By Ernie Dahl – Kenosha, Wisconsin
At 6-years-old, I was sitting in the front row of a huge new church in Waukegan, Illinois. To my right was a statue of a mother, sitting with a grown man on her lap. He didn’t look well.
I asked Sister Mary Theresa, “who are they?” She said, “His name is Jesus and that is his mother, Mary. He so loved you that he hung on a cross and gave his life for you and for me, so we could go to heaven.”
As I sat there staring at the statue of Jesus, it established the course of my life, even though I didn’t know it at the time. That image and what that saintly nun said were indelibly burned into my heart.
It’s Christ in Me
In the spring of 1973, I was 26-years-old and was taught something quite profound – that it is Christ in you, the hope of glory! I can do the works that Jesus did and greater, because he ascended and is seated at the right hand of his Father, our Father. I am now a member in particular together with other believers on a global scale.
The statue that I had seen so many years before came to life in my heart and I (quite literally) burst into tears of thankfulness. The thoughts and dreams of a whole new world of signs, miracles, and wonders came to life.
There was a song in my heart, a spring in my step, a new twinkle in my eye, and a realization that I was onto something bigger than life itself.
The Badge of Heaven
One of the things I’ve learned since then is that there are two spiritual kingdoms, and an intense battle is raging between them. After about 300 years of no recorded revelation from God, John the Baptist came on the scene and spoke of something new.
The sense of it was, “hey, listen up! Take heed! Something is at hand called the kingdom of heaven!” (Matthew 3:2) There was a new sheriff in town!
Although Jesus’s specific target at that time was to the lost sheep of Israel, with the introduction of the new birth, that target has been expanded to the uttermost parts of the world!
In Matthew 4, Jesus preaches, teaches, and heals. He not only declared the kingdom of heaven, he added some heat…he displayed authority and power.
There was healing and deliverance on a scale that no one had ever seen. It was proof that the kingdom of heaven was certainly at hand – and still is!
Matthew 10:7-8 reveals that while declaring the kingdom of heaven, something of a glorious and unheard-of magnitude was also made available.
People were then able to display a rich sample of the same power that Jesus had shown. They were co-witnesses to the truth that the kingdom of heaven was a reality. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils. And as you go, PREACH!
A Bold New Plan
In Matthew 12:28, our Lord declares, “If I cast out devils….!” John 10:10 speaks of “life to the full and overflowing!” John 14:12 reminds us, “Greater works than these [the works Jesus did] shall you do!”
These truths establish a bold new plan of action.
In Acts 1:3-8, Jesus reveals more to the apostles pertaining to the kingdom of God and their personal relationship in the declaration of it. Shortly thereafter, something exploded on the scene that no one expected, and it changed the course of the world both spiritually and physically.
Its arrival shook the spiritual foundations of the world, and the after-shocks will last an eternity! The day of Pentecost had arrived! New birth! Filled to the brim and overflowing with holy spirit! The promise of John 14:12 has arrived!
Yes! There is a NEW TYPE of sheriff in town, and we aren’t playing around.
The thought had to have gone through the devil’s mind… “geez, never saw this comin’. Wow, now it’s like he’s all over the place. Wish I knew this before we had Jesus crucified. Something has gone terribly wrong! I don’t feel so well. I’d much rather have just one Christ walking around.”
The sacred secret and the riches of the glory of that mystery began to be revealed. This was the beginning of a new day and age.
Let’s Get Deputized
With Jesus Christ as the head, there’s a new sheriff in town. And there’s a growing body of “duly sworn in” deputies on the scene with more coming daily. These agents are loaded to the hilt.
They have the armor of God, the sword of the spirit, “nine bullets” (manifestations of the spirit) that never run out, and an ‘open-carry license.’ They are always praying in the spirit, they are hitting the road running, declaring the victory they have in Christ Jesus! The Corona virus and its accompanying fear doesn’t stand a chance!
Beginning in Acts 2:4, Scripture describes how the apostles’ lives declared the active presence of the kingdom of God. The concluding ‘book end’ of that dynamic description is Acts 28:31.
We ourselves, as ‘deputized’ agents of the new Sheriff, need to add the following declaration to the top of our priorities:
Boldly hold forth the heart of God our Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. Signs and wonders will follow.
We are the body of Christ and ambassadors for Him. We put on the armor of God with the sword of the spirit. We have those nine bullets (manifestations of the spirit) and the exceeding great and precious promises and blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
As the Lord’s spiritual deputies, we are walking in the spirit, putting on the mind of Christ and declaring the victory.
The kingdom of God is at hand! Panic and sickness, step aside! Let’s teach, preach, and heal!
Take a moment and read Ephesians 6:10-18. God through Christ is calling on you to RISE UP and proudly and boldly display that badge of the holy spirit to others.
Your family needs you. Your neighbor needs you. Your city needs you.
So pilgrim, pull up your boot straps. Let’s saddle up and hit the trail and beat this pandemic alongside the new Sheriff!
With all of the love in Christ that is in me, I pray that God will bless and inspire you until we, together, see our Lord face to face in glory. Amen.