PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
Television commercials are aimed at convincing the public their product is supreme. You’ve never seen a medicine commercial that announced: “Acme Aspirin can’t match Tylenol or Advil but it’s adequate.” No, Acme Aspirin would purport it has turbo-charged ingredients! It would insist that one tiny tablet would dwarf the potency of any other brand. Other examples of advertising are plenteous: One Acme paper towel could absorb a gallon of spilled water; Acme Bran Cereal has five-times the nutrition of Oat-flakes Cereal. A little hyperbole, but you get the idea of commercials. However, it’s no exaggeration when Jesus announces what the Holy Spirit offers Christians. And that’s what I want to examine.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
The anointing is a mysterious concept in the Kingdom and it’s because it’s linked with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the self-effacing, third person in the Trinity. He’s fully God but He’s purposely self-shrouded and functions to glorify the Father and Son. That’s what makes Him enigmatic. This places a high degree of mystery upon the anointing since it’s directly attached to the Holy Spirit.
(Example) Sometimes the full import of the anointing is misunderstood. When people picture the “anointing,” they instinctively relegate it to preachers of the Gospel. That’s understandable when you consider that particular venue the anointing is manifested. Think about it: A divinely called messenger declares God’s Word to the Body of Christ. When placed in that context, the anointing is highly visible! But the anointing involves more than a high-voltage preacher ministering before a congregation.
(Definition) Here’s the definition of the word anointing. It means: “to smear on, paint over, and rub in.” Many of you anointed yourself before leaving for Church. You took cologne, perfume, or makeup and gave yourself a cosmetic anointing. However, whenever the word anointing appears in the New Testament it’s always associated with the Holy Spirit. It’s having the Holy Spirit “smeared, painted, and rubbed” into your life.
Although John says every Believer is anointed, a distinction should be made concerning the degree to which the Holy Spirit anoints believers. For example, Jesus received the ultimate anointing by the Spirit. Scripture calls Him the “Messiah.” The word Messiah (in Hebrew) or Christ (in Greek) means, “Anointed One.” And the apostle John said Jesus received the Spirit without measure (John 3:34).
Do you remember the terminology the woman at the well used to identify Jesus when she discovered His identity? She exclaimed: “I know the Messiah has come!” She was actually saying: “I know the One fully smeared, painted, and covered with God’s Spirit is here!” And that’s what distinguished Jesus from other religious leaders—the anointing. It was the difference-maker! And if you want to know what His anointing involved then notice the first sermon He preached in Luke 4:18-19. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, (19) to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The anointing was so important to Jesus had it been stripped from Him He would have been without any ministry! There would have been no preaching, miracles, or deliverance. I fear if God totally removed the anointing from many Churches today that 90% of their activity would move along unabated. They wouldn’t realize it for months!
The Anointing Satisfies the Soul
There’s something we shouldn’t miss about the anointing upon Jesus. He experienced a deep sense of fulfillment and His soul was fully satisfied as He operated in the anointing. That’s why Jesus was consumed with ministering in the Spirit’s power.
Luke 19:10 says He “came to seek and to save what was lost.” That word save means, “to deliver and wholly impact someone.” The only way Jesus could deliver and wholly impact people was by duplicating the ministry of Moses. And that meant Jesus had to operate in the anointing of the Spirit. And that’s where Jesus experienced fulfillment. This is what He meant just before His crucifixion in John 17:4 when He said: “[Father,] I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” What work was He referring to? The miraculous work of Luke 4:18 and operating in the Spirit’s power.
(Example) When Christians seek to be “filled with the Spirit” they will also discover that the anointing will keep them “on-track”! Let me repeat that statement: “When you consistently operate in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, it will help keep you “on-track.” You see, mere busy-ness and even “kingdom activity” cannot bring you purpose or contentment. If “purpose” and contentment were found in mere activity, everybody in America would be happy because we spend billions of dollars on amusements, entertainment, and recreation. But they don’t satisfy. Purpose and contentment arise from the anointing. If you want peace of mind and contentment you must release your anointing.
Again, the anointing brings satisfaction! And the reason so many Christians are unhappy is because the anointing isn’t flowing! Think about the times you experienced the deepest sense of satisfaction. I’ll guarantee you it’s when the Spirit’s anointing coursed through your life and you fulfilled Christ’s purpose. When people resist the anointing and neglect their calling God makes them miserable! But when we willingly let God flow through our lives we find great satisfaction. That’s why Hebrews 1:9 calls the anointing the “oil of gladness.” The anointing brings that satisfying expression of joy!
I am convinced God has linked the anointing of the Holy Spirit to a person’s innermost needs. Psychologists teach that man’s core needs include: purpose, significance, worth, love acceptance, fellowship, security, and a sense of belonging. That’s why God, the “Wonderful Counselor” who understands our human nature best, seeks to anoint us with His Spirit to help bring purpose, significance, worth, love, acceptance, fellowship, security, and a sense of belonging.
In order to experience purpose He anoints us with a divine commission and let’s us declare with Christ, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me . . . [and] he has sent me” (Luke 4:18).
- He knows we need worth and significance so He anoints us with spiritual gifts and authority to minister to others’ needs.
He realizes our desire for fellowship and that’s why Hebrews 13:5 says He will never leave nor forsake us.
God understood our need for love and acceptance and Acts 4:33 says the anointing supplies divine favor.
God knows our need for shelter and many Scriptures announce the anointing’s special protection—even to the point where our enemies are put at peace toward us (1SA 16:13; 26:9-23; 2SA 1:14; 19:21; 23:1; ISA 11:2).
And God knows our need for belonging and Exodus 30:29 says the anointing puts a distinguishing mark of separation from the world upon us and identifies us as God’s elect.
When you analyze the anointing there’s one conclusion: It’s the difference-maker! Without it our innermost needs are unfulfilled and we’re unqualified to handle life’s drama, dilemmas, and challenges, but with it we’re fully qualified to handle life.
(Application) I want you to repeat something. Say, “I’m anointed!”
- You’re anointed to fulfill your purpose and destiny.
You’re anointed to minister God’s power to others.
You’re anointed to experience God’s favor.
You’re anointed with God’s hedge of protection.
You’re anointed as a distinctly sealed saint.
No wonder God said, “touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm.” To touch someone that’s anointed is to touch God Himself! If you touch the anointing make certain it’s reverently not with hostility!
Guard Your Anointing!
Folks, it’s important to guard your anointing because Satan will always seek to undermine it. He realizes how important it is to your spiritual and emotional welfare and he will disrupt it by any and all possible means. He wants you floundering, discontented, confused, and without purpose. That means you must continually seek to maintain your anointing. 1 Timothy 4:14 says, “Do not neglect your gift.” 2 Timothy 1:6 says, “to fan into flame the gift of God.”
(Example) I discovered an amazing conclusion to Christ’s parable of the talents. You remember how He gave one man five talents ($200,000) another man two talents ($80,000) and another man one ($40,000). He then instructed them to “occupy” until His return. You can draw several points from this parable but one is evident. In the final analysis Jesus clearly connected joy with engaging your talents! (MAT 25:23). When the master of the parable returned to require of his servant’s enterprising the men with the five and two talents had doubled theirs. Listen to the master’s response: “Come and share your master’s happiness [joy].” Jesus linked joy with engaging their gift. But the man with one talent had ignored his and buried it. His fate involved being banished to “darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (30). The ultimate demise of the foolish servant was eternal sorrow!
(Transition) Let me mention another aspect of the anointing.
The Anointing Raises You to a Higher Dimension
God has called you to fulfill a divinely appointed destiny but you can’t achieve it through the flesh. The anointing transcends your fleshly limitations, raises you to a higher dimension, and supplies divine power to achieve!
What does it enable you to achieve? That’s almost rhetorical since God is the anointing. The better question is, What doesn’t the anointing enable you to achieve? The anointing qualifies you to deal with every aspect of life: its challenges, drama, dilemmas, and even death.
(Example) This is perfectly depicted in Genesis 24 in that amazing story of Isaac’s betrothal to Rebekah. Abraham called his chief servant and made him pledge to help Isaac marry a girl from His relatives’ household and not from the Canaanites. Embedded within this narrative is the symbolic relationship among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abraham, representing the Heavenly Father, sent his servant Eliezer, connoting the Holy Spirit, to secure a bride for his son Isaac, signifying Christ. Eliezer traveled back to Abraham’s homeland and found Rebekah at a well—doing the work of a servant—drawing water for camels, one of the filthiest animals on earth. Look what happened to Rebekah when God showed Eliezer she was to become Isaac’s bride. He crowned her with the wealth of Abraham lavishing her with silver and gold. (Representing the gifts of the Spirit.) A few days later she was Isaac’s wife! In a moment’s time she ascended to a completely different dimension. She was transformed from a domestic servant that watered camels to an heir of Abraham. All because she permitted Eliezer, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, to impact her life.
You see, the Holy Spirit takes Believers to a higher dimension! He will find you, guide you, enrich you, and empower you to handle life. He’s the ultimate Power-Source and offers what no one else can offer:
- One ordinary man preached at Pentecost but the extraordinary Holy Spirit ignited Peter’s words, swept through the crowd, and converted 3,000 people.
A few days later two apostles walked toward the Temple but the Spirit intervened and poured leaping and walking strength into that lame beggar’s legs.
Peter, in all his mortality, walked down the street, but the Spirit’s immortality energized his shadow and instantly cured the afflictions of those that lined the streets.
Paul and Silas sat beaten and bruised in jail. There are no records indicating these men possessed choral qualities. Their vibrato couldn’t shatter glass much less shafts of steel. Most ministers are tone-deaf and sing off key anyway. But as Paul and Silas sang, the Spirit’s power swirled, shook the cell, split the bars, and converted the jailer.
And the Holy Spirit that worked for men and women in the Word works for believers today:
- John 14:16 calls the Holy Spirit our Counselor and that means we have a higher dimension of insight for living.
Romans 8:26 says He anoints us to enter a higher dimension of prayer when we don’t know how to pray.
Acts 6:3-8 says He provides a higher dimension of wisdom, faith, and power.
Colossians 1:9 reveals He offers a divine comfort to transcend life’s turmoil.
And 1 John 2:27 says the anointing enables us to discern truth from error.
Does the Holy Spirit impact you? His inundating presence can affect and empower every area of life.