Church was a preciously-wonderful time in the Presence of God this morning. It really was. John Thomas spoke, and the message that he brought from God was inspring, challenging and one of those moments-in-time that Holy Spirit really uses to pierce deep into your heart, in a really good way!
Because he was speaking from John 14 v 12. That verse that so many of us know, but that so many of us like to sweep under the spiritual-carpet at times.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Think about it.
Have you ever pictured yourself doing the things that Jesus did? Or doing greater things than Jesus did? Seriously? Do you imagine what that would look like? Because this verse says that anyone who has faith will move in the miraculous-outworkings of the Holy Spirit.
So, this morning we thought about Jesus. We thought about Him reaching out to touch a man who suffered from leprosy. Who had suffered physically, socially and emotionally. And healing him. Completely. And He says we will do greater works than that. We thought about Jesus feeding the 5000. When His heart moved in compassion for the crowds. And He says we will do greater works than that. We thought about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. And He says we will do… Greater works.
But so often we don’t imagine ourselves doing the greater works. We maybe think about someone else doing them. In some other city. In some other country. But not us. We don’t pray for the sick in our day-to-day lives. We don’t see the everyday-miracles happen that people in the Bible did. And we make excuses.
But Jesus didn’t say that some who had faith in Him would do these things. He said anyone.
This isn’t just for the great people or the anointed people… It’s for any people.
Jesus calls us to do the greater works… For His glory.
And we see this happening throughout Scripture. The woman suffering from bleeding does exactly what she’s not meant to do because she’s desperate for the healing of God. She touches the garments of Jesus and is immediately healed. But in Acts we then read that when just the shadow of Peter touches the sick, people are healed. And then when Paul just sends out hankerchiefs, people are healed. Because these are the greater works that are done in the name of Jesus and give even more glory to God.
There is so much available to us if we could just believe. Because people who believe in Jesus have done and are called to do greater works.
This morning we moved on to remember the stories of victory that God has given to His church throughout the ages. And I love talking about these stories and the abundance of men and women of God who have walked before us. Because it inspires me of what Holy Spirit can do through a vessel that is completely given to Him. Talking about these things reminds me of the bigger picture and the greater calling that Jesus has placed on us. Like Saint Patrick, who saw the dead raised and the multitudes repent, and called down enough snow from heaven to fill a valley. Or Smith Wigglesworth who saw healings and dead raisings in the most incredible faith. Or John G. Lake who was divinely immunised from the bubonic plague and had the faith to pray for broken bones whilst they were under x-ray. Or Maria Woodworth-Etter (who is one of my all time heroine’s of faith! Google her!!) who prayed on a train as she passed through a town and saw people within a 30 mile radius fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Or, or, or… We could go on and on. Because these stories are not the stories of men, they are the stories of a God who uses the weak and the inadequate and the normal, to operate through His Holy Spirit, in the miraculous.
This is our inheritance in the family of God. And there is a challenge for us, for me, to claim that which Jesus brough with His own blood.
To start dreaming again.
What would it look like if you were to do greater works?
It’s so easy to make excuses so that we don’t have to take responsibility for a lack of power. I know that I do this all the time.
I say I’m not ‘sorted’ enough. I say I’ll wait till I’m a bit holier. Or until I feel a bit closer to God. Or until I’m more mature.
But sin is breaking the commands of God. It’s the things we do, but also the things we don’t do. This really hit me this morning. Because, I’m so desperate to live a life pleasing to God, even in my weakness and my failure. It’s my heart to turn from my sin and to grow in righteousness. But He commanded us to heal the sick. And so often I spend so much time condemning myself for the things I do wrong, that I forget that not doing the things that He has called me to do is just as serious.
Wow. That is a MASSIVE challenge. A good one. But massive.
Because God is real. And the Bible is real. And my challenge, our challenge, is to live it. To stop making excuses for our own unbelief.
Not everyone we pray for will get healed. But we can guarantee that those people we don’t pray for won’t.
Honestly, this is such a challenge because I remember being so zealous is this area of my life. I remember being in my late teens and praying for sick people on the streets and in supermarkets. I remember seeing miracles and salvation happen in what seemed to be mundane and everyday. I remember being bolder than I am now and taking more risks. And I remember once walking down the high street of a town I was staying in, and two girls I’d never met before running up to me saying, ‘Are you a Christian? Because we saw you glowing with this golden light as you walked down to road and we want to become Christians. Can you pray for us?’
And I don’t want those things to be the stories I talk about happening yesterday. I long to move in the greater things.
To dream big dreams, because they are His dreams.
And giving Jesus glory is my dream.
Holy Spirit was working this morning. As the body of the church prayed for each other, many people were healed of some really specific illnesses. Others heard prophetically. Many were baptized in the Holy Spirit. But the power of God was operating.
And my prayer this evening is that this would only be the beginning. Because I want to move half-way round the world dreaming in the boldness of my youth. And I long to see the church move in the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of Jesus.
I’ll leave you with my favourite Smith Wigglesworth story… Just because it made an appearance in the sermon this morning, so it’s pretty relevant 😉
There’s a famous account of a time where Smith Wigglesworth walked into the parlour of a funeral home, where the body of a dead man had been lying for 3 days. He had been invited for pastoral support for the grieving family, but on arriving he asked the family to leave the room, grabbed the body of the dead man and pulled him out of the casket. He propped the very-dead body up in the corner of the room and commanded it, ‘Live’. Nothing happened. The body fell to the floor, still dead. Not deterred, Smith Wigglesworth picked the body back up, propped it up once more against the wall and said, ‘I told you once, now I tell you again… Live!’ Again, nothing happened and the body fell to the floor with a thud. (I actually think if I’d even got to this point, now would be the time I would have given up and gone and apologised profusely to the poor-waiting-outside-family!) However, Smith Wigglesworth, picked the body up, and commanded it a third time, ‘I’ve told you once, I’ve told you twice, but I tell you again… Now live!’ And the man, who had been very-much dead, shook his head, wiped his face, and the both men walked out of the funeral parlour as alive as they could be.
Yep. Greater things than these. For the glory of Jesus.