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By the Spirit
Sunday 29th August


He said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts. What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain; and he shall bring out the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”

Zechariah 4:6-7 

 

Thought: I have spoken many times before about our need to have a vision, seeing the possibilities and opportunities that God has for us. Having a vision gives direction and purpose but more than that having spiritual eyesight means we know there is a plan for us bigger than ourselves. These verses speak of our dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The Angel asks Zerubbabel what do you see, he answers I don't know, so the angel explains these things can only be seen by the Spirit empowerment.

 

  1. Our eyes open to the Spirit.

 

The apostle Paul wrote...

 

We live by what we believe, not by what we can see. (2 Corinthians 5:7 NCV)

 

It is easy to just go with what we can see and to be fooled into thinking that there isn't any more to life. It's easy to say seeing is believing.  When it comes to our faith hope and love.  Believing is seeing.

 

We may have heard it said good things come to those who wait.  But I would add to that good things comes to those who believe.

 

It is through faith and patience we inherit the promises of God.

 

It's when we see the big picture we see the plans and purposes God has for us and we see that He will bring us through.

 

It's often easy to go with what we only see and react with negativity. There is a story about Elisha when they were facing a huge opposing Army and his servant was in fear.

 

2 kings 6

 

Elisha’s servant got up early, and when he went out, he saw an army with horses and chariots all around the city. The servant said to Elisha, “Oh, my master, what can we do?” Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid. The army that fights for us is larger than the one against us.” Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, open my servant’s eyes, and let him see.” The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17 NCV)

 

Elijah servant his eyes were opened and he saw the army of angels of their side. Without spiritual vision, we can feel discouraged. Spiritual eyes see through the problem into the solution.

 

The difference between what we see in the natural versus the spiritual is seen in 

 

In Romans 8 Paul writes, If we walk by sight, ie walk according to the natural being we are in trouble but if we walk by spiritual sight.

 

Spiritual vision says 

 

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called because that was his plan..... 

 

So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us........ 

 

Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles or problems or sufferings or hunger or nakedness or danger or violent death? (Romans 8:28, 31, 35 NCV)

 

Caleb and Joshua had a spiritual vision when it came to the promised land.  Others saw the giants and they saw how big the problem was that they faced, while they saw how big their God is in comparison to the problem.

 

I pray our eyes are open to realms beyond our natural lives.

 

2. Obedient to the Spirit 

 

Saul (or Paul as his Roman name was), before he met Christ.  He was someone who relied on his natural sight, his training, his education, his ability to speak and people would listen.   He was at the top of his field, zealous even in the persecution of the Church.

 

However Saul saw Christ in a vision on the road to Damascus, he was blinded and he heard a voice, it was Jesus who said to him “I am sending you.” Retelling this story at the end of Acts, Paul says the command was

 

to open their eyes so that they may turn away from darkness to the light, away from the power of Satan and to God. Then their sins can be forgiven, and they can have a place with those people who have been made holy by believing in me.’ 

 

“King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I obeyed it. I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God and do things to show they really had changed.

(Acts 26:18-20 NCV)

 

The change of direction for Saul began with him losing his natural sight.

 

He lost his self reliability, perhaps we don't see as we trust in our own abilities.

 

The transformation in Saul began with a vision. The change of life follows the open eyes.

 

We don't know how blind we are until God opens our eyes.

 

Like the old hymn says I was Lost but now I'm found, blind but now I see, was dead but now I'm alive.

 

Many people will have had a vision, but Paul adds I was not disobedient to the vision.

 

It's important that we have a vision and we must follow our dreams.  

 

What is God saying to us about our life?  The chances are we already have in our hearts what we are supposed to do.

 

How will our obedience to the vision impact those around us? We live for more than just ourselves.

 

Connect empower and go is our vision for the lighthouse.

 

How can we empower you to fulfil what God is calling you to, what do you see?

 

We live for more than eat work sleep, we live for with a vision of great things and God wants us to open our eyes launch out into the deep and do great things for him.

 

So what is holding us back? What has moved us off the path?

 

So often we can be moved, by what we see in the natural.

 

we have a saying in our house, just hold steady!

Taking a stand in faith.

 

Smith Wigglesworth said 

 

“I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe.”

 

Seeing the vision is just the first part, not departing from it is the second.

 

If we begin with spiritual insight, we can lose our way by only looking in the natural.

 

Paul to the church in Galatia said

 

You began your life in Christ by the Spirit. Now are you trying to make it complete by your own power? That is foolish. (Galatians 3:3 NCV)

 

Without vision, we lose sight of what is important.

 

Without clear direction we end up lost, feeling lacking in purpose.

 

We live in a culture that wants to suck purpose out of the heart of humanity

 

The 'throw-away society, the 'give up' if it's too hard, if it doesn't make me happy, then forget it.

 

As a culture We have installed into people hearts that there is no purpose, there is no creator, no afterlife, no reason for being here that we end up with a generation that does not realise the consequences of their actions.  

 

Marriage is becoming reduced to civil partnerships, the attitude of Holy matrimony seems to have been forgotten.  

 

People don't want God involved in their marriage in their schools in their homes and in their lives.

 

People treat each other with a store exchange policy "Bought something that's just not right? Not to worry-it's easy to return products to your nearest store"

 

It's all very well having a vision, seeing with our spiritual eyes but it's easy to get discouraged.

 

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus 

 

Hebrews 12

 

We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1, 2 NCV)

 

Close with this passage from Luke 5

 

What do we do when we have tried and failed when we feel like giving up.

 

Luke 5.4-5

 

When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Take the boat into deep water, and put your nets in the water to catch some fish.” Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish, and we caught nothing. But you say to put the nets in the water, so I will.” (Luke 5:4, 5 NCV)

 

Another version Simon says 

 

Nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.

 

Forget that peter was an experienced fisherman forget that this man was perhaps just a chippy, we will give it a go.

 

God wants us to see what he sees.  He wants us to enlarge our vision.   

 

Get out from what's comfortable.  If we are fed up with a small return we have to go deeper.

 

It was for this reason that He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 

 

The deep is where you will find a lot more fish. You won’t find them near the shore in shallow waters. But to launch out into the deep is to move away from the comfort of the shoreline.

 

I believe that God wants us to break away from our comfort zone and open our spiritual eyes and step out in faith to do what He has put in our hearts. 

 

For whatever reason we have held back, perhaps waiting for more favourable circumstances.

 

It may be something simple, but which we have never done before or only dreamt of, like starting a small group, helping in children's work or the youth.   

 

Maybe for some getting to church on time every week is hard work.  But God wants to stretch us take us deeper, realise the vision he has for us is to enlarge us.   It's time to launch out.

 

Now, our Lord Jesus who said, “Launch out into the deep…” also said, “…let down your nets for a catch.” Notice that He used the plural “nets” and not the singular “net”

 

God wants to give you more than what you need. His dream for us is bigger than anything we can ever dream of. 

 

Dream big and God will exceed our dream because He delights in giving us exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)

 

God wants us to realise the fullness of his promise and give us a full life, beyond our wildest dreams.   He did it for Simon who was astonished at the size of the catch of fish. (Luke 5:9) But it was not until Simon launched out into the deep that he ended up with the net-breaking, boat-sinking load of fish. (Luke 5:6–7) 

 

Are we ready for net breaking boat sinking abundance?

 

Like Simon, we, too, will be astonished at our catch when we open our spiritual eyes, be obedient to the call and step out of our comfort zone and launch out into the deep with the Lord! 

 

God wants us to be led by His Spirit, have a spiritual vision for our lives.

 

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