Empowered for Purpose, Pt. 4
When God gives us a word, He is revealing what He is seeing, and what He has determined. We now have His favor and permission to see the same way. Prophecy is not about survival. Rather, understanding God’s commands and hearing His word empowers us to overcome and prosper because we have the word of the Lord.
When we agree with, live from, and declare His word, it changes the atmosphere around us and situations we face.
Over the last three weeks I have been examining the life of Peter. From his life, we can glean important principles to live victoriously and fulfill our God-ordained purpose and assignment.
Peter understood the power of agreeing with God’s word spoken over his life, “Peter, feed My sheep!” This word restored him in relationship with the Lord, in ministry, and prophesied God’s intention for Peter—to be a shepherd of God’s people.
Peter’s destiny was to be a leading apostle in the early church—this was God’s plan for him before he was born. Life’s circumstances and failures hid his true identity. But Jesus’ word to him and the anointing of the Holy Spirit moved him beyond himself.
Peter—Empowered for Purpose
Peter had a new identity, increased favor, new relationships, and new acts. Let us recap new identity from last week and then begin to look at increased favor.
In John 21, we read of how the Lord restored Peter. “Peter, do you love Me?” “Yes Lord, I love you.” “Then feed My sheep!”
The Lord restored Peter, but He also gave Him a word he could stand on. It empowered him. Because he had a word from God, a prophecy that he would shepherd God’s people, he could push aside fear, and act confidently as the Spirit led. Peter was becoming what was prophesied. Peter’s human nature and failure did not define him—God’s word did.
After Pentecost, Peter is not the same person any longer. As a result, many come to Christ. Peter was awakened to his true identity which empowered him to step into his destiny. “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice …” (Acts 2:14 NKJV)
Peter is no longer ‘Simon’ (which means ‘the waverer’) but ‘Peter’ (which means ‘the steadfast rock’). He has a new nature, a new identity, and he is emboldened by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Like Peter, we must discover that our old life is gone, and we are living a new life in Christ.
As Paul writes in Romans 6, our old nature is crucified and rendered powerless. We are raised in newness of life and His resurrection power. This includes our human reasoning and carnal thinking. You have the mind of Christ; agree with it! You are what you believe, allow your mind to be transformed by the truth of His word and what He has spoken to you.
Simply stated, we live from His life now, for “we have passed from death to life…” (1 John 3:14 NKJV) The very life of God has come within us. It is a life without death! His perfected love in us casts out all fear. We live from His life!
Toward the end of Peter’s life, he wrote an important letter to the Church, 1 Peter.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,” 1 Pet. 1:3-4 NIV
Peter echoes what John wrote: through new birth, we are spiritually born into a living hope that will not perish, spoil, or fade! Our inheritance in Christ is kept for us, and nothing can take this from us. As we live in Christ, we are assured of our hope and inheritance in God—this is good news and the world needs to hear this from a confident Church in this hour.
Remember, each prophetic promise brings some level of transition.
The promise is to help you discover purpose, destiny, and empower you to move forward. Peter, feed my sheep! A charge, but a promise which empowered him.
Like Peter, be willing to embrace change and this new season, while preserving the good from the old. Allow new paradigms to form in your thinking and embrace them. When God gives us a word about our identity or a prophecy, He is giving us permission to become that word and move forward faster. Prophecy helps propel us into purpose.
We must change from an earthly mindset to a heavenly mindset. Our citizenship is in heaven, beyond the circumstances of this world! See from heaven’s perspective.
Great changes are occurring in our world. The Church is in a season where we are moving from Law-based religion to Grace-empowered practice. Love is the foundation, not judgment. We embrace prophecy that releases hope!
At Pentecost, favor was poured out upon Peter and the early Church (Acts 2:40-47)
We read in this passage that, “…those who gladly received his word were baptized…three thousand souls added to them…having favor with all the people…” (Acts 2:41, 47 NKJV)
Notice the word favor in verse 47. But what is favor?
Proverbs 12:2 says, “A good man obtains favor from the Lord …” (NKJV) The English word obtains in this verse can also mean to draw out. Favor is also used interchangeably as grace in the Septuagint version (Greek version) of the Old and New Testaments. Favor or grace translates from the Greek word charis. We could say of this verse that “A good man draws out grace from the Lord …”
Favor increases with intimacy, relationship, and obedience to God. Over time, favor increases as you walk faithfully and partner with God. You begin to develop a testimony with God and your confidence builds as you recall God’s faithfulness.
The favor that comes from God reflects His nature and character and has purpose associated with it. Favor, or empowering grace, increases for those who pursue God’s purpose.
God grants favor to those He can entrust with His purpose! Purpose moves us toward the fulfillment of our destiny.
Do you know your purpose? Do you know the purpose of your local church? God desires to not only empower us for individual destiny, but for corporate mission and purpose as well. The early Church demonstrated their bond of love with the Lord and with each other.
However, understand that you can have God’s hand of blessing and favor on your life or church you are part of, and still suffer persecution and adversity.
We see this with Peter and the early Church, in Acts 4:23-31. Peter and John were imprisoned for preaching the gospel and healing the sick as Jesus directed. The Church prays, they are released, and then they pray for greater grace and boldness upon their lives! God answers their prayers by shaking the place with the power of heaven!
God grants greater grace and power to those whose motivation is directed toward advancing God’s kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel and discipling the nations.
Later, towards the end of his life, Peter would write:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:8-10 NIV
Notice, the God of all grace (favor) will restore you, empower you, and anchor you! I love how the Amplified Bible translates verse 10:
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].” 1 Pet. 5:10 AMP
It is the God of all grace who imparts His blessing and favor, and who will strengthen, establish, and make us what we ought to be in Christ! Power to overcome the adversary, and power to be the people of destiny He intends us to be.
I have personally discovered new levels of His favor and empowering grace after my biggest setbacks, trials, and failures in life—as well as during times of great faith that propelled me into kingdom purposes. He gives greater grace to establish and strengthen us to fulfill His good purpose in our lives. Further, this empowering grace is transforming us daily into the very image of Jesus—such marvelous grace!
I believe it is God’s desire to release unprecedented favor and grace upon His Church in this hour. Is this possible in our 21st-century culture? Absolutely!
It might astound many if they understood how intently the Lord is looking on the body of Christ with love, acceptance, and grace. We are His ambassadors to bring light into darkness—grace and favor are needed to combat the powers of darkness!
Mercy triumphs over judgment—we must shift thinking from judgment to blessing! Keep praying for God’s mercy on our nation, but live from a mindset of love, acceptance, and forgiveness!
I love what the Psalmist wrote, a “now” word for the Church,
You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.” (Psalm 102:13 NKJV)
Is the Church perfect? No! Are we divided over issues? Yes! But, God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, looks upon His bride with eyes of love. He is alluring her to draw near to Him and be confident in His favor and grace. For Jesus is in her midst, and He is the perfect one who covers our imperfections. Do we have room to improve? Sure. But our starting point needs to be an understanding of God’s love for us and desire to bless us despite our weakness and imperfections.
I’m not in any way condoning lifestyles that are contrary to God’s word and nature, rather, inviting us to live from our new life in Him individually and corporately to be the light in the darkness and the salt of the earth He intends us to be!
As we do, we can expect an appointed season of greater favor; we might call it revival or awakening, but God wants to bless His Church with favor to be a blessing to others.
There is an anticipation building—an increase of grace and favor on the Church—in order that those outside of the Church may know His love and grace.
The Psalmist prays,
God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, Selah That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1-2 NKJV)
His blessing empowers you to be a blessing for others! This is true for us individually and as the Church. Let us contend for more of His favor and grace on our lives and through the Church. Our world needs a loving, confident Church, who displays the richness of the inheritance we have in Christ!
I will continue this important series next week…
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Empowered for Purpose, Part 4”