I. THE LORD SPOKE TO HIM IN A VISION.
A. God directed men in the early church by visions.
1. We usually associate visions with the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, God used visions to guide.
a. Paul had a vision on the road to Damascus
b. Here the Lord is directing Ananias to Saul by a vision.
c. In the next chapter, Peter will be led by a vision.
d. Cornelius will be led by a vision to send for Peter.
e. In chapter 16, Paul will be led by a vision to go to Macedonia.
f. In chapter 18, Paul is encouraged by the Lord not to be afraid to speak out in Corinth.
g. The book of Revelation was given to John by way of visions. Rev. 9:17
B. What is a vision?
1. It is much like a dream, only you are not asleep, but more in a trance.
2. It is stepping out of the physical realm into the spiritual realm.
3. The ability to see and hear things of the spirit realm.
a. This is why angels are often associated with visions, for they are spirit beings.
C. God often spoke to man through visions.
1. Many times visions were cryptic in form and had to be interpreted. Such as the vision of Peter on the roof top of the house of Simon in Joppa.
2. This is known as a similitude.
3. In many cases the messages were very clear and not cryptic.
D. God speaks in different ways to man.
God, who in various times and in diverse manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
1. Sometimes God spoke through dreams.
2. Sometimes through visions.
3. Sometimes through a still small voice.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
a. One of my grandsons when coming towards his teen years.
4. God speaks to us through His word.
5. On very rare occasions God has spoken to me in a dream or vision.
6. Most often God has spoken to me through the still small voice, or through His word.
7. With most of us, I do not believe that the problem is that God is not speaking, but we are not listening.
a. We often turn a deaf ear to God.
b. It is important that we get tuned in.
c. There are many voices in this room right now, all kinds of music and pictures. If you had a radio or TV and were tuned to the right channels you could hear the voices or see the pictures.
d. To hear God you must be tuned into God.
E. How do you tune into God?
1. Let's look at two men who were tuned into the voice of God. Moses and Samuel.
a. Moses was in the wilderness for forty years. One thing you will find in the wilderness is silence.
1. I was in the Bahamas some time ago on the deck of a boat, when my friend said listen.
2. I listened and said, "I can't hear anything." He responded, that is just it, listen to the silence.
3. With all of the pollution we have in our urban society, we have not only air pollution, but light pollution, and sound pollution. It is hard to hear the voice of God when you have so many other voices and sounds.
4. When we might have quiet time, we put on a CD even when walking we carry a walkman.
5. I think that most of the time when God is trying to get through to us, He gets a busy signal.
6. Try to get a quiet place and seek to tune in to God.
b. Samuel as a child first heard the voice of God.
1. His mind was clear and uncluttered.
2. Jesus said that we must become as a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven.
3. As we grow older, we become so much more complicated and analytical. We begin to question everything. Oh, for the faith of a child.
4. I think that the ear is trained through the word.
c. This is where God will speak to you first, through His word.
1. Have you ever had the experience of reading a passage that you have read 50 times and almost know it by heart, but as you are reading it for the 51st time, suddenly you see something in it that blesses you tremendously that you had never seen before? This is God speaking to you.
2. That is the primary way to begin to understand the voice of God and how He speaks to us.
d. So you must take time, quiet time in the word to give God the chance to speak to you. Preferably when your mind is fresh.
e. Read prayerfully, asking God to speak to you as you read. Ask Him to illuminate your mind to the things of the Spirit.
For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
f. Take time to meditate. Meditation is almost a lost art. With all of the media today, we have become very broad but we are not very deep. We know a little bit about everything, but we don't know much about anything.
2. Ask God to speak to you and show you His ways. Then take time to listen for an answer.
a. James said that you have not because you ask not.
b. When Jesus said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." It is my understanding that in the Greek the idea is keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.
c. I think that it is important that we wait for an answer.
d. Daniel waited for 21 days.
e. So many times, by the time the answer comes, we have forgotten what the question was. Speak Lord in the stillness, while I wait on Thee, Hushed my heart to listen, in expectancy.
F. The promise for the last days is that God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and our sons and daughters would prophesy and the young men would see visions, and the old men would dream dreams.