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Obeying Heavenly Vision
And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. (Acts 26:19 NLT)
As a congregation, the Lord is refining our vision and reminding us that we must be obedient to His vision. It is not enough that we have a refined vison; it is imperative that we obey it and move forward in decisions based on that vison, though we understand they come at a cost…
As individual Christians, having both a heavenly vision and an expectation of our obedience to it are not exceptions, but the absolute standard. Spend adequate time with the Father, and He will release His vison for this season of your life. Spend adequate time with the Father, and the comfort of obeying Him—even though it costs—will comfort us more than the status quo-comfortable our flesh longs for…!
Obedience is not optional, yet obedience to God will bring persecution! Obedience to God will also often bring suffering, and God often uses suffering to help His children grow up to the place of being obedient to the Gospel, though it leads to persecution…!
Paul’s bold words to King Agrippa and Governor Festus were not the result of human arrogance or pride on Pauls’ part; they were the Spirit-empowered words of a man who knew both suffering and persecution and chose obedience—like His Lord—even if it led to death! Death IN obedience to God is infinitely better than a short extension of life here on earth by disobeying Father. We either choose to die now and live forever, or to live now and die forever…!
Over the next several weeks, using the Nick Ripken book, The Insanity of Obedience, I hope to lay the groundwork in sermons and blogs for this, The Year of Obedience. (Of course, just as with every other “Year” we have celebrated together, Obedience, like reading the Word, Praying, Loving, Testifying, and so on are lifestyles of faith, not year-long programs or goals…
- Paul suffered from a “thorn in the flesh” that Father chose not to heal, allowing instead a suffering that took Paul out of self-reliance and into the Father’s sufficiency.
- Paul was persecuted repeatedly and mercilessly because he dared to share the Love of Jesus in a hate-filled world. He spoke to Festus and Agrippa during a completely bogus imprisonment and literally lost his head a few years later as a Roman prisoner.
IN BOTH CASES, PAUL WOULD SHOUT TO YOU AND ME: IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!
Here me clearly: Paul did NOTHING outside of normal Christianity…! He simply obeyed Heaven’s vision (the Great Commission!) and shared the Gospel. YOU AND I ARE NO LESS CALLED TO THE SAME COMMISSION, THE SAME OBEDIENCE!
When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…baptize them…teach them to obey…” (see Matthew 28:18-20) He was talking to you and me! Although the Heavenly Vision Father imparts to each one of us may vary a bit between us, the overriding Call to Share the Good News is a matter of obedience for ALL of us! And it ALWAYS comes at a cost…