by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
- Summary: God's anointing, by the Holy Spirit, brings Christian ministry to a new, higher level of effectiveness and results.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me [Jesus], because he has anointed me...
Acts 10:38, KJV 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.
- •• It was the God's anointing, via the Holy Spirit, that empowered Jesus’ mighty ministry.
•• It is God’s same Holy-Spirit anointing that empowers us for effective Christian ministry. Following the example of our Savior, you too can be used in powerful, Holy Ghost ministry.
- • 2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who ... anointed us.
• 1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One...
• Acts 1:5, 8 ...“in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”
- •• Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit of God and began His powerful, effective ministry. We too receive God’s anointing in the baptism with the Holy Spirit. And we too are empowered for victorious, power-laden Christian ministry.
•• Please take the next few minutes to read the following passage from First Thessalonians. It contains many illustrations of the powerful results of Christian ministry done under God’s anointing.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-10 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,  because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.  You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.  And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.  The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia — your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,  for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,  and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Vss. 4-5a For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
- •• Paul had come to them with the gospel. How did Paul minister the gospel to the Thessalonians?
- • With the Word of God (“with words”). The truth of God’s saving grace being made available to us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be spoken to people.
• “with power” — As seen above (Acts 1:8), God’s power to minister effectively is granted to us by the Holy Spirit anointing in the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
• “with the Holy Spirit” — As the gospel is ministered, the Holy Spirit both enlivens the message and touches the hearts of the hearers.
• “with deep conviction” — Paul certainly spoke with conviction. Also the Holy Spirit “convicts” the hearts of unrepentant sinners (John 16:8), prompting them to call on the Lord for salvation (Acts 2:37-38).
Vs. 5b You know how we lived among you for your sake.
- •• ...Paul practiced (“lived”) what he preached. This is a very important message for those in Christian ministry. God’s anointing will not make up for moral or character failures. We must live lives consistent with the gospel we preach.
In verses four and five we have seen that the apostle Paul preached the Word of God to them in the power of the Holy Spirit anointing, and with deep conviction. Let’s look now at the remarkable RESULTS of such God-anointed Christian ministry.
Vss. 6-7 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
1) They welcomed the message that came to them in the above way — that is, under God’s anointing. It came to them “with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
- •• If your ministry to others is as Paul’s was — that is, in word, in power, by the Holy Spirit, and with sincere conviction — many will receive it.
2) The Holy Spirit lodged the gospel in their hearts with joy.
- •• The new Christian’s life will be one of joyfully following the Lord, not one just of bored, dutiful obedience.
•• When Philip ministered in Samaria under the anointing of the Spirit, there was great joy in that city (Acts 8:8).
3) They treasured this new life enough to endure “severe suffering” for it.
- •• In Japan in 1978 I spent time with a Japanese pastor who had accepted Jesus while in college. His Buddhist family rejected him. Nevertheless, he still followed Jesus!
4) The Thessalonian hearers changed their conduct so as to:
- a) Imitate the Lord
b) Imitate these godly leaders (Paul and others).
•• A saved person’s life demonstrates his salvation.
5) They in turn became a model to all the believers.
- •• People need role models. Believers should be that.
Vs. 8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia — your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it.
6) The gospel message “rang out” from them. This suggests that they undertook bold, articulate witnessing. And it is very likely that the gospel message went out from them the same way that it came to them, that is, under God’s anointing by Spirit-filled ministers — “not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
7) The new Thessalonian believers lived and shared their faith in God everywhere.
- •• Our faith is in Almighty God! Let it be always evident.
Vs. 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
8) They renounced the old ways for God’s ways. This speaks of radical conversion, not just a nonchalant, halfhearted decision to believe the gospel.
- •• You cannot be a Christian pleasing to God and hang on to the old ways.
9) They chose to serve God, not just passively believe in Him.
- •• They threw themselves into their new walk with God.
Vs. 10 and to wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
10) Jesus became the center and focus of their lives and thoughts and expectations.
- •• “Christ, who is our life...” “our life!” said Paul (Colossians 3:4, KJV).
•• “He must increase!” said John the Baptist (John 3:30, KJV).
•• “Jesus Christ, He is Lord of all,” Paul declared (Acts 10:36).
•• The Christian who has been properly and powerfully won to Jesus keeps himself committed to Jesus as Lord of his life.
In sum, when God’s Spirit-filled people minister under God’s anointing, it will produce powerful results in the hearers:
- • They welcome the message that comes in Holy-Ghost power.
• That message is lodged in their hearts with joy.
• They treasure this new life in Christ to the point of being willing to suffer persecution for it.
• They begin to pattern their lives after the Lord and after godly Christian role models.
• They in turn grow in the Lord and become role models to others.
• They begin to share their faith; the gospel “rings out” from them.
• They renounce the old ways and are radically changed.
• They choose to serve God, not just give Him lip service.
• Jesus becomes central, not peripheral, in their lives.
These are the results God’s people can expect when they minister the gospel of Christ’s saving grace under the Holy-Ghost anointing of God.
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©1993, 2007, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.