PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
1 Peter 4:10-11
Anointing! There’s a mystery to that word. In fact, I believe God purposely infused the word anointing with mystery. But here’s what’s important to understand about “The Anointing.” While it has a broad and beautiful meaning, on a uniquely personal level the anointing is what God grants to each Christian for the purpose of fulfilling their ministry for Christ’s glory. But with that said, it’s also important to understand the meaning of the word ministry. That’s because ministry and anointing are not mutually exclusive; they work hand-in-hand.
(Definition) Ministry is service unto God. It’s what Christians do to bless the kingdom of God. And ministry covers everything from a sound technician to an altar worker. It’s not just full-time pastors and evangelists engaged in God’s work; all Christians are called into the ministry! I like how Corinthians 12:27 puts it: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” This means everyone here has been anointed by the Holy Spirit for service in God’s Kingdom. You may not have a pulpit ministry but the Kingdom of God is much broader than the width of a pulpit!
Ministry involves Christians serving where their heart moves them most. It could be through prayer, evangelism, benevolence, ushering, nursery work, or assisting the needy in a multitude of ways. Everyone has been called and anointed to minister . . . everyone! However, many people are good at making excuses. And I’ve heard some classic excuses through the years. Years ago, the columnist, Ann Landers, compiled notes from parents to teachers explaining why their children missed school:
Dear Teacher: Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.
Mrs. Smith: Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea, and his boots leaked.
Dear Teacher: Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.
Dear Mr. Thomas: Jennifer missed school yesterday for a good reason. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.
Do you realize Jesus was a mere twelve-years-old when he told his parents, “I must be about My Father’s business”? The Heavenly Father had already disclosed His divine relationship to Jesus, and Christ was fully committed executing His Father’s will before he was a teenager!
And when Jesus told the Parable of the Talents, He assured us that excuses wouldn’t be accepted on the Day of Judgment. Paul said that “Every man will give an account of himself to God.” And on that day of reckoning, God will ask one question of us: “What did you do with your talents?” In other words, “What did you do with your anointing, your spiritual gifts, and with your God-given abilities?” That’s why Jesus told His followers to “occupy until He returned.” We must not ignore that statement!
(Definition) Since this message specifically deals with the anointing I want to clarify what I mean by the word. Anointing means: “to smear on, paint over, or rub in.” The word anointing is a metaphor for the presence of the Holy Spirit. For example, many of you anointed yourself before leaving your house. You took cologne, perfume, or makeup and gave yourself a cosmetic anointing. This is what the Bible means when it says Christians have been anointed with the Holy Spirit. It means He has been “smeared upon, painted on, and rubbed into your life.” He’s so closely associated with you that you have his presence everywhere you go!
As you study the divine titles of Jesus, one title comes from the Greek word Christ, which is translated in Hebrew as Messiah. Both words mean: “Anointed One.” This is what God wants us to know about Jesus: He was fully, completely, wholly, inundated with the presence of the Holy Spirit! He was anointed beyond measure! His entire life was characterized by the anointing of the Holy Spirit! The anointing was so important to Jesus had it been stripped from Him He would have been without any ministry. He would have possessed no divine authority, or performed one miracle, or delivered one suffering soul. My concern today is this: If God removed the “anointing” from many Christians 90% of their activity would continue unabated and they wouldn’t realize it for months!
(Transition) During this message I want to identify several facts about the anointing. First, I want you to understand how the anointing will raise you to a higher dimension.
The Anointing Raises You to a Higher Dimension
You see, God has called you to fulfill a divinely appointed destiny, but you can’t achieve it by yourself. To accomplish everything God destined you to accomplish you must first be supernaturally empowered. And that requires you to operate under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only way you can transcend your human limitations and accomplish the plan of God for your life.
(Explanation) So what does the anointing enable you to achieve? That question is almost rhetorical since the Holy Spirit is the anointing. However, the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit empowers you to deal with every aspect of life. It elevates you to a higher dimension and enables you to master all you encounter. The Holy Spirit will guide, guard, and empower you in ways unimagined. He is the Ultimate Helper!
(Illustration) Many years ago, a rough, country Evangelist itinerated on the American Frontier. He would enter a town, find a street corner or park, and begin preaching. On one occasion, a heckler challenged him as he ministered. The heckler stood on a tree stump and yelled: “If your God is real, then let Him knock me from this stump.” The Evangelist ignored him and kept preaching but the heckler kept taunting: “If your God is real, then let Him knock me from this stump.” Finally, the preacher walked through the crowd, cocked his arm, and flattened the troublemaker! The crowd froze in stunned amazement. The preacher stood over the heckler like a champion boxer and yelled out: “I never ask God to do anything I can’t handle myself.”
Funny as that illustration might be, that is not a correct interpretation of Acts 1:8 when the Bible says “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” There’s an infinite difference between the Holy Spirit’s power and souped-up human power! When the Holy Spirit anoints someone, it makes possible the impossible.
The Early Christians Were Anointed
You see, the anointing of the Holy Spirit was the chief characteristic of New Testament Christians. The presence of the Holy Spirit upon their worship was as different as a luxury airliner is to the horse and buggy.
One ordinary man preached at Pentecost, but God’s extraordinary power ignited Peter’s words, swept through the crowd, and converted 3000 souls.
A few days later, still brimming with the Spirit, Peter land John stopped at the Temple gate and watched God pour strength into a lame man’s legs.
Even Peter’s anointed shadow, falling upon the ill and afflicted, brought instant healing.
Paul and Silas knew what the anointing could do too. They were beaten, bloodied, and locked in prison. There are no records indicating these men possessed choral qualities. Their vibrato couldn’t shatter glass, much less shafts of steel. But as Paul and Silas sang, the Spirit’s power swirled, the earth shook, the bars split open, and the jailer was converted!
And the same potential is here for us:
John 14:16 calls the Holy Spirit our Counselor and that means He supplies a higher dimension of insight.
Romans 8:26 says He anoints us with words to pray, and that means He provides a higher dimension of persuasion with God.
Acts 6:3-8 says He provides us with wisdom, faith, and power—a higher dimension of confronting life.
Colossians 1:9 reveals He offers a “peace that transcends the world’s chaos.”
And 1 John 2:27 speaks of an anointing to discern truth from error even when the masses are deceived.
Hear me Saints of God: The Lord has not commissioned you to accomplish things you could do by human intelligence and strength alone. He called you to do impossible things—things that are beyond your ability to achieve. And the only way you will accomplish them is with His presence and power upon your life! That’s why God anoints you. The anointing causes you to transcend your fleshly limitations, raises you to a higher dimension, and supplies you with divine power to achieve!
(Transition) Let me tell you something else about the anointing you shouldn’t miss: Operating under the anointing is one of the few things in life that brings a deep sense of satisfaction and joy.
The Anointing Satisfies the Soul
Let me repeat that: When you operate under the Spirit’s anointing, it will provide you with a deep sense of satisfaction and joy. Notice what Jesus said about this:
(Definition) 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 delivered and impacted people was through the Spirit’s supernatural power. And it brought Him immense joy and satisfaction! This is why John 17:4 shows Jesus rejoicing, just before His crucifixion when He shouted: “[Father,] I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” The “work” Jesus referred to was what He had accomplished through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
You see, it’s impossible to be satisfied without the presence of the Holy Spirit coursing through your life; without His glory permeating your entire being. That’s why Hebrews 1:9 calls the anointing the “oil of gladness.” The anointing of the Holy Spirit’s presence upon you brings satisfaction and joy. Sometimes Christians assume that volunteering their service and participating in God’s Kingdom will bring them fulfillment. But think about this: If contentment was found in mere activity, it would separate joy and peace and contentment from the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit. And mere activity never infuses total satisfaction. Being connected to the “Zoe”-life of God brings joy and satisfaction.
(Insight) The reason so many Christians are unhappy is because the anointing isn’t flowing in their lives! Think about the times you experienced the deepest sense of satisfaction. It’s when you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through your life to fulfill His will. It’s always that way! Again, satisfaction of the soul cannot be claimed by being involved in God’s Kingdom. It’s praying, witnessing, teaching, preaching, serving, and helping through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. When Christians let the Holy Spirit flow it brings “the oil of gladness” upon their soul.
(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 Matthew 25:23 Jesus clearly connected joy with operating in your anointing and engaging your talents! Each of these men received “talents” that came directly from God’s hand. In other words, they were given spiritual endowment. Subsequently, when the Master of the house returned to inquire of their 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 the joy of these two men with their willingness to utilize the grace God had bestowed upon them.
Now, don’t overlook the consequences of the “foolish servant” that rejected God’s grace and provision to accomplish God’s will. Matthew 25;30 says the Master banished him to “darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The ultimate demise of the foolish servant was eternal sorrow—a place that excludes joy and happiness. You see, there’s joy when you obey God by utilizing His grace and anointing, and there’s sorrow when you neglect them. The anointing is the difference-maker!
(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.
Satan wants your anointing! He realizes how important it is to your spiritual and emotional welfare so he works to disrupt the Spirit’s flow through your life. He wants you floundering, discontented, confused, and without purpose. 2 Timothy 1:6 says to “fan into flame the gift of God.” As you do, the Holy Spirit’s anointing will keep you on track.