KaB FKB (Volker Aßmann)
This is my vision
Be a follower
What is a Vision?
This sermon is translated from German into English. You can find the original video here
- A personal message from God to you.
Perhaps through a dream or through a “personal word” that you hear through God’s Word in a Bible reading, in a sermon, or whatever.
- Your mission, what God puts on your heart. What you want to live for.
Our community vision is:
We are a church in which as many people as possible get to know Jesus Christ and follow HIM together.
A vision helps us to focus on the essentials, not to lose sight of what is important and life. It describes what we are here for, personally and as a church.
Paul writes to Timothy about the dangers of letting things slide ( 2 Tim.2 :3-5 ):
… a soldier who does not let everyday things paralyze him, an athlete who sticks to the rules and fights for victory, to be caught up in everyday things and ensnared. Or even to hang everything on the famous “nail”.
And we’re told in the Bible to be vigilant and watchful right here. Or turn back.
1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Good resolutions for life or for a new year are good, but they are worth nothing if we don’t start living and implementing them immediately . And if we don’t keep reflecting on these things, come back to them and start over.
There is so much potential for distraction, so many things that ensnare and ensnare us. Often these aren’t even bad things, maybe only second best things and not the best, the ones with priority “one”. But it’s not uncommon for it to be sins and wrong decisions in our lives. Things we do and live that according to God’s Word are wrong and lead us astray. Sometimes the “misguidedness” consists only in stagnation, lethargy, but not infrequently also in a completely wrong direction in life, away from Christ and His Word, where only repentance, conversion and a radical change in life help.
That’s why we have 2 sermons at the beginning of each year about “vision”, the personal vision for your and my life – that’s what today is about. Next Sunday Andreas will preach about our vision as a church.
And some things overlap, because of course life as a church depends on what we personally believe and on what our personal life is focused and directed. What is your and my commission from Jesus if we believe in HIM?
Jesus came and said to His disciples:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So go to all nations and make disciples of them ! Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to keep all the commandments I gave you. And I assure you, I am with you to the end of time.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
For Jesus there are these two things for us as Christians that must have absolute priority in our lives , yes they must, otherwise we live past our purpose and our mission:
Bring people to Jesus!
That’s why I ask you at the beginning of the sermon: Where did you stop halfway to/with Jesus?
Our mission is not to make as many people as possible converted Christians, but to make disciples of Jesus. How much easier is it to make a decision for Jesus at some point in life than to live through and live that decision?! How much easier is it to accompany and lead people to a decision for Jesus?! – And we often find that difficult enough. How much harder is it to make these people disciples of Jesus?! Yes, even living as a disciple of Jesus?! A disciple himself leads people back to Jesus and makes disciples of others.
Only then is Jesus’ mission fulfilled for me and you for this one person!
It’s never about numbers, but about every single person who is worth finding Jesus and living according to Jesus! It does not then mean to put a tick on this name and ignore him or her, but rather to gladly follow Jesus together with them. There is a big misunderstanding about faith that the Bible radically clears up: A passive status, an affiliation with dormant obligations (like an insurance that is non-contributory) is not intended at all. The only option as a Christian is to be a disciple of Jesus – to be with Jesus in school and training, to be close to Him and to live more and more like Jesus.
That’s how it was with the first disciples: They lived very closely and intensively with Jesus for 3 years, experienced how HE acted and who HE was and gradually became (despite their own setbacks) a bit more like Jesus. …
Dallas Willard writes about a neighbor who apparently caught a Monday car and keeps having trouble with the engine. Until at some point he observes him filling the tank with water from a can in addition to the petrol. Willard compares this to how many Christians live: they believe in Jesus, but they also keep filling their tanks with things that are not helpful to living as a Christian.
One thing is clear: the “car” of the discipleship of Christ is roadworthy, and more than hard enough, no matter what the external circumstances are. (Dallas Willard)
We must seek and near Christ and learn from Him as students learn from their Master. There was no idea of online learning, but learning always had to do with living together and closeness and watching how it works. This is the model for discipleship!!
- I want to be a strong follower of Jesus myself!
I want to keep believing in Jesus and in life with HIM and in following HIM! Paul has a very personal discouragement for Timothy (and you and me):
“I encourage you to use the spiritual gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.”
- Be strong yourself through the grace given by God!
- Prove yourself as a good “worker” for Jesus and His kingdom! (2.15)
- Distance yourself from injustice and live by God’s standards!!
- Focus on the central!
- Follow God’s rules!
- “Strive to prove yourself to God as a good worker who need not be ashamed and who preaches the word of truth uncompromisingly!” (2:15)
“But God’s Word stands firm like a foundation stone with the following inscription: ‘The LORD knows his own’ and ‘Whoever names the name of the LORD, keep away from iniquity ! ‘” (2:19)
It always starts with you and me to really trust and follow Jesus and learn from Him!
“The LORD God gave me the tongue of a disciple, that I might know how to encourage the weary. Morning after morning He opens my ear to hear as a disciple hears.” (Isaiah 50:4)
- I want to be willing to bear the costs of being a disciple !
Be faithful and stick to your mission and “your” people for 2023 and beyond!
Be prepared to endure rejection and ridicule or even contempt!
The situation in Ephesus, where Timothy is believed to have lived: False teachers who claimed that Christ is divine but not human – God but not real man. But the apostle Paul says:
“Remember Jesus Christ, who was a man of the seed of David (“true/genuine man”) and rose from the dead (“true God”).” (2:8)
Today it is more the assertion that Jesus was human, but no longer, just not also God. But only a Christ Jesus, who was both human and God at the same time, can save us humans!
- Any other message is empty, misleading and therefore false teaching. We must insist on this and live and remain personally believing in exactly this Jesus Christ!
- Never stop preaching this Jesus – some will listen, accept it and so believe in Jesus. Others (it feels like there are more people) will laugh at you for it, reject you and make a different life decision.
- Be willing to suffer as a faithful warrior for Christ Jesus!
- Don’t get caught up in the affairs of everyday life! (Seek first the kingdom of God…! Matthew 6:33)
- Stick to the rules!
- Ponder God’s Word and strive for more understanding of the Bible as knowledge that changes your life!
- Think of Jesus Christ, the Risen One!
“I am willing to endure anything, that those whom God has chosen may be saved through Jesus Christ and have eternal glory .” (2 Timothy 2:10)
- Be willing to suffer and die with Christ and not deny HIM!
And yet this promise stands above all vision and all “being disciples” and all calls to faithful life as disciples of Jesus:
” If we are unfaithful, HE remains faithful, for HE cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 )
Because Jesus knows about our wrong decisions, tiredness and our letting things slide. Even if you are going through hard times , do not turn away from Christ – HE promises you a wonderful and glorious future with HIM. And HE is and stays with you in times of need.
Encouragement (personal): (my baptismal verse in 1977, and God’s encouragement to me again and again)
“Have no fear! Keep talking and don’t be silent! ‘Cause I’m with you Nobody will harm you, because I have many people here in this city. ( Acts 18: 9-10 )
Paul experienced a great personal disappointment in Corinth. The Jews in Corinth rejected his message, which he preached to them in the name of Jesus. Paul then wanted to leave Corinth and move on to another place. But Jesus spoke to him in a vision (dream) that night, encouraging him and telling him to stay in Corinth. Paul then stayed in Corinth for 18 months and preached God’s word and a large congregation was formed.
I myself have experienced periods of discouragement, stagnation, failure. And again and again Jesus reminded me of my life vision: “Don’t be afraid – don’t be afraid! Keep talking and don’t be silent…” I have written some dates, points in time in my life next to this verse in the Bible, when I heard and accepted God’s new commission for me. And today is another date: stay tuned! Fulfill your order! Because, I, your God am with you, I will protect you and bless you!
What are you discouraged about? Why do you want to give up your faith and your commission? Or why don’t you even care how you live and what God wants from you personally?
Jesus is and will remain faithful. HE will stay by our side even when we have to endure so much that we can’t seem to believe anymore. Maybe sometimes we are (seemingly) without faith and others have to believe and pray for us, but Jesus stands by His promise “I am with you to the end of time” ( Matthew 28:20 ).
Living in your calling as a disciple/follower of Jesus means staying with Jesus and always turning back and coming back to HIM.
“ I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail.” ( Luke 22:32 )
The decisive factor is not what you bring with you, but what Jesus makes and is allowed to make of your life because you follow HIM in this way.
This is my vision
Be and make disciples
- I want to make others disciples of Jesus, only then am I a disciple of Jesus myself!
A disciple himself leads people to Jesus and makes disciples of others who then themselves make other people disciples of Jesus. – It takes a lot of patience and great love! But only then is Jesus’ mission fulfilled for me and you for this one person! And then this person is part of the group of Jesus’ disciples, with whom you continue to travel, share your life and your faith.
It makes me so sad when I think about people, maybe one or two are listening to this sermon now, people who started believing in Jesus and then stopped halfway to following Jesus. ” You should also pass on what you have heard from me to people who are trustworthy and able to teach others.”
“You get a follower along the way” (Dallas Willard)
It is wrong to wait for certain things to happen, for this or that problem or need to be solved and overcome. There is only one way: Set off with Jesus and follow Jesus and live your mission. Learn while walking! You won’t learn anything by standing still. You don’t have to be perfect, by the way, you never will be in your whole life! “Following Jesus” is a lifestyle and a life choice – so start (new) today!
Concrete questions for you for 2023 (and until you are with Jesus):
For which one or two people will you keep praying this year to come to know Jesus?
For which one person do you want to pray again and again this year and accompany him/her so that he/she really becomes a disciple?
How much are you willing to invest in this and for these people starting today?
How many rejections you take can you take?
How many “miles will you walk with these m people?
Do you stick with it until “your e vision” is fulfilled – knowing that ultimately God will do it through His Spirit and through you as His instrument?!
How big is your love for these people and for Jesus?
How strong is your will and your decision to follow Jesus like this?
And if these people don’t convert or repent in 2023 to follow Jesus and become disciples themselves – will you still love them and follow them again and again?!
Your and my personal mission from Jesus is and remains to lead people to Jesus and to make them disciples – and that until we are with Jesus!!!