God’s supernatural

Jesus called together his twelve disciples. He gave them the power to force out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness.– Matthew 10:1

 Indeed, I will tell how Christ worked miracles and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have preached the good news about him all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum.– Romans 15:19

God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to. – Hebrews 2:4

While we do not deny the validity of the Word of God, many of us have not experienced this kind of New Testament power in our personal ministries.

Sometimes the question arises whether a Christian is really secure in Christ if he/she can come under demonic attack. The Bible warnings concerning demonic activity are all addressed to believers; so it is evident that Christians can come under attack. There is also abundant evidence that God has provided the resources for the believer to be victorious over such attacks. But the responsibility for choosing truth, for using the armor, for doing the resisting is clearly on the Christian. God does not do that for us. He commands us to use the resources He has provided. This issue in this struggle is not salvation; it is fellowship with the Father and victory in the Christian life.- Timothy Warner

Dr. Richard De Ridder, who was also a missionary in Sri Lanka, said that what deeply impressed him was the irrelevance of so much of traditional Reformed theology to the Sri Lankans and their situation. He realized that this theology seldom spoke to their real needs. He noted that Satan, demons, angels, charms, etc., are neither of great concern nor do they receive much attention in the West. Yet these are living issues for the Christians in Sri Lanka. The greatest joy for Dr. De Ridder was the proclamation of Christ’s victory over the power of evil, and to see the shackles of slavery to elementary spirits broken by Christ.

John’s disciples asked, ‘Are you he that should come, or do we look for another?’. Jesus answered not with logical proofs, but by a demonstration of power in the curing of the sick and casting out of evil spirits. So much is clear. Yet when I read the passage as a missionary in India, and sought to apply it to missions in our day, I had a sense of uneasiness. As a Westerner, I was used to presenting Christ on the basis of rational arguments, not by evidences of his power in the lives of people who were sick, possessed and destitute. In particular, the confrontation with spirits that appeared so natural a part of Christ’s ministry belonged in my mind to a separate world of the miraculous – far from ordinary everyday experience. – Paul Hiebert
When Jesus came, He introduced the Kingdom of God into the present world.  This was a direct confrontation or invasion of the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan.
The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. – 2 Corinthians 4:4
We need to take Satan more seriously.
Even though it is not God’s will that any should perish, the world today is full of those who are perishing.  There are three billion of them out there and our task, as instruments of God’s hands, is to reach out to them and bring them into the Kingdom through the new birth.  This is the great missiological challenge.
We do the best we can to reach the lost for Christ, knowing full well ahead of time, on both biblical and experimental grounds, that we are not going to win them all.
Charles H. Kraft writes: “We’re hearing more and more about power encounter these days among non-charismatics. We are more open and less afraid of spiritual powers than we used to be.” He proceeds to refer to outpourings in the South Pacific, stating that “the early acceptance of the gospel occurred when there was an ‘encounter’ demonstrating that the power of God is greater than that of the local pagan deity.”

The definition of mission

The cultural mandate, which is often referred to as social responsibility, goes as far back as the Garden of Eden.

 God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth. – Genesis 1:28

We are held accountable for the well-being of God’s creation.  In the New Testament we are told that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves. The concept of neighbour, as the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches includes all of humanity.

With the evangelical mandate, humans had been alienated from God.  God’s nature was made clear by the first words He spoke —

The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:9

God immediately began seeking Adam.

 How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?  And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news. – Romans 10:14-15

Bearing the gospel which brings people from darkness to light is fulfilling the evangelistic mandate.

Prioritization of evangelism however best reflects the New Testament doctrine of mission and that is Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and we move out in Jesus’ name to do the same.

This is rooted in the Great Commission which appears in all four Gospels and the Book of Acts.

Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,  and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world. – Matthew 28:19-20

What is a disciple? A disciple is one who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, a new creature in Christ. and who is known by their fruit.

Is setting goals and placing strategy based on the Great Commission a way of expressing faith? It is putting substance in things hoped for.

We are to strategically go into the world, preach the gospel to every person and make disciples of all nations – panta ta ethne.  God is not willing that any should perish.

A steward is entrusted to fulfill great responsibilities – we are stewards of the mysteries of God – a parallel expression of the gospel.  What is the gospel for? It is the power of God for salvation. Stewards are to be found faithful and successful.

In other words, if we are investing resources of time, personnel and money in programs which are supposed to make disciples but are not, we need to reconsider them and be willing to change the program if needed. Jesus’ parable suggests hat if the fig tree does not bear fruit after an appropriate lapse of time, it should be cut down and the ground used for something more productive.









God’s Spirit implants His standards

We must learn to faithfully listen to the Word of God – for as we do, God’s Spirit will enlighten us —

 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b] – Romans 12:2

The Spirit uses the Word in this way to bring individuals and communities to Christian maturity.

The role of culture and community in conditioning our understanding of sin is seen in Romans 14.  In the Roman church some people were vegetarians because they had formerly worshiped idols by eating sacrificed meat.

Paul responded that it is not the act itself that is important, but the underlying character of one’s relationship with God.  A person must do what he or she believes is pleasing to God.  Different people will choose to take different and maybe even opposite actions to please God.  This is why Paul taught that it is wrong to be contemptuous of those who follow rules that seem irrelevant to us; we should not feel more spiritual than those who don’t follow our own ideals of Christian behaviour.  Put another way, each of us is answerable to God.

Instead of teaching biblical principles, the human tendency is to substitute rules about foods, ceremonies, rituals, times and places.  Paul responds —

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. – Romans 14:17-18

As more and more people become believers, a non-national missionary can help the group to discover God’s will for them and of course a national missionary has no difficulty at all.  They will both direct new believers to the Word of God where they will work out their salvation —

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12



God’s Love Washes and Renews



Cultural distance

The vital passage in the first chapter of Acts is so central – where Jesus refers His disciples to the worldwide scope of God’s concern —

 But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

If it were not for this passage and all the other passages in the Bible which support it, ministry like Partners International would not be here today.

Any Brahmin, for example, who becomes a follower of Christ and who begins to understand the Bible will soon realize, whether it is entirely clear before or not, that they now belong to a world family within which there are many ethnic groups and tongues – indeed, according to the Book of Revelation, this kind of diversity will continue right down to the end of time.


The entrance

We see the gradual but irresistible power of God re-conquering and redeeming His fallen creation through the giving of His own Son at the very centre of the 4000-year period beginning in 2000 BC.  This is tersely summed up —

The one who practices sin [separating himself from God, and offending Him by acts of disobedience, indifference, or rebellion] is of the devil [and takes his inner character and moral values from him, not God]; for the devil has sinned and violated God’s law from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.                1 John 3:8

There is a single ten-epoch 4,000 year unfolding story, the theme that links all ten epochs is the grace of God intervening ….

We know [for a fact] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] lies in the power of the evil one [opposing God and His precepts].         1 John 5:19

… contesting an enemy who temporarily is …

among them the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to prevent them from seeing the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:4

… so that the nations will praise God’s name.




Your Kingdom Come

The Kingdom of God and the Mission of God



Latter days

We cannot forget the possibility and the promise of revival, the refreshing of the latter days of the outpouring of the Spirit promised.  That will happen right up to the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. – Billy Graham, Lausanne Congress, 1974

latter days





The Latter Days


Massive turning to Christ

The massive turning to Christ by people from the four corners of the earth will prepare the way for the coming of the King.  Our Lord’s return may be waiting now on this spiritual revolution —

So wait patiently, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits [expectantly] for the precious harvest from the land, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains.  You too, be patient; strengthen your hearts [keep them energized and firmly committed to God], because the coming of the Lord is near. – James 5:7-8

The fact that our Lord has not already returned to establish His kingdom is evidence of His desire to see the Church perfected and the gospel presented to every person for whom He died. But we dare not presume upon His patience, though none of us can be so sure of our understanding of prophecy as to preclude His return at any moment.

As we anticipate the coming world revival, prayer is our greatest resource. Surely it is time.  There is no other way to bring life to the Church and hope to the barren fields of the world.

As the first Great Awakening was sweeping America in 1748, Jonathan Edwards, responding to a proposal from church leaders in Scotland, published, A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer, for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, Pursuant to Scripture Promises and Prophecies Concerning the Last Time. It was an appeal for the Church to unite in earnest intercession for world revival —

We may observe who they are that shall be united in thus seeking the Lord of hosts: the inhabitants of many cities, and of many countries, yea, many people, and strong nations, great multitudes in different parts of the world shall conspire in this business. From the representation made in the prophecy, it appears rational to suppose, that it will be fulfilled something after this manner: There shall be given much of a spirit of prayer to God’s people, in many places, disposing them to come into an express agreement, unitedly to pray to God in an extraordinary manner, that he would appear for the help of his church, and in mercy to mankind, and pour out his Spirit, revive his work, and advance his spiritual kingdom in the world, as he promised. This disposition to prayer, and union in it, will gradually spread more and more, and increase to greater degrees; with which at length will gradually be introduced a revival of religion, and a disposition to greater engagedness in the worship and service of God, amongst his professing people. This being observed, will be the means of awakening others, making them sensible of the wants of their souls, and exciting in them a great concern for their spiritual and everlasting good, and putting them upon earnestly crying to God for spiritual mercies, and disposing them to join in that extraordinary seeking and serving of God.

In this manner religion shall be propagated, till the awakening reaches those that are in the highest stations, and till whole nations be awakened, and there be at length an accession of many of the chief nations of the world to the church of God. Thus after the inhabitants of many cities of Israel, or of God’s professing people, have taken up and pursued a joint resolution, to go and pray before the Lord, and seek the Lord of hosts, others shall be drawn to worship and serve him with them; till at length many people and strong nations shall join themselves to them; and there shall, in process of time, be a vast accession to the church, so that it shall be ten times as large as it was before; yea, at length, all nations shall be converted unto God. Thus (Zechariah 8:23.) “ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, of the skirt of him that is a Jew,” (in the sense of the apostle,

Romans 2:28, 29.) “saying, We will go with you; for we have heard, that God is with you.” And thus shall be fulfilled, “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:2)


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