Love Came down with the Spirit

2014-08-22 18.12.09

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,  and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (Isaiah 61:1-8, NIV)

Quite a mission statement.

Jesus, when He entered ministry, quoted Isaiah 61 as His mandate:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-20, NIV)

God’s plan all along has been for His Adam race, us humans, to live by the Spirit and change the world. Jesus, as the First Son, showcased a life of power and compassion led by the Spirit.  God the Father planned that His kids would continue Christ’ s pattern here on earth as Jesus had prophesied, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:12).

No pressure.

When Isaiah prophesied this reality, he illustrated every aspect of society transformed through the Spirit, that God’s people would be oaks of righteousness, plantings of the Lord for the display of His splendor.Isaiah was describing Spirit-led families who impacted the society, centuries at a time. 2013-05-03 20.29.35Not tulips and pansies planted to adorn the household for a spring season, but oak trees, legacy bearers, who grow tall and steady and adorn the landscape for generations.

Through Isaiah,  God was promising a people who lived out the goodness of God in righteousness, from father to son to grandson and onward, from mother to daughter to granddaughter and onward, centuries of families led by the Spirit who would change the world and bring long-awaited freedom as Love triumphed over evil.

Check this out:  When Jesus entered the synagogue and declared, “This is fulfilled in your hearing”, not one of us was alive. Jesus being the First and Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Son of God and the Word, accurately declared that His coming meant we could fulfill His Father’s dream.  His coming, death and resurrection, released a new reality to the Jews: the anointing of the Spirit would not be confined to the Aaronic or Levitical priest.  For all who believed in Jesus, the Spirit would be given.

God’s dream of societal transformation through His Chosen was now possible through Christ.

2014-10-10 11.25.40The more I encounter God’s heart, the more His dreams matter to me. God is dreaming about people being freed all over this globe, identities being shifted and forged in the Love of the Father, the joy of restoration coming to cities and nations long forgotten or despised.

In our own abilities, none of this is remotely possible. No amount of giftedness, charisma or resources can build sustainable generational societal transformation.  We may have impact for a spring season, dress up the problem, bring limited relief, yet in honest reflection, we know we are foolish, vain and selfish, that the world is attracted to evil design and none of us can shift the heart forever.

Isaiah and Christ Jesus both announced how this freedom is accomplished:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.  He has anointed me to…”

Only by the Spirit can we fulfill the dreams of God’s heart.  Only with the understanding that we are sons of God, not slaves, can we walk in joy to fulfill our Father’s dreams. Paul hammered this message in Galatians 3:26, when he triumphantly proclaimed to all, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith”.  Building on this truth, that through Christ, we are sons, Paul explains how our sonship is proved and established by the Spirit:

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Gal 4:6-7, NIV)

Heirs?  Heirs to what?

Our inheritance is more than Destination Heaven.  we are heirs of this world. Now, here on earth, we are empowered by God to change the world, to bring freedom, to love and shift lives by the power of the Spirit, to continue to fulfill the mandate of Isaiah 61 and Luke 4.

As sons, we are led by the Spirit to change the world.

So what are we doing with this profound truth?  What impact are we making?  Have we settled for tulips that wither in the summer heat, spring dressings, or are we building generational legacies, as oaks of righteousness, showing off our Father’s glory through lives lived for God?  What does world changing look like through your life and mine?

In our own desires and dreams, we can make limited impact, but a life led by the Spirit will change the world.

Let’s pray:  Father God, thank you for dreaming out loud through Isaiah.  Thank you for sending your Son and Your Spirit, that we may be your children and change the world.  Help us grab hold of Your dreams today.  Lead us forward, Holy Spirit, that love, joy, peace and righteousness will prevail.  In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we pray.  Amen.OAK TREE

This Week’s Reading:  Isaiah 56 – Jeremiah 4

Next Week’s Reading:  Jeremiah 5 -20

Study Questions:

  1.  What are you dreaming about with your Father?
  2. Have you stopped dreaming?  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you dream again.
  3. Why is being led by the Spirit crucial to generational outcomes?
  4. Where have you seen God fulfill Isaiah 61 in your life?
  5. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you opportunity to bring freedom to a captive today.  Captivity comes in many forms.  Expect to be surprised by what God does this week through you if you are willing to be led by His Spirit as a child of God.