July 18, 2023

The Vocation of Disciple-making -- The Savior's Strategy --Part 1

Series: Discipleship

It is imperative that we understand and are committed to Jesus’ assignment for us as believers. I fear that far too many believers are like the World War II Japanese suicide bomber, known then as kamikaze pilots, who flew 21 missions – he was involved with a war, but obviously was never clear or committed to his one assignment! Could it be that many Christians will have spent their whole lives doing many good things for Jesus, but never doing the main thing He commanded every believer to do? The answer is YES!

The last words of the risen Lord Jesus Christ before his ascension into heaven must have shaken his disciples to the core of their being. The very idea that a handful of nobodies from an insignificant part of the world, with no big men or monies, with no big mission organizations going before them, or underwriting their efforts, were to take on the whole known world seemed almost as silly as it was shocking.

May I say, two thousand years later, if we take them seriously, they still shock us, scare us and thrill us. For you see, the main thing hasn’t changed – our God seriously expects His redeemed people to take on the whole world just as He had modeled the method in His Son, Jesus.

Beginning with twelve men, Jesus impacted the whole world of that day before the advent of telegraphs, telephones, televisions, and telethons, using the one-person-tell-another-person method! These twelve rag-tag men, who had never been anywhere, went everywhere announcing the gospel and through the process of being and building DMD’s (disciples who make disciples), they impacted the known world of their day. Their impact and influence was so extensive that the Apostle Paul could write in less than 25 years from the official giving of the assignment: “… because your faith is proclaimed in all the world" (Rom 1:8); “… the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing.”(Cols 1:6)

The only "marching orders" our Lord Jesus Christ ever gave to His Church, we call, "The Great Commission."

Over the forty day period between His resurrection and ascension into Heaven, Jesus stated on 5 separate occasions, with 5 different emphases, found in the first 5 books of the New Testament, in 3 different locations, the one preeminent mandate that we refer to as, "The Great Commission."

It is believed that the five different times in which Jesus spoke of the Commission would first begin with John’s account as found in John 20:21-22; then Mark’s account as found in Mark 16:15; then Matthew’s account in Matthew 28:18-20; followed by Luke’s two accounts, beginning with Luke 22:44-49, followed by Acts 1:8.

1. In John 20:21-22, we see the Great Co-Mission’s Pattern.

"So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

Location of the encounter with Jesus: Jerusalem

When: On the evening of Christ’s resurrection

To Whom: 10 disciples (Judas is dead and Thomas was absent)

The Assignment: “… as the Father has sent me (sent=apostello -- to send off on a designated mission), even so I am sending you.”

The Emphasis: There is a distinct pattern all the Commission’s personnel is to follow.

The term “sent” and words that are synonymous with it appear almost 60 times in the Gospel of John. But of special importance in John is the linking of the mission of Jesus with that of his followers as, the “sent ones.” The disciples’ mission is essentially the same as the mission of the Son and the Spirit – to bring glory to God and to bring the liberating, curse-reversing, sin-atoning, message of the gospel of the kingdom of God to all the world so that they also become devotion-givers, disciple-makers, kingdom-extenders, and dominion-takers!

This must determine the way we think about and carry out the mission. It must be founded and modeled upon Jesus’. We are not authorized to do it in any other way.

How did the Father send the Son? Please take note that the Father sending the Son is more than just His coming from Heaven to earth. It was the whole earthly experience of Jesus as He modeled for us what the discipling process looks like. He was a disciple of His Father. What did that pattern look like? We must be clear on this pattern if we are to follow in being and building Jesus Standard disciples.

(a) Father’s Heart was Revealed through a Son -- Jn. 1:18

(b) Father’s Life was Incarnated into the Son -- Jn. 1:14

(c) Father’s Love was Enjoyed by the Son -- Jn. 3:35; 5:19-20

(d) Father’s Life was Multiplied through the Son -- Hebs 2:13

2. In Mark 16:15, we see the Great Co-Mission’s Proclamation.

"And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."

Location of the encounter with Jesus: Jerusalem

When: Approximately 8 days after Jesus’ resurrection

To Whom: 11 disciples -- Thomas has rejoined the other 10.

Assignment: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” (Many of the older translations use the word "preach", but the Greek word is "kerruso" which means "to proclaim or announce as a herald, town crier, or ambassador of the King." (When you hear the word "preach", what comes to mind? (Probably, a preacher, called to preach, and preaching behind a pulpit.) For this reason many believers feel that announcing the gospel is not their job, because they have never been called to do so. However, no call is needed for this word, kerruso, since all our commanded to make the proclamation (By the way, it is an aorist, imperative mood verb in Mk. 16:15). The word kerruso is used 16 times in Mark's gospel and 61 times in the New Testament.

Emphasis: Go and tell the whole creation the gospel message. Please note, the assignment is not come and hear one man on one special day of the week, but for every available believer, as they are going, to be telling the "good news" to those the Holy Spirit sets up with divine appointments for benevolent ambushes.

They are to be going with Jesus’ authority, as an ambassador, or a herald, or an announcer of the King. The message we are to be proclaiming or announcing, is not an invitation, but a proclamation. The gospel of God is an announcement of great power and provision.  King Jesus does not send out His people to conquer; He sends us out in HIS name -- the One who has already conquered.

Turning from the last chapter of Mark back to the first, we read in Mark 1:14-15, "Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Mark’s gospel informs us to the fact that the coming of Jesus introduced a radical historical event that would bring a new state of affairs for the whole world. All this is inherent in the words, the “gospel of the kingdom of God.” Dudley Hall was right when he asserted that, “The gospel is an announcement of an event that changes history. After this event nothing will ever be the same again. After hearing this announcement, the hearer will never be the same again. If he or she believes, there is a new life introduced. If he or she does not believe, there is new accountability added to the guilt of sin. But the announcement is not some general offer of heaven and help. It is the bold proclamation that God has acted in history and done something that is monumental. The preaching of the gospel cannot be the timid plea to “accept Jesus as your savior and be assured of eternal salvation.” The nature of the message demands the proclamation be bold and majestic. It is about God and his actions first. The response comes later.”

The gospel addresses everything that was affected by the fall of mankind. It deals with sin, self, Satan, time, the earth, life after death, and the final return of Christ. The gospel is the “reversal of the curse”, the true restoration process with the final product being better than the original. Yet today we tend to focus on one aspect of it – missing hell and making heaven when we die — and make that “our gospel”.

Again, I cannot emphasize strongly and frequently enough that we don't have to wait for a call to preach since all believers are commanded to go as heralds, ambassadors, or announcers, to proclaim the good news that through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus a new order of things has come into being.  Not just something in an individual’s heart, but a new reality in history. The fullness of time has come; a new creation has been birthed; the long-anticipated age of the Holy Spirit foretold by Joel has arrived. Now the last days of this present evil age has come as well as the new world of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The reason to believe and repent isn’t just to go to heaven when you die, or get peace in your heart now, or a have happier marriage and better kids.  The reason to repent and believe is quite simple, “God has made this Jesus, whom first century Romans and Jews crucified, both Lord and Christ” and this being true there are no other options other than rebellion and more religion; repent or perish!

The Gospel is not About a Free Pass to Heaven When You Die, But About a Full Relationship and Partnership with in the Kingdom of Heaven While You Live!

3. In Matthew 28:19-20, we see the Great Co-Mission’s Plan.

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Location of the encounter with Jesus: A mountain in Galilee.

When: Somewhere between 8-14 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

To Whom: The 11 disciples (and perhaps as many as 500 -- 1 Cors 15:6).

Assignment: “… make disciples of all nations…”

Emphasis: How the Great Commission plan is to be carried out.

Jesus gives the most detailed account of how the Mandate is to be fulfilled. In this text, He sets forth several essential truths that must be consistently employed in order to see the Commission expand in the manner designed. Someone described these truths as 1,2,3, DO IT.

1) There is ONE command that applies to ALL believers“make disciples”

The two words "make disciples" translate one Greek word, "matheteusate."

When we hear that this is the one command, what questions should we ask? What is a Jesus Standard disciple? What does it mean to make a Jesus Standard disciple? How do we do it?

The word "disciple" in the Greek is the word, "mathete." It carries the idea of a learner who becomes attached to his teacher so as to become like his follower in doctrine and way of life.

Using the statement Jesus made in Mt 4:19, "... follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," we can define a disciples in a threefold manner:

(1) A disciple is one who is Committed to the Person of Christ --"follow me"

(2) A disciple is one who is being Changed by the Power of Christ -- "I will make you"

(3) A disciple is one who is Commissioned into the Plan of Christ -- "fishers of men"

So, according to Jesus, a disciple is one who follows Jesus, fishes for men, and fellowships with believers.

(2) There are TWO provisions that assures the success of the Great Commission:

(a) The exercise of Christ’s authority -- Mt. 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Authority is the Greek word, "exousia". It means literally “out of the being.” If it were not for this statement, the assignment to disciple all people groups would be ludicrous. But by divine right of being and by divine reward for His successful mission, Jesus declares that His authority extends over the two worlds in which He and we operate – heaven and earth. Because He has become the Head of a new Body – the Church, all in the Body have been delegated all the authority, out of the very being of God, that’s necessary for the fulfilling of our commission. He has given to His Body both authority – the right to act – and power – the resources to accomplish what He assigned.

He authorizes His disciples then, and every disciple since, to bear the name of God, obey the will of God, speak the Word of God, and do the work of God for the glory of God! A.T Robertson, “It is the sublimest of all spectacles to see the Risen Christ without money or army or state charging this band of five hundred men and women with world conquest and bring them to believe it possible and to undertake it with serious passion and power.” Yet that is precisely what Christ did.

(b) The expectation of Christ’s accompaniment (or presence) Mt 28:20, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus’ promise is that His empowering, enabling, supporting presence can be expected, enjoyed, and employed ‘day by day by day.’

This means that if we want to know Christ’s presence, we must be involved in his mission. Christ has not promised his presence to just any mission. He has promised his presence to those who seek to fulfill his mission. Prof, Craig Keener said, “If many Christians have lost a sense of Jesus’ presence and purpose among them, it may be because they have lost sight of the mission their Lord has given them” We have no guarantee of Christ’s presence if we won’t obey his commission.

3) There are THREE actions that will accomplish the Commission.

(a) GoingMt. 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …”

(b) BaptizingMt. 28:19b, ”...baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."

(c) Teaching — Mt. 28:19c, “... teaching them to observe or obey all that I have commanded you.”

One pastor said concerning Matthew 28:18-20: "If a Christian understands all the rest of the gospel of Matthew but fails to understand this closing passage, he has missed the point of the entire book. This passage is the climax and major focal point not only of this gospel but of the entire New Testament. It is not an exaggeration to say that, in its broadest sense, it is the focal point of all Scripture, Old Testament as well as New.” WOW! and AMEN!

Jesus issued only one command in Matthew 28 – “make disciples,” and then He told believers the only way this could be done was by, "going, baptizing, and teaching them to obey."

“Going” -- The word "go" in the Commission is NOT a COMMAND.  It is an aorist tense participle which means, "As you are going," or "since you are going, or "having gone." Jesus would never be so senseless as to command us to do something that we are already doing! Where is the church you are a part of on Tuesday afternoon at three? Is it in the church building?  No, it is "GOING".  The issue is not, Why doesn't the church get out into the world?  It is rather, is the church performing its assignment as it contacts and penetrates the fields of harvest -- the world?

As to who is to be going, all questions are removed based on the fact that the Greek word translated "go" has a second person, plural pronoun in it, which the KJV translates as "Go YE." This is accurate for it means "all of you" or as we would say here in the South, "y'all."

Jesus' intention for the fulfillment of this Commission was that "ALL believers are to be at it, and they are to be ALWAYS at it."  The one thing, apart from the Divine power, that made the Great Commission such a sweeping success at the beginning was that it marshaled its total work force to the point of service. There were no mere spectators or observers among them. Every member was a minister, a priest, and a missionary!

Church historian, Adolph Harnack said, "When the church won its greatest victories in the early days of the Roman Empire, it did so not by teachers or preachers or apostles, but by amateur, informal missionaries."  This Commission calls for a personal ministry FROM EVERY BELIEVER.

(d.) “Baptizing them” reflects Jesus' priority of establishing those new followers into the work of Christ and then the body of Christ. Baptism is an identification with the community of believers, and an involvement in the commission of all believers. The new believers are marked out by baptism as unashamedly belonging to Christ.

“Teaching them to obey” reflects His priority of training His followers for generational multiplication. Christ selected His disciples and trained each to reproduce their learning, love, and lives in others. Notice the assignment isn't just teaching them the Word of God, but teaching them to obey the Word. Most of the teaching by believers today is merely information-based sermons or lessons without any accountability as to application or obedience. Jesus' standard for teaching is obedience-based. Also take note that this is a present tense participle which indicates an ongoing, unceasing, uninterrupted, continual activity of teaching.  This means that there is never to be a moment of my life as a Christian when I am not teaching! Whether by intentional example, overt statement, specific planned curriculum, silent influence, structured or unstructured settings, I am to be a tireless communicator of the One Who is my Life. Every believer is to be a teacher, whether he has the gift of teaching or not. The means of communication which are available today are so many and so convincing that a Christian can hardly offer a valid excuse for not teaching.

4. In Luke 24:46-49, we see the Great Co-Mission’s Provision.

“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Location of the encounter with Jesus: Jerusalem

When: About 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

To Whom: The 11 disciples.

Assignment: “… repentance and forgiveness of sins…”

Emphasis: The Explanation of the Commission’s message.

Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”  A golden thread of gospel grace runs through the whole web of the Old Testament.

In brief, Jesus makes seven vital statements that make up the basics of the gospel message:

(1) The reality of who Jesus is: (the Messiah or Christ).

(2) The ruin of man in sin that only divine redemption can resolve — (of sins).

(3) The redemptive work of Jesus is the only solution for man’s sin problem (suffered death and raised to life).

(4) The response that is necessary to obtain the benefits of Jesus’ redemptive work (repentance).

(5) The result of godly sorrow that leads to true repentance (forgiveness of sins).

(6) The reaches of this gospel message is to extend to all the nations (proclaimed in his name to all nations).

(7) The resource provided for carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth (I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high).

The gospel is not a self-help report. It’s God’s way of dealing with His “problem” of how He, a holy and just God, can justify and accept sinners like you and me. Only God’s wisdom and work is great enough to devise a plan that will achieve this.

The gospel is God-authored, kingdom-based, Christ-centered, resurrection- shaped, Spirit-empowered, and God-glorifying. Its preeminent purpose is declared in 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, …” Notice, the good news isn’t about fixing us so we can healthy, wealthy and wise, or to meet all our needs, but instead to bring us into a right relationship with God.

The highest, best and final good that makes all the other good things promised in the gospel good is knowing that the gospel is all about Christ; it’s about seeing and savoring the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!

Believing the good news isn’t a matter of just coming to church, but coming to Christ; it isn’t getting religion but getting a supernatural revelation that brings you into a loving relationship with God through Christ so that you can take pleasure in what God takes pleasure in – His Son! Becoming a good news believer isn’t living up to a new set of rules, but it is letting a new Person life in you so that it is no longer you who lives but Christ who lives in you.

Jesus is the Messiah, the Message, the Master, the Model, the Ministering High Priest, and the glorified, reigning God-Man!

Yet in spite of this incredibly good news, research shows that less than 5% of Christians will ever share their faith, and less than 1% will ever make a ‘disciple!’

Beloved, we will not do well if we withhold such glad tidings from a lost and dying world.

5. In Acts 1:8, we see the Great Co-Mission’s Power.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Location of the encounter with Jesus: The Mount of Olives.

When: 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

To Whom: The 11 disciples.

Assignment: “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the end of the earth.”

Emphasis: The Explosive power that hurls disciples to the ends of the earth.

Jesus said to His disciples in John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

He then explains that it is His physical absence that will open the door to His personal presence via one just like Him, called the Holy Spirit. He said that His leaving would result in His sending them another “Parakletos” that is “one called alongside on the inside to strengthen, help, comfort, conform, be our Advocate, or resident lawyer, and above all this, be Immanuel – God with us – both now and forever! The Greek word for another is “allos” which means one of the same kind, thus the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus without a body!

Jesus said that it is actually to our advantage that He did what He did – leave the earth for Heaven and then send back the Holy Spirit. This whole age between the initial and final coming of Jesus is the Age of Advantage! The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, and he dwells within everyone who believes. Jesus, present with everyone who believes is better than Jesus in one place, and Jesus in you is better than Jesus outside you.

a. The Disciples of Jesus were taught that there was a Promise to be Embraced

Jesus instructed His disciples to wait for the “promise of the Father” in Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high.” And again in Acts 1:4-5, "And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 2:33, "Being therefore exalted at 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.

Acts 2:39, "For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

b. The Disciples of Jesus were Taught that there was a Person to be Received

John 20:22, And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

The Holy Spirit is not an “it,” the “force,” a “liquid love,” or a “charge of divine electricity.” He is a person who desires an ever-deepening relationship with the child of God. But in order for this type of intimate relationship to become a reality, He must be received – and this in spite of a prominent, popular teaching that says, “Any praying, seeking, asking, or receiving of the Holy Spirit is foolish in light of the fact that the Christian already has all he is going to get, and he got that in the “package” that came with being saved.”

For the Christian to “receive the Holy Spirit” doesn’t mean to get Him or take Him for the first time, but to welcome Him and receive Him in a larger capacity. When you read in the obituaries that the family of the deceased will “receive friends” at such and such time, you understand that this doesn’t mean they will greet new friends, but will welcome the ones they already have.

  1. The Samaritan believer’s “received the Holy Spirit — Acts 8:14-17
    2. The Ephesian disciples “received” the Holy Spirit — Acts 19:2,6
    3. The Galatian believer’s “received” the Holy Spirit — Gals 3:2

Matthew Henry said, “What Christ said to them He says to all true believers, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” What Christ gives we must receive, must submit ourselves and our whole souls to the quickening, sanctifying, influences of the blessed Spirit — receive His motions, and comply with them: and those who obey this word as a precept shall receive the Holy Ghost as the guide of their way and the earnest of their inheritance.”

Have you received the Holy Spirit since you have believed?

c. The Disciples of Jesus were Taught that there was a Presence to be Enjoyed – John 14:18, 21, 23

Presence is a precious, priceless and very powerful word. Nothing can take the place of presence – not gifts, emails, photos, cards, calls, etc. When someone losses a mate, the one thing they miss more than anything else is presence! There is no substitute for it. The same is true in the Christian life – both individually and corporately. When the people of God assemble together, what they need more than anything else is the Presence of God. Jesus knew that nothing short of His presence could fill the disciples with hope and make them truly happy. He knew that only His presence could bring peace for enjoyment and power for employment for a great commandment and a great commission people.

When on receives the Holy Spirit, is baptized, filled, fallen upon by, endued with the Holy Spirit, they perceive it by God’s omnipresence becoming dynamically or manifestly present. The experience of receiving, welcoming, inviting the Holy Spirit is something to be known, felt, sensed, and grasped. Pentecost brought light, power, and joy to the believes by bringing the Presence of Jesus – minus a body – to them in the Holy Spirit. The same joy, peace, and power is available to every child of God.

It is Jesus’ presence via the Holy Spirit’s filling that brings peace and power for the recovery of Abounding Hope that creates a passion for the supremacy of Christ in all things for the joy of all peoples!

The church of the 21th century, unlike that of the first century, is for the most part filled with Christians who are good, sweet, nice, helpful, but who manifest no supernatural power in daily living or in ministry to others. How is it that a church may be filled with saved, moral, generous, gracious people who have been taught a concise exposition of the Word, yet have never been used of God to see the sick healed, the emotionally wounded made well, the oppressed, depressed and demonized delivered, nor has the discipleship commission of the great Commission hurled them forth to the ends of the earth as it did the first NT church? Because too many believers assume that the church is the frozen chosen minority destined to a peripheral place in history.

To accept a miracle-less, gift-less, power-less, church is to settle for a diminished statement of who Jesus is, of what His Church is and what Her mission is.

In far too many churches today there is a form of godliness, but a denial of the power thereof. There is a constant meeting, eating and retreating, but very little asking, seeking and knocking to be given the Holy Spirit that the Father promised to all who ask Him, (Lk 11:13) so that we can be glowing, growing and going to the ends of the earth with the whole gospel that alone can make men whole!

Many churches today are a lot like the old farmer whose crops failed during the depression and out of desperation for work, he stumbled upon a want ad from a circus. Upon applying, he was told that the job was to replace the gorilla that had died. They had skinned the dead monkey, tanned his hide, and had it sewn into a gorilla suit. All he had to do was put on the suit beat, beat his chest, make a lot of loud, grunting sounds, jump around a lot, then grab a rope and swing over the lion's pit.  After doing this a few times, he came to really enjoy pretending to be a gorilla, and his enthusiasm made his show an instant success. Several months later the circus was in a little town in Illinois, when, during his performance the rope broke just as he was swinging over the big, bad lion's pit. He had no sooner hit the ground than he felt the giant paw of the lion on his neck and heard and ear-piercing roar. The man-playing-gorilla began to scream out to the top of his voice, "Help, help!" Suddenly the paw moved from his neck to over his mouth and a voice whispered in his ear, "Shut up you idiot, are you'll get us both fired!"

Mark Rutland said concerning this tale, "Because of their good, conservative, Bible-belt understanding of what a Christian looks like is pretty clearly defined, they are able over the years, to hide the inconsistencies and the powerlessness by always pulling on the same tired, old monkey suit. It is only in the crisis of the lion's cage that we are forced to face the fraudulency of their true selves."  God is engineering the circumstances of the lives of his people so that we are thrown into the face of the "roaring lion," the devil, and there we are forced to face up to our play-acting and stand up strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, or be eaten-up!”

The church, apart from experiencing the Spirit of God and exercising in His gifts, is as powerless as a corpse. She sets forth a pretty menu, but can’t provide the meal. She sports all kind of musical, educational, and athletic teams – but few ministry teams who know that the Spirit and the gifts are ours; who can announce the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, and he has anointed us to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent us 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, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. i.e. the grace of God!

John Wesley was saved on May 24th, 1738, as his “heart was strangely warmed.” Yet he records in his journal on Jan 1, 1739, that he and his brother Charles, along with 60 others were in a prayer meeting, when at 3:00 am “the power of God came suddenly upon them, insomuch that many cried out for exulting joy and many fell to the ground.”

Evangelist George Whitfield, long after his conversion, wrote in his diary, “Was filled with the Holy Ghost. Oh, that all who deny the promise of the Father might thus receive it themselves! Oh that all were partakers of my joy!”

I close with a free handed translation of Acts 1:8, “You shall receive virtue, miracle ability, supernatural energy, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you, for a specific purpose: to enable you to give absolute evidence and miraculous proof of my resurrection. It is this power working in you that will demonstrate and exhibit the proof of your testimony so as to verify your claims as with documented credentials. And you are to exhibit this supernatural evidence of my resurrection in your own communities, cities, and country, and even unto the remote, furtherest, and last frontiers of civilization!”