Tyrants In the Church Who Hoard & Manipulate the Anointing

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically today’s passage is found in the third chapter of this New Testament book. “And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hears, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” (Mark 3:1-6).

 

            “But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea; and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the. Multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed man; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: and Simon he surnamed Peter; and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him” (Mark 3:7-19).

 

            “And they went into an house. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could no so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, he hath Beelzebub and by the prince of devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: because they said, He hath an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:19-30).

 

            “There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother” (Mark 3:31-35).

 

            When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will be absolutely and incredibly captivated with the fact that once more the Lord Jesus would and could be found within the synagogue. In fact if you take the time to read the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors you will find there were certain places Jesus would oftentimes enter during the three and a half years of public ministry. As you read the four gospel narratives you will find that one of the main places and houses Jesus would enter would indeed be the house of His Father which was in heaven—the very Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. There is perhaps no better gospel account of Jesus’ time spent in the Temple—and not only in the Temple but also in the city of Jerusalem itself—than the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. What’s more is that as you read the words which are found within the four gospel narratives you will find that in addition to the Lord Jesus entering into the Temple which was present in Jerusalem he would enter into the various synagogues which were present in the midst of the cities, towns and villages where He traveled and journeyed. You cannot read the gospel narratives written concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and not encounter the tremendous truth that He was one who continually and regularly entered into the synagogues where He would not only teach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven but where He would also offer healing unto those who were before Him and had a physical need within their bodies. What’s more is that there would be certain synagogues which were present in the towns and villages Jesus journeyed to where deliverance would take place as He would drive out unclean spirits from those who possess, tormented and oppressed men within and upon the earth.

 

            I find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that as you read the four gospel narratives you will find Jesus entering into the synagogue—particularly on the sabbath as was His custom. More often than not Jesus would enter into the synagogues where He would teach and preach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven unto all those who were present in the midst of it. Time and time again you will find the Lord Jesus entering into the synagogues where He would teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. With this being said, however, there were times when more than teaching and preaching would take place. You cannot read the four gospel narratives which were written by the gospel authors and not encounter those times when in addition to the Lord Jesus teaching and preaching the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven He would also offer healing and deliverance unto those who were present in the midst of them. What’s more is that when you read the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus you will find His willingness to do more than simply teach and preach within the synagogues which were present in the midst of the cities, towns and villages present in the land during those days. The Lord Jesus would indeed enter into the synagogues on the sabbath as was His custom and would teach the people concerning the kingdom of heaven and yet there would be times when the Lord Jesus would also offer healing and deliverance unto those who were present in the midst of the synagogue.

 

            It is with this in mind I invite you to consider within the opening three chapters of this New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark the accounts of the Lord Jesus being present in the synagogues in the land. Not only this but I invite you to consider how it would be in the synagogues where healing and deliverance would take place. In fact I would dare say there is something we must needs recognize and understand concerning Jesus’ time in the synagogues for during those days the men and women in the land would have been entirely and altogether used to entering into the synagogue and listening to the words which would be taught by the scribes, by the Pharisees and by other members of the religious elite. When Jesus would step on to the scene, however, He would introduce something entirely different from what they had previously experienced. What’s more is that this is not only true of the synagogues but also the Temple which would stand upon the Temple Mount in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Prior to the arrival and emergence of the Lord Jesus the Temple would have been a place of sacrifice and offering as men and women would have come to present their offerings before and unto the living God. Not only this but the priests would also carry out and fulfil their duty within the Temple and in the service of the house as we see in the case of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist. As Jesus would come on to the scene he would introduce something entirely and altogether different for the synagogues would be about more than simply words which were taught but would be places of deliverance and healing. Not only this but the Temple itself would be a place where healing would and could take place—and not only a place where healing would take place but also where deliverance from accusation would take place as was the case of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. ]

 

            I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the various accounts of the Lord Jesus being present in the synagogues during those days for I would dare say that more often than not those who were present within the synagogues were used to entering in and hearing the words from the book of the Law taught unto them from their scribes. In fact there is something to be said about this for when we read the words which are found in the gospel narratives we find that those who were present during those days marveled and were amazed at the teaching and words of the Lord Jesus for He taught them as one who had authority and not as their scribes had taught them. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for when we read the words found in this gospel we are brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding Jesus teaching with authority—and not only teaching with authority but also exercising authority over sicknesses, illnesses and diseases. Moreover the Lord Jesus would also exercise authority and dominion over unclean and evil spirits as He would deliver those who were present in the midst of the house from the unclean spirits which oppressed, possessed, afflicted and tormented them. Oh there is something to be said about the emergence of the Lord Jesus during those days for it would be through the emergence of the Lord Jesus that we find the synagogues being more than simply places of teaching and instruction but would also be places of deliverance and healing. It would be when the Lord Jesus was manifested in the midst of the earth that the synagogues would now be a place of healing and deliverance—and not only a place of healing and deliverance but also a place of confrontation and altercation with the scribes and the Pharisees.

 

            Having said and written all of this I find it necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are presented within the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark. It is within these passages of Scripture we encounter and come face to face with the various interactions Jesus had within the synagogues during those days—and not only within the synagogues but also with those who were in need as well as with the scribes and Pharisees. What’s more is that I feel compelled to present you with the account of Jesus in the synagogue within His own hometown of Nazareth before any of these others for this would be the ultimate foundation for His interactions within the various synagogues throughout the cities, towns and villages in the land. It would be that encounter and experience in the synagogue there in the midst of the town of Nazareth that would be the foundation for all the other interactions which were present in the various synagogues throughout the land which would indeed include the synagogue in Capernaum. Consider now if you will the following accounts of the manifestation of the glory, the presence and the power of the living God through the person of the Lord Jesus in the midst of the synagogues beginning with that which is found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke:

 

            “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. 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 hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bear him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country And he said, Verily I say unto you, NO prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him not the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” (Luke 4:16-32).

 

            It is within this passage of Scripture we find the Lord Jesus entering into the town of Nazareth which was the town of His upbringing during the first thirty years of His life. There within the synagogue He would not only read the words which were presented in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah but He would also suggest that the Spirit of the LORD  was upon Him and had anointed Him to preach good news unto the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted,  and to offer healing unto all those who were in need of it. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this passage of Scripture is that while those who were present in the synagogue there in Nazareth would initially marvel and wonder at the gracious words which would proceed out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus they would indeed be turned to and filled with wrath at the words which He would go on to speak unto them. The Lord Jesus would speak of the days of Elijah which were characterized by three and a half years of drought and famine and yet how the LORD God sent the prophet unto a Gentile woman of Zarephath rather than unto any of the widows which were present in the midst of the land of Israel. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also go on to speak of the days of Elisha and how there were many lepers present within the land and how none of them were cleansed of their leprosy except for the Gentile and heathen Syrian general Naaman. These words which the Lord Jesus would speak would anger and infuriate those who were present in the midst of the synagogue—and so much so that they would thrust Him out of their city and seek to cast Him headlong off the cliff of the city.

 

            There is something we must needs recognize and understand concerning the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it sets the stage and tone for the various other interactions the Lord Jesus had within the synagogues during those days. It would be during those days the Lord Jesus would enter into the synagogues which were present in the midst of the land and how with Him being present in the midst of the synagogues there would be more than simply teaching that would take place. We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke for when we read the gospel written by John Mark—and even the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew—we find the Lord Jesus entering into the synagogue on the sabbath days as His custom was. The four gospels make it absolutely clear the Lord Jesus was no stranger to the synagogues which were present in the midst of the land and it would be in the synagogues where He would offer—and not merely offer but present unto those who were present something they were not used to and had not experienced prior to that. I continue to find it absolutely incredible to read the words found in the gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and how Jesus would enter into the synagogues as was His custom and would not only teach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven but would also offer healing and deliverance unto those who were present. Oh it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark concerning the time Jesus would spend in the midst of the synagogues:

 

            “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in the their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed,  insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee” (Mark 1:21-28).

 

            “And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” (Mark 3:1-6).

 

            “And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath t his man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own. Kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching” (Mark 6:1-6).

 

            There is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for within them we find the Lord Jesus entering into the synagogues on the sabbath days as was His custom. It’s important to note from the gospel narratives that Jesus would make it a regular practice to enter into the synagogues on the sabbath day—and not only enter into the synagogue on the sabbath days but also to teach in the midst of them. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within these particular passages is how Jesus would offer something in the midst of the synagogues that the people had not experienced before. Imagine how many individuals would enter into the synagogue in Capernaum and hear the scribes teach from the book of the Law of Moses and would bring their various needs with them. Imagine how many men and women would enter into the synagogues and would hear the words from the book of the Law of Moses and yet they would experience no healing from that which plagued their body nor receive deliverance from that which oppressed and tormented them. Stop and think about what it would have been like for the people of Galilee and even Judaea during those days to enter into the synagogue week after week on the sabbath day to hear the words from the book of the Law being taught unto them and yet leaving no different than the way they entered. Oh there is something incredibly unique about this when you take the time to think about it for I would dare say there were countless men and women who entered into these synagogues to hear the reading of the book of the Law of Moses and yet would depart no different and no better than when they arrived.

 

            The more I think about and consider this particular reality the more I am brought face to face with the wonderful and powerful truth surrounding that which the Lord Jesus brought to the synagogues. Scripture makes it very clear that the people marveled and wondered at the teaching and doctrine of the Lord Jesus for He taught them as one having authority. With this being said it’s important that even as early as the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. At the end of Jesus’ teaching of the Sermon on the Mount the people who heard the words He spoke marveled and wondered at the words and teaching He presented for He taught them as one who had authority and not as their scribes taught. This is something which strikes at the very heart and core of Jesus’ presence within the synagogues of Galilee and Judaea for not only would He be a new and fresh voice as different from the scribes which taught the people but He would teach them as one who had authority. This is something we must needs recognize and understand as it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding Jesus’ time in the synagogue. Jesus would enter into the synagogues and would not only teach with authority thus signifying His words had the authority of the living God and of the Holy Spirit but He also demonstrated authority through His actions. It is as you read the four gospel narratives you will find that it would be in the synagogues which were present within Galilee and Judaea the Lord Jesus would in fact teach the gospel concerning the kingdom but He would offer those who were present in the midst of them something they had never experienced before—true and lasting change within their hearts, within their lives, and even within their physical bodies.

 

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the fact that the Lord Jesus would indeed enter into the synagogues and teach with authority, however, He would also demonstrate and move in authority. Oh it’s one thing to teach with authority, however, it’s something else entirely to move and operate with authority. That which we find within the four gospel narratives is something that brings face to face with Jesus’ teaching with authority given Him directly from the Father as the words He taught were not His own. Not only this but Jesus would teach with authority given unto Him by the Holy Spirit who had indeed anointed Him to preach the gospel of the good news of peace unto all those who were desperate and destitute. With this being said I can’t help but think about how many men and women during those days might have even grown tired, weary, burdened, worn out, frustrated and even discouraged when entering into the synagogues. Oh there would be men and women who would enter into the synagogues week after week and would hear the words from the book of the Law taught unto them and yet it would do absolutely nothing for the actual need that was present within their life. If you’re honest with yourself how many times have you entered into the house of God and have heard the words from the Word of God taught and preached and yet you experienced absolutely nothing for the need that was present within your physical body or even within your heart and soul? How many times have you entered into the house of the LORD desperate, destitute and discouraged and although you heard the words of the Bible you left the same way you entered?

 

            I read the words which are found in the four gospel narratives and I am brought face to face with the truth and reality of how many men and women entered into the synagogues perhaps even tired and worn out by religion and the religious leaders of those days and yet felt compelled and even an obligation and duty to go to synagogue on the sabbath days. Imagine how many during those days might have felt when they heard of this Jesus of Nazareth who was teaching in the synagogues. Not only this but imagine how many during those days might have thought when they heard that He taught with authority and unlike any of the teachers and scribes who had previously taught them. What’s more is I can’t help but wonder about those who were present during those days and how many of them entered into the synagogue to hear the words from the book of the Law of Moses and yet they would leave entirely and altogether unchanged and unaffected by the words they heard. Imagine going to the synagogue week after week and hearing the scribes teach the words from the book of the Law of Moses and being unable to experience the healing you desired—even the deliverance and freedom you required. This is actually something which requires a great amount of thought and considering when you actually take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to our own present day and how many men and women among us enter into many of our churches with various needs in their hearts, in their souls and even within their physical bodies and yet leave the same way they walked in. This is precisely what I find so captivating about the words which we read in the opening verses of the second chapter of this New Testament gospel.

 

The words which we find in the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding one who might have even never entered into the synagogue or place where the Lord Jesus was. Stop and consider the truth that there might have even been those during these days who perhaps were prevented and prohibited from entering into the synagogue—not because the scribes, Pharisees and teachers of the law shunned them but because their physical condition actually prevented them from being able to enter. The narrative and account of this man who was sick with the palsy is actually quite unique and astounding when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to one who heard that Jesus was present in the house and was carried by four men unto the place they heard the Lord Jesus was present. What they found when they got there, however, was something completely and entirely different than what they had anticipated for although Jesus was in the house and although the door might have been opened they were unable to enter in through the door and come unto Jesus because of the crowd of people before and about the door. There is something we must needs pay close attention to for it brings us face to face with the reality of individuals who come unto the sanctuary and house and have been prevented from experiencing that which they have desired because of their condition. This man who was sick with the palsy might not have ever entered into this place because of his condition and even when he was initially brought to this place he might have thought that he was unable to enter because of the crowd of people before and about the door.

 

The more I think about this the more I am confronted with the fact that there are countless individuals among us who enter into our churches and houses of worship to sing the songs they are led in by the “worship team,” give of their tithes and offering and even hear the word preached by the pastor or whatever guest speaker might be speaking on that particular day and yet remain entirely and altogether untouched. I find it absolutely necessary to emphatically declare that what is so desperately needed in our churches and our houses of worship is not fancier and more eloquent sermons and messages but the demonstration of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. What is so desperately needed in our churches and in our houses of worship is the anointing of the Holy Spirit as it is upon those who have yielded and are yielding themselves to the work and operation of the Spirit within their lives. With this being said I feel compelled to declare unto you that the anointing isn’t only for the preacher, nor is it only for the prayer team and those who were appointed by the leadership team in the church. The Holy Spirit was made available to all and for all on the Day of Pentecost and it is possible for those who have confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believed in their hearts that God the Father raised Him from the dead to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit—and not only the baptism of the Holy Spirit but also the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit could come upon anyone at any time for any reason without needing approval from man. During the days of both the Old Covenant as well as the New Covenant there were times when the person, anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit came upon individuals for a specific purpose. What has happened in many of our churches is men and women have been told that they have to go through this selected program and complete these required courses before they can be entrusted by man to operate in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The last time I checked the gifts of the Spirit which were mentioned by the apostle Paul were for each and every member of the body of Christ without needing to go through any type of “membership” status. The only thing that was needed to walk in one or more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to the apostle Paul was being a member of the body of Christ. This is something we might need to think about and consider within our churches for I can’t help but wonder how many men and women might be leaving our houses of worship and sanctuaries because we have had people pray for them who weren’t anointed for such a purpose. OH it is true we might have prayer teams within our churches and yet one thing we don’t take into consideration is that the anointing and gifts of the Spirit belong to the Spirit and are according to His divine pleasure and will. We have tempered and measured the anointing and gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who have jumped through our hoops and completed our prescribed process and as a direct result there have been countless men and women who have missed out on what the Holy Spirit has for them within their hearts and lives.

 

I have to admit there is something truly astonishing about this particular truth for there are countless men and women who have left the sanctuary and house of worship they have routinely and regularly been a part of unchanged and unaffected—not because the power of the LORD wasn’t present to heal and deliver them but because man has played God and tried to control who can move and operate in the anointing. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the only prerequisite for the gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit according to that which the apostle Paul wrote was to be a member of the body of Christ. I think that there have been countless times when man has thought and assumed the gifts mentioned in the twelfth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul were given by them and that they can somehow exercise their own control and will over them. I am absolutely convinced that this is and has been something that has stunted the growth of countless men and women who have been present within our churches and sanctuaries which men and women have come into time and time again and week after week. I firmly believe there are countless men and women who have attempted to play God with and over the gifts mentioned by the apostle Paul and they have failed to realize and recognize that the gifts belong to the Spirit and are for the edification and encouragement of the body. I would dare say there are many men and women who have missed that which was present before and unto them because we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to move and operate among us the way He desires and should.

 

Having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the twelfth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints. What’s more is that I also feel there is a great need for us to consider the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesian saints. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these epistles beginning with the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:

 

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

 

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

 

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:1-16).

 

I firmly believe we must needs pay close attention to the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous and incredible reality of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and what they are provided for. It is absolutely imperative we recognize and understand that the gifts of the Holy Spirit belong to the Spirit and are given unto the body of Christ thus signifying that the only prerequisite for moving and operating in those gifts is being a member of the body of Christ. In order to be a member of the body of Christ one needs to confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believe with their heart that God the Father raised Him from the dead and experience salvation. This is something we have a great need to recognize and understand as it calls and draws our attention to the reality that when it comes to the movement and operation of the Holy Spirit among us within our churches He does not need our approval to do what He desires to do. What we must needs recognize and understand is that the body of Christ belongs to the head and not to the body or those who would like to think they are the head or can operate as the head of the body would. It is called the body of Christ for a reason and they are called the gifts of the Spirit for a reason—something we would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand. We as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs understand and acknowledge this particular truth within our heart and life for within it we are brought face to face with the powerful reality of the anointing of the Holy Spirit and how it is the Holy Spirit who decides who is anointed and who is not.

 

This reality and truth concerning the anointing of the Holy Spirit is something that must be recognized and considered when reading the words found in the passage of Scripture in the gospel written by Mark for the anointing of the Holy Spirit is something that is not and ought not be controlled by man. We must needs understand that the anointing of the Spirit—that reality which the Lord Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah quoting “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me”—is something which is determined by the Holy Spirit and He alone. I firmly believe there have been countless men and women who have missed that which the living God has for them because man has tried to play God and control the anointing, control the prayer and even control the movement at the altar. I find it absolutely astonishing how much control is exercised and exhibited round about the altar as in many churches the only ones who are qualified to pray for others are those who have been deemed as “worthy” to do so. In many churches those who are called upon to pray for others are those who have jumped through the religious hoops of classes and “training” that they might somehow be qualified to pray for others.

 

Perhaps one of the greatest truths we as the saints of God must needs understand and recognize is that we have permission to move and operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is that we have permission to move and operate in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Not only this but we must also understand that we do not need man’s approval nor blessing to move and operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the anointing. Oh it is indeed true that man has absolutely no control over the anointing of the Holy Spirit and even the gifts of the Holy Spirit—this despite their frail and feeble attempts to do so. Having grown up in the church all my life I have personally witnessed countless ministers and leaders in the church try and control the movement and ministry at the altar through coordinated individuals who are somehow “qualified” to minister unto the needs of others. Tell me—when was the last time you personally witnessed and observed the power and presence of the Holy Spirit coming upon someone in the house of the LORD and they have laid hands on and prayed for someone and they experienced deliverance, healing and transformation? When was the last time the Holy Spirit was truly free to move among you in the midst of the sanctuary and house in which you have worshipped and He came upon and anointed certain individuals who moved and operated in the anointing ordained and appointed by Him? I have said it before and I must say it again—the anointing is not for the preacher only nor is it for those who are in church leadership within our churches and houses of worship.

 

I feel incredibly compelled to call and draw your attention to the incredible truth that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given as He wills and not as man wills. If the Holy Spirit wants to give the gift of healing to someone who isn’t on the prayer team then he reserves the right to and can and will do so. If the Holy Spirit wants to give the gift of prophecy to someone who doesn’t stand behind the pulpit then he can absolutely do so and doesn’t need the approval of any man. If the Holy Spirit wants to give word of knowledge to someone who isn’t part of the church leadership team then he absolutely and most certainly will. There is a great need among us within our churches and houses of worship to stop trying to play God—and not only stop trying to play God but also stop trying to control and manipulate the gifts of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is that it is highly possible there are individuals on our “prayer teams” who aren’t even anointed of the Holy Spirit to lay hands on and pray for others. I would dare say there are individuals on our “prayer teams” who have jumped through all the religious hoops set forth by those in positions of authority in the church and yet they have not been and are not anointed of the Holy Spirit to lay hands on others and change and transformation takes place within their lives. We have placed a great deal of emphasis on those who have somehow done that which was required of them to be called up at the end of the service to pray for others and yet that doesn’t mean that the anointing is upon that particular individual. What if that person who is called up to the front of the church committed a sin or transgression prior to the service that morning? What if that particular person is harboring secret sin and has concealed it from everyone? What if that particular individual got into a fight with their spouse that morning or had too much to drink the night before? Of course I am a proponent of grace but with that being said I find it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the fact that not everyone who might be called up as part of a “prayer team” is qualified to pray for those around about the altar.

 

I fully realize and recognize there are those who might be reading these words and are angered, upset and offended by them. I realize and understand there are those who might be reading these words and completely and utterly disagree with me. There might be pastors, and ministers, and those in leadership positions in the church who are reading these words and who have absolutely no understanding or idea about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nor even about the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In the synagogue in Capernaum within the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark we find a man in the synagogue with a withered hand. Jesus would proceed to ask those who were present whether or not it was lawful to do good on sabbath or to do evil—to save a life or to destroy. This Jesus would ask because there were those who would watch and see what He would do and whether or not He would heal on the sabbath day. I believe this is something we have a great need to recognize and understand for similar things take place within our churches and houses of worship today. There are men and women who watch the Holy Spirit and/or even watch the Lord Jesus to see what He will do and whether or not He will heal those who are present independent and separate from their own standards, rules, regulations and guidelines. There are countless men and women within our churches—many of whom are in leadership who watch the Holy Spirit and even the Lord Jesus to see if He will move and operate outside of their prescribed guidelines and agenda and the minute He chooses to do so they immediately murmur, grumble and complain against Him. Such individuals are just like those who watched the Lord Jesus on this particular day in the synagogue to see whether or not He would heal on the sabbath.

 

As you read the words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark you will find it beginning with Jesus yet again in the synagogue. What makes this particular narrative so incredibly unique and powerful when you think about it is how the whole account is set up. The third chapter begins and opens with Jesus entering again into the synagogue and how there was a man with a withered hand which was present in the midst. John Mark goes on to describe how those who were present in the midst of the synagogue watched Jesus to see whether or not He would heal this man on the sabbath day. Scripture is unclear whether or not this man was a regular in the synagogue on the sabbath day, or whether he just so happened to enter it on this particular sabbath or even if he was brought in specifically as a means of tempting the Lord Jesus. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if this man could not have been brought in by certain in the synagogue as a means of tempting the Lord Jesus that they might find means of accusing Him—and not only accusing Him but also destroying Him. Regardless of how and/or why this man with the withered hand was present in the midst of the synagogue we find those in the synagogue watching him that they might accuse Him if He healed on the sabbath day. That which Jesus does next is truly astonishing for the Lord Jesus perceiving their thoughts within Himself called the man to stand forth in the midst of them. With the man in full view of all those who were present in the synagogue Jesus would turn His attention to those round about and ask whether or not it was lawful to do good on the sabbath days or to do evil—to save a life or to kill.

 

It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth that while Jesus was in the synagogue there were those present who looked to find means of accusing Him. I am convinced this is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for here we have the Lord Jesus in the synagogue as was His custom and we find Him being watched by those present to see what He would do. What makes this all the more astonishing when you think about it is when you consider the fact that the sole reason they watched Him was to find means to accuse Him. Those who were present in the midst of the synagogue watched the Lord Jesus to see whether or not He would heal on the sabbath day, and they did so that they might find means and grounds to accuse Him. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this for while it is true those present in the midst of the synagogue watched the Lord Jesus to see what He would do that they might have means of accusing Him it is also true that the same action can be taken and done in the midst of our churches and houses of worship today. I firmly believe there are and there can be those present among us who watch the activity of the Holy Spirit—and not only the activity of the Holy Spirit but also the activity of the Lord Jesus among them in the midst of them—to see what they might do. There are ministers, leaders and even congregants and lay people like who will watch the Lord Jesus and the person and presence of the Holy Spirit to see what they would do—and not only what they would do but also whether or not they would move and operate outside of their own parameters and boundaries.

 

The more you read the words which are present within this passage of Scripture the more you can and will be brought face to face with those in the synagogue who sought to control the movement and activity of the Lord Jesus. In order to understand that which is found in this passage of Scripture you must needs recognize that the sole purpose and reason for these present in the synagogue to watch the Lord Jesus was that they might see if He would operate outside of their boundaries, outside of their borders and outside of their parameters. That which is present in the midst of this passage of Scripture is truly challenging when you read it for those who watched the Lord Jesus would have said nothing and would have thought nothing had He chosen not to heal this man on the sabbath. If the Lord Jesus had perhaps simply taught in the synagogue and didn’t heal anyone they might very well have been perfectly okay with such action and activity among them in their midst. If, however, the Lord Jesus would move beyond teaching to actually healing they would find great fault and offense with that. Pause for a moment and truly think about that reality for it’s very much possible that those who were present on this particular day would have been okay with the Lord Jesus teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, however, if He would transition to actually healing—particularly healing on the sabbath—they would be incensed, outraged and offended at Him. Those who were present might have been content to have the Lord Jesus simply teach them there in the synagogue if He didn’t offer any type of healing to those who were in need in the midst of it.

 

Please pay close attention to this particular truth for there is something unique and powerful that is contained within it. I am convinced the same thing we read of in this passage of Scripture is the same thing we experience within our own sanctuaries and our own houses of worship. I am absolutely convinced there are at least four different classes of people present within any and every church and house of worship during these days. There are those who would prefer Jesus to simply show up and teach and speak concerning the kingdom of heaven without performing any healing, signs, wonders and/or miracles. There are others who would prefer Jesus to bring healing, deliverance, signs, wonders, miracles and the like and yet have absolutely no desire to hear the words the Lord Jesus would speak unto and before them. There are others who are perfectly okay and open to the possibility of Jesus not only speaking among them in their midst but also bringing healing and deliverance to those who are in need of it. Still with this being said there are others who are not open to Jesus teaching and speaking nor are they open to Jesus bringing any type of healing, deliverance and the like. That which we find in this particular occasion in the midst of the synagogue are those who might very well have been okay with the Lord Jesus teaching among them in their midst yet they would have taken great offense to the Lord Jesus healing and performing a miracle in their presence. Those who were present in the synagogue would watch the Lord Jesus to see what He would do and whether or not He would indeed heal this man with the withered hand.

 

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the words which we find in this passage of Scripture. If you read the words which are present in this passage you will find there would be those in the midst of the synagogue who would indeed watch the Lord Jesus to see if He would heal on the sabbath. If there is one thing we must needs understand concerning this is that it wasn’t merely about whether or not the Lord Jesus would heal on the sabbath but whether or not He would move and operate within their borders, within their boundaries and within their established parameters. The sabbath was something that was sort of a border and boundary for the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and even the Jews themselves. What Jesus demonstrated time and time again, however, was not only that He did not operate within their borders and boundaries but He was also Lord over the sabbath. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for while Jesus doesn’t typically need to show Himself as Lord over the sabbath in our lives and in our midst He more often than not shows up as Lord over our meetings, Lord over our gatherings, Lord over our agendas, Lord over our plans, and Lord over our services and schedule. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are truly willing to allow Jesus to be Lord over our gathering together and Lord over every area and facet of our services and the schedule and agenda. We as the saints and people of God must needs be absolutely certain and clear that we are willing to allow the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus to have full and complete control among us in our midst and that we completely and utterly refuse to have any type of control over any part of the service. We must needs be those who are truly willing to give and allow the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus to have complete and utter control among us within our midst.

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