by Jorge Lacovara
"For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and
to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall
call." (Acts 2:39)
When Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost he said, "the promise is for you." He was addressing the multitude that was there, telling them that the promise, the power, and the anointing of the Spirit of God was for them.
This truth wasn't going to die. It wasn't going to come to an
end when the last of the apostles died, and it wasn't going to
come to an end after the first century. And yet for countless
generations the enemy convinced Christians that this time of
glory ended with the last of the apostles. During those
centuries, appropriately called the Dark Ages, the Spirit gave
light to just a few hearts. Only a few could perceive the reality
of the living Word. These were able to convert the Word of God
into a sword in their hand; and their lives were invaded by the
power of the Spirit.
The promise is for you and for me and for all of us.
But the promise doesn't come alone. It comes with the responsibility and the obligation of bringing to the world liberty, light, sight, healing, and the good news that Christ did not end His ministry after the ascension.
Before Jesus rose into heaven, He said to His disciples, "...(do) not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father... ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:4,8) What He was saying was that when Pentecost came the Holy Spirit would seal them and deposit something sure and concrete in their ministries. He had ceased to walk in the physical realm on earth, but His ministry would, through them, go all over the earth. It was no longer just the three year ministry of one man Who walked along the dusty roads of Galilee or the streets of Nazareth or Jerusalem. But instead, through the centuries, thousands and millions would announce the Good News. Men and women would stand in the midst of darkness and proclaim, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18,19)
There are thousands of millions of captives all over the earth under the oppression of the devil. Millions of lives which are in the enemy's hands. Maybe you're saying, "We need an evangelist! Bring one!" Allow me to tell you we don't need an evangelist, we don't need loudspeakers, and we don't need tents. We need an anointing from heaven on our lives. The ministry of Christ didn't come to an end at the cross when Jesus exclaimed, "It is finished!" (John 19:30) What finished that day, or rather what was finalized, was the establishment of the ministry of Jesus. There at the cross it was established forever and no power will ever be able to reverse it. God the Father established Jesus as the only Lord, Savior, and Redeemer. The only way for man to have communion once again with his Creator - communion that was lost long ago in the Garden of Eden.
If we believe the promise, we must also pay recognize the way
it becomes a reality. God is not restricted in how He brings His
promises to pass. He chooses the way. This is a characteristic of
what the Spirit wants, and above all, what the Spirit DOES. When
Jesus entered the waters of the Jordan River and was baptized by
John, the Spirit descended on Him in a visible form, and anointed
Him with power. That was a clear sign to all that are called by
God to the ministry. You cannot minister in your own strength
without first being anointed by the Spirit.
When the Spirit descends on someone, it is a sign that that life will be used by God - at any time and in any way the Lord chooses.
The responsibility that comes with the promise, and the great need in the world around us, should cause us to have a good look at the Scriptures and also the history of the Church. Why was it that for centuries after thosethat had received the promise of Pentecost the Church lost that power? How was it that Satan made Christians believe that the promise and power of Pentecost was no longer valid so they no longer sought it?
We must consider more aspects. First, the intimate relationship that Jesus had with His Father, and second, with the Word. They were in harmony with each other. To be born again is the greatest miracle of all. Salvation does not depend on the will of man, but on the will of God. God will do what youcannot do. He will give you a new life. But what you can do, He will not do. He will leave it in your hands, but He will give you the tools. How did Jesus have victory when He was tempted after the Spirit led Him into the desert? Satan tempted Him with the Word of God. He twisted it and took it out of context. He omitted a word here and there but Jesus knew the Word very well. The faith in the heart of Jesus was not based on experiences, or emotions, but on the Word of God. Recall what Jesus said when He was twelve years old, "...wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) There is something we must do. We must restore our souls. What has our souls got to do with the promises of God? A lot. In our soul there is a door and the tool used to open that door is the Word of God. We are the ones who apply that tool.
When a life has an encounter with Jesus and His cross, that
spirit is born again. It is no longer captive or dead but alive.
It has a new spiritual life! All those who are children of God
have a new spirit. When Jesus said to Nicodemus that he must be
born again, He didn't say that he had to change his body, but
that his spirit had to be born again. Kenneth Hagin said,
"We all should know that man is spirit, he has a soul, and
he lives in a body." I like his definition!
What about the soul? The Scriptures tell us that the soul is the seat of what we call the mind, emotions, affections, understanding, and thoughts. It is not born again together with the spirit. Just like the body, it remains as it was. When we have an encounter with the cross, what is born again is the spirit, not our mind, and not our thoughts. So, it is the spirit that is born again, not the soul.
The apostle Paul mentions this when he talks about the
renewing of the mind. He says, "be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind,..." (Romans 12:2) He exhorts us time
after time to renew our understanding and the way we think. We
must not give ourselves over to the way the world thinks.
From this and other texts, we can assume that the restoration of our souls is in our hands. We cannot, by an act of our own will be born again, God does that, but to change our way of thinking is something that we can do and something we must do.
Years ago a dear brother in the Lord used to say, "When I
get someone's Bible, and I open it and look at its pages, I can
see how spiritual that person is and to what extent he lives in
victory." Why did he say that? Because a person who lives in
victory is a person who has faith, and if he has faith, it is
because he eats the Word of God. Not because he reads it and not
because he is religious, but because he comes before the Spirit
of God and asks, "God give me the Rhema which comes from
above." This Rhema - the living word of God - puts in his
heart the correct and proper way to think. So then when the enemy
attacks, he will be able to stand firmly, not just because of
experiences or emotions, but because his foundation is THE ROCK
Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Matthew 24:35)
When our mind still belonged to this world, it was under the
dominion of Satan, and thought as the world thinks. The devil is
the father of all lies. The Bible speaks about the condition of
the mind of those who have not been born again -"Having the
understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of
God..." (Ephesians 4:18) The enemy tries in many ways to get
our minds to become cloudy and far away from the truth of God. He
wants us to think on things that are not true, and to accept lies
instead of truth.
If a mind has been bombarded for years, and it has been given to lies and darkness, can it change? Yes, but the answer is in the Word of God. That is where we must drink and absorb that which God has for us so that our hearts can be changed. As our mind begins to adopt the correct way of thinking it becomes restored.
The foundation for our life and our faith must be the Word of
God - the only truth. When the mind absorbs the truth which comes
from the Word of God, the enemy just wastes time with lies, or
half-truths, as he tried to tell Jesus.
Christians after the first century began losing their personal communion with the Spirit of God and their faith in Him. They were not careful concerning the transformation of their souls, so that they would be aligned with the truth of God. They were not careful about the restoring of their souls so they lost what they had. The father of lies lied to them and they had no defense against him.
Our faith must not be based on experiences, on emotions, on what we feel, but on the solid and true Word of God.
The promise of Pentecost is for you. Yes, it is for you! The words of the prophecy of Isaiah were about Jesus and, of course, the body of Jesus, His Church. So the words that our Lord read from Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, were a declaration of what God wants throughout the Church. You are part of that church. Faith is based on the Word of God. The Word of God says that the Spirit of God is on you and on me and He has sent us to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken-heart, to preach liberty to those who are spiritual captives, and to remove the scales from blind eyes (both spiritually and physically blind). That is what God does and He will do it through you and through me!
Don't let the enemy deceive you. Maybe you need to leave things behind. Maybe you need to do some things which you haven't done before in order to receive the promise. Do it! It's worth it!
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