Posts Tagged ‘New Testament’

Revealing His Glory

“This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed His Glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him” (Jn. 2:11).

“…a cloud came and overshadowed them: and they were fearful as they entered the cloud.” (Lk. 9:34)

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My Glory” (Jn. 17:24)

Jesus Reveals His Glory:

What are we seeing in these verses? What is it inside of us that shifts when we truly see the radiating splendor of God? Make no mistake the Glory of God is the key to igniting faith in the human heart!

In the New Testament we see that Jesus revealed His Glory in four major ways:
1. through His signs and wonders (Mt. 11:3-6),
2. through His revelation of the Father’s heart (Jn. 5:19-23),
3. through His transfiguration (Mk. 9:2-8)
4. and finally through His cross and resurrection (Rom. 6:4).

To behold His Glory was to see the essence of who He was… the express image of the Father - His Person (Heb. 1:3). Truly He upholds all things by the Word of His Power; and by way of His completed work in the Earth, He has earned His place at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

Beholding Transforms:

Beholding the Glory revealed in Christ affected His disciples so significantly that the Scripture tells us they couldn’t even talk about it (Lk. 9:32-36). That revelation became the birth place of their faith and all they understood was that they could never be satisfied without it.

Notice this rather odd request by James and John: they wanted to sit in His Glory, one of them at Jesus’ right hand and the other at His left… for all of eternity (Mk. 10:35). They were seeing something that transformed their understanding so deeply that they wanted it for all time.

Ah, But There’s More!

I believe that the more we see of the Glory, the more we want to see. It is inexhaustible! We see so much in Scripture, yet the Apostle John wrote, “there are also many other things Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (Jn. 21:25). Christ reveals the Father’s splendor, character and purpose that can never be seen any other way (2 Cor. 4:6). The lame, walking and the deaf, hearing; sickness and diseases being healed without the influence of a doctor; and demons, fleeing with only a word. The dead, raised at the sound of His voice and the living, transformed at the touch of His hands. How, you might ask? He continues to identify the Glory as the real source of His power (Jn. 11:40).

He would still say to us today, “if you will only believe you will see the Glory of God”.

John was clear about the impact of beholding His Glory… it was the reality of walking in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). Peter was clear about the experience… “joy unspeakable and full of Glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). Paul even prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened to the riches of the Glory of the inheritance among the saints, in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:17). Does it not make you yearn like Moses…

“Lord – Please, show me Your Glory!” (Exod. 33:18)

Prophetic Preaching

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent Me.” (John 7:16)

Jesus consistently preached under the anointing of God, as we see in the above verse. Yet the key to being prophetic is that Jesus’ message carried the weight of supernatural creativity, breakthrough and fulfillment.  A prophetic preacher may use the gifts of teaching, exhortation and prophecy in a variety of ways; but the power of the message itself, will shift the atmosphere (Rom. 1:16-17). That is what makes it prophetic!

“And take the … sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God” (Eph 6:17)

Prophetic Preaching contains a ‘Now’ Word:

The prophetic gift is employed to make known the thoughts, purpose and intent of God. Prophetic preaching has a sense of immediacy. In the New Testament, the Greek word ‘rhema’ primarily refers to the spoken word that carries power in its ‘utterance’, whereas ‘logos’ primarily refers to the written word, the logic of God or His thought process. Prophetic teaching and preaching releases the rhema of God’s “Spirit-breathed”, current Word. It is designed to reveal the Father’s “Now Word”, making known something that if believed would come forth. It answers the question, ‘What is God’s Word to us in this season?’

Example: The Apostle Paul said, “the word is near you even in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith that we preach” (Rom. 10:8). He goes on to say that if you act on it by confessing and believing, you will be saved… You will be transformed!

What happens in prophetic preaching is that we are drawn into an experience by the conviction of the Holy Spirit as well as the will to believe and step into its power. It sets a Kairos moment… the opportune time for change and transformation. Prophetic preaching opens doorways into heavenly blessing, revelation and assignments.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Cor 2:13)

Based on Spiritual Revelation:

Prophetic preaching is inspired by the Holy Spirit through the means of revelation. The word ‘revelation’ in the New Testament Greek, apokalupsis, means an ‘uncovering’ or ‘disclosure’. In other words, God is revealing something by His Spirit that is not known by natural means… its a mystery. There is often a call to action or a need to respond and activate the Word received by the hearer. This is why we place a high priority on seasons of prayer or altar times, to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts when the atmosphere has been shifted in a room or auditorium. This may be to align one’s heart or actions, to pay attention to a timely warning or submit to guidance. When we do not position ourselves for God’s present or future plans, we often miss our opportunity. The consistent results of the prophetic instructions of God are for transformation and breakthrough.

Notice these two examples:

  1. “The children of Issachar, who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel should do… and all their brethren were at their command” (1 Chron. 12:32)
  2. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Mt. 7:28-29)

Prophetic Preaching Carries Authority:

This authority is not based upon the preacher’s gift, but on the basis of being entrusted with a message from God Himself. Throughout Scripture, the instruction given through a prophet brought breakthrough for God’s people. This included strategic guidance in a time of warfare (2 Chron. 20:14-17), a word of action in crisis (Gen 41:25-46) or a specific declaration of breakthrough (2 Kings 7:1-2). Prophetic preaching is of great value when a shift is needed to bring the Kingdom of God and push back against the darkness that floods our vision.

Empowering the Church:

“Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.”  (Acts 15:32)

The outcome of prophetic preaching, just as with all prophetic ministry, is that the Church and its leadership is built up, strengthened and empowered. (1 Cor 14:3-4)

At His Footstool

Ominous Sunset

Let the Heavens Open Wide

Psalm 110 is the most frequently quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament. In this Psalm we get a picture of God as the Authoritative Father (Jehovah) speaking to His Son Jesus with crisp prophetic resolve…

“Come have a seat My Son, while the plans We worked out together before the creation of the world, reach their fulfillment”.

You might ask… why, out of all the ancient promises, did the first disciples turn to this text time and time again? The answer comes out of the fact that this Scripture gave them their purpose. This one text spoke more clearly than any other about how they understood themselves. They saw God at work in them… His Church – “Zion”. They embraced their assignment as God’s “rod of strength”; sent with a task and an anointing of power… “till I make Your (Jesus’) enemies Your footstool”.

Psalm 110 pinpoints the single greatest reality unfolding around us today…

the Kingdom of Heaven is forcefully advancing and men of violence are laying hold of its treasure (Mt 11:12).

Its drama helps us interpret both the front page of our newspapers as well as the frontlines of our battle. It reinforces the idea that people and events everywhere are being woven into the Kingdom plans for planet Earth… whether they know it or not. No matter how far from the center of God’s heart we may seem to be, Christ’s influence has its grip on every human domain. History is not moving in a vacuum; because God has a purpose in these last days to release an army of Saints to call out in the streets.

At “His footstool” we can watch history pursuing one increasing priority; not to have more church buildings or religious meetings… but to see God’s Son “rule in the midst of His enemies!” The enemies of Christ will fall, they will become the footstool beneath His feet and life upon this planet will change.

The Apostle John wrote, “…the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev 11:15).

Spirit of the Age

You are invited

The word “another” in the New Testament is translated from two different words in the Greek. They are similar and yet very different. One is allos, which expresses merely a numerical difference. It literally means “another of the same kind”. For example… a second apple would be another apple, but it would be the same kind – both are apples. The other Greek word that is translated “another” in the English is heteros. It means “another of a different kind”. An orange; for example, would be another fruit of a different kind from the apple. Its basic nature is different, even though it is in the same group with other fruits.

So what’s the thought here?

Jesus makes a big deal out of this concept when He defines our calling to become His disciples.  “And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord suffer (wait for) me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, follow Me and let the dead bury their dead.” (Mt 8:21-22)

At first glance this would seem to be a strange reply. A person could come away with the idea that Jesus was a bit demanding. This man was a disciple of Jesus; not one of the twelve, but he certainly had potential… didn’t he? He was called by the Lord to follow, but was unsure in the immediate future that he wanted to see the impact of Christ’s teaching in his own life, family and community. He felt unable to commit to follow the Lord “at once”, or at this “opportune time”. He felt it was more important to bury his father; who many scholars believe, may not have even been close to death yet. His dedication to Jesus Christ was not great enough to walk away from the cultural responsibilities of his personal life. He was not free to commit.

After all, what would the neighbors say about him not being there to bury his father?

James and John walked away from the life they had as fishermen, to begin a new life with Jesus (Mt 4:21-22); but this man could not. He was a disciple of “another” (heteros) kind. He probably felt justified in his reluctance to follow the Lord. His reasoning was bound to his values and those values were set by natural realities, not Jesus’ invitation. He could justify staying at home and fulfill his duties there and still serve the Lord in some way.

He did not realize, he was enslaved by a “spirit”.

What this helps us to see is that often demonic spirits do not work to get you to reject the Lord. What they tend to do is enslave you to a lower level of discipleship than what God has called you to attain. Jesus tells us, “strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Lk 13:24).

Remember Gates hold authority in Scripture.

The strait gate is the entrance; where a threshold of personal authority and agreement must be stepped over or broken through, in order for us to reach that higher calling… that opportune time in Christ. Many individuals sense their invitation to experience a closer walk with the Lord, but find they are not able to break free from the spirit of the age. Wow, that is an important word, because it tells us of a limitation that is often hidden in our soulish desires and cultural allegiances. The dedication and commitment to the Lordship of Christ will not be great enough to make the transition.

They want to and they seek to enter in, but are unable. They don’t realize a spirit has enslaved them to a lower form of following… “at a distance”.

This “spirit of the age” must be broken.

If we are not guarding our commitment to Christ, stretching our spiritual muscle and growing in our knowledge of Him, we can find ourselves seduced by this spirit of the age. In a media driven nation like America, this is an easier thing to fall into than we would like to believe. I am convinced (as are many) in our conservative Church culture that our lifestyles do not reflect a truly Biblical world view.

The Apostle Paul said this would be based upon the spirit of the age blinding people’s minds through unbelief, so that they do not comprehend the glory in the face of Jesus (2 Cor 4:4-6). Its not a new thing at all; in fact, he also gave this warning to the Church of Galatia, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another (heteros) gospel” (Gal 1:6).

This “another gospel” carries the seductive spirit of compromise and will cause you to feel you are doing fine on your present level of commitment and growth. You may never hear yourself say “I do not need to grow spiritually”. It may be that you just lose that fire in your belly… the hunger is gone. Maybe you intend to commit more someday, follow through with that call sometime, but right now your life is just too full to earnestly seek after God. This spirit will lull you to sleep and make you unable to follow God’s original call upon your life. And it does become stubborn.

Breaking free requires radical repentance and fasting!

Radical repentance and seasons of fasting are often needed, to reveal the chains and crush their hold around our ankles. In order to believe the Word of God, we must capture every thought and renew the mind with Truths that will set us free to live for Him and commit to Him. This is the Spirit of Life in Christ that brings joy and peace.

Savage Wolves

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” (Mt. 7:15-16)

The Devil has always tried to use people to bring division into the Congregation of the Saints. There is nothing new about this problem. In fact, James addresses the issues of wrong attitudes and a “spirit of strife” (Jms. 3:14). From the earliest inception of the New Testament Church, we hear the Apostle Paul warn about savage wolves who would be raised up even among the flock… Paul says, “savage wolves will come in among you” (Acts 20:28-31). It is going to happen… so we must not be taken by surprise.

Watch for the Spirit of Strife!

Be on guard for spirits of strife, argumentative people and division. Church leaders have always had to correct people who acted under the deceiving grip of evil intent. This is what we commonly define as a “spirit”… its often motivated by fear or offense and demonic in nature. Unfortunately the fruit of such a spirit is destructive beyond measure. It is the source of much division and strife in the Church today.

In respect to people being used by the Devil to bring division, James says, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking (strife) in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth” (Jms. 3:14). The phrase “bitter envy” is very important. It is the Greek word zelos, which refers to a fierce desire to promote our own idea to the exclusion of others. The words, self-seeking or “strife”- eritheia which in the Greek means rivalry or ambition, can be translated as a party spirit or a divisive spirit. In verse 15 we see James expound upon the motivation for such a divisive heart toward leadership as he tells us, the wisdom that is creating strife is “…earthly, sensual (and) demonic. Note that this is not “wisdom” at all, but a deceptive perversion of wisdom that comes from an evil intent. These are the devil’s schemes and resources… and they come from the kingdom of darkness.

Stay Free!

Jesus said “the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (Jn. 14:30).

Of course, we know Jesus was speaking here of His betrayal and excruciating death at the cross… but the principle is real and true! We must learn to keep our hearts free from all strife and offense, because it causes us to miss the will of God for our lives. The Apostle Paul said, “avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:23-25). If our hearts stay free of strife and offense, the door stays closed to the Devil so he cannot disrupt our relationships. We need to know that when we allow a spirit of strife to operate inside ourselves, our home, business or church; it won’t be too long until people who used to love each other are standing in opposition to each other. That is the way the spirit of strife operates, and that is the fruit it produces. In the end it produces death to relationships and bitterness beyond the walls of our fellowships.

What To Do:

So the key question is – “What are we willing to do?” Because it takes a certain amount of initiative and boldness to be a peace maker! Just read this difficult admonition:

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple”. (Rom. 16:17-18)

I want to point out that Paul says, these are people with smooth words and flattering speech! His command is to mark them… to avoid them and to give no opportunity for them to have a voice in the congregation. Is there hope for restoration? Perhaps, but not without true discipline and integrity among our leadership. Only then, will we see the spirit of strife removed from our fellowships.

An offense is a demonic trap – Be careful that you do not fall into it!

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