is still God!"
When Gladys and the orphans made it through, they proved once again that no matter how inadequate we feel, God is still God, and we can trust in him.

III.  Be Persistent
1. We cannot allow anything to come between us and our vision.
2. Satan will try to tell us:
- It is too hard to do.
- It is too big of a challenge.
- There is no way that you can do it.
- No one will come
3. God says go, donít stop, and Ďdonít give up!í
ILL. A father had just put his young daughter to bed. He had just settled himself in the living room, when she called out from her bed, "Daddy, will you please bring me some MILK?" "No, Sally," said her Dad, "youíve already HAD your milk!" A few minutes later she called out again: "Daddy, I want some MILK, please!" "No, Sally," said her father, "Iím busy now. Go to sleep and donít call me again!" Her father thought that that should settle the matter. However, not two minutes later, Sally called AGAIN: "Daddy, PLEASE bring me some MILK!" "Now listen, Sally," said her father, "if you arenít quiet, Iím going to come and give you a SMACK!" There was a short silence. Then Sally called out: "Daddy, WHEN you come to give me a smack, will you please bring me some MILK?"

4. Persistence leads to Perseverance
ILL. A page from John Wesleyís Diary reads as follows: Sunday morning, May 5, preached in St. Annís, was asked not to come back anymore. Sunday p.m., May 5, preached at St. Johnís, deacons said, "Get out and stay out." Sunday a.m., May 12, preached at St. Judeís, canít go back there either. Sunday p.m., May 12, preached at St. Georgeís, kicked out again. Sunday a.m., May 19, preached at St. somebody elseís, deacons called special meeting and said I couldnít return. Sunday p.m., May 19, preached on the street, kicked off the street. Sunday a.m., May 26, preached in meadow, chased out of meadow as a bull was turned loose during the services. Sunday a.m., June 2, preached out at the edge of town, kicked off the highway. Sunday p.m., June 2, afternoon service, preached in a pasture, 10,000 people came to hear me.

5. Cannot allow past failures to keep us from what God has called us to do.

IV.  Be Passionate for the Vision God has given you.
1. An anointing
- A program is just a program until God pours His anointing upon it then it becomes a ministry.
2. A desire for souls

Like Paul:
Rom 9:3(NIV) For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,

Like Stephen:
Acts 7:56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young manís feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

3. A God given Vision gives a desire to work.
- God does not want you shamed into doing what it is that you have been called to do.
- He expects us to walk with excitement that we are called chosen and set apart for doing His work.
1 Cor 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (NIV)
Col 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV)
Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (KJV)
Eccl 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (NIV)

The Necessity of a Real Vision
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.

A) Webster: 1. The faculty of sight, 2. Unusual foresight, 3. A mental image produced by the imagination, 4. The experience of the supernatural as if with the eyes.

B) To see like Joshua and Caleb did Num 14:6-9
1) Optimist or Pessimist? I read about a schoolboy who brought home his report card. It was heavy with poor grades. "What have you to say about this?" asked his father. "One thing for sure," the boy replied, "Dad, you can be proud. You know I havenít been cheating!"

2) Having a vision is more than just looking on the bright side. It is looking on Godís side.

Finding the vision God has for us takes time and prayer. Godís training is the time of prayer seeking Godís location.

3) What if the vision God gives is not the vision we would have chosen?
Then "Bloom where you are planted."

A) Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nationís deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.

B) Satanís greatest attack on the vision that God gives each of us is our attitude.
1) An attitude that says "No body else cares so why should I."
2) An attitude that says "No body appreciates anything I do so letís see what they do when I donít."

Faith is the food that visions live on. Without faith, our vision will wither on the vine.
That is time between me and God.

B) The courage of vision is to say "Lord if that is you, let me come to you walking on the water."
C) The courage of vision is to say "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
D) The courage of vision is to say "If God be for us, who can be against us."
E) The courage of Vision is to say "The trials of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory of the next life."

The Necessity of a God-given Vision for the Local Church
"vision for ministry is a reflection of what God wants to accomplish through you to build His Kingdom." (not your kingdom) Vision is the God-given ability to see possible solutions to everyday problems of life.

John Maxwell defines vision in a three-fold manner; "The ability to see---awareness. The ability to believe---attitude. The ability to do---action." Vision is the ability to see beyond the surface of human potential. It is not what we are but what we desire to become. Vision is a mental picture of a desired future. It is a picture that can be seen of what is not yet, but of what can be. Our present belief is a reflective of our vision. Where we are in life is directly connected to our vision or the lack thereof. There is a Japanese proverb that says; "Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." Vision will turn lukewarm, lazy, sleeping church members into red-hot, living soldiers in the grand cause of changing a generation. Vision gives us stability, guidance, joy and excitement. The God-given vision will bring glory to God and fit us into His eternal purpose. A true vision from God is not self-seeking, but praises God and brings glory to Jesus Christ.

No organization will survive without vision. Apart from vision, individuals will perish. Without vision our children will perish. Without vision, communities will perish. Without vision, churches will perish. Without vision, societies will perish. Without vision, lost souls will perish. Without vision, the sick and the elderly will perish. Without vision, we as a people will surely perish. The word perish as used in the text, infers that apart from vision, the people will run wild. It means, a lack of restraint. Our world has gone wild, it is a reflection of a people who are without vision. Someone has said, that vision is foresight with insight based on hindsight.

I. We Need Vision to Lead Us into Divine Purpose.
We need the God-kind of vision that will enable us to find our self-worth in helping to build the kingdom of God.

A. Pray for vision.
B. Pursue the vision.
C. Ponder our vision.

II. We Need Vision to Empower Our Inward Man. We need the Word of God to enliven our vision. True vision is a result of the logos and the rhema word. The logos is the revealed word of God. The rhema is the spoken word of God. The rhema word is the Holy Spirit quickening the logos and transferring it into our hearts. The lifeline of vision is Godís Word. The church must not simply start at 11:30 sharp and end at 13:00 p.m.

A. Search the scriptures.
B. Sift the scriptures.
C. Share the scriptures.

Our work is to take this vision of Jesus and reproduce it in others, sharing the good news of deliverance.

III. We Need Vision to Keep Us Connected to Each Other.
Vision will place the church on one accord. It gives us what was present in the early church. Both: vision and mission are two important components of the church. Mission is the general rule for all churches. Mission includes outreach, fellowship , worship, discipleship and service. But vision is specific to the uniqueness of a specific church. Whenever the body of Christ can get on the same page with the Holy Spirit, the church will experience the unlimited power of God.

IV. We Need Vision as a Trampoline for Change. Vision will catapult us beyond the blockades of life.

A. Evaluate our present condition.
B. Enforce the need for change.
C. Energize our efforts.

V. We Need to Know What Our Vision Encompasses.
We must have vision to share the gospel.
We must have a vision to grow in the grace of God.
We must have a vision of a people with a greater respect for Godís church-house.

VI. We Must Be Mindful of the Vision Killers.
A. Complacency
B. Carnality
C. Carelessness
D. Critics
E. Customariness

VII. We Must Give ourselves Totally to the Fulfilling of Our Vision.
A. Commitment
B. Compassion
C. Contributors
D. Commonality (unity)
E. Combatant ( solder of Christ)
F. Courage
G. Communicators

God's Vision For a Church
Rev 3:7-13
From Revelation, we are going to see God give a church such a vision one that will change it into a dynamic soul winning church, life-changing force in their community.
Four times, God commands the Philadelphian believers to behold. Then, He tells them what He expects them to see.
He is giving them a vision. He wants every church to be Philadelphian in its character.
He reminds them that He is holy and true.
He makes the rules, and He has the power to enforce them.
When He opens a door, no power in hell or earth can shut it. When He closes a door, there is no power that can open it again.
He governs the events on earth. He is the head of the church and the Lord of the universe.

I. Their Opportunity
A. What it meant to them
1. A divine opening to reap a harvest of souls.
    Throughout the New Testament, an open door always refers to an occasion for preaching the Gospel with fruitfulness
   a. Acts 14:27
   b. 1 Corinthians 16:9
   c. 2 Corinthians 2:12
   d. Colossians 4:3
2. That God would supply the resources they needed to accomplish the task.
   a. He'd give them the workers
   b. He'd give them the want to.
   c. He'd give them whatever it would take to get the job done. He will not withhold anything necessary from a church that is required for it to evangelize its community.
B. Why it was given for
1. Their outlook a little strength
What is the significance of little strength? Until we admit our helplessness, we aren't going to seek strength from someone else. And a church realizes that it only has a little strength is one that has learned its real power must come from God.
  a. This congregation had discovered they had no strength in themselves, but great power in God.
  b. They had learned to fast, pray, and wait upon God to rely upon God, to expect Him to do great works.
2. Their obedience kept the Word.
  a. They read God's Word, taught God's Word, preached God's Word, loved God's Word, and stood by God's Word.
  b. God blesses those who honor His Word by con-forming their lives to it.
One reason why so many churches today have no power and no vision is that they treat God's Word like they would any other book. The Philadelphian believers had respect for the Word of God. They lived like it as a holy Book, an inspired Book, and an authoritative Book.
3. Their outreach did not denied my Name
  a. This congregation was made up of people who refused to hide their allegiance to Jesus Christ.
  b. They were not ashamed of their faith, nor too embarrassed to speak boldly for Jesus Christ. That is the kind of character in a church that gets them an open door a great evangelistic opportunity.

II. The Opposition
A group that was opposing the work of God in Philadelphia. Although the conflict was real, the outcome was already determined.
A. A familiar opponent verse 9
  1. This is the second time that God has identified a group of people as the instruments of Satan.
  2. This is what makes authentic spiritual power necessary.
    b. Satan hides his armies behind false fronts of religion and society, but we must always remember that our real opposition comes from the devil.
B. The final outcome verse 10
Jesus was commanding this church to look to the end of the age. He was
reminding them that all God's enemies will bow at the feet of Jesus and His bride the church.
In verse 10, Jesus speaks of the hour of temptation, the worldwide, great tribulation. The final chapter of human history has already been written, and the people of God will be on the winning side.

III. Their Reward
The last things that Jesus mentions about the open door are His coming and our rewards. That is because the two are so closely related. Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. He was telling us that there is no place for quitting until Jesus comes, until we stand at the judgment seat of Christ and the crown is placed upon our head.
The final words of verse 12 remind us that that the rewards of heaven, unlike those of earth, are eternal. The overcomer the one who finishes the race and wins the prize will be made like a pillar in the temple of God. They will bear the Name of God .

Seven Visions that speak life into your family
Habakkuk 2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.
Seeking Godís purpose above your own.
2 Tim 1:9NKJV who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Pursuing a deeper relationship with God and others
Ps 63:1NKJV O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.

Divine protection from evil
Ps 1:6TEV The righteous are guided and protected by the LORD, but the evil are on the way to their doom.

Seeking direction from God
Ps 37:23NKJV The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.

Rom 14:19NKJV Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

Eph 4:32NKJV And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

7. FUN
Eph 5:18-19NKJV
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Mark 10:46-52
Bartimaeus was physically blind and thatís bad but listen to what blind Helen Keller said - ĎIt is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.í
Thatís true for many believers. They received the Lord and are on their way to heaven, yet they are living life without any sense of vision and purpose. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that when thereís no vision, people perished.

Three things happen to us when we lack vision:
It will rob us of our blessings and leave us in a perpetual state of need.
Many Christians go through life having a Ďhandoutí mentality. Like Bartimaeus, they live off the little that they receive from others. They constantly look to people to provide for their needs when the Lordís will is that they may Ďprosper even as their souls prosper.í
God wants to bless us so we can be a blessing. He wants His children to walk in that abundance of grace.

2. It will keep us out of Godís plan and purpose and cause us to miss a move of God.
Bartimaeus was on the side of the road. His blindness has completely immobilized him. He went through the motions everyday but there is no movement. Life just passed him by.
God is on the move. We have to ride the wave of His Spirit. He has anointed us to act and given us the unction to function in His Kingdom.

3. It will prevent us from seeing Jesus and instead we see problems and limitations.
Iím so glad Bartimaeus was blind but not deaf and dumb. The key to vision is in hearing and shouting!

Jesus did three things and got back His vision:
He chose to believe in the Jesusí reputation as healer.
Faith pleases God and rewards the seeker.
2. He had a shout that got Jesusí attention.
It was a shout of desperation. He recognized that heís a sinner and cried out for mercy. When the crowd tried to silent him, he ignored them.
3. He pursued his miracle and went all the way.
By throwing away his cloak, heís saying ĎIím not going back to the same-old routine anymore. Iím sick and tired of being sick and tired Ė having to beg and live off the crumbs.í He refused to be denied. Letís all be people of vision

God bless you and yours!
On behalf of this generation,
Your friends in the service of Christ,
Tony and Marge Abram
Abundant Life Crusades

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