We believe that there are many visions given to the church to fulfill and that these are the church’s calling, but we also believe that the visions given to the church can never obscure the greatest vision of all, which is Christ Jesus himself. He is our true vision that we dare not forsake. Let us never forget the old hymn: “Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art”. Jesus is our true vision that we dare not forsake. Thus, the vision of the church in order of importance are:
- the Vision of Christ & his Kingdom: God wants to make himself known to men in a vision (Nu 12:6). Thus, they were specially called, “the vision of the Almighty” (Nu 24:4,16). The 1st recorded vision in the Bible is when “the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, thy exceeding great reward.” Gen 15:1 It is the vision or the revealing of who Jesus is that is the very foundation upon which Christ’s church is built (Mt 16:15-19). So Paul prayed for the church that they would receive the vision or “revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph 1:17). Why do we say this is the first and foremost vision? Jesus said, “But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33).
- the Vision of Christ’s Reward & his Return: “our conversation is in heaven” (Php 3:20), but how can it be there, if you do not “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2)? Without the revelation of heaven and eternal judgment, we will never live for the eternal things, but always the natural things that will not last. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1Co 2:9), which why God’s children must receive the vision of our destination, of the return of the Lord, and of the judgment that Christ will bring upon the disobedient (2Th 1:7-8, Ro 2:5). We must come to know “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven” (Col 1:5), “knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Heb 10:34), “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1Pe 1:4).
- the Vision of Christ’s Church & its Members: Paul received the revelation of the mystery of the church (Eph 3:3). Until a person comes to see the body that they are called to be a part of as their body, how can they even know the care they are to have for the body? So we are commanded, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Gal 6:10 We “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19), we are “the building fitly framed together [which] groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph 2:21-22 Once we see that we are “many members, yet but one body” (1Co 12:20), then we can “have the same care one for another” (1Co 12:25). In fact it is when we see that “we are members one of another”, we will “[put] away lying, [and] speak every man truth with his neighbour” (Eph 4:25).
- the Vision of Christ’s Work & his Calling: Christ’s work was to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and visit those in prison, which is why he will judge his own people to see if they have done these same things (Mt 25:31-46), for God is near to the broken-hearted. Thus, Christ left heaven and came to earth to do the will of his heavenly Father. The work of missions and mercy is the outstretched arm of the church and is what proves that she is not self-centered. Many of the visions given in Acts were given specifically to reveal God’s heart to send his people to those they had not reached. Such was the trance Peter received to go to the Gentiles (Ac 11:5). Such was the vision that Paul had in Troas to “come over into Macedonia, and help us” (Ac 16:9-10). So also the Lord appeared in a vision to Paul to exhort him to continue preaching in Corinth (Ac 18:9-11). This was the heavenly vision Paul received, which he was not disobedient to (Ac 26:19-20).
In summary these are the vision of the Lord’s Garden:
- our head, our king
- our home, our future
- our body, our present
- our work, our calling
Each of these visions is built and founded upon the vision that came before it, and the first vision is built right off of our salvation. Thus, the importance of each foundational vision cannot be forsaken or ignored without distorting the following visions. It is because of neglecting the foundational visions that a false balance in a church or ministry takes place and now the truth of the gospel is not manifest as it should be. “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.” Pr 11:1 These are the visions that the Lord’s Garden are committed to fulfill, not by compulsion, not by force, but by the grace of God as a reflection of our love for God.