All set to release the captives and bring them home!
When we ‘come into the Spirit’ as it is called, it is very exciting and a new adventure. We find ourselves experiencing many of the things that were common to Jesus and the life of His disciples - like knowing what those who are opposing an advance into the fullness of Christ are thinking. Or being instructed via dreams and visions.
An early and striking example of the gifts of the Spirit for me was being awoken early in the morning with the clear impression, as a result of a dream, that I must pray for a pastor friend. When I got to work that morning I found, in staff meeting that my friend was gravely ill in a Sydney hospital. And so it was that the Lord had prompted me to intercede doing the night for the well-being of this friend. During a trip to the United States and later on a mission trip to Thailand, a friend had a similar experience to mine. Jesus alerted her to issues and problems we were facing and enlisted her assistance in prayer. You will find the reason for this kind of divine intervention in Dutch Sheets book, ‘Intercessory Prayer.’
As exciting as this can be there are some traps for the unwary. Any communication from Holy Spirit will not contradict the word of God. It may enlarge a truth, uncover a truth that has been lost and reveal treasure that has always been there. It will always be aligned with the word of God. In addition the fact that we have seen an angel does not mean that Jesus is endorsing a position or mode of being Christian that is out of alignment with His LIVING WAY. We might be captured in an old covenant mode of thought and pretty much encumbered by a body of death that is the un-life of Adam and Moses. Jesus will be doing all in His power to draw us into the light. This is why angels can be seen at such gatherings - because they are present and there to help. Jesus lives to draw us from incompleteness into fullness. The gospel of the Kingdom is that Christ alone is our life.
‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’ Matt 24.14 NIV.
The life of God may be seen as a result of visions and healings but His life does not flow from gifts or supernatural manifestations. This life flows because we and Father are one. We are able to do what Jesus did and utilize the gifts of the Spirit because we, Jesus and Holy Spirit are one. This is our new covenant inheritance as sons and daughters of God. Manifestations confer neither legitimacy or truth. However they may be a sign of God’s grace.
A friend of mine has seen angels and manifestations of the Spirit around celebrity speakers. This does not mean Jesus is endorsing celebrity, this person or institutionalized Christianity. Neither does it endorse the marketing of religion.
It does mean He is affirming Himself and that He is present to lead us into all truth and the fullness that is Christ our life. God is gracious and the Enemy deceptive.
We need discernment in regard to the meaning of what we are seeing. Some utterances come from Christ and others from the spirit of anti-christ. Their intent is always to deny the supremacy of Jesus and place our attention on some other entity or religious practice that binds us to some entity that has no life.
The touchstone of authenticity is declared by John where under the Spirit of Christ He endorses the core of the new covenant and the spirit-life of our new testament inheritance: Christ come in the flesh. When He is come because we have received Him He is our life. When we do not receive Him and attempt to use Him illegitimately to sustain an attachment to law, an alternate gospel with an extra-Jesus identity, we remain a body of death. Who shall deliver us? Thanks be to Jesus Christ who is our resurrection and our life.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
When a new Believer or a notional Christian comes to Jesus, this is like a young tree planted in the deep, rich soil of Father’s Heart. We become planted in life. But if, when we are transplanted from the world or from religiosity and our roots are bound we cannot become oaks of life and righteousness. Our roots can be sheathed in the polythene of religious additions to Christ or an unwillingness to leave behind the law.
In this condition our roots have restricted access to Father’s life and the Spirit of Sonship. This is like the roots of a transplanted apricot tree remaining sheathed in a wrapping of polythene. We must remove the polythene so the tree will grow. But with this artificial barrier, the tree will not grow and will eventually wither and die.
Jesus lives in us in His fullness. The trinity have made their home in us. Don’t dull the presence of Jesus with Christ plus doctrine. This will restrict our union with Father and dull our powers of spiritual perception. There is one Christ, one gospel and one Kingdom.
The new creation happens when Christ is our life. He grows in us. We grow in Him. The infinite life that is the trinity has made their home in us. We are all set to make God at home in our locality and bring the lost and confused home.