Building on the Ruins of Religion: Part 5 of 5

shutterstock_112086005JESUS’ BODY WILL DO GREATER THINGS

Remember, Jesus didn’t come to make converts but ambassadors. He didn’t desire a Church of immature individuals, but rather a Church of matured saints, unified into one body, thinking and ministering with one mind and one accord those things that come from the body’s one head—Jesus. The statement in this section’s heading, “Jesus’ Body Will Do Greater Things,” may seem hard to believe, but it is exactly what Jesus said would happen when men mature and become active in the Church. In the next passages we will see where Jesus made this boast:

(PLEASE NOTE: any Bolds, UPPERCASES, Underlines, or [bracketed area comments] are added by me.)

John 14:11-20
(11)  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
(12)  Verily, verily, I say unto you, HE THAT BELIEVETH ON METHE 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.
(15)  IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.
(16)  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that HE MAY ABIDE WITH YOU FOR EVER;
(17)  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU.
(18)  I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU.
(19)  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
(20)  At that day ye shall know that I AM IN MY FATHER, AND YE IN ME, AND I IN YOU.

This area of scripture is loaded with meaning. Notice that Jesus said for them to believe Him for “the works” He was doing. He told the disciples of John the Baptist to tell John to do the same in the following passage:

Luke 7:22
(22)  Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and TELL JOHN WHAT THINGS YE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

These “WORKS” are ALL MINISTRY RELATED! The Bible says, “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” (Luke 6:40SO THIS IS NOT SAYING THAT THE BELIEVERS WOULD BE GREATER THAN JESUS, BUT THAT THEY WOULD DO MAGNIFIED MORE THAN HE DID WITHIN THE AREAS OF MINISTRY THAT EAR MARKED HIM AS THE MESSIAH. Such action does not magnify men, but rather magnifies the reality that God is serving the diverse needs of the world through the involvement of matured ministers. Such participation is a testimony that gives hope to both the man ministering through the power of God’s Spirit, and to those to whom receives such ministry. The Message Bible translates John 14:19-20 this way:

John 14:19-20 MSG
(19)  In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but YOU’RE GOING TO SEE ME BECAUSE I AM ALIVE AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO COME ALIVE.
(20)  AT THAT MOMENT YOU WILL KNOW ABSOLUTELY THAT I’M IN MY FATHER, AND YOU’RE IN ME, AND I’M IN YOU.

This is it! This shows that when Jesus’ ministry becomes a part of who you are, at that moment you find true life! This is the intimacy wherewith a man can be in union with Jesus, reaching out to anther’s needs. The warmth of such a touch is not just human touching human, but more so human touching His God! From the next parable, Jesus shows this is His feelings as well:

Matthew 25:37-40
(37)  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
(38)  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
(39)  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
(40)  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, INASMUCH AS YE HAVE DONE IT UNTO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE MY BRETHREN, YE HAVE DONE IT UNTO ME.

How can a believer do greater things than Jesus Himself did? To understand this, simply answer the following question: How can one man generate more than he is physically or spiritually capable of producing? Answer: by duplicating his efforts through others. By declaring that His body would do more than He, Jesus was showing that instead of one Jesus walking around ministering to the various needs of this world, through His body, He would now be able to minister to these same needs on an even greater scale. He does this by operating the Gifts and Fruits of His Spirit through His Body of believers.

Both the Gifts and Fruit of God’s Spirit are ministry tools. (See 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 for Gifts, and Galatians 5:18-24 for Fruit) But before a believer can operate these properly, they must first mature themselves to their level of operation. Only ministers who are matured to such usage will understand, through the prodding of God’s Spirit, how and when to properly utilize these supernatural gifts and fruits. Again, such ministry is God operating through man, not man becoming a god. As a disciple functions in their ministry’s calling, through the Spirit of Jesus, he is not growing greater than his master, but through the headship of Jesus leading and empowering him, he is ministering “as his master.”

IN CONCLUSION

People are tired of church. They want something living and real. Not a plastic cross and an automatic offering plate, but an experience with a living God! A minister’s job is not to build an auditorium, but to build a people; he is not called to promote his own ministry, but to train and facilitate the ministries of others; his first priority is not his own welfare, but instead he is to prefer his brother and help him achieve spiritual success in his lifetime.

If we ignore the call to build beyond these ruins of religion, we will be turning a blind eye to those dying or already dead on our pews. We cannot continue with convenient programs that take no notice of the very people we as Christians are called to serve. If we do, we ourselves will be guilty of creating an atmosphere where rotting corpses are readily found in our houses of worship. We must not choose programs simply because they make our ministries work better for ourselves; we must decide on a course of action that best helps feed the starving souls still calling out for a meaningful relationship with Jesus.

We began this lesson with Jesus being angry with ministers who ignored their service to others. He rebuked them for this by saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” To make sure there was no misunderstanding, John explained Jesus’ statement: “But he spake of the temple of his body.” (See John 2:19, 21) Yes, they did crucify Jesus, and yes, His body did rise again on the third day; but also His words spoke of the promised resurrection of His Spiritual Body—the Church—whose ministry would come alive through Him. Such life is the promise of Jesus’ New Covenant.

Hebrews 8:7-11
(7)  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
(8)  For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
(9)  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
(10)  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
(11)  And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST.

This is not one man, the High Priest, entering into God’s presence once a year on Yom Kippur; but refers to the great High Priest—Jesus—who has gained access for all born again believers to enter into the throne room of God.

We do not need another revival, or a new program for outreach. The machinery needed to build the true Church of Jesus Christ is already in place. New souls are naturally birthed into the Kingdom of God when Jesus (the husband) and His matured Church (the bride) come together. This is Jesus’ biblical way of church growth. To make this biblical program a reality, help others to mature in Christ and to discover their God-called ministries. Once this is achieved, open doors, where possible, and activate their ministry in the Church and in their community.

One of the richest men alive, Bill Gates, said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Didn’t Jesus say, “For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”? (Luke 16:8) Jesus probably said this due to the fact that worldly-minded people tend to be more consistent in steadily pursuing their physical goals, than saints are in their pursuit of spiritual ones.  This agrees exactly with what Jesus said His leaders should also do; they should fervently serve another’s needs as He did ours. Now what we must ask ourselves is where our treasure is found? Is it located in what can be counted and put in our pockets? Or is it found in the investments we put into others? The former may bring you moments of happiness in this lifetime, but the latter will draw countless dividends for eternity. The answer to this question will determine where your heart is, and your type ministry, both 2,000 years ago and for today.

Part 4 of 5

 

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