“Turn” is a verb. “Clear” is also a verb. “Vision” is the noun.
Tourist spots around the country have these coin operated binoculars. The red knob located between the eyes enables the user to focus the image. Turn the knob and it clears up the vision.
It’s nice to have a knob like that, one you can turn to clear the focus. Spiritually, we all need a knob like that. Thankfully, God gave us one when He gave us His Word. Unfortunately, too many people don’t like the knob God gave and they prefer to ignore it so they can see things the way they’d prefer. Our vision, or view of things, is always determined by what we want. If we want to see things as God sees them, we have to turn to clear vision – using the knob that is God’s Word. If we want to see things for ourselves, in ways that suit our preferences, then we have to ignore that knob and rely on our own wisdom or the wisdom of somebody else. But not God.
James 1:22-25 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
Beholding and looking are vision issues. Spiritual vision.
We live in a large city. The DFW area is full of eye surgeons who blitz us with radio, TV and newspaper ads claiming to use the latest technology to help improve our vision. People are interested in having improved eye sight. Older folks want to avoid using reading glasses. There’s a fix for that. Near sighted folks want to remedy that. There’s a fix. Far sighted folks want a remedy. Again, they can find it at one of the many eye surgeons in our area. And if you don’t want to endure surgery, that’s okay. You can go with contacts or glasses. There’s no excuse for suffering with poor sight if your vision can be fixed with one of the many solutions offered by modern technology.
Spiritually many people have poor vision, but no man-made solutions exist. Well, they exist, but they’re snake oil. They don’t work with heaven. They don’t work for eternity. Only God’s Word has the power to improve spiritual vision.
Still men sometimes try to answer spiritual problems with man-made solutions. They look for salvation in places other than God’s Word. They think and feel they can serve God in ways that work for them, without considering seriously enough if they work for God – the object of their worship. But God really isn’t the object of their worship at all. They are the object of their worship. So they embrace programs and practices that find favor with the community, perhaps members of their congregation and maybe with other religious people they admire. Sadly, God’s favor takes a backseat.
At the heart of today’s out-of-focus religious practices is the false notion that the scriptures, God’s Word, don’t serve as a pattern, but rather as a philosophy viewed with no greater authority than opinions. The worship and practices need not always be dictated by the scriptures, but they’re subject to modifications based on current trends, technology and social needs.
Heb. 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
The gospel that worked to establish the Church is the same gospel that will establish a faithful congregation today. The gospel that converted souls to become first century Christians will also convert souls to become 21st century Christians.
Popularity, entertainment value, fulfilling social needs, elevating emotions and generating a sense of inclusion have never been – nor will they ever be – the mission of the Lord’s Church or the Word of God. Eternal salvation dwarfs all other goals. Salvation outshines all other objectives. The Church that Christ died for and the Gospel that He established by the authority given to Him by God the Father matter most. Together they provide the vehicle for eternal salvation.
If God’s Word doesn’t establish the authority for establishing a clear vision for how we ought to live, then what does?
If the Church that Christ established with His own blood doesn’t provide salvation for us, then why did He die for it? What good did His shed blood do?
If the Word of God doesn’t serve as a pattern for our lives – and if it doesn’t direct our work and worship – then what purpose does it serve?
Rom. 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Men strive to fulfill seemingly worthy – but carnal, physical and quite temporary – goals. The Gospel of Jesus Christ serves our eternal needs. It sustains us and provides us with everything we need to reach heaven’s shore.
Eph. 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
The vision many men want is earthly, carnal, fleshly and short-term. They craft churches and congregations designed to make men wealthier, happier, more connected with others, better educated, and give men a greater sense of acceptance. Salvation isn’t the object. In fact, in many churches salvation isn’t even discussed! Hell isn’t discussed. Sin isn’t discussed. Obedience is legalistic concept. Souls are being led into deception. Satan is having a field day while heaven is sorrowing.
The focus of our lives, the focus of our families and the focus of our congregations needs to be crystal clear. It needs some old-fashioned knob turning to bring things into clearer vision. It needs the knob of the Gospel to clarify how we ought to behave, how we ought to worship, how we ought to serve and how we ought to obey so we can go to heaven. Nothing else matters. Nothing.