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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Mar25Thu

    Day 37: “Believe Me When I Say”

    March 25, 2021
                Yesterday I was reading John 14:12 Jesus said to us “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes (who has faith) in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” You do not have faith in someone you do not believe in. As I read this passage the words believe / who has faith jumped out at me. We have been talking about the miracles of Jesus, which are the works He was doing. This passage is one of those contentious passages where people’s faith or lack thereof comes into the light. You read this passage and expect to do as Jesus did or you read this passage and remember what Jesus did with no effect for today.
                This passage is one of those that separate those who have faith and believe from those who refuse to believe. I have heard people in the church say this verse doesn’t actually mean what it says as they do with many verses. I thought this was interesting. I took a quick peek at one person’s site that shared his views on the meaning of this verse and many hold this viewpoint. Here is a summary of what he said. He starts off listing the deeds of Jesus. “Some of Jesus' "works" were displays of unspeakable power, such as resurrecting the dead, other miracles demonstrated His sovereignty over nature, including weather, matter and the body.” We have been talking about the miracles of Jesus so you are aware they are quite amazing. He then throws in this deal breaker for those who may be reading his site. He then says, “The idea that anyone could do "greater" works than Jesus also helps explain the context. Scripture not only associates Jesus with miracles in the Gospels, it credits Him with creation itself. In terms of power, it's logically impossible to suggest anyone could do something beyond what Jesus accomplished. The meaning, therefore, ought to be taken in some other way.” By throwing creation into the mix even though Jesus was not referring to creation in this passage, this puts any possibility to doing the same as Jesus out of the question because who is going to create the universe. So he says there has to be some other meaning. He then gives us his solution. He says, “The area where Christians can exceed what Jesus did is not "quality," but "quantity." His earthly ministry lasted only about three years—as He says here, He is soon to end this phase of God's plan. Jesus preached without modern communications, or modern travel technology. In contrast, modern evangelists can spend decades preaching to hundreds of thousands of people. Missionaries can serve the furthest reaches of the globe. As of this writing, this website is accessed by more people every week than lived in Jerusalem during Jesus' era. In a year, some bible-related websites speak to more people than populated the Roman Empire in the first century.” This writer also does not address verse 13 and 14 (And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.)
                So quantity, not quality? In all this quantity, the church is not doing at all what Jesus did and is going to the ends of the earth without power. The church looks nothing like the church Jesus is the head of. Hmmm me thinks there is a problem here yet many in the church accept this pathetic hypothesis. If we are not being like Jesus, what gospel are people spreading to the ends of the earth. The bible did not lead him to this conclusion, his beliefs about the bible did. To dig a little further it is easy to see why this writer has to come to this conclusion. He has to believe this way as any other conclusion disagrees with his belief system and that would mean he would have to repent. To find out his views he does the work for you. All you have to do is go to his statement of faith, which really isn’t a statement of faith but a statement of unbelief. His website states, “Section 4: He is the Divine Teacher who illumines believers' hearts and minds as they study the Word of God We believe that the Holy Spirit is ultimately sovereign in the distribution of spiritual gifts. We believe that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, while by no means outside of the Spirit's ability to empower, no longer function to the same degree they did in the early development of the church.” On the surface this may sound okay but what we see here is cessationism at work. He is saying God doesn’t do that anymore. Cessationism is a doctrine of demons. He said they believe in the divine teacher who illuminates, so why don’t they believe the gifts that He gives are for today? Nowhere does the bible say they have stopped! We also see the false teaching of the rapture and millennium. “Section 9: Things to Come - We believe in the blessed hope, the personal and imminent coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to rapture His saints . We believe in the visible and bodily return of Christ to the earth with His saints to establish His promised millennial kingdom.” Therefore he has to interpret this passage to line of with his doctrinal beliefs even though the passage clearly states we will not only do as Jesus did but Jesus said I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Is it too much to ask just to believe what the bible actually says? We desperately need the Spirit of Truth once again.
                If you truly believe what the bible says, you will not cut things out or add to it. Jesus said John 14:11 “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” This comes down to whether or not we believe the bible. If Jesus was the only one who did these miracles, then yes there would be a case that only Jesus could do the works but that is not the case. Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Acts 5:15 “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Later we see a disciple do something that Jesus did. Acts 8:39 “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.”
                Peter even did as Jesus did. Matthew 14:25 “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Peter also walked on water just as Jesus did but notice what Jesus said to Peter when he sank. He said you idiot, don’t you know how to walk on water. No he said to him, “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
                Why does the church not look like Jesus? It is because the church does not believe His words are possible for today and therefore we do not believe in Jesus. Matthew 17:16 “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him. 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Jesus also said Matthew 21:21 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” I suppose we have to remove the power from these verses also. There are so many verses the church has done away with simply because they refuse to believe and live by faith.
                When you start dissecting the bible into chunks of what you choose to believe or parts you choose not to believe, you are crucifying Jesus all over again because you do not believe His words. This is a slippery slope because by the time you are done your dissection, your bible will be so redacted there won’t be much left of it. What you have left is the faithless and powerless church we have today. You have to ask what exactly is the quantity that is going out into the world. It is not the gospel but other gospels. John asked Jesus is He was the Messiah and Jesus answered Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Jesus is still the Messiah so when people ask about Jesus the church should show them just as Jesus did. This is what the church was supposed to look like and this is the church that was supposed to be going out into the world.
                This redaction of verses takes out verses like James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” We are told here that Elijah was even as we are so we too could do the same. Yes I realize most will say if God so desires to heal us He would, but that is not what it says. The verse says, “Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” The problem does not lie with the power of God but the lack of power in the elders caused by unbelief. Yes in many churches you will be prayed for but in the illustration above (John 14) they do not believe in the gift of healing and miraculous powers. If you really believed we would do as Jesus did and you were not seeing this power, you would seek the power Jesus had for us with all you had. Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
                If Jesus was the only one intended to have this power, He would not have sent His disciples out with His power and authority, which was a prelude to Pentecost. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.  7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” This was the message of Pentecost that would come later. Luke 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When you are clothed then you go to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
                Pentecost is not a one-time event that happened and then ceased. Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. 7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Notice there were miracles taking place but also notice the church today is still trying to finish the work in the flesh.
                When you say you believe in Jesus that means you believe in His words; you cannot separate the two. Paul goes to say in Galatians 3:14 “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Romans 3:21 “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
                Hebrews 11 talks about the faith of those who went before us. It is by faith that we are to live our Christian lives. If we do not have faith to believe, we cannot call ourselves Christians. Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
                If you say you have faith you must believe in the words of Jesus and believe they are possible for today. The church is so far away from the truth that it has made man’s word equal to God’s but that has left us powerless and defeated by our enemies. Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” How is your faith? Do you believe?