Presentation on theme: "N EW D URHAM B APTIST C HURCH P ASTOR F RANK C UOZZO L ESSON 9 “T HE V ISION OF THE F IRST C ENTURY C HURCH ”"— Presentation transcript:
N EW D URHAM B APTIST C HURCH P ASTOR F RANK C UOZZO L ESSON 9 “T HE V ISION OF THE F IRST C ENTURY C HURCH ”
Acts 26:19-29, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.” L ESSON 9: T HE V ISION OF THE F IRST C ENTURY C HURCH
Pay special attention to the expression Paul declared to King Agrippa in Acts 26:19 when he says, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” Paul hinges all his behavior on his vision of God. We must also learn, as this first century church did, that everything else in the Christian life comes out of a right vision of God! If our vision of God is not right, then nothing else will be right. Everything begins with God and the clearer our vision of God, the clearer everything else in life will be.
We can learn a lot about this matter of vision from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 6:1-8 tells us of Isaiah’s vision of God. Isaiah 6:1-8 says, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Vision is a discerning matter. It is a defining matter and it is a refining matter. How is your view of God? -Do you see Him as a baby in a manger? -Do you see Him hanging on a cross, bleeding and dying? We should see Him as He really is, like Isaiah did, high, holy, exalted and lifted up! Hebrews 8:1 says, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
Paul was able to accomplish all that he did because of the vision he had of God. Paul speaks of that vision in Acts chapter 26 concerning his salvation. If you and I have the vision of Isaiah, Paul and others of the First Century Church, certain things will characterize that vision and will be true of our church! #1) This Vision Created Accountability. When a believer sees God for Who He truly is, and we enter into His presence, as Paul & Isaiah did, it creates in us an accountability to Him. Paul told King Agrippa that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision that he had. Vision means revelation. In other words, it is how God reveals Himself to us. This vision that we have of God brings us together in our accountability to God.
Vision comes the same way for each believer. As we each individually seek God, pray and know God, we will know His mission in this world. We will then be captured by God and His mission and our work is to do His work! Service for God is not our goal. God is our goal and service to Him comes out of that vision. And so vision creates accountability. #2) This Vision Demanded Action. When Paul told King Agrippa about his vision, it drove him to action. He said in Acts 26:19-20, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
If a man or woman is truly following the Lord, he or she is going to want others to know the same Lord they are following! When we see the Lord as Isaiah did, it creates in us an accountability to God and we must do what God has given us to do. We have become witnesses (noun) and because of this, we must witness (verb). The prophet Jeremiah tried to make excuse and not preach God’s Word and God removed his excuse. Jeremiah 1:4-9 says, “ Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”
#3) This Vision Required Faith. Attempting great things for God is where action is required, but expecting great things from God, as William Carey said, is where faith is required. God has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. This command takes action and this action requires faith. It requires faith because, -We attempt more than we can do in the energy of our flesh. -It brings great opposition. -Trials and testings will come to help us to grow. Once you see what God is doing in the world, you must take action, God will hold you accountable and is going to require you to live by faith for the resources to get it accomplished.
The Man of Vision versus TheMan of Ambition Begins w/ God Begins w/ Man Does a work of Faith Does a work of sight Is obedient to God Is in competition w/others Desires God to be glorified Desires the approval of man Is Christ-centered Is man-centered Serves God Serves Self Lives a life of simplicity and Lives a life of complexity Godly sincerity