New Wine for New Wineskins December 2006

By , November 28, 2006 4:54 pm

 The Secret of a Jesus Ministry 

 

If we are to be effective in continuing the ministry of Jesus then it is essential that we understand the secret of His power… 

 

 

Why do need to know the secret of a Jesus ministry?  Because Jesus said that we were to do the same works that He did – and even greater works!  We are to be a continuation of His life, an amplification of His message, and an extension of His works.

If you don't think there might be a secret we could be missing then read these statistics relating to pastors.

U.S . STATISTICS

Only 1 out of 40 people who enter ministry in their early years retire as ministers

80% of seminary graduates who enter the ministry straight out of school leave within five years and never return

80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses are depressed or discouraged

U.K. STATISTICS 

3 in 10 church leaders have felt like leaving Christian service

7 in 10 church leaders feel heavily overworked

3 in 10 church leaders feel their families suffer because of their work

200 church leaders miss Sunday activities each week as a result of stress related illness

1500 church leaders quit over a ten year period

Many know the theory of how they shouldn’t minister from their own strength and resources, but very few know how to apply it and practice it in their personal lives.

And so, we want to discover why Jesus always had the BEST to GIVE, and how He always had a peace and a presence that attracted people to Him.  If He always had the BEST to GIVE then He must have taken time to RECEIVE the BEST!

Acts 10: 38

How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him.

So what was the secret of His power?  Where did He go to RECEIVE the BEST so that He always had the BEST to GIVE?

Jesus said that we should learn and take our example from Him.

Matthew 11: 28 – 30

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

So what can we learn from Jesus?

Mark 1: 35

35 And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed.

Luke 6: 12

12 Now in those days it occurred that He went up into a mountain to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God.


Luke 21: 37


37 Now in the daytime Jesus was teaching in [the porches and courts of] the temple, but at night He would go out and stay on the mount called Olivet.

Luke 5: 16

16 But He Himself withdrew [in retirement] to the wilderness (desert) and prayed.

If you take time to read these verses in their context you will see that Jesus would be ministering in the power of the Spirit, and then would withdraw for a time before returning and continuing to minister in the power of the Spirit.

Traditionally, I suppose we have thought of Jesus going out and wrestling all night in prayer – really giving it big licks in spiritual warfare.  

But is that really how it was?  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray He gave them a very simple framework that flowed out of relationship with the Father.   At other times He exhorted them not to pray lengthy repetitious prayers consisting of religious phrases and pious or self-righteous expressions.

It is obvious from Scripture that Jesus returned from these times of prayer with a renewed strength that enabled Him to continue the ministry that had been committed to Him, in the power of the Holy Spirit’s anointing.

John 4: 23 – 24

23 A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.
24 God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).

MUST!  There is no way around it – it has to be spirit and truth – not flesh and formula!

1 Corinthians 6: 17

17 He who is joined (united) to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Religion is a one-way street – relationship is a two-way street of giving and receiving.

In the natural a husband and wife are joined together body and soul – but our spirit belongs to the Lord!  That is why there will be no marrying or giving in marriage in Heaven.

A man who marries just to get all of His physical needs met has missed the point, and a woman who marries simply for a white dress, a big day and a few photographs has also missed it.

Marriage is about giving and receiving – but it is hard to go on giving when we are not receiving!  The reason that many marriages break down is that there is at least one selfish person in the relationship who never gives – only takes!  There can also be problems when one partner is a giver, but has difficulty receiving!  The person doing all the giving while not being open to receive will often eventually descend into bitterness and wear out!

Our spirit is joined to the Lord.  The Lord is a giver – an abundant giver – but  sadly, a lot of believers have problems receiving and so they burn out!

Matthew 10: 8

8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Note the order!  First, RECEIVE – then GIVE!

Many believers have more problems with RECEIVING than with GIVING – but if you don’t FREELY RECEIVE, then you can’t FREELY GIVE!

Most people know that they are supposed to GIVE – that is why you get phrases in Christian circles like “give till it hurts”.  It should never hurt to GIVE – not if you have learned to FREELY RECEIVE!  We should always GIVE out of the OVERFLOW!

Luke 6: 36

38 Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into your bosom. For with the measure you deal out, it will be measured back to you.

Give what?  Give what you have FREELY RECEIVED!  It starts with running over and it ends with running over – it begins with God and it ends with God!

A lot of people in ministry get bitter and burnt out because they never had a place of RECEIVING!  They gave until it HURT – they were hurt by those to whom they gave, because they gave of their own resources and never received anything in return!  We are to FREELY GIVE of what we have FREELY RECEIVED – that way there is no place for HURT because everything we GIVE is abundantly replenished by the Lord!  If we don’t FREELY RECEIVE we won’t be able to FREELY GIVE and so all of our GIVING will have strings attached, which will always end in misery!  It will wear you out!

So where and how do we FREELY RECEIVE?

Isaiah 40: 30 – 31

30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;
31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired

The word “wait” in the original Hebrew caries the meaning “to bind together”.  You could read verse 31 as:

31 But those who are bound together with the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired

Those who are bound together – one spirit with the Lord – worshippers in spirit and truth…renew their strength…they mount up to God…they run and don’t grow weary, they walk and don’t faint!

There are a lot of hurting people who have not been RECEIVING – just GIVING all the time!

Husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters: how often have you heard someone say, “I don’t have to tell them that I love them – they know that already!”

Words are important!  In the New Covenant church our heavenly Father has given us the gift of prophecy for edification, exhortation and comfort.  He has blessed us with this gift so that we can hear God audibly speak personal words of affirmation – to know that He knows – to hear that He cares!  Faith comes through hearing Him speak!  No wonder Paul told Timothy to wage warfare with the prophetic words that had been spoken into his life!

Jesus’ public ministry began with words of affirmation from the Father.

Matthew 3: 17

17 And behold, a voice from heaven said, This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight!

From that place of affirmation – from that place of RECEIVING – Jesus was able to go straight into a confrontation with the devil from which He emerged victorious!  

Why should we assume that when Jesus went out to spend time with the Father – whether in the morning or at night – it was for any other reason than to RECEIVE the same and similar words of affirmation – of edification, exhortation, and comfort!  Jesus’ times with the Father were about being “bound together” with Him so that when He came from the Father’s presence He was saturated with the anointing and ministered out of the overflow!

We can do the same – we don’t have to minister out of the flesh and end up back on the treadmill of works – giving until it HURTS!
The church has neglected this place of “waiting” – of being “bound together” with the Lord – and so has become weary and weak.

We need to learn from Jesus – taking quality time with the Father – soaking up His presence and His words of affirmation – FREELY RECEIVING and FREELY GIVING – ministering out of the overflow!  It takes away all the pressure – worshipping in spirit and truth!

We need to be “bound together” with the Lord.  As I have been meditating on this I have realized that many of us never had the opportunity to “bond” with our heavenly Father.  When we were born again the cry was opened up on the inside of us, “Abba, Father”.  Either He is or He isn’t – and the word of God says that He is – that He is DADDY!  That’s the level of intimacy that we were born again to enjoy!  

But sadly, many of us were removed from that place of intimacy with the Father before we had an opportunity to “bond” and we were raised by religion in an atmosphere where our Father was little more than a concept or a distant figure.  We never had the opportunity to really get to know our Father – we just heard stories about what He was like, and usually these stories were told us by those who didn’t know Him either and whose understanding was perverted by their own experience.

When Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him one of the times that He went out to pray He wanted to reveal to them the secret of His power.  He wanted to show them how He was recharged every day.

Matthew 17: 1 – 8

1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John (the brother of James) and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. 2 Jesus' appearance changed in front of them. His face became as bright as the sun and his clothes as white as light. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them and were talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it's good that we're here. If you want, I'll put up three tents here–one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 5 He was still speaking when a bright cloud overshadowed them. Then a voice came out of the cloud and said, "This is my Son, whom I love and with whom I am pleased. Listen to him!" 6 The disciples were terrified when they heard this and fell facedown on the ground. 7 But Jesus touched them and said, "Get up, and don't be afraid!" 8 As they raised their heads, they saw no one but Jesus.

He took the three of them because He also wanted to reveal a principle to them that has been pretty much lost by the modern church.  The power of being together and of being bound together corporately with the Lord!  Christians have become so isolated, independent and individualistic – but the NT church were TOGETHER!  They PRAYED TOGETHER!  Jesus said that at least TWO in agreement could achieve anything!  He said that where two or three were gathered together in His name His power and His presence would be manifested.  He sent out the disciples in twos.  The apostles always traveled and ministered with a team.  

When you are together you have the opportunity to be bound together with the Lord – and to be filled up and to minister edification, exhortation, and comfort to one another!  And then from that place of RECEIVING you are strong to go out into the world and GIVE!

Some people might call this selfish or self-indulgent but you have nothing of eternal value to GIVE unless you first of all RECEIVE!

Read all the “one-anothers” in the NT – you can’t do these things unless you are TOGETHER!  When Jesus took His three disciples with Him to witness Him being transfigured – metamorphosised – He allowed them to see Him fellowshipping with Moses and Elijah – two or three gathered together!  He wasn’t able to have the level of fellowship with His disciples at that time that He needed because they were still not born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.  Peter, according to Luke’s account of this event, didn’t have a clue what he was talking about in his response to this experience – he was waffling!

When Jesus, before His ascension to the right hand of the Father, told the disciples to “wait” for the Holy Spirit’s power to come upon them, He didn’t tell them to go to their individual homes and wait.  He told them to “wait” TOGETHER!  They had already received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them but they were to wait for the OVERFLOW!  Then they would be empowered to be witnesses – a continuation of Jesus life; an amplification of His message; and an extension of His works!

What was happening as they “waited”?  They were being bound together with the Lord and with one another!  They were saturated with the presence of God and then the overflow came!  And out they went in the power of the Spirit – not ministering out of their own resources, but out of the OVERFLOW!

That is why it is essential that we take time to worship in response to God's Word at the end of a service.  It is really just a time to be saturated with the presence of God.  It is an opportunity to be filled to overflowing – to be bound together with the Lord – to become one spirit with Him – to respond to His word and to go out into the world and minister out of the OVERFLOW!

Those who respond to the opportunity to RECEIVE ministry tend to be the ones who go on to GIVE ministry – to minister out of the OVERFLOW!

Some of us are discovering the awesome benefits of meeting together every day – of being bound together with the Lord – of being saturated in His presence – praying for one another and speaking words of edification, exhortation and comfort – and of having our strength renewed.  

It takes all the pressure off and releases you to FREELY RECEIVE and then to FREELY GIVE and to minister out of the OVERFLOW!

Learn to RECEIVE so that you will have something to GIVE!  That was the secret of Jesus’ power, and that will be the secret of our power!

Many times in my Christian life and experience I have had my heavenly Father seek to teach me this lesson, and I haven’t always been quick to learn – but I am beginning to get the message!

Every time I have seen God move mightily it has been from a place of “waiting” upon Him – a place of being “bound together” with Him – not just individually, but corporately.  We need His affirmation in our lives – we need to RECEIVE before we can GIVE!

When we learn to take time to FREELY RECEIVE we will have discovered the secret of Jesus’ power and we will be equipped to be a continuation of His life, an amplification of His message, and an extension of His works!

Those who are bound together with the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint!

 
Pastor Donnie Stewart

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