Updated: May 10
I believe God speaks to us through dreams and visions. The Bible actually promises this blessing in Joel chapter 2. This is excellent news because Proverbs 29:18 tells us how badly we need it, “where there is no vision the people perish.” We must have a vision for our lives, or else we will wander aimlessly until death with no direction or purpose. Thankfully, God gives us direction because He has a plan for each one of us. He has a blueprint for our lives!
As a pastor during this present season, I believe an appropriate vision strategy for our church is to refine the remnant, who will recover the wounded and then reach the lost. God has a remnant that He would like to refine, shaping and molding us so that we can be used to go out and recover the wounded and ultimately reach the lost.
The word remnant is used in the Bible over 300 times and means a small remaining quantity of something. This significant usage of the word in Scripture reminds me of Jesus’ words: Remain in me, and I in you. -John 15:4 (CSB)
Jesus wants to have a relationship with you. He wants you to dwell in Him. But Jesus also lets people walk away. Two places in Scripture lay this out, Luke Chapter 9 and Luke Chapter 18. This approach by Jesus may seem shocking, but it’s true, God allows people to walk away because He desires us to go all-in with Him. God gave His only Son so that He can have a relationship with you. But you can still decide to say, “I’m not going to follow Jesus.”
In Luke 15, we see the following unfold. First, if, like the lost lamb, you are wounded, hurt, or broken down, Jesus will come after you, just like He did the one lamb out of 99. Second, like the lost coin, if you are in the house of the Lord but never received salvation, Jesus will take the lamp of His Word and place a preacher in the pulpit to seek you out. But, through the parable of the lost son, Jesus also shows us that if you are going to be rebellious towards the ways of the Father, then you may have to “come to your senses” before there can be complete reconciliation and restoration. Jesus does NOT come after the rebellious.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. -John 15:7 (CSB)
Think about the depth of this promise. You can ask whatever you want in alignment with God's Word, and it will be done as long as you remain in proper standing with God. He rewards those who stay. Yet many people lack the commitment to stay or remain in anything these days; jobs, marriages, friendships, the list goes on. Everyone wants what they want, and they want it right now. As one great preacher said, “We live in a microwave generation but serve a crockpot God.” So, rarely do we remain in anything that makes us uncomfortable or that becomes too challenging. We claim failure, but truthfully we just quit before God’s timing is evident.
Some heartbreaking statistics are coming out of last year, 2020. For example, one in three people walked away from practicing their Faith in Jesus Christ, and most churches in the United States of America have lost 30% - 40% of their attendance. Some of America’s largest churches have lost 50% or more. People are choosing not to remain. They are deciding not to follow Jesus, and He is letting them go.
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
I want you to feel encouraged by this truth: when you remain, God will renew your strength! Don’t quit. Wait. God will break every yoke the enemy tries to place on you when you remain. A remnant is that which remains. Choose to be a part of what God has left. God is looking for those who stayed, who still love Jesus with all their hearts, minds, and souls. God is examining who He has left to use.
What we are experiencing in the world of the church today is the ideology of man colliding with the theology of God. Too often, in modern Christianity, we only touch the surface of Scripture, wanting a motivational sermon with a sprinkle of God on top. Because the Word of God isn't being taught thoroughly, there isn't a proper understanding of the Word. Lacking a firm foundation and only having very shallow roots, yoked with confusion, difficulty, and attacks from the enemy, many people decided to quit their faith. They didn’t remain in Jesus. The Word of God gives you the strength to stay! NOW is the time to become firmly planted in the house of the Lord and deeply rooted in the Word of God. If you do, Psalms says you will flourish!
We are living in a world that has lost its mind. We call good evil and evil good and sin without blushing. It’s becoming increasingly evident who remains in God and who doesn’t. We’ve fallen into “I”-dolatry, making it about me, myself, and I all the time. Instead, it needs to be about God all the time! We need clean hands and pure hearts. If we're not careful, we can consume all the inappropriate content fed to us by a culture gone wild and never develop and strengthen our staying power to remain in God.
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in the holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol… He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Lift up your heads, O you gates!... And the King of glory shall come in. Psalm 24:3-7 (NKJV)
Psalm 24 is all about what God has left -- the remnant -- a group of people that claim they will not do anything that puts their staying power at risk. A group of people that says I’m not going to yield to anything that draws me away from remaining in God. I will wait upon the Lord with my eyes up and hands clean. I will be available to God for such a time as this!
We learn from Psalm 24 that the best way to remain in the Lord is to exalt Him. Ascend into His presence. Keep putting Him first! In your family, your workplace, and your community. Lift Him up and magnify Him above everything else. When you live this out, you will remain. Your prayers will be powerful, and whatever you ask for will be given to you. Your strength will be renewed; you will not grow weary! Every yoke that binds you will be broken, and you will be a part of the remnant that impacts The Kingdom of Heaven by restoring the wounded and reaching the lost!
We invite you to watch the message, Stay Awhile, from Pastor Eric Gilbert because we believe that you are a part of the remnant that will impact the Kingdom of Heaven!
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