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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16. February 2013 · Comments Off on The Greater Works · Categories: Bible Teaching
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The Greater Works

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  John 14:12

Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “We should be doing the greater works.” Maybe you’ve said it yourself. And it’s certainly true, we should be. But what are they exactly? Several years ago I wrote a tract with the title, Doing The Works of Jesus. As of this writing, it’s available on my website, www.McCanlessMinistries.com. In that teaching, I focused mainly on the works of Jesus, but mentioned also the greater works. We should be doing both, the works and the greater works. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He primarily did three works, teaching, preaching, and healing (which included casting out devils).

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  Acts 10:38

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.  Matthew 4:23

So, to follow this example and His words in John 14:12, the Church today should have teaching, preaching, and healing. Many, it would seem, leave off that third one. Jesus said in Mark 16:18 that Believers would lay hands on the sick in Jesus’ Name and they would recover. In both places, John 14:12 and Mark 16:18, it mentions the Believer. This is for every born-again child of God. This is for every Christian.

According to John 3:34, Jesus had the Spirit without measure. That would mean, that under the old covenant, He had all of the anointings, gifts, administrations, operations, manifestations, offices, callings, abilities, etc. that a man anointed with and by the Holy Ghost could have. After all, in His earthly ministry, He was the fullness of the Godhead, bodily. He was at that time the entire Body of Christ. But now, He is the head, and we are the body. However, not a one of us is the entire body. As revealed in I Corinthians 12, we are members of the Body of Christ in particular. It would seem reasonable that the whole anointing is still on the whole Body of Christ, but no single person is the whole Body of Christ. This would indicate that no individual has all of the anointing in the way that Jesus did in His earthly ministry. No one person is going to do everything, every work, every type of healing and miracle that Jesus did.

So what are the greater works?

Think about this: the twelve apostles that Jesus chose did the works of Jesus. In like fashion, the seventy disciples Jesus appointed also did His works. They went out to places where He did not go … covered more ground and territory … and did the works of Jesus. The seventy reported back to Jesus in Luke 10:17 that they had learned that even the devils were subject unto them through His Name. They had healings and miracles. They were doing the works of Jesus. If Jesus had stayed on the earth, He would have continued doing these works, and He could have appointed even more to do so. These works of Jesus especially included the physical needs of healings and miracles. These are not the greater works. Those early disciples while Jesus was on the earth did not do the greater works. Think about this: Jesus Himself did not do the greater works. In John 14:12, He said Believers would do the greater works … because … because He went to His Father.

If you heard someone say, “I’m going to buy that new car I want because I got a big bonus at work.” You would clearly understand that the new car is directly related to the bonus gotten on the job. The bonus is the reason they’re able to buy the car.

In the same way, when Jesus said Believers would do greater works, it was directly because He would go to His Father. Meaning, the greater works would not occur if He did not go to the Father. What happened when He went to His Father?

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  John 16:7

Because Jesus went to His Father, the Holy Spirit could come. No one was ever born again until this occurred. No one could be born again until after the resurrection of Jesus.

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

No one was ever born of the Spirit or filled with the Spirit until Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus never had anyone born again in His earthly ministry. He could not do these works at all. The works He did while on the earth were wonderful and tremendous, but greater works would be done later after His resurrection when people could be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  John 20:19-22

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4

The greater works are the spiritual works.

Because Jesus went to the Father, the Holy Spirit came. Now we can share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, His resurrection and newness of Life in Him. People can be born again. People can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not do these works. His twelve apostles did not do these works until after His resurrection. The seventy disciples did not do these works until after He went to His Father. These are the greater works. Spiritual works are greater than physical works. Healing can be the dinner bell, so to speak. The goodness of God leads people to repentance and healing can draw people to God. But someone being born again is certainly more important to God than someone being healed.

Someone being born again is a greater work.

A person receiving Jesus and becoming a Christian is a greater work. When a person is filled with the Spirit, a greater work is performed. These spiritual works are the greater works. And Believers are to do greater works than Jesus because He went to His Father. Jesus did not do these greater, spiritual works because they could not be done until after His death, burial, and resurrection. Praise God, when someone is born again and becomes a child of God, a greater work is done! When you share the testimony of your Christian faith and you lead someone to Jesus, you’re doing a greater work than Jesus did while on this earth. When you share the Scriptures and pray with someone to be born again or filled with the Holy Spirit, you’re doing a greater work than Jesus did in His earthly ministry.

I’ve heard people say that now we’re in more places and covering more of the earth, and they say that’s greater. I’ve heard people say that because Jesus, by His Spirit, is in more than one person, now Jesus can go to more places. But the twelve apostles and the seventy disciples went to places where Jesus did not also go at that exact time. Yes, we are covering more ground, but those aren’t specific works. And when the apostles and the seventy did that same thing, Jesus did not say they were doing greater works. He had not yet gone to the Father. The greater works could not be done until He went to His Father. The greater works are the spiritual works, such as one being born again or filled with the Spirit.

When we have healings, miracles, signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, we’re not doing greater works than Jesus. These are the works of Jesus. And we should do these works of Jesus. We should pray for the sick in Jesus’ Name and expect them to recover. We should cast out devils and command them to go in Jesus’ Name. We should expect the power of God to be demonstrated in us, by us, and through us. We should teach, preach, and bring healing to the sick and needy. But though these works may be greater in number or in a greater scope, or have a greater audience, possibly be on satellite television which Jesus did not have, or be on the Internet, which Jesus did not have, they still are the works of Jesus. These are not greater works than Jesus did. They are the works of Jesus. He fed the multitudes. He turned water into wine. He walked on the water. He did many miracles, signs, and wonders. After His resurrection, when the apostles and disciples in the Book of Acts also did signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, they were doing the works of Jesus, the works that Jesus also Himself did in similar fashion, though possibly with a different operation. The shadow of Peter brought healing. That was a different manifestation, but the healing is clearly a work that Jesus Himself did in His earthly ministry. Jesus did not do the spiritual works of having people born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. These greater works could not be done by Him because He had not been raised from the dead. He had not yet gone to His Father.

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.  Luke 15:10

We should remind ourselves of the importance of the new birth. It is the heartbeat of Heaven. I’ve been in the ministry as of this writing for over thirty years. The first call on my life was that of a teacher. Christians need to be taught to mature and grow. That’s always been a focus of my ministry, teaching people already born again. And I’ve been in a healing ministry for many years. I’ve witnessed many tremendous healings and miracles. I’m of the Pentecostal persuasion, Full-Gospel, Spirit-filled … one who believes in the gifts of the Spirit. But those like me are well advised to remember that the leading of one sinner to repentance brings joy to Heaven. Our denominational brothers and sisters who are bringing souls to Christ are doing the greater works.

It concerns me to see structured and institutional religion that does not even mention the new birth. Some people are quite religious. They go to their liturgy and have their religious form. They talk about God. They have their rituals and customs. But are they born again? Are any of these so-called church leaders actually doing any of the works of Jesus? Are they doing the greater works and leading people to be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit? Someone born again is new on the inside by the power of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the precious blood of Christ. II Corinthians 5:17 describes that person as a new creature. Old things have passed away and all things are new and of God. This is done by the Word of God and by the Spirit of God when someone hears the Scriptures, believes, and calls on the Name of Jesus. This is the emphasis of God, the focus of the Gospel, and the heartbeat of Heaven. The spiritual works are the greater works.

So, Jesus said for Believers to do His works and to do the greater works. Let’s do all of them, not just His works, and not just the greater works. Let’s do His works which include teaching, preaching, and healing in His Name. Let’s also do the greater, spiritual works of leading people to Christ and the fullness of His Spirit.

Tony McCanless

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

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22. January 2013 · Comments Off on Guidelines for the Church Greeter · Categories: Bible Teaching
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The church greeter provides a very valuable and necessary service to the Lord and to the local church. Though most are volunteers, there are rich heavenly rewards awaiting those faithful to this important spiritual service. The Bible teaches in Acts chapter six and also 1 Corinthians chapter 12 of the importance of the ministry of helps and those involved in these ministries.

Everyone coming to a church, members and visitors alike, would likely appreciate a warm greeting. Don’t we all enjoy a smile, a handshake, a hug, and a sincere word of appreciation? This is especially important to those visiting for the first time. First-time visitors might already feel awkward and uncomfortable around unfamiliar surroundings. The greeter at the door is very important in making that visitor feel welcome. Some important things to consider and to remember, especially for first-time visitors are:

  • Smile – “We’re so glad you’re here!”
  • If appropriate, give a handshake or a “holy” hug. (Be modest.)li>
  • Ask for their names and give them yours.
  • Give them a Welcome Packet and explain the Visitor’s Card.
  • Be sensitive to special needs:
    1. Do they need to know where the bathrooms are?
    2. Do they need help walking (elderly or infirm)?
    3. Is it raining – do they need an umbrella?
    4. Do they need information concerning youth ministries?
  • Direct them personally or with a gesture towards the sanctuary, so they are sure where to go—and that they can be seated where they like—or that ushers will help them.li>

Have a spiritual attitude and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. You might be led to pray and minister to them. Be polite, but refrain from a lot of carnal chit-chat, though you do want to be friendly. You’re representing the Lord Jesus and this local church, and you’re greeting them as they come into the presence of God.

To reiterate, everyone will likely appreciate a warm greeting, but this is especially important for the visitor who may feel uncomfortable when entering into unfamiliar surroundings. For this reason:

  • Greeters should try to be early, because some visitors are early.
  • Greeters should try to stay at, near, or in sight of the door for a while after the service has started, because visitors are sometimes late.
  • Greeters should try to be at the door for every service, midweek or otherwise, because visitors sometimes come to midweek and/or special services.
  • Greeters are important in helping the atmosphere seem warm and inviting, especially during those times when the sanctuary doors are closed before and as a service begins.

We may not always know when a first-time visitor is coming, so we need to always try to be ready. Keep in mind, too, that although we believe the Lord is speaking and leading people to come, the enemy is also against church growth and people coming to a good church. For some, it may only take a little thing for them to change their minds and turn around and leave. The greeter is often the first opportunity for the local church to show and demonstrate the love of God—and to show Christian fellowship and outreach.

We are thankful for those people who volunteer for this important ministry. Let’s all be faithful to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and one another in His love.

Tony McCanless

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

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18. December 2012 · Comments Off on Silent Night Recitation · Categories: Blog
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This is a joyous season. This is the time of year that we especially focus on and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. As my gift to you, for a limited time you can listen to or download Silent Night Reciataion. When you go to that web page, you will also see a way to order the CD if you prefer. I hope this is a blessing to you. Merry Christmas!

Tony

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22. November 2012 · Comments Off on Thanksgiving Scriptures · Categories: Blog
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Susan and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
    
Take a moment and pull away from the busyness of the day … and read a few Scriptures on thanksgiving … and reflect on the reality that in every situation, our God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is worthy of our thanksgiving … and not only today, but always.
 
Col 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 
 
1Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
 
Eph 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
 
Heb 13:15  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
 
1Ti 2:1  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
 
Col 1:12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
 
Col 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
 
Eph 5:4  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
 
Luk 17:16  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
 
Ezr 3:11  And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
 
Rev 11:17  Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
 
Psa 140:13  Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
 
Psa 107:1  O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
 
Psa 35:18  I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
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29. September 2012 · Comments Off on Seaford, DE Praise Report – Gifts of Healings · Categories: Bible Teaching, Testimonies
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Susan and I were in Seaford, Delaware this past Sunday. We praise God for His goodness. An older man received healing in his ears. He said the doctor tested him and he had 50% loss of hearing in both ears and a ringing in his left ear. I prayed and commanded the ears to be normal in Jesus’ Name. He said the ringing stopped instantly and his ears opened up and he could hear clearly. I whispered faintly behind both ears and he promptly repeated every word I said. Praise God! This was a gift of healing. Previously I wrote a blog about The Gift of Faith and a healing that occurred in Selbyville, Delaware earlier this month. Today I’d like to teach a little about Gifts of Healings.

We’ve been to this church a few times and they want us back for at least three days after the first of the year. The pastor’s wife said, “Come teach our people, Brother Tony.” As the Lord leads, I intend to. This is a small church. Numbers and finances are not the reason we accept invitations to preach, teach, and minister. But we do need finances to pay the expenses of the ministry and the monthly bills, even our personal bills. We so value our partners and others who help us go to any size church and congregation … and even expand.

Gifts of Healings

In 1 Corinthians 12, there are nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned. These might be understood more correctly as manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Seven of these operated in the Old Testament and in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. According to John 3:34, Jesus had the Spirit without measure … all of the anointings, abilities, and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. That infers that we today have the Spirit by measure. This is further understood by realizing that when on the earth, Jesus was the entire Body of Christ. Today He is the Head and we are the Body of Christ, and members in particular as taught in 1 Corinthians 12. The gifts of the Spirit are now divided and given to His Body and the separate members of His Body as He wills … and these gifts also operate as He wills, but as we yield.

In 1 Corinthians 12:28, we’re told that God has set gifts of healings in the Church. Notice the use of the plural word, healings. Elsewhere in the chapter, the word is healing, singular, but in the original Greek text, it’s the same word. I want to explain why I believe it’s appropriate to understood these as gifts of healings, plural.

In Acts 8:5, Philip went to Samaria to preach Christ. The people with one accord gave heed unto the things he said, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. In verse seven it says that unclean spirits came out crying with a loud voice, and many taken with palsies, and that were lame were healed. There was great joy in that city. I want you to notice that we do not have mention of any healings other than those with the palsy and who were lame. No other conditions were mentioned. I believe Philip had specific gifts of healings to minister to these specific conditions.

Again, Jesus had the Spirit without measure. All of the gifts of healings operated in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Even so, they still operated as God willed. In John 5:19 after healing a man with this manifestation of the Spirit, Jesus explained that He could not do anything of Himself, but only what He saw the Father do. In John five, Jesus didn’t preach here, but where Jesus preached, more of these manifestations were in operation. There were times where Jesus preached and He healed them all. But in John chapter five, He only healed one person. Where people cried out and called out to Him, where people received healings with their own faith, Jesus could minister to them. He often would make mention that it was their faith in operation, which released the power and anointing in His earthly ministry. But again, in John chapter five, the man did not even know it was Jesus. It was not the man’s faith this time. It was a gift of the Spirit, and that operated as the Spirit willed. It was a gift of healing.

Jesus had all of the gifts of healings. But He was the entire Body of Christ. We today are members in particular. It seems that Philip only had some gifts of healings to minister to those with the palsy and who were lame. That’s not to say that ministers should not pray for all the sick. Mark 16:18 says for all believers to lay hands on the sick … of any condition … and expect them to recover. But that’s not the same as what I call “ministry gifts.”

The passage in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 teaches that God has given some, not everyone, gifts of healings. The question is asked, do all have these gifts? The answer to all of those questions in that passage is, “no.” For example, though all Spirit-filled believers can speak in tongues in their own private prayer lives, that’s not the same application of tongues and interpretation as a message to the Church. As a ministry to the Church, a message from God to the Church requiring interpretation, not every one would have those gifts of tongues and/or interpretations. But yes, in the private prayer life, every child of God can be filled with the Spirit and speak in tongues to God in prayer. Again however, the answer to all of those questions in that passage is, “no.” I call these “ministry gifts.” Every child of God can pray for the sick. Anyone might pray and see a miracle. Every Spirit-filled believer can speak in tongues in prayer to better worship and praise God, to better pray about things when we don’t know just exactly how to pray completely. But there are also those gifts that are a part of those called into the ministry. It’s somewhat like a carpenter and his hammer. You might not be a carpenter, but you may still own a hammer. Your hammer just might be the very same kind that a carpenter would own and use. But a carpenter would use his more … and quite possibly would be better when using it. A carpenter would use a hammer more often even though you might have one and use one on occasion. Healings can occur through anyone in the Body of Christ, but some ministers may have them as ministry gifts. Jesus had all of them. In Acts chapter eight, Philip had some of them. Today there are gifts of healings in the ministry. These operate in conjunction with the calling and anointing of the specific minister. They operate as the Spirit wills and as the minister yields. The one receiving the healing may not need as much faith to receive, but God does require more of those who have grown in His Word, or should have. Very often, the individual faith of the one healed is necessary to keep the healing even though the healing was administered as a gift of the Spirit and a part of that specific minister’s anointing. God doesn’t expect as much from someone young in the Lord. Just like us and our children, He expects more of His children who have grown … or those who should have whether they did or not. But it is easier to keep a healing even if you do use your own faith to do so. Having a gift of healing is a great manifestation from God and we give Him glory for His goodness!

Tony McCanless

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18. September 2012 · Comments Off on Selbyville, DE Praise Report – The Gift of Faith · Categories: Bible Teaching, Testimonies
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Susan and I had two wonderful meetings in Selbyville, Delaware last week. Thank you for your prayers and support! We will be back in Delaware this Sunday. Again, we ask for your prayers.

The meetings were wonderful … the people received this ministry with love and appreciation. We thank God for His fruitfulness. There were many healings and moves of the Holy Spirit. The prophetic ministry was in operation on occasion. One example of note, I was able to speak into a young man’s life about the call of God upon him and encourage him in following God’s direction.

As I mentioned, several people were healed of various conditions, but one I especially want to mention involved the operation of the gift of faith as mentioned in I Corinthians twelve. A lady came forward who could not completely lift her right arm. I suppose she could only lift it as high as her elbow being even with her shoulder. I reached out to take her hand to pray for her, but when I did, the anointing of the Holy Ghost came upon me and I found myself quickly lifting her arm fully extended over her head. It felt to me as if an unseen hand had taken my hand to lift hers up. I didn’t intend to do that, but as I touched her, the gift of faith came into operation and I knew God had healed her completely and we could act on that manifestation. As I said, it felt to me like someone actually lifted my hand up while holding hers. Praise God!

The Gift of Faith

The gift of faith is often misunderstood. It’s one of the nine gifts, or to be more correct, manifestations of the Holy Spirit as taught in I Corinthians chapter twelve. It is not the same as a believer’s faith in God which comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). All of God’s children have faith in God. You can’t be saved without faith. The Bible teaches that you’re saved by grace through faith, and that is a gift of God. But the gift of faith, or special faith, is different. It’s a manifestation of the Holy Spirit which operates as the Spirit wills when the Holy Ghost is in operation in ministry. Seven of the gifts of the Spirit operated in Jesus’ ministry. According to John 3:34, Jesus had the Spirit without measure. He had all of the anointing, but He was under the old covenant. You don’t find tongues and the interpretation of tongues until after the Day of Pentecost. Jesus said in John sixteen, that if He did not go away, the Comforter would not come. He was referring to the indwelling Holy Spirit and the operation of the Holy Spirit in the Church. In the Old Testament, you can see demonstrations of the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ ministry, you can see these manifestations as well. In John 5:19, Jesus explained that He could not do things of this nature on His own. He depended on the operation of the Holy Spirit. We, too, cannot operate the manifestations of the Holy Spirit on our own. They operate as the Spirit wills. This includes special faith, or the gift of faith.

In general, faith is released by words and/or actions. This is also true of the gift of faith. One very good example of this manifestation of the Spirit can be found in Acts chapter three. In verse six, Peter said what he had he could give, and he took the lame man by the hand and lifted him up in the Name of Jesus. I’ve heard preachers say that they wished they had that kind of faith, and that we should all grow in faith so we could do that, too. But Peter didn’t do that with Peter’s faith. If he had, he could have done it the day before. Jesus no doubt passed by that very man Himself, and Jesus didn’t pick him up. These operations are by the Spirit and as the Spirit wills. This was not Peter’s faith, it was a gift of faith – special faith from God for that specific moment of ministry. Peter even said in verse sixteen that it was the Name of Jesus and something else, faith in the Name. But again, it wasn’t Peter’s faith or he could have done it yesterday. And also, notice who did the acting. It was Peter who took him by the hand and lifted him up. Faith is released by words and/or actions. Peter is the one who acted here, but not by his own faith in God. It was special faith by the Spirit of God for that moment of ministry. Peter was aware of it. He had his eyes fastened on the man. He knew he had something from God. Something was stirring in him that didn’t stir the other days Peter had walked by this man. But it was stirring in him now. He knew he had something from God that very moment he hadn’t had before. He knew he could give what he had to the man. He knew he could act on this special faith. Peter took him by the hand and lifted him up. It might also be important to note that the man was agreeable. He was looking to Peter to receive something. He was not resisting. But clearly, it was Peter who acted and responded to the operation of the gift of faith.

Contrast this healing in Acts chapter three with the one in John chapter five. There Jesus spoke to a man who also was lame. He told him to take up his bed and walk. The man didn’t know it was Jesus. It wasn’t the man’s faith at all. The man was healed by an operation of the Spirit of God. Jesus didn’t heal him simply because He wanted to single him out. There was a multitude of sick people there and Jesus only healed one. Again, He explained in verse nineteen that it was by the Spirit of God. He couldn’t do anything of this nature on His own or of Himself. In Philippians 2:7, we’re taught that Jesus laid aside His power and privileges associated with being the Son of God, equal with God, and one with God. He came to earth as a man anointed by God. He had all of the anointing available in that dispensation, but He still completely depended on the operation of the Spirit when ministering to others. In John five, this healing wasn’t based on the man’s faith having heard the preaching or teaching of Jesus. Again, he didn’t even know it was Jesus. This was an operation of the Spirit through Jesus. You might ask, what gift of the Spirit operated through Jesus here? Was it also a gift of faith? No. Jesus didn’t act. Jesus didn’t pick him up. Yes, Jesus spoke to him and faith is involved in virtually all aspects of ministry, but here, it is a gift of healing. The healing occurred first and then the man got up and walked. The healing occurred first and then the action. In Acts chapter three, the action occurred first, and then the healing. In John five, Jesus had a manifestation of a gift of healing. In Acts three, we see Peter bring healing to a man by the gift of faith.

Tony McCanless

 

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29. August 2012 · Comments Off on PA, NJ, DE Praise Reports · Categories: Testimonies
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Susan and I returned home this week from a 10 day ministry trip in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.The services were wonderful; the Lord is truly wonderful. The musical ministry was an important part of the services. We had times of high praise … that sawdust between your toes, tent-meeting anointing as from years ago … and also the fragrant worship of basking in His presence. In one of the services in Delaware, healings began to occur during the musical ministry as I played the keyboard and Susan and I led the congregation in worship … with new choruses and melodies as given by the Spirit. What a time!

We especially thank God for the ones making decisions for Christ, either for the first time, or coming back to God. We also thank God for the hearing of His Word. The teaching was well-received … people are hungry for the Word of God. The services in Pennsylvania were very fruitful. We so enjoyed our time there. And also in Delaware … we look forward to being back in that church again. But I especially want to mention some healings that occurred in Wildwood, NJ. Two who had tinnitus (ringing in the ears) were healed instantly and completely. There was also a lady who was partially deaf since age nine who was healed. She wore two hearing aids and was 70% deaf in the right ear and 30% deaf in the left ear. I commanded the ears to opened in Jesus’ Name. She said she heard something like a “whoosh” as her ears opened. She could hear a faint whisper behind her right ear. After the service, she was having normal conversations without needing the hearing aids. Praise God! Many others received healing of various conditions as we prayed for them in the Name of Jesus. Below are two video clips of some of those healings.

Tony McCanless

View in YouTube:
Partial Deafness Healed: http://youtu.be/OiB4BpkPGXw
Tinnitus Healed: http://youtu.be/cvoXNVwr9qw

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13. August 2012 · Comments Off on Two Doors – Two Births · Categories: Bible Teaching
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A new CD sermon is available at http://www.McCanlessMinistries.com/cds.htm. If you order this month, I’ll include the music CD of Easter – 2012 which includes the live praise and worship service, Watch The Lamb, and He’s Alive.

Two Doors – Two Births is a message I gave last night. A strong anointing was on the preaching – I trust that it will bless you. It includes prophetic words given to some there, but also uplifting words of new spiritual psalms as inspired by the Spirit of God.

John 10 speaks of Jesus entering into the sheepfold by the door. All who came before Him were thieves and robbers because they did not enter in by the door. Satan was not born here. He obtained his authority from Adam, and though it is legal, he obtained it illegally. But God still honors the authority that was given to Adam which was passed to Satan, who is now called the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4). Jesus came to get that authority back. But to do so legally and rightfully, He had to be born here. He came through the door … that is, the womb of woman. Jesus was not born of man, He was born of woman. The blood comes from the man. The sin-nature is passed down through the man. Jesus was not born of the male. He was born of a virgin. He did not inherit the sin nature. His blood came from His heavenly Father. His blood was and is holy and without sin. Yet, He shed His blood for us. He became sin for us. He became our sin-sacrifice for us so we could be cleansed and made righteous by His precious blood. In so doing, He became the door for us to enter into the Kingdom of God. The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Jesus was made to be sin so that you would be made the righteousness of God in Him. There is a spiritual miracle that takes place. You change on the inside by the power of God. “Ye must be born again.”

There are two doors and there are two births. One is natural and one is spiritual. Have you entered in through the second door? Have you been born again? I invite you to listen to this message. Please write to me if you have any questions or comments.

God bless you,

Tony

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