Devotional Readings

Acts 16 – Where we get our Vision from God

There is common in the visible church today much false teaching about visions. Since nobody wants to judge another’s experiences it is hard to speak out on this. Without taking away God’s sovereignty in using direct visions, I’d like to bring us back to our source of truth God’s written word the Bible.

V9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

V10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Wouldn’t it be great if in all things we are called to do we receive a direct vision from God!

It strikes me that this desire is so great in the visible church today that many either teach that we can still do this, or else that they the preacher/teacher have received a direct word from God. I read about this so often and it is sad that we have come so far from what we learned in the Bible and in our Confession: Read these words from Chapter 1 of the WCF:

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

So bottom line if you think you have a vision,be sure that it clearly conforms with what the Bible actually says.

It’s so easy to day to try to make our own will and actions, justified by claiming “God told me to” it’s easy to fall for the trap that we are on the right way and no one can dispute it since we claim the higher ground authority to be from God.

  1. The Appeal to Heaven: (also, Argumentum ad Coelum, Deus Vult, Gott mit Uns, Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism, or the Special Covenant): An ancient, extremely dangerous fallacy (a deluded argument from ethos) that of claiming to know the mind of God (or History, or a higher power), who has allegedly ordered or anointed, supports or approves of one’s own standpoint or actions so no further justification is required and no serious challenge is possible. (E.g., “God ordered me to kill my children,” or “We need to take away your land, since God [or Scripture, or Manifest Destiny, or Fate, or Heaven] has given it to us as our own.”) A private individual who seriously asserts this fallacy risks ending up in a psychiatric ward, but groups or nations who do it are far too often taken seriously. Practiced by those who will not or cannot tell God’s will from their own, this vicious (and blasphemous) fallacy has been the cause of endless bloodshed over history. See also, Moral Superiority, and Magical Thinking. Also applies to deluded negative Appeals to Heaven, e.g., “You say that famine and ecological collapse due to climate change are real dangers, but I know God wouldn’t ever let that happen!” The opposite of the Appeal to Heaven is the Job’s Comforter fallacy.

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