18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
When John the Baptist was in prison he began to wonder, because of his circumstances, whether or not Jesus was the messiah as foretold in the scriptures. John knew that he was sent by God to reveal the messiah and he certainly proclaimed Jesus as the messiah when he baptized Him in the Jordan river. Perhaps being in prison was John's test of faith and he needed a word of encouragement during this trial. John sent some of his disciples to enquire of Jesus whether or not He was the actual messiah.
In response to the question put forward to Him, He did not give them only words to report to John. Jesus asked John's disciples to look around and see the work that Jesus was doing. John's disciples remained with Jesus for the day and saw all the works that He did. When the end of the day was approaching Jesus then told them to report to John all the works that they had seen Him doing. matt 11.4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” The ministry of Jesus is the proof that He is the Messiah, the Christ. This is all that John would have to know to give him strength for the rest of his trial of faith in prison.
Do you know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever? That the works He did here on the earth as a testimony to His Messiah ship are the same works He passed on to His disciples? john 14.12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. All that Jesus has done on the earth was a ministry of liberty, extending it to others so that they will have freedom. The ministry of the church is to continue the work of our Lord by extending liberty to those who are bound by the circumstances of life. It all begins with the preaching of the good news, the gospel, of the kingdom of God.
What is the good news that Jesus brought to us?
What is the current problem of mankind?
Praise God that the good news is greater than the problem. Here is what God has made available to those who will believe...
Remember how Adam placed himself under the authority of Satan by eating the forbidden fruit from the tree which gave him the knowledge of good and evil. Following Satan's lead rather than God's command was rebellion and resulted in separation from God the Father. The issue is, who are you going to trust? Who will you have faith in to do what is right? You see, we became at that time the spiritual sons of Satan through Sin. Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. When Satan wishes to inflict harm, injury, death, etc... he looks to God and says; "it is my right to do with them as I please for they have sinned, they are my children to do with as I please, they follow my ways and not yours!" As long as mankind follows Satan's way which is sin... God allows Satan to rule... but only over those who follow him.
So how do we attain spiritual liberty if we are under Satan's authority because of sin?
For us today it is simple... believe the gospel!
There is a new man that walked upon the face of the earth about 2000 years ago. His name is Jesus, born of Mary, but whose father was God. Jesus was never under the curse of sin for His Father is God and not Adam. He obeyed His Father in all that He asked. Faithful even to the point of death.
He introduced to us the new rule of the kingdom, the new way of God, the new covenant. What is the central key of this kingdom? What it always has been... faith. God the Father said that His Son cannot die because He has no sin... yet Jesus said... Father, take their sin and place it upon me... I will bear it and I will pay the price for their rebellion and unbelief. The Father said... so be it... and while Jesus hung on the cross the Father laid all the guilt upon Jesus... and Jesus died.
We know that part of the good news is that Jesus was later resurrected from the dead when He was changed and became a new creature. His mortal flesh put on immortality and He will rule and reign over all of creation for eternity. Those who have faith in Him and will follow Him will also one day be clothed with the same type of body. In the mean time we have become sons and daughters of God in the spirit. We are now no longer under the authority of Satan but through the new birth (spiritual) we are free from Satan's power. Just as Jesus... Colossians 2.15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. ... So we too can do the same works and triumph over the works of the Devil and his minions. If you will put on the whole armour of God as written in Ephesians 6.10-18, you will stand and gain the victory for yourself and help others achieve freedom as well.
Emotional responses to situations should flow freely and unhindered. Natural responses to situations can range from apathy to happy depending on the circumstances. There is nothing inherently wrong with any emotion. There is however something wrong if you are bound to one emotional state.
As a Christian Jesus has given you the Holy Spirit to indwell your heart and the reason for doing this is that you may have life and life abundantly. He will lead you through whatever emotional state that you are in and in time raise you to emotional freedom with the ability to experience joy in your life. The main stumbling block to achieving this freedom is unforgiveness. Only when you forgive can you be released from the past hurts that bind you and healing can begin.
There are four flows to life...
There are two classes of offence...
More on this some other day... What I want you to become aware of is the simple fact that as long as there is unforgiveness in any of these flows in the two classes of offence, you will be bound to some degree. All of the above combinations are avenues for sin. Yet the total of all this sin is directed at God. psalm 51.4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
To attain emotional freedom from past hurts one must do as God has done and is still doing today... forgive the transgressor. To go even one step further as God has done... take steps to redeem the situation. Doing this sets the bound spirit free to live and have joy. This is the good news that Jesus came to share with the world, forgiveness of man's sins against God. God has shown us by example and given us freedom and we too must begin to reach out and forgive others. When we do so the Holy Spirit of God will comfort the broken hearted and heal the wounded spirit and give you peace within.
One of the chief marks of the ministry that Jesus had while here on the earth was to heal those who suffered from various diseases of the body and the mind. His apostles and those who eventually became members of the body of Christ also went about doing the same works. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The works He has done are still being done today. Within the church He gave the ministry of the gifts of healing that is a part of the heritage of those who believe.
In Mark, the last chapter, we are told that one of the marks of those who believe in Jesus and His completed works on Calvary is that "your hands on the sick and they will recover". In another place that you are to call the elders and they will anoint with oil the sick and lay their hands on them and pray and they will recover. It is as true for today as when Jesus walked the earth.
There are times when this liberty does not appear. Many would consider it is a lack of faith that is the reason or the cause for no healing to occur. Others think that it is because the time for healing has passed, thus under cutting the faith of some. There are many reasons why the healing may not occur. In these cases one should seek a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom from God's Holy Spirit. When you deal with the real issue holding the healing back then the Spirit is free to manifest the goodness of God and your healing will come speedily.
Colossians 2.13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Moses received the ten commandments from the hand of God. He also received the law in its various aspects such as requirements, sacrifice, precepts, etc. Yet before the law, people were still sinning and paying the penalty for transgressing the law. The law was given so that Israel would know what sin is and then take steps to avoid being hit with the penalty that the sin would demand. The law was a tutor to keep them safe from harm.
Before the law was given there was freedom, not from the effects of transgressing the law but from a guilty conscience. Though the law was given and did help keep them safe from harm it also brought about an awareness of sin and its accompanying guilt. Through the levitical law of sacrifice this was to help ease their conscience so that they would not be afraid to approach God.
With the establishing of the new covenant though, the written code is no longer necessary to keep us safe from harm. Those who walk by the Spirit have been set free from the law of sin and death. Those who follow the leading of the Spirit and obey His voice do not sin. With the sacrifice of Jesus we can have our conscience purged of the guilt that came with the knowledge of sin through the law.
Jesus has bought our freedom from observance to the law. We are to walk in the newness of His Spirit. That is why Paul says in Galatians 1.1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. If you follow the law you have placed yourself under bondage once again. If you follow the Spirit instead you have attained the freedom that Jesus died to give you.
These are the four areas of the good news that Jesus came to proclaim. Those who will take hold of the words of Jesus have stepped into the liberty prophesied by Isaiah. Freedom from:
Believe the gospel and all of it is yours. That's the good news for us who are alive today. Praise the Lord!
December 20, 1999
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