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Summary: A message concerning the importance of vision.

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Keep Sight of the Vision

Acts 9

(July 8, 2001)

Introduction

What’s the difference between “sight” and “vision?”

Last week we looked at the incident of Jesus healing the man born blind. Jesus restored the man’s sight, and used the occasion to show the Pharisees that they were blind spiritually.

But today I want to talk about vision.

Helen Keller, probably the most recognized blind person who has ever lived, once said, “What would be worse than being born blind? To have sight without vision.”

I’m convinced that the vast majority of our population today has no vision for their lives, their families, or their church.

I’m also convinced that there is not a single person who has ever committed themselves to serving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior whom God did not desire to give a glorious and gigantic vision of what could be, if we will only pursue His heart.

One definition of vision from the American Heritage Dictionary is “intelligent foresight.”

It’s not some wacky mental exercise. It is intelligent foresight, by which we look at what is possible to be accomplished with God on our side.

Our Scripture passage this morning deals with someone who received a vision from and God and it gave him a vision for himself and for ministry.

Please turn with me to Acts chapter 9, which can be found on page 777 of the Bibles in the seats.

The setting of the story is familiar to most, but please allow me to refresh our memories.

God had been moving mightily in Jerusalem, but now some persecution came down the pike and the believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

God began using these people to evangelize these areas, and some of these episodes are recorded in chapter 8.

Chapter 9 begins by telling us that Saul of Tarsus was on a mission to arrest any and all Christians he could find. He was present at the stoning of Stephen, giving his approval as he watched.

Now he had been given authority by the high priest to round up and persecute Christians.

Saul was a Pharisee, one of those highly religious people who followed the rules of the law, and saw Jesus and His followers as a threat to the religion of Moses.

So here he was, out to stomp out Christianity.

Let’s begin reading in verse 1:

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!"

"Yes, Lord," he answered.

11 The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."

13 "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

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