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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vision, Not Knowledge of Facts

Vision, Not Knowledge of Facts, Qualifies for Vocation

Do give heed to this, especially my younger brothers and sisters in Christ. The fulfillment of that into which you are called through the grace of God - what you may call the service of God, the work of the Lord; what we will sum up as Divine Vocation - must rest upon a vision which the Lord has given you: a  vision, of course, that is not just something in itself but is the vision which He has given concerning His Church. You must have that. Then the measure in which you will go right on and through to fullness will be the measure of your vision - the measure in which you have come personally to possess that Divine vision. There can be all sorts of things less than that which head you into Christian work. You may hear an appeal for workers, an appeal for missionaries, an appeal to service, based upon some Scripture - "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel" - and so on. And with the accompaniments of that appeal you may be moved, stirred up, feel very solemn; something may happen in the realm of your emotions, your feelings, your reason, and you may take that as a Divine call. Now, I am not saying that no one has ever served the Lord properly and truly on that basis: do not misunderstand me: but I do want to say there can be all that, and in a very intense form, and yet it can be not your own but someone else's vision which has been passed over to you, and that will not do.

"But", you say, "there is the Scripture - "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel". Remember, those to whom those words were addressed had all the facts about Christ - the incarnation, the virgin birth, His life, His teaching, His miracles, His Cross, and all the accompanying heavenly attestations. Some of those very men - John's disciples - were there when the voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son". Others were on the mountain when again the voice said, "This is My beloved Son." They saw the transfiguration, and they saw Him in resurrection. Is that not enough with which to go out to the world - all that mass of mighty facts? Surely they can go and proclaim what they know? But no - "Tarry ye in Jerusalem."

What was it eventually that constituted them men who could fulfill and obey that command to go? 'Well,' you say, 'of course it was the presence of the Holy Spirit.' Perfectly true. But was there not something else? Why  the forty days after His resurrection? Do you not think that they were getting through the externals, the events, and "seeing" something - seeing what no human eye could see, what could never be seen by any amount of objective demonstration? If the Apostle Paul is anything to go by in this matter, he will tell us perfectly plainly that his whole life and ministry and commission were based upon one thing: "It was the good pleasure of God ... to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles."  "I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:15, 16:11, 12).

All the other things may be facts which we possess by reading our New Testament. We have it all and we may believe it as the substance of Christianity. That does not constitute us missionaries to go out and proclaim the facts of Christ - facts though they be. That is not it. How many have done so! How far have they gone? They go so far and then stop. We cannot stay to dwell upon the limitation. Dear friends, there is terrible limitation in the Church just now, limitation of the knowledge of the Lord, even on the part of many who have been the Lord's servants for a long period of years. There are many Christians, even of years' standing, to whom it is actually difficult to talk about the things of the Lord.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with - "The Vision - God's Full Purpose in Redemption")

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