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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 15

The Persistent Energies of God Toward His End (continued)

What are these spiritual blessings for? Are they just for our satisfaction? Just that we should be blessed? You look at this letter, and you see that it is for the purpose of ministry; it is that the Church shall fulfill its purpose of ministry; I did not intend to move out of Ezekiel into Ephesians at this time, but perhaps the Spirit is leading us also! Now you see what the apostle says here: "When He ascended on high ... He gave gifts to men ... He gave some, as apostles; and some, as prophets; and some evangelists; and some, as pastors and teachers." What for? "For the equipping of the saints, for the work of service" - making the Church complete that it may fulfill its ministry. The object of everything is the ministry of the Church. And it is because of that ministry that the apostle prays in this way: "For this cause I also... cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him," - that is, the knowledge of Christ. And the word "knowledge" here is "full knowledge, "a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened that ye may know" (Ephesians 3:1; 1:16, 17). Then the things that you "may know" are mentioned.

Here is the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to ministry. In relation to the ministry of the Church, the Church must have the eyes of its heart enlightened, the Church must have a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Christ. This ought to be the normal life of the Church in this dispensation. That it is not the normal life means that things are all wrong. The Church ought to know "what is the hope of His calling"; it ought to know "what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance"; it ought to know "the surpassing greatness of His power". This ought to be the normal knowledge of the Church for its ministry! This is the meaning of the open heaven: "the spirit of wisdom and revelation" have been given, the eyes of the heart have been enlightened; and we are enabled by the Spirit to know the movements of God, to know the Way that God is taking, to know the End that God has in view, and to know that God is working "all things after the counsel of His Own Will."

That is what Ezekiel came to see by the opened heaven. God has an End! God is moving toward that End! All the mighty energies of God are directed towards that End! All these things in heaven and in earth are being governed in relation to that End! This is what Ezekiel saw! The Book is the Book of the persistent energies of God towards His End. We, brothers and sisters, ought to know that in our own experience!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 16)

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