Posts Tagged ‘Apostle Peter’

Advancing in the Nations

In the Great Commission, Jesus came and spoke to the remaining Apostles, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”  (Mt. 28:18-20)

  • “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Lk. 24:49)
  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

The Great Commission was an Apostolic Mandate designed to delegate authority for Kingdom Advancement. The oupouring of the Holy Spirit was the release of power that would accomplish God’s mandate. Without this authorization and spiritual power working together there would be no spiritual progress beyond Jerusalem and no impact in the Nations. But because of it; the Church is a triumphant people fully engaged and fully equipped by the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!

This is our Mandate…

To Go… in the authority and power of our King - Jesus. Christ is Head of the Church and the True Light of Salvation, yet He is also the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. He is the One in whom we hope for fulfilling our call and reaching the unreached.

It Requires Authority & Power:

The Apostolic Mandate cannot function on human strength, it is designed to necessitate an outpouring of authority and power from heaven. We follow Jesus as Lord of the breakthrough, who breaks us out of confined places and leads with Kingdom influence into all the World. This was the purpose for waiting for the Promise of the Father in the earliest moments after the resurrection, to establish the platform for advancement. This was not some optional request, but a central focus for the followers… to wait for power was and still remains the key to success in the future purposes of God, in Christ.

The Prophet Micah says it like this: “The One who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate and go out by it; Their King will pass before them, with the Lord at their head.” (Micah 2:13)

The Prophet Joel said: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)

The Apostle Peter adds to Joel’s words: “And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:18). Note - prophecy is a forward speaking, declaration of God’s purposes empowered by the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is the voice of Kingdom Advancement!

The Early Church Advanced:

  • Beginning in Jerusalem: “So those who received the word were baptized and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.” (Acts 2:41)
  • Advancing beyond the City of Samaria: “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.” (Acts 8:4)
  • Among Gentiles of Caesarea: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those  who heard the Word.” (Acts 10:44)
  • Into Regions of Galatia: “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and they increased in numbers daily.” (Acts 16:5)
  • Throughout Regions of Ephesus: “So the Word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.” (Acts 19:20)

Defining Desiny:

Under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Matthew and Luke are defining destiny. One Apostle lays out the mandate while the other lays out the keys to its fulfillment. They are laying the platform for how we must see our future. Luke speaks to us of the triumphs of the Gospel of the Kingdom, because we must understand where our strength comes from. The Battle Is the Lord’s and we are His volunteers, following our advancing King. We must not just settle for an assignment… we must become people of truimph who take the next step, under the authority and power of the Holy Spirit.

  • “…from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Mt. 11:12)

These are the Days of Great Purpose – Where a People of Triumph… lay hold of their Desiny!

The Stubborn Heart

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mk. 9:23-25)

It has been my experience, that literally thousands of people struggle with unbelief. Real barriers stand between their desire and the reality of God’s Will! Like this father they hear the words that Jesus would love to heal, deliver or bring hope; but they are stuck. They know the truth that if they could just believe, nothing would be impossible… but there is no believing, no receiving and no “heart” at all. There is just the nagging reality of hopeless effort, tears and shameful discouragement. And worse yet for many, they construct a new theological platform of resolve… “I will choose to not believe any longer, because it just leaves me hopeless!”

The Spirit of Unbelief:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to this frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a “spirit of unbelief”. Lies, deception, fears or offenses can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralyzes the heart in unbelief. This spirit is real and dangerous, it is pervasive and advancing across the landscape of Christianity and it lives in the midst of the “Church culture”… where all is not fine in paradise!

Authenticity:

I receive many emails and calls about this issue and I find it a bit shocking that the problem is so wide spread and growing. Yet in my opinion there is a root cause that we must uncover and shine the light of truth upon… people are living superficial lifestyles. They rarely stop and contemplate the meaning of their existence. To ask the simple question, “WHY!” is not blasphemy, nor is it going to lead us into deception. Perhaps it would even offer a lot more authenticity to our journey!

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7… “Ask, seek and knock… and the door will be opened!”

Authentic communication with God – opens the door of relational truth. Things that are difficult for us to understand, come into the light of His wisdom and love. God is a “father”, He knows how to take care of His children and He is faithful. He is anticipating our needs to be vocalized and to come streaming into His Presence (Heb. 4:16). The Apostle Peter, who seemed a lot like us; said you and I need to be “casting all our care upon Him, because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for us… and He knows all about our issues of faith. This idea that we can avoid our problems and they will just go away… well – that is the greatest deception of all! They do not go away, in fact they produce the fruit of disappointment, which I spoke of earlier. We tend to create and believe a false perception of God’s heart toward our reality.

So – here’s the point…

  • Stop living without meaningful communication with God!

Spend time telling God of the frailty of your faith, the brokenness of your heart and the weakness in your perceptions… ask Him “why?!” and then wait… wait… wait… for the doors to open! They will, my friend they will… they will open wide and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory… He is the Lord Strong and Mighty! (Psa. 24:7-10)

Advance the Kingdom

In the Great Commission, Jesus came and spoke to the remaining Apostles, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (Mt. 28:18-20)

  • “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Lk. 24:49)
  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The Great Commission was the Apostolic Mandate designed to delegate and release authority to the apostles for the Kingdom of God to Advance. It was meant to stir the valiant heart, so that simple men would find their destiny. Yet, that which these men carried was feeble and frail… like dry wood awaiting a flame. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the flame, a mighty rushing wind that would release power to accomplish God’s mandate. Without this authorization and spiritual flame working together, there would be no progress beyond Jerusalem and no impact in the Nations. But because of it… the Church is a Triumphant People fully engaged and fully equipped by the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!

This is our Mandate…

To Go… in the authority and power of our King – Jesus! Christ is Head of the Church and the True Light of Salvation, yet He is also the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. He is the One in whom we hope for the fulfillment of our call in reaching the unreached.

It Requires Authority & Power:

The Apostolic Mandate cannot function on human strength, it is designed to necessitate an outpouring of authority and power from heaven. We follow Jesus as Lord of the breakthrough, who breaks us out of confined places and leads with Kingdom influence into all the World. This was the purpose for waiting for the Promise of the Father in the earliest moments after the resurrection, to establish the platform for advancement. This was not some optional request, but a central focus for the followers… to wait for power was and still remains the key to success in the future purposes of God, in Christ.

The Prophet Micah: “The One who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate and go out by it; Their King will pass before them, with the Lord at their head.” (Micah 2:13)

The Prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)

The Apostle Peter: “And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:18). Note – prophecy is a forward speaking, declaration of God’s purposes empowered by the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is the voice of Kingdom Advancement!

The Early Church Advanced:

  1. Beginning in Jerusalem: “So those who received the word were baptized and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.” (Acts 2:41)
  2. Advancing beyond the City of Samaria: “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.” (Acts 8:4)
  3. Among Gentiles of Caesarea: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the Word.” (Acts 10:44)
  4. Into Regions of Galatia: “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and they increased in numbers daily.” (Acts 16:5)
  5. Throughout Regions of Ephesus: “So the Word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.” (Acts 19:20)

Defining Destiny:

Under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Matthew and Luke are defining destiny. One Apostle lays out the mandate while the other lays out the keys to its fulfillment. They are laying the platform for how we must see our future. Luke speaks to us of the triumphs of the Gospel of the Kingdom, because we must understand where our strength comes from. The Battle Is the Lord’s and we are His volunteers, following our advancing King. We must not just settle for an assignment… we must become people of triumph who take the next step, under the authority and power of the Holy Spirit.

“…from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Mt. 11:12)

These are the Days of Great Purpose – Where a People of Triumph… Advance the Kingdom of God!

Real Grace

The word “grace” has significant meaning for our relationship with God, ourselves and one another. Grace is God’s love offered. As a gift is freely given, so grace must be received to be appreciated. God offers us something beyond ourselves, yet within our reach. The power of this gift called grace, grows when we truly understand how it works in connection with faith and trust.

Grace is a Person:

God so loved the world that He gave us the gift of His only Son (Jn 3:16-17). Jesus is the gift of grace to all mankind. He is the way, the truth, and the life of God, given as the full representative of grace. Through Jesus, God comes to us and reveals Himself to us, because we cannot by ourselves find God. Jesus as our advocate with the Father comes to help us know Him and believe in Him as He really is. We cannot do this by our human limitation, because we get so blinded by carnal perception. We need God’s grace.

Religious Perceptions:

Religion can be negative to our perception, as it creates a way of seeing through boxes of morality, judgment and expectations. In fact, so many people are bound to religion that Christianity is often defined more by what it rejects than what it believes.

If we are sinful (and we all are), we may not want to come to God, thinking that God is unapproachable and will punish us for our sins. We may get the idea that we must be “good enough” to be acceptable to God. But this is where grace becomes so significant. Its the gift of God!

Understanding Mercy:

All sinners experience guilt, brokenness and emotional pain. But faith is our humble belief in God’s mercy. Mercy is simply God not giving us what we deserve so that grace can become visible. When we understand mercy, we naturally turn toward the one showing us that mercy. This turning is an act of humility, because we recognize the favor (grace) being shown us is undeserved and it causes us to feel like a burden is lifted from our shoulders. There are all kinds of burdens that mercy lifts when someone favors us.

Clarifying Our Focus:

It is important that we reject sinful behavior, but never reject ourselves or the person we see sinning. Unfortunately, in real life, many of us have the tendency to blend the two into one: we often associate the behavior with the person. In this way, we become condemning and judgmental, hypocritical and proud.

This is where God’s grace becomes visible. Jesus is not a policeman, but an advocate. An advocate is somebody who pleads the case for mercy and stands on behalf of the guilty before the accuser or the judge.

Restoration and Hope:

In the parable of the prodigal son, the father is not judgemental and condemning, but a restorer of broken relationship. Jesus tells us, he throws his arms around the returning son and kisses him, while his servant is commanded to prepare the house for a party.

Consistent with Grace:

Jesus would have us see God as the waiting Father, who runs to embrace the son at the first sign of his turning toward home. “This son was lost, but now has come home! Bring out the robe, the ring and the sandals, for my son was dead and is alive again. Prepare the fatted calf… tonight we feast!” (Lk 15:20-24)

Walking in Real Grace:

The other son is caught up in the epic battle with religious seeing and self-righteous attitudes. Jesus does not approve of that moralistic attitude, because it is hypocritical. In offering grace to others, Jesus wants us to embrace people at the first sign of turning toward home. Its not that we condone what they have done as much as we embrace who they really are. He wants us to know that grace is God’s unconditional love revealed at the first sign of humility. The Apostle Peter said “…be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 4:5).

First Things

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mt. 6:33)

When we seek first the Kingdom of God every part of our life is effected. Our values, choices and even our dreams come into alignment by some very significant Truths… Truths that are foundation to a Christlike lifestyle. To place something first means it carries the most influence, weight and authority in our lives. It most often makes the most sense to us and appears first in rank or preference.

The “first thing” is the most important thing!

When we make the decision to follow Christ and put our faith in His power to lead us; we are immediately struck by the reality, that other things will challenge us for the position of “first place”.

First place is the high place!

Devotion and discipline are huge factors in our ability to maintain our goals to serve God with our gifts and honor God with our hearts. Yet it was Jesus’ own promise to us that if we would seek first the Kingdom of God; all the important things we value most, would come after our obedient lifestyle.

Seeking transforms our focus and aligns our desires with His will.

It is a sure thing that our commitment will be tested, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to deliver on the Promises of His Word. Seeking first the Kingdom of God actually releases the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives, for discernment and convictions to come to the surface. As we process life on spiritual levels, our hearts are moved and behaviors are adjusted by a sense of the peace of God, which passes our understanding (Phil 4:4-7).

Four things are required in the seeking first model:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always… Praise and Activate Your Trust!
  2. Prayer Maintain Communication with Heaven!
  3. Supplication… Ask and Keep on Asking in Faith!
  4. Thanksgiving… Be Grateful for His Promised Best for You!

Making a lifestyle out of seeking God for the first things in our life will cause us to recognize all those less important things, that tend to release worry and fret. Worry does nothing to change our situation or shape our future for the better. Worry actually is the first thing our spiritual enemy (Satan) will look for to try and bring destruction through lies and fear.

Worry is irresponsible and distracting.

The Apostle Peter said “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Pet 5:7) Trusting God’s character and faithfulness, is often the biggest test of our heart, but when we press through and renew our courage… we become more tenacious with a testimony on our side. Recognize God is more invested in you coming into your first things, than you are; because He cares for you!

Archives