Posts Tagged ‘justice’

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)

Real Witness

“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin. Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.” (Micah 3:8-10)

Your real Christian witness flows from somewhere deeper than your voice. The Prophet Micah attributed the power of his ministry to the Spirit of the Lord. Our power comes from the same source! Out of the belly of a man; filled with the Holy Spirit, rises a testimony of truth and power (Jn. 7:37-39).

You are more than your story – You are His-story!

We cannot stand on our own righteousness… it is Christ in us that speaks of better things than what people see or hear. Indeed, were we to find ourselves reliant upon our strength, our wisdom or our charm, we would find no hope against the onslaught of this world’s trouble. But we are not at all in the clutches of impending doom… for we are not our own. We live as Christ’s Ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20). We have been purchased by a blood as pure and holy as the whitest snow (Eph 1:7). We have been offered freedom’s highest position (Eph. 2:6). And we have a voice within ourselves that comes streaming forth like a rushing waterfall (Phil. 4:13). Christ has become our strength, our wisdom and our witness, because He is our peace… our focus and our joy. He is our Righteousness!

The Mystery: Its “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27)

Jesus told His followers they would receive power to witness about Him when the Holy Spirit came on them (Acts. 1:8). You can’t witness effectively by relying on your own strength, because fear will keep you from speaking out for God. You can’t witness effectively by choosing the best sermons or knowing the right words to say. You are not smart enough to outwit the devil. You cannot witness effectively by creating the best atmosphere or offering the most attractive invitation. Only by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit can you live and witness for Him! But with that power comes the promise that signs and wonders will follow those who believe (Mk. 16:17).

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:6-8)

This is the witness we have in Christ: “That if God be for us, who can stand against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

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.

An Apostolic Company

“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.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

It is vital that God’s Kingdom Government gets established in the Earth today. That which was laid upon the shoulders of the Son of God must find its expression in the Children of God under Christ’s authority. The Church is a living organism, with a government established and advanced by the activity of God’s “brooding” Holy Spirit. When an Apostolic Company of believers; like Christ’s disciples, wait upon the Holy Spirit in an upper room, something amazing gets birthed in the natural… a dwelling place for God! The Church finds its birth and government in the Spirit and gets established upon a people who are willing to let God lay foundations. The history of the Bible continues to declare this one truth, wherever He is welcome, God will have a habitation among us in the spiritual realm (Eph. 2:22).

Jesus testified of the impact on the “gates of hell” when His Church finds its footing and its identity (Mt. 16:18).

The Called Out Ones:

This is the “ecclesia” (the called out ones) that God is after and will use in these last days, both spiritually and prophetically. It is the priority of Christ to establish the Church on this rock of revelation – “Christ, the Son of the Living God”. We are His offspring, the living stones huned from the original Rock and Chief Cornerstone (1 Pet. 2:4-5).

Foundation Stones:

We must begin by embracing the pattern God gives for establishing spiritual foundations. He has given gifts to the Church by “grace” (Eph. 4:7) and imparted a release of favor to chosen individuals. These divinely chosen roles or ”mantles” are identified by the Apostle Paul as the 5-fold ministry. The first mantles, in rank and order that are called to this duty are the apostle and prophet. God’s goal is to establish His government upon an Apostolic Company. This “company” simply represents a group of people, of any size that recognize the spiritual impact of their willing yieldedness to God’s divine order. An Apostolic Company is a network of individuals, who allow the free flow of God’s governing to rest upon them. They must be full of the Holy Spirit and graced by God to set the platform for the Kingdom of Heaven to rule among them.

Ordering the Living Stones:

God orders His Living Stones in line with His grace given to men (Eph. 2:19-22). This might seem unusual and difficult at first; but as a team begins to let God’s voice emerge, it will come. He will lead by His Holy Spirit. Living Stones are set into the foundation as we listen to the spirit of revelation flowing forth. It is important to remind ourselves that the anointing Jesus carried emerged out of a work of the Holy Spirit and released the authority to do the miraculous things we see Jesus doing (Lk. 4:19). Signs and wonders were not the achievements of man, but the evidence of God’s anointing (Acts 10:38). Jesus was the ”Messiah”, the “Christ” or “Anointed One”… and the “Christian” is to become “little anointed ones”, because of the government of Heaven in their midst.

Wait On God:

We must not become concerned if it is a little difficult at first to see the Apostolic Company emerge. God is working and He will do it! These times must be part of an overall waiting process and discovery of the Glory of God manifesting itself among a people. Seeking His purpose in our midst and allowing Him to inhabit our praise and worship times, will release an atmosphere of divine order. Pray and even fast for this emerging atmosphere. These are the most important moments in the birthing of God’s spiritual government. Yet its reward will be in the revelation of His heart and vision among the company.

New Testament Paradigm:

When the 120 believers in the upper room experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there was such a massive wave of God’s power that hit the Earth that the little company of followers were transformed into revolutionaries. The region was infiltrated, shaken and completely turned upside down by the Holy Spirit. This event represents the first apostolic revolution and at the end of the day 3,000 souls were saved and a New Church was birthed that looked nothing like the religion of the day. A unity of Spirit and community of faith were now shaping the future of how the world would see God (Acts 2:40-47). The Church would be supernatural and authentic, yet committed to one another and the teaching of the Apostles.

An Apostolic People:

An Apostolic People are a sent people and a sending people, knit from the same fabric as their Leader - Jesus. “As the Father has sent (apostello) Me into the world, I also have sent (apostello) them into the world” (Jn 17:18). Today, as in the days following Pentecost, there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that is making its way across the nations and reviving the apostolic mandate. The echo is felt in the heart of every apostle,  “therefore go and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt 28:19).

Vision & Unity:

It is very important to know that the vision is not primarily ”church building”, but Kingdom Advancement. Its more about the Glory of God, than the institution of man. Jesus will build His Church, but Apostolic Companies are driven by the call to disciple nations (Mt. 28:18-20). People are very tired of the competition that comes from our church growth activities. God wants to pull down religious perceptions and misguided agendas that work contrary to unity in the company.

Focus On the Glory of God!

Take ownership of the atmosphere of congregational gatherings and leadership meetings in an effort to release the power and purpose of God, as exibited in Psalm 133:1-3. Notice: Ps. 133:3 says – “There the Lord commanded the Blessing!” That is what you are after!!! Its the anointing oil that flowed as a Priestly Company is established in the Holy Spirit. Now you will get accostomed to the heaviness of God’s Glory… it is supposed to be this way. It is the atmosphere of God walking in the “cool” of the day with Adam. The word for “Cool” is Ruach, which means “Spirit” and is the expression of the Glory that was present in the Garden of Eden. Adam was naked and was not ashamed, because he was clothed in the Glory of God at Creation (Ps. 8:5). The word for crowned here is the same word for clothed. It is also noted as the goal in Colossians 1:27 – “Christ in you the hope of Glory”. Recognize that walking in the Glory will establish the training in righteousness and the authority of the Apostolic Company.

We are moving from Glory to Glory as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18). God will do it!

Excellence and Passion

To do things with excellence requires passion. To love well, run our race with an enduring strength and pursue a life with no regrets, requires something bigger than ourselves… something we are passionate about. Doing things well is part of living the abundant life and should be the standard for Kingdom People. We are called to walk in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. An excellent heart comes from who we are in God and who God is in us.

The Counterfeit:

Excellence is not the same as perfectionism. In fact, it comes out of a totally different motivation. Perfectionism is a desire for approval that flows from a religious spirit. There is no creative flow to perfectionism, because it relies upon human reasoning as its standard rather than passion and love. People who come from this motivation are often judgemental and find fault in almost anything they see accomplished.

A good example of this is when Mary pours out an expensive ointment on the feet of Jesus and Judas speaks up with a contentious attitude. To Jesus this expression was an excellent display of affection, but to Judas it was a terrible waste of money (Jn 12:3-6). Although the room was filled with the fragrance of worship, the heart of Judas was filled with criticism and judgement. Interestingly the Scripture gives us a hint of what motivated Judas. He had no concern for the poor, but was taking money from the money box, because he was a thief.

Power to Excel:

Dunamis is the Greek word for power that described the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is poured out and you shall be witnesses to Me… in all the world” (Acts 1:8). Notice that this power would become the motivator for the witness they carried out in the world. The Holy Spirit would release such passion that they would bear evidence of a lifestyle from another world… Heaven.

Heaven’s Purpose:

Now there is some excellence in Heaven. There are some creative ideas in Heaven. There are things yet to be accomplished through Heaven’s creativity and purpose in the Earth. Jesus wanted us to accomplish the things of Earth with Heaven’s resources. Passion, creativity, wisdom and ability are designed to be released through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Its part of our delegated authority in the natural world to be a witness of Heavenly standards. “Gold, silver and precious stones rather than wood, hay and stubble” as the Apostle Paul would say. Your work will be tested by fire and the only thing that will endure will be that which had an eternal quality (1 Cor 3:12-15).

Be Creative:

Being creative does not mean everything has to be original or amazing, it just needs to carry our unique flow of expression, passion and gifting. You and I are the Children of God that the creation has been waiting to see, waiting with groaning and birth pains (Rom 8:18-23). We carry a glory that must have expression!

  • There are songs, yet to be written and sounds, yet to be heard!
  • There are inventions, yet to be seen and businesses, yet to be created!
  • There are cures for diseases, resources for the poor and justice for the downtrodden that must break forth!
  • There are revelations to be discovered and dreams to be dreamed!

All because of the Holy Spirit’s anointing… we have been blessed with the glorious liberty of excellence and passion.

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