Summary: Over & over again, the world is doing its best to plant some visions in our minds. Well, God is in the business of planting visions, too. (Powerpoint Available - #212)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #212.)
ILL. I heard a story some time ago of a missionary in Africa who gave a Bible to an African man. When it was given to him, the man hugged it close & expressed great appreciation for the precious gift of God's Word that the missionary had given him.
But when the missionary saw him a few days later he noticed, much to his dismay, that the Bible looked like it was already falling apart, & that many of its pages were missing.
The missionary asked him, "What happened? What did you do to your Bible? When I gave it to you I thought you considered it to be a treasured possession."
The man replied. "Indeed, it is a very precious possession. It is the finest gift I have ever received. It is so precious that when I returned to my village I very carefully chose a page & tore it out & gave it to my mother.
“Then I tore out another page & gave it to my father. And I tore out another page & gave it to my wife. Finally, I gave a page of God's Word to everybody who lives in my village."
We may smile at that, but what a testimony! The message of God's Word was so wonderful to him that he wanted to share it with everyone he knew!
A. That is the way it was with the Apostle Paul. In the 26th chapter of Acts we find Paul on trial for his life, standing in chains before King Agrippa. But Paul doesn't seem to be too concerned about that. Instead, he is trying his best to win King Agrippa to Jesus.
Paul is telling his own life story to King Agrippa, how he once was a terrible persecutor of Christians, taking them prisoner, & he said that he always voted to put them to death. But then Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Now listen to Paul tell that part of his story, beginning with vs. 12.
"I was going to Damascus with the authority & commission of the chief priests.
“About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me & my companions.
“We all fell to the ground, & I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
“Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied.
'Now get up & stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant & as a witness of what you have seen of me & what I will show you.
“I will rescue you from your own people & from the Gentiles. I am sending you to open their eyes & turn them from darkness to light, & from the power of Satan to God…'" (Acts 26:12-18)
And a few moments later Paul said, "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven." (Acts 26:19)
Now wait a minute. Something seems to be wrong with that statement. Paul didn't see any vision, only the bright light that blinded him.
He heard the voice of Jesus talking to him, all right, but he didn't see anything special - just the blinding light. So what did he mean about "the vision from heaven?" Just what "vision" was he talking about?
B. Well, I think I know. You see, we use the word, "vision," in the same way today. Over & over again, the world is doing its best to plant some visions in our minds.
ILL. Take the U.S. Army, for example. For many years its most effective recruitment slogan was, "Be all you can be. Join the Army." It was saying, "Catch a vision of just how great you can be if you join the Army. We'll make you into someone special, better than you ever thought you could be."
And the business world tries to plant visions in our minds, too. Almost every commercial wants you to picture yourself using their product. They try to capture our imagination so that we'll not be satisfied until we have whatever they're selling.
I. GOD IS IN THE BUSINESS OF PLANTING VISIONS
A. Well, God is in the business of planting visions, too.
He planted a vision in the mind of Abraham of a great nation through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. He planted a vision in the minds of Moses & Joshua of the Promised Land. He planted visions in the minds of David & the prophets of the coming Messiah & the glory that would be His.