VISION 2016 // THE CROSSOVER – JOHN 1:1-18
I want to share some key thoughts on my heart for this year and also for the next 5 years, heading towards 2020. You may have heard that we have been prophetically called an Antioch Church. The Antioch church was a church that developed, equipped and sent people to spread the Gospel. A church committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. That is our call. That is our destiny.
This year I would like to share about one key aspect that I felt in the Holy Spirit is a critical step for us in moving towards that destiny. I am calling it Crossover: To Greater Things in Christ. So today, I will share on THE CROSSOVER from this passage of Scripture. It will help us understand why crossing over will be such a critical commitment for us as a church.
1. THE GREATEST CHASM
Did you know that a huge chasm exist between God and us? On one hand, we have…
God the Light (v4)
Scriptures describes Jesus Christ as the possessor of true life, life eternal. The truth about this eternal life is meant to be light for all men. On the other hand, we have…
Mankind in darkness (v5, 10)
In contrast to God, men dwell in spiritual darkness. A darkness that so fill their hearts that they are unable to perceive the light that is in Christ (v10 “The world did not recognize Him.”). Imagine a blind man at the centre of a stadium. All the stadium’s powerful floodlights are switch on. Blinding light, yet the blind man sees nothing.
So a great chasm exist between God of light and the men of darkness. Who will stretch across the chasm to reach the lost? Who will bring salvation to these lost? Who will pay the price for sin’s penalty? No man can, because all men are lost. There is no hope to be found amongst men. So the chasm is insurmountable to man.
Who can cross this insurmountable chasm? Only God can work a solution. The solution is God Himself. To accomplish this, it required …
2. THE GREATEST CROSSOVER
What did this great crossover involve?
Crossing from divinity to humanity (v1-3, 14)
Jesus is the Word of God. Rev 19:11-13 (NIV) “ 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. 12 …on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” Jesus is the Mighty Warrior. A wearer of multiple crowns, the ultimate royalty. Dressed in a robe dipped in blood, signifying that He was the sacrificial lamb that was slain.
Why does Jesus have such a title? Jesus is God’s message to us personified. Heb 1:1-2 (NIV) “1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” So Jesus the Word always existed and was always part of the Triune God. And in fact, is God. Jesus is the Son of God.
Yet Jesus chose to become a man like us (v14). That He may bring God’s message of love, grace and mercy to us personally. In a way that no other messenger could.
God made the greatest crossover. God left timeless eternity and crossed into time. God who is outside of time, constrained Himself within the limits of time itself. God who saw and reached into all of the past, present and future without limit, became bound by time. God left the glories of heaven to enter the darkened world of men. The very splendour, majesty, magnificence of heaven is put aside for a sin-tainted, corrupted world. God who knew no pain or suffering to enter a world of suffering.
God put aside divinity to take upon Himself the flesh of man. Omnipotence for frailty. Omniscience for our puny limited minds. Imagine if we chose to become a cockroach in order to reach cockroaches! To become a dirty scavenger pest. To have our brains and intellect shrunk to a size smaller than a peppercorn.
It was the greatest crossover ever, Jesus who is divine crossed the chasm to humanity. For us.
Crossing from light to darkness (v9-11)
God is Light and dwells in light. God is absolutely righteous and holy. He chose to enter into a world of darkness, tainted by sin and depravity. So dark that even when Jesus came and brought the light of truth, many did not understand this truth. The darkness was still too great in their hearts. They ignored Him, they did not understand Him, they rejected Him.
Imagine crossing from a place where Truth is, to a place where deception prevails. Imagine leaving the complete security of the Trinity to cross into a place of ignorance, apathy, rejection. Would you step out of your comfort zone to face persecution, rejection? God crossed every chasm imaginable to reach us. From being Everything to Nothing. Why?
Crossing because of God’s grace (v14b-17)
It is because of the gracious love of God. The gracious mercy of God. Out of God’s great love for us, He made the crossing while we were still sinners and rebellious against Him. Grace upon grace has been revealed. God crossed the chasm to reach the lost. That he may save men from their sins.
3. THE GREATEST CALL
By God to us.
Our responsibility is to crossover (v6-8)
John the Baptist accepted the responsibility to be a witness to the coming Messiah. To do so, John himself had to crossover from what he was familiar with to go out into a hostile world. He had to cross over personal challenges set by God – surviving in the desert. He had to crossover the challenge of living with great simplicity, in order to purify the message he brought. He was confronted with rejection, persecution and finally death. Yet at every stage he crossed over those challenges to remain faithful to the message.
To make any significant progress in our lives – we have to cross over obstacles and challenges in our life, in our situations. One key reason why sometimes we get stuck in our lives, in our studies, in our jobs, in our families, in our ministry and even as a church – is because we are unable to cross certain chasms for whatever reason.
As a young boy, I was afraid of the dark. My Dad brought home a large native tapestry and hung on my bedroom wall. The native patchwork tapestry had many metal and pieces of cloths and strings sticking out and looked interesting. But at night, all kinds of shadows appear! I was so afraid. My neighbour friend advised me to go to the tapestry at night and touch it. I had to crossover the dark room and touch the scary shadows. It was only cloths and strings! I only learnt to overcome my fear of the dark by daring to cross over and confront my fear!
If we are faithful to God’s call, we need to be willing to crossover obstacles to reach the lost, the unchurched, etc. It is God’s call for us. The Great Commission. If we are to crossover to the lost effectively – we also need to crossover our own personal challenges. So often it is our own personal obstacles that hinder us from crossing over to reach others. It may be fears, doubts, insecurities, health, finances, etc – that stop us. But by the grace of God, we can crossover these. That we may be more effectively used of God.
Do take a look at our Vision card for 2016. We would like to set each one of you a personal challenge. What will you consider to crossover this next 12 months? To get to a better place. To greater things in Christ. Pray about this. It could change your life for much better, if you can cross one or two key areas in your life.
The Vision 2020 Call (v12-13)
God’s heart is to win the lost into His family. That is why as a church, we need to capture this heartbeat of God and intentionally prioritize what we aim towards. Hence we have identified 3 Priorities. Win Souls, Make Disciple and Build Churches. These 3 priorities capture the essential priorities of the Great Commission in a fashion that lends itself to tangible outcomes and behaviours. So I want to share with us our vision to 2020 as a church.
Firstly, to WIN SOULS. Can we believe, by the grace of God, to cross over to touch 1000 people and help lead them to Christ in our church by 2020? This is a faith goal. To stir us to rise up in faith to pray for. To stretch ourselves for greater things in Christ. In the Vision Card we have the 4H of Host, Help, Heal and Hope that will practically help us reach out.
Can we reach another 1000 for Christ through our mission efforts? Through our many missions teams going forth every year. Beyond Brisbane, into other places in Australia or beyond? It is a big goal but within reach. Already we are touching about 100 lives for Christ each year. If we can double that each year we will reach 1000 by 2020. Or if each one of us reaches just 2 or 3 persons in the next 5 years.
Secondly, is to MAKE DISCIPLES. A key measure of how well we do so is to see our church grow beyond 1000 adults by 2020. This requires more to be willing to grow more in spiritual maturity. So that we have more spiritual mentors and leaders to help support and lead more people. In the Vision Card, we have the 3D of Devotion, Development and Deference which will help us get there.
Thirdly, is to BUILD CHURCHES. Our faith goal is to establish 5 more congregations/churches. Some will be part of our multi-site, some will be churches within SEQ or beyond. Even internationally. We have so many people leaving to go home overseas every year. Our intent is some of them will help start churches with us. This will be possible if we continue to work on Honour, Invest and Serve in God’s church.
To help us emphasize on Crossover, we are introducing a Facebook #hopecrossover. Share with us your crossover stories, crossover activities and crossover testimonies!
A great chasm exist between God and mankind. But God made the greatest crossover ever to reach us. God paid a huge price to do so. If God was willing to do so, what about us? Are we willing to crossover great chasm in our own lives – so that we may honour what God has done for us? That we may grow as disciples of Christ? Will we commit to crossover to reach out to others? To walk across that room? To walk across that chasm?