The One Thing That Prevents Us From Ministering the Way Jesus Did

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Have you ever puzzled over these words of Jesus? “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.” John 14:12

I have heard many interpretations of this verse.

Some say that we are supposed to do things that even Jesus didn’t do. Obviously, this is not a correct interpretation because that would give us more power than God, Himself.

That kind of assumption is what resulted in Lucifer being banished from heaven.

Persons hands on the heart of an elderly person caring for them

It is clear that Jesus was saying, “I’m going to my Father. So, I’m going to multiply myself through you. There is one of Me, but dozens, hundreds, thousands, and millions of you. Therefore, my three years of ministry will be multiplied a million times over through you going out and doing the works that I did.”

What is that ministry God has called us to? We read about it in Isaiah 61.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3

This is the passage Jesus quoted when He was asked to read from the scrolls in the Synagogue in Luke 4:16-30

All throughout the Gospels, we read how Jesus carefully trained his 12 disciples to do the things He did. He first modeled for them how to minister, then he stepped back and let them try to minister.

At first, they couldn’t heal the boy with epilepsy and were frustrated and disappointed.

This is when they learned the lesson that there are some whose healing can only come through fasting and prayer. And this exactly what God was saying in Isaiah 58.

This is one reason we are suppose to fast. “To let the oppressed go free…” Isaiah 58:6

Then, he sent them out again, this time on a journey. They returned having been very successful and excitedly boasting about how demons had to submit to their commands.

Jesus replied by reminding them that they shouldn’t boast in this power (that wasn’t their power, but God’s power), but should boast that their names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20

Then, Jesus commanded them to go preaching the Kingdom of heaven is coming; to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Matthew 10:5-8, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 9:1-2, Luke 10:1-12

But what about now?

The One Thing That Prevents Us From Ministering the Way Jesus Did

If Jesus said that we would do the works He did, and even greater works, why do we not see that work being done?

We did see it it done in the early church, and in various revivals in history – like the Great Awakening and Jesus People Movement that swept the West Coast of the United States in the 70s and early 80s.

We see this same question echoed in Isaiah, and God actually responds to them with serious words of rebuke that the Church needs to take to heart today.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

Isaiah 58:3

God answers this question in the remaining 11 verses of this chapter.

They were fasting for selfish reasons. This echoes what we read in James. “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3

We get to the end of Isaiah 58, and our tendency is to think that because the chapter is over, God is done speaking.

Chapters are helpful in organizing the Bible for us, but sometimes they act as a disruption of thought; which is what happens between Isaiah 58 and 59.

Because God isn’t done speaking. He goes on and to say:

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

Isaiah 59:1-2

He’s saying, “You are asking why I don’t see or hear you. I don’t see you nor hear you because you’ve been living in sin.”

We have a tendency today to take sin lightly.

  • We call them “white lies” so that we don’t have the feel the impact of being a liar
  • We call them “adult scenes” so that we don’t have to feel seriousness of watching depictions of fornication, adultery, rape, and incest.
  • We call them “four-letter words” or “excuse my French” so that we don’t have to feel the weight of our our filthy and evil speech
  • We call them “erotica” so that we don’t have to feel how much God hates our lust, which is adultery of the mind
  • We call it shoplifting so that we don’t have to acknowledge the fact that we’re a thief.
  • We use cute ways to swear OMG, OM*G, LM*O etc., in a vain attempt to hide what is really in our heart. God said that that those who take His holy name in vain will not go unpunished. How much more when we pair his name with profanity!

We have given our sin cute little names so that don’t have to feel the full weight of our sin.

But why shouldn’t we feel the full weight of our sin when Jesus felt the crushing weight of all of the sin of mankind while hanging on the cross.

The weight was so heavy that He died of heart failure, as He not only felt the full impact of our sin, but He also had to endure the rejection of God because of it.

And God is saying here in Isaiah 59 that sin blocks our access to the power of God working in and through us.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:11

In Romans 6-8, Paul reminds us that as children of God, we’ve not only been saved from sin, we’ve been set free from sin.

Therefore, we should no longer practice sin.

Practicing sin – or what the Bible calls walking in sin – is continuing to do those things that we know offend God; either by failing to avoid temptation or by purposely doing what God hates.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Romans 6:1-2

So, in Romans 8, Paul reminds us that being born again, means that we are born of the Spirit and in the Spirit – because now we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

And that is the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ Jesus up from the grave!

If that same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, and if He is giving life to our bodies, what do you think He could do through us?

…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

Ephesians 3:16-20

He is able to do more than we can ask or think.

But not just more. Abundantly more! And not just abundantly more, but exceedingly abundantly more!

But there is one thing that stops this all up like a retaining wall stops a flood from destroying your property. And that is sin.

This, my friends, is the seriousness of sin in the life of a believer.

It prevents us from walking in the ministry that Christ gave us to do when He left earth to return to His Father. It prevents the Holy Spirit from working through us to win souls for God’s Kingdom.

It prevents the sick from being healed and the oppressed from being set free.

That is why we have to ever remember what the Lord has done for us.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

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