Heavenly Enlargement, the Upward Call

johns-vision

All along my walk with Christ, He has demanded that if I were to continue growing in Him I must let go of where I was and move into what He had for me to walk in next. If I did not, His blessing that was once so prevalent would decrease until it was only a dead thing, a mere shadow of what it once was. Why? Because God is always bidding us to walk in a higher calling in Christ than we have so far.

Christians today love to find a place where God is blessing and settle down to making it something permanent. They camp right there, building up things that can be seen and decorating with things that titillate the five senses. We, like Peter upon the Mount of Transfiguration, want to build three tabernacles so we can seize the moment and capture the blessing. God always has one thing to say to this, “This is my beloved Son, HEAR YE HIM!” Not, “Hear ye Moses,” or “Hear ye Elijah.” The law and the prophets served their intended purpose in pointing to the Son so that the Jews would not miss Him when He came, but most of them proved to have eyes that could not see and hear that could not hear just as Isaiah prophesied about them. The question is, after 2000 years is Christendom any different?

Down through the last two centuries, high profile people with great vision and persuasive intellects have been made the focus of the faithful and from them came many denominations as people clung to what they taught. Behind every denomination you will find such men and women. Today many who have even heard His voice make this one event their all consuming vision for life. The Word of God, Jesus Christ, spoke all things into existence and has never quit speaking. He is calling us to abide with Him in heavenly places saying with the voice of a trumpet, “Come up here and I will show you things to come.” The question is, do WE have ears to hear Him? John wrote,

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. (Rev 4:1-2, ESV2011)

“After this…” after what? In the previous two chapters, John had seen the seven churches of Asia in a declining state, following many false teachers. Finally, he saw the church of Laodicea with all its riches, self-sufficiency and smugness with its door closed and Jesus left standing outside. Like the church in Laodicea, we build our own prisons with walls made of spiritual ignorance. Our hallowed traditions and lust for material things hold us captive and make us blind and deaf to the voice of God. The wind of the Spirit does not blow in tabernacles made of wood and stone, but rather in the open hearts of those who follow Him.

John did not let Laodicea or the other six churches capture his thinking. He kept his ear tuned to the Spirit and moved on. The Spirit then calls him upward and he sees an open door in heaven! Men build and try to capture every move of God. Early on there were the Judaizers, the Gnostics, the followers of the Nicholaitan heresy, the mysterious and seductive Jezebel-ian influence with many more to come. History and geography are littered with these dead monoliths to the bygone days of Christendom and all its delusions as men tried to pull down to earth what is essentially heavenly and IN Christ. The Spirit always calls to us to, “Come up here!” We are called to be a heavenly people and in the world, but not of the world, those who, like Abraham, seek a city whose Builder and Maker is God with its foundation in heaven not here on earth. Paul wrote,

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. (1Cor 13:9-10, ESV2011)

“I will show you what must take place after this.” If we continue to follow the voice of the Spirit, we will be drawn away from those things that are “in part” in the present into a fuller vision. Love will always be the utmost thing in our lives if we continue to follow God. No matter how visionary a leader might be, he still only knows and prophesies in part. The human tendency is to make the current move of God into something fixed and permanent with creeds and articles of faith. Here we fail to understanding that our God makes all things new and the old things pass away (see Rev. 21:5).

Each day we should rise as children longing to see a new day in heavenly places in Christ. God is the Creator and He is very creative in His love for His creation. Lately He has been expanding my heart with His great love and has required me to cast my eyes upward to see what is next for me. I have to be open to what He wants me to do or who He wants me to manifest His love to. This has required me to discard my old prejudices toward whole groups of people. I have to quit looking at men as “trees walking” and see all men (and women) clearly as HE sees them, in their hearts. When we see with His eyes, some who have cloaked themselves with religious garments may appear quite naked and some who have appeared naked to us before may appear according to His will, covered by the blood of the Lamb. The key is to obey His voice and, “come up here,” and view things from His heavenly perspective with the eyes of our hearts. Austin- Sparks understood this divine principle of our dynamic, continuous upward call. It is mandatory that we abandon our static earthbound mindsets and hear His voice if we are to remain alive IN Christ. Sparks wrote:

The means employed by God at one time may – and very likely will – pass or be changed. In the sovereign ordering of God one particular phase, method, or means will pass out, though greatly used and blessed so far. This does not involve a change of vision (unless it is ours and not God’s) but an enlargement of vision. With God all that He uses and blesses, however wonderfully, is only relative and not final or ultimate. Therefore we must not cling to what has been and regard that as the form for all time. So often this has been a most disastrous attitude of mind, and has resulted in God having to go on with His full purpose in other directions and by other means, and leave that fixed thing behind to serve a much lesser purpose than He wanted with it. Eventually it has spiritually died, although perhaps carried on by human effort and organization. It just lives on its past and tradition.

God-given vision always moves upward. In its first apprehension it seems to have such immediate, temporal, and earthly significance. The implications of any movement of God are not always recognized at the beginning, but if we go on with Him we shall find that much that is done here and is of time is – and has to be – left behind. The spiritual and the heavenly is pressing for a larger place and becoming absolutely imperative to the very life of the instrumentality and those concerned. It is spontaneous, and just happens. We wake up to realize that we have moved into a new realm or position, and no amount of additional earthly resource can meet the need. It is not only something more that is demanded, but something different. This is a crisis, and it will only be safely passed if there is vision of God’s ultimate object. This demands spiritual mindedness, capacity for grasping heavenly things. One world may be tumbling to pieces, but the full and final is the explanation.

The great pity is that so many just will cling to the old framework or partial vision. God presents His heavenly pattern in greater fullness and demands adjustment. He does it with foreknowledge, knowing of a day which is imminent when this vision alone will save. But, because it is ‘revolutionary’ or not ‘what has been in the blessing of God’ etc., etc., it is rejected and put aside. Then the foreseen day comes and all sorts of expedients have to be resorted to to save the ship. Paul warned out of his intuitive vision that such would be the case on the journey to Rome, and it proved true, the ship eventually foundered and much was lost.

Abraham had a vision of “the city which hath foundations” and he “looked for” it, but never found it on earth. He found it at last in heaven, but it was the climax of a walk which was ever upward. Ezekiel saw “in the visions of God” the glory lifting from the earthly scene, and moving up and on; and this vision related to all his other visions, culminating in a spiritual house and river which have their counterpart alone in the revelation given to Paul and John particularly: heavenly, spiritual, universal. What a significant phrase that is about the house seen by Ezekiel – “there was an enlarging upward” (Ezek. 41:7). God-given vision is always “the heavenly vision”, and always moves away from the merely temporal and sentient. If this were apprehended there would be much more vital fruit, and many fewer ‘white elephants’.

God is never on the line of reduction, limitation. It may look like that, but it is not so. If we really had His vision, that which looks like trimming and reduction is His way of enlargement, but spiritual and heavenly enlargement.

It was “the God of glory” who appeared to Abraham (Acts 7:2). It was the pattern in the heavenlies that was “shewn” to Moses (Heb. 8:5). It was “…above the firmament… a throne… and upon… the throne… a man above upon it” that Ezekiel saw. It was “that the heavens do rule” that Daniel apprehended. These are not only sovereign factors in government, but heavenly conceptions in the nature of things.

These two things proceed as one. God in sovereignty will run the risk of shattering, or allow the shattering, of so much that He has used of scaffolding or framework in order to realize the fuller purpose. It is not that it was wrong, but now He wants something more. We thank God for ever that He took Paul away from his travelling ministry and let him be shut up in prison. It was then that the full glorious vision and revelation of the “heavenlies” and the “eternal” was given to eclipse all the earthly and temporal. It was worth it, and was no tragedy! The Holy Spirit is the custodian of the full purpose of God, and under His government the Church and the individual believer will move ever on and up.  (http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/002082.html)

May the Spirit of God find pliable hearts in us with eyes that seek His will for us daily.

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” (Eph 1:17-18, ESV2011)

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16 comments on “Heavenly Enlargement, the Upward Call

  1. Well said.

    For some reason Isaiah 58:11 comes to mind, “And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

    A spring whose waters fail not, suggests movement, so a progressive flowing movement forward and upward. Waters that do not go anywhere soon become stagnant and they actually start to stink.

    In my world, I call this leveling up the game, as in a video game where you might finally make your way through one level and so move onto to the next. We can easily become such creatures of habit, but God is full of surprises and He likes to take us right out of our comfort zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carina says:

    Many thanks for this post. Just today we were talking with my husband that we’re pilgrims and foreigners here and we keep trying to “settle down” in our comfort zone, but by doing that we miss out on God’s great purpose. I even mentioned the Transfiguration example! The Holy Spirit is great at confirming His teaching!

    We were also discussing Lot’s attitude when he left Sodom. The angels tell him to go to the mountains, but he negotiates to stay at the nearby city of Zoar. It turns out that in that city, which God meant to destroy as well as Sodom and Gomorrah, the men were also, well, not very manly, and Lot’s daughters couldn’t find a match. Lot’s compromise resulted in incest, which resulted in two peoples being born which were enemies of Israel.

    We also experience great loss when we fail to understand God wants us to keep going and not camp out in the city of sin or on the glories of former successes and the vain glory of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Carina,
      Thinking of the example of Lot and his downward slide… James wrote,

      This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. (Jas 3:15, KJ2000)

      That is the downward progression when we do not follow the upward call to go to the mountain of God (Mount Zion) like Abraham did. As with Lot and his daughters, first we become earthly (worldly), then get into sensuality, and finally fall to the demonic. How many Christian ministries have we seen follow this path?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wanda Collins says:

    I had a vision from God when I was 20 years old. The Lord has been expanding it ever since He first gave it to me. I guess that is why it is hard for me to stay around cults. They are very stagnant in nature. I tried to join a particular church but some of the “cell” members kept trying to tell me I sinned when I married my husband. I heard them and went on with my life. Then they became abusive and kept bringing up the same SIN!! That’s when I cut them off. It amazes me that self-righteous people who do not know what to do with their own sinful lives Think they can tell you about your own. I listen only to my spiritual husband Jesus and that is why I cannot settle down in one place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Wanda, when I hear of church abuse like yours it reminds me of what Paul said,
      “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Rom 14:4, ESV2011)

      Yes, people should get the log out to their own eyes before they try and take the speck out of the eye of another.
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mrs. N says:

    Amen brother-thanks for writing the truth. When I read these things it helps to confirm so much of what is in my heart and that I have not read or heard elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ken Dawson says:

    I copied two sentences down from your post to plant into my mind–#1=It is mandatory that we abandon our static earthbound mindsets and hear His voice if we are to remain alive In Christ–#2=The Holy Spirit is the custodian of the full purpose of God and under His government the church and the individual believer will move ever on and up.—-Let it be so for all of us—thanks for the good word!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. gbhalford says:

    Yes, our Father is a very spontaneous God, and the God that ‘gives life to the dead’. When we are living out of His heart and thought spontaneity will be the ‘order of the day’, instead of the ‘organised tradition’ that is indicative of all of man’s efforts. The branches that bear fruit grow out of a pruning, or a cutting back. The fruitful life that appears spontaneously on the branches always comes as a result of the Master Gardener shaping the tree to get the result He is after, not from the tree just doing its own thing. Personally, I long to see more of that spontaneity in my daily living !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are a wonderful example of this upward call, Michael. Wishing you and yours a blessed New Year! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the helpful blog.

    Liked by 2 people

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