The Future Plan of God…..His church….beginning with the disciples.
Three Privileges of Being a Part of God’s Plan:
- The privilege of purpose.
- The privilege of proportion.
- The privilege of prayer
The privilege of purpose: Vs. 12
- Many wrestle with the question: “What is the purpose of my life?”
- It is confusing to living in God’s universe without understanding God’s plan and purpose for our existence.
- God is working out His plan of salvation for the world through activity…energy….from His ordained people: the church.
- We have been invited to be a part of a work force with the best equipping…..the best of benefits (heavenly)…the best of support….the best job description.
- We could never be a part of a more benevolent activity.
- Phase 1: We enter into salvation in receiving Christ as our personal Savior.
- Phase 2: From salvation we enter into service. (In this phase….we are interested in our purpose…the plan that God has ordained for our lives.)
- James wrote in his epistle: “Be doers of the word, not just hearers.”
The privilege of proportion. Vs. 12a
- “Greater works than these.” What could Jesus have meant by that?
- In the four Gospels, there are 40 miracles that are recorded. (Walking on water, raising the dead, restoring sight to blind people, feeding multitudes, calming the storm and the seas, etc.) So what could Jesus have meant by that statement: “Greater works than these.”?
- Three possibilities:
- Maybe Jesus means miraculous, physical works that the apostles will do. (Doing the same miracles which Jesus had done.) Thus the apostles replicating the miracles of Jesus. But if these works were merely relegated to the apostles, then we have a problem…..because….Jesus says, “he who believes in Me.” That seems to include everybody. When we turn to the Book of Acts….yes, the apostles did works, but folks other than the apostles did miracles too. (Two deacons: Philip (not the apostle) and Stephen.
- Yes the apostles did do signs and wonders, but can we say that what they did was greater than those which Jesus performed?
- And we must be mindful of all of the early church fathers who reported miracles: Tertullian, Irenaeas, Justin the Martyr, Ignatius….etc.
- Interpretation number two: Jesus is referring to physical signs and wonders done by everyone who had enough faith to believe.
- Those who hold this view emphasize the word “believe”..
- These folks espouse that the reason we don’t see more miraculous signs and wonders is that there’s just not enough people with enough faith to get it done.
- The reason I do not believe this is what Jesus meant: Jesus is making a declaration, not an offer. “Whoever believes in Me will do, not “might do”…nor “should do”….IF they have enough faith….but, “will do these great works.”
- Third interpretation: This is totally different than the previous two.
- What could be greater than physical works?
- Spiritual works. (We must read the rest of the phrase….”because I go to the Father.” “And greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father.”
- Why is that important?
- Because when Jesus would go to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit. Read John 16:6.
- The apostles may have thought everything was about to end. But Jesus is promising them that everything is just beginning. Jesus is telling them that He is going to be living in you and that all of the works that I have done is going to be multiplied….replicated in a whole new manner.
- Also when Jesus says “greater” works, He does not mean greater in power, magnitude or intensity, rather…..He meant “greater in extent”.
- From now on with the Holy Spirit working through many, there will be a multiplicity of miracles taking place.
- i.e. Peter…preaching after Pentecost. The church expanding throughout the world. Within 300 years, millions have come to faith in Christ. (Look today….radio, tv, movies, internet….etc.)
- Also, if you want to see the “greater than” thing get involved in missions.
- The “greater works” is no the physical healing of the body….the greatest possible miracle is to get a sinner from earth to heaven….and that is what we are about.
The Privilege of prayer.
- Vs. 13,14 Helps the apostles to understand how the job will get done.
- Greater works? Where are the resources for that?
- Vs. 13 “Whatever you ask in My name…..I will do it.”
- Jesus can meet our needs.
- Vs. 14 Huge promise.
- It does not mean we ask ….”in Jesus name. Amen.” And poof we get it.
- Notice “in My name” mentioned twice in two verses.
- It means that you by praying in His name are asking for something that is consistent with His character….that will bring Him glory.
- Read 1 John 5:14