The Heavenly Vision
The reading of verses 13 – 18 would be a good thing for the study of this passage of Scripture.
Now I think it would be good to see what the writer of the Proverbs says about “vision”.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV).
“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV).
It would appear that by looking at the NKJV rendering of the verse that there might be a problem of interpretation and comparison between Paul’s heavenly vision and this revelation but it would not need to be a problem.
Where there is revelation there is hope, and people will follow the revelation of God when they believe it. Every one needs vision for guidance, and worth-while-ness.
To have Revelation/Vision is a necessity for having a moral and decent society. The vision Paul has is a life changing vision. It first changes the heart and mind of Saul when he met Jesus.
The true Revelation/Vision is from God. Paul’s vision was of Jesus Himself. When there is no Revelation/Vision from God; people will live without power or authority, and find themselves without direction. They will not recognize their true enemy; and they will blame others for their own faults, problems, and sins.
THE PURPOSE OF THE REVELATION/VISION (v. 16). The highest aim or purpose of the Revelation/Vision is to glorify the Father. The purpose of the Revelation/Vision for Saul was to be called to minister for the cause of Jesus Christ, and to glorify Him. The minister is a servant to all –
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (KJV).
The minister of Jesus Christ has no life of his own, but has given it up to the Lord. Called to be a witness in two ways; 1) To be a faithful witness in the things that are seen:
* The death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ;
* The power of the gospel to change lives
and 2) To be a faithful witness through the revelations Jesus would reveal (John 14:21):
* Paul’s teachings of the pure gospel came by the revelation of Jesus: “For I neither received it of men, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galations 1:12).
* He has more writings in the New Testament than any othe penman – possibly 14;
* We are to bear witness in these two ways;
1. Preaching the gospel and showing forth a changed life;
2. By teaching the revelation of Jesus in all areas of life.
The Scriptures are complete. Within them we have all the revelation of Jesus Christ and how He wants us to live that God has given us. We are to learn it and seek His will for our lives.
THE PROMISE OF THE REVELATION/VISION (v. 17). God never calls anyone to serve Him without Purpose, nor without Promise. His promises in Revelation/Vision encourages, strengthens, and gives us perseverance. God’s promises are the Christian’s hope of the future – eternity with God in glory – His glory. It was God’s promise that motivated Abraham to leave his homeland without knowing where he was going:
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8 (KJV)
He only knew that he was going with God. He did not know the place on earth. He has promised to deliver from enemies of the gospel. There will still be persecution, but the persecutor will not prevail. Many a persecutor, like Saul of Tarsus, fell under the power and authority of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
THE POWER OF THE REVELATION/VISION (v. 18). The power of the revelation/vision is the power of a changed life. There is no religion that can change a life for eternity. There are many good ministries which stress self-reformation, and cleaning up your act, but they basically give not power to maintain the life which one ought to live. Usually if there are any lasting changes the organization gets the credit and the glory, and none goes to the One who created us, and all thing.
Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and you shall be witnesses unto Me; both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the utter most parts of the world.” (Acts 1:8) He said in Matthew, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” Matthew 28:18 (KJV). We find also that Jesus said to Peter, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17 (KJV). Peter was only able to know the true identity of Jesus because it was by revelation from God the Father.
The Revelation/Vision of the person of Jesus Christ, when accepted, believed, practiced has the power to change the life of that individual. Jesus Christ has the power to forgive, remove, cleanse, from all sin. He has the power to open eyes that they might see the work of God in the world. He has the power to turn a life of darkness to a life in the Light.
In some cases – many cases – people love darkness rather than light:
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:20 (KJV)
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:1-3 (KJV)
If you are in that darkness you can come out by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on Calvary’s cross for you. The only cleansing and forgiveness is in the Light of Jesus Christ.
In Christ Jesus there is also a wonderful inheritance:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17 (KJV)
“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15 (KJV)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 (KJV)
This is an eternal inheritance which has been provided us by the Lord Jesus Christ by His death, burial and resurrection.
THE PERSON OF THE REVELATION/VISION (vv. 13-15). As Saul/Paul is riding a horse toward Damascus, and for the purpose of taking captive many Christians, and putting them to death; he meets the One whom he is really persecuting.
Saul had seen the Christian message of Jesus Christ as a great and vile threat to his own religion. That was the Jewish religion he had grown up in, and this Jesus was a rabble rouser, a trouble maker, a deceiver, and they could not have this man upsetting the purity of Judaism.
Saul does, however, find out that he is not persecuting the people who are calling themselves followers of Jesus; but he is actually persecuting Jesus Himself. He is alive. Now Saul knows it, and falls on his face before Him, and calls Him “Lord”.
It was upon his meeting Jesus, the Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saul of Tarsus, that he realized the conviction, the torment of soul, the troubled heart and thoughts; his kicking against the pricks (vv. 14; 9:5) finally hit home in his life.
Is there a troubled area of your life where you just can’t find peace? Maybe it’s your whole life, and you just can’t find peace with yourself, your spouse, your family, or with God. That maybe your pricks from the Spirit of God and He is calling you to Him.
There is only one true Revelation of God to man (other than creation), and that is His Son Jesus Christ. He came to earth as a man; to die for the sins of mankind, carry our sins away in burial taking all guilt and shame, and then, He rose agains bodily from the grave. The bodily resurrection is proof of His revelation of God to man. It is the divine work of God. It is not of the flesh, but the Spirit of God.
Salvation is through the Son of the Living God, and His name is Jesus.
THE PERCOLATION OF THE REVELATION/VISION (vv. 19-20). Percolation is a filtering process by which to arrive at a desired effect or goal. The Christian with the Revelation/Vision is the instrument of God to reach a lost world. Disobedience to this vision will do these five things:
* Cause guilt for neglecting those who you leave untold;
* Cause ineffective ministry and ministries;
* There will be a lack of prayer;
* There will be a lack of time with and/or for God;
* The individual will be in a backsliden condition, slipping ever farther away from God’s loving, protecting hands.
* …This is not an exhausted list.
Obedience to the heavenly vision will give us five things:
* Peace of heart and mind;
* Joy in an of ministry;
* A life of prayer and drawing near to God;
* Takes every opportunity for God;
* Has a growing Christian testimony;
* …This list is not exhausted.
Our Christian lives, lived in the presence of others, will be the only vision of heaven they may ever see.
-Tim A. Blankenship