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The Power of the Logos

mozart_portrait.jpg“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:9

Virtuoso…composer …prodigy…these words embellish the mention of the name of Wolfgang. A. Mozart. Maybe you’ve heard a song or opera on the radio composed by a person whom the disc jockey called Wolfgang. Maybe you’ve seen his name on orchestra or piano sheet music. But who was Mozart and why is he still famous today?

Johannes Chysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus was born on January 27, 1756 to Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart. The family lived in Salzburg, a city located in Austria, during young Mozart’s childhood. Leopold, an accomplished violinist, pianist, and composer, held the post of court composer and the esteemed position of Kapellmeister, in the employ of Salzburg’s archbishops. He also supplemented his income by giving private lessons to several students.

It soon became obvious that Wolfgang demonstrated extraordinary musical genius. When his sister began receiving clavichord lessons from her father at age seven, Wolfgang, only three at the time, would listen attentively and soon began picking up on what his father taught his sister. So Leopold began giving Wolfgang lessons, as well. By age four, Mozart was already learning minuets and other short keyboard pieces. At age five he began composing original works. And by age six he had taught himself how to play the violin without ever having received a lesson. Mozart also possessed an extraordinary, innate ability for improvisation, and he could sight-read difficult pieces of music astonishingly well.

Though he only lived to the age of thirty-five, Mozart’s life and compositions have left a permanent mark on this world. In those few years, Wolfgang composed more than 600 works, including forty-one symphonies, twenty-seven piano concertos, nineteen piano sonatas, sixteen operas, along with many other chamber music and orchestral pieces. Franz Joseph Haydn, himself an extremely famous composer, once said to Mozart’s father, “Before God and as an honest man, your son is the greatest composer I know, either personally or by name.” Indeed, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life impacted music’s history in a way that cannot ever possibly be forgotten.

Here is the question that I have for you: What if Mozart had been raised without access to a keyboard or any other musical instrument? Would he have become the famous composer that he was?

It seems as though there was a script written for Wolfgang Mozart that he simply followed to the “T.” While there is no such thing as individual predestination, God does create every one of us with a unique set of talents and gifts. It then becomes our responsibility to seize the opportunities that he places in our lives to take advantage of those gifts. But even after we develop those unique abilities, we are further responsible to turn them into something good and right.

In doing some research for a leadership seminar, I came across a concept called “the strategic visioning process.” It makes a clear distinction between planning and visioning. Basically, it says do not plan without a vision to guide your plan. Planning takes you into the future based on your past. Visioning takes you into the future based on both your past and your future.

When you draw your future out of your past, you contaminate your vision.
The past is powerless; only the future possesses life-changing power.
In other words, there is something out there that you can see.
There is a conceptual you, a future you that looms large in your mind.
Whatever that is, it has to reach back to you and dictate to your present.
You might call it history in reverse.
It’s not just something you are aiming for and hope you hit it.
It is something that’s really there drawing you to it.

KEY CONCEPT: Vision processes develop memorable imagery and stories about the nature and benefits of this future, and work backwards to understand the journey that can carry you to this vision. (From Grove Consultants, International).

The greatest visionary who possessed the greatest vision in history was our Lord Jesus Christ. If we accept him as our example, then we must look at the method he used to bring salvation to the world. This Key Concept was precisely the way he orchestrated the entire story of redemption. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1.

Word=logos=plan -> vision

In human terms, the Almighty God developed a perfect plan situated in a perfect place at a perfect time in history. Calvary was no mistake. It was a carefully planned strategy and carried out according to a pre-conceived plan that existed in the mind of God.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”. 1 Peter 1:18-20. (See also Revelation 13:8 and Hebrews 4:3)

The following had to be true for the Messiah to be the Savior of the World:

  • The typology had to be right.
  • The lineage had to be right.
  • The religious context had to be right.
  • The political realities had to be right.
  • The cultural milieu had to be right.
  • The prophecies had to be right.
  • The personnel who surrounded Jesus had to be right.

God, therefore, did not begin in Genesis and work toward Revelation, taking chances, shots in the dark, paranoid that something might go wrong. He began in Revelation and worked backwards to Genesis. He knew what the outcome had to be so he first established the end result in the logos, and worked his way back to the beginning. God’s light did not shine from eternity past to light up the way to the cross. His light shined back from eternity future, casting a distinct shadow all the way to the dawn of creation.

In this vein, Jesus did not have sinless blood because the sacrificial lamb was spotless. It was the other way around. The sacrificial lamb was spotless because Jesus had sinless blood! Jesus didn’t have to be perfect to fulfill typology; typology had to be perfect because it foreshadowed Jesus. History did not create Calvary; Calvary created history! This makes the logos everything. The vision was the foundation by which the entire route to Calvary was defined. Even as salvation’s strategy received its impulse from the finished product in the mind of Christ, you must also get your strategy from your finished product—-by faith!

The Church

As a pastor, I look at the huge mission of preaching and teaching, praying and, counseling, leading and administrating, motivating and disciplining the church.

  • In the midst of a treacherous world that opposes everything righteous and good that we stand for.
  • In the face of Satan who walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
  • In the midst of fleshly battles that constantly disappoint us and resist every spiritual effort we make—-how do we know what to do?

Our vision of the church comes from the future: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”. Ephesians 5:27

What was the Apostle Paul doing? He was seeing something way down in the end of time. There’s coming a time when Christ is going to present to himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle—-holy and without blemish.

Some people look at these properties of the church and say “Impossible!”
Some people—-even Apostolic people—-look at that and say, “We can try.”
I believe, however, that we must look at that image of the church that captured the imagination of Paul and say, “This is the future that God wants for the church!”

This is the vision that must dictate to us our strategy.
But our vision of the church is not limited to a verse in Ephesians.
There was another Apostle who saw a vision of the church.
It was the same vision, but a different angle.
It has some detail that we don’t fully recognize in Ephesians.
This was seen by a man of God who was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.
This man, John, was close enough to hear the heartbeat of God.
I take you to the book of Revelation.

Our future instructs the church to worship.

“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Revelation 19:4-6

There will be praise and worship ascending up before the throne.
Praise from the small. Praise from the great. Praise from the multitude.
Praise so loud that it sounded like the voice of mighty thunderings.
That’s our vision.
That vision suggests our strategy.
That means we need to become praisers and worshippers down here before we ever get up there.
Let’s clap our hands; let’s shout for joy; let’s make it sound like mighty thunderings.

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 150.

Our future informs the church of our eternal relationship to Christ.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints”. Revelation 19:7-8.

We are going to be married to the Lamb.
We are his wife.
The wife has made herself ready.
Yes, that’s a future vision.
But the future vision suggests present strategy to get there.
If we are going to be ready then, we must be getting ready now!
If you are caught up in materialism, you’re not getting ready.
If you are selling yourself to this carnal world, you are not getting ready.
Getting ready is setting things in order here and now for the there and then.

“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.” Hebrews 12:1.

Our future requires the church to practice holiness.

“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:8.

We do not maintain a holiness posture because of some outdated practices of the past. We have seen the future and it tells us that God designed the church to be this way in heaven. Purity, separation, sanctification and righteousness do not represent ancient baggage; these properties grace the church in the book of Revelation. We are not running away from holiness; we are running to holiness!

Our future establishes the church in truth.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Revelation 19:11-13.

Our future tells us to be faithful and true.
Our future tells us to honor the blood of Christ.
Our future tells us to revere the name of Jesus.
Why do we believe this oneness message and why do we recognize that the father, the son and the Holy Ghost reside in the Lord Jesus Christ?

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Revelation 22:16.

Who is the root of David? Jehovah.
Who is the offspring of David? Jesus.
Jesus is Jehovah.
Where do we find that? In Deuteronomy 6:4?
Yes. But that’s not the only place.
The vision of our future assures us that the church is oneness!

Our future casts our vision of missions and evangelism.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.

This tells me that that anyone can be saved, whoever or whatever they may be.
I have confidence that it means…Adulterers, Addicts, Alcoholics, Criminals, cheaters, murderers, liars, prostitutes, junkies, profane, idolaters, sinners of every hue and stripe, backsliders…Whosoever…that’s you…that’s me…Whosoever can be saved!

Our mission is still the Great Commission! Embrace your future!
Our mission does not rise up out of the past to push us apprehensively onward.
Our mission already exists out in our future, drawing us confidently to it.
Our future—-not our past—-supplies us with our greatest impetus.

So, if you can receive this, the future of the church is not an unrealized dream, but a prepared reality! Our future already exists! Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”

Whether or not we embrace it will be a function of our vision, not of God’s promise.

Practically speaking, through much prayer and seeking God, determine what God wants you to be and what his will for your life involves. Envision yourself as a fantastic Dad, an awesome Mom, a pillar in the church, a powerful soul-winner, a world-changer…and then work backwards from that vision to make it happen. And what if you encounter a problem along the way? To a visionary, an obstacle represents a minor delay. To one without a vision, an obstacle is the end of the road. And, when God creates the vision for your life, he will provide all the help you need to navigate the turnpike from here to there. Get back to the future, see what God wants and begin to see a divine synchronization between your reality and your vision.

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