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.