An Idea for a Biblical Vision for the Church
Thoughts which draw me closer to Jesus, and to the Cross.
1 I had a vision from the Sovereign LORD. In it I saw him create a swarm of locusts just after the king’s share of the hay had been cut and the grass was starting to grow again. 2 In my vision I saw the locusts eat up every green thing in the land, and then I said, “Sovereign LORD, forgive your people! How can they survive? They are so small and weak!” 3 The LORD changed his mind and said, “What you saw will not take place.”
4 I had another vision from the Sovereign LORD. In it I saw him preparing to punish his people with fire. The fire burned up the great ocean under the earth and started to burn up the land. 5 Then I said, “Stop, O Sovereign LORD! How can your people survive? They are so small and weak!” 6 The LORD changed his mind again and said, “This will not take place either.” Amos 7:1-6 GNT
6 When the king of Nineveh heard about it, he got up from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth, and sat down in ashes. 7He sent out a proclamation to the people of Nineveh: “This is an order from the king and his officials: no one is to eat anything; all persons, cattle, and sheep are forbidden to eat or drink. 8All persons and animals must wear sackcloth. Everyone must pray earnestly to God and must give up his wicked behaviour and his evil actions. 9Perhaps God will change his mind; perhaps he will stop being angry, and we will not die!”
10 God saw what they did; he saw that they had given up their wicked behaviour. So he changed his mind and did not punish them as he had said he would. Jonah 3:6-10 GNT
846 Constantly call to mind that at every moment you are cooperating in the human and spiritual formation of those around you, and of all souls—for the blessed Communion of Saints reaches as far as that. At every moment: when you work and when you rest; when people see you happy or when they see you worried; when at your job, or out in the middle of the street, you pray as does a child of God and the peace of your soul shows through; when people see that you have suffered, that you have wept, and you smile.
Neither was it a mere “religious experience” that made of Luther the Reformer. His task was not to proclaim to the world some sort of new supernatural-mystical revelation. He was more than a prophet of a new religious “idea.” Hundreds of false prophets have received their “calling” in this manner, but not Luther.
Luther became the Reformer by discovering the true meaning of the written Word of God, particularly the Word concerning justification. True, his discovery in the tower was also a deep religious experience in which he found peace and joy hitherto unknown to him. But what he felt and experienced was not the central or primary thing.
It amazed me that Joel, like Abraham and Moses before him, could “correct” God, and change His mind about wreaking havoc on sinners. A more likely explanation of course, is that God’s heart was never in it, but saw in the moment the opportunity to send a prophet who knew God’s heart, and was willing to bring the message of salvation, and help people come to repentance.
Jonah had to be more convinced, and even then he didn’t appreciate God ministering to and forgiving his adversaries.
But that is our call, to lok out on the broken – and even those who break others, with the passion God has. That is the call Luher had, not to share the relief he felt as the mercy of God revealed to him, for him. The emotional reaciton was not important – helping people know what caused it was.
That’s the vision I want the church to have – to hear the true and honest declaration – that God will judge those who reject them. And then fighting for God to save them – whatever the cost. (remember Jonah was already an evangelist – he got the boat crew to worship God – even as they tossed him overboard! If that is what it takes – then let it happen. If it is letting God discipline them, so they learn that they need Him, let it happen. Whatever it takes, whatever the sacrifice, let it happen, that one more can know the love of God, can experience the complete forgiveness of their sins.
This is the only vision the church should have… though it may express it in different ways…
To see people realize the love of God, and to depend on HIm as He brings them into the family
Escrivá, Josemaría. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Uuras Saarnivaara, Luther Discovers the Gospel: New Light upon Luther’s Way from Medieval Catholicism to Evangelical Faith (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003), 124.