05. March 2015 · Comments Off on What It Means to Be Born Again · Categories: Bible Teaching
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Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

In John 3:7, Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.” He was speaking to Nicodemus who did not understand what He meant. It seems that many today also do not understand this. I remember several years ago I was speaking to a lady about the Lord. She was a fine Catholic who practiced what she had been taught. Sadly, though, she had not been taught how to be born again. She was religious and knew about God, and she seemed to be interested in learning more about God, but I perceived in my spirit that she had never been born again. I also perceived that she did not know it. As I was speaking to her, I inwardly prayed and asked the Lord for wisdom in how to help her. People brought up in church and in a Christian home from a child may not actually remember the specific moment they were born again, but it is, indeed, a definite occurrence. Your natural birth was certainly a moment that could be recorded. Most people know what day, and some know even the minute, they were born naturally. The spiritual birth is just that real. So, I asked her if she could tell me when she was born again. She thought about it for a moment and then said, “I think it was when my husband was water baptized. It was such a moving experience.”

I knew I could help her, but I thought I should go slowly so she could see the difference herself. In their preaching in the 18th century, John and Charles Wesley called this “mental assent.” That is so prevalent yet today. People have a head knowledge of God or of Jesus Christ. Some have had an emotional experience that involved some aspect of religion, and they think that’s spiritual. Also, since people are spirit-beings, they can have spiritual experiences without their spirits actually being born again.

Many people believe in Jesus Christ exactly the same way they believe in some historical figure. They believe Jesus lived the same way they believe that George Washington lived. They acknowledge that Jesus is Lord in the same way they might acknowledge the President of the United States, the Queen of England, or any other prominent person. This affirmation of head knowledge, or mental assent, does not cause someone to be born again.

I began to tell this lady what the Bible says, and that the new birth must be based on receiving Jesus Christ as revealed by the Word of God. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. 1 Peter 1:23 says that we’re born again by the Seed of God’s Word. According to 1 Corinthians 12:13, it’s also the Spirit of God that baptizes us into the Body of Christ. Water baptism is certainly an important outward witness. In some cultures it’s a crucial testimony to the allegiance of Christ. It’s also an important way to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as we recognize that we are buried with Him in baptism and raised up with Him in newness of life (Rom 6:4). However, the only baptism that saves us is the one baptism mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:13. Some ministers make a mistake and emphasize the water over the Blood. Only the precious Blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse sin. Romans 3:25 says it clearly, that the remission of sin is by faith in the Blood. Romans 10:9-10 teaches us that when one confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead, salvation occurs at that very moment.

I’m quite sure many are water baptized as merely a religious practice or ritual without any spiritual significance at all. It’s simply a dry sinner going down and a wet sinner coming up. Titus 3:5-6 says that it’s not our works of righteousness, but His mercy that saves us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost which is shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ. This is received when mixed with a heart-felt desire for God and faith in His Word. Many people go through religious practices, but it’s not having been dedicated as a baby, confirmed, sprinkled, baptized, joining the local church, simply repeating someone’s prayer, signing the role, completing the classes, shaking the preacher’s hand, or any other outward demonstration that produces the spiritual birth from Heaven. It’s good to follow good practices, to join a good church, to be baptized, to repeat from your heart what someone else encourages you to believe and pray, but these things must be based upon your own heart trusting in God, His Word, and His Spirit. When you’re born again, you have a change of heart. Some are hoping they’re saved, but the Bible says that we know we’ve passed from death unto Life because of the presence of God’s love in our hearts. 1 John 5:13 says that you may know it.

When you call on the Name of the Lord, believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and confessing Him as the Lord of your life, you’re saved. You’re born again. That is when the Spirit of God baptizes you into the Body (1 Cor 12:13). And the Spirit of God cannot be fooled. He knows if you’re actually believing in your heart. Jesus said in Mark 16:16 that he that believes and is baptized is saved. The Spirit of God knows when you believe. Furthermore, there’s a change that takes place in your heart. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 says that you’re a new creature (person), that old things have passed away, and that all things are new and of God.

I told this lady some of my experience when I was born again. I also told her about the disciples and their experience. People should understand that the Church started on the Day of Resurrection, and not the Day of Pentecost. When Jesus was raised from the dead, that same day at evening, He appeared to the disciples. John 20:22 tells us that He breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” This was not the fullness of the Spirit or the baptism with the Holy Ghost, but this was their receiving the Spirit of Christ. The apostle Paul said in Romans 8:9 that anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ is none of His. Jesus breathed on the disciples and they received the Spirit of Christ. They were born again that moment. Luke 24:49 gives us more insight into that moment. As He breathed on them, He also said He was sending the “promise of the Father” upon them. This promise was that of a new spirit in them and His Spirit in them. They were born again that moment, that evening, the Day of Resurrection. I told her that they experienced a change in their hearts. The studious reader of the Bible can clearly see the change that came into them. Before Jesus appeared to them, according to John 20:19, they were locked up in a room “for fear” of the religious persecution of that hour. They had fear in their hearts. But after Jesus breathed on them and they received the new-birth experience, Luke 24:53 tells us that they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God! The temple is the very place where they were afraid to go just the day before. They changed!

I was at a minister’s gathering one time where the pastors were telling of the moves of God in their services. One would say how many had recently gotten saved. Another would say how many had recently gotten saved. Then a pastor said, “I’m having more trouble getting them lost than I am getting them saved!” I knew immediately what he meant. It’s hard to get people saved when they don’t know they’re lost. In Matthew 5:3, Jesus said that the “poor in spirit” would be blessed. That refers to people who know their need for God.

As I spoke to this lady, she began to see her spiritual condition. I spoke of the Bible, my experience, and the disciples’ experience. She said, “I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience like that.” She wanted more of God. She wanted a heart-changing experience with the Lord Jesus Christ, based upon the Word of God and faith in the cleansing Blood of Christ. I led her to the Lord. She was born again. She learned what it truly means to be born again.

Friend, have you been born again? According to Romans 10:9-10, confess with your mouth Jesus as the Lord of your life, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. Ask God to forgive you, to cleanse you of all sin, and to make you a new person in Jesus Christ. Receive His Holy Spirit by faith in His Word in Jesus’ Name. Tell someone about this decision. Get into a good Christian church that teaches the Bible, putting emphasis on the New Testament. Have fellowship with other Believers. Amen.

TonyThumb
Tony McCanless

To order this and other books and tracts: www.mccanlessministries.com/books.htm

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28. February 2015 · Comments Off on Testimony – Progressive Healing of Tinnitus · Categories: Bible Teaching, Testimonies
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A lady named Nancy sent a prayer request. Having her permission, I would like to share portions of two of her emails: the first one, and one three weeks later.

“I have debilitating tinnitus and I feel so stressed and helpless. I am a single parent with 2 daughters. I haven’t been able to sleep and have lost 40 pounds. I’m scared that I’ll lose my job as I am fatigued from lack of sleep. My left ear rings incessantly. My right has a clanging sound going clang, clang. Tinnitus has taken over my life. I barely exist now. Please pray for me. Thank you for your kindness.”

“Hallelujah! Absolutely…please share my testimony! I could not sleep 3 weeks ago; and now I can sleep throughout the night. Tony, I want you to know that you have been such an inspiration to me. Your words and scriptures of encouragement are powerful and I know that you are God’s vessel and messenger in delivering these messages to me. You have taught me to never give up as the Lord wants me well. Indeed, the seed is producing results and I feel it working. ‘By Jesus’ stripes I am healed!’” – Nancy

I receive many prayer requests for healing. I routinely make sure the one asking for healing is a Christian and living for God. That’s the most important thing. Then I want to help them receive what God has provided. When people are not healed instantly, I encourage them to continue to believe that healing is in them now working and producing results. I often refer them to the words of Jesus Christ in Mark 4:26. Faith as a seed produces results. However, like any garden, the results may depend on their diligence. The Bible says that it’s impossible to please God without faith, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). I encourage them to stop praying the same way – to stop praying for healing, but to thank God they have healing. It’s often a faith issue. Faith is released by words and actions. Unbelief is also released by words and actions. If people would believe, do, and say the right things, that is, those things in line with God’s Word, they are in a better position to receive. But when people doubt, and begin to believe, do, and say things in line with what they see and feel, the seed of God’s Word in their hearts is hindered.

In her emails, I was delighted to hear that Nancy was doing what I suggested. She would read the healing Scriptures I suggested. She would spend time in prayer asking God to reveal any hindrance that might exist, and praising Him for healing. She would be bold in her stand with confidence that God wanted her well, and speaking against the symptoms in Jesus’ Name. She read other materials I have available on my website. I was excited to see her diligence. I prayed for her, that she would not cast away her confidence which has great recompense of reward (Heb 10:35). God is faithful! – Tony McCanless / www.mccanlessministries.com

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01. January 2015 · Comments Off on Forget and Reach Forward · Categories: Bible Teaching
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You’ve failed. So have I. And it can be difficult when you’re around people who treat you in ways based on their memory of your failures, even while disregarding your attempts or desires to make things right. It can be hard to overcome a past when you’re constantly remembering it, or being reminded of it.

Certainly there are things we should remember. We should not forget the blessings of the Lord. But there are some things we should, indeed, forget.

In Philippians 3, Paul said there was one thing he was going to do: forget and reach forward.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14

No one runs a race well while looking behind. If there’s one thing to do, it’s to stay focused on the goal of serving and pleasing our Lord Jesus Christ. You may encourage yourself with past victories, but don’t revel in them. You may regret past failures, but don’t dredge them up again. If you’ve never made some things right, then do that. Don’t simply forget things that have never been corrected. But if you have repented, it’s been washed away by the precious Blood of Christ. You’re still in a race. Don’t look behind. Keep your eyes on the goal. Reach forward, and let God use you for His glory.

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01. April 2014 · Comments Off on Judy’s Deaf Ears Are Opened by Jesus Christ · Categories: Bible Teaching, Testimonies
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My name is Rev. Judy Smith. I have been partially deaf in my right ear and totally deaf in my left ear most of my life. I have been reading lips, as I have been living in a nearly silent world, especially the last few years.

I remember being a young girl, and my Christian parents (my dad was a minister) taking me to doctors. I had infections in my ears, and pain so bad that it radiated from my ears to the back of my head. I believe I had a punctured eardrum in my left ear. At the age of sixteen, I had two surgeries on my ears. They removed the bones in my ears and placed plastic ones in their place. The doctors did the surgeries six months apart. The surgeries eliminated the pain as I remember, though my hearing improved little. In my junior year in high school, I had a tutor at home, as I could not hear the teachers. I graduated from high school and went to a community college where I got a degree in Nursing.

I prayed for normal hearing over the years and kept on believing for my miracle.

Saturday, March 29, 2014, Brother Tony and Sister Susan McCanless were holding a revival at The Gathering Place Church in Walnut Cove, NC. Brother Tony asked for people who had hearing problems to come forward, as he would pray for each individual. I knew, I knew, I knew that God was going to heal my deaf ears as Brother Tony prayed for me! There was not a doubt in my mind or in my heart that I was going to receive a miracle in my ears. The entire congregation was believing and praying. God touched me and healed me!

Thank God! I can hear in both ears, the first time in approximately 60 years! (I’m 67.) This morning, Sunday (the day of this writing), I played the piano at church, and could actually hear the music! I play by sheet music, and had used that gift to glorify God, even though I could not actually hear that well what I was playing.

I thank God! I can’t thank Him enough. If you get a chance to attend a meeting being held by Brother Tony and Sister McCanless, I encourage you to go! You will be blessed!! He’s a dynamic teacher and preacher of the Word of God, and Sister Susan has an outstanding singing voice! She has a God-given gift, no doubt.

Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony with you. Ephesians 1:16: “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”

Rev. Judy Smith
03/30/14

Tony & Judy Smith_small
Tony McCanless with Judy Smith

From the minister’s perspective:

The Lord revealed to me some of what was going to happen in the service the night Judy received her healing. The previous night, I had preached on special anointings. I had asked who had ear problems, and of the hands that were raised, I seemed to be impressed to ask a man to come forward. When I asked him to remove his hearing aids, he refused. I had already sensed in my spirit that he might not expect to be healed. His action certainly seemed to confirm that. Unbelief affected the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. In Mark 8:23, He led a blind man out of the town before He ministered to him, possibly to get away from unbelief. In Mark 7:32, a deaf man, who also had an impediment in his speech, was brought to Jesus. Verse 33 says He took him aside from the multitude, probably to get away from unbelief. Another clear indication that unbelief affected Jesus was when He raised Jairus’ little girl from the dead. In Mark 5:40, they laughed when Jesus said she wasn’t dead, but only asleep. In response to that unbelief, He ran them out of the house. The only ones He took in the room with Him, were the parents, and Peter, James, and John. If unbelief affected the healing and miracle ministry of Jesus Himself, it will affect us when doing His works in His Name.

I asked the others who had ear problems if they could come the next night. Judy said she read lips, so I faced her to talk to her. I encouraged her to say to herself several times that night and the next day, that she would be healed when I prayed for her the next night. I asked her if she understood me, and if she would do that. She said she would.

The next day, I was in prayer much for the service. I also was very concerned for the man that would not take out his hearing aids. I had expected him to be healed and not need them anymore. His response did not seem to agree with that. I was concerned for him. I wanted to help him if I could. I even considered finding a way to contact him to see if I could talk to him privately. I sensed by the Spirit that I should not do that. The Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that in Mark 6:5-6, He marveled at their unbelief, and could do no mighty work there. I, too, marveled that this man did not seem to believe. Jesus said to me that I would not be able to get everyone to believe. He said the man would not be back the next night.

I asked the Lord how I was to minister to Judy, totally deaf in one ear, and nearly deaf in the other ear. I was feeling inadequate. I’m not the healer. I can’t heal anyone’s ears. I knew I totally needed the Lord’s anointing, and people with me who also would believe.

That’s when the Lord showed me what was going to happen. He told me not to preach or teach first, as I usually would. He said that during the music, and He would show me when during the service, to keep the music going, but playing softly. And at that time, I was to go to Judy and minister to her in Jesus’ Name, with the anointing of the Holy Ghost. He said her ears would open and she could enjoy the rest of the service. That’s when I knew what was going to happen. The Lord said she was going to enjoy the rest of the service. Praise God forever!

That night while singing “I Believe,” it happened just that way. God opened her ears! And the next day, Sunday morning, her face just beamed and shone as she played the piano and could hear it! She played by sheet music, and said she had relied partially on the vibrations. But now she could actually hear her music as she played for the glory of God.

I am so glad to have been in that revival with Bishop Harry & Janice Wood, in Walnut Cove, NC. I am so glad to have met Rev. Judy Smith. I am so glad our precious Lord, and living Saviour, is still our Healer. I praise God with my sister, Judy, for the great things the Lord has done.

Tony McCanless

To order this and other books & tracts: www.mccanlessministries.com/books.htm

McCanless Ministries
3567 Libertys Run Dr.
Sophia, NC 27350
(336) 799-0518
www.mccanlessministries.com

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14. February 2014 · Comments Off on Love – Four Greek Words · Categories: Bible Teaching
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There are at least seven Greek words that are translated as “love.” In one form or another, two of these are in the original Greek texts of the New Testament: agape and phileo. Other variations, root forms, and/or similar Greek words are: agapao, philia, philos, philadelphia, philandros, & philoteknos.

Here are three others: ludus, or playful love, philautia, or self-love, and pragma, or long-lasting love (as a commitment instead of a feeling).

The four Greek words translated as “love” that might be the most important are:

Agape – love without qualification. This is love that is based on the character of the one doing the loving, and not on the character and/or actions of the one being loved. This is how God loves us. This is the love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. This is the love we, as Christians, are to have for one another. This is based on a decision to love, rather than any feeling or emotion. We would have fewer divorces, possibly no divorces, if the two would walk in this love.

Phileo (philia) – the love of a friend (brotherly love). This love, contrasted with agape, is based on the character of the one being loved. Someone treats you right, you love them. Someone has qualities you admire, you love them. You enjoy the company of someone, you love them. Too many marriages are solely based on this kind of love. Without agape, when your spouse no longer treats you the way you love, divorce can occur. But with agape, the love that is based on a decision, you’ll continue to love the other person regardless of how you’re treated. And the love in you, if you’ll act on that love, will respond with kindness even when mistreated.

Storge – the show of affection. This love can be demonstrated as a hug or handshake, or when you’d pet your dog or cat. I might mention, if you mix storge with phileo, without agape, you might get into trouble and end up in eros.

Eros – sexual love. This love is physical, emotional, sensual, and sexual. Again, too many marriages are based on this love. And so, when it ends, or when it cools down, their marriage isn’t based on much else, and they have trouble.

All four of these should be in a Christian marriage. Three of these might be in other relationships. Agape is the most important. Let us love one another. – Tony McCanless

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08. February 2014 · Comments Off on Faith Can Be Exercised · Categories: Bible Teaching
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Did you know you can exercise your faith? There are similarities between muscle in the natural body, and faith in our spirits. Rom 12:3 tells us God has dealt to everyone the same measure of faith, but like muscle, it can be developed. And like natural parents, He expects more of His children as they grow–or as they should.

2 Th 1:3 indicates that faith can grow. In Luke 17:5, the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” Jesus responded by talking about a seed, which increases in fruitfulness after being planted–with more seeds, too. Planting seeds of faith causes increase. Using faith causes increase. The right diet is also important. Faith comes by the Word (Rom 10:17). Avoiding hindrances is also important. Faith works by love (Gal 5:6). Thorns choke out good seed (Mark 4:19).

Jesus is the developer of your faith (Heb 12:2). The Spirit is your teacher and will bear witness with Bible teaching you hear. God is intimately involved with you. He knows where you are personally and individually. Stay in fellowship with Him. Walk in the Light as He is in the Light (1 Jn 1:7). Dwell in the secret place and abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Ps 91:1). He will not allow any trial to come to you that you’re not able to handle, but will show a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). He wants you to grow in faith. He wants you to exercise your faith.

Rom 12:2 mentions that we are not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds with the Word of God. The world will try to influence you into its way of believing and acting. There are many applications to this, but I’m in a healing ministry, and my thoughts tend to go that direction. The world says that it’s flu season, stock up on the medicine. The world says you have a back pain, go to the doctor. And this can be good advice, but Christians should always consider the Word first. I’ve not had even an aspirin since Jan. 1980. I go to the Word first. I read healing Scriptures. I command it to go in Jesus’ Name. The healing is sometimes instant, sometimes progressive. Not everyone is at the same level. And no one does everything perfectly. There should be no condemnation or guilt once we go to the Lord in repentance and receive His mercy. Thank God for His mercy! But I’ve noticed that it seems to be more difficult to get some mature Christians healed of serious conditions, if they have not had a lifestyle of considering God first in small areas. Learn to trust God for the healing of a cold or headache. When it’s not serious, this can be a good way to grow and exercise. David was not ready for Goliath until he faced the lion and the bear. Use your faith in small areas. You’ll be better prepared if something serious comes. Grow in faith. Grow in God. – Tony McCanless

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03. January 2014 · Comments Off on I Can’t Be Saved · Categories: Bible Teaching
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“I can’t be saved.” That’s what the young lady told me. I was preaching in Kansas, and after my sermon, she came to the front for prayer. With tears streaming down her face, she explained that she had joined a satanic group and had signed her name in her own blood renouncing Jesus Christ. She was told she had committed the unpardonable sin and could not be saved. I told her the devil had lied to h…er. The unpardonable sin is the rejection of Christ without repentance. Gen 6:3 says that God will not always strive with man. The Holy Spirit deals with hearts to come to Christ. Without that wooing of the Holy Ghost, a person wouldn’t even want to be saved. I asked her, “Do you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?” She said she did. I said, “God is the One who put that “want-to” in your heart. The very fact that you want to be saved means that you can be.” Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” I said, “If He doesn’t cast you out, that means He takes you in.” I gave her more Scriptures. She believed and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord of her life. Her face lit up and those tears turned to ones of joy.
Blaspheming the Holy Ghost is continually rejecting His wooing of coming to Christ, continually refusing to yield to Him. The Holy Spirit leads people to the Lord, through the hearing of the Gospel, and the conviction of the heart. To constantly and continually reject that is to blaspheme that precious work of God’s Spirit. Many people curse God in their ignorance, and say and do many things. But God will forgive those who come to Him. That’s not the sin unto death; that’s not the unpardonable sin. Only rejecting Christ without repentance sends one to eternal hell.
Furthermore, only the Blood of Christ can wash away sin. Christians who have sinned can repent and be forgiven in an instant. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us. The early Hebrew Christians were warned to not go back to their old practice of animal sacrifices. Hebrews 10:26 explained to them (and to us) that even with willful sin, there is no more sacrifice, no animal sacrifice, no other blood. Only the Blood of Jesus Christ washes away sin. – Tony McCanless
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27. October 2013 · Comments Off on What Is an Apostle? · Categories: Bible Teaching
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I’m planning for one of my next books to be on the five-fold ministry, but I have a few words for you now. I met a man today who fits the Bible definition of an apostle. When I asked him what I should call him, Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, he said, “Just call me Daniel.” Don’t you like that? What is the Bible definition of an apostle? It would seem that many have misconceptions. He’s not just a person who builds churches or is over a network of ministries. So many today are caught up in titles and having respect. And we should give honor to whom honor is due. After you read the rest of this, you might be able to determine that some people today calling themselves apostles really aren’t at all. But to give them honor, don’t go out and tell them they’re not apostles, or even stop using the title. I’m not suggesting that. However, we should be taught. Actually, in Scripture, I see four categories or classifications of apostles. And a loose definition may be anyone especially called or sent, even as a voice with a specific message, such as Apostle of Faith. But let me give you the short version of this teaching with just a few Scriptures.

II Cor. 12:12: “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” So, an apostle will do signs, wonders, and mighty deeds. But wait, that alone doesn’t make an apostle. There’s more.

I Cor. 12:28: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles …” This is God’s plan for sending the Gospel to the world … to people who have never really heard the message of Jesus. The first ministry needed is the apostle’s … for signs, wonders, and mighty deeds to demonstrate the resurrection of Christ. Then after they receive Jesus, they need the prophet’s ministry (and it could be the same person), for ministry and teaching on spiritual matters. Then next is general Bible teaching, … and so on.

The New Testament apostle in the Church today has the anointing, the spiritual equipment, and the desire to go first into an area where the Gospel has never been preached. He’ll have signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, plow new ground, lay a new foundation, and build churches and ministries where the Name of Jesus has never even been spoken. Look at Romans 15:19-20: “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:” The word “apostle” is not in these two verses, but Paul is speaking with the heart of an apostle. He had the heart-felt call to go where Christ was not named. The apostle is sent first … then the prophet … then the teacher … and actually, this could all be the same person, but with different anointings in operation.

One more Scripture before I close: I Cor. 9:1-2: “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.” An apostle isn’t one to everybody. He is an apostle over the churches he has started … and again, those were churches that were started in areas where Jesus was not widely known. You understand, a pastor can start a church … and again and again. That doesn’t make him an apostle. An evangelist can have miracles and certainly wants to preach Christ to the unbeliever, but he’s not an apostle equipped to build a church and provide further spiritual foundation. Philip, in Acts 8:5, had apostles from Jerusalem come and help him in Samaria. Philip wasn’t equipped to do all that was needed to continue the work there.

So, an apostle isn’t an apostle to everyone. He isn’t just someone over churches or a network of ministries. He is, however, equipped to go into an area where Christ has never been named, and preach and/or teach with signs, wonders, and mighty deeds. And he is able to supply or oversee that which is necessary for the spiritual growth of this new church.

The man I met today fits that definition. He spoke often of his burning desire to take Christ to people who had never heard … he has been instrumental in building many churches … he has had many signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, and raised two people from the dead. And when I asked him what I should call him, he said, “Daniel.”

Tony McCanless

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16. June 2013 · Comments Off on Allowing the Flow of the Spirit · Categories: Bible Teaching
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Allowing the Flow of the Spirit

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.  I Cor. 2:4-5

One of the first callings of God on my life was that of the office of Teacher. Others have followed, but still, teaching is a focus of my ministry. In John chapter 14, Jesus said that His Believers were to do His works, and He did more than teaching and preaching. He also healed the sick. Mark 16 says that healing is still to be done in His Name. Jesus followed the Spirit. He said that He did things that He “saw” the Father do. He followed the flow of the Spirit. Today, Christians are members of the Body of Christ. I Corinthians 12 teaches that we have different abilities. Some of us have special gifts to minister in special ways. No one minister can do everything that Jesus did. While on the earth, He was the entire Body of Christ with the fullness of the anointing. Today He is the Head and we are the Body, with various gifts and anointings differing from others also in the same Body. I would stress, we need to allow the flow of the Spirit in our midst. No one has it all. We need others and the gifts from God that they also have.

I pastored for over fifteen years. I’ve also been a traveling minister. In either place, I want to be sensitive to the flow of the Spirit. This is true during the music … God may have a special song or prophetic word at that time. This is true during the teaching and preaching of the Word. The Holy Spirit may have a special word for someone … a healing … a demonstration of His Spirit. I want to be sensitive. I realize that there are gifts of God in me, but they operate as He wills. I’m now a traveling minister. I realize that I may have gifts that the pastor may not have. I’m aware that pastors need traveling ministers to come into their churches. But even so, I want to fit in with what that pastor is doing … to be a blessing … to add to … I want to be sensitive to what God is doing in that church and through that pastor.

I’m also aware that God is a gentleman, so to speak. He responds to desire. He also responds to apathy. When a church is praying for a move of God, hungry for a move of God, releasing faith for a move of God, I expect more to happen in our services. And I want to be sensitive to that. But if the pastor, who is the head of that local church, is competitive, or feels threatened by gifts in his midst that he does not have, then that can stop the flow of God. I’ve been there when one mighty work would occur … where a miraculous healing would occur … and then no more. I don’t always know why. But sometimes I do have the perception … or it’s revealed … that the pastor got jealous or felt insecure in his own ministry. God will honor those desires and respond to those attitudes. He will stop His flow where His flow is not welcome.

I had a pastor tell me one time that he would rather I not do certain things while ministering in music. He called it preaching. As the Spirit moves, I might prophesy or sing a new song I’ve never heard before … or have a word for someone … always endeavoring to follow the flow of the Spirit. If I’m not the guest speaker, but instead the guest musician, I want to fit in with the other ministries, hoping we all want to follow the Holy Spirit. I want to fit in with the pastor’s ministry and what he wants. However, it’s to be regretted that we aren’t always able to flow together and follow the Spirit and allow the move of the Holy Ghost. Others have the Holy Spirit and they can confirm or judge the move of God. However, some people are not open to the move of the Spirit, and this can quench the Spirit and hinder what God wants to do.

Let us then, come to the place where we’re hungry for God, hungry for the move of God, the confirmation of His Word and the demonstration of His Spirit. Let us be people who do not care what vessel He uses or what person He anoints … as long as it’s God … where it glorifies God, magnifies the Name of Jesus, and brings blessing to people! Let’s be open to the flow of the Spirit and the various anointings, gifts, offices, and ministers in His church.

Tony McCanless

To order this and other books & tracts: www.mccanlessministries.com/books.htm

 

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25. March 2013 · Comments Off on What Happened From the Cross to the Throne? · Categories: Bible Teaching
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What Happened From the Cross to the Throne?

The redemption that Jesus came to this earth to obtain for us is quite tremendous, indeed! I’m sure we do not fully understand it all, but many questions are answered for us in the Bible. We must understand that God made the first man, Adam, in His image spiritually. Adam had spiritual life. When he sinned, he died spiritually at that immediate moment. As a result, he also died physically eventually. But again, the spiritual death was immediate. And as a result, this spiritual death fell on us all.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  Romans 5:12

Jesus came to the earth to redeem us from spiritual death. He came to give us His life, which we receive when we are born again as He explained in John chapter 3. Romans chapter 10 tells us that when we hear the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith to be saved comes into our hearts. If we confess Jesus as our Lord and believe in our hearts that He has been raised from the dead, we are saved … we are born again. That eternal life comes into our hearts at that very moment. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are new in Christ Jesus. But that could not happen until after He was raised from the dead. No one could have eternal life; no one could be saved with this spiritual life until Jesus was raised from the dead. All before Jesus, all the Old Testament followers of God had a promise, but they could not experience this redemption spiritually until Jesus came, lived, died, and was raised from the dead. All of the followers of God in the Old Testament were still spiritually dead because of the sin nature that fell on all of us due to Adam’s sin. Sin separated mankind from God. Even those who wanted to obey, worship, fellowship with, and please God were separated from God because of sin. When they died, they could not go to Heaven to be with God because of sin and spiritual death. I’m speaking of those who did not want to rebel against God. They did not want to reject the law of God. I’m speaking of those who wanted to accept the Law of Moses and tried to obey and please God. Though they were willing to serve God, the sin nature and spiritual death prevented them from entering into or receiving the life of God. The Old Testament blood sacrifice could only cover sin. Jesus came to pay the penalty for sin and to remove it once and for all, by His precious blood. Jesus came to satisfy the judgment for sin. Now those who believe and call on the Name of Jesus can be saved and receive eternal life. This newness of life is in place of sin and death. It is eternal life that swallows up eternal death. It is spiritual life in place of spiritual death.

There is so much that can be said on the subject of why Jesus came to the earth. But let’s continue more specifically with what happened after Jesus died on the cross. A question/answer format may be of benefit. Many people have questions. Let’s look at what the Bible says.

Did the Old Testament followers of God go to Heaven when they died?

No. They did not go to Heaven at the time that they died. Because of the sin nature of their hearts, they could not. They were spiritually dead without the redemption of Jesus Christ. Even today, people who are alive physically, if they have not received Jesus Christ, are spiritually dead because of the sin nature of the heart that only Jesus can remove.

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.  John 3:13

And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?  1 Samuel 28:15a

In the previous verse, Samuel was dead. Saul had gone to a witch to call him back, and God allowed it. This seemed to take the witch quite by surprise as if she did not expect it. She may have had some power from the devil, but like many today, she likely was a deceiver or a fake, and was one to put on a show. But again, God allowed Samuel to appear. Notice what Samuel said, though.  He was brought up. He must have been down if he was brought up. Remember, too, that Jesus spoke in Luke 16 of two regions of hell, an upper region called Abraham’s Bosom which had comfort, and a lower region with torment and flames.

Did Jesus die physically and also spiritually?

This seems to be controversial. I’ve witnessed people almost get fighting-mad over this subject. I don’t really understand why this is such an issue. It seems to me that it would have to be a part of redemption for Jesus to die spiritually and then be raised up by the Spirit and by the power of God, both spiritually and physically. We believe He died physically. But why is it difficult to accept that He died spiritually? It was for our redemption, to be our complete substitute, and to purchase our spiritual life through His death. He became sin … actually became sin! And the wages of sin is death, not physical death, that’s only a result. The wages of sin is spiritual death. And again, though He never had sinned, He obeyed God and yielded His will for us. Jesus became sin. How could that occur without spiritual death? Thank God He trusted in God and was raised up, both spiritually and physically with the life of God spiritually, and a glorified and immortal body. When we receive Jesus, we receive that eternal, spiritual life instantly in our hearts, but our bodies do not experience redemption at that moment. But Romans 8:11 tells us that the same Spirit that raised up Jesus will also one day complete the redemption in us physically as well.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:23

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.  2 Corinthians 5:21

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  Romans 8:11

Spiritual death is likely included in what Jesus agonized in prayer over in the Garden of Gethsemane.  As horrendous and horrific as the physical torture was, there was also the spiritual. He endured beatings, thirty-nine stripes, the cross, the nails, the spear, the thorns, the verbal abuse, and extreme barbaric physical abuse. I praise God and thank my Lord Jesus Christ for His enduring the cross and becoming obedient to the death of the cross. But I want to consider what He also endured spiritually.  He never had experienced alienation from God spiritually. He had never experienced spiritual death. This may have been of a much greater value to Him than we realize. In Luke 22, He prayed that He might avoid the “cup” required for redemption. He prayed until His sweat became mingled with His blood, something that can occur physically when under great stress and anguish. He knew what lay before Him. He was willing to obey. He also knew that the Scripture in Psalm 22 was appropriate. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

All of Isaiah chapter 53 gives tremendous insight into the redemption of the cross. Jesus bore stripes for our physical healing, and He became sin so we could be cleansed of sin and be born again. Isaiah 53:8 says He was cut off out of the land of the living, and verse 10 says His soul was an offering for sin. His soul was the offering for sin, not His body. By His stripes we have physical healing, but our spiritual redemption was obtained by Him spiritually. Again, He became sin … and the wages of sin is death. How could He become sin without spiritual death? This was likely a great part of the agony He experienced. What He did for us physically and what He did for us spiritually is beyond description!

Did Jesus go to hell?

Yes. But there should be a further understanding of this since Jesus spoke of two distinct regions of hell.

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  Acts 2:27

(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  Ephesians 4:9-10

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  1 Peter 3:18-19

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Luke 16:22-26

In the above Scriptures, there are many truths that lead us to understand that Jesus went to hell when He died. And we also have insight as to why. Further, Psalm 68:18 and Ephesians 4:8 tell us that when He ascended, He led captivity captive … that is, He led those who had been captive out, but under His authority. I won’t take the time here to elaborate, but this is the cloud He ascended in, a cloud that’s growing to this day. We are now compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, and when He returns, those who are alive on the earth will be caught up with Him in the clouds. (Acts 1:9, Heb. 12:1, 1 Thes. 4:17)

But let’s continue. In the above text from Luke 16, we see Lazarus, a beggar in an upper region of hell, we call Abraham’s Bosom. This is not a parable. Jesus gave us his name, Lazarus. He never did that when telling a parable. And we also see a rich man that did not have any interest in serving God, but trusted in his riches, and went to the lower region of hell, a place of torment. Notice, being rich wasn’t the sin. Many in the Old Testament had great wealth. Many who followed Jesus had great wealth. But this rich man trusted in his own wealth and did not see a need for God. He rejected God. The lower region of hell was, and still is today, for those who reject God, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The upper region of hell, called Abraham’s Bosom, was for those who served God, but because of sin, were separated from God spiritually.  They could not go to be with God in Heaven.

Now, this is important. Jesus came to pay the price for sin. He did not pay the price for rebellion or rejection. Jesus did not need to go to the lower region of hell for our redemption. He did not pay the price for those who rebelled against God. He was the substitute for sin. He became sin. He experienced the wages of sin for those who wanted redemption from sin. Again, the lower region was for those who rebelled against God and rejected God. Jesus did not need to pay the price for their redemption. They had no redemption. The upper region was for those who wanted to serve God, but because of the sin of Adam, were spiritually dead. Because of sin, they were separated from God. Jesus came to pay the price for sin and to provide redemption for those in the upper region separated from God. He came to destroy the works of the devil, which is the work of sin and spiritual death. Jesus came to destroy sin and death; He came to give life to those in the upper region, Abraham’s Bosom, and all who would call on the Name of the Lord Jesus.

He went to the upper region of hell, Abraham’s Bosom. He told the thief on the cross that he’d join him in paradise that day, which in context, was simply joining Him in comfort, but not specifically Heaven. Ephesians 4:9 is clear that before He ascended, He descended. He preached to those spirits in that prison, according to 1 Peter 3:19. Wouldn’t you have enjoyed hearing that preaching? I’m sure He preached redemption through His precious blood. John the Baptist was there already. He had preached on the earth that Jesus, the Messiah was coming. I’m certain he continued to be the forerunner of Christ in Abraham’s Bosom preaching Jesus is coming. And then Jesus died and descended into the lower parts of the earth, into the upper region of hell, and preached redemption to those Old Testament followers of God. Hallelujah!

Did Jesus go to the fires and torments of hell to be harassed by demons and Satan?

No. As in the previous answer, he only needed to go to the upper region of hell, Abraham’s Bosom to pay the price and penalty for sin. To go to the lower region would be to pay the price for rebellion and rejection. He did not obtain redemption for anyone in the lower region of hell. He did not obtain redemption for those who had rebelled against God and rejected the Law of Moses. Furthermore, Satan was not in hell, nor is he now. He doesn’t want to go there either. Jesus figuratively stripped Satan of his authority. Jesus has the keys of hell and death figuratively. Colossians 2:15 says that Jesus spoiled the kingdom of Satan and, thank God, He did! But Jesus was not in the lower region of hell, taunted and tormented by Satan, wrapped up in chains and in the midst of agonizing flames. Again, Satan was not there and doesn’t want to be there. He knows it’s coming, but he’s not going to go until he must. The torment of that lower region of hell still exists. Jesus did not end that torment for the unbeliever. He did not redeem anyone there. Jesus did not strip Satan of his authority over the world at that time. Satan has been judged and it’s coming, but 2 Corinthians 4:4 still calls Satan the god of this world. He still has authority over the world at this time and during this age. Then what did Jesus do? What authority did He remove from Satan? Jesus removed Satan’s authority over the Christian, over His Church, over His redeemed. And that was realized and obtained by Jesus going to the upper region, as sin, to pay the price for sin. Having become sin, He was spiritually dead as the others there who were following God, but separated by sin. He was there as the Redeemer. Praise God! He preached to them redemption. He trusted God that He would not be there even as long as it would take for His physical body, still in the tomb, to experience corruption. He trusted in God to give Him life, spiritual life. And then it happened! The judgment for sin was satisfied. The sacrifice was accepted. Jesus received life, God’s life. Colossians 1:18 calls Jesus the “firstborn from the dead.” He was spiritually dead, having become sin. He trusted God and was born again … the first one to be born again. At some point, before going to Heaven, the others there were born again. They were raised up. He led them out. And many of them were actually seen walking the streets of Jerusalem. Praise God! I won’t take the time to go into it here, but Jesus had to first take His precious blood into the holy of holies and obtain our complete and eternal redemption. The ones He led out of Abraham’s Bosom could not immediately go into Heaven. He led captivity captive, according to Ephesians 4:8. But at His ascension, a cloud received Jesus out of His disciples’ sight. And He led those in Abraham’s Bosom into Heaven. Praise God, I’m headed there myself one day because I have the life of God in me right now. It’s His eternal life.

Was Jesus raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God?

Yes! Praise God He was and is!

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Romans 8:34

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,  Ephesians 1:20

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Colossians 3:1

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  Hebrews 1:3

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;  Hebrews 10:12

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.  1 Peter 3:22

Have you been born again?

It concerns me, even disturbs me to see organized religion ignore the importance of the new birth. Jesus said in John 3:7, “Ye must be born again.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says to be in Christ is to be a new “creature” or person. Old things are passed away. To be alive to God, to be born again, one must first hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then believe and receive. Going to church, mass, confession, being a good person, having good parents, or doing good works doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s good to be faithful to a good church and be a good person and do good deeds … these things are good. But people should examine themselves in the light of God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have you been born again? Jesus said He is the way. He’s not a way or one of the ways. He said no one could come to the Father except by Him. The Bible says that there is none other Name given among men whereby we must be saved. Only Jesus lived a sinless life. He didn’t inherit the sin nature from Adam as we did. He was born of a virgin. Only Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, became the spotless blood sacrifice for the sin of the world, died, and then rose from the dead. Only Jesus can provide this same spiritual Life to swallow up the spiritual death in the heart of man. Organized religion may do religious things that have a show of godliness, but where is the power? Where is the power of His resurrection? Where is the power of a living Christ? That power begins in the heart of one hearing and receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  Acts 4:12

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  John 6:37

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  Romans 10:9

If you have not been born again, pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus Christ. I realize I need You and the cleansing power of the blood of Christ to remove my sins and the nature of death in me. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Save me. I confess with my mouth Jesus as my Lord. I believe Jesus was raised from the dead. Thank You for changing me now, for saving me now, for giving me newness of life now. Jesus is now my Lord. I worship You and I praise You. Thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

To order this and other books & tracts: www.mccanlessministries.com/books.htm

 

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