God’s Purposes Have Set Times
After Jesus Christ had died on the cross and had risen again, He appeared to the Apostles over a period of forty days and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God. God had promised through the Old Testament prophets that the Nation of Israel would be restored. So the Apostles’ focus at this time was on the Kingdom of God being restored to Israel and on the timing of God bringing this promised restoration. They asked Him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
It seemed they were expecting Jesus to bring restoration in a single moment. But Jesus replied:
We see from this Scripture that there are set times and dates for His purposes and that the Father has set them by His own authority. God’s desire is to see His Kingdom manifest on the earth, working through those who believe in Him. When something is manifest, it means it has been caused to appear, been revealed, been proven or had evidence given of it. And God’s plans are not just to see this happen for Israel alone, but for the whole world.
- God’s purposes in any given situation, often far exceed our own understanding.
- God’s plans for restoration are often far greater than we realize.
- The times and dates are set by Him.
We can see then, that if the Father has set specific times and specific dates for His purposes to be fulfilled – that if we do not understand this, we may try to act in our own timing, trying to fulfil what we think His purposes are. But if we do this, His purposes, which far exceed our own, will not be fulfilled and the glory will not go to Him. Jesus told His disciples to wait and to stay in the city until Jesus sent what the Father had promised (See Luke 24:49). On the day of Pentecost they were clothed with power from on high, as they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is this same baptism of the Holy Spirit today that gives us the power to be witnesses for Him to all the ends of the earth. As Jesus was then taken up before their very eyes, an understanding had to come to them at some point; that it would be by the power of the Holy Spirit operating through them that the Kingdom of God would be made manifest on the earth. (See the book of Acts chapter 2, for the full account of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, after the ascension of Christ, which still occurs in those who believe today). Similarly, when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come? He answered them:
(Luke 17: 20 & 21)
- We need to trust our heavenly Father and yield ourselves to His will.
- He is faithful to fulfil what He has promised.
- It is the power of His Holy Spirit working in and through us that accomplishes His work.
“I will come to you and fulfil My gracious promise……..For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity….back to the place from which I carried you into exile”.(Jeremiah 29:10–14)
We Declare God’s Kingdom on Earth
Jesus Christ has given all those on this earth who believe in Him, the authority to manifest His Kingdom on earth.
The name Jesus, means “The Lord Saves.” Christ means “The Anointed One.” Jesus said,
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well”.(Mark 16:17 & 18)
Every time we see these signs, or other answers to prayer take place in Jesus’ name through us, we are declaring that God’s Kingdom has come! It is made manifest in the situations we face, and in the lives of the people we are praying for. Handling snakes with our hands, speaks of the divine protection of God over us when we deal with things in the demonic realm. We need have no fear when facing demonic powers because of Jesus’ authority in us. Drinking deadly poison can be likened to the cursing words of others. They have no power over us, but pass through without causing harm because of the comfort and authority of Jesus. Before Jesus went to the cross He said:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it”.(John 14:12 14)
Jesus is stating in these verses that if we have faith, then His power will work within us and through us to accomplish the things we ask of Him. It is Jesus that accomplishes this work through us. And all of this is so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
- We ask in Faith.
- We ask in Christ’s name.
- Jesus accomplishes it.
- The Father is glorified.
We Have the Imputed Authority of Christ
The word imputed means to assign, ascribe or credit something to someone else. In this same way, Christ has already assigned, credited, or given to us His same authority as believers in Him, to overcome the works of the enemy. (See Luke 10:19). In Luke chapter 10, Jesus sent seventy–two of His disciples out, two by two ahead of Him, to every town and place where He was about to go. He instructed them to heal the sick that were there and to tell the people, “The Kingdom of God is near you” (Luke 10:9). The seventy–two returned with joy and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name” (Luke 10:17).
Jesus’ immediate response is very interesting. He testifies to a powerful eye witness account!! ‘He replied,
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
Satan was thrown down from heaven before Jesus Christ was born on earth, but Jesus (The Word) witnessed him fall because Jesus (the Word) was present in heaven.
“In the beginning was the Word (referring to Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1 & 2).
When Jesus testified to the Apostles of His own eye witness account, It was as if He was telling them, that every time they used Jesus’ name, they were exercising His authority. That very same power of God that threw Satan down from heaven is made manifest through us today, every time we use the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus then went on to instruct them:
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you”.(Luke 10:19)
The snakes and scorpions Jesus speaks of represent demonic powers. He has given every believer in Jesus Christ the authority to overcome (prevail over, master or completely conquer) all demonic powers in His Name. When we stand in Jesus’ authority and in His name, the enemy has to yield.
Then Jesus also said to them: “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
This immediately brings the authority of Jesus Christ at work within us into perspective. We are simply the vessels He uses, saved by His grace. We have no power of ourselves, even over our own Salvation. We are completely dependent on the finished work of the Cross for everything. Everything we do in Christ’s name is just that – Christ’s name, with Christ’s power and Christ’s authority. His authority has been imputed (ascribed, attributed or regarded as belonging) to us by His grace, in order that He might bring His Kingdom to earth. It is not our name, our Kingdom, our power, our authority, or our anything else, but Christ’s and Christ’s alone.
- Christ’s authority is total authority.
- All authority over the enemy is imputed to us in Christ’s name.
Our Accuser Has Been Hurled Down
When John the Apostle was on the Island of Patmos; while he was in the spirit he received revelation from God. He heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”.(Revelation 12:10 & 11)
This Scripture reveals that it is Satan (who was hurled down and fell like lightning from heaven) that is the accuser of the brethren – the accuser both of us, as believers in Christ, and of our Christian brothers and sisters. But any ability to hold our sin against us that Satan previously held was removed from him at the cross. Our testimony of the blood of the lamb (representing Christ’s death on our behalf), the authority of Christ, and the saving power of His Kingdom at work within us, is what overcomes (prevails over, masters and completely conquers) the power of the enemy and every accusation; whether true or false; that he makes against us.
Though Satan may continue to accuse us before God both day and night; Christ’s death and the finished work of the cross at Calvary has totally stripped Satan of any power over those who believe in Him. His accusations against us, before God or others cannot stand. We reject both the accusations Satan brings against us and we reject the accusations he brings against our brothers and sisters in Christ.
When we have sinned, but have repented of those sins before God, we are cleansed by His blood, so that we stand righteous before God. There is no disqualification, then, that stands against us. We have become clean vessels by Christ’s Blood, through which the Holy Spirit is then free to work, manifesting Christ’s authority and Kingdom on earth. If we do not understand that our repentance and Christ’s forgiveness means we are sanctified before God, we may be reluctant to step out in faith and therefore deny the ability of God’s power to work through us.
The Word Of Our Testimony Is Important
Jesus called us to be His witnesses.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses………to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
When people are called as witnesses to testify in court, they testify to what they have personally, either seen, heard, or experienced.
Witnesses testify to the truth
Revelation 12:11 mentioned before, also declares that what we testify with the words of our mouth is vitally important. It is not somebody else’s spoken testimony that overcomes, but our own.
When Peter and John were speaking to the people; the priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees were disturbed, because the Apostles were speaking of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Having been put in jail and then questioned, Peter and John were then commanded to no longer speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied,
“Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard”.(Acts 4:19 & 20)
- When Christ’s resurrection from the dead has made such an impact on our lives, we cannot keep silent about it.
- There is something within us that cannot help but speak about the things that Christ has done and of the power of the Holy Spirit, working both in and through us.
Even when faced with persecution for what we profess, we are compelled to continue to share this life–changing truth, just as the Apostles did. Because of the importance of Christ’s message for a world that is rapidly heading into an eternity without Him, we must put aside our own agendas and fears and be prepared, if required, to “love not (our) lives so much as to shrink from death” (See Revelation 12:11).
The word ‘martyr’ in the Greek is translated martys (Strong’s concordance) meaning: ‘witness, martyr or record’.
The word ‘witness’ in the Greek is translated martyreo (See Strong’s) meaning: ‘bear witness, testify, bear record, witness, be a witness, give testimony, have a good report’.
The outline of the Biblical usage for ‘martyreo’ (Strong’s) is ‘To be a witness, to bear witness, i.e., To affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration.’
Our Testimony Draws Others to Christ
John said about his own experience of Christ, and that of the other Apostles:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life (here he is referring to Jesus Christ). The life appeared; (Christ) we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and has appeared to us (Christ). We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete”.(1 John 1:1–4)
We testify of the Father’s love through Christ because our joy cannot be complete until others come to share in the love of God with us.
Whilst Saul was persecuting the Christians (many of whom were imprisoned and put to death), Jesus appeared in a bright light before him saying:
“‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ Then I (Saul) asked, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of Me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:14–18).
During this life–changing experience, Jesus told Saul that He was appointing him to be a witness to the Gentiles (he later became Paul the Apostle). Our testimony is absolutely vital. It has the power to open people’s eyes, so that they may be turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and have a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 says:
“….from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”
- The word of our testimony gives expression to the desires of other’s hearts.
- Sharing our testimony is a powerful tool for reaching the lost as God becomes real to others through our stories.
We Must Taste and See for Ourselves
We can watch someone else eat a juicy piece of fruit in front of us, and we can long for it with all of our hearts. But we do not get to experience it (or benefit from it) unless we taste it for ourselves. Just as watching someone else drink a glass of water does not quench our own thirst, the Bible says we must taste and see for ourselves that the Lord is good.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him” .(Psalm 34:8)
‘Taste’ in the Hebrew (Strong’s) is ‘ta’am’ which means: to ‘taste or perceive’.
To perceive something means not just to observe – but to understand, discern and distinguish.
We will never truly understand, discern or distinguish the truth of Christ’s love for us unless the Holy Spirit gives us a personal revelation of God’s love.
And we will never experience the depth of God’s love and forgiveness for us, unless we receive Christ as our Saviour personally.
If you have never accepted Christ as your Saviour, but would like to do so, please pray this prayer:
‘Heavenly Father I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ. I confess that I am a sinner and I turn my back now on all that I know is wrong. I thank You for dying on the cross my sins and I ask that You forgive me and totally release me from all guilt and condemnation. I receive Your complete and ongoing work of forgiveness and cleansing now. I invite You, Holy Spirit, to come and live inside of me and dwell with me for all for the days of my life, walking with me, and transforming me into a brand new person inside. In Jesus’ name, Amen’.
If you would like to have a new boldness to be a witness for Christ and to see the power of God begin working through you, please pray this prayer:
‘Dear Jesus, I pray that you would baptise me with Your Holy Spirit, completely filling me with Your power and with a new boldness to be a witness for You. Thank you for the complete authority You have given me over every accusation of the enemy against myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You Jesus also, for Your authority to overcome (prevail over, master and completely conquer) every demonic power that would try to stand against me, or the works of Your Kingdom. Thank You in advance, Heavenly Father, for what Jesus is now going to begin working in and through me by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen’.
Now begin to exercise your faith!