The age old question of the church of Jesus Christ today has not changed much in the last one hundred years. Within the great outpouring of the Baptism by the Holy Spirit in Topeka, Kansas at the turn of the 1900’s and shortly to follow at the Azuza Street Revival, there has rekindled a newness of the power of God that was exhibited in Jesus’ ministry, the ministry of believers in the book of Acts, and the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy for the church to continue until the return of the Lord.
Hebrews 4:1-3, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest….” The rest that the writer of Hebrews is talking about is faith. Faith is taking God at His Word with no questions asked! Faith has three elements. They are believing in your heart, confessing with your mouth, and applying corresponding actions.
The word for church in the Greek is the word “ekklesia” and it means the called out ones. It is important for us to know who we are in Christ and the importance of the church. Ephesians 1:22-23, “And He (Jesus) put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.” We are more than a group of people strolling into a building several times a week like cattle at feeding time.
This will not be a teaching on spiritual gifts. I do need, however, in order to get my point across about the ministry of encouragement, to present to you my understanding of spiritual gifts. I will warn you ahead of time that it is different than the way most people teach it. The general idea is that God in His Sovereignty has distributed particular spiritual gifts to particular people and they can only be the ones used in those gifts.
The gospel that Jesus preached is found written in Luke 4:16-20. The same Spirit of the Lord that was upon Jesus is upon us. We are anointed with His anointing to preach and demonstrate what he did. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Why are people not coming to Jesus Christ today? Because we have not fully preached the gospel.
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one. And to thy seed, which is Christ.”Galatians 3:16. Jesus Christ is the ultimate Seed that was sown by God Almighty in order that all of the blessings of the New Testament come. “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
There probably has not been a greater controversy among Christians today than the message of the gospel. Preachers (myself included) and Christians (depending on who they listen to and are taught by) are constantly at odds with others over what is the message of the gospel. So my intention in this article is to clear some things up. My precedence is this: I don’t care what someone writes or preaches, what did Jesus say, what did the disciples that Jesus taught say and what does the New Testament teach?
“Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” Hebrews 13:9. This is a command from God through the writer of Hebrews. The apostle Paul tells us in 1Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” It is imperative today that Christians have their hearts established with grace.
The cross of Christ, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest event in the history of all humanity. At one moment in time Almighty God and the sinner are brought into a relationship where they become one. Romans 5:10-11. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary put away sin - forever! John 1:29.
The Bible tells us in Romans 8:6-7, “Now the mind of the flesh (which is sense reason without the Holy Spirit) is death – death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter. But the mind of the (Holy) Spirit is life and (soul) peace (both now and forever). (That is) because the mind of the flesh (with its carnal thoughts and purposes) is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.” (Amplified). The supernatural realm is not understood by the carnal mind.