Monday, September 23, 2019

Continuing the Ministry Jesus Began

 The Holy Spirit through Luke tells us, "The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach." (Acts 1:1) Notice closely, "all that Jesus began both to do and teach." When looking at the ministry of Jesus as revealed in the gospels and the ministry of the early church as revealed in the Book of Acts, there is not one account that either went into a town, village, city or any other geographic area to wage warfare against stronghold, ruling spirits, principalities, powers, might and or dominions by praying them down. In fact, there is no direct scriptural support of either Jesus or believers in the early church doing such. However, they did deal directly with specific demonic forces in which they came into direct contact with.

The reality is, and this is not to offend anyone, trying to battle with evil spirits in heavenly places is an effort of the flesh. Again, there is no scriptural evidence of such in either Jesus' ministry or the early churches ministry. However, we do see in Ephesians, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12) and these things do exist over geographic areas. Nevertheless, believers need to understand their position and the realms of their authority, as revealed in scripture, concerning these things or we can get over into the flesh.

So, how did Jesus and the early church prevail over these forces in heavenly places. Let's look at some examples from the scriptures, "And Jesus was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." (Luke 4:18-19) This was the ministry that Jesus lived out as we can clearly see throughout the gospels.

Again, there in not one reference in the gospels concerning His ministry of battling evil spirits in the heavenly places. The only time we see Jesus in a spiritual combat if we can use that term, was during his direct contact with Satan as revealed in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. The fact is, rather than spending time praying down demonic strongholds, He made direct contact with them by ministering to the people and as recorded in Hebrews 2:4 "God also bearing witness through Jesus Christ both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will." The ministry of Jesus was not focused on tearing down strongholds over cities or nations. It was preaching and teaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God accompanied by signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit that brought strongholds down in peoples lives.

Concerning the early church, in the middle of persecution, the early church did not gather to intercede in attempts to tear down strongholds over cities or nations as we will see. Upon the release of Peter and John from custody the Bible records, "And being let go, they went to their own companions and re rted all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord." (Acts 4:23-24) We see they raised their voices to God. They did not raise their voices against demonic stronghold over a geographic area in an effort to chase them away, bring them down or to have them stop working through people. Look at how they prayed, "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." (Acts 4:29-30) Again, they did not pray down demonic strongholds but prayed to the LORD and asked for boldness to preach the gospel and that signs and wonders confirm the Word. Here is God's response to their prayer, "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31)

If we were to continue through the Book of Acts, we would see that they went through more persecution, but again they did not pray down demonic stronghold but went out and preached God’s Word and the LORD confirmed His Word with miracles, signs and wonders. The results, “The word of God grew and multiplied." (Acts 12:20) We see in Acts 19, the Apostle Paul goes to Ephesus and it tells us, "Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them." (Acts 19:11-12)  We also see the event of the seven sons of Sceva trying to cast a demon out of a man, but they were overpowered by the evil spirit in the man. The conclusion of this event shows us, "This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed." (Acts 19:17-20)

Finally, the Apostle Paul speaks to us concerning his ministry. "For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient, in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel." (Romans 15:18-20) His aim was to preach the gospel in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient, in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. Think about it, how many years have believers been hold up in the church building praying down spiritual strongholds over their towns, cities and even nations and still see no results after years of this type of praying? Not only are they not seeing improvements for good, but things seem to be worse.

So, let us take a lesson from Jesus and the believers in the early church and, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20) "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17-18) And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen." (Mark 16:20) "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20)

We have the authority, let’s simply use it correctly so that the Father is Glorified, the Name of Jesus is magnified, the Word of God grow mightily and prevails and the captives are saved, healed, delivered, made whole, completely set free in Jesus’ Name. This is how strongholds come tumbling down, simply by continuing the ministry that Jesus began releasing the power of His Name, through the Holy Spirit...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.