Why?

I saw this and loved it – I am (and probably always will be) a person who doesn’t go out of the way to be liked by all, so guess that explains it.

527F2B38-4FB1-4E55-B9B0-90DC2E41DEAE.jpg

Proverbs 29:25 says,

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

The Message has it like this:

The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.

How many people can you think of who have missed god because they needed the approval of man? A few biblical names come instantly to mind. Are you missing God and hitting man?

Grand Imam

I hadn’t ever met a Grand Imam before. However yesterday I did at the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. He was a great guy, very relaxed and welcoming of three weterners – I went with two Americans. In case you are wondering my understanding is that he is the spiritual leader of Islam in Pakistan.

The mosque here is the second largest in Pakistan with 200,000 people celebrating Eid there each year – in fact until relatively recently, 1986, it was the largest mosque in the world. It was built about 337 years ago over a period of just two years and is made almost entirely of only three basic materials. Right next door to it were the Sikh and Hindu temples We had a great time and I learnt a lot.

29032010244.jpg

29032010226.jpg

29032010229.jpg

29032010234.jpg

29032010238.jpg

Anointing of God – Part 4b

4. It is an Anointing of Gift.

1 Corinthians 12 v. 7

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Not just in the gifts of the Spirit but in the giftings of the Spirit. If you look at Romans 12 you will see the tremendous giftings of the Holy Spirit in the areas of teaching, prophecy, service and administration. This is where we need the anointing. I long for those gifts to be released in the people of God. It is not just preachers who need the anointing. In the areas of service and administration it is absolutely essential. There is a great danger that because we have a natural ability we think we have giftings; that because we have business or professional training we will operate in the kingdom of God on those grounds. There is nothing wrong with those things, but two things happen when they are used outside the anointing;

(i) natural giftings become dominative and quench the Spirit

(ii) there is actually a limitation in ministry instead of a growth in ministry. People who are highly trained or skilled at a human level tend not to see beyond their notepad when it comes to how to do things.

I work with computers and administrators and often the answer and the short-cut comes through the anointing of the Spirit instead of grinding through the system. This is so important in the area of gifting. In the book of Exodus, Judges or Joshua you will see that the man God raised up (Bezaleel, Aholiab, Joshua) was given a spirit of excellence, a spirit of wisdom so that they might achieve the required results. God chose craftsmen who were very highly skilled and he put them together to create the Tabernacle with its beautiful materials and precious gold. However, the inspiration, the oversight, the initiative and the way to achieve God’s will was not actually done by the craftsmen on their skill: God anointed people in the midst of them and that anointing took them through to fulfil the pattern given to Moses on the mountain.

One of the most frustrating things in the Church is that the local bank-manager must be the church treasurer and the local organist must be the church organist. Again and again those are the sticking points for the Holy Spirit in the church congregation. I have continually struggled to move beyond natural talent into divine anointing. Some people are afraid of that incase it might destroy their talent. Well, if it does that is what God wants to do, but it ought to enhance it and give different dimensions of insight to it because if we work in practical giftings without spiritual insight we will do and say some silly things.

The anointing of God means that you do not do things in the kingdom of God in the way you did them in the kingdom of men. The operational principles are entirely different. The physical skills may look the same, but the heart, spirit, attitude and spiritual nous is totally different. We need to be able to get through the garbage to the heart of the matter without wasting time and going around in endless discussions. Go for revelation instead of rationality. That is the thing about gifting. We need an anointing of that in the church, so that when we do anything we put our hands to it in the anointing of God.

Building the new wing to Drayton Hall we have had to tell architects and so on that we are not going to do it according to the world’s system, but how God says to do it. They want to to me paragraph by paragraph telling me what to do. We need that anointing in the Holy Spirit otherwise we will be dead. Even in our pastoral ministry with people we can see that they need a touch from God, but we can approach it in the strength of what we think needs done and get no resolution to the problem. We need God to anoint our spirit so that we can break through the sludge and come through the heart line how God does it. He does not do it the same way every time. The problem is that we are traditionalists and like computers once we have been through a situation if someone hits a button we remember how we did it last time and so we do it the same way again. We have to be open to the Holy Spirit to be shown step by step, not in unreality like people that sit around on cloud nine and never get anything done. I like to have my feet on the ground in reality getting things done.

James 2 v. 26

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

If we have an anointing of faith that works we are going to have anointing in these areas that makes our gift work.

When we were starting the King’s Coach we had a driver who rang me from a bus garage in Shoreham on the south coast while I was driving down the M6. He was in a panic and told me that the bus was in the garage and needed a new engine. He said he was driving along the road and everything went red and the engine stopped so he pulled up at this garage where they happened to have a new engine they could fit. Of course I said “NO” and pulled off the motorway to pray. I know nothing about engines but as I prayed the word “airlock” came into my mind so I rang the person back and spoke to the foreman of the garage and told him I had prayed and this word had come into my spirit and he said that it could be an airlock in the system as that would have the effect of stopping it all as if the engine had seized. I spoke to the driver again and asked him whether I had ever told him about filling the bus with water, and he said that I had and that he was to use a watering can not a hose so that the air could come out as the water went in. Then he confessed that he had filled it two days before with a hose. He was found-out by the Holy Spirit! From there we told the engineer to let the water and air out and to let me know if we needed a new engine. We didn’t. Without the insight and understanding of the Holy Spirit I would have taken a professional’s word for it and bought a new engine. I do use professionals in my life but I use them under the anointing of God and do not let them rule because they could kill the anointing.

All my drivers are to take practical care of the buses, but if they do it without the anointing, no-matter how much care they take something will go wrong. Another one of my drivers, also no-longer with the team, was very enthusiastic, but unanointed enthusiasm is a disaster. We came out of a meeting with all of our things on the coach ready to go home and the driver gets in and starts up and reverses right through the wall between the church and the new car dealership next door. Thankfully the wall had just been built the day before and the cement was not dry so it did very little damage to the bus but the whole wall collapsed. I left and did not ask the church for the bill (£6,000)! We need the anointing. So many stupidities are caused by a lack of spiritual anointing.

The greatest problem I have with team ministry is that I am often quicker doing the thing myself. Give me the people and I will delegate everything, but what bothers me is that having delegated it either takes forever or you wish you had done it yourself. The person is well-meaning and knows what to do but does not have the anointing that lifts the thing into another realm. It flows and then we do not go around in circles.

You may think that the anointing is about ministering (zapping) people in the power of the Holy Spirit, but if you do not have it in every other area then you do not have it there. The charismatic church is suffering from a lot of copy-cat ministry. People go to the conference, read the book and watch the video and because the person ministering did x, y and z, then they do it. The daft thing is that things do happen, not God-like things, but things do happen because people are daft. People are so gullible, and so there is a tremendous need for real anointing. The problem is that people do not know the difference, but at least you do. I have to be content with that. I go around a lot of meetings and with my biblical background and theological training and wonder where they got these fairy-tales from and how I am going to follow it! I do not get it all right, but some of the garbage you put up with at conferences is amazing. There is no general discernment. I used to just get up and walk out saying that there was no way I could follow that but I do not do that too much any more because I have become more content with my own anointing. Even if no-one else knows the difference, I do. I know when I am in the anointing and am content with that and so I leave the rest to the Lord.

There is a lot of talk about being on the edge of Revival and the people of God being chosen, but the church is in a desperate state. It is God’s desire to bring revival; that is my aim, that is the movement of the Holy Spirit, but let us be realistic and pray for God’s touch on all that we do.

1 Corinthians 9 v. 22

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

Paul said that not as a compromise. In the flesh it would have been compromise, but in the Spirit it is initiative. In the flesh that would be a statement of weakness, but in the Spirit it is wisdom because the principle in that text is not the man making himself nothing, it is the Holy Spirit anointing, finding what is suitable for the occasion, the people, the situation.

Throughout the Acts of the Apostles you will see that Peter and Paul lived through this anointing and it is amazing. I have the story of Eutychus in mind (Acts 20 v. 9 ff). While Paul was preaching Eutychus fell asleep, fell out of the window and died. The anointing told Paul what to do and gave him the ability to do it. He did not panic and in the anointing he knew what to do.

5. It is an Anointing of Speech.

1 Corinthians 2 v. 13

This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

That does not mean we go around speaking lots of jargon. Spiritual words are normal language cleaned of its foulness, restored in its meaning and empowered by the Holy Spirit so that as we speak into one-another’s life the words are like electric cable and the power of God flows down your words and embeds itself in people’s lives and hearts. We are only going to get that gift through the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever stood up to give a testimony or preach a sermon and said the words like a parrot and sounded dead? You have it all written down, but when you speak it out you get nowhere. The anointing does not depend on the rightness of words. The things James says about the tongue are terrible;

James 3 v. 5-6

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

If you were to preach on that in your church next Sunday the congregation would not react too favourably to the strength of that. It is the truth apart from the anointing of God.

Luke 4 v. 22

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

That does not mean that they were sentimental words. Jesus never spoke like that; when he wanted to say something, he made it perfectly clear and spoke the truth, but there was an anointing.

One thing that I have discovered about the anointing of speech is that even when we need to tell people off, if we do it with an anointing they will not receive it as a critical spirit but as discipline from the Lord. Anointing is not just to do with building one another up and encouraging. We need an anointing of speech because we need to speak into so many situations in different ways and sometimes we have to tell folks that they have got it wrong. If you do that when you are in the flesh and so is the other person and you will have a fireworks display. I believe in discipline, direction and leadership; that is where we need the greatest anointing.

There was a man who trained with me at Theological College who was a complete know-all. He was very religious and from a public school, and was in the debating society. Well, he put me in the debating panel at the University of Manchester against the Colleges of Oxford and we lost in the finals because of me; I made a joke in the middle. I can preach and I can proclaim, but I am no good at debating at all. Now that guy is a minister. If you got into a discussion with this guy you could not win. You may know you are right, but within a minute of starting to talk to such a person your spirit is deflated. There needs to be an anointing in your spirit because when you deal with people in the flesh you suffer for it.

We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We need him to give us the words appropriate to a situation. That is especially true when we get into the realms of argument or defence of the Gospel. Just to be flat-earth about it is no good.

6. It is an Anointing of Authority.

Matthew 28 v. 18

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority (exousia) in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus sends them out and the real implication is that he is sending them under the authority that they have been given in Jesus.

Where do we get authority? What gives a person authority. Both at a divine and human level, someone who never submits to authority will never have authority. That is abundantly clear in relation to God. We need to have a humble and contrite heart before the Lord. We develop such arrogant attitudes in relation to the Holy Spirit when we are saying “The Lord told me…and that is the end of it.”

This is as true in the natural as it is in the spiritual. I was talking to some businessmen recently, and it is true that there are some individuals that have an inherent ability to get other people to do what they want; there is something in their character that makes them able to exercise authority, not just because of their status or their professionalism.

Then in the spiritual the secret is an anointing of authority. God gives different measures of authority and the key to successful ministry is to know your measure of authority in the Lord and in my experience that is linked to your measure of faith.

Romans 12 v. 3

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

We need to know our measure of authority.

There are three things that happen;

(i) The devil continually attacks that centre in your being as he does not want you to feel that confidence.

(ii) Other people continually erode that centre in your being.

(iii) You yourself deny that centre in your being.

There is an absolute need to recognise that anointing of authority. I do not mean authoritarianism or heavy-shepherding. I do not mean that people should become like charismatic vegetables and should ring up to ask whether or not it is O.K. to go to Mallorca for their holidays! Real spiritual authority does not disable people in these ways, it enables them. It brings clarity and confidence, not a claustrophobic cloud. Neither is it the libertarian democratic spirit that has ruled in the traditional church for so long; “I’ll do it my way”. There is a balance. Authority properly expressed and exercised is a safeguard and a security. People working under their authority find their place in God and are secure. If you take that umbrella away there is something missing in their life, not because they are not called or not gifted, but because they are called to slot in at a specific level that requires the covering of the anointing of God. If it is not there all sorts of people suddenly feel insecure.

I can take myself as an example. With authority comes strength which can be over- or under-expressed. The continual struggle of a man in spiritual authority is how to work that anointing through in a proper way that enables things to happen. It is better for strength to be slightly over-expressed than under-expressed because at least the people working with you know what they are dealing with and we can modify it to the right place as we go on through the months and years. If it is the other way around, people do not know where they are at. It is better for you to came down a little than to try to come up.

I sometimes over-express and I am conscious of that because the goodness of the vision is at stake, your security is at stake, the operation of the ministry is at stake, the inspiration of the vision is at stake, the motivation of your own heart is at stake; there is too much at stake to be loose-ended.

The devil tries to attack this authority, people try to erode it and I deny it. My denying it has top do with my personality. People who do not know me think that I am strong, but the strength is something I have tried to explain. There are areas in my human nature where I am not strong. I struggle a great deal with my body because I have a lot of strength in my body and not a lot in my flesh. Another struggle I have is that I do not think that my ministry has any value. You put me behind a pulpit and I have a great time; I live for the Word of God. But sometimes when I go to places I get unsure about myself or I gat knocked a bit by other people. I have a real struggle inside myself about self-authentication in my ministry. If I am not careful through that inward struggle I could deny the authority God has given me, feel sorry for myself and actually deny the anointing God has given me.

These are six elements of practical anointing.

Anointing of God – Part 4a

We are now going to focus on the personal aspects of being anointed in the Spirit – the anointing in us. I have done a lot of thinking in preparation for this week, on the emphasis I want to make, but I want the Holy Spirit to speak personally, through illustration, through scripture so that we can actually explore the personal dimensions of the anointing of God.

Firstly I want to talk about the nature of the anointing in us. What kind of anointing is it? What are the characteristics of the anointing. This cannot be an exhaustive study, for to talk about every dimension of the anointing of God in action will take us a lot longer than time would allow. I will talk about the character of the anointing and then the operation of the anointing. We will go back to Exodus 30 which we have already looked at in regard to the anointing oil to.

The Character of the Anointing.

Exodus 30 v. 29
You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.

This is true whether it is people or things and it opens up a whole theme in the scriptures that I will talk about from a practical point of view.

1. It is an Anointing of Holiness.
The first thing is that the anointing God puts in us by his Holy Spirit is an anointing of holiness. That may surprise you because the word that goes with “anointing” is “power”, “movement” or “ability”. Most christians would not make the mental association with holiness as a living, dynamic word. We have gathered-up ideas about holiness that are really rather static and have to do with sacred places, sacred people and status, whereas the word “anointing” immediately makes us think of movement, life, power and ability. The word “holiness” makes us think of moral goodness and moral character,a much more static idea in our mentality although not in the Bible. This is the idea that I wish to dispel entirely. Holiness as a principle in the scriptures and in our ministry is one of the most dynamic, powerful and awesome realities of God.

It is an anointing. Whenever the anointing is spoken about in scripture this tremendous Hebrew word “KADOSH” is at the heart of it. It means “to be cut-off, or to be separate”. Not to be cut-off in a negative way, but separated to something in particular. The anointing of the Spirit of God changes the direction of my experience, life, ability, commitment, vision, living, acting, energy, and all that makes me an active minister of God. God changes the direction from a man-centred secular direction and addresses it in a totally different direction to the Lord. That is an anointing of holiness.

1. Holiness is a distinctive

Exodus 30 v. 26-29

“Then use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony, the table and all its articles, the lamp and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.”

Now, the whole thrust of these words reminds of the fact that, firstly, holiness is a distinctive. God is holy, and that simply means that he is different. God is not the same as us in our sin. God is not the same as a world touched by darkness, as a humanity blighted by disease, sickness, sorrow and sadness. Do you not think that in the world we live in we need a different kind of God? I do not need a God who is like me. I need a God who wants to make me like him, and he is different from what I am. J.B.Phillips wrote a book fulminating against liberal theology which brings God down to our level and our measure and called it “Your God Is Too Small”. God is great! There are so many things that flow from that distinctive.

“God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.”

God is truth. God is faithfulness. God is all of these things and from all of them flow the practical reality that the difference of God is expressed in his actions towards men. When the anointing of God touches us it makes us different, and everything that the holiness of God touches becomes different. That is a challenge, because there has to be a difference between the anointing of God and the ways of men. It is a distinctive. God says of the oil, of he tabernacle, of the priests and eventually of the whole nation that it is distinctively different.

I was recently at a church where the young people looked as if they had just rolled out of the nearest nightclub! We are in a charismatic age where we accept everything. I spoke to these young people in a way they had never been spoken to before because it just will not do. There has got to be a difference – a distinctive in how we should live and how we should be. I do not wish to turn the clock back to legalism, but I want to come into something that expresses something of what God has placed in us. That goes for our language, attitudes, how we keep our homes, cars and so on. There is a shoddiness about the people of God wit our attitude of “We are under grace now, not under law.” I am well aware of that, but that does not mean that we drop our standards to the levels of the world or below. Even the world gets all dressed-up for a night at something special, but we fall out of bed into the presence of God unshaven, unkempt an all the rest. Holiness is a distinctive.

Many people ask why there is no anointing, and often the answer is not just to do with the inner spirit, but with the outer man. People come to me with their bad breath or smelling of cigarettes, and even the world knows that kills you. The world is even mounting a campaign to preserve people in immortality, and here we are as the temples of the Holy Spirit treating our bodies like muck! This is not my opinion – it is written in the Word of God;

I Cor. 6 v. 19
“Do you not know that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honour God with your body.”

It is no wonder the Holy Spirit does not flow through us when we are such a mess! I would not stay in a dank room stinking of cigarette smoke, so how much more is that true spiritually? The Holy Spirit gets to our bad-breath and all the other things that go on in our lives, and will not go any further than that! Maybe we don’t usually think like that, but I am sure that is how God thinks, and that when we get our lives sorted then we get the anointing. There is a demand in anointing.

2 This brings me on to my second point. Holiness is a challenge.

We sing nice songs about this being holy ground, but if it really was holy ground some of us would drop down. You may protest that we are under the New Covenant. Precisely! Have you read it? Paul says;

II Cor 2 v. 15-16

“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other the fragrance of life.”

I would like to particularise that; holiness is death to that which does not belong to Christ, whether it is in you or anyone else.

Judges 13 v. 6

“Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t as where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me, “You will conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazarite of God from birth until the day of his death.”

The same thing was said about Samuel, but this is about Samson. He lost the anointing when he forgot that word, but when he lived in that word he had the anointing. The last anointing Samson ever got caused his own physical death and the death of everybody opposed to God, because in the midst of his cripplement and blindness this man born to holiness and backslidden from it, suddenly it dawned on him that he was not birthed for bondage nor blindness nor subservience to the enemies of God. I wonder if those prophetic words from his mother came back into his heart and he realised that he was birthed for greatness and for anointing in the power of God. Suddenly a surge went through him and his hair began to grow, and in the anointing of God he gripped the pillars and pulled it all down like a pack of cards. He became a Nazarite until the day of his death and fulfilled his own prophesy.

God does not want us to backslide, although we all do. But over the years we have to understand what the anointing is and the grip and the call of the anointing on our lives. I know what it is like; we all long to be free from our thoughts, our habits, our fleshly-ambition, and so on, but when God lays it on your life you know what Paul meant when he said; “I am constrained”. The vision of God puts a constraint on you and that is not an easy thing to live with. The holiness of God is a challenge. We need to understand that if we want the anointing we have to accept the challenge. It is only going to come to people who accept the prophetic reality of what they are.

3. The third thing I want to say is that holiness is a power

I Chron 13 v. 5-8

“So David assembled all the Israelites, from the Shihor River in Egypt to Lebo Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim. David and all the Israelites with him went to Baalah of Judah (Kiriath Jearim) to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord, who is enthroned between the Cherubim – the ark that is called by the Name.

They moved the ark from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets.”

Let us look at this first. David got it all wrong. He should never have been dancing like that before the Lord and before the ark (remember he danced naked before the Lord, and he should not have done that), and he should have carried it the way God had told him too. The Levites should have put their poles through the holes to carry it – it should not have been on an oxcart. We know that David’s heart was right, but his actions were all wrong. His desires were right, but what he did with them was wrong. How many times are our desires expressed in wrong actions? The result here was that two innocent men died – Uzzah and Ahio who were told to steady the ark. The ark had been moved many times in the wilderness and it never got into trouble because it was carried by men with poles. God had it carried like that or safety because the ark was never to drop since his name was on it and what was in it should never perish. The ark only disappeared under the judgment of God. Nobody else ever had power over the ark of the covenant. The Philistines took it and when the holiness of God came among the enemies of God they tried to get rid of it fast because of all that happened.
When Uzzah stretched out his hand to steady the ark, he died. Liberal Bible scholars who do not know the dynamic of the Holy Spirit dismiss these stories, but this has got to do with what God is. One day the world will know what God is because where the holiness of God reaches forth in power it saves many and destroys some. Holiness is power.

The holiness of God is there because it is the place of the presence of the Name and that is the entry-point for God into a world of bondage. The holiness of God drives out all evil, and that is what happened with Jesus; the demons couldn’t stand Him, the devil was overcome, sickness fled and unbelief was overpowered because in Him there was a direct anointing of the holiness of God. That is why Peter called him “the Holy One”. Holy, the Anointed One. What was released in Jesus was an anointing the world does not know unless God does it. That is why in the great Psalms and the great occasions when the people raised their voices there was this tremendous grip. It says;
“Let all the earth stand still”
It happened in the Acts of the Apostles when the power of holiness struck Ananias and Sapphira because they were in sin and lied to the Lord.

4. The fourth point is that holiness is a proclamation.

What I mean by that is what Peter says, that God has released the anointing among us because;
I Peter 2 v. 9

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

God is planting in the midst of the nations a testimony of a different kind of life, a people committed to different principles, different attitudes, different desires and ambitions, who are no-longer consumed for themselves, but are committed to God.

Now let’s turn to Isaiah 62.

Isaiah 62 v. 11

“The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘See your Saviour comes! See his reward is with him and his recompense accompanies him.'”
They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.”

A proclamation! We have got to get beyond this boring idea of holiness as though it is a set of rules and realise that it is an anointing, an overflow of the essence of God. That it drives and comes in power and that those who touch it willingly are transformed, and those who touch it sinfully are dead.

5 Finally, holiness is an expectation.

Let’s look at Isaiah 35, one of the most beautiful scriptures in the Bible.
Isaiah 35 v. 1-10 (whole chapter)

2. It is an Anointing of Understanding.

1 Corinthians 2 v. 12

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

The word “understanding” contains all that the Bible talks about; spiritual wisdom, spiritual knowledge, spiritual insight, practical know-how of the power of God; the Spirit of understanding. That is what God said the Messiah would have in the first part of Isaiah 11:

Isaiah 11 v. 1-3

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him –
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord –
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

That is the Messianic Spirit that comes in the anointing. A spirit of understanding.

3. It is an Anointing of Power.

Acts 1 v. 8

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

That is the fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy;

Zechariah 4 v. 6

So he said to me,”This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”

The secret to spiritual power is not human power, strength or might. The secret to spiritual power is the anointing of the Holy Spirit as you see again and again in the Acts of the Apostles; the Holy Spirit came upon them and they acted with tremendous supernatural power.

To Kasur and beyond…

Last night I went to Kasur – and after an hours drive we reached there, but we kept on driving and driving. Eventually we reached the actual place we were meant to go to, after just 2.5 hours – but it was well worth it.

Again the meeting was organised by Pastor Tariq and Rachel – they have done a great job in organising the last two nights here, and the people they work with have been very warm and welcoming.

26032010153.jpg

The meeting was small but worth every minute of the travelling. The place was very rural and the people had come from some distance to be there. The meeting took place in the open air so we got to enjoy the cool (relatively) evening air. The best of all was that God was there – people got born again and healed.

26032010149.jpg

26032010156.jpg

Culturally here we are usually invited to eat dinner after the meeting – their generosity as hosts is always amazing giving their best to us and making us feel like royalty. I thought you might like to see a few of the locals too.

26032010182.jpg

26032010173.jpg

Anointing of God – Part 3b

What are the characteristics of Jesus’ ministry?

1. It was by the Spirit.
Jesus did nothing outside the realm of the Holy Spirit. I believe that what Philippians 2 means when it says that “he emptied himself”. He had the power to create the universe but when he came to earth he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The three persons of the trinity became interwoven in the ministry of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was there in creation but under the authority of the Word of the Son. Here he submits himself to the Father and to the Holy Spirit;

John 5 v. 19
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the father doing, because whatever the father does the son also does.”

If Jesus did it that way do you think it should be any different for the rest of us? If so, we need to be filled and anointed in the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. It was to destroy the devil’s work.
This anointing was directed entirely towards the powers of darkness. Jesus went around not only doing good but corrupting the kingdom of darkness. We often forget that satan’s kingdom is not like the kingdom of light – it is in confusion. Jesus’ breaking through in the power of the kingdom of God must have caused havoc for the devil. The very climax of Jesus’ encounters with the devil was at the cross. Jesus was committed to destroying the kingdom and work of darkness;

1 John 3 v. 8
The reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

The Greek word used there means “to obliterate, to dismember so it can never be put together again”. God destroys the kingdom of darkness, but he restores the people who have been smashed up when he comes in restoration power. When the Holy Spirit’s power strikes, he undoes the works of the devil, which must really annoy him! People tell me that I should not say nasty things about the devil because we are not to judge, but that is rubbish and out of context. The devil has already been judged and condemned. I cannot add to that, but I can make his life here more miserable!

3. It was for freedom.
In the freedom and liberty of God one saint has more power in his heart than the devil has in his kingdom – what an awesome thought. We say that Paul does not talk about the demonic, but in the letters to the Galatians and Colossians he asks them why they are submitting themselves to these “weak and miserable principles”, that is the direct translation of the Greek he uses to describe these demonic beings. He says that they have the person, Jesus, and the power to come against the devil.

4. It was for salvation.
The anointing of the Spirit is not just a negative work, it is a positive work. It does not just come and clear out, it comes and puts something in. It is adding things in. We are ministers of the New Covenant to bring people into a new relationship and a new inheritance because a covenant is not just a legal document as far as God is concerned, it brings us into that new relationship and inheritance.

When people came to Jesus with their needs they always got more than they bargained for. The woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of his garment and not only were her needs met, but she was thrilled with the power of the kingdom of God. She must have been amazed at the bonus she received. She wanted to be healed of a sickness and met the power of God! That is why I am against “healing services” where the only aim is to get people healed. Our aim is not just to get people healed but to put them in touch with the power of the kingdom of God. When Jesus touched, healed or delivered people it was the entry point into something magnificent, not just into a blessing. The issue is not whether you want healed, but why you want healed. When the man at the pool of Bethesda was healed it set him on a new track in obedient discipleship. Some people turn up again and again for healing, and it is their significance that is their sickness.

Our inheritance is in Jesus Christ and our salvation. When Jesus was with him Zacchaeus he found that in the power of the Holy Spirit he had friends when all his life he tried unsuccessfully to buy them. You cannot buy real fellowship in any way because it belongs to God and is to be lived in in the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace. Jesus said;

Luke 19 v. 9
Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.

5. It was in Power.

It was in the Holy Spirit and so it is bound to be in power.

John 1 v. 11-12 (K.J.V.)
He came unto his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

In some versions the word here translated as “power” is translated as “authority”. Authority and power are the two most frequently occurring words relative to Jesus in the Gospels. The Greek words are “Exousia”, the power or right to be, authority, and “Dunamis”, the power to do. In the scripture above Jesus gives “Exousia” (authority).

Acts 1 v. 8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

You will receive “Dunamis”, the power to do it.

Luke 4 v. 22
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

They wondered with what authority he spoke and did these things. He could do no mighty deed here in Capernaum because of their unbelief. The words that relate to Jesus relate to us because they are the language of Holy Spirit anointing, and that which is going to be true of Jesus is going to be true of us because he is the same Holy Spirit. The only difference is in measure.

6. It was by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus operated through the manifestation of the gifts

1 Corinthians 12 v. 8-11
To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

There are many examples of Jesus using a gift of knowledge: the woman at the well; the colt tied at the side of the road; Nathaniel. There was something amazing about these because they were so real, specific and practical. There is a practical side to the wisdom and knowledge of God. When I was first baptised in the Holy Spirit I found it amazing that God knew things – it was a revelation and God began to show me things and to say things. There has been a lot of rubbish around, but as St. Augustine once said;

“The answer to abuse is not non-use, but proper use.”

They tried to catch Jesus out with the woman taken in adultery (John 8 v. 1-11). They told him what the law said in black and white, and it said to stone her. The truth of the matter was that stoning was actually a dead practice, but they were trying to get Jesus into a “Catch 22” situation. Jesus got a gift of wisdom and that released him from the situation and the anointing did the two things it always does;

1.It attracted – the woman was healed, forgiven, cured and restored.

2.It repelled – the pharisees vanished.

The anointing will never leave you passive – it always attracts or repels people.

We need the gift of wisdom. Many people are trapped by satan in ministry by very spiritual-sounding things. What the Pharisees said sounded quite logical according to their religious Law, but Jesus went straight through the middle. On another occasion they criticised the disciples for eating corn on the Sabbath, but Jesus tied them in knots by quoting their own scriptures to them.

Jesus used discernment when the woman with the issue of blood touched him. He felt power go out from him and said “Who touched me?”. In Luke 13 the crippled woman is healed on the sabbath and the Pharisees criticised Jesus so he looked right at them, knowing what was in them, and told them that they were hypocrites.Jesus knew that Judas sitting at the table would betray him. Jesus discerns the spirit, healing, motive and everything else.

Mark 9 v. 29
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Jesus was in a class of his own. It is as if there were different principles in operation, but what we are actually seeing is the release of the anointing of the Spirit in its multifarious gifts.

In the case of Lazarus, Jesus moved in a gift of faith. Jesus wept not out of a lack of faith, but because of the agony of seeing his world under death.

Romans 5 v. 12
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.

What he saw in his friend Lazarus was only a token of what was in everybody.

John 11 v. 43
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”. The dead man came out.

Jesus lifts his eyes up to heaven full of faith, believing in the Father. This is anointed language here, and it has to get into our spirit.

John 14 v. 12
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

We may not be into the resurrection of the dead, but we can certainly trust the Lord to provide for us and we will get there! Jesus believed and it happened.

Hebrews 11 v. 6
Without faith it is impossible to please God, for anyone that comes to him must believe that he exists and that the rewards those who earnestly seek him.

There are so many examples of Jesus using the gifts of healing that we may as well not start, but you could begin with the man with the withered hand in Mark 3. Jesus told him to stretch it out. Or the man born blind who was healed on the Sabbath, again infuriating the Pharisees. The centurion’s servant was not even where Jesus was, but he was healed.

Matthew 8 v. 8
The centurion replied,”Lord I do not deserve for you to come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

Well, Jesus said the word and it happened, the servant was healed. Notice that 1 Corinthians talks of gifts of healing. The anointing of the Holy Spirit has to be manifested in so many ways.

Jesus did miracles when he turned water into wine. There was the example of Peter’s handkerchief or his shadow. There is a difference between miracles and healing; a miracle is what made the world in the first place – something made out of nothing, that goes against all natural laws or laws of physics.

Prophecy.
People misunderstand this. It is a sign of the end of the age and what happened is that the early Church remembered the words of Jesus as written in the Gospels. That is the absolute truth. He told about the fall of Jerusalem and history tells us that not one believer perished at that time because they listened to the words of Jesus and they fled into the desert. He was prophetic about Judas and Peter.

The Ministry of Jesus;
1. It was by the Spirit.
2. It was to the poor.
3. It was against satan.
4. It was for salvation.
5. It was in power.
6. It was by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Anointing of God – Part 3a

The anointing of God is the power of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the rule or the reign, the sovereign presence of God. God’s kingdom is dynamic not geographical. Many would argue about this because of the excesses taught about the kingdom of God, so we have to redress some of those excesses. One well-known teacher says that we are not to talk about the kingdom and that Paul never talked about the kingdom. Well, in the Acts of the Apostles Paul speaks from beginning to end about preaching the power and the healing of God and the kingdom of God. Jesus spent the time between his resurrection and ascension speaking with his disciples about the kingdom. He said the gospel of the kingdom would be preached throughout all nations and then he would come again. The thing that manifests the kingdom is the anointing of God.

Matthew 12 v. 28
If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luke 11 v.20
If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

God’s kingdom is manifest by the effective out-working of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This anointing is the counter-movement of God against every principality and power, against every secular and rational thought, taking every thought captive in obedience to the name of Jesus, against every satanic machination. It is the intrusion of God’s reality and power into the here and now. The kingdom of God is in the midst of us. We always say it is within us because the Holy Spirit is within us, but it says that it is in the midst of us. There are of course different dimensions of the kingdom – it is now, but it is not yet. There are many dimensions that will not be realised until Jesus Christ comes again in glory. Biblically, we do not establish the kingdom. Jesus is the King, so he is the governor of the kingdom and it belongs completely to him. It will not be manifested in it’s fullness until he comes to reign and we will reign with him.

But there is a “now” element to it as Graham Kendrick picked up ; “The powers of the age to come are breaking through.” Christians in the anointing of the Spirit do not take their motivation from the past but from who is ahead of them – the King! He dwells in eternity, not in time, so he is pouring the powers of eternity into the limitations of time. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is taking the power of what is to come and releasing it into what is. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that brings that release. The eternal Spirit who dwells in us, who dwelled in Jesus is the one who ministers in us and the connection between the grandeur of eternity and now is this eternal Spirit who can flow between both. He is the only person of the deity who today can do that. The Father and Son are both in Glory and the Son will stay there until he comes again and breaks through in splendour in to this world. My father used to explain it like this;

“Then we shall be where we should be:

Then we will be what we would be:

That which is not now nor could be:

Then shall be our own.”

There is another dimension of reality. Like on my computer. You press a button and a window appears somewhere, so you spend the rest of the day trying to get rid of it. People treat the Holy Spirit like that. He brings in a new window, a new dimension into their experience, so they spend their lives trying to get rid of it while the rest of us want to press the next button and get further in!

Let us look at Matthew’s version of Simon Peter’s revelation of Jesus as Christ;

Matthew 16 v. 16-19
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

This is a much maligned and misunderstood scripture. From the Greek we know that the text should read;
That which is already bound in heaven, you will bind on earth; that which is already loosed in heaven, you will loose on earth.

I think that makes complete sense that in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit we are doing in the “now” is what God has already made real in the “what will be”. When Jesus says “I will give you the keys of the kingdom” he is actually saying that what he has in himself, he will pass on to his agents on earth so that there is an opening between what is and what will be. The key to this scripture is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

What we are going to look at is the Ministry of Jesus and the Anointing and Ministry of Jesus. When you look at the gospels Jesus operates time and again in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us go back to Luke 4 where we will notice 6 points, 6 characteristics, 6 features of the ministry of Jesus as he operated in this anointing of the kingdom of God. He did not come to establish a geographical kingdom but to release the power of a new reality. It is God’s desire that we should operate in the reality of what God lives in. The Church is the servant of the Kingdom. What should be happening within the body of Christ should be manifesting the principles of this new reality. The Church is not the most important thing, it is a servant. The power that comes from the heart of God was there before the church and the church was brought into being to manifest the principles of the greater life, that which comes from God. The effectual principle is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as we see in Jesus time and time again.

Let us look again at Luke 4. Luke’s gospel could be described as the Charismatic Gospel because the thing that operates in this gospel is the principle of the Holy Spirit, the anointing of the Spirit. Luke’s gospel hangs together with the Acts of the Apostles as one writing. Luke’s gospel is really the first chapter of the Acts of the Holy Spirit in Jesus and the Acts of the Apostles is really the second chapter of the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Chapter 2 would be a reflection of chapter 1 in so much as the things that happened in power and anointing through Jesus now come to birth in the experience of the body of Jesus Christ, the Church. Throughout Luke’s gospel the work of the Holy Spirit is mentioned to a degree absent in the other gospels. In the first two chapters of Luke’s gospel we see the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit surrounding the birth of Jesus. A baby is born by the power of the Spirit, old men have dreams and so on. It is the gospel of the work of the Holy Spirit and emphasises that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, which modern theologians do not like at all. Luke is saying that if you want to be acting like the Son of God, then primarily you need to be born of the Spirit. A little bit further on we meet with John the Baptist whose life and spiritual birth interleaf with the birth of Jesus in an amazing way. It is promised by the Holy Spirit that miraculous things would happen with his birth just as with Jesus. John goes out preaching the preparation of the kingdom, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”. Then Jesus comes and then he is baptised in the water and also baptised in the Spirit. As he comes up out of the Jordan the heavens open and the Holy Spirit comes down like a dove in bodily form and the voice says that Jesus is clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Luke 3 you get all the genealogy, having shown that Jesus was born of God he then goes on to show how this genealogy further reinforcing that this man came from God. In the next chapter we see how he does battle in the Spirit, as he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. We all know about the temptation and the battle there but we never blame the Holy Spirit for leading us to satan, do we? James says;

James 1 v. 13
Let no man say when he is tempted that he is tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does he tempt any man.

God puts you to the test but God does not tempt you. Here the Holy Spirit leads Jesus directly satan. Paul says that satan had encountered every man since Adam and had conquered each of them. This is a special man whom God has baptised and is full of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit leads him out and satan tries his best. This man is different. Satan could do nothing to him, so he left him alone. If satan had horns, he got them broken! If he had a tail, he got it broken off! He met the greatest one who ever came in the power of the anointing. This was an announcement of the kingdom of darkness because their days were numbered.

1 Corinthians 15 v. 45-47
So it is written: “The first Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was from the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.

The fact is that Jesus was born of the Spirit, baptised in the Spirit, battled in the Spirit and brought blessing in the Spirit.

Luke 4 v.18
The Spirit of the Lord is upon is upon me…

Throughout Luke the Holy Spirit is blessing people. He does good and heals all who were sick and freeing all those who are under the bondage of the devil. The clear inference at the end is that we too have been clothed with power from on high;

Like 24 v. 49
I am going to send you what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

It all starts with Jesus being born in power, being baptised in power, doing battle in power and continues with Jesus operating in power. Luke ends his gospel saying that we get it as well because the anointing that was in him was going to be in us too. That is the principle.