The work of Christ

“Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matt 11:28-30”.

The text from Matthew 11:28-30 has been used frequently in calling sinners to Jesus Christ, offering them freedom from their bondages, salvation and rest.

Today, however let us look at this passage in a different light – I want you to see it as a call from Jesus to work with Him. The picture of a yoke (and oxen) speaks of ploughing a field or of drawing a cart. Oxen are placed under a yoke only for work. Jesus is calling you to work with Him, to learn from Him and to find rest in the process. You are not called to work alone, you will be working with Jesus and doing His work. Instead of labouring and being heavy laden as with any yoke, the work of Jesus will bring rest and refreshing.

I have noticed that in my past four ministry trips to the Philippines, I have gone in tired and weary (I hold a full time job and did experience much spiritual warfare prior to leaving) but have come out rested and refreshed – in fact, I returned from the Philippines in a better spiritual state than when I went in. There seems to be something about the work of Christ that, instead of wearing one out, brings rest.

Let us look, as usual, at the Word to understand more about the work that Jesus calls us to.

1. Philippians 2:30 “because for the work of Christ, he came close to death……”

2. Acts 13:2 “…now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

3. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed,……”

4. 1 Corinthians 3:9 “For we are God’s fellow workers…..”

5. 1 Corinthians 3:13, 14 “……the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.”

6. 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I laboured (worked) more abundantly than they all,……..”

7. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

What is the work of Christ ?

I believe it is preaching the gospel, making disciples, building Jesus’ church and doing the works that Jesus did such as destroying the works of the devil, healing the sick and casting out demons. 

Paul said that the ministry he received was to testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). Jesus commanded his disciples to go into all the world and to preach the gospel and to make disciples (Mark 16:15-18 and Matthew 28:19,20). He also said that he was building his church (Matt 16:18). Mark’s gospel ends with a lovely phrase in 16:20 – “and the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Paul speaks of Christ working mighty signs and wonders through him as he went about preaching the gospel (Romans 15:18,19). In 1 Corinthians 3:9-15, we are admonished to take care how we build and also that our work will be tested with fire to see of what sort it is. We see people like Paul and Epaphroditus who dedicated their entire lives to the work of Christ, one came close to death because of that, while Paul gave up his life in the process. We see that while Jesus calls all of us to work with Him, some are called to engage in the work full time and be supported by other believers, while others like Paul, work and support themselves. In this work, while it is open to all and everyone has a specific task, there are some who are called to specific areas of service or functions such as apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. All are equal in God’s eyes and each one will receive a reward for the work they have done.

Today, Jesus calls you to partner with Him in His work. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Will you respond?

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Revelation

As a general rule, revelation precedes Christian experience. All we can know of God is when God reveals himself to us through His word or through His Spirit.

Revelation can be understood as the unveiling of God to the believer OR as the opening of the believer’s understanding to God and the things of God. Revelation is totally the work of the Holy Spirit; man can never attain this knowledge or experience on his own. It must be of God.

1. One’s sinfulness – Acts 2:37 “Now, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart….” Luke 5:8 “…..Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

2. Jesus as Saviour, Lord and God – John 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God””. Also, Acts 9:3-5.

3. The Father – Matthew 11:27 “….Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal him”.

4. Jesus – Eph 1:17 “….give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ)”. Luke 24:31 “Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him and vanished from their sight.” Also, Revelation 1:9-18 and Philippians 3:10 and Matt 16:17.

5. The love of Christ – Eph 3:19 “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge……”.

6. The things that God has prepared for us – 1 Cor 2:9,10 “Eye has not see, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit….”.

7. The things of the Holy Spirit – 1 Cor 2:14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. Acts contains many instances where the Holy Spirit revealed things to the apostles and Paul eg- Ananias and Sapphira lying.

8. Jesus Christ IN us – Galatians 1:16 “to reveal His Son IN me…..” In my opinion, this is the greatest revelation that you and I need in order to live the Christian life in power. Jesus Christ in us – living in us, speaking through us, doing his ministry through us, overcoming sin, Satan, sickness and the world through us. No longer I but Christ living in me.

9. Wonderful things in the Word – Psalms 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from your law”.

10. God’s dealings with the wicked and the righteous – Psalms 73:16, 17 “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me – until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end”.

11. Mysteries of the kingdom and Christ – Matthew 13:11 “….it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven……” Galatians 1:12 “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Also Ephesians 3:2-6.

Once we receive revelation from God, we must press in to experience what has been revealed to us. Having a revelation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for instance, is not of much use unless it is followed by the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit. Having a revelation of God as healer is of not much use unless it is followed by experiencing his healing.

All through the journey of the Israelites across the desert, God was constantly revealing himself – as their provider, as miracle worker, as healer, as shepherd, as guide, as protector and more. The Israelites could not see this – all they could see was their own need.

Similarly, and in fact, in a much greater way, God is revealing himself to us. Jesus said, “he who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus was the perfect revelation of God the Father.

May we desire to know him by revelation and experience all that He has for us on this earth. Cry out to him to reveal himself – only knowing Christ will satisfy your soul. There is a place for us to express our deep desire to know Him through prayer and at times, fasting – God normally answers this cry. We do not have, because we do not ask.

The love of God

In Ephesians 3:19, the love of God is described as that which surpasses knowledge. In other words, it cannot be understood by the mind; it can only be known by the human spirit; it is spiritually discerned and experienced. God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son to save those who believe.

Let us look at some verses of Scripture that speak of the love of God –

1. Ephesians 3:19 “…to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge….”. The love of Christ is beyond our understanding; it must be known and experienced and apprehended by the spirit of man. No amount of study can enable us to understand the love of God. We need God to reveal his love and enable us to experience it. It is only after this experience that we can be filled with all the fullness of God (vs 19).

2. Romans 5:5 ” the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…”. The love of God has to be received in our spirits. The love of God has been placed in our spirits by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit alone can help us to spiritually comprehend and apprehend the love of God.

3. John 15:9 “As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love.” Jesus encourages his disciples to abide in his love – to be conscious of His love for them; to make an effort to remind ourselves that we are loved perfectly with a flawless love.

4. Jude 21 “keep yourselves in the love of God”. This is similar to abiding in the love of Jesus – to be conscious of the love of Jesus.

5. Romans 8:35-39 “…nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul had such a spiritual understanding and experience of the love of God that he was convinced that nothing in all creation could separate us from God’s love. It is a perfect love, for Jesus said that he loves us just as the Father loved him (John 15:9). Also that the Father loves us to the same extent that He loves Jesus (John 17:23).

Today, let us understand that we are loved by God – with a perfect love; nothing can come in the way of God’s perfect love for us. He loves us to the same extent and with the same passion that He loved Jesus. Anything that tries to come in the way of God’s love will be consumed and taken out of the way. We are held in the mighty force field of God’s love similar to the gravitational pull of the earth. Nothing can snatch us out of His hand. His steadfast love never ceases; it is new today. How great is the love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called children of God. The love that was manifested in Christ leaving the glory of Heaven, coming down to earth, taking on human flesh and going to the cross to take our place.

May God continue to open the eyes of our hearts that we may comprehend the width and the length and the depth and the height of the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge. Words cannot express this love, they are inadequate; it must be experienced by our spirits.

Anointings

Christianity is divinely supernatural from beginning to end. Everything about Christianity is supernatural. It is about receiving, not achieving. Take out the supernatural element from Christianity and you have nothing left. Why, Jesus coming to earth itself was supernatural ! Jesus dwelling in me is supernatural ! Salvation is supernatural ! The Christian is a person with a divine supernatural experience from God through Jesus Christ throughout his life on earth.

I just returned from a short ministry trip to the Philippines this morning and among other things, I was filled with a great desire to experience more of God. Both yesterday and today I was meditating on the word “anointing” and would like to pen my thoughts on the subject for your edification.

1. Anointing with the Holy Spirit (for ministry)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He (the Lord) has anointed me to ……..” Luke 4:!8. When Jesus spoke of the anointing, He referred to God anointing him with the Holy Spirit. God had placed His Spirit upon Jesus. Just as the prophets of old anointed with oil or poured oil upon the heads of kings or their successors, God had anointed Jesus not with oil, but with the Holy Spirit. When the anointing of the Holy Spirit was upon him, he received supernatural ability to preach, to teach, to heal, to raise the dead and to set people free from bondage to demons. The purpose of the anointing of the Holy Spirit was to grant supernatural ability for ministry.

2. Anointing with power (for ministry)

In Acts 10:38, we see that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power. The power of God rested upon Jesus to work miracles and to heal the sick.

3. Anointing with joy (for living)

In addition to God anointing Jesus with the Holy Spirit, we also read of God anointing Jesus with joy. In Hebrews 1:9, we see, “…..God has anointed you with the oil of joy more than your companions.” A supernatural joy was placed upon Jesus.

When I see that God anointed Jesus with supernatural joy, I am inclined to consider that it is possible for God to not only anoint us with joy, but with the other fruit or characteristics of the Holy Spirit, such as love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, humility and the fear of God. These verses in Galatians 5 speak of the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the natural man, not the product of trying and striving and changing. The fruit is of the Spirit, not out of self-effort. It is the divine supernatural – beyond the natural; that which is impossible for man to achieve or experience by his own effort. The fruit of the Spirit refers to supernatural love, supernatural joy, supernatural peace, supernatural patience, supernatural kindness, supernatural goodness, supernatural faithfulness, supernatural self control, supernatural humility and the supernatural fear of God.

I believe that we can experience the various anointings of God. The anointings for ministry refer to the anointing with the Holy Spirit and the anointing with power. These anointings empower us for ministry. The anointings for our daily life refer to the anointings that bring the supernatural characteristics of the Holy Spirit into our daily experience, the only condition being our yieldedness to Him.

I greatly desire the anointings of God in all of their variety, to rest upon my being. Some of them come upon us for a season, while others rest upon us permanently.

May the chief pursuit of our lives be intimacy with God, fellowship with Him, us containing more of Him and Him having all of us.