Saturday, November 22, 2014
Expand! Release! Acts.
Prophecy flows from the seeds of the Bible, the Word of God.
We are not to just sit and learn the Bible year after year, taking it all in and not letting it flow prophetically out to others.
I had the honor of being around Greg Laurie when we were both first born again.
He would be constantly getting revelation from the Word of God by the Holy Spirit.
As we were the ones around him at the time we got front row seats to him flowing out to us the things that he was learning.
He could not contain it all to himself, he just had to share it with others.
Any one who goes to hear this man of God gets the Word from him still to this day; only he has more to give than he did way back so long ago.
All of us are to be giving out, flowing out what God flows into us; expanding the Word of God through others around us.
Today's lesson addresses these things.
In a recent discussion of the Scriptures, we were led to agree that the principle purpose for the book of Acts seems to be the description of the anointing of the Lord and the fullness of the Spirit that rested upon the early believers.
Why should such a discussion be important?
Many of us have been too narrow in our understanding of this dynamic book.
A Pentecostal influence has led us to see Acts as a book that records the fact that the Spirit of the Lord fell and the believers spoke in tongues.
We forget that this experience is not what the book of Acts is all about.
The book of Acts is about people who received the Holy Spirit, and in some cases they spoke with tongues.
But as we go deeper into the book of Acts, we find stories such as the one recorded about the Church at Ephesus ( Acts 19).
Paul found some disciples there, and he laid his hands upon them.
They received the Holy Spirit, and they spake with tongues and prophesied; and almost immediately there was a release that came from Ephesus to speak the Word of the Lord.
These people, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to speak the Word of the Lord.
Within two years everyone in Asia ( that means Asia Minor or what we call Turkey ) had heard the Word of the Lord.
Every single person had heard the Word of God.
This phenomenal evangelistic campaign started with twelve people being filled with the Holy Spirit, and from the humble beginning the Word began sounding out.
The day they received the Spirit they spoke with tongues and prophesied, and the prophetic flow began like a great magnificent tide of the Word of God that kept rising and overcoming everything else.
People with books of magic worth fortunes brought them to be burned.
The Word of God grew mightily and prevailed ( Acts 19:1-20 ).
The Book of Acts is about people being filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
But even beyond that, it is about the Word growing and prevailing over everything else.
Its pages are filled with accounts of men who were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of the Lord until that Word became like a rising tide.
Some have contended that we finally have come to the place where we do not need the Scriptures anymore.
They say we do not need the Scriptures because we have prophecy.
That is not true.
Some feel they could live on the word that a mature man of God brings, but such a word is only the fruit of the Scripture itself.
Some of these men started hiding the Word in their hearts when they were just learning to read.
They read and studied the Holy Scriptures.
The Scriptures were written upon their hearts, etched upon them with fire.
Later the Holy Spirit began to bring it to mind, and the prophetic flow began to come.
But you cannot divide that word and say, "Here is prophecy, and here is the Word."
The prophecy in a man is a result of the Word; it is a result of the Scriptures.
You can read the Scriptures and you can hear the Word with your spiritual ear, or you can hear the Word in its fruitfulness coming forth from another vessel; nevertheless, it is all the same Word.
Some say that they want to just hold to the Scriptures.
They end up putting it on a shelve like a package of seeds.
What will it grow?
What will seeds grow in a package?
Not one thing.
That is what the Bible is: a package of seeds.
You must take it, and you must plant it in your heart, and you must water it!
Let the Holy Spirit breathe on it; and after awhile, it begins to grow; it begins to spring forth.
You may say, "I'll stick to the Bible, and you can have the prophecy."
However, the prophecy is nothing more than the germinated Word.
It is germinated; it is growing; it is coming to fulfillment.
When we talk about the Word, when we talk about how the Scriptures came forth, and when we talk about how the disciples began to speak the Word of the Lord in the New Testament, we realize that God wants to do the same thing today.
He would like to set this whole move of His Spirit on fire.
But most of God's people are not deep enough into what God does in His Word to produce that fire.
Since the beginning of the restoration of the New Testament Church until this time, I do not believe that the people of God have had experiences as rich as they are now receiving.
Frankly, I believe that the experiences began at a shallow level.
God intended for them, as the restoration moved along, to become deeper and deeper.
I remember when people would say, "Praise God, we now are filled with the Holy Ghost and fire."
There was no fire, and there was not much of the Holy Ghost, either.
But they did have an experience about which they said, "We talk in tongues as the Christians did in the book of Acts."
Yet they did not move in what those early disciples moved in as recorded in the book of Acts.
What they should have said was that their experience was the beginning of a restoration of the Acts experience.
That would have been humility which God would have honored.
In the early days of this present move of God's Spirit, hands were laid on people; the elders prophesied over them; and years and years passed before these prophesies began to be fulfilled.
Now people receive a Word from God and immediately begin to move in it.
The effectiveness of impartation has improved vastly from the early days.
People can begin a walk with God now and have a clearer vision of what restoration is all about then many people had after ten years of walking in the early days of this restoration.
Because there is depth that has been established.
This leads us to certain conclusion.
Even with the most ardent determination of prophesying, even with the most intense proclaiming of the Word of the Lord, I fear that some have not had the depth of experience that brings forth the creative, forceful Word we are expecting and must have.
There is a way by which the present level of experiences can become deeper, and it is that depth that actually will give reality to our walk with God.
If experiences tend to become deeper as time goes on, then I suggest that you go back and strengthen your salvation experience and your experience in repenting.
I suggest that you seek God and get a little deeper experience of deliverance in your life.
I suggest that you get a little more release from the flesh.
To put it bluntly, it is one thing to be saved; and it is another thing to be saved to the uttermost
( Hebrews 7:25 ).
Would you like to be saved to the uttermost?
That is a lot of saving.
If I asked you if you were saved, you would say, "Yes."
But are you saved to the uttermost?
Have you received the Holy Spirit?
Are you really filled with the Holy Spirit?
Do you have a double portion of the Holy Spirit?
How deep an experience are you going to have?
There is nothing that you receive from Gd that is not expandable.
God does not give you anything that will not grow with your life.
Your dedication must grow.
Your revelations must grow.
God intends for the revelations and the experiences to expand and grow deeper as time goes on.
Whenever there is a waning of your experiences, a diminishing, it is a very unhealthy sign.
It is a sign that death is working in you- the wrong kind of death.
Away with the human arrogance that says, "Praise the Lord, five years ago the Lord met me," or "Two years ago He met me.
I had a real experience.
Someone laid hands on me and prophesied over me."
Perhaps he has a little more to give now than he did then.
Suppose the government decides to help everyone who is out of work by giving each a hundred dollars.
Everyone who is unemployed goes out and gets a hundred dollars.
Later, a new law is passed: the government decides to give five hundred dollars to everyone who is unemployed.
Will a man say, "I don't qualify, I already have my hundred dollars"?
No, he will yell, "I want four hundred more dollars.
If you're going to give five hundred dollars away, I only have received a hundred; and I want four hundred more."
In the same way, if God restored to you something that was one fifth of what it could be now, you should come back and say, "I want a new deal on this. I want You to give me something more.
You were passing out portions, but now You are giving out double portions, so I want a double portion.
I believe God is making available a deeper experience, a deeper appropriation than we have had thus far in the restoration of the New Testament Church.
We are entering into a new phase; and I am in favor of us all standing in line, saying, "Lord, we are ready for a double portion.
We are ready for a little deeper experience than we have had, a little deeper deliverance than we have had, a little better healing than we have had.
We are ready for an experience in the Holy Spirit where we will be overflowing constantly."
This desire for deeper experiences is leading us to a true restoration of the book of Acts' experience.
In the book of Acts it says that the disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they all spake the Word of God with boldness ( Acts 4:31 ).
How would you like to speak the Word of God with boldness?
How would you like to have a new experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit until you begin speaking the Word of the Lord with boldness?
It is up to you.
You must turn that hunger loose.
The more you are filled with the Spirit, the deeper the Word will be that flows forth from you.
You cannot move in something that you do not have.
If you speak the Word with limited effectiveness ( it does not matter how much you stomp and yell ), you need to go a little further and cry out to God for a deeper faith and a greater anointing.
When there has been a meeting of God's people which has been given to exhortation and prophecy, I believe we should look for the Words that have been spoken to happen.
If prophecies come releasing the finances, we should have those finances.
If we prophesy a blessing on a missionary project, there should be a blessing on that project.
When God's people prophesy over some situation, they should expect that there will be a change.
There must be this ardent determined, forceful explosion of faith.
It is time for us to soberly analyze how much we have from God and get a little more.
We must constantly reach into a greater anointing of the Holy Spirit and say, "This is the way it's going to be; there is going to be more of God in my life."
If you go through the book of Acts, using Young's Concordance, and trace the two words, "rhema' and "Logos," which are Greek words translated into the English "word," you will discover that the two words are used interchangeably.
At the present time in a current religious movement, there is a teaching that "rhema" is the spoken word uttered by men of authority.
According to this teaching the "logos" is the written Word.
But if you check this very carefully, you will find that there were times when people spoke the "logos" and there were times when they spoke the "rehma."
In like manner there were times when they used the word "logos" when referring to Scripture. and there were times when they used "rhema."
In the New Testament, these two words were used interchangeably.
The truth of the matter is that we have a holy word, the "logos" from God, and we put in action constantly the "rhema."
It would be wrong to quibble about those words.
I believe, in fact, that the teaching that differentiates between the prophetic word and the written Word is not born out by careful research of the Scriptures.
God has given you the written Word, and it is like the packet of seeds which you plant in your heart.
That Word begins to grow and explode in your heart, and after a while what comes out is a real flow of the Word.
God never intended that anything He gives you be dead-ended within your nature.
He gives you the Holy Spirit; and as you come to Him and drink, as the Lord said, "Out of your belly will flow rivers of living water" ( John 7:38 ).
He never intended that it stop with you.
He never intended that He put a Word in you that stops with you.
God's intention was that when He gives you a word, that word should begin to grow until it possesses you; and after a while, you will be speaking the word of God, too.
You will be a source of that word.
After you drink of the Holy Spirit, you, too, will become a fountain of living water.
God has more for His people to move in than they are moving in right now; and the quickest way to move in what He wants is to go back to the Lord and say, "Lord, I want You to fill my vessel."
You may contend that you have been filled, but things have changed since you were filled.
In most houses there are all sizes of jars.
There are half-pints, pints, quarts, gallons, and hugh five-gallon water bottles.
If you get all those bottles together and fill them, you might question each one, saying, "Little jar, are you full?"
"I'm filled to running over."
"How about you, water bottle, are you full?"
"All five gallons. I'm filled to running over."
There is a great deal of difference between a half-pint and a five-gallon jug.
The difference is in the capacity.
As you walk on in the Lord, you are like a wineskin that stretches; sometimes you do not realize that it takes a little more to fill you after awhile.
If you have a half-pint, just keep on being full until your capacity is enlarged; and it will be enlarged.
God's people must keep seeking the Lord and keep being filled with the Lord, coming together again and again to be filled all over again.
They must let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly, and out of that word they can speak to themselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, as they come to Him to be filled again
( Colossians 3:16 ).
They must be conditioned to the relationship of spiritual fullness that enables them to speak the word of the Lord effectively.