AT HIS FEET

Luke 10:38,39 ¶ Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

One of the great stories in the Bible talks about the conflict between the two sisters, Martha and Mary. The Bible says that Martha was “distracted with much serving” while Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Martha was very upset with Mary and asked Jesus to correct her sister. What Martha failed to see was that Mary was not just sitting, avoiding the real work. Mary was sitting at Jesus feet. Jesus said to leave Mary alone, she had chosen the best part. There is a huge difference between just sitting and sitting at Jesus feet, Charles Spurgeon helps us see the difference in his comments on this passage.

“Mary was not praised for sitting still; but for her sitting at Jesus’ feet. Even so, Christians are not to be praised for neglecting duties under the pretense of having secret fellowship with Jesus: it is not sitting, but sitting at Jesus’ feet which is commendable. Do not think that activity is in itself an evil: it is a great blessing, and a means of grace to us. Paul called it a grace given to him to be allowed to preach; and every form of Christian service may become a personal blessing to those engaged in it. Those who have most fellowship with Christ are not recluses or hermits, who have much time to spare, but indefatigable laborers who are toiling for Jesus, and who, in their toil, have him side by side with them, so that they are workers together with God. Let us remember then, in anything we have to do for Jesus, that we can do it, and should do it in close communion with him.”

I often speak about the outpouring of the Spirit that happened in our church in 1994. In that outpouring the Lord redirected my main responsibility in ministry. Before that time I had been more involved in the business of the ministry, the Lord was calling me to a new job description. My new job was to spend the majority of my work focused on seeking God in study, listening to the Lord, and preparing to minister His Word. Don’t get me wrong, Martha’s work is very important. It’s just that the kingdom needs Mary’s work as well, not just sitting but sitting at His feet.

DRINKING AND THE ANOINTING

Ps.36:7- O God, how extravagant is your cherishing love!

All mankind can find a hiding place

under the shadow of your wings.

All may drink of the anointing from the abundance of your house.

All may drink their fill from the delightful springs of Eden.

To know you is to experience a flowing fountain,

drinking in your life, springing up to satisfy.

In your light we receive the light of revelation.

The anointing is probably the most ignored element of our Christian faith. Many churches have set up their services where it would actually be impossible for the presence of God to manifest in any significant way. The tragedy of course is this, the purpose of the church according to Paul is to be the habitation of the Spirit. It is not to be just a habitation of some idea or belief about the Spirit, but actually the place He is welcomed and sought. It is the local church that is intended to be the main place the glory of God is on display to the world. The worship services should be the place where the corporate anointing, which is specific for each house, is nurtured. Actually the alternate translation for verse Ps.36:7 is this, “They will be satisfied [or watered] in the abundance of your house.” So it is in the house of God that we are watered or are intended to drink of the anointing.

In verse 8 David talked about the abundance of God’s house. The abundance he is speaking of is the abundance of the anointing. Here is how the Passion Translation Notes describe this.

“The Hebrew word for “abundance” is actually butterfat or oil. It is a symbol of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”

One of the shocking characteristics of the anointing is clearly seen in this verse. Drinking His anointing is the place where we experience God’s supernatural joy. This verse actually describes this place with the Hebrew word Eden. Here are the comments from the Passion Notes.

“Eden’s rivers of pleasure.” The garden of Eden had flowing rivers of delight. Eden means “pleasure.” The Hebrew word used here is the plural form of Eden, Edens.”

Putting this two ideas together we have to draw certain conclusions. The anointing is intended to be on display at church. When that is the case the church become the place of exceeding supernatural joy.

THE ANOINTING WITHIN YOU

1 Jn.2:27 – But the wonderful anointing you have received from God is so much greater than their deception and now lives in you. There’s no need for anyone to keep teaching you. His anointing teaches you all that you need to know, for it will lead you into truth, not a counterfeit. So just as the anointing has taught you, remain in him.

We have more resources inside of us as Christians than we can ever imagine. John taught us that we have an anointing within us. To know how valuable that is we must know what the anointing is. The anointing is the manifestation of the third person in the trinity. The anointing is upon us and within us. Here are some comments from the Passion notes on today’s verse.

“Although absent in the Greek, the words “from God” are found in the Aramaic manuscripts. It is clear from the context that the “anointing” is the Holy Spirit poured into us, bringing life, illumination, wisdom, fruit, and power from the indwelling life of Christ.”

So notice what this commentary attributes to the anointing. First and foremost, the anointing is life itself. The anointing is the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. You could say that the anointing is the resurrection Spirit. When this Spirit inhabits us we begin to enjoy the very life that God enjoys. This anointing also brings illumination. We can’t understand spiritual reality until the Spirit of truth, the anointing comes. In His light we see light. The anointing is also the Spirit of wisdom. We begin to understand the world and the way way to operate in this life. He is our wisdom. It is the anointing within us that produces spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit is actually the very description of the characteristics of Christ. He bares fruit inside of our lives. The anointing is also the very power of God. Jesus begin to minister in supernatural power after His baptism in the Jordan River. The Holy Spirit came upon Him and displays of miracle power began to flow out of Him. In the same way the apostles began to move in power after the anointing came upon them on the day of Pentecost. The same signs and wonders seen in the ministry of Christ began to flow through the ministry of the apostles. Today, we need His anointing more than ever. Just an outward form of spirituality will never do, we must have the power of the Spirit flowing in signs and wonders in our lives today.

ANOINTED

Isa.61:1,2 – The mighty Spirit of Lord Yahweh is wrapped around me

because Yahweh has anointed me,

as a messenger to preach good news to the poor.

He sent me to heal the wounds of the brokenhearted,

to tell captives, “You are free,”

and to tell prisoners, “Be free from your darkness.”

I am sent to announce a new season of Yahweh’s grace.

This is a very special prophetic word first spoken by the prophet Isaiah. Think about it, of all the scripture texts Jesus chose this one to be His first message and to be preached in the synagogue in His home town of Nazareth. What is it about this scripture that is so vital? First it declares the messianic claim, the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. That is exactly what Messiah means, the one who is anointed. Next, He begins to proclaim the very essence of His ministry; good news to the poor, healing for broken hearts, freedom for captives of sin and addictions, prisoners are no longer isolated in darkness, and the season of God’s grace has come for all mankind. This is literally the fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee. Here is the description from the notes in the Passion Translation.

“The title of Messiah is taken from the Hebrew verb “to anoint.” Messiah means the Anointed One in both Hebrew (mashiach) and Greek (Christos). Our Lord Jesus quoted this passage in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21) and introduced his “jubilee” ministry to Israel (Lev. 25). The first three verses of this chapter describe the twofold mission of Jesus: (1) to open the door of the day of grace to the world; (2) to proclaim the day of vengeance coming on sin, darkness, sickness, and eventually, the “goat” nations. As a prophet, he comes to preach the new season of grace; as a priest, he comes to heal; and as a king, he comes to decree and herald peace and freedom to the captives.”

I love the last part of these notes; He is our prophet, proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord. He is our heavenly priest, He has come to heal us on the outside and the inside. He is our King who brings pardon and freedom to the guilty. That sermon marked the beginning for a new day for all mankind. The Messiah has come and Jubilee has begun.

THERE IS AN ANOINTING FOR THAT

1John 2:27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

The word ‘anointing’ is one of those Bible words that is often misunderstood. People will say that someone who has a talented voice and hits those high notes is anointed. I have heard public speakers that are quite passionate and even entertaining referred to as anointed. Sometimes, people that build huge organizations or ministries are referred to as anointed. In each of these cases someone may or may not be anointed, human talent sometimes is mistaken for the anointing.

What is the anointing? It is the tangible presence of God that comes and rests upon a person for the purpose of advancing the kingdom of God. The anointing came upon David to worship, write songs, and kill the giant. The anointing came upon Samson to perform feats of strength. The anointing empowered Peter to preach on the Day of Pentecost and caused Stephen’s face to shine like an angel while he was being martyred. The anointing is the supernatural enabling to do the impossible for the glory of God.

There are different kinds of anointings. There is an anointing to overcome weaknesses. Rom. 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness”.

There is an anointing for prayer. Rom.8:26 – “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words”.

Peter said that there was an anointing to help us through times of persecution and suffering. 1Pet. 4:14 “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you”.

Isaiah even said that there was an anointing that breaks the power of the enemy. Is. 10:27 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing”.

The good news for all of us, we live in a time that the anointing is available for everyone. The measure of His anointing will be in proportion to His calling and our yieldedness. He is more than sufficient for whatever you face.

Eph. 3:20 ¶ “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us

STRANGE WORKS OF GOD

Lk. 9:29-31 – And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Obviously, we don’t have everything figured out yet. Just when we think we have it all sorted, the Lord throws us a huge curve ball. Who could have seen this coming. Casting out devils, healing the sick, even raising the dead; we kind of get that. Transfiguration? What is that anyway? Jesus and three of His disciples were praying when suddenly Jesus’s whole body began to shine with glory like Moses’ face when he came down from the mountain. Not only that, Moses and Elijah were there with Jesus out of nowhere talking about the Lord’s coming death. The disciples were still stuck on sorting out this life, they had no idea about kingdom glory.

What is the message in this passage for us today? It seems like church services today have become shorter and shorter and the emphasis on the kingdom of heaven has gotten less and less. We hear about finances and goals and family and success but not so much about glory and rarely a word about kingdom come. Jesus being transfigured sort of changed the conversation that day. What is transfigured anyway? Transfigured comes from the word metamorphosis. It is describing a total change from one being into another. It’s kind of like a butterfly coming from a caterpillar, it just doesn’t get much stranger than that. The Lord wants to bring a transformation into our lives. Paul used this word and idea in 2 Cor.3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit”. In this passage Paul actually says that there is a metamorphosis in our lives as we are transformed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

So there it is, it is that anointing thing again. Maybe the anointing seems strange and insignificant to some but there is no way for us to be transformed or transfigured without this strange work of God. Maybe its time for us to be still in our services and allow this strange, transforming work of the Spirit to come into our services. This is the only place our disintegrating culture can be restored.

I NEED THE ANOINTING

I will put my spirit within you—Ezekiel 36:27

 

I recently watched the movie Sampson. The movie was entertaining but did take some liberties with the scripture text. The one thing that the movie really brought out was the importance of the anointing. Sampson was obviously indecisive and a very flawed human (aren’t we all) but was turned into another man when the anointing came upon him. Seeing the incredible exploits of Sampson made me think about the role of the anointing throughout the scriptures. Men of God were just men until the Spirit of God came upon them. Think about it, what would have become of David without the anointing? There would have been no Psalms and he never would have gotten past the giant Goliath. And of course there was Peter. Peter turned from a coward into a lion of God preaching like he was from another world on the day of Pentecost. Then there was Phillip translated by the Spirit, Steven being martyred while under the anointing, John in the Spirit writing the book of Revelation, and Paul’s writings inspired by the Holy Spirit. How much more do we need the anointing today? We need him in our day to day activities. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes it.

“Would you not find that a blessed rest when you are worn out from struggling in your own strength? Do you not feel the need of an invincible man to conquer the strong man of self and sin? Do you want a leader? Do you want God Himself to be with you, to be within you? Do you want rest? Are you conscious of this need?

Are you weary of this sense of being beaten back, of longing, wanting but not accomplishing? That is what He comes to do. Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you (Acts 1:8). Better than that, “Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you…. You shall not receive power yourself, so that people will say, “How much power that man has!” You shall not have any power whatever, but you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you.

The anointing is available to all of us today. We desperately need His power in this wacky age that we live in, trying to live in our own strength will never be enough.

ANOINT ME WITH OIL

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PSA. 23:5 ¶ You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.
David knew the importance of the anointing. Ever since that day when Samuel visited his family and anointed David with oil, the anointing had become a huge part of David’s life. He saw the importance of the anointing when facing the lion and the bear, fighting the giant, running from King Saul, fighting the Philistines, writing the songs of the Lord, and reigning as the King of Israel. It was the supernatural enabling that kept and empowered David all of his life.

Today, that anointing is available for all of us. Whether we are facing temptation, challenges in our work or ministry, the anointing of the Lord will equip us for whatever we face. Charles Spurgeon shares about the importance of anointing with fresh oil everyday.

“Thou anointest my head with oil. May we live in the daily enjoyment of this blessing, receiving a fresh anointing for every day’s duties. Every Christian is a priest, but he cannot execute the priestly office without unction, and hence we must go day by day to God the Holy Ghost, that we may have our heads anointed with oil. A priest without oil misses the chief qualification for his office, and the Christian priest lacks his chief fitness for service when he is devoid of new grace from on high.”

I love what Spurgeon said, “every Christian is a priest”. This was a cardinal doctrine of the Protestant Reformation, the priesthood of every believer. The anointing with the oil of the Spirit is critical for the ministry of the priest. Think about it, David instituted 24 hour worship and ministry to the Lord in his tabernacle. Ministry to the Lord is the first duty of the priest. The priests needed God’s empowering and intoxicating anointing to minister on a daily basis. Stepping into His daily anointing equips us for our ministry of worship to the Lord. Secondly, the priest has a ministry to the hurting people all around us. It is the anointing that puts the compassion in our heart for those around us. This compassion spills over in pouring out the love of God to the suffering people we see everyday. Just like David saw the importance of the anointing to face his daily challenges, we too need His help everyday.

TAUGHT BY THE ANOINTING

1John 2:20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

Jesus taught His disciples about the role the Holy Spirit would perform after He was gone. One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit that Jesus emphasized was on teaching us. This is how Jesus explained the Spirit’s role in John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”. The Holy Spirit is upon us and in us after we are born again. As we nurture a relationship with Him by studying His word, praying, and spending time in worship we begin to experience this benefit of the anointing of the Spirit; He leads us into all truth. In this verse the word anointed is referring to the anointing or presence of the Holy Spirit. Here is how Wuest explains this blessing.

“The word “anointed” is chrisma. The word refers to that with which the anointing is performed, the unguent or ointment. Here it refers to the Holy Spirit with whom the believer is anointed. The two words meaning “to anoint” in the New Testament, aleiphō and chriō, refer to the act of applying something to something else for a certain purpose. Aleiphō was used, for instance, in the papyri of the act of greasing the yoke-band of an ox, namely, the act of applying grease to the yoke-band so that it would not irritate the sleek hide of the ox. Chriō was used of the application of a lotion to a sick horse. Thus, the anointing with the Holy Spirit refers to the act of God the Father (applying to the believing sinner) sending the Spirit in answer to the prayer of God the Son to take up His permanent residence in the believer.”
When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives He becomes our teacher. He teaches us as we study the written word, He speaks to us by His inner voice in our spirit, and He also confirms God’s word to our hearts as we are taught by His anointed ministers of the gospel. So whether we are reading our Bible or sitting under godly instruction, the Spirit’s work is still essential. He opens up our understanding and presents Christ to us. John 15:26 ¶ “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me”. That’s what He does, He always points us to Christ.

RECEIVING THE ANOINTING

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How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head. Psalm 133:1–2

Understanding and walking in the anointing is critical if you are to experience and live in the supernatural. In the church world today the anointing is often replaced with structure, style, and human talent. What you get is what Paul called a ministry which has the form of godliness without the power of God. If you want to experience the anointing in and through your life there are two things that are critical. First, your life has to be centered on Jesus the Son of God and honor His place at the right hand of God. Peter said that what they experienced on the day of Pentecost was a result of Jesus “Being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing”. What they were seeing and hearing was the result of the outpouring of the anointing. The second critical ingredient is to be connected closely with the local church. It is in flowing in unity with His church that the anointing flows freely. Watchman Née describes this in his comments on today’s verse.

“Psalm 133 is a Song of Ascents, sung three times a year by those going up to worship at Jerusalem. There were all kinds of people on that road, but they had one thing in common:

“they were all heading for Zion, the abode of God. These men in their great variety were all brothers in unity. How? The illustration explains. It is like the oil.

There is one “holy anointing oil”: the Spirit of God Himself. And the flow of oil is down (133:2) not up! In other words, His anointing is not directly on the members but upon Christ the Head. The Spirit finds rest and satisfaction in Christ and nowhere else. Hold fast the Head, obey Him in all things, and you will be found walking in step with all who do the same. Rules may be good in society, but the body of Christ has one law: the law of the Spirit of life. Only disregard the anointing Spirit, and all is unease; obey Him, and peace fills your heart.”
Nee brings out both aspects of receiving the anointing in his comments. Our eyes have to be on the glorified Son of God. We also have to be closely connected to His church. The oil flows from the head and down upon the body of Christ.