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But as elect of the Lord… we are now here. Here to finish the work that Barnabas and Saul were set aside for, which was given them in Acts 13.2 to prevent the church from reaching out and accepting the words of a man that negated the capstone effect of Jesus’ words. Barnabas and Paul were successful amongst the Gentiles in Acts 13 and 14 so that they could stand up and oppose James’ recommendations in Acts 15, which brought the Gentiles and the Jewish believers who endorsed them back under the curse of partial observance of the law, and caused the draining of miraculous power from the church.

Here to finish that work because Barnabas and Saul did not stop the council of Jerusalem from accepting James’ recommendations. An action that Paul would come to reject, for later he had to contend with the teachings of men from James in Galatians 2.11-12. As such, it is not only to finish the work, but rather, to complete the work so that Jesus will return to find the church in a state as if Barnabas and Saul did finish the work, thus justifying the Holy Spirit’s election of them. For they have borne the heat of the day and we are merely reaping the benefits of their labour.

It is not only to finish the so unfinished business for our brothers… but as His elect now, we have the opportunity of fulfilling these words of Jesus – “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” – to its highest pinnacle… by driving Satan out of this world, the worst of all evil spirits, so that truly the Kingdom of God has not only come, but has been established. This will be fulfilled the day Jesus arrives and the angel comes down with chains to bind Satan and throw him into the abyss for a thousand years. As surely as the driving out of demons signal that the Kingdom of God has come upon us, so the driving out of Satan will signal the establishment of the Kingdom of God… even now.

A focussed effort to have Satan driven out of this world is not a prayer campaign to bind Satan, to win souls, and to build the church. Rather, it is a focussed effort to fulfil all necessary Scriptures so that Jesus can be sent back by the Father, for the prince of darkness is not cast out of this world until Jesus arrives. As such, any effort to concentrate on eliminating and destroying Satan’s works is futile and distracting. Every effort that is focussed on the fulfilment of all necessary Scriptures for the return of Jesus is profitable. The return of Jesus does not depend on the defeat of Satan, for as Jesus has said, He has no hold on Me…” As such, just as Satan could not stop the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, but even assisted in the death, so Satan cannot stop the return of Jesus… only the disciples of Jesus who continue to refuse to listen to Jesus can.

It was not Satan who stopped them from going to Bethsaida immediately, but they themselves. It was not Satan who stopped them from going to Galilee on resurrection morning, but they themselves. Disciples who do not have in mind the things of God but of men have been handing Satan more victories than Satan can personally muster. Little wonder Jesus called Peter, “Satan,” when He rebuked him. And how can anyone have the things of God in mind if you do not listen to the One whom God has commanded you to listen to? As such, the real satan that can oppose us is not the devil himself, for if he has no hold on Jesus, he has no hold on us… but rather, it is the other disciples of Jesus who do not listen to Him.

Imagine if you were the one who refused to get into the boat that night to go with them to Capernaum, you would have been accused of disunity. And if you were to take a stand against the judgments of men on the words of Jesus now, you would be declared a heretic even. Yet if one had remained, then perhaps, just perhaps… through that one the others might have been brought to repentance as he and not Jesus was the one to walk out on the water to get them and bring them back to Bethsaida. That did not happen then… but it can happen now.

The focussed determined effort by the elect to see all Scriptures fulfilled so that Jesus can return, even to the point of ignoring what Satan is doing as a distraction, will be like one of the twelve staying behind to wait for Jesus instead of going with the twelve.

Of course there is an even better way, that is, to be the one who would obey immediately and go to Bethsaida if the other eleven were hesitating. In that way, the rebellion would have been prevented and the eleven would have had to wait for Jesus because the one selfishly went to Bethsaida first. When Jesus came down the mountain to find the eleven waiting for Him because the one had obeyed and had gone immediately when the others hesitated, how do you think Jesus will speak or reward or rebuke the one who was in Bethsaida?

When Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees about His authority to forgive the sins of the cripple… He responded with a display of power, saying, “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins…” Then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” As such, the authority to do whatever we have been told to do by Jesus is likewise backed up by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. Whereas others have sought to acquire financial, intellectual, political and even military power to seek to fulfil Scriptures, and now are bearing the fruit of their ill advised ways… so the elect must singularly focus on the acquisition of trustworthiness by the Holy Spirit to be privileged to have His miraculous powers at their disposal to effect the fulfilment of Scriptures. It is the one who abides in Jesus and in whom Jesus abides who will have what they wish and what they will done for them. And as such, it is those elect who have in mind at all times the things of God and not of men to whom the power of the Holy Spirit will be entrusted without limit. Power far greater than anything the false prophet can muster. As such, have no fear. Indeed, you will have no fear when your entire being – heart, soul, might and mind – is consumed with love for God in seeing Jesus Christ arrive back on the clouds of glory as He has told us.

The stricter an elect adheres to the practice of the words of Jesus to the total exclusion of all others, the greater the flow of power through him for the confounding of the wise of this world and the distraction of all that oppose the Person of God. As such, it is not only in seeking to have the power so that Jesus may come back, but it is also in seeking to have Jesus come back that we may have the power. As in the beginning, the power of the Holy Spirit was given to the early disciples for the establishment of the church age, so now power is issued to those who are called, chosen and elected for the completion of the church age for the return of Jesus. But this simple criteria, all who are not interested in bringing Jesus back will have no power (miraculous power) of their own so that they are not able to hinder the work of those who are elected to bring Jesus back. The Holy Spirit will of course still work with them to confirm the Gospel with signs and wonders, but no power will be given them so that even those who are supposed to be great amongst them will openly confess, “I do not heal; Jesus heals,” and others will hide behind bodyguards and bulletproof glass on their crusades.

Even though those believers may hold sway over large amounts of financial, intellectual, political and even military power, nothing they have can withstand the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit that has been and is being issued to the elect. As the might and pride of Egypt crumbled before Moses, so the might and wisdom of men who do not have in mind the things of God will and are crumbling.

As such, the elect are to be like the storehouses set up by Joseph, storehouses of the word of God with their hearts and minds and hands, so that the power that changes lives can be dispensed through them. You see, through the seven years of abundance and seven years of lack in Egypt… the lives of the people were changed forever. Where once they were free men who owned their own land… by the time the famine was over, pharaoh owned everything. So it will be again… by the time these days of distress are over, Jesus will own everything again… all the land, all the livestock, all the people. For as in the days of Joseph, so now in the distress… those who seek relief will have to ‘purchase’ what they seek, for it will be purchased not with money, but with faith and repentance. Those who do not believe and repent will be sent home empty handed. Those who are destined for the fire, to the fire they will go… and those who are destined for Heaven, to Heaven they will go. But the meek, those who are noble of heart, gentle and humble, who would repent and believe, will remain to inherit the Earth to be fruitful upon it and to populate it during the millennial reign of Jesus.

In the same way as Jesus had authority to forgive sins, which He demonstrated with the miraculous healing of the cripple, so He has given to all who receive the Holy Spirit. Now again I say to you… receiving the Holy Spirit is not the same as having the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been poured out on all flesh as it was prophesied in Joel 2.28 because of Jesus… in the same way as all who walk under a waterfall have the water poured on them. But not all have received the Holy Spirit… in the same way as not all who get wet from the waterfall are happy about being wet. To receive the Holy Spirit is to rejoice, and not only rejoice, but to be humbled that He is upon you and you acknowledge Him for the Lord He is. Now, as Jesus said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven,” this time the power will flow through those who having received the Holy Spirit, have understood the words of Jesus and are foremost in forgiving sins… any sins except the sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Having experienced the blessing of listening to Jesus and practising His words with patient endurance and experiencing very little success… like a miner looking for gold, digging deep into a mountain… now for those who are to come up to the mountain first… like the three who went up first… those who have listened, practised and not been choked by the weeds – the cares, concerns and pleasures of this world… now is the time to experience why the first thing Jesus said to them as He came into the room instead of rebuking them were these incredible words: “Peace be with you!” … Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. … Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

People speak of the power of forgiveness in a figurative, psychological sense… never attaching to it the miraculous power that flows from the forgiveness, for men do not acknowledge the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins. Anyone who does not acknowledge the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins has trodden underfoot the blood of Jesus… so that no amount of piety, works, religiosity… nothing will avail of them in the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit for their own personal, yes, personal use. They may be saved, that is because of the grace of God… they may have great rewards in Heaven, that is the generosity of God… but on Earth, they will never experience what God has always had in mind for men – to live as the image of God, male and female.

So when next you say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” experience then the power that flows to confirm the authority because you have received the Holy Spirit in His Name.

As He has authority, so to those whom He has sent, who work for His honour, have the same authority with power to back it up.

Amen.

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