February 12, 2017
In Luke 9 Jesus sent his out his twelve disciples to preach the gospel, to heal the sick, and to cast out Devils. Jesus was training his disciples to trust him...to learn to be men of faith instead of men of fear. He gave them the two things they needed to get the job done: power and authority. Power is the ability...the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses unto Jesus Christ to serve him and to bear fruit for him that will last for eternity. In our own power we will not bear fruit that will last. Likewise, Jesus has called each of us with his power to preach and minister from our spiritual gift. The authority and power Jesus gave them over demons and illness was to authenticate the message of the gospel of the kingdom. The purpose of the gospel message was to prepare men's hearts for God's harvest... to "write their names in heaven."
In the following chapter, Jesus sent out seventy on another faith trip to speak the gospel, to cast out demons and to heal people. He said to take nothing with them on the trip and to rely on the hospitality of those to whom they ministered. They reported back to Jesus with a joyous report of the great and mighty works that they had done in Jesus' name. However, Jesus admonished them, "rejoice not because the devil fell from heaven like lightning, but because your names are written in heaven."
The stories in Luke 9 and 10 are about Jesus' training his disciples how to become men of faith. After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus met a man whose son was possessed with a demon. The disciples could not cast out the demon. After Jesus had delivered the man's son from the demon, the disciples took Jesus aside and asked him why they could not cast out the demon. Jesus had said to the crowd that had followed him, "O faithless generation." The disciples had been corrupted by arguing who was the greatest among them. They had reverted to the ways of the world and the thoughts of the flesh instead of the thoughts of the spirit. Who is really Lord of your life? In verse 18, Jesus had asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" The disciples answered, "Some say that you are John the Baptist or Elijah or one of the Old Testament Prophets returning from the dead." Then Jesus asked them, "But who say ye that I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God."
One of life's greatest lessons is that God doesn't always need our help to accomplish his will and his work. Sometimes he calls us to rest in him and to prepare for the spiritual battle. Men often want to be on the front lines. However, God's timing is not our timing. Our challenge is to make our will his will. Our exhortation is to die to ourselves in order to live for him. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?”
John said to Jesus, "there were men casting out Devils in your name. We rebuked them for using your name." However Jesus said, "Forbid him not, for whoever is not against us is for us." In Mark 9:51 Jesus had set his face to go to Jerusalem through Samaria. However the Samaritans rejected him. Jesus said to the Samaritans, "you do not know who's spirit you are following." He came to deliver them from the spirit of the world, but they rejected his message. In our culture the "Samaritans" will not stand up and cheer when the word of the Lord is spoken.
According to 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The secret to forgiveness of sins is not to dwell on the sin, but to turn to the savior from sin. Jesus taught his disciples that we need to walk in the world and get our feet dirty. Jesus called his disciples to the upper room before he died and washed their feet. This illustrated that he came to wash us from the contamination of this world. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.
It's easy to get caught up into the distractions of this world. God has called us to repent...to do an about face and to turn away from the world by turning to Him. God did not call us for the purpose to call fire from down from heaven or to cast out the devil spirits. Jesus said, I have not come to destroy, but to save. He did not come to destroy the law of sin and death, but to fulfill the law. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death. Jesus did not call us to protect his reputation. His righteous standard stands on its own. He did not call us to defend the truth. The truth is its own defense. He shows us the imperfections in ourselves and others so that we can know what to pray for. Jesus said, "bless them that persecute you, bless and curse not." Jesus' prayer was, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Jesus has called us unto Liberty. Our Liberty in Christ is not to be used as an excuse to sin, but rather our Liberty is to serve others in love. Speaking the truth in love will turn an upside down world right-side-up. He didn't call us to condemn unbelievers to hell. For Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.
Therefore, stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled with the yoke of bondage. Following in the footsteps of our Lord as his true disciple is continuing in his Word. Jesus said "if you continue in my word, you shall be my disciplined followers. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,