The Apostle Paul’s living as recorded in the New Testament is a very good pattern to us. He was called and commissioned by God to testify of the things in which the Lord Jesus appeared to him and will appear to him. In other words, there were many things revealed to Paul by God, and he saw Christ in these things, therefore he testified of them.
Paul had such a vision that governed him, directed him, and motivated him, so that even before the kings and governors and masters of Roman guards he simply testified about the Lord Jesus.
Just like Paul, we are also appointed to be a minister and a witness – we minister by working together with God and being one with Him in what He is doing today, and we witness by daily coming to the Lord to see Him in the things revealed to us, and then we testify to others.
We need to have a first-hand account of meeting Christ, receiving His inward shining through His word, and seeing Christ in the things revealed to us by Him, so that we can testify of Christ and of the things in which we have seen Him.
Lord, appear to us! Save us from focusing on things and missing Your appearing. In all things revealed to us in Your word, Lord, appear to us. We want to see the wonderful person of the all-inclusive Christ as we fellowship, read the Bible, meet with the saints, and in all our daily living. We treasure Your fresh appearing in all things, Lord!
Appointed as a Minister and a Witness of Christ
There are at least three distinct accounts in the book of Acts of how God appeared to Paul and called him, and in Acts 26:16 we see that God appeared to him to appoint him as a minister and a witness both of the things in which Paul saw the Lord and in the things He will appear to him.
This vision of God’s appearing to him is something that kept and supplied Paul, and this vision issued in his commission. If we try to carry out a commission without a vision, we will deviate and become part of the degraded Christianity.
The vision of God’s appearing and calling governs us, directs us, motivates us, and empowers us. When we have a vision, nothing can suppress us for long or hold us down permanently. This vision operate in Paul permanently, and he opened his mouth to testify of Christ! The vision of Christ makes us witnesses of Christ and ministers of Christ!
To be a witness is to be at the scene in person, to have a first-hand account, see it for yourself, and be impressed with it by yourself. You can’t borrow a vision, you can’t have it handed down to you, or have a hearsay.
We need to personally come to the Lord to receive a personal revelation of Him, allowing Him to shine on us, speak to us, and call us, and then we can go and testify to others of what we have seen of Him.
A Witness of the Things in Which Christ Appears to Us
God told Paul, “…to appoint you as a minister and a witness both of the things in which you have seen Me and of the things in which I will appear to you” (Acts 26:16). This means that Paul will testify of some things, but in those things Christ will appear to Paul.
Paul saw many things from God like justification by faith, the flesh, the fall of man, the types and shadows in the Old Testament prefiguring our Christian walk with God, God’s Spirit being mingled with our spirit, the human spirit, God’s purpose, God’s will, God’s economy, the church, the ground of the church, the one new man, the bride of Christ, the kingdom, and many other things. But in all the things revealed to Paul he saw Christ – Christ appeared to him in these, and so he testified of them (Acts 22:14-15; Eph. 1:17).
We may want to see and be clear about a certain thing in the Word of God, but unless we touch Christ and see Christ in that thing, we will not get the real light. The way we are clear about a particular truth in the Bible is by touching the Lord in that truth. Doctrines or truths without Christ are vain – Christ is the reality of all the truths and doctrines.
To have a genuine seeing we need to see Christ and touch Christ. If we only see visions and revelations and we don’t see the Lord, what we see is vanity. This is why there is so much confusion today in the degraded Christendom, where many little groups have “their own vision” and their own revelations, but they don’t see Christ in these things.
The Bible is real to us when we see Christ in it, and studying the Bible without touching Christ gives us merely dead knowledge and not the divine life (John 5:39). If we see things or visions yet we don’t see Christ, those things mean nothing.
Gaining Scriptural knowledge without gaining Christ means nothing. We need to learn to see Christ in all the things revealed to us, so that we may have a first-hand account to testify of when we witness Christ to others!
Appointed to Know God’s Will
In the account of God’s calling of him in Acts 22, Ananias told Paul, “The God of our fathers has previously appointed you to know His will” (v. 14).
What is the will of God? Paul was appointed to see Christ, have Christ revealed in all things received from God, and know God’s will. There are many books written about the will of God, especially about “the will of God for ME and MY LIFE”, and most of these books leave you more confused and not clear about what God’s will is.
It is GOD’S will, so it is related to GOD, not to us primarily; God’s will is not centered on us, but on Himself. The will of God is to obtain a body of Christ to be His fullness and expression. We see this in Rom. 12:2, 5, and in Eph. 1:5, 9, 11, 22-23 – the will of God is to gain a corporate group of people, the church, as a Body for Christ, to be His collective expression and manifestation on earth.
We need to present our physical body as a living sacrifice for the mystical Body of Christ (Rom. 12:1, 5), so that we may see, discern, and prove by testing that the will of God is to obtain the Body of Christ today!
Thank You Lord for making us Your witnesses. Appear to us in all the things we receive from You. Lord, may we read Your word and search the Scriptures by touching You and having Your fresh appearing. May all the visions and revelations have You as the center. Save us from merely trying to understand the doctrines and comprehend the truths in the Word; we want to see Christ and touch Christ as the reality in all these things! May we know Christ and know God’s will, the Body of Christ!
References and Further Reading
- This article is inspired from brother Ron Kangas’ sharing in this message and portions in, Life-study of Acts (msgs 27. 68), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, “The Completing Ministry of Paul“, week 1 entitled, The Vision and the Commission.
- Buy this HWMR book via LSM online here.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Oh, may a clear, controlling vision of / The Lord’s economy direct my heart, / And burn in me until my spirit’s wholly set afire!
# O God of glory, / You’ve changed my destiny. / Oh Lord, Your mercy / In love appeared to me. / O God of glory, / You have attracted me! / My heart responds to Thee / And turns spontaneously.
# Let others stretch their arms like seas, / And grasp in all the shore; / Grant me the visits of Thy grace, / And I desire no more.
- Pictures credit: instagrams from friends here and here.
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