Final truth to note – the clearest display and proclamation of God’s glory is the gospel. Look again at verse 10. Verse 10 is a summary of the gospel. What does it mean to become a Christian? It means that you have become one of God’s people. It means that you have been shown mercy. The clearest display of God’s excellency is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In verse 9, Peter has given us our purpose as a people, and that was to proclaim God’s glory. And the very next thing he writes is verse 10, a summary of the gospel. Do you see the connection? God’s glory is most clearly displayed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Practically, this means that, as a church, we must be about the gospel, and in more than just a passing, lip-service manner. The message of the cross of Christ must infuse and inform everything we do and say. Our songs need to ring out with gospel truth. Our preaching needs to be centered on Christ and his cross. Our children need to hear daily about the message of the cross. Our neighbors need to know us as a gospel people. And our lives need to be modeling a daily dependence on the gospel.
So, I hope you see a little more clearly what our Vision statement means, and why we think this is the biblical Vision for the church. The church is created by and defined in relationship to God. The church’s task is to proclaim God’s glory. That is what it means to glorify God – to use your life to highlight and demonstrate and proclaim how great God is. And I hope you see that this vision statement can only be fulfilled as each one of us labors every day to have eyes to see and know God rightly. But let us not forget that our labors to know and love God are to be done in light of the cross. Ultimately, our relationship with God is determined not by what we must do, but by what he has already done for us. That truth, the truth of the gospel, is foundational for rightly knowing and relating to God as glorious and great.
Let me leave us with one final encouragement from God’s Word concerning our Vision. As we think about our Vision statement and the world in which we live, it might be tempting to become discouraged. The world is so decidedly anti-God that any vision for a church that is centered on God seems almost naïve and futile. Can we really expect this vision to be a reality? Will it ever be more than just a vision? Look with me at Revelation 5.11-14.
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
This passage gives us the conclusion to the story even though we are only in the middle of the drama. And that conclusion is that this vision will be fulfilled. It will succeed. Indeed, it already has. God has already done what is necessary to ensure that he will be glorified throughout all the earth, by all peoples of the earth. God will be glorified, Jesus Christ will be exalted, and the church will be brought together to fully and finally behold, delight in, and display the glory of God in Christ. So, let us not lose hope in the intervening years. This vision – to glorify God in Christ – is the biblical vision, and it will be fulfilled. Oh, that God would help us to remain faithful in pursuing this vision, for his glory and for the good of the church!