All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
October 14, 2008
HANDS FOR JESUS
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2008 by Merle E. Koepke
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Part 6 of "The Kingdom" is a continuation of the first 5 Parts. Some of the information in this part will be a repeat of that which was in other parts. Yet, most of what is in this Part 6 will be very important to understanding "The Kingdom." For those who do not have a copy of the first 5 Parts, they can be downloaded freely from our Web Sites.
John the Baptist came in "his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey" (Matt. 3:4). Many did not receive John the Baptist. He was not like one of them. In Luke 7:28, Jesus said, "For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist..." John was the greatest of all Old Testament Prophets, yet they did not recognize John the Baptist for who he was. In Luke 7:25,26, Jesus said, "But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts....But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet."
The birth of John the Baptist was not the normal. Zacharias, and Elisabeth were both well stricken in years. Luke 1:7 says, "they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years." Luke 1:80 says, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel."
The ministry of John the Baptist came when the Jews (especially the Pharisees) did not recognize him. They rejected the message of John the Baptist because they did not know him in the spirit. What they knew in the natural did not fit their idea of a great prophet.
When Jesus came, the leaders of the Jews did not know Him. Jesus did not come according to their idea of a Messiah.
Jesus was not taught in their Synagogues. Jesus was not a member of the Sanhedrin. He was not a Pharisee, a Sadducee or a Scribe. Jesus was not a Levite.
Jesus did not come as a King after their idea of King David. Jesus did not come to set the Jews free of the Roman government. Jesus' Kingdom was not of this world. The Jews idea of a King did not line up with what God was doing.
Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee. In John 7:45-52, the Chief Priests and Pharisees questioned the officers, why they had not brought Jesus? When Nicodemus saith unto them, "Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?" (John 7:51) They said to Nicodemus, "Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet" (John 7:52). Jesus came as the Scriptures had said, but they rejected Him because of His past.
When the LORD called the Apostle Paul, and the Holy Spirit sent him out as an Apostle. Many of the Jews rejected Paul because of his past. God sent the Apostle Paul to preach the gospel but many of the Jews rejected him because of his past.
Before the LORD called Paul on the way to Damascus, the Chief Priests welcomed Paul. But, once the LORD started using Paul to preach the true gospel, the same Priests came against Paul. The Chief Priests came against Paul because he was no longer the same as he was when they knew him.
Paul was rejected because of his past, and also rejected because of his conversion. Paul was one of the most rejected Apostles of his time. There were times when only the LORD stood with Paul. In 2 Timothy 4:16, Paul wrote, "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me." Then in verse seventeen Paul wrote, "Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear..."
Many rejected the Apostle Paul, because of his past, and because he was preaching the true gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Jews wanted to stay with their idea of what God desired. Their preconceived idea of what God wants, kept them from recognizing the true prophet of God.
Christians must be very careful not to judge a person according to their past. Christians must learn to set the past behind them and go on with Jesus all the way. Christians must forgive others because of their past. They must also "repent" (that is, change their ways), and go on with the LORD in everything they do.
Many look at the outward appearance of a person, thinking that is who God will use. This is not always true, and unless we have a witness in our spirit, we may also miss the time and the season God has prepared for us.
Christians must learn the two commandments of the LORD. In Luke 10:27, Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."
Too often those in the ministry go over to 1 Timothy, Chapter Three, and judge others because of their past, and set up qualification for ministers according to their understanding of what the Apostle Paul wrote in this chapter. They go beyond what Paul wrote, and make themselves judges of others.
Some have said that anyone who is not a married man cannot become a Bishop or Deacon. The word used for Deacon includes the fivefold ministry. What the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy was not always to establish doctrine, it was also to correct error. The Epistles were mostly written to correct error, once the truth was already known. We must rightly understand what it tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16, where it says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Keep in mind what it says in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The Scriptures must be rightly divided, not according to our thinking, but according what the Holy Spirit intended.
Those in the ministry who try to justify their position and use 1 Timothy, Chapter Three to set the standard for ministry could get into great error.
Jesus was not a married man with a wife and children. The Apostle Paul was not a married man with a wife and children. If anyone believes a minister must be a married man with a wife and children, then there is something wrong in the way they interpret the Scriptures. If that is what the Holy Spirit intended, then we would also have to reject Jesus and the Apostle Paul. They were not married men with a family.
Jesus and the Apostle Paul are two individuals who revealed much of the New Covenant in the Scriptures. Those who judge by the letter of the Law and are not hearing from the Holy Spirit could get into great error in what they teach.
We must listen to our spirit, and know the truth concerning who we should listen to and who not to listen to. There are many false teachers, and many false prophets in the churches today. We do not judge them according to their past. They are people, but it is not the person we are to judge, but rather the spirit that is in control of what the person does. We are to try the spirits if they are of God or not (1 John 4:1).
In Revelation 2:2 the LORD said to the Church at Ephesus, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."
No one can justify themselves by what they have done, or are doing. We cannot be justified by the Law. In Acts 13:38,39 the Apostle Paul said, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins...And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." A person cannot be justified by what they are doing or have done. They can only be justified by God through Jesus Christ. Only God can justify what we do.
We must learn to put the past behind us and go on with Jesus everyday of our lives. It is important to understand the Kingdom of God. There are many times when Jesus spoke of putting the past behind and going forth in the Kingdom of God. In Luke 9:62, it says, "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Traditions and doctrines of men make the Word of God of none-effect. Over and over men come against what God is doing through certain individuals. Some came against John the Baptist. Some came against Jesus. Some come against the Holy Spirit, and speaking in tongues.
There are some who come against women in the ministry. They have their preconceived ideas and doctrines against women in the ministry. We must be very careful of coming against what God is doing.
God used Deborah in the book of Judges, Chapters four and five. Judges 4:4 says, "And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time." A Prophetess is the same as a Prophet, except that she is a woman rather than a man. Deborah was on the same level as Samuel, Jeremiah, Elijah, and all the other Old Testament Prophets.
In the Old Testament, God anointed certain people for the work He had called them to. There were three major anointings in the Old Testament. There was first the Prophet, second the Priest, and thirdly the King. The Priest was not above the Prophet. Moses was a Prophet, and Aaron was a Priest. Aaron was not above Moses.
When the LORD needed to give directions or corrections for a king He would send a Prophet, not a Priest. When a king was looking for directions, he looked first to the Prophets, and second to the Priests.
Today, in the New Covenant "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers..." We must be careful when it comes to rejecting those whom God calls and sends into the ministry. We cannot go according to the natural, if they be male or female, married or single, young or old.
When someone comes against whosoever God uses in the ministry they are also coming against God. Look at something in Acts 9, where it says, Saul, now called Paul, "heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?...And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" (Acts 9:4,5). Who was Saul coming against? Was he coming against Christians, or was he coming against the LORD? The answer is simple, when someone comes against a person who is doing the will of God they are in fact also coming against the LORD. The LORD's body is doing the LORD's work here on earth.
Within the past one-hundred years, God has used many women in the ministry. For example, God used Kathryn Kuhlman in the ministry for many years. Kathryn Kuhlman had a great anointing for healing and miracles. Thousands were healed under her ministry. It is not good to reject someone whom God has anointed to do the work of the ministry.
These are religious spirits that reject those whom God put into the ministry. These spirits operate according to "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:17).Christians must come against those religious spirits in the spiritual realm. We do not come against the person, but we come against the spirits that operate through the person.
The Kingdom of God is not flesh and blood. "...flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Cor. 15:50). The Kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of the Old Testament. The Kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this world. This world is flesh and blood, "earthly of the earth" (1 Cor. 15:47,48). The Old Testament kingdoms and the kingdoms of this world operate from the minds of people. The kingdoms of this world operate according to flesh and blood (that which is born of the flesh) (John 3:6).
The Kingdom of God does not operate according to flesh and blood. The Kingdom of God does not operate according to the minds of people. The Kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36). The Kingdom of God operates through those who are born again of the Spirit. John 3:6 says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Adam was fleshly, formed of the dust of the earth. Adam was earthly of this earth (1 Cor. 15:45-47). Jesus is the King of the kingdom of God. Jesus is not earthly of this earth. In 1 Corinthians 15:47 it says, "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." Jesus is spiritual. Jesus became man in the flesh so that man could become spiritual (born again of the Spirit). Jesus came down from heaven to become the King of the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God operates in the spiritual realm. Therefore, those who are in the Kingdom of God must also operate in the spiritual realm, not the natural realm. The natural realm is flesh, the spiritual realm is spirit. That which is in the spiritual realm must operate in the realm of the spirit.
Romans 8:1-8 tells us, we must walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Romans 8:5-7 explains this by saying, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit....For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace....Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Christians must learn to be led by the Spirit and walk after the Spirit, not after the flesh. We must learn how to live in this world according to Romans 12:1,2, which says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service....And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Christians must learn to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Our battles should be fought in the spiritual realm, not in the natural realm. In 2 Corinthians 10:3,4 it tells us, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh...(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)."
Our battles in life are not against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Our enemy is not people, it is spirits that try to control people. Our battles are in the spiritual realm, not in the natural realm of the flesh.
We are to look beyond the flesh and see what is happening in the spiritual realm. It is not flesh and blood. It is not male or female. It is not race, or color. It is the spirits of this world that we battle against.
Of our own ability, we do not have the power to overcome the spirits of this world. But, by the leading of the Holy Spirit and the anointing of the Holy Spirit we have power over all the works of the Devil. We have been given the Name of Jesus to come against all the works of the Devil. In Jesus' Name, and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit we can defeat the enemy in every area of our lives.
The Kingdom of God can only reign in the lives of those who submit themselves and their wills to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If we try to do our own will of the flesh we will fail. But, if we submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit the anointing of the Holy Spirit will empower us to do the works He has called us to do.
The Kingdom of God is "the reign of God" working in and through those who submit to His leading. When we lay down our will and do only the will of God, led by the Holy Spirit, then the Kingdom of God will reign in our lives here on earth.
Chosen By God
Who will God use in the Kingdom of God? It is evident that God does not always choose those He uses according to our ideas of who He should use. In 1 Corinthians 1:26 it says, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called."
When Jesus received His disciples, it was the choice of God the Father that gave them to Jesus. In John 17:12, Jesus said, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." According to this, it was God the Father that gave Jesus those whom He called.
These were not educated people. These were not Pharisees or Scribes. They were ordinary people. Some were fishermen, one was a tax collector. They were people of everyday life, doing what they needed to do to provide for a living.
In the Old Covenant, to teach the Word and become a leader among the Children of Israel they had to be a Levite, or a prophet, or a king. But, in the New Covenant, they must be chosen by God. God does not choose according to our ideas. God looks at the heart, as it says in 1 Samuel 16:7 "...the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
For those whose heart is right to serve the LORD, God will use them in some sort of calling. It may not be an Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist, or Pastor. But, if their heart is right God will use them.
The greatest calling is not the fivefold ministry. The greatest calling is destroying the works of the Devil. In 1 John 3:8 it says, "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." This was the purpose for God sending Jesus into this world. In John 17:18, Jesus spoke to the Father, saying, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."
In Mark 16:17,18, Jesus said, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues...They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." The greatest calling is those that do the works that Jesus did. Everyone who is endued with the power to be witnesses unto Jesus can walk in the greatest calling of all. This calling is upon everyone who believes.
God looks at the heart. When God sees a believing heart, He empowers them with the anointing of the Holy Spirit to destroy the works of the Devil. It is all based upon "Believing in the Heart." Signs will follow those who believe in their heart, lay hands upon the sick, and speak with their mouth the Word of God.
In Jesus' Name, they shall cast out devils. They shall lay hands upon the sick and they shall recover. These are two of many operations of the Holy Spirit.
There is the speaking in Jesus' Name to cast out devils. This is, speaking by the unction of the Holy Spirit within us. We do the speaking, but the Holy Spirit empowers the words we speak, and the demons are cast out.
There is also the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our hands. The anointing flows by contact. As we lay hands upon the sick, the anointing transfers from our bodies to the bodies of those who need healing.
The LORD chooses whom He will use. Just as He chose the twelve disciples in Matthew, Chapter Ten. Just as He chose the seventy disciples in Luke, Chapter Ten. These men were not educated Levites, who studied the Old Testament. They were common, everyday people whose heart was to follow Jesus. Jesus chose them and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus sent them out to "...preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand....Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:7,8).
The qualifications for the greatest work of the ministry is simple. In the New Covenant, we must be born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit (with the power to be witnesses unto Jesus (Acts 1:8)). Our heart must be willing to do the will of God in our lives. We must believe the Word of God according to the New Covenant.
Many have tried to believe according to the Old Covenant and it does not work for them. The Law was a schoolmaster. In Galatians 3:24,25 it explains the Law by saying, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith...But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." The Law could not and can not justify anyone. In Acts 13:38,39 it says, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins...And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
The Law is good, and it has it's purpose. But, we are not justified by the Law, but rather we are justified by what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. It is the believing on what God has done for us through Jesus Christ that justifies us to do the work of the ministry.
When Jesus chose His disciples before sending them out to "...Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils...," He did not asked them if they kept the Law. He did not ask them if they had any sin in their lives. The works that they did, they did not do them based upon their keeping the Law. The works they did were based upon who Jesus truly was. They believed that Jesus was the Son of God. When they believed that He was sent by God, He "...gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matt. 10:1). It is not the Law that makes a person qualified to do the works of the ministry.
It is the believing on the Name of Jesus, and Who Jesus truly is that qualifies a person to do the works of the ministry. It is believing the truth of the New Testament concerning who Jesus truly is, and who we are in Christ according to the Scriptures. It is faith that qualifies us to do the works of the ministry.
Two of the qualifications for the New Covenant are, "The just shall live by faith," and "walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh" (Rom. 1:17, Gal. 5:16). When Christians live by faith and are led by the Holy Spirit, they fulfill all the requirements of the New Covenant. By these two requirements of the New Covenant we can fulfill the call of God on our lives.
In Hebrews 10:38 it says, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." We do not have any other choice. If we want to please God, we must "live by faith."
In Galatians 5:16 it says, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." If we are led by the Holy Spirit and walk after the Holy Spirit God will be pleased in everything we do.