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And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. Matthew10:7-10
again as i read this last night i was reminded how Jesus calls us and calls us to rely on His strength, understanding, wisdom and that it is His Spirit within us that qualifies us and equips us to serve Him. i have gifts yes, but they are surrendered to His will and His ways and for His glory.
Jesus sent His disciples out with the instruction to TAKE NOTHING.
no bag, no change of clothes, no extra shoes, no money.
they were to take none of their own resources. none of their own ability or provision. none of their own agenda.
empty of themselves they were to go and serve Christ out of the capacity that He gives.
amazing eh. challenging.
the timing of reading this passage was so encouraging as we begin our young adults housegroup next week again and walk with them in the adventures and struggles of life. i know i need His wisdom. i know i need His words. i know i need His power. i know we need God to do what only God can do.
it was such an encouragement to my heart that God will be there, as i step out He steps in, as i serve Him He works through me.
so i’m leaving my extra handbag, extra shoes and extra jacket at home.
clothed with the power and ability of God, His Spirit at work in and to and through me. Empowered. Grateful. Humbled.
When Jesus said ‘Follow Me’ to 12 men, they left everything they knew and followed… not because He promised them success, nor because He assured them they would change the world. They followed Him because who He was (and is)! They followed because they heard the ‘words of eternal life’, and it made their hearts burn within them. They followed not because of where the road would lead them, but rather because of the qualities of the Man they would get to walk that road with! I want to change the world… I want to succeed. But I follow because He is worthy, beautiful, powerful, infinitely superior and unsurpassable in every way! Kristen Williams
God because of the imputed righteousness of Christ to me and his wrath absorbing death on the cross and his resurrection now sees me as perfect and spotless and holy, not because i am but because HE IS ~ matt chandler
The resurrection is the proof of the power for the promises of God.
So let’s jump right into what happened:
Yesterdays E100 was about Jesus’ death – the Saviour – Jesus bled and died for us – how He suffered and bore the punishment – pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities – note the small word there FOR – it was FOR us that Jesus died. Not for His own wrongdoing but for OUR wrongdoing.
Now even the disciples didn’t see it pan out this way –this was not their plan A. Plan A for the disciples was for Jesus to go PA-CHING HERE IS MY GLORY (you might have had to see that bit to get the pa-ching!) The last thing they expected was that Jesus would be executed as a common criminal on the cross. His death ended their hope. They expected him to declare himself rightful king and messiah and to kick the romans out and enter in an age of glory for Israel. Death on the cross wasn’t part of the plan.
Their hero was dead. Their friend was dead. Their leader was dead.
For them, all hope was lost. But on Resurrection Sunday we know that nothing is impossible! We have the joy of knowing the end of the story but they were broken and grieving and shocked.
Luke 9:1-6 Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them complete power over all demons and diseases. Then he sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. He told them, “Don’t take anything with you! Don’t take a walking stick or a travelling bag or food or money or even a change of clothes. When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. If people won’t welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.” The apostles left and went from village to village, telling the good news and healing people everywhere.
firstly COMPLTE POWER
- not partial, not a little bit, not a portion of power…
complete power – supernatural authority!
Jesus gave them complete power and then he SENT them to do something with that power!
Matthew 10:7-10 “as you go announce that the kingdom of God will soon be here. Heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal people who have leprosy and force out demons. You received without paying, now give without being paid. Don’t take along any gold, silver or copper coin. And don’t carry a travelling bag or an extra shirt or a walking stick.”
I read this the other day somewhere and it has come back to my thoughts again and again, so I’ve been pondering it a bit – it said it as “Don’t take anything with you.” The disciples were sent out to preach the message of the kingdom of God and to pray for the sick and work miracles. They were to travel from village to village sharing what Jesus had told them. They were to take nothing. It struck me that often when we go to minister somewhere – be it formal ministry – or just living our lives as ministry – that we often take things with us. We might take the great book we were reading, or the great blog post we’ve just read, the latest podcast we’ve heard or a preaching set of cds… we take baggage and our own views and rights and preconceptions. We take our knowledge and our learning. But are we taking revelation and encounter and the presence of God.
We are to take NOTHING! Why?
So that in taking our nothing we take the Holy Spirit and listen to him and follow his ways and not the 17 step programme to laying on hands, or the 4 step sniff and scratch way to discern demons etc. so we don’t rely on our own knowledge but rely on revelation. That we obey the Lord.
All we must take is Jesus. All we must take is his power. Take nothing of ourselves but all of Jesus. Trust him. Follow him. Be used by him.
Jesus instructed them to take nothing with them – only take the power He gave them with them – not to take their own agenda, status, qualifications. the only qualification they had to minister was the power of God.
the power is of God – not ourselves!
We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Okay, lets just get it out there. I love LOST.
I love the characters. The island. Desmond. Ben. Faraday. I love the numbers, the polar bears and the smoke monster. The plot twists. The suspense. The questions. The mystery.
But one thing I love is that there is always the hint of something more. Nothing is what it seems. There is more than just what you see on the surface. Is the island just an island? Is it purgatory? Whats up with that locke guy? There is always more than meets the eye….
Because in a way that is the reality of our lives.
On the surface it looks like we just live and breathe and see and hear and smell and touch stuff – that we learn to count, get a job, wake up with the alarm clock, fall in love, have a family, get a mortgate etc etc etc – that this is all there is – we are born and then we live and then we die.
But the reality is that life is more than breathing and though our bodies are here and there is a physical realm – there is so much more to life and living.
We live in two kingdoms – the physical world – but also a supernatural spiritual realm. Everybody lives in this reality whether they believe in spiritual things or not. As much as scientists or atheists try to deny it – the reality is the spiritual realm is totally real. For us, as children of God, as Christians, we belong to the Kingdom of God.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14
We live in the world, but the world is not all there is.
But we often get stuck in thinking this is all that there is and this is all we do, that the whole purpose for life is to get from A to B in a happy helpful way.
But we are born for something greater.
We are saved for something greater.
We are designed for something greater.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Spoke and light was. Nothing to something. Now that is a demonstration of power and might! He created the stars and the universe and the animals and the oceans and the land and people. And in the cool of the day he would come and hang out with adam and eve. God didn’t just make stuff for the sake of making it. He made it and us for relationship and connection. The world was made and people were made to walk with God and know Him.
Then of course, we know, Genesis 3. adam and eve sinned and death and separation came.
But in that same chapter the plan of salvation is revealed. The plan of redemption is outlined. How glorious is that – the promise of a saviour who will make the way for us to really know God!
But in the meantime, 5000 years of humanity and the enemy outworking his own plan, means I think as a species we have forgotten our created purpose and we have become busy temporally focused beings. We have shut our spirits down into a little box. Some even deny we have them. God has become the grand fairy tale, the guy with the long white beard, some fat harp playing angels around Him, on a cloud somewhere far far away.
But that is not reality.
The reality is God is real – realer than the air you breathe and the chair you sit on – and that He is personal, near, powerful, almighty, creative and that His heart is for relationship and connection. So much so that He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ to die upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, to take the punishment we deserve, so that we don’t need to live alone and die alone and spend eternity separated from God.
We are made to know God. We are made to be His children. To feel His love. To be clean and holy and innocent and alive.
But we’re not just saved, we’re called. We’re not just rescued, we’re recruited.
The glorious plan of God is that once we know His love and forgiveness and goodness is that we spread it to others. The gospel isn’t something we just experience and then hide away to enjoy in secret, but it is to be demonstrated and outworked and lived and shared! We are the human agents of God, demonstrating His power and grace and love.
And the awesome amazing thing is that this is where the adventure starts! You see the spiritual realm isn’t just something we live in from 10-12 and 5-7 on Sunday. Its all the time 24/7 influencing and interacting. Our lives need to merge the physical and spiritual together and we need to know how to live accessing all that Jesus has promised. “The people that know their God will be strong and do exploits!” Daniel 11:32
I mean what a wild plan – to save us is wild enough, but then for God to live within us, to enable us and empower us, to be used by God and Him through us as living examples of His power – now that is radical!
I think we need to redefine what normal Christianity is.
We need to redefine what normal Christianity looks like and what normal Christians do.
Jesus is our model. The apostles are our example.
You want to know how to live for Jesus – copy them.
What you read in acts and the gospels is what normal Christianity is.
Its what our life can look like – I believe that 100%.
Because God is the same today and tomorrow as He was then.
He still has the power. He still has the might. He still has the love and compassion.
He hasn’t changed. The plan of the Kingdom hasn’t changed.
So then. Lets lay the challenge down. Turn to Acts 3.
1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. acts 3:1-10
Peter and John are normal Christians.
They are ordinary men. Peter and john were fishermen. Yet the extraordinary was going on in their life. They had encountered God. They had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. They were living for a different reason now.
And they had something to give away – they were do havers.
They said to the man – the man who had NEVER walked, who spent his life begging and depending upon the pity of others – silver and gold we don’t have, but what we DO HAVE we give you.
What did they have?
So peter asked this question in his whats up at the river on Sunday email…
What is that extraordinary thing that God has given you and how can it be released in your life to impact others? That extraordinary thing that God has given you to be released to impact others is… wait for it – GOD!
What Peter and John had was the knowledge that God was real and that He had the power to heal that man. They had faith that if they did what Jesus said – lay hands on the sick they would be healed. They believed that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and that by His wounds we are healed. They believed what Isaiah 53 said about who God is and what God can do.
They believed But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
They believed Acts 1:8 that they had received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them in Jerusalem. Luke 24:29 puts it as “clothed with power from on high.” Power is for a purpose – and The Word says – we got the power!
They believed John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
You know, Jesus said – I only do what I see the father do –I tell you the truth, he said, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. (John 5:19-20)
How do WE know what the Father does and wants to do and is doing? We look at what Jesus did and the revelation of the right here and now by the Holy Spirit within us. Jesus is our model, we follow Him, we do what we do, we copy Him. Paul said that – imitate me as I imitate Christ. Lets copy Jesus! And Jesus challenged us – that we would DO even greater things that these because the Holy Spirit lives within us! Now that is a challenge and a half that smacks me around – GREATER THINGS!
They believed Jesus when he called them in matthew 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
You know, just to point out the obvious – THOSE passages weren’t written yet – they were being lived! The things that are written in the NT are things they learned by revelation from the Holy Spirit and things they did and lived. This is from experience, from real life! They believed what Jesus told them and taught them and modelled to them and promised them. Jesus taught them about normal Christian life.
They believed and they did.
And the man they spoke to immediately felt strength in his legs and ankles and jumped up and could walk and jump and dance and skip. Which in itself is a feat because most people that have an accident and are paralysed have months and months of rehab to get just stand… he went from nothing to fully totally remarkably healed in a finger click. Only God can do that! Only the reality of God can do that. Only the power of God can do that!
Only the power of God can heal a broken heart, can set someone free, can change someone’s life in an instant. Only God can bring real joy and real hope and real peace.
Just because its 2000 years later doesn’t mean the plan has changed or that the power has run out! In fact – we should be seeing so much more because its all multiplied. In the start it was just Jesus – then he died and rose again and went back to heaven and then the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and all of a sudden ordinary people were filled with the extraordinary power of God – not just one Jesus – but now His followers, with the same mission as Jesus!
The plan has always been to know God and make Him known – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:15-18
That’s our call. That’s our normality. That’s our reality.
The cool part is if you read on:
19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
What happened on the steps by the temple gate is normal Christian life.
Peter and john were DO HAVERS. They had something within them ready. They knew the Holy Spirit was the one with the power – but that He uses our bodies and our mouths and our prayers and our doing and our obedience and our hands and feet.
Peter and John did their part. They reached out and declared the power of God. And God did His part, He came and fulfilled His promises of power and healing and deliverance. He is the power in all our doing. He is the do have. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. We believed that God would works with us and confirm His Word and our faith in Him with signs like healing and supernatural encounter.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
His power that is at work within us… its at work within us to work THROUGH us. Immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
Peter and John took God at His word. Jesus had told them that they were called to do this. That this was how they were to live their lives. As witnesses and living demonstrations of the reality and power of God. They had faith not in their own ability but in the supernatural enabling of God through them.
Those promises Jesus made to peter and john are promises valid to us too. They are His Word. It’s not about any power we have – remember, we’re jars of clay.
Do you know that you’re a do haver?
Do you know that God has called you and more importantly empowered you?
So how does this work in our real life?
1: Know you’re called. If you’re breathing you’re called.
2: Know the promises in The Word. Promises are truth you can rely on. Know who God is and how big and powerful He is. Stir your faith in those things. If your mind is fritzing out about praying for someone to be healed or about talking to someone about God then deal to that lie, just saying, ya hear me.
3: Take the opportunities around you. Do you work with people? Go to uni with people? Go to school with people? Ride the bus with people? Shop with people? Peter and John were going to the temple like they did everyday. Everyday you are with people. Be intentionally aware of the reality of God wanting to bust out of you to touch others….
4: Something interesting to consider, over in acts 4 verse 13 it reads ”When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
What made these ordinary men different was that they had been with Jesus.
I am unschooled and ordinary and I have been with Jesus.
The challenge for all of us is to live intentional and to redefine living and living for God, to redefine normal Christian life. We want to live the adventure. We hear about people doing great things – and doesn’t your heart burn to do them too? Mine does! Sometimes I think the only big difference between people having the adventure that I read about and my life is the DOING part… just saying….
God’s plan is to reach the people around us – our family and our friends – by using Christians. He loves to demonstrate His reality and power – His Word says so. Lets man up and have faith and do it! This world wont change until we rise up and really be who God has filled us and made us and empowered us to be! We’re stretching towards the greatness of God!
If you’re wanting to see more of God in your life and through your life then I want you to stand up and we’re going to pray!
Luke 6:12 About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there.
Again Jesus went and prayed. I know he made some big decisions and called the disciples after this time but i always wonder what he prayed for and how he prayed )
Luke 6:17 Jesus and his apostles went down from the mountain and came to some flat, level ground. Many other disciples were there to meet him. Large crowds of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon were there too.
Be a mountain climber. Dont be content to dwell in the flat level ground – where it may be easier, more accessible. it’s worth the climb to scale the mountains. the disciples went up as disciples but came down as a apostles. mountain climbing may be difficult but it is worth it!
on the flip side:
go where you are called. some disciples are called to go up the mountain but other disciples were called to remain behind to minister to the large crowds. go where Jesus calls you. that is your place.
“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.” — Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf
Then he chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so that they could be with him. He also wanted to send them out to preach and to force out demons. Mark 3:14-15
Jesus chose 12 disciples to be wtih Him and to then go out and serve Him.
He chose them to KNOW HIM and MAKE HIM KNOWN.
the call is still the same.
the challenge is still the same.
we are called to firstly know Him. and we are called to make Him known.
the second part of the call, the going out and making disciples, the making God known, comes out of the first call. It comes out of the context of relationship.
Be someone who knows God and is strong and does exploits. Daniel 11:32
Be someone who knows God and makes Him known!
Somewhere within each of us is the distinct cry to do something with our lives, to make our mark. We search to find meaning in life and to find our place in this world. This isn’t caused by teenage angst, a midlife crisis or any random combination of hormones and brain buzzes…. It is the call of God placed within our heart, stirring us to indeed find where we fit and can contribute.
Do you want God to use you? If you heart is to know God then of course your answer is yes. Great! Sometimes however discovering WHAT you “want to be when you grow up” (no matter what age or life accomplishment you are) can feel like a stressful, drawn out process of twists, reversals and contention! The good news is the call of God and being used by God isn’t an elusive over the rainbow thing.
Be encouraged – God calls us partners in the job of reaching the lost and establishing his church. He created us to be useable. The call of God is NOW thing. It is a DOING thing. It is for today right where you are.
If you’re breathing your can contribute and can serve God. You are placed in a workplace, school, family, circle of friends, sports group, coffee group – not by accident but by purpose by God. You can shine and demonstrate the love and grace of God right where you are in the very normality of your life. You don’t have to go to the depths of India to be used by God, you are a totally useable person. Just breathe and be yourself.
In some ways it is more of the WHO we are that makes the real difference rather than the WHAT we do. In God’s culture it is the people factor, the who we are and who we touch for his glory than the monuments and achievements we make. The title or job description we have isn’t what demonstrates God to others, it is the who we are and how we relate to others and how we react to situations that allows people to see God within us and through us. It is in conversation not corporate porfolios that the gospel is shared.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 describes a house with objects used for common and special useage.
2 Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. Therefore if anyone purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honor, sanctified and useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
Just because we have a dream and just because God DOES use people it doesn’t mean it comes on a platter. We can prepare. This doesn’t mean we need to leave our job and go to Bible College in order to serve God (unless he leads us there of course!), it means we need to personally prepare ourselves before the Lord. We must take responsibility to develop our relationship with God, to know His word, to know His ways. We must discipline ourselves to be obedient followers, surrendering and under construction. Preparation takes a lifetime. Till our last breath we are undergoing preparation – God would also call it transformation. The true fulfillment of the call of God is an accurate representation of Jesus.
What resonates with the beat of your heart? What is the thing you dream about? What is the thing you MUST do and will strive to do at every godly cost? What is the gift God has placed in your life? Pursue it. Pray and talk to God about it. Prepare. Don’t wait however to step out into a glorious future of fulfillment and doing. Do it now. Demonstrate God now to those around you. It doesn’t take a job description or a position on church staff to be like Jesus. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy or unpreparedness rule you out.
Jeremiah was young man whom God used to speak to a nation. Timothy likewise, yet God called him to lead a church. Amos was a common shepherd with no family history of spiritual leadership. Nehemiah was a cupbearer in the kings court in exile. David was a shepherd. Lydia, in retail. Matthew was a despised tax collector. What are you doing today? What mark are you making today? How is God using you – today???
On rare occasions we get a chance to do something radical for Jesus. Something out of the ordinary. Something where we put our lives on the line. Something great. Something spiritual. Something extraordinary.
But most often, faithfulness is expressed in the mundane tasks of life. Meals prepared . . . lawns mowed . . . friends helped . . . prayers offered . . . appointments met . . . tears wiped . . . assemblies attended . . . games cheered . . .
Don’t feel guilty that your life borders on mundane. That is where faith, hope, and love are most often lived out.
Thats where we get to demosntrate the nature of God, who God is, in real life.
This doesnt mean our life is worthless or without meaning or insignificant.
Not at all.
We can do extraordinary things in the ordinaryness of our lives. You see when we live ordinary lives we live them amoungst people. people who need to know the grace and love God gives. people who are lost without God.
and in even our ordinary things we can demonstrate God’s grace and love. making a meal for a sick friend. smiling at people. taking a packet of chocolate biscuits into work…. simple things. but they can open teh doors.
dont dispise your ordinaryness. that is teh gift we have been given to live our lives out demonstrating God, being witnesses for him. we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven living out our earthly days as ambassadors for him. you are a light for the world, shinning THE Light of the World, Jesus for all to see.
keep shinning. dont hide away. keep being you and be open for God to express who he is through you.
Your faithfulness and obedience makes you extraordianry!
Daniel 11 says the people that know God will be strong and do exploits.
the people that know their God will be strong and do extraordinary things, mighty things, works of valour and wonder.
we all want to make a difference. but we need to take our eyes off the stage as the only place extraordinaryness can happen and look around us at the opportunity to do exploits. exploits open eyes that were blind to God and open hearts to his word and salvation. exploits harvest. exploits draw people to God. exploits bring justice and mercy to circumstances. exploits give. exploits share the good news of God’s wonderful kindness. exploits are bold in transitioning a conversation to spriitual things. exploits pray for people. exploits speak truth. exploits choose righteousness. exploits pray and hear from God.
get the picture? we may think our lives are ordinary and insignificant. but realize you are anything but ordinary and insignificant. your name is iengraved on the palm of God’s hand and Jesus Christ, the son of God died for you. the Holy Spirit lives within you and dwells in you and teaches you. you will live forever. you have been placed wehre you are and in your life situation as an ambassador for God on a mission. to partner with hm and work with him.
to speak his message.
to demonstrate his love and grace.
to save the world.