March 20, 2008

Visions from God

Wednesday nights have been a lot of fun lately. I am teaching through the book of Joshua. So much amazing stuff happens in that book! Last night we looked at chapters 5 & 6, dealing with the purification of the people and the fall of Jericho.

Before they attack Jericho, Joshua is visited by Jesus in a pre-human form (the commander of the army of the LORD). Jesus give Joshua some very specific orders on how to conquer the city of Jericho:

Joshua 6:2-5 2 But the LORD said to Joshua, "I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. 3 You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. 4 Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram's horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. 5 When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams' horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town."

Joshua had to be thinking this was insane. Just march around the city? That's it? But Joshua took what the LORD instructed back to the people. They listened, and obeyed! I have to admit that if my leader came back with news like this I'd have to wonder if maybe he had lost his mind! But the people listened and obeyed! Why? Because they believed that Joshua was their God-given leader, and they had committed to follow him and obey whatever God commanded through him.

As I was teaching on this, I said: "If Pastor Rob stood up on a Sunday morning and told us that God had given him a vision...if God had told him to lead us on a march around our property, that on the seventh day a building would miraculously appear...would we have enough faith to believe him? Do you really trust your lead pastor? Do you really believe that God has placed him in a position of authority over you?"

Then after the service my friend Jim came up and said: "What if God had given Pastor Rob a vision...that people who come to Southbrook Church-who call Southbrook their church-should all join a LifeGroup, start tithing regularly, come to church regularly, and maintain a regular quiet time with God. Would we believe that God had really told him this? Would we trust God enough to follow the leader that has been placed in authority over us?"

The thing is, God has already given Pastor Rob a vision. That vision already exists, that people who attend Southbrook Church will submit to this vision: join a small group, tithe, come to church regularly, and have a quiet time with the Lord. The question is, do you believe it? Do you trust God enough to follow the vision placed before us?

"Lord, may those who call Southbrook home get on board with what God has called us to do. May we be convicted and convinced that you want us, all of us, and nothing less. May we commit to the vision placed before us, grabbing ahold and never letting go."

2 comments:

Stephen said...

Hey Pastor Geoffrey, what scripture do you use to support that the local pastor has authority over us?

Geoffrey Janes said...

Great question Stephen. Actually the Bible is quite clear on the relationship of the congregation to the pastor of the local church.
The Bible uses the terms shepherd, overseer, and elder as well. These are all terms that describe the role a pastor is to play in the church he leads.

1 Thess. 5:12-13 says "Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work."

The idea here is that we are to recognize their leadership and honor and follow that leadership.

Hebrews 13:7 says to remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you.

You can read the book of Acts and see the development of the leadership structure within the church. Men were gifted, called, and appointed by God to become leaders within the church.

But we have to be careful - 1 Peter 5reminds those leaders that they are not to be overbearing, but to rule over the flock with love.

More specific to our situation, however, is the fact that many have signed a membership covenant before God stating that they will do the four things mentioned in this post, yet have not. I do not claim that a pastor has authority over all people, only over those who choose to submit to the authority of that local church. Once you agree to join a church, and agree to what it means to join that church, it follows that you are submitting to the authority of those God has placed in leadership over that church