I love the first Sunday of a new year. At Laurel Baptist it is our annual “Vision Sunday.” On this day I will take the time to share with our church family the new theme for the church year. In addition to preaching on the subject we hand out a multitude of materials to prepare them for a tremendous year centered on the new theme.The Lord moved in my heart through a passage of Scripture about 7 months ago. The verses were John 14:12-14.
12 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. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
What did Jesus mean when he said “Greater work than these shall you do?” Don’t question for a single minute that he was speaking of quality of works, for no one can ever be greater than Jesus Christ. He was speaking of scope and quantity. Think of it this way, Jesus rarely went beyond the borders of Palestine, but He empowered His disciples to go everywhere preaching the gospel. You see, the greater works that Jesus spoke of was not primarily about the physical, buy rather the spiritual. God has done great works in our lives and in our church, but could it be that God wants to do a greater work in your life and in our church? We cannot be complacent during these days, but we must seek the Lord for greater works in us and through us. It’s praying a prayer like this, “Lord, give me a greater marriage, a greater heart, a greater church, a greater purpose, a greater vision, etc.” And Jesus gives us the essentials to seeing the greater works in our life. What are they?
1. Greater Works Require Bold Faith.
Jesus said (v. 12), “He that believeth on me…” Greater works will only occur in and through our life when we boldly believe that it can be done. Someone has said, “Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.” Many believers today have what I call armchair faith. They’re really good at saying they believe, but not very active in living out their faith. The difference between armchair faith and audacious faith is the risk you’re willing to take to see greater works. Bold faith goes beyond the realm of comfort and convenience to the reality of trusting God as we follow His vision for our life. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Bold faith is simply the confidence to know nothing is impossible with God, and the courage to do anything He tells you to do.
2. Greater Works Require Divine Power.
Jesus said, “…and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” The ascension of Christ not only speaks of His place of power, but His departure meant the entrance of the Holy Spirit. It is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that enables us with the power and ability to do the greater works. Without the divine power of God working in us and through us we will never see greater works. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Charles Spurgeon said, “Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing. We are ships without the wind, branches without sap, and coals without fire, we are useless.” Do you desire greater works? It will never happen outside of the divine power of God.
3. Greater Works Require Fervent Prayer.
What an incredible promise the Lord gives in verse 13 and 14: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do…if ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” The problem with achieving greater works is that we often fail to ask God for them. Think of this excerpt from the hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Where there is an absence of fervent prayer there will be an absence of greater works. 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” But don’t miss that fervent prayer is always in the name of Jesus. What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name? 1) To ask what is consistent with God’s will and purpose, 2) To acknowledge complete dependence on God, and 3) To align our requests with God’s supreme goal – His glory. Someone said, “Never initiate anything that you do not first saturate in prayer.”
4. Greater Works Require Pure Motive.
Jesus said, “…that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” It wouldn’t hurt any of us to put that to memory and say it every day before we walk out the door: “…that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” You see, we don’t do greater works for greater works sake. We don’t do greater works for our own benefit. The motive of greater works should always be that the Father may be glorified in the Son. I urge you to examine your motives. Why do you desire a greater work in your life? Any work that does not glorify God should not be attempted. Paul said in his letter to the church at Ephesus, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. What’s my motive for asking God for greater works?
Are you willing to do what it takes to see greater works in your life? It takes Bold Faith, Divine Power, Fervent Prayer, and a Pure Motive. Let’s seek God for the greater works!
(Visit laborerstogether.com to listen to the audio messages from this year’s theme)