What is the point of a vision? You hear a lot about vision, whether it is the President talking about his or her vision for the future to a business man or woman talking about what they want their company to do in the next fiscal year.
But what does it mean to have a vision and what do you do with it? I hear preachers on TV give a vision for their ministry, followed by a request for money to “sow a seed” for the kingdom to complete this vision. I’m not trying to question their motives, but I’m often wondering is that what it means to have a vision?
So what is a vision? And how much does God place on visions and to what extent does he use visions? I have come to realize several things. One being that Visions are a call to action for a change in direction and attitude. A second is that visions are
Visions are a call to action for a change in direction and attitude.
Listen to the storyMatthew 1:18-20 (NIV)
 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Here we have Joseph who was about to divorce Mary as it was allowed to him where it says in Deuteronomy 24:1 about when a man can divorce his wife for infidelity. He didn’t get what was happening because, well probably because he is a man and most men don’t listen-at least that is what I’ve heard. (Grin) But that is for a discussion later on.
God informs him in a dream (visions in the OT and NT are often through the appearance dreams) that this is a good thing and to not go through with his plans. Joseph listens, marries Mary and goes to
(which becomes a fulfillment of prophesy for it is there that Christ is born). Bethlehem
Acts 10:9-22 says this:
Acts 10:9-22 (TNIV) (9) About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. (10) He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. (11) He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. (12) It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. (13) Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” (14) “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” (15) The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (16) This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. (17) While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate. (18) They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. (19) While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. (20) So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” (21) Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” (22) The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.”Peter has this vision of all types of animals to eat and he refused because they were considered unclean according to the law. God tells him that it is okay for him to eat of it. God was using this sheet to inform Peter that it is no longer just the people of
What the lasting result is with Peter is that he begins to understand that God is for all people. To the point where he went to
Listen to what Foxe’s Book of Martyrs says about Peter:
IX. Peter Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof. Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, "Lord, whither dost Thou go?" To whom He answered and said, "I am come again to be crucified." By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.God uses dreams and visions sometimes to get our attention, to cause us to change direction, and to cause us to change our attitudes. Not only does God gives us a vision when He wants change, he also gives us a vision of what is to come.
God Gives Us A Vision of What is to Come
The job of the prophets, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc. was to relay the vision that God had for what was to come for the people of
Then say: The Prophets were to tell the people of
1. You have forgotten your fist love.
2. You are being punished
3. There is coming a day of hope.You can almost boil the message of the prophets into those three things. What is interesting is that a lot of them would receive this message in a dream or vision, and it would always be about what is to come.
For instance, turn to Zechariah 9:9
Zechariah 9:9 (TNIV) (9)Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter
Zechariah sees this vision of someone coming. Riding on a donkey,
’s King. Who is that? Jesus. This is a vision about the future. Jerusalem
It almost begs the question, why would God do that? Why would he want to give us a vision of what is to come?
Well let’s look at Proverbs for an answer:Proverbs 29:18 (NIV)
 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
The reason is that when there is no vision, the people fail. When there is nothing to hope in, there is no point of change.
Have you ever walked around in the dark? What does it feel like?
Talk about Ethan and the dark. He doesn’t like it. If he can’t turn on the light somewhere he will NOT go in.
We don’t like not being able to see. It is confusing and often times it leads to disasterous results.
Now think about that on a spiritual or a faith level. If we have no sense of guidance in from God. No sense of vision-it is confusing and it leads to failure. But what causes this to happen?
Remember the last part of the proverb. It says, “…but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
If you look at that and you look at the examples we’ve talked about tonight, the people received the vision based upon their devotion and their dependence on God.
So what does this mean for you? What is the Gospel for you?
Maybe you are here today, and God has given you a vision to help the homeless or the less fortunate in your community, but you have been fighting it because you have no idea where to begin. Ask God where to go. It can be something as simple as a canned food drive at your church or a clothing sale in which the proceeds are donated to a local charity. It can be something as easy as going to the
and making a food plate, or simply going and talking to them, sharing a meal with them. Compassion Center
Students, maybe you have a vision to bring the community together for Christ. Maybe God ahs been giving you a vision to witness to your friends who so desparately need for someone to be the prescence of Christ in their lives. They seen the bad side of religion, but they have not seen the sweet face of Jesus. One excuse is always I don’t know how. This is what you can do: Bring your Bible to school you want to get a conversation going, that is a good way to start. When I was in high school, I was challenged to bring my Bible to school because there was no law saying that I could not. So I did. Immediately, I was asked why and it opened up a door of conversation about my faith. Another excuse is I’m not smart enough. Or another excuse is they know me to well. To that I say, you have a story, and it is yours. People just want to know what makes your life different compared to theirs. They are dying to know. You don’t have to know everything or be a preacher. You just have to be willing.
This is the Gospel for you today. I believe it is this-that as you seek God in your days, God will give you the vision that He has for you. That may mean he shows you a vision that will require you to change direction or to change an attitude as He leads you to a new “day.” However, God does not do anything that comes back null and void. The amazing thing about following God’s vision is that Godly change happens when God’s people follow God’s vision. Lives are impacted in a way that impacts the Kingdom. And this is what he asks: All He asks for you is to be obedient to the vision He has given you.
This is the Word of the Lord.