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T. Austin Sparks - Messages.

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Written by Andrew Hayman   




  Ephesians 3:8-11.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Vision touches everything. Our vision displays itself in our relationship with Christ, the church our family and the world. What we need and ought to long for is that God would give unto us a clear heavenly vision, a Christ centered vision. With such a vision our relationship to all things will be lifted up, out of the earthly realm and into the heavenly, out of the temporal and into the eternal.

Paul the apostle had perfect vision in declaring, “...forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”! Paul wasn't going to look back, he saw the mark, and there was no higher calling than us living in Christ Jesus! Could there be anything higher, or a mark more clear? But you still might ask, what was Paul’s vision regarding growing in Christ, his vision regarding the church and the work (such as ministry and prayer, helping broken hearts and homes and souls troubled by sin and the temptations of the world), his vision regarding our place at work in the world and reaching out to the world with the Gospel? Well his vision was very simple, he said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” Phil. 3:8. Paul wasn't interested in man’s ideas and plans regarding the church or life in Christ. Nor was he interested in man’s wisdom to solve the need of sinful and broken hearts. There was only one he wanted to hear from and take knowledge of, and that was Jesus. Paul knew that when we grab hold of something or someone other than Christ Himself there is only loss. Whether it be our own needs, the church, family, friends, work etc the vision we need is in knowing, hearing and seeing him; and there entering into His labors!

With hearts longing for a greater vision like that of Paul the words of the Lord Jesus might comfort us, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear” Mtt. 13:16 . At this moment we know we have eyes that can see, and yet Paul speaks of “make[ing] all men see”, so we perceive that while we see, there is much more to see and much to be seen more clearly. We see this with Peter, when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter jumped in: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” And he was right for the Father had given him a revelation, he understood, this is the Messiah! Yet when informed of Christ going to the cross, Peter took Jesus and began to rebuke Him. Why? It seems Peter had a vision of better things, maybe a kingdom with him second in charge. Whatever it was, Peter’s vision stood right in the path of Christ bringing Peter into the very kingdom he longed to see. How was it that Peter’s vision could be so wrong when it had been so right? Jesus said, “thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”. Peter’s mind was ill affected by worldly thinking and needed to be changed. Peter needed to enter more into the revelations of God. Vision that is from God is where we are informed, given skill in understanding, made to understand, and instructed, as seen in Daniel 9 and 10. As this work is done in us our mind is transformed and our vision becomes brighter and brighter.

Paul’s longing “to make all men see” should pull on every heart, for it is all inclusive. First we can see in Eph.3:6 that “the Gentiles should be fellowheirs , and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel”. Here we see an inclusive work, Jews and Gentiles joined in Christ: fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers; that is each one of us has been made a partaker! In verse nine we see that quote, “to make all men see”, again all inclusive, with the Lord pointing us to a fellowship in Christ for all to enjoy. Now in verse ten the Lord speaks of His purpose, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God”. Here we see that God’s purpose is to be displayed through all the saints – the church. Not only are we to partake together, we are to display together! The Lord Jesus is seeking to work mightily in each of us for a collective result. This should encourage us all, for the Lord has purposed for each of us to be part of His glorious work. And if one part be lacking there will be a lack in the whole. So as each of us are made to see, and gathered up in His purpose there will be an increase in the body as a whole.