by Anton Keyter
I love talking about Jesus and what he’s done. When our theology of knowing him turns into a personal reality of knowing him, we’re absolutely ruined for anything else. Jesus is alive and I know this because I know his presence. When we start talking about him, we make room for his presence. And not only is he alive and not only do I know his presence, I love his presence. His Holy Spirit is my very best friend.
God is calling each one of us to walk with him and hear his voice. What is the point of saying you know Jesus if you never hear his voice? If you never feel his touch? The early church was able to live a dynamic life because they knew the person of the Holy Spirit, personally and intimately. The amazing thing is, as the church today in 2013, we’re called to walk no differently. This is for us.
Someone once said that the reason so many believers are entangled and caught up in other things is because they’re not walking in the fullness of what Jesus has given to them. They’ve set their gaze on something less. I encourage you to set your gaze, your vision, your focus on nothing less than Jesus. Jesus is calling his people to know his face, to know his presence and proclaim boldly: “Take the world, but give me God.” He’s calling us to march according to his pace as we listen to his voice.
A call to be a dynamic people
God is calling us – you and I – to be a dynamic people. What does that mean? The root word for dynamic is dynamo, which comes from the Greek word dunamis. Dunamis means physical power, physical force, physical might, physical ability and physical energy. And then, I love these last two definitions: powerful deeds, marvellous works.
We’re called to be that. When Jesus walked this planet he walked in dunamis power. When the early church was in motion they were energised by the dunamis power of God and as a result they saw marvellous works and miraculous deeds. What’s amazing is you and I have been called to live in nothing less.
We all come from different cultures and have different gifts and personalities – all beautiful in the eyes of God. But I want to speak to the individual. You’ve been given a responsibility in God to fulfil what’s God has called you to fulfil. He has given you gifts and abilities and he’s calling you to take hold of these and use them, under the influence and power of the Almighty God. Those gifts aren’t given for you – they’re given for the Church to reach a lost, dying, broken world. To make Jesus known in the world around us.
I believe God is saying to us, “I spoke and imparted these gifts by my Spirit many years ago, but today they’re dormant. I want to breathe life over those gifts, because now is the time.”
Tyrone opened our EQUIP 2013 time when he spoke of a fresh commissioning.* There’s an awakening taking place here and worldwide. God is saying, “Arise – take hold of these gifts I’ve given you.” This is for you and I.
It’s when the church become introspective that ineffectiveness sets in. We can’t look at ourselves, it’s not about us. It’s not about you. It’s about reaching a lost, dying world and revealing Jesus.
1 Corinthians 12: 12
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 And so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
2 Timothy 1: 6
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
I love this. I’ve heard it said that a gift used is a gift that’s strengthened. Here’s a picture of a smouldering fire and as oxygen is fed into it it becomes a blazing fire. It’s a picture of us as individuals actively involved in what God has given us. God wants to come by his Spirit and bring life. God hasn’t changed, he remains the same, and he still wants us to fan into flame these gifts.
Gifts fade in strength when they’re not used or encouraged. God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and self control. “Fear” is a crippling word that comes from the Greek word delia, which talks about someone who runs away from a battle like a coward. One of the marks of the Spirit of God on his Church is boldness and taking ground. Proverbs 28 says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” We’ve been called to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). Not one of us have been called to retreat and flee. He is calling us to take ground for the King and the Kingdom.
We’ve been called to overcome the plans of the enemy and see the light of the face of Jesus shine, breaking over depression, physical and spiritual; over sickness and disease; over death spiritually and even physically. But it’s time to step out and arise. No delia.
1 Corinthians 12:11 says that, “All these [gifts] are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” This is key – we need to understand that the Holy Spirit will distribute his gifts as he determines. This isn’t a man thing. It’s not about us. It’s about his spirit. Jesus says, “Freely you’ve received, now freely give.” (Matthew 10:18.) We’ve got a lot to give this world.
What have we been called to? We’ve been called to many things and many nations, yes, but here are two things I feel we’re being challenged on right now:
1. To reveal Jesus
This is simple. The church is an expression of Jesus in all his fullness and glory on planet earth, because the Holy Spirit in us makes us more like Jesus. On a very practical level, wherever there’s a Christian, in whatever society, when light comes into a dark place, the darkness has to flee.
I’ve had the privilege of travelling with my dad (Hennie Keyter) for many years and we’ve seen the power of God in incredible ways. But on a recent trip to Malawi, in all three of the areas we went to, we saw the power and presence of God like never before. It’s time, friends. In the last area we went to in central Malawi, as the worship time started drawing to an end I felt God say to me, “Just go for a walk.” And all this sounds quite off the wall but God led me into a maize field and his presence surrounded me in a tangible way. I looked into the maize field and – this is where it gets weird – I saw death walking towards me. Then I saw a bolt of light pulverising death and I felt God say to me, “I’ve overcome death so you can preach life.”
God reminded me of a passage of Scripture on the resurrection of Jesus. I was worried about finding it because I didn’t have my iPad on me to search for it. I went into the meeting and got hold of a Bible and I felt the presence of God surround me while I was trying to figure out where this scripture was. Then the pages started turning and they landed on 1 Corinthians 15, which talks about the resurrection of Christ! God said I must read this passage out loud so I did, and the power of God hit people and we saw so many healed. It’s not about us, friends, it’s about him. We’re here to reveal Jesus.
2. We’ve been called to be a royal priesthood on earth
1 Peter 2: 9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
This means that we’re a people of royalty. We are sons and daughters of the living God, so we operate with a different authority, one that’s in heaven, under the rule and reign of the King in heaven. Amazingly, that King is not only our King but also our Father. As he speaks to us and makes his will known, we declare his words as a royal priesthood on this earth.
How do we achieve this? Ephesians 4:16 says, “…the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Each one – you and I – does its part. That’s how we do it.
Ordinary to extraordinary
In John 2 Jesus turns water into wine. Not cheap wine but choice wine. The extraordinary. God has called us as ordinary people to extraordinary things. Let’s run!