Supreme Ambition Ministries

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known – Philippians 3:10

Greater Works

The following is a response to a question by a young Christian asking for clarification on the passage of scripture from John 14:12 where Jesus predicts that the disciples will do greater works than he has done. The question has to do with the apparent lack of “greater works” in 21st Century Church.

This certainly is an interesting passage and one that can bring conviction upon a Church that appears to be Christian in name only. However, let me say first that it would be impossible for mere humans to do greater miracles than Jesus did when he was on the earth. To interpret this passage correctly one has to keep it in the context of the moment it was spoken. Jesus was attempting to bring comfort to disciples who had just been told that he was going away. Their fear was that they would be orphaned. His comfort was that He was going to the Father and because he was going to the Father He would send another comforter (the Holy Spirit – Christ within us). The term “greater” can also be translated as “larger”. The works that they would do and that we have the opportunity to do would have a larger scope and therefore be “greater”. Reading the book of Acts it is easy to see how Jesus’ words were fulfilled. Peter’s first sermon gained 3000 converts, then later there were a few thousand more and on and on. By the end of the 3rd Century the world was effectively evangelized, not all of it was perfect but the influence of Christ had “exploded” throughout the world. Unfortunately, religiosity entered in, Church and State became one and the Dark Ages brought in a millennium of spiritual tragedy. But that is another story…Notice in John that Jesus told the disciples that anything they asked in his name he would do. The key is “in his name”, “according to his will”.

A significant part of Jesus’ ‘greater works’ has to do with the fact of his living in the heart of each believer and among the Church. In a real sense when we do his will on earth it is Christ doing his own will. We are each portions of Him, connected to Him by a scarlet thread of Fellowship. While He was in human flesh he was bound by time and space, but now living in us he can be thousands of places at one time and throughout the ages. Having said that I agree that the power of the Church is lying dormant. We have the resurrection power abiding in us but it lies powerless because of a lack of surrender both individually and corporately. The latter being the most important. In a religious culture where we have symbols, icons, liturgy, ministry, preaching, ordinances, affluence, talents, gifts, callings, men of God and women of God, missions and money we cannot say “Silver and Gold have I none” but neither can we say, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk”. My observation is that we have lost our passion, our connection with our Lord. A husband and wife can perfunctorily make love but when there is a deep fellowship obtained the love overflows and is deepened. Very possibly the best picture of “greater works” is in ‘the dance’. There is a leader and a follower. The observer cannot tell who is leading and who is following. The participants each have surrendered their personal desires to the beauty of the dance. There is little that compares to the power of two people in the unity of the dance. The gliding, the soaring of the couple is transferred to the observers and the “greater work” is done. In the Church of the 21st Century we must concentrate on knowing Christ intimately, surrendering our wills to Him. The first Christians got it and Luke recorded some of it in Acts. Throughout history their have been flickers of His light and moments of greater works. The untold millions of people born again certainly are greater works. But Christ’s desire is the Fellowship of love and the beauty of the dance…

August 4th, 2007 Posted by | Spiritual Gifts | 2 comments

What about Healing?

healing-cross.jpgThe following is a second response to some questions on healing and how it seems to be so absent today compared to when Jesus was here.He healed with seemingly little effort.

The issue with healing was simple for Jesus primarily because of his “oneness” with the Father. He had surrendered to the “dance”. He said, “I only do what I see my father doing”. “I only speak what I hear my father speaking”. There were times when Jesus could do no mighty works among people because of their unbelief. As you mentioned, in foreign countries there is often a greater evidence of God working in the miraculous. I have experienced this as I have ministered in Haiti. I know a missionary lady who got on a ‘tap-tap’ (an S-10 pickup with benches in the back, sort of like a taxi). When she got on, there was a Voo-Doo Witch Doctor on it who cursed her and told her she would die when she got off the Tap Tap. She said, “No, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, when you get off this Tap Tap you will die.” He got off and dropped dead. I asked a brother about it and he said that God often works that way in Haiti because there is so much superstition and He combats the superstition to gain a hearing among the people and to show himself strong. In the New Testament the word for “miracles” is better translated, “miraculous signs”. In other words Jesus did them and gave the power to his disciples in order to announce and innaugurate the coming of the Kingdom of God. Of course, even Jesus had trouble with people following Him only for the loaves and fishes. It seems that 21st century America is a culture that really likes “loaves and fishes”. We gravitate to the miracles but, if the miracles do not lead us to a deeper knowledge of him they can harden our hearts. I remember reading and preaching several years ago from Luke ch. 7 where Jesus was in a healing meeting and disciples from John the Bapt. came with the question, Are you the one or should we expect another?” He gave them the answer, “the blind see, lame walk, lepers are cleansed “and the gospel of the kingdom is preached.” Jesus closed down the healing meeting with many standing in line I thought, what if I were next in line? The teaching of the passage is: Will you serve a God who does not do what you want him to do?” There are many passages where Jesus heals all who are present but there are others where he heals “many”. There are others like in John where he went to the pool of Bethesda and only healed one. I’m not sure I have a simple answer to your (our) dilemma.

Why don’t we see more of his healing today? I still maintain that it has to do greatly with our fellowship with Him. If we are properly connected with him, our hearts are in tune, in sync, with his will. Otherwise, we have deceptions in our hearts as to why we want someone healed that we know little about. There is ultimately only one good reason for God to heal and that is…that it is his will. From my human perspective it is my assignment to be as clear a channel of his grace as I possibly can. I must maintain my passion for him, spend quality time with him, be utterly his; then, he might choose to move through me. What he would prefer, however, is to find another one similar to me and have us pray together for his will to be done. I believe there are times when we have prayed for something, maybe a healing or miracle, and we think God did not do it. But, He may have taken that prayer to another place on the earth to someone else in the Body of Christ and used it there.

I preached Sunday from Mark 6 where Jesus sent the disciples into their boat and told them to cross the lake. He stayed behind to pray. About 6:00 in the evening he came to the shore and watched them rowing in the storm till about 3 in the AM. He watched them struggle for about 9 hours before he came walking on the water to them. He could have come at any time. But he watched them from shore. The issue seems to be that the trip across the lake was as important as their arrival on the other side. There was a faith that needed to be put in them that they were going to need on the other side and Jesus let them struggle to put ‘iron’ in their souls. Our Lord is strange. There are times when he comes right away. There are times when he does not come for a while and there are times when he seems to not come at all. Wonder what the early martyrs thought? They prayed to be delivered and were not. What about the Martyrs today in Arab, Hindu and Buddhist nations, who give their lives in confusion as to why Jesus did not deliver. I have no answer only that He is God and He is lovingly working all things after the counsel of His own will. I deeply appreciate your honest questions. It has been my contention that the Church is living in perpetual powerlessness. I think Jesus is grieved with us. I think He wants to work His mighty works through us so much more than he is able, because of our unbelief. I think we certainly must leave behind our religious garb and seek…just…Him.

August 3rd, 2007 Posted by | Spiritual Gifts | one comment