Bible Reading: John 20:19-23; Ephesians 6:10-20

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden they lost three particular things – their innocence, their authority and their fellowship with God. Fear replaced authority! They gave the authority that God had given them over to Satan, and instead of having and living under God’s authority they now were under Satan’s authority.

God’s word says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” [1 John 3:8]. The whole life of Jesus was a spiritual battle – Herod tried to kill Him when He was a young child [Matthew 2:13,16]; The devil tried to destroy Him in the wilderness [Matthew 4:1-11]; Jesus set people free from demonic power as He ministered to them [Matthew 8:32-34; 12:22ff]; Jesus recognized Satan attacking through Peter [Matthew 16:23]; The cross was the ultimate spiritual battle [see John 12:27-32].

Jesus was sent by the Father to wage spiritual warfare against Satan and to take back the authority that man had given him. When we are in Christ our authority is restored, and because Jesus defeated Satan we too enter into that victory.

Just as the Father sent Jesus to wage warfare against Satan, so Jesus sends us to wage warfare against Satan and see him defeated. This is known as “spiritual warfare”. It is pushing back the darkness and enforcing the victory that Jesus won on the cross over Satan. As we drive back Satan’s kingdom, God’s kingdom advances. We are called to enforce the victory of Jesus!

Perhaps at some future date I might write a series on this subject of spiritual warfare. My wife and I have spent much time praying with people who have been in spiritual battles, and taught about spiritual for many years to young people going overseas as missionaries. In the meantime, could I recommend a book of 365 daily devotions on this subject? It is entitled, “Each New Day With Neil T. Anderson” [Founder of Freedom in Christ].

In the same letter in which Paul prayed about our victory in Jesus [Ephesians 1:15-23] he also wrote about the spiritual battle that we are involved in [Ephesians 6:10-20]. Our battle is not against people [v.12] but against spiritual forces of darkness. We need to recognise this, be who we are in Christ, and take for ourselves the victory that Jesus won on the cross. He has given back to us the authority that Adam gave away! God has promised us that, “No weapon formed against us will prosper” [Isaiah 54:17]


What do the words, “Jesus has given us Kingdom authority” mean?

Read 2 Timothy 2:2-3. What does Paul particularly say to us as Christian soldiers in these verses?

We pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” but in what way are we to answer that prayer in our daily living?


Bible Reading: John 20:19-23

We have seen three ways in which the Father sent Jesus. He sent Him to lay down His life for those He came to save, to live a life of obedience to His Father, and to identify with those He came to save.

Fourthly, Jesus was sent to minister under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10:38 we read, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.”

To be “anointed” means to be enabled to do something. The Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to minister. Several prophecies in Isaiah speak about Jesus being anointed with the Holy Spirit [Isaiah 11:1-5; 42:1-4; 61:1-3]. The anointing came at His baptism – before then He performed no miraculous works of power. Jesus Himself said that the Holy Spirit had anointed Him to minister and quoted Isaiah 61:1-3 [see Luke 4:18-19]. As a result He went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed by the devil, and God was with Him. The gifts of the Holy Spirit operated through Jesus. Of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit only two are not mentioned in the record of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The Bible specifically says that Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God [Matthew 12:28] and taught through the Holy Spirit [Acts 1:2].

Jesus chose to minister on earth not as God [although He was God], but as a man with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus ministered as a man full of the Holy Spirit we also can be filled with the Holy Spirit and do the things that He did [John 14:12]. We need that same anointing of the Holy Spirit if we are going to minister in the same way that Jesus ministered. Before returning to heaven Jesus said three specific things. Firstly, don’t be side tracked by unimportant issues [Acts 1:6-7]. Secondly, don’t depend upon your own ability – “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” [Acts 1:8a]. Thirdly, don’t be blinkered in your vision – not just Jerusalem, but also Judea, Samaria and the end of the earth [Acts 1:8b].

Jack Hayford writes, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure” [John 3:34].” Jesus received the Spirit in fullness, with nothing held back, and He alone has universal authority. However, since this enduement of the Holy Spirit is given to Him whom God has sent, John 20:21 would suggest a similar unlimited resource of Holy Spirit fullness is available to obedient disciples of Jesus” [Spirit-Filled Life Bible].


If Jesus was God why did He need to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to minister?

Why is it important for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Read Acts 10:38. What were the effects in the ministry of Jesus of the anointing of the Holy Spirit? What do you expect the Holy Spirit to do through you?


Bible Reading: John 20:19-23

Over the past two days we have considered the way in which the Father sent Jesus, recognising that Jesus sends out His disciples in the same way. Jesus was sent to die for those He came to save and to live a life of obedience, and that is how He sends us out.

Thirdly, the Father sent Jesus to identify with those He came to save. He became one of us. There was no elitism or sense of superiority in Jesus. Paul writes, “He was made in the likeness of men,” [Philippians 2:7] and “…being found in fashion as a man.” [Philippians 2:8]. Jesus is a high priest touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and tempted in all points like us [Hebrews 4:15]. He was known as a friend of sinners, and they loved Him for it. The common [ordinary] people heard Him gladly.

John Stott has said, “Some people reject the gospel, not because they perceived it to be false, but because they perceive it to be foreign.”

Identification is more than wearing the right clothes, eating the right food, knowing a people’s history or speaking their language. These things are important but they do not automatically open the door to a person’s heart.

Real identification is a matter of the heart! When I went to Indonesia as an overseas missionary I was a proud Englishman. I thought that West was blest and white was right, but I was wrong, and God had to deal with me very deeply in and change my heart attitudes.

One of the greatest difficulties for a person going overseas as a missionary, is to enter into the world-view, belief systems, values and spiritual concepts of another people. It is really wonderful that we are living in a day when more and more national Christians are reaching out to their own people. It is much more powerful than a foreigner doing it. There is an increasing emphasis in the West on sending out short-term teams or individuals to minister overseas.  This is important and valuable, but will never replace the long-term worker, who learns the language of the people, imbibes their culture, and understands what for them is the meaning of spirituality.

After years of living in Indonesia, preaching in Indonesian, and living like an Indonesian, I was once surprisingly compared to a well known [and successful] Indonesian evangelist who loved to travel to the West, was funded from the West and wore expensive western suits. The person said, “He has brown skin and white heart, but you have white skin and an Indonesian heart.” I have never been paid a greater compliment in my service for Jesus!

The great need is to model what the Christian life is really like – in a day when church has almost become an irrelevance for the majority of people. It requires identification with people and Christ-likeness in us, and for the Christian it is part of that work of God in the heart and dying to the self-life.

One Question and a Prayer:

When people see me do they come in contact with Jesus Christ? If not, what is the hindrance? Lord, let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me today!


Bible Reading: John 20:19-23; 14:19-24; Proverbs 14:34

Yesterday we saw that the Father sent Jesus to lay down His life for those He came to save. Secondly, the Father sent Jesus to live a life of obedience to His Father.

It is quite remarkable to think that Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered [Hebrews 5:8]. He was totally committed to seek, not His own will, but the will of His Father. He came to do His Father’s will [Hebrews 10:5-10]. That was His delight. Jesus did what He saw His Father doing and spoke what He heard His Father speaking [John 5:19,30]. Even as Jesus faced the cross His prayer was all about doing the Father’s will – “nevertheless, not My will, but yours be done” [Matthew 27:39].

In the same way that Jesus obeyed His Father, so He sends us to live a life of obedience to God. There are two kinds of obedience. The first is to obey God’s Word. We are to obey God’s written Word, the Bible. God’s Word is full of wonderful promises that we can claim for ourselves, but it is also full of commandments that we must obey. The second kind of obedience is to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and do what He tells us. The Holy Spirit will clearly lead us, and it will never be in contradiction to God’s written Word. Paul, writing to the Church in Rome said, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God” [Romans 8:14].

There are three main reasons why we should obey God. Firstly, we obey because obedience is the language of love. Obedience is not simply submitting to authority, but when we love God we cannot help but obey Him.

John more than any other Gospel writer emphasized love, and yet more than any other spoke about obedience! The two go together [John 14:15,21,23-24; 15:10]. Everything must be rooted in love – our relationship to the Lord, our service for him, our obedience to Him.  Secondly, obedience is the twin of faith. Faith and obedience always go together. God speaks and by faith, we obey Him! By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, but Joshua had to obey! By faith Abraham offered up Isaac, but it was also an act of obedience. Obedience is faith in action. Our faith increases as we obey God and see Him work. Thirdly, obedience is the key to enjoying God’s blessing. In the Old Testament we see the blessings that come through obedience [Deuteronomy 28:1-14], and the curses that come through disobedience [Deut. 28:15-68].

Much pain and many social problems in a nation are caused in a nation when its people do not honour God and obey Him. Jesus said, that the disobedient would not enter heaven [Matthew 7:21-23]. Just as the Father sent Jesus to live a life of obedience to Him, so Jesus also sends us.


Why is obedience so important if we are to be both blessed and to be a blessing?

What does obedience to God look like to you personally in your own life?

What are the things that sometimes make obedience to God difficult?


Bible Reading: John 20:19-23; Luke 14:25-33

Today I want to begin to answer the question, “How did the Father send Jesus?” This is important because the way that the Father sent Jesus is the way that He commissions and sends us.

Firstly, the Father sent Jesus to lay down His life for those He came to save.

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and He knew that it would mean death on a cross. Jesus chose to lay down His life because it was the Father’s will. His delight was to do the will of His Father. He had no other will. He laid aside His reputation [what a word in a generation that speaks so much of entitlement], and His rights as God [Philippians 2:5-11].

Just as the Father sent Jesus to lay down His life for those He came to save, so He sends us to lay down our lives for His sake and for the gospel. For many that meant martyrdom because they were faithful to Jesus. There is, however, another aspect to this matter of dying. Watchman Nee wrote in The Normal Christian Life, that to be a Christian means, “I no longer live! Now it is Christ who lives His life in me.” Ben Davies from Bracknell said in a recent sermon, “We either die to ourselves, or we die within ourselves.” The heart of real Christianity is a process of death to the self-life. A young man recently wrote to me and said that he had been reading a book on the subject of being, “crucified with Christ.” He asked me why he had not heard any messages in church about this!

Consider what the cost of mission and following God’s call meant to the Apostle Paul. He speaks of beatings, prison, facing death, shipwrecks, peril, weariness, cold, and weakness [2 Corinthians 11:23-28].

When Jesus became popular He challenged those following Him to take up the cross. In our reading today from Luke’s Gospel Jesus uses the phrase, “Cannot be My disciple” three times [Luke 14:25,26,33]. To follow Jesus means to take up the cross. He must be Lord of all our relationships [v.25]. He must be Lord of our ambitions [v.26]. To take up the cross meant death. There was no turning back. He must be Lord of our Possessions [v.33]. God gives us, “all things richly to enjoy” [1 Timothy 6:17], but they still belong to Him.

The Father sent Jesus to lay down His life. Jesus sends us in the same way. For Him it meant a cross, but for us it will at least mean a death to the self-life.


What does it mean to take up the cross and follow Christ?

Read Galatians 2:20. In what way does Christ now live in us?

Although Jesus demands everything, what does He give us in exchange?

Does the Holy Spirit challenge you in any particular area of your life that is not surrendered fully to Jesus? If so, what will you do about it?


Bible Reading: John 20:19-23

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” [John 20:21].

God’s heart is a missionary heart, and it is far more than just a few verses at the end of the gospels! His heart was to reach out to sinners and for them to be saved, even before the world was created. The Bible says that the kingdom of God was prepared for Jesus before the foundation of the world [Matthew 25:34]. It also says that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was slain before the foundation of the world [Revelation 13:18], although its actual outworking in time was at the cross.

We can see God was on His mission to rescue lost sinners as early as Genesis chapter 3, immediately after the fall. He called out, “Adam where are you?” [Genesis 3:9]. Later God called Israel as a witness to the Gentile nations to bring them back to God. In Isaiah 42:3 God calls Israel His witnesses, but they tragically failed in their calling.

It was David Livingstone who said, “God had one Son, and He was a missionary.” God is the Father of Missions; Jesus is the Pattern of Missions; the Holy Spirit is the Executor of Missions!

In our text today we see that Jesus is the pattern of missions. He sends us out in exactly the same way as the Father sent Him [John 20:21]. The word “missionary” is not found in the Bible, but comes from the Latin word ‘missio’ meaning “an act of sending.” A missionary therefore is simply someone who is sent out. Confusion has arisen because the word missionary has been mostly linked to those who go overseas, but over the years that has changed. As the world has increasingly become a global village people have moved from lands where Christian missionaries were formerly sent to the lands where those missionaries came from. It is just as relevant to say that someone is a missionary who is called and sent to the Immigrant community of Leicester, or the student community in Birmingham as much as someone who brings the gospel to people living overseas. It must also be clearly stated that there are still many areas of the world where people are unreached with the gospel, and it is necessary for people to be sent out to reach those people.

When Jesus referred to the Father sending Him, He was referring to being sent from heaven to earth, to seek and to save those who were lost. In the same way Jesus sends us out, and so over the next few days I will seek to specifically answer the question, “How did the Father send Jesus?”


Why do you think it is important that we understand how the Father sent Jesus?

Why did Israel fail to fulfil the mission that God gave them? Why is that a warning to us? How would you explain what it means to be a “Christian missionary?”