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Sermon No: 114469-Vision



Ken-Paynter/Vision.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: Vision

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 5 September 2021

Topic Groups: VISIONS, CHRISTIAN LIVING

Sermon synopsis: Paul’s vision did 5 things :
1) The Vision “Stopped him”.
2) The Vision “Sent him”.
3) The Vision “Strengthened him”.
4) The Vision “Stretched him”.
5) The Vision “Satisfied him”.

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Vision

Vision.

Proverbs 29:18.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Quote.

The renown blind lady Helen Keller was asked what is worse than being blind and she replied: “To be able to see and have no vision”

Vision.

It is interesting to note that when the Lord opened (Saul’s) Paul’s spiritual eyes he made him physically blind for 3 days.

The seen often hinders us from seeing the unseen.

Paul’s Vision.

Acts 9:3-7.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

Who are you, Lord? Saul asked. I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, he replied. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.

Paul’s vision did 5 things that I want to look at.

The Vision “Stopped him”.

The Vision “Sent him”.

The Vision “Strengthened him”.

The Vision “Stretched him”.

The Vision “Satisfied him”.

The Vision “Stopped him”.

Busyness and Activity are not a proof of Spiritual Life and there are times when we need to be stopped.

Paul’s vision stopped him.

Acts 26:13-14.

About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 

We all fell to the ground, and 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.

Paul was a prominent religious figure.

Acts 22:3-5.

I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. 

I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

Paul was zealous and was involved in the stoning of Stephen.

Acts 7:57-59.

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.

Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 

Religious activity.

In the eyes of the Pharisees and regarding the Law, Paul was a very righteous man.

Philippians 2:4-6.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

Religious activity.

Acts 9:1-2.

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. 

He went to the high priest 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. 

Vision.

Regeneration is needed before one can see spiritually and only then can we truly talk about vision.

Matthew 13:13.

Though seeing they do not see, though hearing, they do not hear…

Matthew 15:14.

Jesus said: If the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into the hole.

Note he did not say there may be a hole or they may fall in, there is a hole and they will fall in.

Have there been unrealized benefits to Covid-19.

Covid-19 has stopped our singing.

Amos 5:23-24. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Covid-19 has stopped our meetings.

Covid-19 has stopped our meetings.

Isaiah 1 :11-15.

The multitude of your sacrifices what are they to me?” says the Lord. I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations

Have you ever thought of us praying and singing and the Lord saying I am going to block my ears?

Covid-19 has stopped our corporate prayer.

Covid-19 has stopped our corporate prayer.

Isaiah 1 :11-15.

I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.

We thought that the Lord was upset about Covid-19 and the closing of many churches, but I propose that perhaps he has enjoyed the absence of shallow singing and selfish prayers.

Sometimes God does something drastic to stop us.

Paul was struck with blindness. Sometimes it takes sickness and suffering and difficulties before the Lord can get our attention.

There is that song that was written by Ira Stanphill, who was an Assemblies of God pastor, singer, and Gospel songwriter, and a gifted musician.

“He washed my eyes with tears that I might see”

That is all too often what the Lord must do to open our spiritual eyes.

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see, The broken heart I had was good for me; He tore it all apart and looked inside, He found it full of fear and foolish pride. He swept away the things that made me blind, And then I saw the clouds were silver lined; And now I understand ’twas best for me, He washed my eyes with tears that I might see.

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see, The broken heart I had was good for me; He tore it all apart and looked inside, He found it full of fear and foolish pride. He swept away the things that made me blind, And then I saw the clouds were silver lined; And now I understand ’twas best for me, He washed my eyes with tears that I might see.

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see, The glory of Himself revealed to me; I did not know that He had wounded hands, I saw the blood He spilt upon the sands. I saw the marks of shame and wept and cried, He was my substitute for me He died; And now I’m glad He came so tenderly And washed my eyes with tears that I might see.

Seeing the Lord.

Our primary calling is to be with Christ.

Our secondary calling is to be sent out by Christ.

When we fail in our secondary calling, it’s because we have failed in our primary calling.

Before Jesus sent out His disciples on missions, they first got to know Him. When Jesus mission came to an end and He ascended back to the Father, His disciples knew Him intimately.

Paul’s vision stopped him and his new passion was to know Christ.

Philippians 3: 7-10.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 

I want to know Christ, yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Paul had a change of appetite .

The things that once appealed to Paul and were important to him, he counted as rubbish or as dung, and in their place was a longing and a desire to not only know Christ but to share in His sufferings. How different to the average professing Christian whose main concern is comfort and ease and who detests the slightest inconvenience or challenge.

Philippians 3:8-10 (KJV)

I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death

The average Christian doesn’t need a change of menu but a change of appetite. (AW Towzer)

Do you know the Lord?

Do you know the Lord, do you know His heart, His passions His character and His will?

Do you know the fellowship of His sufferings, have you been in the fiery furnace with Him?

How do we change our appetites.

Regular diet shapes appetite over time

This is true whatever the diet happens to be:

Feed a congregation entertainment, and you will create an appetite for entertainment.

Feed a congregation pop psychology, and the church will have a great hunger and thirst for pop psychology.

Feed a congregation the Word of God, and over time there will be a church with a great hunger and thirst for God.

Paul’s vision “Sent him”.

Acts 26:15-20.

Then I asked, Who are you, Lord? I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, the Lord replied. Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.

I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

Paul’s vision “Sent him”.

Acts 26:15-20.

So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.

Just like Paul, Isaiah first had to have an encounter with the Lord.

Just like Paul, Isaiah first had to have an encounter with the Lord.

Isaiah 6:1 &5-8.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple…. Woe to me! I cried. I am ruined! 

For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty

Isaiah’s vision “Sent him”.

Isaiah’s vision “Sent him”.

Isaiah 6:1 &5-8.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 

With it he touched my mouth and said, See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.  

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, Here am I. Send me!

Ambition is not Vision.

Vision sends you to help others. When people get offended in ministry, it is often because someone has stood in the way of their ambition.

Paul’s vision “Stretched him”.

Don’t be afraid to do something in which failure is a possibility.

All too often we set our sights low so that we can rely on our own wisdom and strength.

Paul’s vision “Stretched him”.

2 Corinthians 11:22-33.

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more.

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

Paul’s vision “Stretched him”.

2 Corinthians 11:22-33.

 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.

I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 

Paul’s vision “Stretched him”.

2 Corinthians 11:24-33.

I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep. I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 

Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

Paul’s vision “Stretched him”.

2 Corinthians 11:24-33.

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 

In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

Paul’s vision “Strengthened him”.

We have seen some of what Paul suffered, but the Lord strengthened him on an ongoing basis and renewed his vision.

2 Timothy 4:16-17.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and all the Gentiles might hear it, and I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul’s vision “Strengthened him”.

Acts 23: 10-11.

The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.

Paul’s vision “Strengthened him”.

2 Corinthians 12:2-4.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. 

Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows, and I know that this man, whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God know, was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 

Paul’s vision “Strengthened him”.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 

Paul’s vision “Strengthened him”.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul’s vision “Strengthened him”.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Paul’s vision “Satisfied him”.

Acts 9:15-16.

But the Lord said to Ananias, Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 

I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.

Paul’s vision “Satisfied him”.

Acts20:22-24.

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.  I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Paul’s vision “Satisfied him”.

Acts26:1-2.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, you have permission to speak for yourself. So, Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews. 

Satisfaction and fulfilment.

Philippians 4:11-13.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Satisfaction and fulfilment.

Are you satisfied, contented, living a life of fulfilment?

The Swiss Alps have a one day climb. Halfway up they have a fire and a meal and music. More than half of the climbers stay at that point and don’t carry on. After the lunch bell rings they party, drink eggnog and play games, but at 4pm another bell rings at the top of the mountain as the rest of the climbers reach the summit, and the party atmosphere gives way to silence.

Satisfaction and fulfilment.

Don’t give up on your dream, don’t lose your vision.

Satan has found a way to cripple many a Christian and it isn’t through trials and difficulties, but through the paralyzing effect of comfort and pleasure. He has set many a table and lit many a fire that has turned the climbers off course .

Paul’s vision did 5 things.

The Vision “Stopped him”.

The Vision “Sent him”.

The Vision “Strengthened him”.

The Vision “Stretched him”.

The Vision “Satisfied him”.




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