Empowered for Purpose, Part 5
It was for freedom that Christ set us free. We are free from the bondage of sin and the failures of our past. In Christ, all things have become new, and we are born into a living hope through His resurrection. Jesus has given us an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade—reserved in heaven for us! (1 Pet. 1:3-4 NIV) We forever worship Jesus our King, confident of His care, provision, and protection. Our freedom in Christ empowers us to help others find freedom!
This week we honor our military veterans and their service. For some, it was costly. Many returned wounded and scared. As a veteran, I understand the sacrifice made. I believe all would agree it was worth it for our national protection and civil liberties.
America is not perfect. But America is a great nation, populated with good people who love God, love others, and want all to prosper. Those of us who served, along with most of our nation, are grateful for our national liberty and freedom. We are citizens of the USA and for those in Christ, we are citizens of heaven! We have a freedom in Christ and eternal inheritance that cannot be taken from us—ever!
Keep our nation in prayer. Constitutionally, the election is not over. The election is officially complete when certified by the electoral college on December 14th. Until then, states must verify election results. Every legal ballot counted; every illegal ballot exposed and removed. Political parties have the right to file lawsuits to contest election results when irregularities appear. Many lawsuits have been filed in states where alleged errors have occurred.
While the news media may declare Joe Biden the winner, the election process is not over. For the well-being of our nation and future election cycles, a clean and fair election must be verified. This not about Donald Trump, but our American electoral process and our future as a nation. Illegal ballots as well as faulty systems and processes need to be exposed and corrected. We owe this to every citizen and veteran in our nation.
The Church must pray fervently in this hour. We have not been this divided politically since the 1850s or ’60s just prior to and during the Civil War. Our two primary parties are divided sharply between those who desire larger government that leans socialist and half the nation desiring smaller government, fewer regulations, individual accountability, and a constitutional Republic. However, amid the tension and division, I am persuaded that God’s grace is greater. He is pouring forth His favor and grace on His Church to be the light and salt of the nation and world.
I believe Psalm 102:13 is a “now” word for the Church in America. Again, neither the Church nor our nation is perfect, yet in the multifaceted wisdom of God, He sees us as a bride worthy of His Son.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.” Psalm 102:13 NKJV
I believe it is God’s desire to release unprecedented favor upon his Church in this hour. Is this possible in our 21st-century American culture? Absolutely!
It might astound many if they understood how deeply 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 and He wants to release a greater grace!
Keep praying for God’s mercy on our nation, and from a mindset of love, acceptance, and forgiveness, rather than impending judgment on our nation. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
Again, America is not perfect. But it is, and has been, one of the greatest nations in the history of humanity. We have largely been, although not always, a light, help, and blessing to others globally. As a nation, our God-given blessings have blessed many. He releases His grace and favor on the Church in order that those outside His family may know His love and grace.
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
When as individuals, as His Church, and as a nation we follow God and prosper, His favor becomes a blessing to others around the globe. Truly, blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!
At Pentecost, favor was poured upon Peter and the early Church
Peter, empowered by God’s new identity, the anointing of the Spirit, and subsequent favor, speaks with boldness (Acts 2:14). As a result, thousands are convicted by the truth of the gospel and give their lives to Jesus (Acts 2:40-47 NKJV). Further, God’s favor on His Church impacted Jerusalem.
Consider Acts 4:33,
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” (NKJV)
Despite persecution, great grace was on the Church to give witness to the resurrection of Jesus. Peter and the Church were empowered for God’s purpose, and we are called to the same!
Our inheritance in Christ is kept for us; 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.
What is Favor?
Prov. 12:2 says, “A good man obtains favor from the Lord …” (NKJV) Obtains could also mean to “draw out.” Favor is also used synonymously as grace throughout the Bible. We could say then 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 with God. You begin to develop a testimony with God and your confidence builds as you recall God’s faithfulness.
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 of the nations. To those who walk in humility one to another.
Peter admonishes us in 1 Peter 5:5 that the younger are to be submitted to the elders, that we are to be submitted one to another, and how God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Our nation needs us to live this out! The Church must rally in Christ, walk in love and humility, that His greater grace can flow to impact society.
Toward the end of his life, Peter would write:
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
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!
Paul tells us that His grace makes us sufficient as ministers, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. We live from God’s grace, His life within us.
who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Cor. 3:6
We live by God’s word, and under the anointing of the Spirit, not just the letter apart from the Spirit. We must be Spirit and Word people, who live and move and have their being in Christ!
God’s word, or letter, is not done away. On the contrary, life in the Spirit empowers us to live from the Spirit obeying God’s commands.
Love is our foundation, not judgment. Faith works through love, and grace empowers us to be led of the Spirit, full of the Word, and confident in our present age.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—” 2 Cor. 4:7-9
Consider the hardships Paul endured. Beaten, stoned, left for dead, shipwrecked, hunger, etc. that others may hear the Good News. Yet Paul boldly declares we have a treasure, an inheritance, God Himself in us, working on our behalf and empowering us by His grace for His purpose. Take hope today Church: no matter what comes, God is working all things together for our good!
Jesus Increased in Favor
Consider what Luke records,
Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 NKJV
It is a mystery that the son of God, in human flesh, would have to increase in favor with God and men, yet He did. Jesus’ self-imposed limitations of His divinity while on earth and in human flesh required His dependence upon the Father and Holy Spirit in life and ministry; thereby giving us an example of how to live and function in our ministries presently.
As we walk with God, we should expect to increase in favor, or another translation says advance, in a Spirit-filled life that abounds with God’s empowering grace. Cooperate with God, advance, that many may experience His love and freedom! An advancing, kingdom-minded Church should expect an increase of favor!
We see examples throughout the Bible of people who obtained favor with God and with men.
Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Esther, and Mary to name a few. Favor was increased upon their lives because they carried the heart and purposes of God for their generation and for the generations to come. Favor is for a purpose, and those who will carry the purposes of God in their generation should expect to increase in favor and grace to accomplish the impossible.
Joseph—God meant it for Good!
Joseph was given the coat of many colors from his father. He had favor with his natural father, but more importantly, it represented his favor with God. This robe was a prophetic sign of the calling and purpose on his life. Joseph was immature, but God’s destiny for his life was unfolding. Joseph was wronged by his brothers being sold as a slave, wronged in his slave master’s house, and even wronged in the prison he was sent to. But God was working every wrong, every injustice, for a greater good in Joseph’s life.
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” Gen 39:21 NKJV
Joseph was wrongly accused and imprisoned, but God’s favor was with him.
Favor is often veiled by circumstances and preparation.
Joseph was about to experience great favor and promotion in his life, but he matured through suffering to be prepared to lead and deliver Egypt, and more importantly, to be a posterity for God’s people (future generations).
Joseph eventually was elevated to be governor over Egypt and revealed to his brothers who sold him into slavery. Look at Joseph’s perspective of what occurred,
And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Gen. 45:7 NKJV
Joseph eventually explained to his brothers,
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Gen. 50:20 NKJV
God’s answer to a famine was a faithful servant. Today, amid societal division, a pandemic, and economic instability, God is looking to us to be a posterity for this and future generations. Will you respond to His call?
God gave Joseph favor so that he could be a conduit of blessing for many, in his generation, and for the generations to come. Your spiritual blessings are redemptive in nature for others, and future generations.
In fact, like Joseph, favor is your inheritance in Christ, and you are being blessed to be a blessing to many now and in the future! Will there be trials? Yes, but God will empower you and strengthen you through the trials and journey!
See yourself wearing Joseph’s coat of many colors, this is what Jesus did for you! No one can take His coat, given to you, from you!
Favor opens doors; it will enable you to stand before those you may not have been qualified for in the natural. God is increasing His favor on His faithful ones, allowing them to radiate His glory and favor to the nations.
Many need jobs, finances, healing, and breakthrough. Consider the prayer of Moses; pray this over your life and family. God wants to release His favor on your life and bless the work of your hands. Expect blessing; you are called to be a blessing!
Let Your work [the signs of Your power] be revealed to Your servants
And Your [glorious] majesty to their children. And let the [gracious] favor of the Lord our God be on us; Confirm for us the work of our hands—Yes, confirm the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:16-17 AMP
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message, “Empowered for Purpose, Part 5”