Posts Tagged anointing

Salvation is for Today

Luke 4: 18 – 19

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Stop for a moment today and consider this passage. This is from the book of Isaiah and it is what Jesus read in the synagogue.  His speaking of this passage marked the beginning of his public ministry. If God sent Jesus only to die on a cross bearing the sin of the world, then why this scripture? If eternal life was the only thing on God’s mind, why did Yahweh anoint Jesus to do all these other things? My point is that we have narrowed our focus as to Jesus’ purpose and in so doing have missed the greater blessing.

John 3: 16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” I suppose there is no other scripture in the whole of the Bible that is more well known than this one. We make our children memorize it in Bible School, put it on bumper stickers and even billboards. It is a wonderful passage, but it is not the whole story. Jesus didn’t stand up in the synagogue and say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me so that none shall perish but instead have eternal life.” Why? Because that was not his singular purpose nor his anointing. It explains God’s love but not Jesus’ purpose. If you want to know the reason God sent Jesus you must read 1 John 3: 8, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” This scripture discloses Jesus’ purpose. Let us go further, though, to see what Jesus, himself, says about his purpose in the earth. John 10: 10 reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Abundant life, free from the works of the devil, is the gift Jesus came to give us. Yes, eternal life is part of that package but that is the end game, not the whole thing. God made the earth for us to live in and enjoy. He gave us this planet to be our home, not heaven. He didn’t create earth as a testing ground but rather as a home. The point is, the time we spend here is not simply a waystation. Life here isn’t just passing time until we get to heaven. We are supposed to have abundant life here and now. Look again at today’s passage. Clearly that has nothing to do with heaven. Those conditions do not exist in heaven. Adam’s job was to make earth look like heaven so that we would have a heavenly home right here. Jesus prayed, “Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,” (Matthew 6: 10). Earth is to reflect heaven.

Jesus came to restore our original purpose to us and to return the earth to us as our heavenly home, a home made in the image of heaven. Then God will come here and live with us. We’ve got to stop waiting to get to heaven to start fulfilling our purpose. We’ve got to stop waiting until heaven to start living, especially living in the fullness of God’s intent for us.

Redemption? Yes, it’s a big deal, but it is not the end of the story. It is the means by which God put us back on track. We could not have the abundant life Jesus came to give us until we were cleansed of the sin which stained us and our existence. Furthermore, I do not think eternal life is the evangelical message; it is not the salvation message. The word salvation means, rescue or safety, deliver, health, victory, prosperity, help, and welfare, (Strong’s 3444 & 4991). It does not only mean deliverance from sin. The savior came to give deliverance, health, victory, prosperity, help and welfare. In other words, he came to give us an abundant life right here, right now. This is why I think evangelism is important, but it also points out why our evangelistic message is presently off target. We are trying to get people into heaven while Jesus is trying to save them from their current peril and give them a great life now and forever.

Eternity is now. It began a long time ago. God has plans to get us into heaven but the good news that Jesus shared is that our freedom and victory begins now. This is not the good news we have been carrying to the world, however. God wants people to know they can be free now. Jesus came to set the captives free. Amen? The good news of the gospel is that God wants to bless you now, in this life. He wants to free people from torment and hurt. He wants to mend their hurts and restore them to good life. People need God now, not just in heaven. The message of the gospel is that God loves you now. Salvation emphatically is not, buy your ticket to heaven and then suffer until you die. That is not God. If you know God at all, you know that is not His heart.

To be clear, the evangelical message, the message that all the world needs to hear is that God wants to be your savior today. He wants to move into our lives and improve them. He longs to give us perfect peace and joy in this world, right now. Yahweh is a now God. Jesus came to give us abundant life. Abundant life is that life which in intertwined with our beloved, our Father, Yahweh. He who loves us has sent His son to restore us back to health, welfare, liberty, prosperity and joy. This is the good news of the gospel. Tell that to someone. Heaven is here and now for all who live in Christ. Now is the salvation of the gospel. Now is life and love in the Son. Jesus is here now to give you a good life. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29: 11). Tell someone the good news. Jesus has come, and he has life and healing in his hands. This is his salvation, and ours. Amen.

See Him

Psalm 33: 8

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

I went to hear a friend of mine preach last Sunday and had a marvelous time. Isn’t that funny, that we can actually have fun at church? In his sermon and his delivery I could see the seminary student. At other times I recognized the research he did in preparation. It was also clear that he allowed the Holy Spirit to lead him in the preparation and the delivery of his message. As I sat there soaking in all of the elements of the message, I found myself wondering. What makes a man like this even want to be a Christian? His message was full of reliance on God, reliance on the Spirit of God. His message was about the idols which we all set up in our hearts. One of the most prominent for preachers is that we tend to put our education and our ability to research and learn on the throne of our hearts. We get so busy trying to learn and convey what we have learned that we forget to actually yield ourselves and all that we are to the Lord. Craziness, right? As I listened, though, I became convinced that this is a man who truly adores God and who is submitted to him. For all the education and intelligence, this was a man hungry for more of God and humble before the Almighty.

It bathed my heart is the sweet honey of the love of God. The anointing in me was stirred up by the anointing on the message. That is the sweet spot and there is nothing better. That anointing only comes from those who truly love the Lord and stand in awe of Him. We sometimes have to remind ourselves to look at the Father and appreciate the grandeur of who He is. Messages from the Holy Spirit are only given to those who yield their will to that of the Father. There is a loud note of trust here. I have to put what I know, or think I know, on the back burner and let the Holy Spirit be the teacher. First, the Spirit preaches the message to the preacher and then preacher gives it to the congregation. In order to receive that message, we have to stand in such reverential awe of Him that we are convinced that He will not let us down. We trust and know that He will deliver.

Every aspect of life is this way. It is not only for preachers. Whatever work we do, in our relationships, with our money and everything else, we lay all those things on the floor of the throne room of God as we lift our eyes to gaze upon His beauty. From that adoration, praise and trust, from that intense sense of reverence and awe, flow all the miracles and all the sustenance. Understand this, to my friend, Jay, sustenance was a message for Sunday. It was one of his greatest needs. He had to trust God for it. There is great pressure in trying to develop a Sunday sermon. If you miss God in that situation, you do so before a crowd of people. Everyone knows you either didn’t seek God or you didn’t listen. That can put some pressure on you – if you let it.

Just like everything in life, we must take all these worry generating circumstances to the Lord and trust Him to meet our need. Clearly Jay did just that. His message was anointed in the grace of the Father and the oil of the Holy Spirit. God delivered. God was trustworthy. Yahoo! That is shouting ground folks. If God will do it for a preacher in North Carolina, He will do it for you. God is no respecter of persons. His grace and mercy are for every single person on the planet. Jay appealed to the Holy Spirit and trusted God for the answer. That should encourage all of us.

Whatever your problems, whatever your worries, lay them down. Look upon the Lord. See His magnanimity. I tell you truthfully, when we see God for who He is, not only does it arouse praise and reverence within us, it also minimizes the worries. We begin to understand that He is not only capable, but also willing. Look at the Father, our God. See the glory of His countenance. Let Him lift your heart. When you see Him, really see Him, you will lose all worry. You will know all your needs are met. Glory to God!

So the answer why people, capable people even, submit to God and serve Him is because God is so great. Great is a much overused word but I just cannot seem to find a word big enough to describe the kind-hearted generosity and love the Father has for all who seek Him. This is also the answer to how we can actually have fun at church. When we experience God, there is nothing greater. It may be hard to describe to a non-believer or a cultural Christian but the heart soars in the presence of God. We experience true freedom and joy. Look upon the Lord. See Him for His greatness and the kind intentions of His heart. Stand in awe that the God of the Universe is your very own Father – if you let Him be.

The Brass Ring

Isaiah 42: 1

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

I am sometimes asked which book is my favorite of the Old Testament. That’s easy! I love the book of Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah undoubtedly was in the flow of the Holy Spirit. He saw into Jesus’ life and ministry as no one else did. Because of Isaiah’s own intertwining with the Spirit, one can see the person of Jesus all through this book.

Obviously, in this verse, Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah. He also was shown the partnership that would exist between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Before the Chosen One would bring forth justice to the nations, he would experience his own union with the Spirit.

It is through this partnership with the Holy Spirit that Jesus was empowered to do any of the things he did. Without the power of the Spirit, Jesus could do nothing (John 5: 19). This is one of the most profound realities of Christian life. Isaiah’s fullness of understanding of Jesus’ anointing is seen in the sixty-first chapter. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me,” (Isaiah 61: 1). These are the very words which Jesus read in the temple that launched his earthly ministry (Luke 4: 18). This prophesy shows two examples of partnership with the Spirit. First, it shows that Isaiah spoke by the power, leading and unction of the Holy Spirit. Second, it reveals Jesus’ collaborative relationship with the Spirit. This is Jesus’ commission. I have only given a small part of it but you will appreciate reading the entire chapter.

Nowhere is this cooperative relationship defined more precisely than in Zechariah 4: 6, “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord . . . saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” This is critical language but an idea that we, perhaps, are yet to fully realize. While simple in theory, it is a bit more challenging in application, especially in that most of this applied theory is new in many parts of the body of Christ. We are only just now learning how to work in the flow with the Holy Spirit as Jesus did. However, he is giving us this revelation at this time in Church history so that we may go forward as a dynamic body of believers. As we increase our walk in and with the Spirit, we bring his power and wisdom to our own lives. That must be our first step. Only when we, through the Spirit, have met the pressing needs of our own lives can we set our eyes upon the horizon. However, having learned how to cooperate with the Spirit of the Lord for our own needs, we then take his power to the world. Our perspective changes along with our vision. We can then begin to cooperate with the Father on His goals and His vision instead of constantly being bogged down by earthly issues.

This intertwining with the Spirit is the key element necessary for us to arise as the mighty church of God, The Eternal. If there is any singular expression of needed deep revelation for believers it is the knowledge of how to walk with the Spirit such that every one of us is in continual communion with him, following him step by step. God spoke through Zechariah to reveal to us that everything we need to do, everything we are called to do is to be accomplished in the strength and power of the Spirit. What does this mean? This is the critical question. When we can answer this question definitively, we will have laid hold of the Kingdom of God. This is the brass ring!

The Promise of the Spirit

Joel 2: 28 – 29

It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

This is the leading Old Testament verse which told about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here God promises to, not only send the Spirit, but to pour out the Spirit on all humanity, even those of no rank or position. Even the servants and those of the lowliest station are entitled to this special gift from God.

There is so much rich text and meaning in this verse that we could mine from it for a week. However, there is one word in it that I want to bring to your attention. It is the word “pour.” God has promised not a trickle, not a drip but rather a continuous pouring out of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is represented in Scripture as a river or flowing waters. John 7: 37 – 39 is a good example of this, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit.’” The flowing river of living water is the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is apropos that God should pour out this living water upon us.”

The anointing in the Holy Spirit is reflective of the Old Testament anointing which was accompanied by oil being poured over the anointed. Again, this spiritual gifting is represented by a pouring out.
The Old Testament saints did not know the Spirit as the poured out one as New Testament believers do. They knew him as a promise. In fact, few people knew anything about him other than him being a promise from God. Interestingly, of the 248 or so scriptures about the Holy Spirit, only about 44 are from the Old Testament. However, God was speaking to His prophets about this pouring out. It may interest you to discover that there are six more Old Testament scriptures which specifically address the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (See list below).

The significance of this pouring is distinguishable from a onetime gift or offering. God doesn’t just give us the Spirit one time. He continually pours out to those who continually seek Him. Don’t forget too, that we can seek more of the Spirit just as we seek the Father because they are both God.

Every person has a measure of the Spirit of God. When God breathed life into us, a piece of His Spirit was deposited within us. We are able to receive much more than that now, however. The Spirit is no longer a promise. He has been poured out. What the Old Testament prophets foretold, we now behold. The initial pouring out is described in Acts 2: 1 – 4, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” This is the fulfillment of that which was promised in Joel 2: 28 -29. Everyone who wishes can now be filled by the never ending pouring out. It can be compared to a water fall. The water continually pours over and onto anyone who chooses to stand in the flow. You can stay in that flow just as long as you wish. It is God’s delight to give you more and more. He is pouring. Are you receiving?

See Also: Isaiah 32: 15, Isaiah 44: 3, Ezekiel 36: 27, Ezekiel 39: 29, Proverb 1: 23, Zechariah 12: 10).

Practice Presence

Luke 5: 16

But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

This passage is speaking of Jesus. Most of the scripture reveals His public ministry but this is a glimpse into Jesus’ personal habits. Ministry isn’t that different from sports. The success is in the preparation. For athletes we like to say it is what you do away from the cameras that really matters. We know from Acts 10: 38 that Jesus was anointed with Power and the Holy Spirit. That should be enough, one would think, to be anointed by God, but Jesus developed the gift in Him by spending time alone with his father and the Holy Spirit. It is that alone time that built Him up and prepared Him for the work of the Lord. It was necessary, vital time.

Not much has changed. We can have the same anointing as Jesus, many do. But we, like Jesus, need time to develop the gifts inside of us. We need time alone with God, quiet time that He can use to build us up and develop us. You and I are never going to develop spiritually by spending an hour in church once or twice a week. For that matter, no amount of time at church is going to replace the time that you need to spend alone with your father. Church serves a different function and was never meant to replace quiet time with the Lord. I wish for you all to have fulfilling intimacy with the Lord. I want you to be as close to Him personally as you want to be. That only comes by time with Him though. You have to sneak away from the bustle of life and find quiet time with him. For those of you with a lot of time on your hands, praise God. You have the time others have a hard time finding. Don’t let yourself be lonely. Use that time to get into God’s presence. The rewards are awesome.

Anointed

Psalm 20: 6

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed.

Who is the anointed of the Lord? Is it you? In Isaiah 61: 1 the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus. He prophesied about the anointing that would be on Jesus. The first of Jesus’ anointed duties was to bring good news to the afflicted. When Jesus began his public ministry, he went into the synagogue in Nazareth. When the book of the prophet was handed to Him, He opened it to Isaiah and reading the passage in Isaiah 61 declared that the scripture had been, that day, fulfilled in those people’s presence. Jesus was anointed with power and the Holy Spirit so that He could fulfill His commission as enumerated in Isaiah 61 and Luke 4: 18. Then in Matthew 28: 16 – 20 we read about Jesus passing this commission on to those who follow Him. We are still to go to the world bringing the good news of the gospel to all. We don’t do this in our might though. We do it in the strength of the Lord and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s anointing on us and in us that empowers us to do His bidding. If you have received God’s commission to you and you have received his blessing of the anointing to do His will, then you are His anointed and you, therefore, are protected under His anointing. And while the enemy will do everything he can to thwart you, you are covered by the grace and anointing of God. Jesus said that persecution would come but for us to have no fear because He, Jesus, has overcome the world. Rely on Jesus. Rely on your anointing for they have great power to save you.

Inspiration vs. Perspiration

John 14: 10

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

This is a great word for ministers but truly Jesus modeled life for us all. He is our example. Therefore, we can take inspiration from this message from the Lord.

One day, when I was a bit over-taxed with duties and responsibilities, it occurred to me that I could work through inspiration or perspiration. Well of course, I was working hard. I was sweating the deadlines, burdens and responsibilities. I was in my strength instead of Jesus’. You see, he has created a model by which we work, accomplish, rest, serve him and honor him all at the same time. When we yield our heavy burdens to the Lord, allowing him to carry the load, he is honored. We have also preached the word by our very actions because we have communicated a reproducible model. People can appreciate that we accomplish through Jesus’ labor and wisdom and perhaps recognize that since they have the same access to Jesus as do we, that they can do the same thing. 

Whatsmore, we are only doing what Jesus did. We model him. Jesus said he did nothing of his own initiative (John 8: 28). God was the one performing the works. He supplied Jesus with the words to speak. The Father directed Jesus steps. He navigated him to the town or village which was right for the time. Imagine how much easier our lives would be if we could learn to follow God’s voice within us the way Jesus did.

You know, there is an easy way and a hard way to do everything. When possible, let’s do things the easy way. I choose to live by inspiration rather than perspiration. How about you?

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