This message was delivered by Rev. Wildfire on the 26th of July 2016 at the Nigeria Wildfire Mission Centre during the Holy Communion Service.
Singing: Oh Lord I receive Your love
We receive Your love, and we continue to receive from You Your grace, Your peace, Your joy, Your life, and even tonight we receive Your body, (Your flesh), and we receive Your blood, a demonstration of God’s love for us. Fill us with Your life, fill us with Your power this evening as we gather at Your table. Be with us and bless us in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now, I want to start today by showing you something very interesting about the Gospel of John which is one of my favorite books of the bible. It may be my favorite book – I just want to be careful – but it’s probably one of my favorite books of the bible. And there’s one thing about the book of John that I want to show you. Alright, let’s start with chapter 1. John chapter 1 verse 38. Now, I’m sure this may vary from version to version, but we’re probably going to be seeing some similarities there. John chapter 1 verse 38; it says, ‘Jesus looked around and saw them following, “what do you want?” He asked them, and they replied, “Rabbi (WHICH MEANS TEACHER), where are you staying?”’ You know the interesting thing here to me is the one in bracket. You know John was writing here to people who were not Jews. The book of John was written here to people who were not familiar with the terminologies or dictions of Jews; so, throughout the book of John you’re going to see him providing explanations to terms and to phrases, concepts and traditions for those he’s writing to.
So, here he explains the term, ‘rabbi’. Now, not all of us speak Hebrew or Greek, or Aramaic, but we’re able to understand what they’re saying here. He says, ‘rabbi,’ and he tells us it simply means teacher. I really like that. It’s kind of the things that are very subtle and you might take for granted whenever you’re reading the bible, but in his writing he took time to provide some of these explanations. In verse 41 you see a similar thing there. I just picked out a bunch of the things; in verse 41 it says, ‘Andrew went to find his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” – look at it again – (which means Christ).’ So, I like that a lot. In chapter 2 verse 9, the time Jesus Christ turned the water into wine, in verse 9 it says, ‘when the master of the ceremony tasted the water which was now wine, not knowing where it had come from – look at the bracket there – (though of course, the servants knew) he called the bridegroom over.’ He kind of gives us all these tit bits here and there. And in chapter 3 verse 23 & 24, again it says, ‘at this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because there was plenty of water there – that’s an explanation – and people kept coming to him for baptism – and then he puts in bracket – (this was before John was thrown into prison).’ He’s painting the picture and filling you in on the details; he says John was baptizing near Salim, and the reason he was doing that was not really because the Holy Spirit told him to do that, but the reason he was doing that was because there was plenty of water there. You know a lot of times we miss the Holy Spirit and do things for very logical reasons, and you can see here that the Holy Spirit was no longer talking to John, because Jesus had already come out and started doing His ministry. So, John was now doing things based on his physical senses, but that’s outside my scope this evening.
Let’s go to chapter 4. In John chapter 4 verse 1 it says, ‘Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that He was baptizing and making more disciples than John – verse 2 – (Though Jesus Himself did not baptize them, His disciples did.’ So, John was an insider, he was right there and he’s telling us that Jesus wasn’t baptizing anybody; the actual person doing the baptizing was His disciples. So, His disciples were actually the ones baptizing people, not Jesus Christ. Alright, so you see that commentary right there. There’s still a lot more. You can see it in John chapter 6 verse 3 and 4; ‘Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with His disciples around Him, it was nearly time for the Jewish Passover festival.’ John is always providing context and giving us some detailed picture to let us know what is going on. And in verse 5 it says, ‘Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming.’ So, now we understand why He went there; He sat down with His disciples around Him, and this is like very close to the Jewish Passover celebration, and he’s trying to tell you the reason there’s a lot of people coming, because people were coming all over Israel for that annual feast. And it says Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for Him, ‘turning to Philip He asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”’ But right before He began to wonder, Jesus after all is supposed to know everything, He’s supposed to be the Son of God, why then is He asking His disciples what to do? John fills in that gap for you. John tells you in verse 6; ‘(He was testing Philip for He already knew what He was going to do).’
So, you see the comments there in and out, and I just want you to enjoy that. It is something that I really like a lot throughout the book of John; and in chapter 7 verse 21 and 22 it says, ‘Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath and you were amazed, but you work on the Sabbath too when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs long before the time of Moses).’ Are you getting it? So, Jesus says, ‘you work on a Sabbath too when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision,’ then John explains that this actually began with people like Abraham and Jacob long before Moses. In case you’re wondering, he’s trying to fill you in. In verse 37 of the same chapter 7; ‘On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “anyone who is thirsty may come to me. Anyone who believes in me may come and drink; for the scriptures declare rivers of living water will flow from his heart.”’ Look at the explanation again; ‘(when He said living water, He was speaking of the Spirit who will be given to everyone believing in Him, but the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet entered into His glory).’ He’s trying to tell you what it meant when Jesus said living waters.
And then we go to one more; let’s just look at one more so I just don’t go on and on. John chapter 12 verse 32; ‘And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.’ Can you see the explanation in verse 33? It says, ‘)He said this to indicate how He was going to die).’ He wasn’t talking about a worship ministry, because many times people have used this place and they say if the son of man be lifted up, he will draw all men to himself. It means as we worship God, as we lift Him up, and they think the lifting Him up means as we glorify Him in worship, in praise, He’s going to draw many people unto Him. And this is why we must learn the scriptures under a sound, seasoned teaching ministry that can give you a sound context from the Word of God, because every time you deviate from the text and the context of the spirit of scripture, you are in error. You go into error even if it’s a good intention with the right motive, and then sincerely wrong, doing the right thing in error. So, I see a lot of people read this scripture and they say, ‘if the son of man be lifted up, he’s going to draw all men to himself.’ John said He said this to indicate how He was going to die – this is what He was talking about. So, He was talking about His death.
So, it’s very good that we have this apostle providing this kind of context for us, and I like it a lot. Now, let’s stay here for a while. Let’s stay on this verse 32 for a while and see what Jesus was talking about, because He was talking about His death. Jesus Christ was talking about His death; many times when we are talking about the death of Jesus, we tend to talk about the benefit of the Gospel to the believer. We think about the fact that through His death we have life, through the stripes upon His body we have health. Now, that is true, but today I want us to shift our thinking from the benefit of the Gospel, from the benefit of the death of Jesus to us and think about what that means to others. Think of the power of His death with respect to those who are not even saved yet. He says, ‘and when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself.’ There is a power, there is a drawing supernaturally, a magnetic power that was activated by the death of Jesus. He says, ‘I will draw.’ Think about it; there’s a difference between someone coming to and you drawing someone to you. It means it is possible for a certain power beyond the resistance of someone to act on them and pull them towards Christ.
Jesus said, ‘I will draw.’ He spoke at a time about the fact of His Father when He said, ‘nobody can come to me unless the Father draws him,’ and we know He was talking about when He was on earth. When He was moving here on earth, it was impossible for the people to see Him as the Christ because they knew Him as the carpenter. His brothers and sisters were in their midst, they saw Him as a man in flesh and blood; so, it would be very difficult for anybody to believe that that son of Joseph was God, except by the power of Almighty God. But Jesus is saying now, ‘when I die, I will draw everyone to Myself.’ Hallelujah. Just like He says, ‘I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’ So, I want you to think about that for a minute that when He said, ‘when I am lifted up from the earth …,’ indicating how He was going to die, that means that when Jesus was lifted up from the earth, when He was placed on that cross and mounted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, the moment that happened, there was a power that was released. Hallelujah. And we see how that power began to work; one of the thieves by His side said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Father’s glory.’ And Jesus said, ‘today, you will be with me in paradise.’ He didn’t preach to the man, but because there was something happening at that moment. The centurion and some of the roman soldiers that were at the feet of the cross overseeing the crucifixion at some point said, ‘surely, this man is the son of God.’
So, right when He was being lifted up, people were beginning to be drawn to Him by the power of His death. Jesus at one point said that the kernel of wheat, as long as it is still alive, it abides alone, but when it falls to the ground and dies, it bears much fruit. So, by His death, Jesus Christ released the power of multiplication, He released the power that would draw men unto Himself. Glory be to God. Amen. So, I really like that, and I really appreciate that commentary that John gave to us because if he had not said that, we would still be thinking of it as when you lift up holy hands in worship, but he’s talking about the death of Jesus Christ. I’m sure a Jew reading about it will understand it, but John wasn’t writing to Jews. A Jew reading the phrase, ‘when I be lifted up,’ or probably someone within that time, a roman soldier, or people within that context would have understood him. Let me show you why; if you go to John 12 verse 33 it says, ‘He said this to indicate how He was going to die.’ Look at what the crowd said; ‘we understand from scripture that the Messiah will live forever, how can you say the son of man will die?’ What does that tell you? They understood what He said; He used a local colloquialism that they could understand, that if the son of man be lifted up … you needed an explanation to know what He said, the crowd there didn’t; they understood what He said and they asked Him, ‘we thought the son of man is going to live forever, so why are you talking about the death of the son of man?’ Showing you also why God had to raise special apostles from among the Jews to take the Gospel to the gentiles. Do you understand? And that is also why we have cross cultural ministries; you can sense for instance that John was a cross cultural Gospel communicator. He could take the Gospel out of the context of the Jews and transfer it to the understanding of the gentiles. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit, and it takes the calling of God and the enabling of God to really do that. So, I’m really happy that John has this kind of explanation to give to us. Praise God.
And so we’re still talking about the death of Jesus Christ; that when He died – when He was lifted up – He began to draw men to Himself. That power is released through His death. Amen. That power is released through the death of Jesus Christ; it’s a powerful, powerful mystery. It’s a powerful mystery that we need to tap into by the Holy Spirit. He said, ‘I will draw everyone,’ not some people, but everyone. But we understand ‘everyone’ to mean everyone that’s a part of Christ, everyone that was chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. He already prayed for them, ‘I pray not only for these ones, but for the others that will come to believe as a result of their witnessing.’ So, Jesus already knew before time they were others, and He said, ‘when I’m lifted up, I will draw them to myself.’ And that’s the power of His death. Like I said, that moment that He died, things began to happen. Praise God. So, every time Jesus is lifted up, every time Jesus is lifted up something powerful happens in the supernatural. That’s what it means. Amen. And Glory be to God that He has given us a way to re-enact His death again and again and again so that we can keep the drawing power going from generation to generation. Hallelujah.
We don’t lift Him up in the sense we spoke of here by gathering and lifting Him up in praise songs, we don’t lift Him up in the sense that we spoke here by giving testimonies in the church and praising Him for the things that He has done; we lift Him up in the context He spoke of here, by re-enacting the death experience, the cross experience of Jesus. And there is only one way He gave us to do that. Hallelujah. There’s only one way, there’s only one mystery, one sacrament or ordinance that He gave to us by which we can re-enact or renew His death. And we find that in the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 11. We all know that place. So, let’s go to 1st Corinthians chapter 11 from verse 23 and all the way to verse 26; ‘For I pass onto you what I received from the Lord Himself.’ This is what makes Paul an apostle, it’s that He met Jesus in person and Jesus gave him a message in person. ‘On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks to God for it, then He broke it in pieces and said, “this is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” IN the same way He took the cup after supper saying, “this cup is the new covenant between God and His people, an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance in Me as often as you drink it.” Praise God.
Now, I want you to look at 1st Corinthians 11 verse 26 which is very interesting. It says, ‘For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.’ Hallelujah! ‘For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim …,’ The word ‘proclaim’ means to make real. You make it real again. You manifest it again. You re-enact it. You bring it back to life. You reproduce the experience again. That’s what it’s saying. I mean I’ve been to some re-enactments in the US. I’ve been to what they call the renaissance festival in the US where they try to re-enact the 15th or 16th century. It’s really amazing what they do there. I have some pictures from that thing. When you come there everyone is dressed like how they used to be dressed from the 15th century, the place is like a village. You won’t see any modern facility there; everything is built like how it used to be back in the day – their streets, their signs, the shops, the people. It’s really amazing. What they’re doing is they’re trying to draw you into the experience so you know what it used to look like. It’s so real. You see people fencing, fighting on horses and fighting with swords like for real. You see their shops, their markets, and everything is so real. And the bible is saying this that whenever we eat the bread and drink the blood, we are reproducing the reality of His death. We are re-enacting it; that’s what it says.
Now, it means that whenever we are at the Lord’s Table, we are lifting Him up. Praise God. When John said that thing about being lifted up, he was indicating how He was going to die, he was talking about His death. So, Jesus gave us a promise that the Holy Spirit is decoding here for us, because the Holy Spirit is the One that takes what is Jesus’ and shows it to us and decodes it to us. The Holy Spirit is showing this to us that whenever we lift Jesus up – it’s a promise like when He says when two or three come together in His name, He’s there with them. He also said, ‘when I be lifted up …,’ And how do we lift Him up without stabbing Him like the Romans? How do we as His followers, as His beloved ones, how do we lift Him up? It has to take His enemy like Judas to betray Him and people like the Romans to kill Him, but His disciples can’t kill Him. So, how in the world do we kill Him? We can’t even kill Him by backsliding; so, how in the world do we kill Him? Because we need this power again and again and again; He gives us a way. He says, ‘do this in remembrance of Me. Every time you do it, you’re declaring and proclaiming My death all over again.’ That means every time you do this, you’re lifting Him up afresh, and every time He’s lifted up afresh, He draws all men to Himself. Glory be to God.
So, that is why I said in the beginning that our Communion today will not be about the benefits we get for our own selves in the Gospel, but the benefit the kingdom of God gets from the lifting up of Jesus; it’s that more men and women are drawn into the kingdom of God. I’ve seen this happen in the US, I’ve seen it happen all over the place that whenever people gather and begin to eat the bread the drink the blood, people begin to come to God. Amen. People begin to be drawn; you know as soon as we began this in the US, we began to see people on their own just coming, telling you that Jesus is the same today, He’s the same yesterday and He’s the same forever, and He doesn’t change. Hallelujah. I don’t want nobody that I drew to myself. I don’t want to draw nobody. I don’t want to persuade nobody. Do you understand what I’m talking about? I just don’t want that; I want the Lord Himself to draw them. That’s why the bible says they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and then to prayer, and the Lord added … What was going on there? You see there was something right in that place.
Remember, Paul said whenever we eat the bread and we drink the blood, you’re re-enacting the death – the cross. And He said every time that happens, I will draw everyone to myself. Glory be to God! Aren’t you excited and ready to meet those people that the Lord Himself is drawing? Hallelujah. So, you want to see that. I want you to see that in what was happening in the Acts of Apostles so you understand what God is saying to us this evening. Now, look at Acts chapter 2 from verse 42 and then to the end. It says there, ‘they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ You see what they devoted themselves to? ‘Everyone was filled with awe and the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common, and they sold properties and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts, they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people, and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ What was that in response to? It was in response to the lifting of Jesus that was happening daily through the Lord’s Table. Every day they broke bread and ate it, and drank the cup, they were lifting Jesus up; every time they did that, they were proclaiming His death, announcing His death. So, in their lives, in their community Jesus was dying every day. In their community, Jesus was being lifted every day, and He was drawing people – daily.
I want us to expect a daily drawing of everyone to us from Jesus Christ Himself. Can I tell you something? I have drawn people to myself; other people have drawn people to me; people have drawn themselves to me, and I don’t want none of that because I compare it with when Jesus draws people to me. I see the difference; when Jesus draws people to the mission, to the ministry, it’s different. I don’t want people to come to us because of our publicity. I don’t want people to come to us because of our advertisement. I don’t want people to come to us because they like us. I don’t want people to come to us except that Jesus drew. You didn’t even hear that they were preaching the Gospel here. Do you understand? Do you hear that they were going door to door and they were preaching and they were sharing tracts? They weren’t doing that; they rather met in their homes breaking bread, because these people had the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit gave them this mystery; it’s a powerful thing He gave them, ‘come on, keep breaking those bread.’ He said to do it as often as you can; if you can do it two million times a day, go ahead, but you must be careful to not eat it unworthily because you must discern the body of Christ in it. But as often as you can do it properly, do it. Because every time you’re doing it, this is going on – people are added.
I want us to be expectant as we take the Communion this evening. I want us to take it in absolute trust in the integrity of Jesus. Remember we trust Him as a person; we trust that He is faithful. Faithful is He that has promised, and He also will do it. We eat the bread in complete confidence that whenever we do it – you see there are two things we believe as we eat the bread. First of all is that as we eat it, we believe that this bread is His body, and this wine is His blood. We’ve got to believe that. Secondly, we have to believe that as we eat the bread and as we eat the cup, we proclaim His death. We’ve got to believe that. And thirdly we’ve got to believe that whenever we proclaim His death, He draws everyone to Himself. Glory be to God. Let’s take some time out and worship Jesus for who He is. Worship Him for the revelation of His word. Worship Him for His wisdom. Worship Him for His power that gave us these mysteries, gave us these words, gave us this revelations, gave us His own life. Worship Jesus because He is worthy. He is worthy. Worship Him because He is love, He is faithful, He is good, He is loving, He is kind, He is able to do what He has said He will do to those who trust Him. Thank You Jesus. Thank You for bringing us into You. We have come into You. We are now in Christ. Thank You that You have drawn us to Yourself. Thank You for the faith in us. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit. Thank You Jesus for all that You are, and all that You do for us. We worship You Lord. We worship You Jesus. (Praying in tongues). We worship You and we remember You as we eat tonight. We remember You, we proclaim Your death. We believe Your Word. We receive Your Word. (Praying in tongues). Glory be to God! Hallelujah. Thank You Jesus.
I want us to take out some time and begin to bring the Word of God back to Himself, and let Him know, ‘Lord, we believe You.’ We believe what You said that every time we eat the bread, we’re eating Your body, and every time we drink of the cup, we’re drinking Your blood. We believe Your promise, and we believe Your word because You are truth and You are the way and You are faithful and we believe what You said. And we believe that by eating the bread and by drinking the wine we are eating Your body, and we are drinking Your blood. And we believe that by doing this, we are lifting You up, we are proclaiming Your death as we come unto You again. We believe that as we do this today, as we lift You up that You are drawing to us daily those that are being saved; wherever they might be, that the power of Your life, the power of Your blood is breaking the chains that holds them down, is breaking the powers of darkness that is keeping them in bondage, that all of Your people, all of Your children that are meant to be part of us, that the yoke is being shattered by the power of Your life, the power of Your death, the power of Your resurrection, the power of Your blood, the power of Your Spirit. (Praying in tongues) We believe You Lord, we trust You Lord that Your power is here, we trust You that Your word is reliable. We trust You Lord. We thank You Jesus. Glory be to God. Thank You Lord. As we get to the Table tonight, we come with humility; we come with faith and trust in You, and believe Your word absolutely in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.