Posts Tagged ‘Mt 4:17’

An Outpouring

“Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Mt. 11:3-6)

Offended?  No… transformed! As far as I’m concerned… we need not look any further! What we have seen and heard has changed our view of everything. Our journey has been blessed by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and we feel a responsibility to release the treasure that we carry. The well has been deepened; we still long for more… but only in terms of more of His Glory. His love has wrecked us and sharpened our gaze.

We believe we have been created to drink deeply at the streams of revival and to awaken a hunger for the heart of our Heavenly Father. This generation must be allowed the opportunity to burn with a passion for the things of His Kingdom. Its a discovery of their own place in the Father’s Heart. Jesus said that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” and that if we ask for it, we could have it; “…on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Mt 4:17 & Lk 12:32). This is the beat of our heart; to advance the Kingdom whenever and wherever, for His Glory.

Evidence of Glory

What transpires as humanity moves toward the culmination of all things… is it disaster or restoration?

Scripture reveals that the Kingdom of God will come in all of its fullness… that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the LORD and culminate in a great awareness of His Presence and Preeminence. Our God shall come enthroned saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne will say, “Behold, I will make all things new.” (Rev. 21:3-5)

The Bible reminds us that the great tragedy in the Garden of Eden was not just sin, but separation and the fact that man had “fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Although many, professing to be wise; have “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:22-23)… this tragic estrangement was never God’s intent. His delight is with man, sharing fellowship in the brilliance of His Glory (Gen. 3:8)(Ps. 8:5).

Man was created for experiences in God’s Glory (Isa. 43:7). The Children of Israel saw the Glory of God in the cloud (Ex. 16:10), and on the mountain (Ex. 24:17). The same Glory that shaped the hearts of Moses, David and Solomon; was seen filling the tabernacle (Ex. 33:7-11 & 40:34-35) (2 Sam. 6:2) (2 Chr. 5:13-14). Both Isaiah and Ezekiel saw visions of God’s Glory. From the earliest of days until now, the knowledge of God’s Glory has been a topic of prophetic importance (Hab. 2:14). The Hebrew prophets envisioned a day when God’s Glory would increase; impacting the nations and transforming the fabric of cultures and governments. For example, Isaiah prophesied the following decree of the Lord, “I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see My Glory” (Isa. 66:18). Ezekiel proclaimed, “The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and behold, the Glory of the LORD filled the temple” (Ezek. 43:5). Each of these Old Testament people insisted that the same Glory they had experienced, would be manifest on the earth.

Just listen to these words: “The Glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isa. 40:5)

Overlooked by many, this reality began to emerge during the time of the New Testament. Jesus came as the Glory of the Father (Jn. 1:14), announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mt. 4:17). Through the person and work of Jesus, a great shift took place. Strongholds of darkness were torn down. God’s Presence was increasingly experienced on a level that rivaled ancient encounters in the Garden. Reflecting on this wondrous reality, the Apostle Paul boldly declared: “We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s Glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).

It appears that many are looking for more… driven by concerns about darkness and fear. They’re not cognizant of the ever-increasing glory. They’re blind to the fact that they’re actually living in the age that the prophets longed for. Everybody keeps asking when we’re going to experience God’s Glory? Not realizing that the day of the Lord’s Presence has already begun. Jesus said, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the Glory of God?” Therefore if we, who believe; would only open up our hearts, we would finally discover the desire of the ages.

Just look into the eyes of Jesus… and there you will find the knowledge of the Glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6).

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.

The Kingdom Results

The Apostle Paul said, “The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17).

God’s Kingdom establishes the Christian heartbeat! Some would say its the heart that produces righteousness, but its the Kingdom. The rule of God, governed by the Holy Spirit, produces God’s righteousness, peace and joy. Some would say peace is the result of things going well for us, but actually peace is the Presence of a Person – the Governor of God, Holy Spirit. Joy is not released by a merry heart as much as it is flowing from a governed heart. If people only understood this, they would make every effort to welcome the Kingdom of God into their lives. They would, in fact seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness (Mt. 6:33).

When Philip the evangelist preached Christ in Samaria, “there was great joy in the city” (Acts 8:8), because the Kingdom was being established.

Today we need such a manifestation of the Kingdom of God in our cities. We need Kingdom results; therefore we, as God’s people must sow Kingdom values. The message of the Kingdom of God was Jesus’ message (Mt. 4:17). It applies not only at the individual level, but also at every level of society. Business, Media, Government, Religion, Education, Family, Arts and Science all represent realms of cultural influence that have become the creative flow of society. The key to transforming our culture is to demonstrate the Kingdom in every sphere of societal influence. It would take the kind of faith that recognizes Jesus Christ as Lord – above all and esteems Him in every sphere of life. But isn’t that what we are called to do!

  • To practice justice, mercy, love, faithfulness, favor and blessing.
  • To disciple, teach and baptize or immerse the culture in Truth.
  • To believe, heal, raise the dead and cast out darkness on every level.

The Church is the habitation of God by His Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:22). Kingdom results come from Kingdom Ambassadors! It takes no building, no choir, no budget; but it does require what Kingdom Ambassadors carry… glory (Col. 1:27), faith (Heb. 11:6) and obedience (Mt. 25:34-36). And the awareness that Christ is always with us even to the end of the age (Mt. 28:20)

Kingdom results come from Kingdom Ambassadors!

Opening Blind Eyes

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14)

How do you see things that are invisible? The Bible says that spiritual things must be spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:9-16). And I must say, there has never been a time in history when we have needed spiritual discernment more than today. The key is to set our eyes on Christ and be led by the Holy Spirit. Our affections will follow our focus and our lives will conform to what we set our eyes to behold!

Spiritual Eyes:

Remember when the Apostle Paul was commissioned to preach the Gospel, he heard Jesus say “open the eyes of the blind… in order to turn them from darkness to light” (Acts 26:17-18). Obviously, this was not a question of opening physical eyes, but spiritual eyes. His calling was to preach in such a way that people would understand the Word of God, receive forgiveness of sins and find the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. He prays for the Christians in Ephesus, that the eyes of their spiritual understanding may be enlightened to know things that can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:17-18).

Jesus’ mission was also to open the eyes of the blind. When He quoted Isaiah, He said the Holy Spirit had anointed Him, “to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind” (Lk. 4:18). Jesus did heal blind eyes, but His greatest mission was to transform how people saw (Mt. 4:17). The most important healing comes when a person turns to the Lord and a veil of darkness is lifted from their spiritual understanding (Jn. 3:3)(2 Cor. 3:16-17). Jesus tells us we must be born again… from above!

Blinded by the Devil:

Many people do not understand the meaning of the Gospel; not because they lack intelligence, but because they have no spiritual perception. They are spiritually blind in the sense that they do not understand spiritual things. They are blinded by the god of this age, the devil (2 Cor. 4:4). They may have physical sight. They may have intellectual sight. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have spiritual sight. They can have perfect “vision” and be blind when it comes to spiritual things. We can be very intelligent, but unable to make sense of spiritual Truth. But when your spirit is revived, you have the capacity to see God and see yourself in relation to His purpose and Glory.

The Church Must Begin to See:

It really is time that the Church begins to see spiritually and live according to the Truth of the Bible. First, we must set our own eyes upon Christ and second, we must begin to fervently intercede for our regions. That the veil of spiritual darkness will begin to be lifted off of those who are lost and blind in unbelief. We have thought for too long that if we could just get the world to agree with us, things would change. But in fact things remain unchanged, because real transformation can only come when we set our eyes upon Christ and He captures our affections.

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