Read this aloud, you and your spouse, your children, alone or with a friend. Lord Jesus, we ask Your Holy Spirit to speak to each of us where we are, right now, and reveal to us the meaning of Your Word, and how it relates to each of us. Lord, speak to us about our freedom found in You, and teach us our identity as children of God, brothers and co-heirs with You. May Your name be glorified in all the earth, and may every captive be set free. Amen.
Why read aloud?
Romans 10:16b-17 – “’Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Can we rely on a promise from God?
Numbers 23:19 – “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
Hebrews 6:17-18 – “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”
Can we miss our opportunity? Can we lose what we have been given? Is it too late?
Romans 11:29 – “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Preaching the Word with boldness and experiencing the power of God: a comparison of Paul’s methods.
Read Acts 17:22-34 – Notice that, though the speech sounds impressive, verse 33 and 34 say that Paul left their midst and “some men joined him and believed.”
Acts 18:8 – When reading chapter 18, we can see that when Paul preached there, that many believed: “Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.”
What then is the difference? The Bible’s explanation of why we must heal and deliver:
1 Corinthians 2:1–5 – And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
Is there a promise that says if we preach the gospel that the Lord will allow us to demonstrate the power of the Gospel?
Mark 16:19–20 – “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”
Did the disciples found in the Bible go everywhere? No, we are still going everywhere. Not every nation is reached yet, therefore, this verse is describing every disciple of Christ.
Acts 4:24, 29-31 – “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said. . . And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
It is clear in this verse that all the believers prayed with one voice to continue to preach the Gospel as healing and other signs and wonders were performed. Their request was granted – more boldness. They did not need to pray for the rest, because they knew that if they preached boldly the Lord would do His part allowing signs and wonders.
Hebrews 2:3-4 – “It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Acts 14:3 – “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”
This verse is about Paul and Barnabas; what about regular believers? Were they a special case?
Acts 9:10 – “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias.”
Ananias was just a regular old believer. Just a simple dispel of Christ. In Acts 9:10-19 we get to see a single even in this man’s Christian life. It is amazing, and every bit as amazing as every story about Paul found in Acts. As you read this story, consider Ananias’ response to the Lord. Does it not reveal a familiarity with speaking to the Lord? He is not surprised by His vision, nor by the voice of the Lord. He actually has a regular conversation with Christ, making sure the Jesus knows whom He is sending Ananias to and what the current situation is. It confirms that this is regular for Ananias, “But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.’” (Acts 9:13–14). In one single day Ananias receives a vision of the Lord, has a conversation with Him, receives words of knowledge about Saul (Paul) and his vision and his being blind, receives a prophesy concerning Saul (Paul’s) coming suffering that he will endure, goes and lays hands on Saul (Paul) and heals him, baptizes him, and lays his hands on him that he would receive the Holy Spirit. This regular believer launched Paul, whom we declare as the greatest missionary on earth.
What sort of demonstrations should we expect and why?
Mark 16:17-18 – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Should we fear demons, the demonic, the powers and principalities, or witches, witch-doctors, spells, magic, voodoo, or the evil intensions of people controlled by such things?
Does the Father answer the prayers of Jesus?
John 17:5 – “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”
Luke 10:18-19 – “And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” All and nothing mean exactly as you would define them in English. Authority over all of the power of the enemy and nothing, not one thing, will harm you.
The Lord says that if we lay our hands on the sick that they will recover; which sick people? How do I know which one I should pray for and whether it is the will of God to heal everyone?
Isaiah 53:4-5 – “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
Is the author speaking of spiritual healing? Not according to the Holy Spirit: Matthew 8:14-17 – “And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases [Isaiah 53:4].’”
The context of the story is physical healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and many who came to Him. He healed them all, because “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Why, because He bore our sins and all of the consequences of that sin; of which sickness is one. Why would Christ make a sick and broken, diseased, and sinful container into the temple of the Holy Spirit? He would not, He would make in new again.
Psalm 103:2-5 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
We all believe that the Lord takes our iniquity and redeems our life from the pit. What about the promise sandwiched between those two?
Is Jesus our example? Is it not Christ that the Holy Spirit and the equipping of the saints is meant to bring us into the fullness of? What did Jesus do?
Matthew 4:23 – “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.”
Matthew 9:35 – “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.”
This is Jesus, but what about others? Did He tell anyone else to do those things that He did?
Matthew 10:1 – “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.”
Matthew 10:7-8 – “And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”
Luke 9:1-2 – “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”
Luke 9:6 – “And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.”
Luke 10:1, 3, 7-9 – “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go… Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves…And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”
More important perhaps is the way in which the command to heal the sick (ἀσθενεῖς diff. Mt. ἀσθενοῦντας may be Lucan) precedes the command to preach. This suggests that the healings are to be regarded as a sign of the presence of the kingdom (cf. 11:20; Schulz, 417).
Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978), 421.
The purpose of the mission was not in any way to further the personal faith of those who were sent (Hase, p. 200; Krabbe, p. 306), but, as is evident from the commission itself (see especially ver. 9), to prepare, by miraculous cures and by preaching, for the imminent advent of the Messiah.
Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospels of Mark and Luke, ed. William P. Dickson, trans. Robert Ernest Wallis, vol. 2, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1883), 113–114.
Luke 10:17-20 – “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'”
What about us; are we to do these things?
Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”
Jesus has literally just defeated death. All things are in His control and under His authority. He says that as we go we should make disciples for Him. In other words, we need to make more disciples of Christ. We, meaning you and I, must baptize them. We have misunderstood the phrase “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and we say it during baptism as some sort of formula. However, there is no record in any of the baptisms in the Bible of anyone saying this phrase. In water baptism it was “into Christ Jesus” that they were baptized. It is because the early disciples understood the fuller meaning of the expression. This meaning is captured and shared by Peter in Acts 10:38 – “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Repent is to change your mind and to turn back. To whom do they turn? The Father; repent, turning back to God (the Father). Having repented, bring that repentance with you to water baptism and be baptized into the death of Christ, “in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” and receive the free gift of the Holy Spirit the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is not one thing, but three events: spent, be baptized in water into Christ, receive the Holy Spirit. This person is now a proper disciple of Jesus Christ, so we then must teach them to observe, or to do all those things that Christ commanded His disciples to do; namely, to go and preach the gospel of the Kingdom, heal the sick, and cast out demons, living in fellowship with one another in brotherly love. When we do this, He is with us always. Having read this last promise, we must go back to the beginning and revisit the Great Commission. Jesus is actually saying, “Let’s, you and I, go together. As we go, let’s make new disciples for me. I ask you to lead them to repentance in word as I work in their hearts. When they respond and repent, I want you to baptize them into me, then for you to lay your hands on them so that they may receive my Holy Spirit. Then, we will teach them, together, to observe all I have commanded; you by teaching from the Scriptures, and I by ministering to their heart with my Holy Spirit. As they begin to go as you have gone with me, I will work through them also, allowing signs and wonders to be done through their hands in My name.
Mark 16:15-20 – “’Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”
Why are preaching of the kingdom, healing the sick, and casting out demons always couples together?
Freedom from Sin:
Romans 6:7 – “For one who has died has been set free from sin.”
Freedom from sickness:
Matthew 8:17 – “’He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.’”
Freedom from condemnation and the law:
Romans 8:2 – “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
Freedom from bondage:
Act 10:38b – “He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
More about freedom:
John 8:31-32 – “’If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
John 8:36 – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Romans 8:19-21 – “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 – “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Galatians 5:1 – “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Are doing these things for advanced Cristian’s or for those with a special anointing?
Hebrews 6:1-2 – “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”
As can be seen from this verse in Hebrews, the things discussed here are the elementary doctrines of Christ. This activity constitutes the normal Christian life. Until we are doing these things we cannot move on to maturity.
Fan into flame that spark which lies within you. Determine yourselves to simply obey what Christ has directed. At that time, you shall experience the power of Christ through His gospel. Determine yourselves; do it and do not stop no matter what you see. For our experience is not the truth, the Word of God is the truth. In due time He will lift you up. Determine ourselves to preach and to pray no matter what. Just do it for Him. Do it because you love Him and He has sent you to. Trust Him to do His part through you. Pray for the sick no matter what. If you encounter demons, bring that person into the presence of the Almighty and that unclean Sprit cannot stand. Worship God, give testimonies to encourage, baptize immediately, lay hands on this baptized as soon as they come out of the water and pray for deliverance and for the Holy Spirit to come. Stand on the promises of God. Stand firm and believe, and you will see the glory of God (John 11:40).
How Jesus Defines Belief
“You believe that God is one, you do well – even the demons believe and shudder.” Jesus says that you must believe to be saved. I didn’t say that, He did. So, what is belief? How do you know you believe correctly? “And these signs follow those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” If you look at this the other way, it says that if these signs do not follow you then you do not believe. If a man looks at his life and compares it to this scripture, what does Jesus say to him about his belief. He either says, great you believe, or He says son, you do not yet believe?
Is the Word of God Trustworthy?
Before I continue, I want to remind you that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The writings of a man are not Scripture. Devotionals are not Scripture. A man will starve spiritually if that is all he feeds on. Only Scripture is held up as the source for equipping a man for every good work.
How do you recognize a disciple (believer, Christian) of Christ?
How are those that have salvation recognized? Not everyone who says that they know God is a disciple of Jesus Christ. For “Whoever says, ‘I know Him’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” How does Jesus recognize those with salvation? “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and their testimony of Jesus.” “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on Him.” This is what Jesus calls belief, and “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” This belief is in accordance with the definition Jesus provides.
What must we understand so that we may obey?
How does Jesus say we should behave? It is best to state the greatest commandments and the new commandment; the two sum up all the laws and the prophets: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind; secondly, love your neighbor as yourself.” A new command He has given is to “love one another; as I have loved you, love one another,” and by this all will know that you are His disciple. Jesus says that the greatest love for your brother is to lay your life down for him. Let me just review the command in another way. “And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love His brother.”
So what is love according to Jesus. What does His Word say about love?
Love defined by Jesus: “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in.” “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments.” “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Fathers commandments and abide in His love.” “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
What are these commandments that we must follow if we really believe and we really love God?
What, then, has He commanded? “And He commanded us to preach the gospel to the people and to testify that He is the One appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” “For so the Lord has commanded us saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.”
God came as one man, Jesus Christ. “From that time Jesus began to preach saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” “And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.” “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.”
Then He called together twelve guys that had been following Him. The One has been replicated into twelve others. “And He called His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to cast them out and to heal every disease and every affliction.” (A command here) “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons; You received without paying, give without pay.” “And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and they healed them.” “And they departed and went through the villages healing everywhere.”
Then the One, that had replicated Himself into twelve continued into 72 others. (Another command exactly the same as the rest, and the same as His life, the true, and only example) “Heal the sick in it and say to them ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you.'”
Then Jesus was crucified and resurrected, but He gave another command about communion, “Do this as often as possible in remembrance of me.” Upon His resurrection, Jesus met two disciples on the road and explained, from Moses and the prophets, all the Word revealed about Him, but they did not recognize Him; not until they partook of the bread He had broken and given to them. That seems pretty significant. Their eyes were opened through communion.
Then He appeared to all of His disciples at the time (numbering at least 120 – The One became twelve more, then 72, then 120) “All authority in Heaven and earth has been given to me. (A four-part command) 1Go therefore and 2make disciples (not disciple people, but make disciples of Jesus, to follow Him – meaning, the discipling occurs through you, but is done by the Holy Spirit, not you – they are not your disciples), 4baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (note, that when the disciples baptized they only did it into Christ Jesus, because baptism into the Father is repentance, baptism into the Son is water baptism, and baptism into the Sprit is being baptized with the Spirit), 4 and teach them to observe (do, be obedient to) all that I have commanded you, and low, I will be with you until the end of the age.” Therefore, He is saying, let’s go together, make disciples for me, baptize them, and teach them to be obedient. He also said, “Go into all the world and proclaim (shout it out) the gospel to the whole creation.”
There are quite a few gifts of the Spirit, why did Jesus give focus to healing and casting out of demons?
Why did Jesus always couple preaching the gospel with healing and casting out of demons? “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed.” “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” “For you were called to freedom, brothers.” “’What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?’ And when he said, ‘From others,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are free.’” “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” There are many, many more verses, too numerous to list here. It is about freedom.
What does it mean that Jesus is with us?
As we go, how exactly is Jesus with us? “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” “It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those that heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.” “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Test the spirits?
Do not see enemies in men. See the enemy. Anything not born of the truth is a lie. This does not mean that the brethren are liars. It does mean that if something is said that is not born of the truth, the Word, the Holy Spirit, then it is a lie. Do not receive lies, even when mixed with truth. “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greetings, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”
I am not telling anyone whether they are saved or condemned or anything else, for I am not the judge, and nothing will be judged before its time. I am only sharing the Word so that all may compare their life to it, and not to their own conscience or to other men. The Word is the only standard and the only truth. As the book of John says, Jesus is the Word. “This is He who comes by water and blood – Jesus Christ; not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the One Who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: The Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.”
I confess that the Lord is still at work in me, and will be until the day I meet Him. “For this reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. – Hebrews 4:12–13.
We sometimes forget the power of the Word. The Word is alive and He is active. There is a wonderful missions organization named Reaching a Generation (RAG). Their focus is on children; raising the next generation of believers. One of the challenges they face in Western Zambia is mission creep (a gradual shift in objectives that results in commitments beyond the original mission scope). Each week they run children’s ministries in several villages. The children are brought to the meetings by their mothers. These mothers, hungry for the Word, remain and listen to the teaching. This may sound good, but they are receiving “milk” instead of the “solid food” they need. Simba (the RAG representative in Sioma, Western Zambia) expressed to us the issue concerning the mothers and asked if we could come and start a Bible study with them. We showed up, asked the mothers to come aside, introduced ourselves and then taught them how to conduct a simple Discovery Bible Study. We asked one of the women to volunteer to lead the group in further study over the following weeks. A woman named Susan stepped forward, we gave her an audio Bible in the Lozi language and prayed over her.
(Susan in the orange)
This group of about five women faithfully met each week, and in three weeks time they numbered 50. The next week a pastor from a local church and his congregation of 30 decided to join them. Now it is a church, applying for a building partnership with Judea Harvest, and training in evangelism and church planting. This is the power of the Word of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ went throughout Galilee, and throughout every town and village; He taught in their synagogues, He preached the gospel of the kingdom, He healed the sick, and He cast out demons. He gathered His twelve disciples, gave them authority over every sickness and all unclean spirits and sent them to preach the kingdom, heal the sick, and cat out demons. He then called seventy more disciples, sent them to every town and village He would visit, told them to heal the sick, an they cast out demons as well. After His resurrection He appeared to at least 120 disciples and commanded them to make more disciples, in every nation, to baptize them, and to teach them to observe all that He had commanded them. They did so, and the new believers repented, were baptized in water, and they received the Holy Spirit. They preached the kingdom, healed the sick, and cast out demons. This is the normal Christian life. When we speak the gospel of Peace with boldness, integrity and we do it with the authority given to us we can cast out demons in Jesus name and we can also heal the sick. The gifts of the Spirit are for building up the saints and for equipping them for service. The spiritual gifts can be taught and are supposed to be taught the the other saints so that they are equipped to share the gospel. The only time anyone denies this is when the gifts get supernatural. Consider these gifts of the Spirit as drawn from 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Romans 12; 1 Peter 4; and Isaiah 11:2.
Has your pastor ever said, “Church, we ned to serve more,” or “Church, let’s be more generous.” Has anyone ever told you that you should encourage people more, or be more cheerful. What about help and administrative tasks? These are gifts of the Spirit. How can you improve or attain a gift if you only get one? How can Paul impart a gift to the Romans (Romans 1:11). Why should you pray for the “greater gifts” if you can only have one? The Church has been deceived. Not only can you attain all of the spiritual gifts, you are supposed to. How else will you “grow into the fullness of Christ?” We are each given a gift that we are supposed to use to equip the other saints for service. We have been teaching other saints to heal, to cast out demons, and to prophesy. This young boy healed a sick woman and cast out a demon while his friends laughed at him.
When he was finished, they were not laughing anymore. They witnessed the power of God work through him because he decided, after hearing the Word, that he would be obedient. He decided to stand on the promises of God. We often create theology around our experiences instead of trusting the promises of God. Is our experience the truth or is the Word of God the truth?
This video is of a woman in Western Zambia that was blind from birth in her left eye. The eye had never been opened. When she pulled her eyelids apart there was nothing but a white ball inside. We preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people, taught them about the Holy Spirit and the authority found in the name of Jesus Christ and they prayed for her. Over a period of 45 minutes and about 15 separate prayers, commanding her eye to open, the eye grew inside the socket, the eyelids opened, and she received her site. One of the men praying for her was delivered from a demon, as was she. When we reviewed the video to upload we discovered that you can audibly hear the demon leave. As we prayed for her and asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill her you can very clearly hear a voice (it sounds like three voices in one) say, “Ahhh, Jesus.” (at 9:46)
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Mk 16:17–18.
Jesus was not kidding around when He said this. Does your life leave a trail of deliverance and healing? If it does not then we are happy to disciple you and show you how. Jesus did not stand on a stage and say, “Here is a person called the Holy Spirit, now go out and heal people.” He called people, showed them how to heal, then asked them to heal people, then sent them to teach others. It is all so that we can share His truth and then He can confirm His truth. He bore our sin AND our sickness (Isaiah 53, Psalm 103:3). This is for everyone. Jesus does not want intellectual converts, He wants people to know who He is and to now Him in a very personal way. He wants everyone to receive healing, and He wants to do it through our hands. He wants you to experience His power when you are obedient to Him. This is how you love your neighbor; you set them free in Jesus name.
This is her eye before:
Her eye after Jesus healed her:
Think on this: The local church is not an evangelism tool. The local church, as found in the book of Acts, is the environment in which believers are built up, equipped for service, and launched into service. The lost are found and the lost are saved when we become obedient and we go to them and meet them in their need. Jesus did to say, “bring people to church, have the pastor baptize them, and then place them in a discipleship class.” What about during the rest of the week? Jesus said to go and make disciples (first step), then you baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is an illustration: Repentance – turning away from sin and toward the Father. Water Baptism – dying with Christ and rising with Christ – Baptism was done into Christ Jesus. Spiritual Baptism – This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Lay hands on the new believers and pray with them to receive the Holy Spirit. Lastly, Jesus said for us to teach them to observe all that He has commanded us; obedience (For another post). Now go to your Bible and find the sinners prayer. Found it yet? That’s right, it is not there. In every case Jesus and every disciple preached repentance and water baptism, then the reception of the Holy Spirit (the free gift from God). When did we move away from this? I promise you, that when you begin to follow what Jesus says instead of finding various ways to explain away your responsibility in the kingdom, you will see the glory of God. You will see the power of Christ move in your life. You will see miracles, freedom, and salvations. You will bear fruit.
We visited believers in Western Zambia, and as we travelled we shared the gospel of Jesus Christ, taught other believers how to heal the sick and cast out demons, taught them to baptize, evangelize, and about their identity as children of God. In Mark 16:20, and Acts 14:3 the Word of God says that when we preach His Word of truth that He will bear witness to it.
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. – Mark 16:20
So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.- Acts 14:3
We experienced this, and not only in the “mission field.” The Lord bore witness every time that we were obedient to Him. This occurred in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, an the United States (through the phone). The real miracle is what you will see in the video below. We were teaching children to pray for each other and two women were listening in.
They wanted prayer, but were afraid because they were certain they had demons. They asked us to come to their village and explain the gospel to the elders so that they could discuss it together and make a decision. We stood before them and boldly declared the gospel of Peace – Jesus Christ crucified. Every one of them received Christ and we went and baptized them in the local cattle pond (teaching them to baptize each other).
They repented, renouncing witchcraft and ancestor worship, confessed Christ, were baptized, were prayed over for deliverance, and then had hands lay on them to receive the Holy Spirit.
We then returned to their village and taught them how to pray for healing. They lay hands on each other and every sickness was healed.
Pastor Kola, the CEO of Judea Harvest, sees us off for our trip through the northern parts of South Africa, across Botswana, a sliver of Namibia, and jnto the southwestern corner of Zambia. We are going to encourage pastors, train new ones, and to assist them in evangelism and church planting efforts in that area. It is an honor to be sent, and I am humbled by the task before us. We trust yge Lord to be our strength, for He has gone before us, He hedges us in on the left and right, and He follows behind us securing our six. Judea Harvest has been exceptionally kind to us, offering guidance, a support network, prayer, encouragement (and a place to stay for three months). We are Thankful for Dr. Louis (President of Judea Harvest), Pastor Kola (CEO of Judea Harvest), Dr. Danie (CEO if Judea Training), Wynand, Cornelius, Thea, both of the Cecelias, Shelley, and Pretty and Aman. Lord, bless each of them and keep them in Your peace. If you would like to know more about Judea Harvest, check their website at http://www.judeaharvest.co.za.
Many of you know me. I am a regular guy. I want you to see the power of the Holy Spirt at work through us when we are simply obedient. This is Christ bearing witness to the truth of His Word.
Celine, CJ, Stefan and I met PD over in Johannesburg for preaching prayer and baptism. Those who accept Christ are immediately baptized. They die with Christ and arise with Christ. Immediately we pray for their freedom and deliverance from anything binding them. Some people begin to manifest demons as soon as they get in the water, others once we would pray for their deliverance. We pray until there is peace within them, and then we continue to pray for the to receive the Holy Spirit. This is all done right away. There is no waiting. This is the freedom found in Christ Jesus. There is only one name by which a man can be saved – Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
By “desiring a heart for God” first, the stage is set for spiritual growth in all areas. I think we often limit what Jesus said in Luke 12:30-34. We often view God’s provision as things from the physical realm. He also provides spiritual provision. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, ESV). He begins and completes the work in us. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We can do nothing outside of Him. I believe that all the other marks of faith flow from a right relationship with God. If we are in a right relationship with Him, and we believe in the One He sent, then we will be obedient. Jesus always simplifies the Gospel for us. When asked what should be done to do the work of God He replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29). This is our work, believe in Jesus. It may sound easy, but if we believe in Him, and we believe what He says then there are other actions we will take out of obedience. For example, He said for us to go and to heal the sick and cast out demons. In Luke 10 He sends His church to the places that He will go. He goes there in us until the end of the age. He says to stay with the man of peace and to heal the sick in that town. The 72 return later and talk about how the demons listen to them. Christ tells them to rejoice that their names are written in the book of Life. The point is we are all tasked with sharing the Gospel and we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This may start an argument, but we all have the ability to heal the sick, cast out demons, prophecy, teach, preach and all the other gifts of the Spirit. If you look at what is said about the “gifts” it says they are given to equip the Saints. It means that the gift is intended as a teaching tool. If I have the gift of healing, that means that I can teach the other Saints how to heal. In Acts 9:10-19 we see Ananias, a regular, every day Christian, receive a dream, and then go and heal Paul, Baptize him, lay his hands on him so he receives the Holy Spirit, and prophecy to him his calling in the kingdom. This happens in a single day and this, by all accounts, appears to be the normal Christian life. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 3:8). If this is true, then it means that the Holy Spirit is also the same yesterday, today, and forever. This means that the normal Christian life is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The problem today is not that the Holy Spirit is not active, but that we are not obedient to the commands of Christ to “Go”, and to seek and to save the lost as He did. We save them by bringing Christ to them.
This is what the Lord showed me. A wire is useless in and of itself. When you connect the wire to a battery it has potential, but no power flows yet. The wire is “hot” and ready, but unless it is connected to a load, no power flows through it. If you want the power of God, which is in you, to flow, then you must touch other people; specifically the lost. We have been deceived by Satan into believing that we are powerless and just holding on until the end. No! All power and authority in heaven and earth has been given unto Jesus, therefore, because of this, Go! And make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and I will be with you unto the end of the age. Do you want to have humility? Do you want to heal people? Do you want to prophecy? Do you want to desire spiritual things more? Then begin to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. Go and become friends with the lost and share your faith with them. Lay your hands on them and command sickness and pain to depart. Keep praying until it goes. Jesus says that if we will speak His Word to people that He will bear witness to the truth of His Word. Paul was not gifted, he was obedient. Speaking of Paul and Barnabus in Iconium the Word says, “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3). The Lord is faithful. IF we will step out in faith He meets us there, and He shows a Gospel power!
I want to encourage you concerning fasting. It increases our faith in and dependence upon God. When combined with prayer and done properly, it also prepares us for everything that comes our way. I think we are meant to pray and fast regularly. Consider the story of the boy possessed with the demon that the disciples could not cast out. In Matthew it says,
And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
When the story is relayed here, Jesus says that it is because of their lack of faith. Where will the disciples get faith like Jesus? He seemed ready, and the entire episode seemed easy for Him, because it was. Jesus was always prepared. How, though? “And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:28, KJV). Jesus says that we need to prepare ourselves with prayer, and in some version fasting is also included. The point is that we must spend time continuously praying and being in close relationship with the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. This is not striving for certain gifts and t be prepared, but striving to rest in Him. We can do all things through Him, and nothing without Him. We cannot manipulate Him, and can only trust Him. By resting in Him we receive all of the boldness and understanding we need. Let us strive to rest in Him, and in response to His love, go out and extend the kingdom territory with boldness and power. Preach the Gospel without dilution or compromise. Do not water it down. Speak it with boldness and integrity and the Lord will bear witness to the truth of His Word. Amen.
 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).
 The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009).