Believer Becomes a Disciple -
many that have received the gift, minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God
many that have received the gift, minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God
The Jesus Cycle of Ministry
The Bible reveals that certain key events ushered in the power of God into the world through the Lord Jesus. I believe that the Bible revealss that we who are born of His Spirit as new creations of the Lord will replicate these same patterns in a very real way. Our replication of these surely may not be as profound or dramatic as Jesus himself experienced. Because we are still largely limited flesh bound human beings. We still manifest too much our common Adamic inheritance and having lived most of our lives under the domination of the god of this world and the reasoning system of the world.
The Traditional religious world, however, tends to discount any such parallels to God within us just as the religious world of Jesus' time accounted it blasphemy for a man (Jesus) to be made to be made equal to God. For centuries of religious life church authorities had no interest in promoting the divine potential of the individual believer who is crucified in the likeness of his death and has already risen with him in Glory and has already been placed above all things in this world in Christ Jesus.
The apostle urges believers to pray to have their eyes enlightened with respect to this amazing potentiality of the inheritance of the children of light. Reading the letter to Ephesus we find in Chapter 1 verses 18 to 22, Paul tells us to pray to have enlightenment on three specific large questions, "the hope of his calling;" "the riches of his glorious inheritance to us;" and "what is the exceeding greatness of his power given to us." The chapter concludes with the nature of the church placed, over all things as as rulership and power. As yet Christians simply don't know how much has been promised and much can be accessed of the divinity of Christ within each of us individual believers.
We know that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The virgin birth was a supernatural birth. It was not a natural process of the flesh but a supernatural work of the Spirit. The manifestation of the Christ in human flesh begins with a divinely planted "seed" which gives rise to a "miraculous conception." After this "conception," Mary brings forth her first born and in the fullness of time, the life of Jesus is revealed in the world.
When a sinner comes to the knowledge of Christ as a savior; repents and asks God to make a new life available to them, a parallel miracle occurs. The Holy Spirit conceives and emplants a whole new Holy and Spiritual life within the flesh of a mortal human being. Regardless of the measure of our sins and shortcomings in previous times, even though our sins were as red as scarlet they become purged and made pure as that of a virgin. We are all part of a fallen world, typified by the "barn manger" and so the divine is again revealed in the presence of beasts and uncleanness. We were born in a corrupted form and are being raised incorruptible. We ascend from Glory to Glory as Christ is fully being revealed in us.
Becoming a Christian, therefore is not just about believing something and judging it to be true! This would be merely intellectual assent. But in reality becoming a believer, or "coming to Christ" is a miraculous new life which has been birthed in the Spirit. It is a new birth from an incorruptibe seed and becomes in an instant a new creation. The old ceases to be and the new commences.
Angels rejoice and give praise at the birth of Christ (the holy child)
angels surround the place of the birth of the infant Jesus Christ. They
rejoiced and gave praises to God. The Glory of the Lord shown forth
in the heavens. The family of God is portrayed as universal in nature,
it spans heaven and earth. Its kingdom includes heavenly beings and
human earthly beings. Heavenly events touch happenings upon the earth,
earthly events impact things which happen in heaven. The "cloud of witnesses"
described in the epistles of Paul, may probably refer to angels who
continue to applaud the victories and glories of salvation as they impact
humans who find their place in the family of God.
Jesus Grows in wisdom and stature and in the fear of the Lord.
The life of the young Jesus is described with little detail. In the briefest description we read that he grew up in the fear and admonition of the lord and grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. Jesus is aware of his divine calling though his ministry is not yet fully activated. He works and learns the Torah, the laws of Moses as any other Jewish youth.
Each believer has a Spiritual infancy, and grows in subsequent levels of maturity. In the spiritual sense there is no set number of years which allow the foundations of wisdom and understanding. Many never leave the stage of novice. It is the availability of Spirit and Truth which (by the Active Force of The Spirit of Grace) allows growth in wisdom and authority to occur. (If you continue in my word then are you a true disciple, and you shall know the truth; and the truth will make you free. John 8:31) The word of God is the guide to wisdom and understanding; the Spirit upon the Word is life and power as it is spoken into our inner Spirit.
Baptized by the Holy Spirit
The gospel account begins with Christ having reached maturity at approximately 30 years of age. It is then we read of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river by John the Baptist. What was Jesus doing the day before, the week before, the year before? Probably finishing jobs in the carpenter's shop in Nazareth; attending the synogogue; studying the word; and praying to the Heavenly Father. The time came, however, when he was revealed to Israel. This time was precisely in keeping with God's prophetic timetable. With Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, the Spirit came to rest and remained upon Jesus. This is when his ministry and teaching began. The Spirit of God descends from above, the voice of the Father proclaims, "This is my beloved, in whom I am well pleased."
God's time we may partake in the same experience which Jesus modeled.
Holy Spirit baptism causes the Holy Spirit to infill and empower
the believer. This experience is called "the promise of the Father",
after receiving the Holy Spirit's baptism we become "Witnesses of
Christ." Christ begins to take those things which are his and reveal
them to each of us as we seek him in fellowship. The father is well
pleased to call us into his family. We are the latter bourne of many
brethren. The Father in heaven has many great plans and many precious
promises which he is anxious to deliver to his sons and daughters.
Tempted in the wilderness
Until the Holy Spirit Baptism we have not really been aware of the two Spiritual Kingdoms which stand continuously opposed to one another, but now after this initiation into the Spiritual kingdom and the "Mind of Christ" we now sense that the world is a spiritual place, and that thoughts and actions of others are inspired by spiritual influences and are not just "our thoughts." Satan who has possessed human flesh and human institutions and nations since the fall, is not willing to let go of his influence on the life and thoughts of human beings easily. Jesus experiences the temptation of Satan.
In his temptation Jesus, received temptation on three levels, of the flesh (physical), the soul (personal) and the spiritual ( Described in the apostle John's epistle as the Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the eyes, and the Pride of Life.)
Jesus response to each temptation was the Word of Scripture to anwer the voice of the tempter: He was tempted through appetites and responded, "Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." He was tempted in the soul or ego when offered fame, fortune and power, and responded, "You shall worship the Lord only and him only shall you serve." He was tempted in the Spirit when told that he could exercise his God-given inheritance for vain reasons, and responded, "You shall not put the Lord thy God to the test."
are no threat to the kingdom of darkness until we have been born of
the Spirit and Baptized in the Spirit. Being religious offers no
threat to the kingdom of darkness. Satan is religious too and in fact
and religiosity. Satan's kingdom is terribly at risk when a human knows
his inherited rights in Christ. Jesus said, as I am so are you in this
world! (1 John 4:17) For this reason there are very dramatic attacks
which are leveled against believers who begin to know about the power
through the Spirit was victorious in great trials,
Jesus returned from the wilderness experience not weakened and discouraged but "full of the Spirit and power." Victorious in great trials, refined, the man of God is prepared for ministry; he is thoroughly prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21)
Ministry is enabled through the anointing of the Holy Spirit
In Luke's gospel Chapter 4, we are shown Jesus announcing the whole purpose of his ministry to the lost, the bruised and the needy of this world. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for He has anointed me -to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (the Lord's favor.)
This proclamation of ministry defines completely the purposes for which Jesus Christ was called. The same declaration may be claimed by every believer. This is a stark contrast to human religious tradition. Every redeemed soul is called to the same potentiality, the same anointing, the same ministry which is to be performed by the same unction or anointing of the same Holy Spirit. This kind of ministry is absolutely impossible except for the empowerment which comes from God through the His Spirit. In our own natural abilities and strength all we are able to do is to discuss concepts of ministry and the nature of God, as a theological concept. In the anointing we become as He was in this world! This is where true ministry lies, not in services and rituals conducted in church buildings but in the power of God to impact lives whether in or out of a house of worship or any kind of building.
is described as continually seeking the father in the most intimate
way in a kind of fellowship which was personal and empowering. This
is where the power came from; This is where the revelation came from;
This is where the direction came from; This is where the authority came
from; This is where the strength came from. This is where we who are
seeking need to seek more. This is where we who are without power need
to find our source of power and authority. Without relationship in the
secret place of the most high we can have no hope at all in doing the
works of God. For in the most basic of understanding we have got to
know that we can not do the works of God. Only Christ can empower and
direct those works.
Before anything like revival can happen in the Christian world, we as individuals have got to come alive in Christ. The "waste places" of human life and thought have got to be restored and rebuilt to make them a habitation for the life of God to make them flourish and bear fruit.
The soul thirsts or longs for various things. Most of these things have no bearing on the Kingdom of God or His righteousness. These things are the pleasures and longings of the heart of man. We long for human treasures and human pleasures we do not seek for the life of God. It is the grace of God which can turn our hearts again to Him. Until we esteem the life and reproach of the "life of Christ" more highly than the pleasures of this world and its lusts and pleasures we have not crossed the river into the land of fulfillment and of promise which are in Christ. Friendship with Christ is enmity to the world and friendship with the world is enmity with Christ. The meditations and treasures of our hearts can be focused on transient treasures or eternal treasures. The abiding in Christ which brings the Spiritual life is an unmet task in all but a few in the Christian world today.
on The Word
We can not meditate on the word of God if we do not know what that word may be. Part of discipleship is to learn the word and the Way of God. This requires that at some time we have to journey into that place of understanding and revelation that is written in the Word, from Genesis to Revelation.
The Scriptures are en empowering force and also allow the voice of God to speak to our hearts. It is the Word speaking to our hearts which defines meditation. Yes, we can also have meditations on any number of things, but when we see and hear things which are worldly, vain, sensuous or profane, we can be sure that God is not speaking to us but the spirit of the world, and the god of this world.
"My sheep hear my voice, and another they will not follow." (John 10:4)
To have an active spiritual life as Jesus did. The meditations of our hearts must be adjusted significantly. We need to address the issue of double mindedness which is discussed in the epistle of James. Double minded Christians do not receive things from God (of God.) The Christian who is not different from the world in thoughts, beliefs or attitudes is not the kind of Christian that Jesus encouraged us to become.
We have a benchmark or a high standard to conform to it is the fullness of the stature of one man, he is Jesus Christ. God grant us grace to understand and to know what is the greatness of his power to us which believe to empower us to become sons of God, having the same mind which was in Christ, having hearts which are ever turned toward the kingdom of the heavens.
makes arrogant, love edifies."
As many that have received the gift,
minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the Grace of God
© Charles Pinkney, 1995 - 2018