Note: This is the third and final part of a three part post. If you have not read parts 1 and 2 I recommend that you click here.
Fact: It is without a doubt that at no time in history has the church of Jesus Christ expressed more life and power than in the first century.
Question: Why is that?
* it was fresh and new
* Jesus was there
* Paul and the apostles were there
* first century people didn’t have all the distractions
* times were simpler then
* persecution kept the church pure
All true…but I believe we have missed the main reason —
Those people laid their lives down for Christ and the Church!
Needed: Men and Women of Vision
The scriptures say that without a vision the people perish. (Prov. 29:18)
In our day there seems to be no lack of believers who have a vision. It seems to be that there are “visions” abounding all over the place in Christian circles today. The question is: what vision do they have? Is it God’s vision? Oh, did you know that God has a vision?
Paul claimed that he received a “heavenly vision” (as he communicated to King Agrippa in Acts 26:12 – 20.)
“While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” (Acts 26:12-20)
Here we see that Paul said that he was not disobedient to that vision. In other words, this “vision” was the governing fact of his life!
Now let’s take a look at that vision. A few key points regarding the eternal purpose of God to which Paul was called.
- Paul was persecuting Jesus! (verse 14) How could this be? Paul (Saul) had never met Jesus. yet the voice claimed that Paul had been persecuting Him. Paul was persecuting the church! Do you see how closely the Lord Jesus identifies with his Body? They are one. When you hurt his Body, you hurt him!
- I think it’s really cool that God gave Paul a heavenly vision by making him blind! Blind to all else but Christ and His Church. And in Acts 9, we see that the Lord called a brother named Ananias to pray for Paul and the first sight Paul had after being blind was a brother; Ananias. Isn’t that beautiful? God could have just sovereignly healed Paul, but instead he sent a member of his Body to lay hands and pray for him. Here again, God is revealing his purpose to Paul.
Brothers and sisters, do you have a heavenly vision; a revelation of God’s eternal purpose? If not, you need to earnestly ask Him for it. And if you have received it, then has it become the governing force in your life? Is this what drives you to do everything you do? Does this vision determine what you do, where you go, and what you think and speak?
If you answered “yes!” to the above questions, then I would like to speak with you about a very special offer I am making. This offer is only for believers who are serious. I mean really serious!
To read about this special opportunity, click here.