BARNABAS BULLETIN ~ 0170
DO WE REALLY BELIEVE WHAT JESUS
I have been really challenged afresh of late of the teachings of Jesus. What He demonstrated and taught He also commissioned us to do. That challenges me! In John 13:15 He says, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” He is our Teacher, and we are called to follow His instructions and to do what He said we can do. This applies to more than the washing of feet (which is rarely done these days).
In John 14:12-15 Jesus says this: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments.” In these verses Jesus is stating what a believer in Jesus can do. He says that we can do what He did. Does this not challenge you? Is there something we do not understand about what it means to believe? The Bible meaning of “believe” is to “be persuaded, to rely upon, to trust. The New Testament conception of faith is (1) a fully convinced acknowledgment (2) a self-surrendering fellowship (3) a fully assured and unswerving confidence (a) implying direction towards the object of faith, to give one’s self up to (b) in referring to the foundation of the faith, put confidence in (c) implying repose (“repose” means “to put trust or confidence in a person or thing” – Collins Dictionary); rest and reliance, or with a view to that reliance (d) to give credit to one, trust to his fidelity” (Bullinger’s) (“fidelity” means “devotion to, faithfulness, loyalty; adherence to truth; accuracy in reporting detail; accurately reproduces the characteristics of the input signal” – Collins).
To be a Christian believer means that we put our total trust and reliance on the Saviour, Jesus Christ. What He says goes! We are His disciples (not church disciples) and a disciple is one who is committed to both the teacher and His Teachings! Jesus demonstrated what He could do through the power of the Holy Spirit: saving the lost, healing the sick, setting the captives free (including casting out demons) and even raising the dead. He also walked on water, calmed the raging seas, cursed fig trees and a number of other supernatural things that demonstrated He was from God. Jesus also taught His disciples that they could do these things and then He commissioned them to go into all the world to say and do what He did (Mark 16:15-20 )! What have we done about what He commanded?! Did you notice that Jesus said we would do even greater works than He did? Wow! Is that possible? Jesus would not have said it if it was not true.
BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A KEY!
We seem to have forgotten that the Holy Spirit Who indwells the Christian believer is the SAME HOLY SPIRIT THAT RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD (Romans 8:11 ). God’s resurrection Spirit lives inside of us! He holds all the keys to the supernatural of God being released out of our lives! Our responsibility is to BELIEVE WHAT JESUS SAYS ENOUGH TO ACT UPON IT! We need the simple faith that the servants had at the Wedding in Cana of Galilee, when Mary stated to them: “Whatever He (Jesus) says to you, do it” (John 2:5 ). Remember that Jesus had not begun His public ministry at that point and so there was no evidence of what He could do. Even though Jesus told the servants to do “an illogical and unheard of thing” by filling their wine jugs with water and pouring out to the master of the feast, they believed what Mary said and obeyed. For us the word of Jesus is even greater than that of Mary’s! Our love and commitment to Him is demonstrated by our obedience to what He has taught, and still teaches us, today. The miracles do not happen until we do what Jesus asks us to do! It is our obedience to the word of Jesus that releases His hands to fulfil what He asks of us. We must demonstrate to Him that we believe Him more than any other voice on the earth. If we really love Him we will do what He asks of us, no matter how illogical it seems. Believing Jesus means we follow what He says without question or doubt.
In John 16 Jesus taught us that He had to return to the Father in order for the Holy Spirit to be sent to us. He (the Holy Spirit) has been sent to lead and guide us into all truth and to enable us to do the works of God through the power of God. The Holy Spirit is our Helper and has come to live inside of the believer so we can be “workers together with God” (2 Corinthians 6:1 ). True Christianity must display evidence of the supernatural of God in and through the life of the believer. How can we convince an unbelieving world that Jesus is alive from the dead today if we cannot show any real evidence of the fact? It cannot be done in man’s strength or logical thinking. It is supernatural ~ and our ‘Super’ God has chosen ‘natural’ people to work with Him to do supernatural things to the glory and praise of Jesus Christ!
After the disciples of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost their lives were revolutionized in a very positive way. They were transformed from “unbelieving, hard-hearted” men (Mark 16:14 ) into bold witnesses who knew that the resurrected Christ now lived within them. When Peter and John were on their way to a prayer meeting (not on the way home ~ they had the power even before the prayer meeting) ~ when they were asked for money from a crippled man who had never walked, Peter declared these words to him: “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6 ). They did not pray and ask God to do it. They knew they now had power within them by the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus said they could do. Peter was so confident in what and Who He had dwelling inside of him that he took the cripple by the hand and lifted him up. Immediately the man received a miraculous healing. He stood up and started leaping around. Totally healed! And . . . about 5,000 men came to Jesus Christ as a result! (Acts 4:4 ). They did what Jesus anointed them to do! And it worked! And what great results!!
THE CHALLENGE OF THE WITHERED FIG TREE!
If what has already been written in this BB~170 has not been a huge enough challenge, I then came across again what Jesus said to His disciples after He cursed a fig tree, which immediately withered away. In answer to the amazed disciples who asked Him how it happened, Jesus said to them: “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:21-22 ). Jesus is telling us we can do the things He did and does! All it takes is faith without doubting! Jesus said to a faithless generation: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23 ). When I compare what I have believed God for in my life, I have to acknowledge that I have not believed or had the Bible kind of faith that I should have. I must learn more on taking Jesus at His word. Why? Because I desire and long to do the things that Jesus said I can. I/we cannot say that it is not God’s will that these things are not happening more. He declared that we believers should be doing His works, and even greater ones! May we all yield more and more to the Holy Spirit to have His way in us so He can use us to do the supernatural works of Jesus amongst an unbelieving and hard-hearted generation. He has chosen us to this end for such a time as this. May this message challenge you as much as it has me. Do we really believe what Jesus taught us?~ Rodney W. Francis.
Prayer: “Dear Lord, please help me to hear and know Your voice more clearly; and to clarify my vision so I can be much more motivated and effective in believing You and exercising my faith ~ that faith which pleases You. Thank You, Lord, that You want only the very best for my life. Please reveal more of Your purpose to me. In Jesus’ Name I pray this, Amen.”