Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12)
We ended the previous chapter with this verse. Jesus told His disciples that they could do the same works as He had. The only requirement provided was that this would only happen if they believed. God’s will is displayed through the operations of the Spirit and will accompany any person who will “believe” the promises of Scripture.
I once heard a minister define “belief” as a “firm persuasion based on knowledge.” The Holy Spirit recently reminded me of this and expanded on the definition. He told me that the “knowledge” on which our beliefs rest becomes “revelation” only when birthed from an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.
There are no “buts” involved in Jesus’ statement. We try and make excuses for why a greater manifestation of His works is not occurring. According to Jesus, the only reason is a lack of belief. I believe the root cause of this is a lack of revelation regarding the intimate relationship God desires to have with each one of us.
I previously mentioned the songs we sing in our churches as a source of hindrance to our relationship with God. I gave an example using a verse from a famous hymn by Johnny Cash. We sing these songs without awareness of the damage to our souls. They are deadly because the result is a hardening of our hearts to the truths of Scripture.
Jesus said that we would do the works that He did. We see this happening in small measures across the globe. They are not happening, though, in most churches, and it is time for us to face the fact that Christianity has reached a level way below where it is meant to walk.
1 I have heard ministers tell their congregations that we no longer need the operations of the Spirit today. They are wrong. We will never reach such an elevated state that God’s miraculous power is not required. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:1 – 5)
Paul had been educated in the best seminaries of his day. He was at the top of the Jewish religion and had earned the right to lean on his wisdom. Even at that level of knowledge and understanding, he decided not to rely on his education. I am not saying we should not seek education but that it should not be the thing we lean on when ministering.
Paul told the Corinthian church that he had ministered to them in “weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” He had an awareness and reverence for the Holy Spirit that I believe was birthed in their relationship. Paul spent much time in prayer and even told the Corinthians that he spoke in tongues more than they did (1 Corinthians 14:18) while correcting them for their excesses.
Jesus, the disciples, and Paul all demonstrated the kingdom of God through the miraculous manifestations in their ministry. Religion tells us these are no longer needed today. We read of the multitudes attending Jesus’ meetings and reports of thousands being converted due to a single message in the Gospel account and book of Acts. Christianity has been on the decline as more and more churches experience declining memberships. I cannot help but wonder if this results from our lack of demonstration resulting in the false teachings that the miraculous is not needed today.
There is no way around it. Jesus told us that those who believe in Him would do the same works as He did. His statement was not just for the early Church but applies to us today. It is time for us to admit that it is God’s will for His children to demonstrate His kingdom by walking in His miraculous power.
Some claim that the “greater works” manifest today through radio and television broadcasts. We are reaching people through technology that Jesus could never have reached, so how could this not be a manifestation of the “greater works?” An examination of Jesus’ ministry will show His works consisted of teaching, preaching, and healing the sick. It is impossible to see how the argument that our modern technology is “greater” than the miraculous manifestations which attracted the multitudes to Jesus’ meetings.
I praise God for technology. We have been able to reach more than ever before. The question is that even if you believe that the greater works are our technological advances, it does not absolve us from the first part of Jesus’ statement. He said that we would do the same “works” that He did, and the sad truth is that this is not happening in most Christians’ lives today.
The lack of miraculous manifestations such as those seen in Jesus’ ministry reflects our relationship with God today. Many “know” Him, but few have moved that relationship to any measure of intimacy. Our struggles with faith and belief are rooted in our lack of personal knowledge gained through times of fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
(2 Corinthians 11:14)
A sad truth many reject is that Satan has deceived the vast majority of Christians. Well-meaning people fill our church pews who have the desire to please God but whose Christian experience is mute of power due to bondages created by religious traditions.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
(Acts 6:3 -4)
Qualifications for service today differ vastly from those required in Christianity’s early days. We see in these verses that the expectation was to be “full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” It is possible to be a member in good standing and serve on the deacon board in most congregations today with no knowledge of the Holy Spirit! You could even be promoted to the chairman of any board and not be able to quote a single verse from Scripture.
It does not matter if our local church accepts us and elevates us to leadership positions. Any person who does not meet the criteria in Acts 6 is not in a good place regarding their relationship with God. You may want to argue that this is not the truth, but doing so will be arguing against Scripture. Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. Anything less in our lives and ministries indicates we are not doing the works He did.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
(Mark 16:17 – 18)
Jesus told His disciples that the signs listed in these verses would follow them to believe. He did not provide any exceptions to this rule. Our only conclusion then can be that if we are not doing the works of Jesus, it is because we are not believing.
Some argue that God does not perform miracles today. They offer numerous reasons for this. I disagree with them but can definitively state that they will never have to worry about these things. Their unbelief disqualifies them, so it should not surprise us if their lives are void of God’s power.
Christians are called to be “Christ-like.” God has made His Spirit available to us. The only reason His power is not flowing in more significant measures today is that we are in a state of unbelief. I believe the root cause is our lack of development regarding our relationships with the Holy Spirit.
Amen to His Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ!
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