The disciples of the New Testament first had an experience with Jesus. They were invited to be close to Him. They saw Him do great signs and wonders. He proclaimed with great power the “year of God’s favor”. He opened blind eyes, healed the lepers, fed the multitudes, cast out demons. The twelve were eye witnesses of Jesus’ ministry.
We believe everyone who is a follower of Jesus can have intimate and sometimes powerful, life-changing experiences with Him. As we enjoy rich, loving friendship with Jesus, we will gain more and more experience with His grace and truth.
Later, after watching Jesus usher in God’s Kingdom through signs and wonders, Jesus empowered them to do the same. In Luke 9, Jesus gathered the twelve together and “gave them power and authority to drive out demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Later in Luke 10, Jesus commissions seventy-two to go ahead of him. Luke 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
The disciples moved from being passive spectators to active participants. Jesus calls us to an action oriented life and this requires being empowered by His Spirit. Like Jesus, we are to be in relationship with the Father, compassionately reaching out to the lost, the sick and the poor, and living in fellowship with a community of believers.
Once we are experiencing Jesus and being empowered by the Holy Spirit, there must be an expression of this new life toward those in need. Expression can come in many forms. We can express God’s kingdom through simple acts of kindness, words of encouragement and praying for those who need God’s help. Expression can happen as we lay hands on the sick, care for the poor and lonely and encourage those in despair. Expression can come through the proclamation of the Gospel which in its simplest form says, “God loves you deeply.”
With experience comes empowering and with empowering comes expressing through the words and works of Jesus. With each step a follower of Jesus takes in this process, the power and authority and the opportunities to love people in Jesus name grows exponentially. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
God has only recently added to our message.
Through the season of sickness I experienced in 2012, I have come into a fresh revelation of the vital nature of the grace of God. Grace is not just a doctrine that we discuss occasionally or a word we paste on the bumpers of our car. Grace is the foundation of the New Covenant, the new way of living and thinking. Grace defines who Jesus Christ is in us (Galatians 2:20) and who we are in Jesus Christ. Grace is the love and favor God our Father lavishes on us apart from anything we have done or will ever do. We have a new identity in Christ, given to us as a gift. Everything in grace is free. We are freely forgiven fully and forever. We are righteous as we stand before God as His beloved children, all because of a gift.
Romans 5:17 For if the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one (Adam), much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
We are not sinful but sonful.
The words, “It is finished” are words that must be taken literally and seriously. I would encourage every one of our core and committed to invest time in some reading concerning the grace of God. Many people view grace as a primary school subject. It is not! Everything in this New Covenant age rides on the grace of God. Though I will be teaching on grace and assigning others to teach on grace, we all must become learners, taught by the scripture with the Holy Spirit as our teacher.
I can’t overstate this:
Before we enter this life of effectively extending God’s Kingdom, we must first know who we are in Christ and the massive authority God has given us through the work of the Holy Spirit.