GOD TAKES CONTROL OF WORSHIP: THE ANOINTING
'But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.' (Acts 1:8)
The anointing brings us into a new realm in worship where the Holy Spirit takes control of the worship. This was not the case in the earlier levels of worship where the worshipper was always in control. The believers on the day of Pentecost were worshipping, but the Holy Spirit was leading them in worship. If we always want to be in control we will not be able to enter into anointed worship. The anointing makes the Lord Jesus more precious to us, gives us a new tongue to praise Him and fills us with a boldness to be worshipping witnesses to the Lord Jesus.
Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power to be witnesses, but the baptism with the Holy Spirit is more than an empowerment to witness; it is an empowerment for worship. The believers were anointed to be worshipping witnesses. Being a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ can never be separated from being a worshipper. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit brought the believers into a higher realm of worship, the anointing. This higher level of worship is the means of drawing multitudes to Christ.
Three thousand men came to Christ after Peter preached in the temple. But what was it that drew this crowd to listen to Peter? It was the believers worshipping in the Holy Spirit. They said '...we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God', (Acts 2:11). Peter's preaching alone would not have caused these people to recognise Jesus as their Messiah. It was the believers worshipping in the Holy Spirit that had gained the attention of the multitude. Peter's preaching was in response to the commotion among the people when they heard the believers worshipping in their own languages.
The believers were gathered together on the Day of Pentecost in unity. They were united in their love for the Lord Jesus. Joy overflowed in their hearts after the resurrection of Jesus. They were filled with thankfulness and praise. Their lives were totally surrendered to Christ as they waited expectantly for the promised empowerment with the Holy Spirit. Then they were brought into a new realm of worship through the anointing. It was not their unity that brought the anointing, but unity was essential in order for them to receive the anointing.
The people of God are a body, and every member is essential for the needs of the body. A body can only be in unity when every part is in the right place, and every member is functioning in perfect relationship with the other members of the body. A church is more than a group of individuals who come together at meeting times. The church is one body with many members who can only function right when they are in right relationship with one another. The anointing cannot flow through the body unless there is the unity of the Spirit. This is not a man made unity where differences are ignored; it is the unity of one body in Christ with one Spirit, (Ephesians 4:4). The Psalmist saw this unity as being like precious ointment. The blessing of God will be upon believers who dwell together in the unity of the Spirit. 'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore' (Psalm 133: 1-3).
When the body of Christ worships in unity then the anointing of the Holy Spirit will minister through the body in three ways: The Holy Spirit gives; He serves; and He energises (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). The body of Christ will be known by a willingness to give; a willingness to serve; and for the energising power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit anointing is necessary to empower and make effective everything in the life of the body of Christ. Prayer meetings will come alive when the wonderful energising power of the Holy Spirit is present. The evidence of this anointing among believers is great joy.
The body of Christ has looked upon the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an empowerment for witness without recognising the all-important truth that witness must never be separated from worship. Those who desire to be anointed witnesses to the Lord Jesus must first be anointed worshippers. Even the unsaved are aware of the difference. 'Who Jesus is' can be an interesting topic of discussion for drunkards on a Saturday night and the conversation is soon forgotten. But anointed worshippers witnessing in the power of the Holy Spirit will cause men and women to tremble like Felix trembled before Paul. 'And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go your way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for you' (Acts 24:25).
When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost there was an awareness of a new anointing upon the believers. The people who heard Peter preach were pierced to the heart because of the anointing moving upon them. 'Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?' (Acts 2:37). The Holy Spirit was moving in a way that had not been seen before. People had not responded to the ministry of Jesus like this. The crowds had followed Jesus because of the healings and the miracles that took place, but on the day of Pentecost it was worship that brought a multitude to receive Jesus.
This level of worship moves us into a completely new realm because the worshipper moves out of the way and the Holy Spirit controls the worship. The anointed worshipper looks to the Lord for leadership, but this is not possible if we have never been broken. A hardened heart will resist the moving of the Holy Spirit. Many will never allow the Lord to break them because they are afraid of losing their self-respect. If we are concerned about our reputation we will never know the anointing of God upon our lives.
When David brought the Ark of the
Many Christians are content to know that God's presence is everywhere. But this higher realm of worship is more than being aware of the presence of God. It is the place where God is 'more present' and where the Glory of God is upon His people. Those who desire to worship God in the anointing will always come against opposition from people who resist the moving of the Holy Spirit. Even David was not an exception to this, and he faced opposition as soon as he went home. David had been unashamed to openly declare that he was a worshipper of the Lord. His heart was filled with joy, and he had humbled himself before the Lord, but his own wife, the daughter of Saul, despised him for it. Opposition to the anointing can often come from those closest to us. She despised him because he had a greater desire to be clothed with the anointing of the Holy Spirit than to be clothed with kingly garments. The greatest opposition to the anointing will always come from those who, like Michal, have a form of godliness but deny the power of God (2 Timothy 3:5).
The anointing will always bring a greater awareness of the presence of the Lord. Anointed worship produces greater love among believers, greater joy for worship, and greater power for witness. The anointing is characterised by believers experiencing 'joy unspeakable and full of glory' as the Holy Spirit anoints them with the 'oil of gladness'. The anointing always brings opposition and in the Acts of the Apostles it is seen that the anointing which produced great joy and brought a multitude to Christ also produced hostility in the religious leaders who resisted the moving of the Holy Spirit. For the worshipper this is a great blessing because it enables him or her to move up to an even higher place in worship.
The greatest evidence of the anointing is joy, but in addition we can see that the early church had a great love for the scriptures. They were filled with love one for another and this was expressed through joyous giving. They desired to be in fellowship with one another. They were anointed witnesses to the Lord. They ate together with gladness and without the cares and concerns of life. They no longer sought their own interests, but they became rejoicing people giving themselves continuously to prayer (Acts -47). Believers who truly desire to be anointed worshippers will have the same character as them.