Posts Tagged ‘Apostle James’

Advancing Kingdom Life

Evangelism is the Kingdom of God advanced through our lives!

The Apostle James said, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works’. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (Jms 2:17-18)

If we only proclaim the Gospel with our lips and not our lives, we are hypocrites and our faith is dead… ineffective. This is why it is so important for Christians to continually live with a vision for Kingdom Advancement. When we daily experience God’s Glory in our lives we begin to be revived and transformed from the inside out. The freedom of having a Kingdom mindset will enable us to joyfully speak of God to those within our sphere of influence. We will end the argument that aims to get people to agree with us and begin to impact the world with a flow of life.

Fear Factor:

The Devil uses intimidation to discourage us from telling our story. I often hear people say, “How can I tell anyone about Jesus when I’m not gifted at evangelism?” At that moment we must stop and apply the Truth of the Gospel to our own soul. The Apostle Paul didn’t hang his head in shame when he was reminded of his own unique history and personal limitations. He spoke to his own soul about the nature of his relationship with Christ. His confidence before kings came from knowing that fruitfulness flowed from his intimacy with God, not his personal eloquence or human wisdom (1 Cor 2:1-5).

No Condemnation… not even a little bit!

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). When clumsiness, unworthiness or shame overwhelm our soul we must preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to ourselves. Speak boldly; ”I am in Christ and He has made me righteous by faith in His blood! I take hold of His forgiveness and He washes away all sin and breaks every stronghold. His power works in me and is mine at this very moment. I’m God’s adopted Son! It is Christ who lives in me and I have inherited His boldness, because I carry His Spirit.”

Make the Grace Connection: (Eph 2:8-10)

Remind yourself, its not about “you”. I often pray over myself, under my breath or speak His Name out loud while I am driving. This is my way of staying in the flow of heaven’s resource… Glory (Phil 4:19). I am believing and receiving His grace spontaneously in those moments. It may sound silly, but I believe in laying my hand upon my own head and speaking a blessing over myself or asking God to anoint my head with fresh oil. I desire the overflow of God’s Presence to be seen upon my life, even before I speak a word.

The Holy Spirit:

This discipline has the power to radically change my focus, because it puts the weight of pressure back upon the Holy Spirit. He is My Helper, the Voice of Conviction and Discerner of the Heart. He clothes me in the Father’s Glory. Its the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us that makes us witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8). He is the Spirit of Grace and Truth, but He is also the boldness we need to testify. Welcoming the Holy Spirit’s leadership is essential to any success in the Kingdom, especially evangelism.

Go into the World:

Go for it and proclaim the Kingdom Message to others… remember that someone had to tell you while you were still in the world. That same Kingdom reality that has changed you, has the power to save, deliver and set all men free from sin and intimidation. Speaking the Truth to ourselves; that is our ”soulish man”, sets our perceptions on the love of Christ and releases the anointing for breakthrough in others. Jesus is our source of life, not our eloquence or ability to formulate an argument (1 Cor 1:30). It is Christ in you that reflects God’s Glory (Col 1:27) and it is by His power activated and flowing, that you become effective in destroying the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8).

Jesus is our model: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38).

A Sense of Promise

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20 NIV)

“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.” (2 Cor. 1:20 MSG)

The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of promise. Jesus said the very gates of hell will not prevail against her (Mt. 16:18). She is a people of promise (Lk. 24:49), called out of darkness and established upon a platform of Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4) and supernatural love (Col. 1:13-14). She has stood in the midst of persecution and multiplied in the midst of division. Her character has been challenged from every angle and she has advanced in every culture. Yet, she fights her greatest battles from within, from the very people who carry her promise. She will prevail, but not without a people who know how to maintain their sense of promise.

Agreement with God’s Promises: (2 Peter 1:2-4)

  • Brings Miracles: (Acts 3:1-9) In this story, Peter and John were going into the temple together to pray when they met a lame man at the gate. Peter told him to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ and immediately he received his strength and was healed. Your prayers of agreement can bring miracles into your lives also, just as they did for Peter and John.
  • Brings Great Power: (Acts 4:31-33) Here is an account of the Apostles praying together for boldness. After their prayers, the place was shaken and filled with the Holy Spirit. They were of one heart and one soul.
  • Brings Abundance: (Acts 4:34-37) After the Apostles prayed for boldness, and gave witness to the resurrection of Jesus, land and house owners sold their possessions and brought the proceeds to the Apostles and they then distributed to everyone who had need.
  • Brings Freedom: (Acts 12:5-11) These verses tell of Peter when he was in prison. The church prayed to God for him constantly. Peter was bound by chains with guards and soldiers next to him. One night an angel of the Lord came and he released the chains from Peters hands and set him free. These prayers of agreement gave Peter his freedom.
  • Brings Deliverance: (Acts 16:25-26) Here Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison and all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (Rom. 15:30-31) Here Paul is asking for prayers that he may be delivered from those in Judea. (2 Cor. 1:8-11) Here is another account of Paul in Asia where the help of others praying together delivered him from a sentence of death.

Silence and Double-mindedness:

  • Offers Nothing: (Heb. 11:6) Remind yourself that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Jms. 1:5-8) The Apostle James emphasizes this point by telling us of the foolishness of doubting, saying that it makes us double-minded and unstable in all of our ways. (Jms. 4:2) He also contends that we have lack and confusion, because we are not even asking or we ask amiss, that we can spend it on our own pleasures.

Contending for the Promises:

When the Church does not contend for the promises of God they are stolen by deception, intimidation or religion. The Christian lifestyle was never meant to be a stroll in the park… We are at war! And we are advancing both the very victory won by Christ and the promises acquired through crushing the enemies hold on society (Col. 1:9-13). The very purpose for Christ’s coming in the flesh was to destroy the works of the devil and render him powerless over the people of promise (1 Jn. 3:8). Every time we stand on a promise of God, hold our peace in the midst of the storm or trust God in the midnight hour… all of heaven leans in to offer its resources. Our “Amen” reverberates in the atmosphere and the devil does not doubt the character of our resolve! For Christ Himself is our Advocate with the Father, making sure that the promise is fulfilled and His people are established in truth.

Grace Platforms

The Ministry of Christ is a ministry of grace! His message was the Good News of a Kingdom of grace flowing from Heaven into Earth. It would bring forgiveness, peace and freedom from sin. Yet the deliverance and freedom experienced in the life of a disciple can only be attained and measured by the transformed mind. Real Kingdom mysteries require us to change the way we think about everything pertaining to God, Church and life on this planet (Mt. 4:17). Jesus has stepped into our natural reality and He brought His world with Him!

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)

Ministry on Christ’s Shoulder:

The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how “grace has been given” as Christ distributes (Eph. 4:7). All ministry is simply the manifestation of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as the “Christ” is our Apostle (Heb. 3:1), Prophet (Lk. 24:19), Evangelist (Mt. 9:35), Pastor (1 Pet. 5:2-4) and Teacher (Jn. 3:2). He emulated these offices and distributes the mantles for individuals to function in them, so that the Church carries His anointing for ministry (Jn. 14:12).

“…the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So…they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

Selected and Sent:

The five-fold leaders are not self-appointed, nor are they simply pastors of a local church. They are clearly defined ministries that have an impact on the Church as a whole and its witness in the world. By nature, their scope of ministry is wider than the local church. They are grace ministries of Christ to the Church at large. Whether its from inner city pulpits or in the bush lands of Africa, the heartbeat of 5-fold ministry is the discipling of the nations… its our Great Commission! (Mt. 28:18-20).

Two things are required for a five-fold ministry gift to come into its own: 1) Recognition by the wider Body of Christ and 2) Functional Ministry to the wider Body of Christ. Jesus said that the fruit of a person’s life is the best way to recognize their identity, character and anointing. Prior to these two conditions being met, someone may potentially have a five-fold ministry gift, but will not yet be moving in the scope and authority of that gift. Jesus gives the grace for each gift to be released into the Church.

“…God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).

Foundations:

The foundation of the Church is Jesus… the revelation of “Christ – the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16:16). And yet there is this unique platform of the apostle and the prophet team (Eph. 3:4-5). This platform carries the role of unveiling the mysteries hidden down through the ages, yet revealed in Christ and by the Holy Spirit to the sons and daughters of men. I believe these two mantle gifts still serve that ministry role (Eph. 4:12-13), so it is vital for us to understand how this works in leading the Body of Christ. We must remember that proper buildings are held up by proper foundations. I would propose; that when grace flows into ministry and functions properly, under the headship of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will result in the growth and supernatural health of the Church worldwide. It is the will of God to set this in order and accomplish it through His apostle and prophet teams (Isa. 9:7)… by grace.

The Key of Humility:

The Apostle James and the Apostle Peter wrote specifically about how to receive grace (Jms. 4:6 & 1 Pet. 5:5-6). The humble person receives grace and more grace even as they maintain their humility in the midst of difficult circumstances. Jesus said “Blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:3). The humble person; who lives selflessly in ministry, will receive a flow of resource from heaven according to the gift Christ has given them. Their anointing will be in proportion to their faith, assignment and their need.

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). The ministry teams made up of Apostle and Prophets like Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy served to accomplish great things in advancing the Kingdom of God. They were set apart by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2), helped in the midnight hour (Acts 16:25-26) and anointed to do incredible miraculous signs that accompanied the preaching of the Word of God (Acts 19:11-12).

Restoration is needed: In order for the Church to see what God is after today, our impact must set the captives free! We must rely upon the flow of ministry grace… like the dry ground soaks up the rain.

Contending for Promise

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20)

“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.” (2 Cor. 1:20 MSG)

The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of promise. Jesus said the very gates of hell will not prevail against her (Mt. 16:18). She is a people of promise (Lk. 24:49), called out of darkness and established upon a platform of Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4) and supernatural love (Col. 1:13-14). She has stood in the midst of persecution and multiplied in the midst of division. Her character has been challenged from every angle and she has advanced in every culture. Yet, she fights her greatest battles from within, from the very people who carry her promise. She will prevail, but not without a people who know how to maintain their sense of promise.

Agreement with God’s Promises: (2 Peter 1:2-4)

  • Brings Miracles: (Acts 3:1-9) In this story, Peter and John were going into the temple together to pray when they met a lame man at the gate. Peter told him to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ and immediately he received his strength and was healed. Your prayers of agreement can bring miracles into your lives also, just as they did for Peter and John.
  • Brings Great Power: (Acts 4:31-33) Here is an account of the Apostles praying together for boldness. After their prayers, the place was shaken and filled with the Holy Spirit. They were of one heart and one soul.
  • Brings Abundance: (Acts 4:34-37) After the Apostles prayed for boldness, and gave witness to the resurrection of Jesus, land and house owners sold their possessions and brought the proceeds to the Apostles and they then distributed to everyone who had need.
  • Brings Freedom: (Acts 12:5-11) These verses tell of Peter when he was in prison. The church prayed to God for him constantly. Peter was bound by chains with guards and soldiers next to him. One night an angel of the Lord came and he released the chains from Peters hands and set him free. These prayers of agreement gave Peter his freedom.
  • Brings Deliverance: (Acts 16:25-26) Here Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison and all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (Rom. 15:30-31) Here Paul is asking for prayers that he may be delivered from those in Judea. (2 Cor. 1:8-11) Here is another account of Paul in Asia where the help of others praying together delivered him from a sentence of death.

Silence and Double-mindedness:

Offers Nothing:  Remind yourself that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).  The Apostle James emphasizes this point by telling us of the foolishness of doubting, saying that it makes us double-minded and unstable in all of our ways(Jms. 1:5-8).  He also contends that we have lack and confusion, because we are not even asking or we ask amiss, that we can spend it on our own pleasures(Jms. 4:2).

Contending:

When the Church does not contend for the promises of God they are stolen by deception, intimidation or religion. The Christian lifestyle was never meant to be a stroll in the park… we were made for dominion and occupation of the Earth!

We are at war! And we are advancing for both, the very victory won by Christ and the promises acquired through crushing the enemies hold on society (Col. 1:9-13). The very purpose for Christ’s coming in the flesh was to destroy the works of the devil and render him powerless over the people of promise (1 Jn. 3:8). Every time we stand on a promise of God, hold our peace in the midst of the storm or trust God in the midnight hour… all of heaven leans in to offer its resources. Our “Amen” reverberates in the atmosphere and the devil does not doubt the character of our resolve! For Christ Himself is our Advocate with the Father, making sure that the promise is fulfilled and His people are established in truth.

“And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20)

Glory that Increases

‘…indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever”, that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.’ (2 Chron. 5:13-14)

God’s Glory is supernatural – unmanageable, unpredictable, and frequently controversial… especially when it violates our religious traditions about God. Yet the Glory of God still remains the most influential and powerful expression of our Christian experience. Throughout Scripture, God calls His people to know Him, to glorify Him and to reflect His Glory. The more intimately we know God, the more His Glory will be revealed to us and in us… from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:17-18). After all we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit!

Increasing Evidence of Glory:

In the Exodus from Egypt, God’s Glory was seen in the cloud that lead His People by day and the fire that lead them by night. In the days of King David and King Solomon, there were Tabernacle and Temple experiences that overwhelmed the leaders and challenged every religious idea of the day. As New Testament Believers, we recognize that same Glory now resides within us as the New Covenant Promise – written upon our hearts. It is the shekinah Presence of the Holy Spirit living within us that increases as we embrace it and hunger for more. The Apostle Paul said that although this Glory would be mysterious, it would be revealed to the Saints and increase in the Believer who puts their trust in Christ. We were made to know the riches, and to drink in the river of God’s Glory.

  • “The mystery that has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the Glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” (Col. 1:26-27)
  • “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13)

How Much is Enough?

Three truths I try to remember – 1st There is always more! – 2nd You can have as much of God as you want! and 3rd Your hunger will dictate your capacity to receive. The Apostle James tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us (Jms 4:8). There are several ways we can “go after more” of God’s Glory in our lives.

  1. Worship: Gives God the worth He is due and increases our awareness of His Glory.
  2. Thanksgiving: Offers appreciation for all He has done and will do and creates room for His Glory to be manifest in our lives.
  3. Meditating upon The Word of God: Releases revelation and an awareness of how God’s Glory was seen in the past.
  4. Fellowship: Recognizing our relationship with the Holy Spirit and soaking in His Presence shapes our hearts as places of intimacy and habitation for greater Glory.
  5. Prayer: Intercession and offering our petitions to God in faith draws His attention, His love and Glory encounters.

We were born to manifest God’s Glory… to embrace the challenge of carrying something so wonderful that were we to truly comprehend its power…

WE COULD CHANGE THE WORLD!

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