GO into all the world
Possess the Promise
by Daniel Kolenda - (message given at Fire19, Hamburg)
Growing up, I was taught that this passage was called “the Hall of Fame of Faith”. It’s the chapter about men and women who did great things for God. It’s a passage I know very well, but as I was preparing this message, something new jumped out at me. In the middle of verse 33, it says “through faith”. And through faith, they did many different things - but here’s the one I want you to pay attention to: “they obtained promises”. They possessed promises.
Here’s what I’ve learned: God is more willing to act, than we are willing to act. God wants to save your country more than you want Him to save your country. This is His plan, and He is more than willing to act, so what is the problem? Is it Him?
So often, we pray for revival. And there’s nothing wrong with that. My life was powerfully changed in a revival that happened in the United States. But here’s the mistake that many people make… They think that when we talk about revival, we’re saying we are waiting for God to do something for us. But if you look in the scriptures, you’ll discover that this idea lacks some credibility.
Every promise is yours!
2,000 years ago, we read in Acts, the Holy Spirit was poured out. Ever since then, we have been living in the season of the outpouring of the Spirit. God is not more present in one place than He is in another. God is the same in Hamburg as he is in Toronto. He’s the same in Europe as he is in Africa. So, what is the difference? It’s not Him! It’s us. You see, there are some people who are possessing the promises. But here’s the wonderful truth: we can all possess the promises. We have access to those promises through the blood of Jesus. Every promise is yours!
Remember when John the Baptist announced Jesus as the baptizer in the Holy Spirit? John said, “His winnowing fork is in his hand. He’s going to separate the wheat and the chaff.” One of the things John was saying was, when the Holy Spirit comes, you will find out very quickly where people stand. There are many things that happen in the church world that challenge no-one. There are many messages that are preached that everybody can just feel good about on the inside. But this is not one of those messages. It will force you to choose where you stand. Are you going to possess promises? Or are you going to stand on the sidelines? Are you going to get in the action? Or will you sit in the stands and watch?
God is calling us to something radical
When I was a boy, we had a song called “Standing on the promises of God.” As a boy, when I’d sing this song, I would take my Bible, put it on the ground and stand on it. I said, “This is it. I’m standing on the promises.” But in this hour, it’s not good enough just to stand still on the promises of God. I believe God is calling us to something much more radical. You see, “standing” is a passive word. It’s something you can do, and then fall asleep doing it. But topossess promises, that’s an action! You must be awake. You must have life on the inside. There’s got to be a fire in your soul! You have to go out and get it in Jesus’ name.
Claim the promise
As I was thinking about this message, God gave me a clear picture in my heart. The promises of God, in my spirit, were like fruit, ripe fruit hanging on the tree. Fruit grows on a tree, but just because it’s on the tree doesn’t mean you get to enjoy it. You must pick it. You can’t pick it too early, or it won’t be ripe. And if you wait too long, it will fall to the ground and rot. You’ve got to pick it when it’s ripe. That’s what it’s like to claim the promises.
The fruit is there, but you must take it
There are so many people who hear a prophetic word like this, and never experience the fulfillment of those words because they misunderstand. They think, just because God said it, it will happen automatically. But that’s not how it works. God made promises to Israel about the land they would inhabit, but because of their disobedience, they did not possess all of it. The fruit is there, but you must take it. You’ve got to claim it. You’ve got to make it your own.
Sometimes you’ll hear a prophet give a word. He’ll say something that perhaps some of the cynical people listening will find dubious, something like, “There’s a new season coming! God is going to turn your morning into dancing. He’s going to bless you.” The cynical brains think, “Oh, nonsense.” They say, “That word could be for anyone. He’s just getting the crowd excited.” What those people don’t understand, is that the word can be received by you. Instead of being critical about it, the word of the Lord is an invitation to reach out and possess that promise.
You can possess promises that weren’t given to you
And you know what? You can possess promises that weren’t even given to you! Joshua entered into the land where Moses couldn’t go. He possessed promises that weren’t even given to him. The Bible says that we do this by faith. Many years ago, when I was just starting out in evangelism, I was invited to come preach in a church very close to where I’m from. I am a preacher’s kid - five generations on my father’s side. Anyway, my grandfather was pastoring about twenty miles away from where I was invited to preach. It was on a Sunday night, and so he cancelled his Sunday night service and said, “We’re all going to go listen to my grandson preach.”
I was in my early twenties at the time, and I remember my grandfather sat right in the front row, tears pouring from his eyes. It moved my heart deeply. Afterwards, he said, “Let’s go get something to eat together.” We went out to dinner, and as we ate, he told me a story that I had never heard.
It was the story of how my great-great-grandfather was baptized into the Holy Spirit. It happened at an Aimee Semple-McPherson revival meeting. They were German immigrants, Lutherans, who had not experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But they heard about this woman that God was using, and they wanted to see for themselves if it was real. As Aimee was praying for people, they were falling on the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit, something they had never seen in the Lutheran church before. Now Aimee was getting close to my great-great-grandfather. Being a bit stubborn, he knelt down at his chair, tucked one elbow in one corner of the chair, and the other elbow in the other corner. He prayed, “God, if you want me on the ground, the chair has to go with me.” He woke up a few hours later, on the ground, with the chair next to him. And he was gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit.
The calling transcends generations
I knew that part of the story, but here’s what I didn’t know. My grandpa said, “I want to tell you what happened to him while he was lying there on the ground. He had an open vision.” He continued, “Daniel, I will tell you what he saw. He saw an ocean of humanity that stretched to the horizon. He said their hands were lifted, and they were crying out, saying, ‘Bread, bread, give us bread!’ He said they all had dark skin. He didn’t know where in the world it was, but as he saw this vision, he was wailing out loud. They could hear his voice all over that arena. And when he woke up, he believed that that was his calling – to take the Gospel to those people, he knew not where.”
My grandfather looked at me across the table. He said, “Daniel, your great-great-grandfather never saw the fulfillment of that vision. But I believe that in God’s economy, the calling transcends generations. I believe that if you will reach out by faith and take it, that calling will fall upon your life.” Well, I have seen those crowds in real life. I have seen the fulfillment of that vision in the real world. The vision didn’t come to me, but I possessed the promise. And I believe that this is a word not just for me. This isn’t about me. I believe this is about a whole generation that God is inviting into His promises.
If you’ll reach out and take it, it can be yours
There are generations of men and women that went before you. They wept and they prayed and they gave. They saw it in their minds, but they never experienced it in the real world. But God does not forget. He doesn’t forget those that went before you. He remembers. And the promises hang on that tree like ripe fruit. In their day, it was too early to pick. And tomorrow it will be too late. But right now, God says if you’ll reach out and take it, it can be yours. The calling will fall upon you. But you must claim the promise.
Value the promise
In 2 Peter 1:4, we read about “great and precious promises”. You need to change your value system. Many believers, when they hear me or Evangelist Bonnke say “Africa will be saved”, or “Europe will be saved”, respond in their hearts, “Those are just words. That’s not really going to happen. That’s a preacher just trying to excite the crowd.” My friend, it’s a promise. And you know what God is waiting for? There might be a hundred sceptics, a hundred people who say it can’t be done. But if there’s one person who says, “I want it. I receive it. I claim it. I value it. I won’t laugh at it. I won’t criticize it. I won’t ignore it. I’m going to take it” – well then, God will use you! He’ll use you to do greater things than you could have ever imagined. Not because you’re so great, not because you’re so smart, but because you reach out and take it.
Pursue the promise
It’s not enough to just say, “Amen!” when somebody says, “Europe will be saved”. That’s a good start, but nothing’s going to happen if that’s all you do. What you must do is make a decision that you’re going to pursue the promise. Remember, it’s not about standing on the promise. It’s about possessing the promise. You know what I’m sick of in the church? I’m so sick of domesticated Christians. Sick of heartless Christians. I’m sick of pretty, professional Christians. Give me some raw men and women of God. They don’t need a suit and a tie. They don’t need to look like somebody on TV. They just need a burning heart, they need a ferocious spirit, they need to say, “I’m going to possess the promise.” And they will get it, in Jesus’ name.
Our tech team work at all our Gospel campaigns, doing an enormous amount of very difficult work. These men are not professional preachers. They are blue-collar, manual-labor men. And can I be honest with you? Maybe, at first glance, some of them are not the most attractive. They’re not the most well-groomed. They don’t always smell that fresh, because they have to work hard. When we sit in our devotions on Sundays during our campaigns, we sit in a big circle. There are all these rough looking men that God has just used to bring the Gospel to hundreds of thousands of people.
God is looking for disciples like the original twelve
One day, when we were sitting there in that big circle, I had a revelation. I leaned over to Peter Vandenberg, and I said, “Peter, I just realized something! This is what the disciples were. They didn’t come from the university of Jerusalem. They were fishermen, they were tax collectors, they were rough men. And that’s who Jesus picked. I believe God is looking for a whole generation of disciples like the original twelve. They won’t look like you think they should look. They won’t dress like you think they should dress. They won’t act like you think they should act. But they’ll have a heart that goes after the promises. A heart that possesses the promises.”
Europe will be saved. And the world will see the salvation of our God! Can I tell you something? When I travel around Europe, every place that I go, I meet with pastors, and this is what they tell me. Every time. They say, “This city - fill in the blank - is a very difficult city.” And then they say, “What you do in other places doesn’t work here.” And then you know what happens? We go out, and we see that it works. When I look at the faces of the young people, fire burning inside them, I say, “No, it’s not at all like those pastors told me. The future of Europe is bright!”
Are you willing to reach out in faith?
All God is looking for, is for a few people who are simple enough, crazy enough, to believe God, to reach out in faith, to take those promises, and to bring them into the real world. As you read this right now, I want this question to ring in your heart and soul, to confront you with its power and simplicity. Are you willing to reach out in faith to take those promises for the sake of your nation, your city, your church, your family? Are you?
If you feel the answer welling up in your heart, then stop what you’re doing right now, and tell the Lord what’s in your heart. Be like Isaiah and say “Lord, here am I, choose me, use me, send me! I’ll go, I’ll preach, I’ll pray, I’ll heal the sick, I’ll raise the dead! Lord, I pray that you remove cynicism and criticism and doubt and skepticism from my heart.”
I believe that, as you say “YES!” to the promises of God, He will cause faith to arise in you. A possessing of the promise is coming to you, in Jesus’ name. I pray that a fire would burn in you so deeply, that it will consume your dreams, that you will weep tears, that you will work, that you will pray, that you will give, that you will go. For the sake of this nation. For the sake of this generation. We possess the promises in Jesus’ name.
Evangelist Daniel Kolenda