SEEING JESUS PT 1

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jesus-come-unto-me

 

Right now I am in Dubai, waiting for my connecting flight to the US, it seems a wonderful time to continue the discussion we began last time on growing in grace, revealing Christ and enjoying life, as an aside every time I pass through Dubai I can’t help but wonder at what the human mind can conceive and realize if it sets its mind to it.

A few decades ago Dubai was just a huge pile of dirt, but with vision and resources, over time, it has been transformed into one of the most modern destinations in our present world. The lesson; with vision, time and work every ‘pile of dirt’ can become something beautiful if we set our minds to it.

As Christians our lives are somewhat like this huge pile of dirt but as we receive God’s vision and pursue them with his unlimited resources and with the help of time and diligent labor  our pile of dirt is transformed into something that glorifies God.

In fact this is what this our discussion aims at, without a vision of the life that we have received through Christ and its immense possibilities we will be stuck with a huge pile of religious dirt  when we could have built (with God’s help) something that looking back at would have glorified God in the spirit.

The vision of Christ

If we are going to grow in grace, reveal Christ and enjoy life, we must possess God’s vision of the Christ life we have received with its immense possibilities, I believe that if it were physically possible to gather all the scriptures on the new creation realities and mold them into flesh and blood, breathing life into them, the human being that would be formed would function EXACTLY as Jesus did.

Paul the apostle said by the spirit, that it as we look into the mirror (the word of God) and behold the image of Jesus that we are transformed by the Spirit into that same image.( 2 Cor. 3:18) In other words the transformation or metamorphosis takes place AS we receive a vision of Christ, it is that vision or revelation that the Holy Spirit works out of our lives through the word of God and  circumstances, trials, opportunities etc that life will bring. In other words without a personal revelation of Jesus there is no material for the Holy Spirit to work with, now you understand why Jesus asked his disciples whom do people say that I am?

Most Christian people have no such revelation, we just want to be good Christians, succeed in life and go to heaven when we die, that is utter failure in the sight of God, God’s vision is captured in Romans chapter 8 and it is that we are transformed into the image of his son.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Rom 8:29-30 NKJV

Dubai is a dream created in the hearts of men and worked out by men using human resources, but we are God’s dream, his work of art as the Apostle puts it, God cannot work out His dream without us, his dream for sons of God which he so clearly expressed in Genesis 1:26

Let us make man in our own image and after our own likeness….

God has made the resources available to make this dream come to pass and these resources are locked up in the person of Jesus and released through your vision of Him (Jesus)

Okay, so how can we catch the vision of Jesus?

Prayer is a huge part of it but I don’t mean the Holy Ghost fire type, I mean asking the Father to reveal his son to you, remember Jesus said no one knows him but the father and whosoever the father reveals him to, to buttress this read what Jesus said in the following scriptures

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

 So they said,”Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered and said,”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Matt 16:13-20 NKJV

I can tell somebody about Jesus, we do that all the time, but only the Father by the Spirit can give a revelation of Jesus, of course the heart condition of the individual is very important, God does not force revelation on people, they have to desire and believe. Remember that Jesus said in the parable of the sower, the one who brings forth fruit is the one who with a HONEST and GOOD heart hears and keeps the word.( Luke 8:15)

Unless we have revelation of Jesus in our hearts all our confession of the new creation realities will not produce the intended effect.

Can we pray?

Father in the name of Jesus, we thank you for the gift of your Son and the Life that has come to us through him, we thank you for you have desired to work out that life in us in all its fullness, today we ask that by your Holy Spirit  you will give us a fresh revelation of Jesus, cause this revelation to fill our hearts until we are transformed into what we see in our hearts to your glory and praise. Amen

To be continued.

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THE HEART OF HIS LOVE

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This morning I was thinking so much about the nature of the gospel which Jesus brought to us, I was asking what can I do to live more and more like Jesus did?

One of the things that came to me is this

The gospel is about people, God’s love for people. Jesus actually said

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son….

If my conception of love does not enlarge to embrace the world, including the most vile, the most unworthy then I have not the concept of love that Jesus brought. Jesus said if I love them that love me, I have done no more than even the ungodly who love those that love them, he went on to say His love loves those that hate him, prays for those that curse him, does good to those that seek to do evil to him etc this is the love that recommends the gospel to me.

As a member of the body of Jesus I am an expression of his love, this is the basis of true ministry, God’s love. I see this, only that sometimes it is not so easy to do, so how do I do this?

The secret is in loving Jesus and the Father so much that loving people becomes easy, because he is loving them through us.

Today we have a performance based ‘Christianity’ as against a  relationship based faith that Jesus taught and demonstrated.  We are always trying to do, instead of first being then doing out of what we are. We should stop trying to score points with God, and just enjoy knowing him, there is nothing we can do more to please him than we already are in Christ Jesus.

God saw Jesus in the Jordan before he had done any miracle or mighty work and declared ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased’ Jesus just pleased the father, the same way the father saw Adam and was pleased (before the fall) and the same way the father sees us in Jesus and is delighted, no wonder, we are his workmanship in Christ Jesus’ glory!

Prophecy

Draw near to me my Child and let me enjoy you, let me find pleasure in your presence, come near for you are acceptable to me, you are my child, I fashioned you and created you and brought you forth though my word and by my Spirit, my seed is in you and in you I am well pleased.

Be free to enjoy my presence, have you not heard there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, how can i condemn what I have justified, you are acceptable to me in all things and I love you not for what you have done but for who you are my dear child.

If you will do this you will be free to become all I have called you to be, the sun does not struggle to shine, neither does the plant sown in good soil, it grows because its environment is right, you struggle to do right all the time but if you will allow me to be your environment and my presence your habitation, you will blossom and reveal my love and power in ways that will amaze even you. Remember it is I who works in you both to will and to do of my good pleasure.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

 

THE GOD OF NEW BEGINNINGS

 

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Isa 43:18-19

Do not remember the former things,

Nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I will do a new thing,

Now it shall spring forth;

Shall you not know it?

I will even make a road in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert.

 

God is revealed to us through the pages of His word, not by our feelings or by what anybody around us may say about who He is.

Here is what God says of Himself “I am the God who does new things in your life, those things may be impossible things to you but I am the one who does for you what no one can do”

As I sat meditating on the events of the last few months around my life and ministry, God spoke this phrase so powerfully into my mind ‘ the God of New Beginnings’.

I know he was speaking to me preparing me for the things He was about to do in my life and ministry, but I also know He was asking me to speak the same word into your life,  no matter where you may be right now and what you may be going or have gone through, God has a New beginning for you, sometimes all you can think about is the mistakes you have made, what others have done seemingly against you  and what the devil is raging against you, but God has a better thing for you to consider, what are those things God wants you to consider? The new things He wants to do.

Listen! God wants to do a new thing for and in you! You may have had a past ridden with sin, failures and may even be living with the consequences of your terrible yesterday, but you can have a new thing beginning today!

God has joy for sorrow, healing for sickness, forgiveness for sin, increase for lack, promotion for shame, righteousness for unrighteousness, victory for defeat and you can have them all.

How can this be?

It begins with letting go of yesterday, not considering or dwelling upon your yesterday, it doesn’t mean not learning from your mistakes of yesterday, but it means not sitting at the point of your failure, not using your yesterday as an excuse to stagnate at one point. It can begin by forgiveness, do whatever it takes to come to a point where you are able and willing to forgive all who may have contributed to where you are including yourself, forgiveness releases you to move on without the garbage of yesterday.

A friend of mine once shared a prophetic word with me ‘don’t allow the mistakes of yesterday to stop you from moving into your tomorrow’ and I share the same word with you today.

Now you may say ‘well, I don’t have any big issues in my yesterday, the same thing applies to you, you may have had some success yesterday, but you cannot see the new thing God is seeking to bring into your life, if you are dwelling on the ‘good’ of yesterday.

GET YOUR EYES OFF YOUR YESTERDAY AND PUT THEM ON HIM WHO WANTS TO DO NEW THINGS TODAY!

Get ready for new things TODAY!

Paul the apostle said we should leave those things which are behind (yesterday) and press for the things which are before us ( the new things)

Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard the things which God has prepared for them that love him, things that God reveals to us by His Spirit which He has given to us. I Cor. 2: 9 & 10

What is ahead of you is infinitely greater than what is behind you and you can have it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 Why would God want to do new things in your life?

God will do new things for you because He loves you and wants to glorify Himself in your life, God’s biggest desire is to bring you a personal revelation and experience of His love, GOD LOVES YOU, and you have no idea what He will do in your life if you will let Him

God has not only spoken this word into my spirit but He has shown me  new things are coming to this ministry, as one who is connected to us by your support and prayers, I want you to connect with this grace. God wants you to HAVE it, but for you to have it, you must first believe it with all your heart.

No matter where you may be, God has a better place for you  and it is for His glory and your good!

 What can you do?

First believe with all your heart, then pray! Lift up your voice and begin to thank the God of New Beginnings for His promise to you, He is not a man that He will lie, confess the sin if you have to but once that is out of the way, receive His promise of renewal with gratitude and praise Him for it. You may not know what He specifically wants to do, but as you desire to experience His newness in your life, He will begin to show you in various ways the new things He will do, one thing is sure however that whatever He shows you will always be eclipsed by what He eventually does, because He does more than we ask or think.

If you are baptised in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues,  go ahead and begin to pray in your heavenly language and trust the Holy Spirit to pray perfectly in the will of God through your lips.

As you do this be willing to change as God shows you areas where you may need to adjust, particularly in your mindset, develop a possibility and responsibility mindset, be confident, be bold, declare with your mouth ‘God is doing new things in my life, good things, better things are happening for me, He is turning my mess into a message for His glory and my tests into a testimony for His praise.

I speak new things into your life.

 I break every stranglehold that Satan has used to hold you to your past, be free in the Name of Jesus!  Receive a revelation of the new things you desire in the Name of Jesus.

 I call forth new things into your family, your business, your ministry in the Name of Jesus.

Receive wisdom and boldness to step into new ground, experience breakthrough in the name of Jesus Christ.

 I pray that the God of new beginnings will be glorified in your life in every way as you receive and experience the New in Jesus Name.

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Don’t Despise Prophesyings

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1Thessalonians.5.20a-DontIgnoreProphecies

“In the Last Days,” God says,

“I will pour out my Spirit

on every kind of people:

Your sons will prophesy,

also your daughters;

Your young men will see visions,

your old men dream dreams.

18 When the time comes,

I’ll pour out my Spirit

On those who serve me, men and women both,

and they’ll prophesy.

Acts 2:17-18

 

People ask why I am so particular about prophecy, I have two answers, firstly prophecy is testimony that God speaks to His people, this is the plain revelation of scripture.

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son

Heb 1:1-2 NKJV

In fact we are told that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy (Rev: 19:10), the bible is a book of prophecy (2 Peter 1: 16 -21), people who despise prophecy despise God and quench the Spirit, The Christian faith is relationship based and relationship is nurtured by communication, the prophetic partly fulfils this need. Closely connected to this is the truth that God is God of plans and purposes, while the bible clearly outlines his general plans and purposes, He keeps us up to date on the specifics of His plans and purposes by the spirit of prophecy.

The Church is a prophetic company

When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the first Church on the day of Pentecost, it was a baptism of the prophetic, people spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 2: 1-4,8:15-16, 10: 44- 46, 19: 1-6)

Jesus said ‘wherever two or three are gathered together there am I in their midst’ this does not mean that we will be receiving ‘words’ from the Lord every time, but it does mean that we can expect to receive communication from him when the need arises.

We should realise that there is the simple prophetic utterance which does not contain any predictive or revelatory element ( 1 Cor. 14: 1-5) and then there is there is revelation or prediction coming through the vehicle of prophecy, particularly by the ministries of the prophet or any other office or believer as the Lord may please. ( Acts 11: 28-30)

What many people think of in relation to prophecy is when a minister of God speaks to bring God’s intervention to meet personal needs , this is very common but in the general scheme of things is the prophetic at its most basic level, I believe the most important aspect of the restoration of the office of the prophet and its effects is the revelation of God’s mind concerning the Church and the Nations, this is the greatest blessing of predictive prophecy, Jesus was a prophet and so were some of the apostles, they prophesied about certain things that are just beginning to unfold.

Remember the former things of old,

For I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like Me,

Declaring the end from the beginning,

And from ancient times things that are not yet done,

Saying,’My counsel shall stand,

And I will do all My pleasure,

Isa 46:9-10 NKJV

Prophecy is history in advance, the prophets of the Old Testament prophesied about national events, declaring history in advance, some of which are still unfolding today. In the New Testament the same is still happening but the order has changed, now God delivers His counsel into the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church who delivers it into the hands of his servants for onward transmission to the body

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Rev 1:1-3 NKJV

Without prophetic guidance it is impossible to align ourselves to the will of God, to judge or discern a situation or circumstance and even to direct our actions in order to express the mind of God. Through the writings of the prophets Daniel knew that the time of the end of the captivity of God’s people and he began to pray.

Through the writings of the prophets Jesus was able to keep in step with God’s will for Him at all times.

 

Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.

Luke 18:31 NKJV

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Luke 24:25-27 NKJV

Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Luke 24:44-45 NKJV

I am sure you can see this now, if Jesus the head of the Church needed to have guidance from prophetic writings how much more you and I today.

I believe that one reason why the Church in Nigeria seems to be stumbling about so much is that we are not listening to the prophets, I am not talking about those who ‘prophesy’ about who will die this year or that year or who will win an election or the other or even those whose prophecies only centre on meeting the personal comfort needs of people (there is a place for that in God) many times in an excessive manner. I mean those who bring clear insight into God’s mind concerning the Church, nations and even the communities that they live in and how we are to prepare for whatever God has in store or take action to avert the schemes of the enemy.

Jesus told us to pray, Thy kingdom come , thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’

This is what Daniel set about doing because he had prophetic insight.

Those people are not usually popular because they are not prophesying about ‘bread and butter’ but it is in their hands that God has placed the responsibility of the kingdom.

Don’t be put off

Many people have been put off by the activities of fake ministers and/or sincere but misguided people, some are victims of their own simplicity and ignorance, others are agents of wickedness and corruption, this is very understandable but not a sufficient reason for rejecting prophetic words.

Paul the apostle gives us a simple advice about what to do in these kinds of situations.

Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Thess 5:19-22 NKJV

The truth is that there are false prophets now as there were in the bible days; there were ignorant believers then as there are now. In my book understanding the prophetic I shared several guidelines to judging or proving prophetic utterance, you might want to get a copy of it.

Believers should not go about looking for personal prophecy; they leave themselves wide open for deception when they do so. God has given us His word to guide us, if we need something further He will bring it to us, we don’t need to be running about from one prophet or the other.

On the other hand when God does speak we should be quick to judge it and hold on to what is good.

God has been speaking to His servants within and without the country about the place of the Nigerian Church in the end time revival for many years now, through prophetic experiences He has been working to prepare the Church to fulfil her prophetic destiny. We as a Church are just about entering the beginning of some of the things the Lord has been speaking of for decades now.

An increase in true prophetic activity is often an indication of a shift in season or the imminence of divine activity on earth, whether in judgement or blessing.

There are fake prophets in the land because there are true ones, God is speaking, are you listening?

I guarantee you this, if your heart is set on pleasing the Lord, He will bring you into contact one way or the other with the things you need to hear to help you prepare for what He has for you on this earth.

This is probably why you are reading this anyway.

Unravelling the Apostolic Conundrum

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Key-to-Who-and-Whom-e1394123487551
The Apostle is God’s special messenger; the apostolic is the spirit or the attitude possessed by he who recognises that he/she is sent by God whether in a specific (as an apostle) or general sense (as a member of Christ’s body).
The apostolic and the prophetic has always a been a part of God’s interaction with mankind, these two offices and experiences are divine platforms upon which God has always built the house of his mercy among men The prophet is God’s voice, his mouthpiece, while the prophetic is the whole gamut of receiving and acting under the inspiration of God’s Spirit.
In a nutshell, the Apostle or Prophet are people, while the apostolic and prophetic are attitudes or spirits, a person may be apostolic or prophetic without being a prophet or apostle.

In this vein you can see why the Church is built on the apostolic and prophetic foundation Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone, from the very beginning God has had apostles and prophets even before the establishment of the Old Testament priesthood and the emergence of the five fold offices in the New Testament. Adam, Methuselah, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses. Joshua etc were all examples of people who were either prophets, apostles or even both.

In these last days Jesus is restoring the offices of the Apostle and the Prophet to their proper place in the Church, as a result of this these ministries will become more prominent, and consequently the Church will also begin to recover her apostolic and prophetic nature in an ever increasing manner.
One of the issues that will emerge with this restoration is that initially there will be a lot of confusion, error and a general muddying of the water as regards the operations of these two ministries, this is natural because for a long time the Church has been largely ignorant of how this two ministries are designed to operate, but with time, increasing maturity and sound teaching the waters will clear and the Church will receive the full benefit of these two ministries.
Another thing we will see is that we will find quite a number of people jump unto the bandwagon and appropriate to themselves titles and positions to which they are not called by the Lord, some of them will be sincere but misguided believers while others will be agents of darkness masquerading as agents of light. It is our responsibility to discern by the help of the Holy Spirit whom we are dealing with and react accordingly.
All the foregoing has been a foundation for what I think is important for us as an apostolic people to know if we are going to fulfil the mind of God for our lives.
Fulfilling your apostolic mandate
Whether you are believer just trying to live out the will of God for your life as a part of God’s sent people or you are called to the fivefold ministry as an apostle, there are a few things you need to realise in order to be successful.
1. You need an experience
Every apostolic person is a person with an experience, an experience with God through Jesus Christ, it may not be a spectacular experience but it must be supernatural and definite.
Moses met God in the burning bush, Abraham had a vision, Paul met Jesus on the way to Damascus, Peter, Matthew James and John all heard Jesus say to them ‘follow me’.
When you heard the gospel and answered the call to follow Christ , that was your own experience, my fear is that many people today never came to Christ, they came to church, to some doctrine or some other thing, this is why many people are left unchanged after they say they ‘gave their lives to Christ’.
The preaching of the gospel is Christ calling you to follow him, it is the beginning of a walk with God through Jesus, I was fortunate to have been blessed with this understanding in my early years, I knew it was not a doctrine that saved me, it was a man, I understood I was called to follow a man. It is quite easy to replace Jesus with doctrines, laws, rules and rituals. We need to return to preaching Christ and him crucified, People need to begin to hear the voice of Jesus calling them to obedience and faith.
Did you notice that the believers were first called disciples then later apostles, this is so today, you must learn to follow before you are sent. The apostolic spirit has its strength in a personal experience of salvation through faith in Jesus, this experience is so powerful that it literally changes the course of your life, you literally become born again.(John 3: 1-5)
This experience delivers you from a religious life and brings you into an experience of a relationship with God.
Did you notice how that in the Old Testament God introduced himself to Moses saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ (Ex. 2) suddenly the God whose knowledge had been passed down from generation to generation of Hebrews suddenly became a real God to Moses, a living personality, hear what Andrew had to say to Peter his brother about Jesus, He said we have found the messiah, you see they had read about the messiah in the law but now they could say ‘we have found him’. John 1:40-41
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
This is what always happens at the beginning of your experience, you are immersed in a reality, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit become real, you may not be able to explain or even understand everything, but you know that where you were once in darkness, light has come. This is the effect of a personal encounter with Jesus.

That what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be brought to pass:
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, in the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles [of the peoples who are not of Israel]
The people who sat(dwelt enveloped) in darkness have seen a great Light, and for those who sat in the land and shadow of death Light has dawned.
Matt 4:14-16 AMP
The woman with the issue of blood had a dramatic encounter with Jesus, yours need not be so dramatic but it can be as real, right where you are you can have such an encounter that will be the beginning of your new journey with the Lord.
But what does it say? The Word (God’s message in Christ) is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word (the message, the basis and object) of faith which we preach,
Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.

The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.
[No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].
For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.
Rom 10:8-13 AMP
Today through the ministry of the Holy Spirit the presence of Jesus is made real to us, he does this in so many ways, such as through the word of God or by supernatural prophetic experiences to name a couple.

2. Recognise your apostolic assignment
The Church is a people on assignment, Jesus was sent on an assignment from heaven, He has committed the same assignment to the Church- His body, for continuance.
He said,
Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! [Just] as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you.
John 20:21 AMP
What was Jesus sent to do?
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
Matt 4:23-24 NKJV
This is what Jesus came to do, to bring the kingdom of God to men and to destroy the works of the devil.
Every child of God has a part in this assignment; many never discover what it is, partly because of wrong teaching and understanding of what it is to be a part of the body of Christ, some others because they are willing to pay the price, to leave their comfort zone and follow Christ into uncharted waters.
Just as every child of God is sent in a general sense, so every one called by the Lord Jesus Christ to the office of an apostle is sent in a specific sense. For example Paul the apostle was known as the apostle to the gentiles, that was his field of assignment, Peter was sent to the Jews. When I meet one who says ‘I am an apostle’ my question is ‘to whom or for what were you sent’?
But on the contrary, when they [really] saw that I had been entrusted [to carry] the Gospel to the uncircumcised [Gentiles, just as definitely] as Peter had been entrusted [to proclaim] the Gospel to the circumcised [Jews, they were agreeable];
For He Who motivated and fitted Peter and worked effectively through him for the mission to the circumcised, motivated and fitted me and worked through me also for [the mission to] the Gentiles.
And when they knew (perceived, recognized, understood, and acknowledged) the grace (God’s unmerited favor and spiritual blessing) that had been bestowed upon me, James and Cephas (Peter) and John, who were reputed to be pillars of the Jerusalem church, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, with the understanding that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised (Jews).
Gal 2:7-9 AMP
But as I have stated often times, whether we are apostles or not we are a sent people. Jesus clearly emphasised the apostolic mandate of the Church, which was to
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:15-18 NKJV
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matt 28:18-20 NKJV

Every believer has a part in this mandate, it is our apostolic mandate, what a big difference it would make for world evangelism if every child of God were to discover and actively pursue this mandate in the different ‘worlds’ that they are sent to, every believer has a sphere of influence to which he or she is called, this is their world, someone identified 7 spheres of human activity that the Church needs to occupy for the kingdom

These are
Politics, sports, entertainment, religion, education, business or economics and family.
If our ministries and churches will train and disciple their membership along these lines, it will have a profound effect on the way the Church fulfills its ministry on the earth, for one thing, it will lead to greater cooperation between various ministries, it will lead us to recognise and lean on the strengths and graces present in other members of the body, there will be a more judicious use of the resources available to us as a people.
3. The apostolic and the will of God
Jesus who is our chief example of what it means to be apostolic gives us an idea of what it means to be sent. He said of himself
 “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work.
John 4:34-35 NKJV
As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
John 5:30 NKJV
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
John 9:4 NKJV
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Matt 26:39 NKJV
What we see in all these scriptures is that Jesus knew that not only was he sent he was sent to do the will of the One who sent him! We also are not sent to do our own thing but the will of Jesus.
This is extremely important because we are today in a situation where every man does what is right in his or her own eyes, this is not meant to be. We are called to submit to the Lordship of Jesus through obedience to the written word and to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was obedient to the will of God even unto death, submission to the will of God is an act of our will, we choose to submit and obey and the Holy Spirit helps us. This is not something much taught today but it is the crux of the apostolic, a people sent by Jesus must be committed to the will of the Jesus who has sent them.
Jesus taught us to pray, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done on earth as it is done in heaven.
If God’s kingdom must be manifest on earth in power it can only be through those who are totally committed to doing his will, are you one of them?
4. Recognise your apostolic authority
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
John 6:57 NKJV
The one who is sent and the one who sends him must remain in a very intimate relationship, we are not alone neither are called to fulfil the will of God in our strength.
Jesus said of himself ‘I am come in my father’s name (John 5: 43), what did he mean, in my father’s name? I believe he was saying, I am come in my father’s authority or as his personal representative, having his power of attorney to act in his name and in his place. Somewhere else he said the works I do in my father’s name bear witness of me.
Jesus had the authority of the Father to do what he did, in examining the life of Jesus and the way he fulfilled his ministry we gain insight into how and what it means to act in the name of Jesus.
Remember Jesus sent us in the same way that the Father sent him; he is our prime example of what we must do with the authority available to us through his name.
The people recognised that Jesus had authority, very much unlike the scribes and Pharisees; likewise we must walk with confidence in the authority that has been vested in us through Jesus Christ.
God has never sent out any person in his name without transmitting his authority to that person to do what they were sent out to do on his behalf, God gave Moses a rod, which was a symbol of his authority.
In medieval Europe the kings messenger or emissary would bear the kings signet, in our local Nigerian customs, the bearer of the message of a king or chief would bear his staff, would the King of kings do less?
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matt 28:18-20 NKJV
Jesus received all authority in heaven and on earth and transmitted same to the Church to act in his name or as his personal representatives or by his authority and by his power of attorney.

In Mark Chapter 16 we find further elaboration
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:15-18 NKJV
You have been commissioned to act in the name of Jesus but only as you are committed to fulfilling the apostolic mandate on your life to GO, there is something interesting in this commission, Jesus said the proof of your effectiveness will be seen in the signs that follow your obedience, but to be effective you must remain in a faith connection with Jesus, this is what he meant when he said these signs shall follow them that believe.

We have seen this earlier, Jesus said he that
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
Again he said
I am the vine and you are the branches, you cannot bear fruit except you abide in me, this is abiding in Christ and His words abiding in us.
Our apostolic connection is a faith connection; we feed off the Lord and bring forth fruit through Him. Somewhere else he said except you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you, while this alludes specifically to our covenant relationship it is also a description of how intimate with him we must be.
Before now I used to think that when Jesus said these signs shall follow them that believe , he was speaking about my believing that the signs will come forth but now I have come to realize that he in speaking about those who believe he was speaking about the nature of our relationship with him.

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
John 6:28-29 NKJV
The Church does not exist for the sake of its fine cathedrals, beautiful programs and even social work, the primary mandate of the Church is to preach the gospel and bring the reality of the kingdom to the earth.
I want to say something about the office of the apostle
Some people have said that there are no apostles today, that the office of the apostle ended with the apostles of Christ, the main thrust of their argument is that the bible says that the foundation of the Church is laid upon the apostles and the prophets and if there are apostles today it would mean that this foundation is still been laid today.
Has the office of the apostle ceased? No! If it has then all the other offices mentioned with it in the same breath in Ephesians 4: 11-14, have also passed away, if we have pastors, teachers and evangelists, then we must also have apostles and prophets as the evidence of scripture confirms.
In the first place it is clear from the scriptures that there were other apostles mentioned in the scriptures who were not included in the twelve that Jesus chose, for example Paul the apostle was not a part of the twelve neither was Barnabas

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out
Acts 14:14-15 NKJV

Notice that Paul and Barnabas were described as Apostles, in my opinion if we can find one apostle who was not a part of the twelve it is a clear indication that the office of the apostle has not passed away, and we have just seen that above.
Other apostles mentioned in the scriptures include Apollos, Junia, Andronicus and quite a few others. I believe that there are different kinds of apostles, for example the apostles of Jesus would belong to a special category of apostles, Paul would belong to another category and apostles today would also belong to a different class.
We need to understand that the Acts of the Apostles showed that the ministry gifts were not set in the Church at the same time, that they developed over time and that beyond the ministry of Paul we have little information on the continuing development of the ministry offices in scripture, but we know so much more today by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, bearing in mind that this revelation is consistent with the principles of the word. The basic truth is that apostles are sent by Jesus the head of the Church.

This is fundamental, anyone claiming to be an apostle must be called to the office of an apostle and the proof of this apostolic calling must be evidenced in his or her life.
Paul called this proof the signs of an apostle

Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
2 Cor 12:12 NKJV

THE TWO GOSPELS

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As I was meditating on a particular day, the Holy Spirit dropped a phrase and a few thoughts in my heart, I heard in my heart the phrase ‘the two gospels’ as I thought about it some more a few scriptures began to come together to give flesh to this thought.
As ministers of the Lord Jesus it is important to have a proper understanding of some of the things that I am about to share, I am sure that most of us would have been introduced to this thought in one form or the other but I am hope to connect them in such a way as to give a further and deeper meaning to our understanding of the message that we are called to live and to preach.
You must have had people say ‘I am preaching the gospel’ maybe you like me must have said so yourself, which gospel do you mean? For according to scripture there are two ‘gospels’ which are connected yet distinct from each other.

Look at Mark’s gospel
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1)
This refers to the good news or message of Jesus Christ, but look again in the 14th verse, we see another gospel
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God
And saying, the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand repent and believe the gospel.
So we see it a bit more clearly, first there is there is a gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus himself began to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God.
I often describe the relationship between the two gospels in this way; The gospel of Jesus is like a trailer head and the gospel of the kingdom like the body of the tractor. One ushers or brings in the other. It is possible to emphasize one to the neglect of the other as we have seen today; God wants both to be preached to bring balance to the body.
If you examine the ministry of the early apostles they understood the difference and emphasized both messages in their ministry to the people. In Acts 8 for example we read that Philip preached the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus. (Verse 12) These two messages are different sides of the same coin.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?
The gospel of Jesus is the good news of the redemptive work of Jesus for the salvation of lost world, this redemptive work culminated in His death, burial and resurrection. It encompasses all the benefits that accrue to mankind through the cross, it includes salvation from sin, sickness, demonic harassment and even poverty, fear and all the works of the devil.
This gospel is God’s solution to all that happened at the fall of man. Paul the apostle said
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone that believes for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16-17.
Salvation is what the gospel of Jesus offers humanity; it is the platform for a covenant relationship and son ship and is the only way into the kingdom of God. In other words you cannot by pass the gospel of Jesus on your way into the kingdom. No wonder Jesus said
I am the way, the truth and the life…..
There are many places in the scriptures where this distinction is either clearly mentioned or alluded to, for example in Mathew 11:28 Jesus said,
Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest
This is what the gospel of Jesus offers, rest from all the burden and grief of the enemy, and this is what we often preach in our Churches and crusades, we proclaim Jesus as the anointed one, God’s Christ and truly this is what He is,  Jesus is the Christ
Some people think that Christ is the surname of Jesus but actually it is just a description of an office, title or function that he came to fulfill, The Christ is the Messiah or the deliverer. To understand the concept of the Christ, think about Moses in the Old Testament, he is perhaps the most prominent example of a deliverer in the bible after Jesus.
God sent Moses to deliver the children of Israel from the grip and bondage of Pharaoh, to do this he was anointed and empowered to work great and mighty miracles that overthrew the dominion of Pharaoh over the Children of Israel, what Moses was to the Children of Israel Jesus Christ is to the world and all who will believe in Him
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Acts 10:38
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease amongst the people.
Mathew 4:23
This is the good news of Jesus, the demonstration of God’s love, mercy and grace. We need this today, fortunately the Church has been strong on this, but we also need to balance this with the message of the kingdom and this is what I believe this present apostolic and prophetic restoration is doing, bringing back the message of the kingdom to its place of balance in the ministry and life of the Church.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM?
The message of the kingdom is the declaration of the re emergence of the dominion and authority of the kingdom of God, it is a call to submit to the authority and lordship of the king of the kingdom, it announces the overthrow of the old satanic kingdom and the emergence of the new divine kingdom in the lives of those that will submit to its authority and power. Where the gospel of Jesus offers salvation the gospel of the kingdom demands obedience and submission.
The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, it is administered by spiritual laws, spiritual principles and divine ordinances like any earthly government, it offers citizenship to all who will, confers rights and privileges like any great earthly dominion but it also demands obedience, submission, loyalty and faithfulness to the king.
Jesus is the prince of the kingdom, in the kingdom of God Jesus is Lord, in the gospel of Jesus He is the Christ or savior but in the kingdom of God he is the sovereign or the Lord and MUST be obeyed.
In Luke 5:13 Jesus said to some ‘why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say?
There are multitudes all over the world who have experienced through faith the blessings of the gospel of Christ but have not submitted to the gospel of the Kingdom, but it is in the gospel of the kingdom that the greater blessing is.
Woe unto you Chorazin, woe unto you Bethsaida, for if the mighty works that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented a great while ago sitting in sack clothes and ashes.
Luke 10:13
These people were like so many today; they experienced the miracles but missed the greatest prize of all, a place in the kingdom.
The kingdom of God was the chief purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ, all he did through the gospel of Jesus was to prepare men for a place in the kingdom and to break the dominion of the kingdom of darkness off humanity.
You remember what Adam had and lost in the garden was the kingdom that he was entrusted with; he was God’s representative in the garden, when he fell, Satan received the authority to establish his dominion or kingdom over fallen man. What Adam lost in the garden Jesus came to restore.
In Mathew 11:28 we see the principle of the gospel of the kingdom revealed, In verse 28 Jesus is the saviour offering rest but in verse 29 he is the lord demanding submission. Look at it
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me: for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest for your souls.
This is the kingdom principle, the yoke was a symbol of submission, he that was under yoke was subject to him that was the master, the yoke bound him to another and made him subject to the direction and guidance of the master. An animal under a yoke could only go where he was led to go.
We have known Jesus as Saviour now we must know him as Lord. As Lord only he can unveil the rich truths and treasuries of the kingdom to us, without this understanding we will never know the measure of the grace, power, supply and ability of God available to us.
Those who have known Jesus as Christ have touched the borders of grace but those who know Him as Lord will drink from the deep fountains of His grace.
We can receive healing through faith by the ministry of the Christ but we can experience another dimension of grace where through the understanding of the life of the kingdom we can walk in dominion over sickness and disease and minister that grace unto others. The walk of faith and love is the walk of the kingdom citizen; it is not just faith to receive a new car but an abiding walk of faith whereby you access the rich treasury of grace in the kingdom on a daily basis.
Jesus taught about the kingdom and its life, we must rediscover this theme in our churches and more importantly we must be so conscious of our heavenly citizenship that it will affect everything about our earthly walk.
The disciples of Jesus were men schooled in the kingdom of God and its ways, they lived on earth but their ways were from above, they knew that had power with God because the heavenly kingdom is greater than all and they were in that kingdom. They had seen the glory and the beauty of the kingdom and they were willing to forsake all to possess it, those who have tasted of the heavenly riches lose their taste for the earthly.
Have you experienced the power of the gospel of Jesus? It is time to experience the power of the gospel of the kingdom.

Whatever He says to you do it

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There is a beautiful story in the second chapter of John that just speaks volumes to me.

Jesus had been invited to a wedding party along with his disciples, his mother ,Mary, was also there, it would seem that the groom or the bride was related in some way to Jesus and Mary, or maybe they were just great friends, anyway, while the party was at its rocking best, something terrible happened, the party ran out of wine, this was a disaster!

Distraught somebody ran to Mary, maybe she could help out , Mary, he said, we have run out of wine, what do we do? Can you help?  Mary answered calmly, follow me, she took him to her son Jesus and said to the distraught host, ‘whatever he says to you do it’ Vs. 5

We know the rest of the story, by simply doing what Jesus asked them to do, the hosts received a great miraculous bailout and became beneficiaries of the first miracle that Jesus did in his public ministry (You can read the whole story in John 2: 1-11 )

This is what I want you to get, whenever we decide to obey the words of God miracles happen, they may not be in the category that we just read about but changes happen to impossible situations when we choose to believe and act on the word of God.

While faith is not explicitly stated it is implied by their obedience to the instructions Jesus gave, who would have thought of it filling the water pots with water and going on to serve this to the people? only to find out that in the course of their actions simple ordinary tasteless water had turned into sweet, invigorating wine!

Water is often used in scripture as a metaphor for God’s word, when it is poured into earthen vessels (which could also be used as a metaphor for the individual) and then served or ministered to one another, it comes out as sweet, invigorating and refreshing ‘wine’. The most simple acts of obedience to God’s word will produce the most amazing results, acts like love, forgiveness, patience, mercy, respect, submission, faith etc will bring miracles into your life on a daily basis.

The context of this story is a wedding, so I want to take the liberty to apply this principle to the marriage institution, experts say that more marriages are ending in divorce today than at any time in modern world history, sadly this is also true in the Church, where the divorce bug seems t have eaten deep. Even amongst many marriages that have not succumbed to the bug, there is a history of friction, strife and dysfunction that has made most homes run out of sweet wine of love.

I believe that many marriages in the Church fail because we do not follow the advice of Mary which is to simply obey the words of Jesus (or God), sure there are many real problems, issues that cannot be wished away or denied but it was so for these people at the marriage feast, they had a real problem, thank God they listened to Mary.

I believe that if spouses were to make it their earnest pursuit and desire to apply the word of God to their lives, stop trying to change their spouses, allow the word identify and heal the real issues in their lives, find their identity and affirmation in who they are in Christ and who Christ is in them, they will enjoy more secure and peaceful relationships.

From my experience and observation, many people come into their marriages with baggage from past family relationships or former relationships, wounds from their past that have not healed and these baggage and wounds affect and color their new relationships, sometimes innocuous actions on the part of their spouses trigger fears, negative emotions and reactions that hurt their homes.  A key part of their healing would be for them to realize that they are the ones that need healing and not their spouses, because often times these people lash out at their spouses and blame them for actions.

However the word of God if acted upon will bring healing,whether physical,emotional or even financial, for example Jesus emphasized the need for forgiveness as a key to receiving healing, forgiveness implies recognizing the offense, facing up to it and deliberating choosing to release the perpetrator. The challenge with acting on God’s word is that we often have to do so in spite of how we feel.

Many people are ruled by their emotions and feelings and not by God’s word, our feelings and emotions are a part of who we are, we cannot deny them,however we were designed and called to walk by faith and not by our feelings..

Paul by the Spirit for example told us to be angry and sin not, so there is anger that is sinful and one that is not, sinful anger for example would include getting angry and staying angry contrary to the admonishment,’ don’t let the sun go down in your wrath’.

Jesus told us offenses would come but he also gave us steps for resolving them, one of the first things he said is that we should be proactive in resolving differences, we should be people that seek peace, not people who hold on to hurts with a false sense of righteous indignation.

Some Christians are so implacable in the name of being hurt , sure we can be hurt but we must be easily entreated, quick to forgive.

Jesus speaks to us through His written word and by His Spirit, and he will if we come to him asking for His help.

For those are willing to forgive but struggle to do so, let me encourage you to stay in the place of prayer, let the Spirit of God so fill your heart that His love breaks through in your heart.

Let the words of Mary ring in your heart ‘whatever he says to you do it’

God bless

 

 

 

WHO ARE YOU REPRESENTING?

REPRESENTING JESUSJesus was sent by God to make Him known and to bring His kingdom to this earth and in doing this to begin the process of restoring a broken world. All that Jesus did was a reflection of this purpose. The Church is the fruit of this work, in all things Jesus was faithful to Him that sent him. Jesus said of himself ‘ he that has seen me has seen the father’ and again ‘ the son can do nothing of himself but what he has seen the father do’.
Just as the Father sent Jesus so Jesus has sent the Church to make Him known , all the confusion in the Church is the result of losing sight if this mandate. In a very technical sense the mandate of the Church is not to preach ‘ God’ but to make Jesus known. Hear what the Lord said to the apostle Paul

And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’  So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.  I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,  to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
Acts 26: 15-19 NKJV

Of course it was all about God because it was about Jesus, but we need to get our mandate right. I have discovered that as soon as we get our eyes off Jesus we stray into error, you wonder why some do all sorts of things in the name of ‘God’, it is because they have taken their eyes off Jesus, our perfect example for life and ministry.
I exhort all who claim to be ‘ christians’ to look into Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Our mandate is to make Him known to the nation’s in power and truth but if we must do so we must first know Him for ourselves.

This is why he chose his first disciples to be with Him before they went to preach or heal the sick and casr out devils. We cannot claim to represent him and teach or live in a manner contrary to his life and principles.
Today we have a christless christianity. ‘ we need to repent and return to him again. The greatest deception is self deception, Lord have mercy, it is not the miracles, the success, not even the preaching or teaching,the Pharisees had all that, it us about Jesus and him alone.
Jesus in our homes, in our work places, in our churches. Jesus and him alone. This is the apostolic spirit.
Husbands love your wives is men revealing Jesus to their wives, wives submit to your husbands is women revealing Christ to their husbands. Lord help me,!

I ask again ‘ who are you representing? Jesus or……..

BEWARE THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND THE SADUCEES

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Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? — but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Matt 16:5-12 NKJV
Today I want to talk about something that has some relevance today, Jesus was speaking to his disciples, the future ministers or carriers of the gospel, and he was warning them to be careful about the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, many times people read these words and don’t catch the full import of what Jesus was saying and its relevance today, who were the Sadducees and the Pharisees? Knowing who they were and what they represented will help us immeasurably.

These men where the religious leaders of the day, the religious elite belonged mainly to either one of these two groups and they were the main antagonists of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, if truth must be told, the teachings of these people are still flourishing today and constitute a major stumbling block for many in the faith of the Lord Jesus.

Who were these people and what did they teach?

The Sadducees taught that the supernatural was none existent, they did not believe in God neither in angels or spirits

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)
Acts 23:6-8 NIV

They were viciously opposed to each other but found a place of agreement in their opposition to the Lord Jesus, these Sadducees  believed that the supernatural was past, maybe those things happened in the days of Moses and the prophets but certainly not in their day, they did everything to discredit the supernatural and to convince the people that that age was past, if God ever spoke it was then and not in their days, do all these sound familiar? they were not ‘heathens’ they believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ,they were practicing Jews they just didn’t believe in the supernatural, so you can understand why they opposed the ministry of Jesus so, we may not have Sadducees today but their teachings still live on,, propagated through their ‘disciples’. Jesus warned his own disciples to be careful not to get contaminated with the teachings of the Sadducees, Jesus described the teaching as leaven due mainly to its ability to spread and easily overtake whatever host substances it was connected to. Today there are people who will do their utmost, even going to the most unchristian lengths to discredit the supernatural and those who either walk in it or believe it.

Let’s talk about the Pharisees, these ones were not like the Sadducees, they had no problems with the supernatural, in fact they promoted it, the problem with them was that they promoted their own brand of piety and righteousness, they knew the word of God but not the God of the word, you remember Saul of Tarsus who later became Paul the apostle, he was the poster boy of the Pharisees party.

They prided themselves on what they thought they knew and they claimed they had insight into the mysteries of God but in truth they knew little or had little insight into the ways of God.
Jesus had very many harsh words to say of them; in fact I don’t think he spoke more harshly to any group of people as he did to them. (Matt. 23: 15- 30)
They were very visible in the public space, with serious pretensions to holiness and righteousness but Jesus said inwardly they were like graves with dead men’s bones, ouch!
They knew the right words to speak, they were very media savvy and very close to the corridors of power, and they had to have influence with men since they didn’t really have influence with God.

One of the reasons they must have hated Jesus was because they saw power and authority in his life the sort they desired but could not have.
Are they here with us today? You bet, they dot the religious landscape, relics of a past, they are relevant only because of the positions they occupy and the power bases they have created for themselves. When they speak of God it is in the context of their interpretations of him and not on his revelation of himself.

Jesus warned us to be careful of such people who teach by their words and practices what Jesus did not teach, model or advocate. Today we need to be discerning lest we be corrupted by the influence of these groups of people, who still resist and oppose the ministry of the Lord even as they did in the days of His flesh.

It is possible that we may have fallen into one of these camps in our ignorance, we can find our way out, as Christians our call is to follow Jesus Christ and no one else, if we do so then His words and example will become our primary influence. This is the way out of the camp of the Sadducees and Pharisees, simply follow Jesus

HOW TO GUARANTEE THAT EVERY PRAYER YOU PRAY WILL BE ANSWERED

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What will you give to be sure, absolutely sure, that every prayer you pray will be answered? I am sure almost everything, I mean that is a sure fire way to being successful at everything, it is key to living a vibrant fulfilled life, a life Jesus described as the abundant life.( John 10:10)

Well, I believe that I can show you some simple things that if you will apply will guarantee that every prayer you pray is answered… eventually. You see I believe that prayer is like a seed, every seed has a gestation period, some are shorter than others, but if the seed is good and it is planted in the right soil, you have firm certainty that in its season it will spring forth and produce good fruit.

Here are a few things to help you.

1. Understand the heart of God

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Matt 7:7-12 NKJV

I believe the first thing we should establish in our hearts is this God wants us to have what we need, many time people pray and it seems like they are trying to wring a blessing out of God or that they must to convince God to want to bless them. That mindset will lead to defeat; God wants us to have all that we need for life and godliness.
Jesus said our Father knows what we need even before we ask, so why worry? This is true in the New as well as in the old testaments, David said in the 103rd Psalm, he satisfies our mouth with good things, this can allude to answers to prayer as well as needs being met.

God is not stingy, wicked or mean; he is generous and liberal to all who look to Him. The miracle of answered prayers is born in our hearts, this is where we succeed or fail in the place of prayer.

Jesus is the revealed heart of God, the will of God in bodily form. I like to say He is the very expression of the thoughts of God towards humanity. Take a close look at Jesus, does he come across to you as vengeful, stingy, hard to please or unapproachable?

Paul the apostle said in the 8th chapter of the book of Romans,
If God did not hold back his son from us but freely gave him up for us, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?Jesus himself told us clearly, whatsoever things YOU desire when YOU pray believe and you shall receive. Mark 11:24
This heart of God towards us is love, God reaching out to us with his highest and best.

2. Change your own mindset

Some people look at God and his word through some preconceived lens, whether of traditions, wrongful teachings, experiences from their personal life and that of others that has cast God and His will for us in the wrong light, because of this their ability to receive God’s love is very limited and so is their ability to receive answers to their prayers.

The wise man in the book of proverbs gave us some very true counsel when he said ‘guard your heart with all diligence for out of it proceeds the issues of life. Pro. 4:23

The unguarded heart produces doubt, fear, unbelief, unbelief and negativity. You are responsible to deal with these, and the cure is found in the word of God.
Work on your mindset by thinking on the goodness of God, affirming His love, forgiveness, ability and power, fill your heart s with His thoughts and not the thoughts that weaken faith and inspire death dealing emotions.
Paul the apostle called this process of changing your mindset, the renewing of the mind, watch the company you keep and the things you listen to and watch. God cannot do any of these for you, you must do them for yourself.

3. Understand the will of God

God’s iron clad guarantee of answers to ALL your prayers is based on this very important proviso that you ask in accordance with his will.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15 NKJV

The big problem for many people is what is His will? The answer is simple, In the first instance Jesus is the will of God, in other words whatever Jesus did or said was a reflection of God’s will because Jesus is the word made flesh, the express image of God’s person.
Jesus himself said, that all he did was by the express instruction or example of God, so..
Saying that I can safely say that salvation from sin, sickness or poverty is God’s will, some people have criticized what they call the health wealth gospel, and sometimes rightly so for its imbalances and abuse, but Jesus did suffer so that by His stripes we may be healed, ( 1 Peter 2:24) and he became poor so that we through His poverty might become rich or full 2 Cor. 8:9) no need spiritualizing what is plain. Your well being and protection is his will as also a thousand other things.

In the second instance, the written word is the will of God, this is where some may miss it if they are not careful, the whole bible is inspired by the Spirit of God but the whole bible is not the will of God, someone put it like this ‘the scriptures are a true statement of the events and actions recorded but not every action was approved or sanctioned by God.
This means that we need to be sure that God is the one speaking to us or that what is being taught is reflective of the counsel of God and is not a mere record of an action or incident in biblical history.

There is a third dimension of the will of God that we need to recognize, which is the revealed will of God to an individual by the Spirit of God. Many believers will accept that God spoke to Paul, Peter James and others but will not speak to believers today, I beg to disagree, the Jesus who spoke to his servants’ in the bible still speaks to them today. The caveat is that Jesus will never ask anyone to do something that contradicts the principle of His word or that which he did in the flesh.

4. Simply ask

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
John 4:10 NKJV

This scripture blew my mind when I first saw it, no formulas, no steps just simply recognize God’s free gift (everything God gives us is gracious) and ..ask.
I decided on the basis of God’s word that it will be highly unusual if I don’t get answers to my prayers but then I must say that this has to do mainly with your own needs, when they are also about another person then that person’s will is also involved and it is a slightly different situation.

This is enough to get you started, will add a few other thoughts in the next post.