We’re in part two of our series entitled “The Messiah” talking about the promised One, Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Holy One of God. And we’ve been looking at prophecy, the holy Scriptures identifying the Messiah, and considering ways that he brings hope, joy, love, and peace into our lives. In part one, we saw the prophet Jeremiah reflecting on his affliction, the bitterness in his life, but then as he remembers the Lord’s great love and the promise of the Messiah, he proclaims, “Therefore, I have hope…” (Lam. 3.21). And, that’s what is so beautiful about this time year, because there is this sense of anticipation, the hope of new things, that everything would be different.
In fact, as we open the Scriptures this morning, we find the same sentiment from the psalmist. In the opening verses of Psalm chapter 45 we find the writer bubbling over with anticipation of the Messiah. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, his heart is stirred and his joy and excitement uncontainable as he describes the glories of Messiah. Beginning in verse one he says,
“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer” (Psalm 45:1).
“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword upon your side, O’ mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty” (Psalm 45:2-3).
And while there may be allusions to earthly kings, none surpass the prophetic implications of the Messiah Jesus Christ who is the center of heaven’s glory. King Jesus is the focus of heaven’s worship and one day we too shall behold him in all of his splendor and majesty. The psalmist continues saying in verse four,
“In your Majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right-hand display awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the King’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet” (Psalm 45:4-5).
“Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy” (Psalm 45:6-7).
The Holy Spirit inspiring the author of this Psalm makes it impossible to miss the messianic interpretation. His heart is stirred as he describes the grace, the splendor, and the beauty of Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He envisions the Messiah not only as he who is full of grace, but as a victorious warrior. He is a righteous King who has been set apart from every other king and anointed with the oil of joy.
Now, certainly that is the joy which belongs to the Bridegroom, Jesus, the Messiah, who was anointed to preach good news to the poor, bestowing upon them the oil of gladness and a garment of praise. The Messiah would come and call those who are weary and burdened, people who are fearful and overwhelmed, and he would turn their mourning into gladness, giving them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. This is King Jesus, the Anointed One, who after having fulfilled all righteousness in his humiliation on the cross, the Bible says,
“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).
He is the Anointed One and as you come to him in humility and surrender, he shall anoint you with the oil of joy. It’s his anointing that is the overflow of his glory, it’s his very presence, and it’s that anointing that gives you the power to keep loving, serving, and making a difference in this world. And so, we need to understand that it’s a gift that we accept, we receive it, because number one, the anointing comes through grace.
1. Anointing Through Grace
In John chapter 11, the Bible tells us that a man named Lazarus had died, for four days he had laid in the grave, but the Messiah was about to change all that. He told his disciples to remove the stone from the opening of the tomb and with lips anointed with grace he called in to the dead man saying,
“Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go" (John 11:43-44).
As you could imagine, there was great joy in that place, and the Bible says that many who had come to visit Mary saw what Jesus did and put their faith in him as Messiah.
Now, turning ahead to Acts chapter 9, there’s another example of the anointing, but this time it’s on the other side of the cross. This is after the resurrection and it’s important because this is what Jesus wants to do through everyone who believes. The Bible tells us that there was a disciple named Tabitha who had become sick and died. Her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room and the disciples hearing that Peter was nearby sent for him. When he arrived in Joppa he was taken upstairs at once and the Bible says,
“Peter got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord” (Acts 9:40-42).
Once again, like the story of Lazarus, here we find a life cut short by illness; this woman who had lived a life full of doing good and helping the poor was now dead and lying in an upper room. The apostle Peter ministering with the anointing of the Holy Spirit called out, “Tabitha, get up” and the dead woman rose. Just like the anointing through grace in Christ raised Lazarus, Peter with the anointing followed his example, not just because he’d seen Jesus do this, but in obedience to his command in Matthew chapter 10 to
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, and drive out demons…” (Matthew 10:8).
And this is God’s will for every single one of us, because we have the presence of the living God dwelling within us, the anointing of God is really a prescription for the miraculous.
You see, every single believer, every one of you who has put your trust in Jesus Christ has been sealed by the Holy Spirit, you’ve been anointed, you’ve been born again, and Jesus has crammed your destiny full of good works. In fact, the Bible tells us,
“We were created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (Ephesians 2:10).
And so, if you’ve been called according to his purpose, it’s not in your own might or your own power, but according to his Spirit. It’s the anointing of the Holy Spirit that works inside of you, both to produce the character of Christ in you, but also to be the anointing that flows through you to impact the world around you with miracles, signs, and wonders. In fact, Jesus promised,
“These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they’ll drive out demons; they’ll speak in new tongues; they’ll pick up snakes with their hands; (if they’re poisoned), it won’t hurt them at all; they’ll place their hands on sick people, and they’ll get well" (Mark 16:17-18).
And so, the signs of the anointing shouldn’t surprise you, because it’s all through grace, it’s God’s grace, and then number two.
2. The Anointing Is Important
Number two, the Anointing is important if we’re going to fulfill our calling and affect the world with the good news of the Messiah. The problem is that we can become so consumed with ourselves, with our blessings, our game, our career, or our family that we never allow the Holy Spirit, the Anointing of Messiah, the freedom to flow through us. You see, it’s easy to become so distracted by what God has done for us, that we never allow God to use us, and so we never see one miracle happen through us. And what happens is that we begin to grieve the Holy Spirit because we haven’t submitted to him, we haven’t allowed him to operate through us, and to administer his gifts to the church. In fact, the apostle Paul warned the church in Thessalonica,
“Don’t put out the Spirit's fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
In other words, don’t quench the Spirit’s fire, don’t quench the Anointing, because it’s the Holy Spirit that’s working inside of us and working through us. You see, not only is the Holy Spirit producing the character of Messiah in us, but he is doing the work of Messiah through us. And so, it’s the anointing inside of us which when it’s cultivated and nurtured it blossoms into an anointing which is manifested in miracles, signs, and wonders.
Therefore, we want to yield to the Holy Spirit, giving him the freedom to flow through us, and not quenching the Spirit’s fire. You see, like fiery coals smoldering inside of us, we want to feed the fire, we want to fuel the anointing, and we want to fan it into flame. The anointing is important and that’s why the apostle Paul tells us,
“Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit, because the anointing is important, and what God has begun on the inside he wants to see manifested on the outside. You see, the integrity of a person is important, what the Holy Spirit is doing on the inside is important, but the miracles are equally important, because both are the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s the Anointing working in and through a person, and so you want to allow the Holy Spirit the freedom to flow through you as you administer the love of God to others.
The apostle Paul encourages us not to put out the Spirit’s fire and writing to the church in Corinth he said,
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy… everyone who prophesies speaks to others for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort… he who prophesies edifies the church” (1 Corinthians 14:1, 3-4).
And so, we want to follow the way of love, being zealous for the anointing, eager for the spiritual gifts, because when you’re serving others, you’re not putting out the Spirit’s fire. When you follow the way of love, you’re not grieving the Holy Spirit, you’re not quenching the anointing, and that’s why the Bible encourages us to,
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
In other words, anytime you’re lashing out at others, hurting people who hurt you, it grieves the Holy Spirit. And so, quenching the anointing has much to do with how you speak, how you think, and how you treat the people around you. In fact, the Bible tells us very clearly,
“If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he’s a liar. For anyone who doesn’t love his brother whom he’s seen, cannot love God whom he’s not seen” (1 John 4:20).
And so, the anointing is important, and it’s directly affected by how I treat my wife, or how I talk to my children and my neighbors. You see, when we don’t follow the way of love, when we hurt those who hurt us, when we treat people the way they treat us, we need to repent because the Holy Spirit is grieved, the Spirit’s fire is quenched, and the anointing diminishes. But on the other hand, when we’re loving, kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave us, number three, the anointing increases.
3. Increasing the Anointing
And so, I want to encourage you to let the anointing carry you away. Number three, I want you to yield yourself, surrendering to the Holy Spirit, so that as a church we’re increasing the anointing. You see, it’s the anointing of the Holy Spirit that’s the overflow of Messiah, the Anointed One flowing through you, and just as God the Father anointed Christ “with the oil of joy” he intends to anoint you with that same joy. In fact, the Bible tells us in Galatians chapter 5 that,
“The fruit of the Spirit is love and joy…” (Galatians 5:22).
And so, as we talk about increasing the anointing, I’m talking about intimacy with God, I’m talking about abounding in love and joy, with faithfulness and fruitfulness.
As I bring this message to a close, I want to share with you an amazing illustration of increasing the anointing. Now, earlier I had mentioned Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John chapter 11, and as we fast-forward to chapter 12 we find that it’s just days before the Passover, six days before Jesus would give up his life, and verse one says,
“Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:1-3).
But Judas objected to Mary pouring out this expensive perfume, he considered her act of worship and devotion to be a waste saying,
“Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages” (John 12:5).
But Jesus silenced Judas, because Mary understood things that the other disciples didn’t. He said,
"Leave her alone [It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial" (John 12:7).
You see, Mary had been paying attention, she loved Jesus and she’d been sitting at his feet listening to his words while the other disciples were fighting about who would be greatest in the kingdom. She’d heard Jesus say that he was going to suffer and die and instead of objecting like Peter did, she believed and responded, anointing him for burial, pouring out that perfume on his feet.
This was so important because days later when Jesus hung on the cross, he carried with him the fragrance of this expensive perfume, and so this was the only anointing his body ever got. You may remember that on Sunday when the women came to the grave Jesus had already risen, and the Bible tells us in Mark chapter 16,
“Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body” (Mark 16:1).
They came to anoint his body, but he had already risen, and so, what she had done in the room that night was the only anointing his body ever got.
Today, I want to encourage you not to miss the opportunity of a lifetime, that opportunity that’s passing in front of you, don’t miss this moment, because you were created for this, you were brought into the kingdom for such a time as this. Mary gave while she could, she worshiped Jesus, and she increased the anointing. You see, she received so much more than she gave as she poured out that perfume on Jesus feet and wiped his feet with her hair, because everywhere she went, she was able to change the atmosphere because of what she poured out that night. In fact, what she gave was more a part of her now than ever before. She was increasing the anointing because she was carrying the anointing with her, the anointing was on her.
Now, I know that there are some of you who will hear this and go, “Okay, let’s go eat” but I believe that the Holy Spirit is going to speak to a few of you and he’s going to stir something in you. I know that because he’s not satisfied with half-hearted lukewarm Christians, but it’s his desire to move people out of their comfort zone to become fully devoted servants of Christ. People who will humble themselves and seek the anointing so they can make a difference in the world. And so, I want to close with a time of prayer giving us all the opportunity to respond to God’s grace. Let us pray together.
Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Ministry Pass, PC Study Bible, Preaching Library, and Sermon Central. Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.