Scriptures: Mark 1:21-28
Jesus' ministry was a ministry of authority. He spoke with authority and the people were astonished at His doctrine. He did not use other's quotes: He spoke the Word of God. His words were presented in a way that people could comprehend the scripture and they could sense that He had communioned with God, He had a connection with the source of power.
Jesus carried Himself with authority. He was not like the scribes, who were people that spoke and recorded other people's thoughts. Rebellious spirits feared His presence, the Bible tells us one cried out "let us alone," because it knew its power was nothing compared to the authority and power of Jesus. Jesus' response to the unclean spirit was "hold thy peace," or translated: be quiet or be silent. Jesus showed His authority over anything that tried to counteract His ministry.
Jesus demonstrated authority. He told the unclean spirit to come out of the man and the unclean spirit screamed. The spirit threw the man into a convulsion, but then left him. Jesus' authority cannot be challenged and it changes lives.
When we speak the Word of God itis backed up by the authority of Jesus. The Word of God is the greatest spirtual authority on this earth. When we follow Jesus, we become bearers of truth and we have the power to set people free with His message. Just as Paul demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 2: 4-5: "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."
Scriptures: Matthew 4:17, Mark: 1:14-15
Jesus' ministry began with a message. He showed that the kingdom of God is near and God is not distant or removed. He desires that we turn from our sins: turn away from our self-centeredness and self-control. He wants us to believe that this good news, because His' words offered freedom, justice and hope.
Jesus ministered to people who were looking for something outside of themselves. He ministered to people who were spiritually oppressed by sin, poor people (both naturally and spiritually), and people without hope.
Jesus' message required action; He asked them to give first through repentance. He asked that they turn there lives over to Him and He asked for their commitment.
The message of Jesus is a timeless message. It was applicable when He walked on earth and is applicable now because: sin is still oppresive, financial struggles still exist and people will always need something to hope in.
To witness we must call people to action: tell them that God is near, not removed from their troubles. Tell them to turn away from things that are offensive to God and repent. Tell them the good news that salvation brings freedom, true justice is found in God's word and His spirit provides hope. People are looking for good news, share it.
Scriptures: 1 Kings 19:1-8
Elijah the prophet was a man of single-minded commitment to God: he challenged the priests of Baal to a showdown and fire came down from heaven. He predicted the beginning and end of a three year drought, he prayed for rain and rain came. He raised a dead child to life and outran the king's chariot. He confronted evil kings, false prophets and double minded believers. He stood for God even when he was all alone.
This man, who had such great faith and courage, had a breaking point. He faced an attack by evil: the spirit of Jezebel. It was a wicked spirit: a spirit of control, of manipulation, of intimidation and rebellion. Elijah felt victimized by this spirit. He felt fear, worthlessness, bondage and destruction. Jezebel spoke words of adversity and Elijah ran.
God spoke to Elijah when he was at his breaking point. God did not speak words of condemnation, frustration, anger or disgust. He spoke with pure compassion. God is with us even at our breaking point. Personal defeat can even follow times of great victories, but our breaking point does not define our walk with God. We have and will do great things for God, but we all have a breaking point. We want to run, but God will show up and you will experience pure compassion.