Thursday, February 14, 2008

Called and Empowered

from Matthew 10 (MSG)

Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives.

In a few weeks, our Called Aside Bible Study will tackle the issue of spiritual gifts. As I consider this, Father, You have led me to where your Son initiated this phenomenon.

Here’s how it worked.

First, He selected His disciples. There were many who followed Jesus, but not all were called. And even among the called, it wasn’t that they were perfect, or even going to be true to Him. We know how the story ends. One betrays Him in the end. But even Judas was called. The point: these were not perfect men. They were called men.

Second, He empowers them. He gives them the power of the Spirit of God, mighty power and authority over the forces of evil, power to heal the physical, emotional and spiritual wounds. This is a power only God has and only God can give. But give it He does to these mere men. God continues to give this power today. We call this power, spiritual gifts.

Third, Jesus gave them this power immediately after He called them. There was no trial or waiting period, to see if this was going to work out. There was no study time for these men. They already had everything they needed. Later, we see that when Saul was called, he went into seclusion for a time to allow the Lord to minister to him and teach him. But that was not what happened here. These men had seen the Lord, and that was enough. However, as we shall see, detailed instructions follow.
Fourth, the power is for others, not for them. It is not for their fame, fortune and glory. It is to minister to others, to comfort, heal, encourage and empower others. The power is not to be used to master others, but to be their servant. It is for God’s glory and for the expansion of His kingdom.

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