Posts Tagged ‘Apostles’’

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!

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!

Reign in Grace

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)

Great Power & Great Grace… these are the keys to Great Christian Character! God’s Word promotes the idea that grace is more powerful than sin or test. We should never, never, never allow our perceptions of reality to diminish the flow of God’s power. “For if by the one man’s offense, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

We have been made kings and priests to our God (Rev. 1:5) and grace is necessary to rule and reign in spiritual life. Grace is necessary to exercise authority in the way that God desires. God rules, but not harshly. He rules and releases His power by grace, justice, mercy and truth. In order to exercise authority in every situation, we need to receive more and more of God’s grace. This grace gives us power not only to use authority over negative situations in life, but also to testify in a way that will build strength into our faith and service for the Body of Christ.

Grace inspires us to…

1. Believe:

The Scripture tells us that Apollos helped those who had “believed through grace” (Acts 18:27). Even the faith which saves us comes through God’s grace. We don’t produce faith – we receive it as a gift from God. “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8). Grace is favor that inspires us to exercise the faith which God has given us (Rom. 12:3).

  • By the grace we have, we must believe God… His Word, His promises, His commandments, His judgments.

2. Receive:

God’s Word says, “much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17). The Apostle Paul speaks emphatically that grace was a precursor to walking out Kingdom lifestyles and anointing for ministry…  “We have received grace and apostleship” (Rom. 1:5). God does give grace, and it should inspire our bold Christian witness. We must be willing to receive it.

Also, grace must be received as grace. It cannot be received as payment for good behavior or good works. If we are thinking we receive grace from God on the basis of our good behavior, we will not be able to receive it as grace. Grace is given to the humble heart (Jms. 4:6). This is why God many times seems to greatly bless a sinner who has recently turned to Him, while seemingly ignoring many “good church people” who have been struggling faithfully for years with pride and selfish ambitions. Many have a wrong mentality concerning grace.

3. Continue:

“Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43).

It is vitally important that all of us, especially those who have recently turned to God and trusted in His grace, continue in the grace of God. God gives more grace, so that we are inspired to flow with gracious words and activities. Jesus shocked the people of Nazareth who knew Him as a carpenter’s son, because of His gracious words (Lk. 4:22) and activity. We need to allow God to keep guiding our hearts to the place where He can continue to work in us by His grace. In the moment when we cease to allow God’s grace to work in us, we start to dry up as Christians and that life of God in us begins to lose its effectiveness. God will not force us to remain in His grace. It is something He gives us the power to do, but we must choose to go on. Don’t give up!

4. Discover & Manage:

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Pet. 4:10).

Every born-again Christian has a ministry, through receiving a spiritual gift and using it for the glory of God. We have all been given grace to serve somewhere. God’s grace takes many forms, as many as there are people in Christ; every anointing is unique and special. A steward or manager must use what has been entrusted to him and multiply it, otherwise; he is not being a good and faithful steward. God’s grace and blessings were not given simply for us to sit in “services” and feel good. Rather, they were given that we might not only be blessed, but also be a blessing. Greater works (Jn. 14:12) require fresh grace!

5. Multiply & Spread It:

“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15).

Grace and peace do multiply… as more and more people spread it. We can spread God’s grace through giving, through preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and by “speaking such a word as is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29 & 5:18-21). It is the privilege of every true Christian, not just a special few; to spread God’s grace to as many as possible. When we to this, more and more people will bring pleasure to the heart of God (Ps. 133).

Grace is our Prophetic Destiny:

“Arise, shine; For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isa. 60:1-3)

Mandate for Sending

Now in the Church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:1-3)

When we talk about the Kingdom of God we must speak in terms of the Holy Spirit’s leadership and timing (Rom 14:17). It is the King’s Court that must be assembled! We are Royalty… delegated to lead after the King’s Heart, from His Throne and with Kingdom Authorization. It requires two of the most important realities: first, passion for the King and second, passion for His purposes. God has a plan and purpose for raising up a generation of leaders and ministries… and it is designed to equip, as well as edify every candidate in every assignment. The challenge that we face, as members of the Court; is discernment. The book of Acts has several examples where the Holy Spirit takes the initiative to call ministers and speak to the Body of Christ about sending them into their ministries.

Commissioning: Sending the King’s Court!

Notice, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted while appointing leaders in the Churches they had planted (Acts 14:23). We must not overlook the fact, that our ministry to the Lord will always give us a more effective platform for sending forth Kingdom leaders. The heart and wisdom of a leader must be tested in relationship with others and fellowship with God for spiritual commissioning to be effective. The reason is simple, our ability to know the Will of God is clarified when we know the heart of God. He is looking for worshipers (Jn 4:23-24) and speaking to those with an ear to hear (Rev 3:20).

Gifts, Grace and Anointing:

The Apostle Paul explains that Christ has given gifts to individuals, some as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11). God gives us a “grace” for the work (Eph. 4:7), which means we are to respond from that grace to the ministry by His direction, encouragement and strength. No matter how gifted or popular a person might be, it will always fall upon God to anoint the leader He desires. While we are being equipped, God is refining our character. It is a beautiful work of Holy Spirit transformation; when disciples are released into Kingdom Leadership.

Jesus said “… he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn 14:12).

The King’s Court with the King’s Mandate!

Leadership & Timing

Scripture: “Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’. Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts 13:1-3)

Thought for Today: “Kingdom Leadership”

When we talk about the Kingdom of God, we must speak in terms of the Holy Spirit’s leadership and timing (Rom 14:17). God has a plan and purpose for raising up leaders and ministries. Yet the greatest challenge that we face is discernment… how will we know the most effective ways to reach new territory? Prayer and fasting can become one of the most effective disciplines in raising up ministries and leaders. Because the early Church valued this discipline, the book of Acts offers us several examples where the Holy Spirit takes the initiative by calling and anointing leaders that establish new territory… offering new opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance. When we, as the Body of Christ minister to the Lord first and position our hearts to hear His voice, amazing things begin to happen (Acts 13:2).

Commissioning:

Notice, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted while appointing leaders in the churches they had planted (Acts 14:23). We must not overlook the fact, our ministry to the Lord will always give us a more effective platform for commissioning Kingdom leaders. The reason is simple, our ability to know the will of God becomes more clear the more we know the heart of God. Our Father is looking for worshipers (Jn 4:23-24) and speaking to those with an ear to hear (Rev 3:20).

Gifts, Grace and Anointing:

The Apostle Paul explains that Christ has given gifts to men, some as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11). God gives us a “grace” for the work (Eph 4:7), which means we are to respond from that grace to the ministry by His direction, encouragement and strength. No matter how gifted or popular a person might be, it will always fall upon God to anoint the leader He desires. While we are being equipped, God is refining our character. It is a beautiful work of Holy Spirit transformation, when disciples are released into Kingdom Leadership.

Jesus said “… he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn 14:12).

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