austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

April 11

11 APR – The Vessel as a ‘Sign’

“Son of man… I have set thee for a sign”

“Say, I am your sign.” (Ezek. 12:6, 11; 24:24)

The prophet himself was a sign. There were many signs, but these were God’s ways with the prophet to make him the sign. Those ways of God with His servant were not ordinary and usual ways. They were unusual, singular, and often very enigmatical, incomprehensible, and inscrutable. The thing to note is that with God the history of the vessel was the history of the people pre-written. He went through their history in advance of them. He not only prophesied, he was the prophecy.

Paul, the Apostle, was a sign of this dispensation in this way. If Paul was “a chosen vessel” for the special purpose of bringing in the particular purpose of this dispensation, namely, the revelation of the Church, its nature, place, and vocation in the eternal counsels of God (the stewardship of the mystery, he called his ministry); then Paul’s history ran along those lines from his conversion to his departure to be with Christ. We make the observation without embodying the great amount of evidence here.

Is this not a law of God when Purpose is in view? Those who are “the called according to his purpose”, and especially those individual or collective who are instruments or vessels of the Purpose, are taken through quite unusual and, otherwise, inexplicable experiences. Theirs is no ordinary way. The Purpose unto which they are called, if they are committed to the Holy Spirit, will be wrought into their very beings. Theirs is no studied or second-hand ministry. They are the message before they speak it. For them to have to hand up their message would be to part with their very life. It is a very costly way, but would we have it otherwise? Such a ministry is only possible if a total break with all else has been made. Ezekiel had to do things that made him a laughingstock to others. Sometimes they thought that he was mad. Whatever they thought and said, the time came when they could see their own experience in the light of his personal history. They literally went the way that he had gone symbolically. How effective was his life with God!

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