Posts Tagged ‘Philip’

Disciple Shift

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” – Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” – Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” – Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (Jn. 1:47-49)

Although I have been a Christian for over 30 years, I am still coming to terms with what it means to have a Kingdom perspective. It is not a religious worldview. It is the worldview of being a royal son of God. I want to see myself the way Christ saw Nathanael, as a man without guile or deceit, as a true spiritual disciple waiting for the King. I have come to understand that mental barriers are bigger than natural barriers when it comes to stepping out of the shadows of orphan-hood. Jesus has seen us, knows us and is calling us out of the shadows and into the Kingdom of His love and power. It is time to make the “disciple shift” – and truly learn from Him!

A Disciple Called Nathanael:

I love the story of Nathanael (John 1:43-51). In order for Nathanael to follow Jesus, he had to undergo a change of perspective. He had to shift his thinking from a traditional Jewish worldview to the Kingdom perspective that Jesus demonstrated and taught. Yet, not only was Nathanael successful, but he would experience the greatest move of God of all time. He became a passionate disciple of Christ and Apostle in the Early Church. He listened to the teachings and experienced the ministry of Jesus, watched the healing and participated in the miracles. This was the Kingdom of God with power and it was rushing in to sweep him up into a lifelong commitment of fresh perspectives. I believe that Nathanael’s story can be seen as a prophetic picture of where the Church needs to go today… from religious tradition to Kingdom discipleship.

Four Key Shifts:

  1. From Servants to Sons: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (Jn. 1:12)
  2. From Future to Present Kingdom: “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn. 1:45)
  3. From Human Reasoning to Spiritual Reality: ”Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Jn. 1:46)
  4. From Broken Dreams to Open Heavens: “Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And He said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn. 1:49-51)

A Triumphant Reality:

Shaking ourselves free of the former perceptions of tradition and religiosity causes us to rise from the shadow of Nathanael’s fig tree and become Kingdom Disciples. Jesus tells His Church to once again “Come and See!” We are not of those who shrink back to lame formulas without power, because we are Kingdom People (Heb. 10:39). We have shifted the way we think, because we have experienced the love of God and been washed in the Blood of Christ Jesus. He has made us kings and priests to God the Father (Rev. 1:5-6) and our experience with the Holy Spirit has clothed us in the Glory poured out at Pentecost (Lk. 24:49). We do not need to live with only the dreams of the past or hopes of a future move of God. We can live in a present move of God!

These things are available to Kingdom Disciples. We do not need to wait for revival, but we do need to change the way we think. Revival is here – we live beneath an open heaven! This is our triumphant inheritance through Christ!

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)

New Levels of Faith

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” – Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” – Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” – Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (Jn. 1:47-49)

Faith requires fresh perspective… unobstructed vision and values. Although I have been a Christian for over 30 years, I am still coming to terms with what it means to have a Kingdom perspective. It is not a religious worldview. It is the worldview of being a royal son of God. I want to see myself the way Christ saw Nathanael, as a man without guile or deceit, as a true spiritual disciple waiting for the King. I have come to understand that mental barriers are bigger than natural barriers when it comes to stepping out of the shadows of orphanhood. Jesus has seen us, knows us and is calling us out of the shadows and into the Kingdom of His love and power.

A Disciple Called Nathanael:

I love the story of Nathanael (John 1:43-51). In order for Nathanael to follow Jesus, he had to undergo a change of perspective. He had to shift his thinking from a traditional Jewish worldview to the Kingdom perspective that Jesus demonstrated and taught.Yet, not only was Nathanael successful, but he would experience the greatest move of God of all time. He became a passionate disciple of Christ and Apostle in the Early Church. He listened to the teachings and experienced the ministry of Jesus, watched the healings and participated in the miracles. This was the Kingdom of God with power and it was rushing in to sweep him up into a lifelong commitment of fresh perspectives. I believe that Nathanael’s story can be seen as a prophetic picture of where the Church needs to go today… from religious tradition to Kingdom discipleship.

Four Key Shifts:

  1. From Servants to Sons: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (Jn. 1:12)
  2. From Future to Present Kingdom: “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn. 1:45)
  3. From Human Reasoning to Spiritual Reality: ”Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Jn. 1:46)
  4. From Broken Dreams to Open Heavens: “Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And He said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn. 1:49-51)

A Triumphant Reality:

Shaking ourselves free of the former perceptions of tradition and religiosity causes us to rise from the shadow of Nathanael’s fig tree and become Kingdom Disciples. Jesus tells His Church to once again “Come and See!” We are not of those who shrink back to lame formulas without power, because we are Kingdom People (Heb. 10:39). We have shifted the way we think, because we have experienced the love of God and been washed in the Blood of Christ Jesus. He has made us kings and priests to God the Father (Rev. 1:5-6) and our experience with the Holy Spirit has clothed us in the Glory poured out at Pentecost (Lk. 24:49). We do not need to live with only the dreams of the past or faint hopes of a future move of God. We can live in this moment, confident of a present move of God! These things are available to Sons and Daughter, who have hearts that respond to the breath of heaven!

Wait for revival no longer… its in the heart of God’s Child! Revival is here – our triumphant inheritance through Christ!

Kingdom Disciples

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”  -  Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”  -  Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  – Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (Jn. 1:47-49)

Although I have been a Christian for over 30 years, I am still coming to terms with what it means to have a Kingdom perspective. It is not a religious worldview. It is the worldview of being a royal son of God. I want to see myself the way Christ saw Nathanael, as a man without guile or deceit, as a true spiritual disciple waiting for the King. I have come to understand that mental barriers are bigger than natural barriers when it comes to stepping out of the shadows of orphanhood. Jesus has seen us, knows us and is calling us out of the shadows and into the Kingdom of His love and power.

A Disciple Called Nathanael:

I love the story of Nathanael (John 1:43-51). In order for Nathanael to follow Jesus, he had to undergo a change of perspective. He had to shift his thinking from a traditional Jewish worldview to the Kingdom perspective that Jesus demonstrated and taught.Yet, not only was Nathanael successful, but he would experience the greatest move of God of all time. He became a passionate disciple of Christ and Apostle in the Early Church. He listened to the teachings and experienced the ministry of Jesus, watched the healings and participated in the miracles. This was the Kingdom of God with power and it was rushing in to sweep him up into a lifelong commitment of fresh perspectives. I believe that Nathanael’s story can be seen as a prophetic picture of where the Church needs to go today… from religious tradition to Kingdom discipleship.

Four Key Shifts:

  1. From Servants to Sons: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (Jn. 1:12)
  2. From Future to Present Kingdom: “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn. 1:45)
  3. From Human Reasoning to Spiritual Reality: ”Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Jn. 1:46)
  4. From Broken Dreams to Open Heavens:  “Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And He said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn. 1:49-51)

A Triumphant Reality:

Shaking ourselves free of the former perceptions of tradition and religiosity causes us to rise from the shadow of Nathanael’s fig tree and become Kingdom Disciples. Jesus tells His Church to once again “Come and See!” We are not of those who shrink back to lame formulas without power, because we are Kingdom People (Heb. 10:39). We have shifted the way we think, because we have experienced the love of God and been washed in the Blood of Christ Jesus. He has made us kings and priests to God the Father (Rev. 1:5-6) and our experience with the Holy Spirit has clothed us in the Glory poured out at Pentecost (Lk. 24:49). We do not need to live with only the dreams of the past or hopes of a future move of God. We can live in a present move of God!

These things are available to Kingdom Disciples. We do not need to wait for revival. Revival is here - we live beneath an open heaven!  This is our triumphant inheritance through Christ!

The 5-fold Minister

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-12)

The Apostle Paul believed in the government of the Kingdom of God as it rested upon the shoulders of Jesus (Isa. 9:6-7). His teaching promoted Jesus alone, as the Head of the Church and “under-shepherds” as gifted leaders, anointed to equip believers in each city or region. So if you were a Christian in a certain city or region in the Apostle Paul’s day, you would be expected to fellowship and become equipped by the 5-fold ministers around you. All the 5-fold ministers were to model a unity of Spirit even as they traveling across regions of the country and the believers were to embrace their gifts according to the measure of Christ’s anointing upon them. 

The Challenge of Kingdom Ministry:

I believe every disciple and every local body of believers need access to the 5-fold ministry in order to mature as spiritually healthy and effective Christians. Today our challenge is training that advances the Kingdom of God. Instead of receiving from all five ministries, we generally find only the leadership of one or two gifts carrying influence in the local body… for instance; the pastor led church, the teaching church or the evangelistic church. These groups might emphasize a balanced message, but they find themselves limited in their ability to release breakthroughs over their city or region. This is because Jesus has given “grace keys” to each of the 5-fold ministers individually and they are designed to equip and release authority in the spiritual realm (Mt. 16:19). Its the “Christ Anointing” that opens doors, breaks yokes and brings down spiritual strongholds over a vicinity. The corporate anointing that advances Kingdom authority has five keys or mantles… apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Any model of Church leadership will suffer when one gift is emphasized over all others.

The Apostle:

An apostle is one chosen and sent with a special commission. The 12 apostles chosen by Jesus were witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 1:15; 4:33), but there were many other true apostles (Acts 14:3-4; Rom. 16:7; 1 Cor. 15:5-7; Gal. 1:1 & 19). The ministry of an apostle includes planting new churches (1 Cor. 9:2; 1 Cor. 3:6), grounding the Church in truth (Col. 1:25), preserving unity in the Body (1 Cor. 3:3-5), laying foundations in the Church (1 Cor 3:10) and setting things in order (Titus 1:5). They are involved in opening spiritual doors and fostering a vision beyond the local congregation (2 Cor. 8), fathering new ministries (2 Tim. 1:6) and releasing unusual demonstrations of breakthrough such as miracles and signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12).

The Prophet:

The ministry of the prophet involves being “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21) in prophetic utterance, which can be:

  1. Predictive (Acts 21:10-11; 11:27-28)
  2. Directive (Acts 13:1-3)
  3. Corrective (Acts 15:22-23 & 27-32)

There is such a thing, however, as a false prophet (1 Jn. 4:1), and so God sets clear guidelines: Prophecies should be time-tested (Acts 11:28) and their words judged by church leadership (1 Cor.14:29). Any prophecy should be confirmed independently (2 Cor. 13:1) and should line up with Scripture, “the sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet. 1:19-21).

The prophet operates best in teamwork with the apostle, like we see in Paul and Silas. A prophet is not just someone with a prophetic anointing, but a recognized ministry to the Body at large. Scripture speaks of three levels of prophecy: the word of prophecy – limited to “strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3 & 31); the spirit of prophecy on a group (1 Sam. 10:10) and the ministry of the prophet (1 Cor. 12:28-29). All believers are encouraged to move in words of prophecy, but only a prophet should exercise the authority of predictive, directive and corrective prophecy and even then, only within clear protective guidelines.

The Evangelist:

The evangelist sees the harvest. They are ”soul-winners”, who preach good news and extend the influence of God’s Kingdom. This is primarily a stirring and awakening gift, but their unique anointing is in persuading the lost that they need a Savior. The ministry of Philip is a powerful example (Acts 8:5-40). They are co-workers with pastors and extensions of apostolic ministry as ground breakers (2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Thess. 3:2). Although they carry great influence in the harvest fields; because of how they see, they also are helpful in imparting evangelistic training to the Body of Christ over all. The ministry of an evangelist is often very effective in regional impact, deliverance and signs and wonders.

The Pastor:

The pastor is the carrier of cool water, that soothes the soul. Our Greek word for pastor, poimen means “one called to tend sheep or care for flocks” (1 Pet. 5:1-4; Jn. 21:15-17). Its interesting to note that, this word is used only in Ephesians 4:11. Elsewhere in the New Testament, other words are used: “shepherd”, “elder” and “overseer”. A pastor is not simply a leader over a local church, but has a Body-wide expression of ministry. As one of the five-fold ministry, a pastor is more accurately a “pastor of pastors” or a “pastor among elders” beyond the local body. A pastor’s emphasis in ministry is in relational networking. They are nurturing leaders, who offer healing, encouragement and comfort. Following the example of the Chief Shepherd (Jn. 10:1-16), a shepherd’s ministry is to feed (vs 9); protect (vs 12), guide (vs 3-4) and love (vs 15) the sheep.

Just to clarify, an elder is not simply someone older in the faith. The title ”elder” seems to focus on the 5-fold giftings with an emphasis on their functioning role of “shepherds” or ”fathers” to the Body (2 Jn 1; 3 Jn 1). “To the elders among you…Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers…” (1 Pet 5:1-2). 

The Teacher:

A teacher is not just someone who teaches; we are all encouraged to teach (Col. 3:16), but they are the ones who bring a standard of instruction to the Body at large. One such example is the Apostle Paul’s description of Apollos as a ”watering” ministry, for the purpose of stimulating growth (Acts 18:24-28; 1 Cor. 3:2-10). Teachers hold a high value on the accurate and practical ministry of rightly dividing the Word of God. They are establishers and strengtheners and carry a specific anointing for helping people become rooted and grounded in the Truth.

The Pattern Within the Early Church:

“So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed and fasted, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” (Acts 14:23)

We see that the pattern for Church government was to establish 5-fold ministry elders in every community of believers. We never see the language of one elder or the appointment of one superintendent over a people. There was accountability and strength as Christ governed His Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice, the freshly appointed elders were prayed and fasted over and then commended to the Lord in whom they had believed. Christ Jesus carries the authority of His Church and it is our responsibility to listen and trust His governing headship.

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