Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’

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!

Valiant Laborers

“And the Word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.” (Acts 13:49)

“Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand.” (Ps. 149:5-6)

We mount our assault on the portals of hell and against us they shall not stand! The valiant of heart are those whose laborers are noted by courage, passion and alignment to the Word of God. These marks are the standard where soldiers emerge and warriors take shape. Indeed, the character of heaven is revealed in no better way than when God’s Saints are clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit and accompanied by angels. The advancement of the Kingdom of God is a violent overthrow of the works of the devil! It requires God’s anointing and the character to follow His heart!

No matter how we define a move of God in our day or in the days of the Early Church… we must not miss the prophetic reality of following God’s heart. One of Luke’s purposes in writing the Book of Acts was to tell the real story of the remarkable growth of God’s Kingdom. Amazing things took place in the years that followed the birth of the Church. An outpouring of the Holy Spirit clothed the Apostles with power to become witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8). Although, persecution and struggle shaped their character, never do we hear the cry of retreat. This was the work of God! Humanity’s greatest discovery was how to be filled with the Holy Spirit… and walk as carriers of the Glory of God!

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (or any servant of God):
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,”

Says the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

A Valiant Vision:

To see entire regions waiting, cultures and people groups ready to be reached with the love and power of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Our call, requires a company of valiant laborers with fresh eyes… with a vision to disciple the nations (Mt. 28:18-20). We must be found teaching and building bridges of opportunity for generations to walk in God’s destiny for their lives. Should we not stand willing and ready to risk it all for the purposes of God’s heart? Yet in order to risk it all, it will require a vision of how God sees and what God wants to accomplish.

The Prophet Habakkuk said it this way: “For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

God is Speaking!

These are New Days in almost every culture of the world, and the sound of a spiritual trumpet has gone forth. Many with an ear to hear have already begun to assemble. To some its a whisper and to others a shout, yet there is no mistaking its purpose in this season. Its God’s invitation that is being proclaimed on the battle field and in the vineyard. Our Father has a voice that echoes on every high place… causing the nations to give birth. He is calling the weary, the lost and forsaken. His sound summons the alien to come sit at His Throne (Heb. 4:16). And from this motley, misguided lot; He will redeem and restore and revive. This is the day of the harvest, a season of in-gathering as in the time of first fruits. And the valiant rejoice in the pleasure of God. They celebrate with heaven in what is witnessed in their generation, because it was birthed in the Father’s heart long ago! (1 Pe 2:9-10)

Father, Your Valiant Laborers Stand Willing & Ready!

A Mercy Seat

Where His Glory Dwells

Ark of the Testimony

“Now when Moses went into the Tabernacle of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the Voice of One speaking to him from above the Mercy Seat that was on the Ark of the Testimony, from between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.” (Num. 7:89)

When we hear of Moses walking into the Tabernacle to speak with God, it is almost unbelievable at first. Our heart wonders of the sight… a face-to-face with the Creator of the Universe. And yet, something important comes to mind as I read and re-read this verse. God’s voice comes from a position above the Mercy Seat!

The Tabernacle of Meeting:

It is there and only there, that we find a mercy seat. It is not that way with man’s natural environment. In the world around us or even in nature, there is no seat of mercy. Yet in the Tabernacle of Meeting there is a Throne, a seat if you will, established at God’s initiative, that invites the seeker to see himself differently than the world’s perspective. The Tabernacle of Meeting was designed to be a place where God meets with man, to transform how he sees everything. It was to be where man was able to fellowship in God’s Glory, get his needs met and sense the embrace of a loving Father (Phil. 4:19).

This place offers the revelation of God’s true heart toward our deepest needs! We need this environment, this fellowship - before we have our lives put together. We need to be loved – before we are healed. We need to be loved in our rags and our wrestling. We need a place that has a Mercy Seat!

Our Father’s Heart:

To pull from the parable of the Prodigal Son… must I first hear music and dancing before I can arise and go to my Father’s house? That’s the way that it would work if Religion were my father, but my Father calls out to me in His fullness… an invitation to the orphan heart:

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters;
And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk, Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.” (Isa. 55:1-3)

Thankfully, the One who sits upon the Throne doesn’t call the white-robed crowd, but those clothed in sackcloth. I don’t have to wait for the music or the dancing. I don’t first have to receive the ring or the robe. I can come dirty. In fact, I must come hungry, seeking and poor.

In the Midst of Glory:

The Voice comes from above the Mercy Seat, where the Shekinah Glory rests above the Ark of the Covenant. Make no mistake, this is a supernatural experience that is not duplicated any other way, but standing before the Presence of God. In His Presence is fullness of joy!

Don’t wait until you’re well. Don’t delay until you can find suitable clothes. Don’t put off having this meeting until everything is just right. Come now! Come just as you are! Don’t wait for just the right robe, come in your “grave-clothes”.

  • Mercy means - You will not receive what you deserve!

In my mind, this is one of the greatest truths taught in the Bible. It is in reality the Gospel of the Kingdom! Jesus Christ has offered us the experience of a Mercy Seat… and in so doing He continues to destroy the works of the devil. (1 Jn. 3:8)

Priority for Prayer

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (Mk. 1:35-38)

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He experiences great success. His fame is spreading through Galilee as He casts out demons and heals many sick people. After one particularly busy day of healing, Jesus pulls Himself away. I want to highlight this moment, because I believe its a key that unlocks the doors we so often find frustrating in the ministry.

Three Observations:

1. Jesus prioritized prayer as the way to effectively minister to people.

He didn’t use busy-ness or success with people as an excuse for neglecting prayer and solitude with God the Father. He realized that in order to meet people’s needs, He personally needed time alone with God. I need this reminder often in the ministry! If we neglect prayer for the sake of ministering to people a breakdown will eventually come. I find my words becoming idle and even critical when prayer is not my highest priority. I hear of pastors and leaders suffering from burn out, or becoming proud of  “success”. True spiritual power, the kind that brings hope and spiritual transformation must come to us as God’s resource. Somewhere along the way we must pull ourselves into a quiet place and find prayer and fellowship with the Holy Spirit to be our refuge in the midst of life.

2. Jesus’ prayer was done in solitude, away from distractions.

Jesus needed to focus on the voice of His Father and seperate Himself from outside voices veying for His attention. This is why Jesus woke up very early in the morning, while it was still dark. He knew everyone else would be asleep and He could be alone. Jesus tells us that when we pray, we should shut the door behind us and meet with the God who hears in private (Mt. 6:6). That is so valuable… we must shut the devil out and shut our hearts in with the Holy Spirit.

3. Jesus’ time of solitude and prayer with the Father enabled Him to stay focused on His calling… to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

While everyone was looking for Him and while He had experienced amazing acceptance and success; He left that comfort to focus on His calling to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Maintaining a “vision” requires nothing less than our undivided attention to the highest priorities. Through prayer, Jesus was able to stay focused instead of being enamored by success. Human success and Kingdom success are not the same thing. The only way to discern the difference is to find our identity in the prayer closet. Valuing our time with the Father will help us stay on track with a passion for the Kingdom rather than a desire for popularity. Powerful things are accomplished for those who stay loyal to the heart of God. In prayer the Holy Spirit reveals a Kingdom heartbeat and renews our mind with dreams that resonate in heaven (1 Cor. 2:9-16).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6)

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