Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision:…
When Paul was "apprehended of Christ Jesus" on his way to Damascus, he was yet a young man. He was still at the outset of his career; his life was still before him. When that heavenly vision came, and he saw the Lord, he himself and his whole life were absolutely changed. The current which had surged so swiftly in one line then turned and flowed steadily and uninterruptedly in the opposite direction. That vision from God revolutionized, transformed his whole self and all his plans and hopes. What visions have we now, and what influence have they on our hearts and lives? We reply -
I. THAT TO THE YOUNG THERE COMMONLY OCCURS SOME VISION FROM HEAVEN. We do not expect the miraculous now. God may, and probably does, make known his will in ways that are outside and above the ordinary and the natural; but we have no right to reckon on these. He does come to us by the illuminating influences of his Holy Spirit, and he thus elevates the mind, awakens the soul, subdues the will, renews the nature, transforms the life. God visits us through various means, acts upon us by many instruments, wins us in different ways. The heavenly vision is sure to come during the days of youth, when the mind is more open and the heart more tender; "for of such is the kingdom of God."
1. It may take the form of a vision of Jesus Christ - his excellency and claims. The young heart may see him, as it had never before, as One who is infinitely worthy of trust, of love, of service, of submission.
2. Or it may take the form of a vision of human life - its seriousness and responsibility. The mind may awake to this great fact: having regarded human life as nothing better than a thing to be enjoyed, or as an opportunity for making money, or gaining a brief reputation, or attaining to some social position, it comes to see, in the light of God's revealing truth, that it may be something immeasurably more and higher - that it may be made a sacred opportunity of spiritual culture, of holy usefulness, and of Divine service.
3. Or it may take the form of a vision of the human soul - its greatness and value. It may suddenly become conscious of the fact that God has created us for himself, that we may possess his likeness, live his life, and share his immortality; that within the humblest human frame resides a spirit whose worth the wealth of a planet will not weigh.
II. THAT THEN COMES THE TIME FOR THE GREAT DECISION. There are other occasions in the course of human life when a decisive choice is made; when it is resolved what vocation shall be pursued, what life-companion taken, what country adopted for a home, etc.; but there is no occasion which compares with this in sacred interest, in lasting issues. It may be even said that "on this winged hour eternity is hung." Obedience or disobedience to the heavenly vision makes all the difference between success and failure, between peace and unrest of soul, between life and death. Obedience means
(1) becoming right with God;
(2) spending a life in accordance with his will and in harmony with our true and deeper cravings;
(3) a title to everlasting joy in the future. Disobedience means the sad and dark opposites of these:
(1) remaining under God's displeasure;
(2) living a life at variance with his purpose and the true end of man;
(3) rejecting the offer of eternal life. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: