What is the sign of the anointing? It is in the words that Isaiah repeats;
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.
That is the sign of the anointing. Sometimes we put the anointing in a little box as if it is something different from the work of the Holy Spirit, but the anointing is the Holy Spirit! The sign of the anointing is the coming-on of the Holy Spirit. I am not talking about being sealed in the Holy Spirit or about being baptised in the Holy Spirit. I am talking about the activity of the coming-on of the Holy Spirit.
The anointing of God is an amazing phenomenon. That is why it is God’s responsibility to send, but it is our responsibility to prepare because we can definitely stifle or divert this anointing of God.
The nature of the anointing.
Luke 4 uses strong words;
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…
1. A prophetic spirit.
Not a quiet or docile spirit. The nature of the spirit of anointing is prophetic. Prophetic ministry contains preaching, teaching, testifying, proclaiming and all sorts of out-going ministry. It is not about one man standing up and saying “Thus says the Lord!”. We like prophecy in the Charismatic church, well what we call prophecy; little whispers from God, tinkling brooks, things we cannot be specific about. When a prophetic spirit comes the Holy Spirit will stand in the middle of us and will say something so definitive and so distinctive that we will all be left aghast. When I look at the Old or New Testament I do not see general things, I see words of wisdom and exhortation, not concoctions out of our own brains which are certainly not prophecy.
When Jesus came with a prophetic spirit he came into a society of pluralism. They worshipped all gods and many gods. There were more spiritual and religious movements than you can imagine but beneath it all the people were not satisfied. In that day the Holy Spirit latched onto the real seekers of that day around the Mediterranean basin and he quickened their hearts as he is going to do again. Revival does not happen because you address social issues at their level. Their level is not prophetic. Everyone in this society is entitled to their own opinion and therefore no-one can be dogmatic or prophetic. When Jesus came the discussion stopped and the prophecy started. The root of Revival is when God links into the deep seeking hearts of those who long for the stated Word of God and will not listen to the variety of opinions. That is what happened in the days of John Wesley. The country was in a mess and all he did was preach the gospel and thousands got saved. It was not the structure or the form that he used, it was the anointing. God loosed his Spirit into the sub-strata of society who were longing for something more.
I believe that we can influence society. Jesus said that we were the salt and the light and the we were a city set on a hill. However the principles of that influence are not just in talking to society, but they belong to another kingdom. They are prophetic in nature, not secular nor discursive. They are proclamatory. We are to proclaim the good news, not to set-up discussion groups! For a while in the Church we went in for discussions groups instead of sermons on the premise that preaching must bore people after an hour, but in the groups you only got as far as the brightest one’s theology would go. I do not find that people get bored! I go in for dynamic three-way communication – God, you and me. The Holy Spirit connects things in the anointing and plants them into our hearts. Not just my anointing, but your anointing; the anointing of God.
2. An apostolic spirit.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…because he has sent me to proclaim freedom…
The Greek word for “sent” is the verb from which we get the noun “apostle”. That is what Paul said to the Corinthians;
2 Corinthians 2 v. 17
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
We have got to feed people with something different. There must be a stirring. Jesus said;
Luke 12 v. 49
I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
3. A dynamic spirit.
Not a passive spirit, but a dynamic spirit. “Dynamic” is a wonderful word. It comes from the Greek “Dunamis” which means “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 Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
Dynamic. Why? Because he is coming to proclaim freedom. Not just a message but an active message. Paul said the same about himself;
1 Corinthians 2 v. 4
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.
Paul had many words to speak, but words are not the sum-total of Christian communication. We need the anointing.Jesus said he had come to proclaim, and it was news that was going to do something to you. Power, a dynamic spirit, that is the sign of the anointing, that this Spirit is upon us. In Acts we have not just the sign of the anointing, we have the power as well.
Acts 10 v. 37-38
You know what has happened throughout Judaea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Notice that he was born Jesus, but God anointed him. He never did a miracle before he was baptised. The power came on Jesus and when he was anointed he began to do mighty deeds of power, of the overflow of the power of God. Jesus was doing good and his goodness was fantastic. He brought salvation. He healed people who were under the power of the devil because God was with him; that is the power of the anointing. It means that God is with us! In the last letter that Charles Wesley ever wrote to John Wesley he went through all his life with all the good things God had done and he ended up saying;
The best of all is God is with us.
Accredited by God
Acts 2 v. 22
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him as you yourselves know.”
God was with him. God was the first one to say that God was with him;
Matthew 3 v. 16-17
…At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
The Holy Spirit had descended on people before, but he had never stayed. John the Baptist said;
John 1 v. 33
“The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptise with the Holy Spirit”. I have seen and I testify that this is the son of God.
John 21 v. 24
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that this testimony is true.
Which “things”? John uses the numbers 3 and 7 right through his gospel and gives the testimony of God;
a. Seven signs, starting with the wine in Cana of Galilee.
b. Seven Holy Spirit inspired statements where the very name of God is used seven times; “I am the good shepherd”, “I am the way the truth and the life.”,…
c. Seven discourses from Jesus.
It works like that throughout the gospel – three times seven.
A man accredited by God to you
2. Acknowledged by demons/ the devil
Luke 4 v. 31-32
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching because his message had authority.
Authority is one of the hall-marks in the Old Testament of the anointing. Jesus did not have discussions with demons, he cast them out! When he ordered, they obeyed. The devil knows who Jesus is. When the power of God comes it exposes, highlights and uncovers every other power. If you look in Acts at the story of the sons of Sceva you will see that instead of saying “In the name of Jesus”, they say, “In the name of Jesus that Paul preaches”. Well, it was clear to the demon that he was not their Jesus, so he did not recognise their authority, so the Sons ended-up battered and bruised because the demon knew who Jesus was but not who they were. The demons acknowledge Jesus.
3. Recognised by men.
Luke 9 v. 18-20
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do crowds say that I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
The Christ. The Messiah. The Anointed One. That is interesting. It goes on in Matthew;
Matthew 16 v. 17
Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven.
Peter’s confession is the apex of that recognition. The Centurion did not know what he was saying, but he saw something in Jesus and recognised that he was a man under authority. Pontius Pilate found no fault in him, but he condemned him. Even those who disagreed with him confessed his power.
Everyone recognised that God was with Jesus. That is the hall-mark of the anointing. W,hat would it be like if God began to affirm his presence with us with signs and wonders, with thousands coming into the kingdom, with believers being healed and set free. As Rheinard Bonnke says, “When I move in the devil moves out”.
The reality of the anointing of God is that we work in the authority of Jesus Christ.