Thursday, April 20, 2006
"Thy Kingdom Come!" - Part 5 - Kansas City Shepherds Conference 1975.
'Jesus Appoints and Anoints' - In this section Ern Baxter moves on to address the key issue of the Risen Lord's Ascension Gifts otherwise known as the Ephesians 4 Ministries. However we must not make the mistake of forgetting that spiritual anointing is absolutely vital for any ministry of service to the Lord. The two - anointing and appointing - must come together.
"When Jesus ascended on high, He undertook the government of the universe. The Bible says the government was placed upon His shoulders. I ask you to turn please to Ephesians 4 and verse 8 and look at the order of God's government. Let me remind you that we're still talking about His ascension.
"Therefore it says, 'When He ascended on high, He leed captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men. (Now this expression, He ascended, what does it mean except that He had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things) ... By giving some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as pastors (or shepherds) and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to teh building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ" (vv8-13, NAS).
Now I submit, brothers, that what is stated here is this: when Christ rose and sat at the right hand of God, there was committed to Him the absolute government of the universe. It was for Him to determine what should be done to bring about the purposes of God. In turn He chose to do it by the sovereign appointment of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers who would bring into existence a community of men and women - each of whom would know his place of service. In addition they would be reproductive and recreative until there came a body of men and women in the earth who could be compared to a corporate mature man which would resemble Christ in its corporiety.
What He was in His incarnate power and life, they would become in their corporate power and life. He was going to appoint them, anoint them and equip them. How does Christ choose these governmental authorities? Or continuing with the figure of Kingdom, whom does the Lord Jesus Christ appoint to bring about the reign that is designed in the purpose of God for men? I think we have one rather significant illustration that best represents Christ's sovereignity in His choice.
Early writings tell us that Saul of Tarsus was a "bald-headed, bowlegged, strongly built man, small in size and meeting eyebrows with a rather large nose" (International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Vol IV, p2277). We see this little man "breathing threats and murders against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1), getting letters from the High Priest to authorise Him to stamp out the Christians at Damascus. I imagine as he hurried along the road, he was muttering, "Those crazy Christians. They're upsetting all of Judaism. If I lay my hands on them ...". And he feels in his pocket to be sure he's got the letters from the High Priest. He's going to take those people back to Jerusalem and they're going to feel the lash! And if they die so much the better. Get rid of a Christian and advance the cause of Judaism. That's the thing to do - these crazy Christians!
From His sovereign place on His throne, the Lord Jesus looked down and said, "I'll take him". I wouldn't have taken him! (*laughter*). And I doubt if you would have taken him! But the point I want to make is that we need a revival of the concept of Christ's sovereign right to govern His Kingdom: The Kingdom of God is not a democracy, it's a theocracy! It's not run from the bottom up, it's run from the top down! Jesus Christ makes appointments!
Jesus appoints and He anoints. On the day of Pentecost, after the Holy Spirit had come, there were all kinds of rumours going on about what was happening. You see, when you look at a divine happening, you have a problem. You're either going to put a sense evaluation on it, or you're going to find out what the divine evaluation is. Now I'm sure that all of you, had you been devout Jews on the day of Pentecost, would have gone to find out the reason for the noise that was coming from the Temple. For it says, "When this sound occured, the multitude came together" (Acts 2:6, NAS). Dr A T Robertson, the great Baptist scholar, says that "The meaning seems to be that the excited 'other tongues' of verse 4 were so loud that the noise drew the crowd together". There probably hadn't been that much noise ever before in the temple!
So the people came running to see what the noise was. You know some people say, "I don't see any value in noise". Well I'll tell you folks, you'd better reconcile yourself with noise because while silence has it's place - the Bible is an awful noisy book.
People say we charismatics are noisy. Well I want you to know that's true, but I won't take the blame - I'm not to blame! Once more, God's the troublemaker, for the Bible says that "... when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place and there came a sound from heaven". Brothers, what we have here tonight is imported joy! It came from heaven! God started this racket on the day of Pentecost and it's been going on ever since! Hallelujah! (*applause*). Somebody said, "You don't have to make all that noise. God's not deaf". That's true but He's not nervous either. (*laughter and applause*). I want to tell you that if you expect to be around when the Lord comes, you better get inured to noise because He's going to descend with a shout. You think you shout? You ought to here God shout! And if His shouting isn't enough, He grabs a trumpet and lets out a blast and the archangel lets out a shout (1 Thess 4:16).
Dr Rowland Bingham, the great Canadian missionary taught for years that this whole thing was going to be very quiet. His wife came to him and said, "Dear, I have to speak to a ladies group about the coming of the Lord and I've heard you say that it's going to be very quiet and secret. Could you give me a Scripture for that?". "Oh", he said, "I'd be glad to dear. You'll find it in 1 Thessalonians 4". She said, "Oh thank you very much". When she came back a bit later, she said, "Dear I'm having problems wtih that scripture you gave me. I've always heard you say that it was going to be silent and quiet and secret. But that's an awful noisy chapter. It says that the Lord Himself is going to descend from heaven with a shout and with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. I doubt if it's possible to keep that thing quiet!".
Now these devout Jews made an evaluation of what was transpiring. And had you and I had been there, I wonder if we would have made the same sense evaluation. What they saw disturbed them. They said, "We never saw such indecency in the temple. It's only nine o'clock in the morning. They must have got into the sacramental wine". (*laughter*). So they walked out of the temple saying, "They're drunk!".
Isn't it amazing how you and I can be so clever as to look at something that God is doing and give it a sense evaluation. We can be so rigid in our religious crystalization that when God starts to shake us, we've got to find some kind of rationale so that we won't be disturbed! And so "drunk" will serve our purpose. Can you imagine people walking down the streets on the day of Pentecost pronouncing the visitation of the Holy Spirit on the historic day as "drunkeness"? And yet there are men today who are looking at the things that God is doing, and they are making the same kind of sense evaluation. But there were other men who had the good sense to stay and say that there is "something here".
We're singing a song these days that's kind of mystical and some of you won't understand it. But if you're spiritually alert and alive, you won't just here words, you will here a sound. It's words will have a sound to you. And the words go like this:
"I heard a sound coming from the mountain.
I hear it louder each day.
I heard a sound coming from the mountain.
It says 'Prepare ye the way ...
Prepare ye the way ...
Prepare ye the way ...
Prepare ye the way of the Lord".
I hear a sound ... I hear a word ... I heard a sound. I saw a mass of men stand tonight with their hands raised. I heard them praising God. But within that praise I heard a sound. I heard the rustling of robes. I smelled the aroma of heavenly breezes. I heard something inside your voices - something that was not only born in your heart, but something that was transferred in your spirit and that something was transferred from heaven and mediated through your spirit until this auditorium was filled with a sound. And that sound was saying, "Men! Get ready! There are great things ahead ...". (*applause*).
There were those who heard a sound on the day of Pentecost and they said, "What is it? Peter stood up with the eleven . (In those days the preachers stood together). (*laughter*). Peter said, "These are not drunk as ye suppose ... But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel ... in the last days ... I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh" (Acts 2:15-17). Then Peter went on and preached a masterful address as he linked this event with history and in turn, linked it with the contemporary fact of Christ's coming into a time/space world. And he closed by projecting into the future as he said, "The promise is unto you and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call". And they were pricked in their hearts and said, "Men and brethren - what shall we do?!".
Peter said, "I wasn't expecting that. What do I do now Lord?". (*laughter*). The Lord said, "The keys ... remember I told you about the keys?". "Keys ... keys ... oh yes. The keys! Repent! And be baptised everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" and the same day there were added to the redeemed community about 3 thousand souls. Brother he didn't ease them in ... he didn't coax them in ... he DYNAMITED them in!
We are wondering why it is so hard to sell the charismatic renewal to a non-charismatic community. May I say very simply and at the risk of losing my head, that if people were dynamited charismatically into a charismatic community, they would have no problem understanding charismatic life. But when we attempt to ease people into "Christianity" with "invitations" which omit divine requirements for entering the Kingdom, we get a disappointing variety of "converts". Not Peter. He stood up, turned the keys, opened the door and in they came! Hallelujah! (*applause*).
Next: The conclusion - the People of the Anointing.