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SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY

Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church


Sermon Series: Supernatural Ways Of Royalty 01 (Chapters 1-2) Everything I Have; Date: 21 August 2011
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

Everything I Have
(In this sermon I use the words son and sonship in a generic sense so that they apply to both men and
women.)
Are you poor? As a Christian, do you have God by your side but never seem to have enough of anything?
Are you experiencing lack are you anxious about making ends meet and taking your place at work and home
and in the church? Are you unhappy?
Jesus told a story of a father with two sons. The younger son had everything and he knew it but
the older son had exactly the same kind of wealth but knew nothing of it. This morning I am suggesting
that we pay attention to the older son and learn from his mistakes.
This is Jesus story Luke 15:1-3,11-32:
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the
Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, This man welcomes sinners and eats
with them. Then Jesus told them this parable ...
Jesus continued: There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to
his father, Father, give me my share of the estate. So he divided his property between
them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant
country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything,
there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went
and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave
him anything.
When he came to his senses, he said, How many of my fathers hired servants
have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my
father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no
longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. So he got
up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with
compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The
son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer
worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best
robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the
fattened calf and kill it. Lets have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead
and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he
heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was
going on. Your brother has come, he replied, and your father has killed the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out
and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, Look! All these years Ive been
slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young
goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has
squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for
him!
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My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is
yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and
is alive again; he was lost and is found.
The younger son had everything he was the heir of his father who was rich and he cashed his
inheritance. If he lacked anything, it was a sense of shame because he asked his father to pay out his
share of the estate before his father was even dead. Yet, he got the money and set out to enjoy the
abundance of what money can buy. According to Jesus in a distant country, he squandered his wealth in
wild living. The older son remained at home but so it seems he was consumed by envy. While he
worked and worked on the farm and knew no entertainment not even a weekend BBQ with his friends
he imagined that his brother was living it up with wild parties and prostitutes.
Yet, both sons misunderstood true wealth. They wanted the same. The only difference was that
the younger son acted on his desires while the older son did not dare to do the same but envied him. He
was having secret day-dreams of his brothers life and it made him bitter and full of regret. (And this can
be such a Christian problem where we envy the world for its sins.) The only question is why. Who ever got
what they wanted from a prostitute? Contrary to all the music videos and rapper coolness, the gyrating
bodies of sex workers do not satisfy any man and are not an expression of richness but poverty.
What any man and any woman is craving for more than anything is intimacy. How can you
undress and be naked with a stranger how can you be that vulnerable and not expect to be hurt by the
transaction that is based on money a poor substitute for love. How can anyone do what people do when
they make love and not be hurt by the rejection which is part of prostitution? (No wonder you have to
harden yourself and call it f...ing or s...ing because reality is:) She wants your money, not you. (He pays
for your body, not you.)
We are made for more. When God made man in the beginning, he placed him in a perfect
garden but soon realized Genesis 2:18: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable
for him. Then, he created the first woman and the man was no longer lonely. The woman touched him
deep inside so that he said Genesis 2:23: This now is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. As God
confirmed, they were connecting on such deep and intimate levels that they were no longer two but one
Genesis 2:24: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one
flesh.
It is also interesting to consider when they were first making love. Before they fell into sin in
Gods perfect garden they enjoyed such permanent closeness that there did not seem to be a need for any
retreat to the bedroom (much like heaven). The glory of God was all around them. However, when they
disobeyed God, they experienced that sin not only separated them from God but also each other. They
blamed each other and for the first time felt ashamed naked before each other.
Genesis 3:12: The man said, The woman you put here with meshe gave me some
fruit from the tree, and I ate it.
Genesis 2:25: Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Genesis
3:6-7: When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to
the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave
some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them
were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and
made coverings for themselves. Genesis 3:10-11: He answered, I heard you in the
garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid. And he said, Who told you that
you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
Genesis 3:21: The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and
clothed them.
Could it be that the man and woman Adam and Eve first sought physical intimacy with each
other to recapture something that they had lost in the perfect garden? They were longing to regain the
same oneness of living in permanent perfection surrounded by the glory of God and (to an extent) they
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succeeded because the Bible confirmed that the proper word for making love was to know Genesis
4:1: Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain ... There is something deep going on
in knowing each other in lovemaking. We may not always engage in the right way but even in
prostitution the rich design of God cannot be totally denied 1 Corinthians 6:16: Do you not know that the
person who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one person with her? For it is said, The two will become one
flesh.
[It is also noteworthy that out of their intimacy the first man and woman without deliberate planning
or effort reproduced themselves in children. Cf. John 13:35; 17:23. In Gods kingdom, love is fruitful.]
[Those that have no spouse need not despair because according to the Bible intimacy is also
possible among friends and the brothers and sisters of the church 1 Samuel 18:1: And it came to pass, when
he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and
Jonathan loved him as his own soul.]
Just a reminder the point of this excursion is that the two sons of Jesus story knew nothing
about true riches and wealth. The younger son spent his money on wild living and the older son was
consumed by envy but both in comparison to what God can give were poor. Are you poor in similar
ways? Which son are you? What do you think is going to make you rich?
The younger son thought that he hit the jackpot with his inheritance but he experienced the
logical conclusion of his life-style ending up shipwrecked. Then in Jesus words he came to his senses.
Money cannot buy friendships and money cannot buy a loving father whom he mistreated and
abandoned. There was a famine in the land the distant country of his choosing and he was herding pigs
starving and longing to eat their food. He decided to come home and prepared this speech for his dad:
(How many of my fathers hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to
death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him:) Father, I have sinned
against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me
like one of your hired servants.
Yet, his dad saw him for a distance and made his homecoming a memorable and amazing affair:
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with
compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The
son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer
worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best
robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the
fattened calf and kill it. Lets have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead
and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.
The father was outrageous in his loving welcome, the lavish demonstrations of forgiveness and
the sons restoration to an heir of his fathers property. The son received the best robe, the best party
with the best cut of meat (the fattened calf) and the best piece of jewellery the ring that bore the seal of his
fathers estate. He was hugged and kissed despite the dirt and smell of the piggery on the son.
The father paid no attention to the sons apology. He couldnt because he was simply bursting
with joy: This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. There was no guilt-trip
no smart comments like: I told you so. The father only cared about having his son back and he did not
mind sacrificing everything for his return for instance, his wild run (as an old man) toward the
homecoming son that had disgraced him. He did not care about the opinions of others. He was not ashamed
of his joy. His son was coming home.
This morning you can experience the very same homecoming because the father of Jesus story
is no other than your Father in heaven God himself. (The father in Jesus story could also stand for Jesus
himself but Jesus also represents the Father to us. Cf. John 10:30; 14:9-11.) And he is also lavish in
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demonstrating forgiveness and your restoration as his son whom he has made in his very own image. Just
consider this one Bible question Romans 8:32: He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us
allhow will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Look at Jesus (on the cross) who
died for you and paid the price for all of your sins. This is the Father running towards you, hugging you
and kissing you. This is the Father giving you the best robe, the best party with the best cut of meat and
the best piece of jewellery the ring that makes you an heir of your Fathers kingdom.
Galatians 4:4-7: But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a
woman, ... to redeem [us so] ... that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because
you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out,
Abba, Father. So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has
made you also an heir.
God had made us in his image but then we were lost as dead to him in sin so that restitution
comes to us through adoption by which we become sons again with full rights heirs to Father God. We
receive the Spirit of God into our hearts so that the cry of sonship becomes natural to us calling out to
God: Abba, Father. This is what is making us rich because
Ephesians 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has
blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
John 16:23-24: ... I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant
your request because you use my name. You havent done this before. Ask, using my
name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
However, I am coming back to Jesus story of the two sons and their father. You may think that
for you no homecoming party is necessary because you have already come home or you have never left
home you have never strayed from your faith in God. As far as you are concerned, you are a Christian
and God is your Father. Only do you feel rich? Do you feel the fabric of Gods best robe on your
shoulders? Does he provide for you and fill your tank with love? What kind of experiences do you have
with God?
The older son in Jesus story was home but home felt like a prison to him (as church life can feel
like a prison to you) and it was because he locked himself out removed himself from the wealth of his
dad. What happened?
He created a prison for himself with powerful words damaging judgements and resolutions. This
is what he said to himself:
Judgement: Our father loves my younger brother, not me. Why else would he only pay
out the inheritance to him and not me? After all, I am the eldest.
Judgement: I am worthless. My father will never give me anything. He takes no notice
of me.
Resolution: I will work hard to please my father but he will never give me credit for
anything.
Resolution: I will be in control and prove that I am more righteous than my dad and
brother.
Resolution: I will never trust my dad again.

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With these judgements and resolutions, the older brother turned his home into a prison and the
consequences were devastating. None of the fathers wealth was there for him to enjoy and it was his own
fault. Here Jesus story is quite tragic. Listen again Luke 15:25-32:
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he
heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was
going on. Your brother has come, he replied, and your father has killed the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out
and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, Look! All these years Ive been
slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young
goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has
squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for
him!
My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is
yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and
is alive again; he was lost and is found.
(1) The older son as the heir of the estate seemed to work harder and longer than anyone else
(slaving and never disobeying) servants included because he no longer expected anything good from his
dad, was on a mission to prove him wrong and at the same time strove to earn his approval. (2) He was
carrying bitterness and resentment which finally boiled over into red-hot anger over the fathers
repeated goodness to his younger brother. (3) He failed to receive even a young goat for a BBQ with his
friends and we will pick up on this point later. (4) He never ruled as the heir of the estate. He acted out
the role of the lowest slave rather than the son of the father.
The older brothers judgements and resolutions were his undoing and they may be yours
because the words we speak and the words we hold in our hearts create and shape our future. This is
how God made the world and this is our human privilege whether we believe in God or not. (The design
only becomes even more powerful as we operate in alignment with Gods Spirit):
1) As God has worked creation by the words of his mouth, so we who are made in
his image have the same mandate of creating the future with our words.
Genesis 1:1-25: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light 2 Peter
3:5: by Gods word the heavens existed and the earth was formed Hebrews
1:3: sustaining all things by his powerful word John 6:63: The words I
have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
Genesis 2:19-20: Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild
animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would
name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the
man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals ...
Matthew 16:19: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind
on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in
heaven. John 20:22-23: And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the
Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive
them, they are not forgiven.1

2) We receive according to our faith expectation.


Matthew 9:29: According to your faith let it be done to you.
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Mark 9:23: Everything is possible for one who believes.


The older son expected and received nothing but hard work, no break and not even a
young goat.

3) We reap what we sow.


Deuteronomy 29:18: Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you
today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of
those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
Hebrews 12:15: See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter
root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he
sows.
The older son sowed bitterness and resentment and reaped an outburst of anger open
hostility towards his dad and stubborn refusal to join the homecoming party for his
younger brother.

4) Wherever we judge and not honour, we receive according to our judgement.


Ephesians 6:2-3: Honour your father and mother which is the first commandment
with a promise so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on
the earth.
1 Samuel 2:30: ... Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will
be disdained.
Matthew 13:57-58: And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is
not without honour except in his own town and in his own home. And he did not do
many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Matthew 7:1-2: Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you
judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to
you. See also Mark 11:25-26.
The older brother judged his dad for (supposedly) treating him like a second-rate person
and dishonoured him by refusing to join the party. Thus, he lived like a slave rather than
a son.
[The negative judgements, faith expectations and resolutions can have a cursing effect
on others because they exert (spiritual) pressure on others to act according to the
persons judgements and resolutions. Examples:
My parents received inheritances and [other money] ... so that for periods of
my life we were quite well off. But they had a genius for losing money! In the day before
theft insurance, they opened a jewelry store, and were robbed three times. They started
a fine gift and furniture store in Joplin just before Joplin went into a financial
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depression. And so it went, again and again. Little blame could justly be attached, but
that didn't keep my sinful heart from doing it. My picture of life and God were formed
unconsciously in bitterness. God would go bankrupt as far as I was concerned. I would
not be consistently provided for ... I would never have enough, and would have to work
extra hard all my life only to lose anyway.
Neither God nor life could go against the deep levels of my will. Life went that
way. Always there was some emergency just when it looked like clear sailing. Three
congregations, whom I pastored, dutifully starved us. My psychological projections
streamed messages to trustees' boards, but though that helped to turn away salary
increases, the reaping of judgement was what pushed them not to be as expansive as
they would have been. [I judged my parents and God for not providing for me and so I
reaped what I sowed: Indeed there were never enough provisions.] Not until the Lord
revealed the depth of my sin did things change (John & Paula Sandford: Restoring
The Christian Family, New Jersey 1979).
A man whose father had been severely critical of him came for counsel. No
task accomplished met an embrace or affirmation from his dad, but only attacks. This
man could never hold a job. Bosses always reviled him and made life so miserable that
no matter how hard he tried, in the end he would have to resign or be fired. Recently he
had taken a new job and performed well. The boss thought, Sams been doing well. Ill
go in and sit down and have a chat and compliment him. Within five minutes the boss
found himself ripping Sam up one side and down the other. The boss left shaking his
head, wondering what had happened. I didn't want to do that at all; what made me do
it? Sam's attitude, his remarks, his expectancy to be criticized didnt help at all, of
course, but these alone could not be enough to so divert and pull off-balance the others
mind and heart. Sam was continuing to reap the bitter judgements of his heart [which
he made against his critical father all those years ago] (John & Paula Sandford:
Restoring The Christian Family, New Jersey 1979).]

5) We become what we judge.


Romans 2:1: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,
for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who
pass judgment do the same things.
Friedrich Nietzsche: Be careful in choosing your enemies because you will become
like them.
The older brother judged his father to be mean towards him but he became mean
himself towards his generous father and towards his brother who had been lost and dead
to the family.

6) Negative judgements and resolutions work ever increasing devastation.


Hosea 8:7: They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind ...
The older brother took offense at his fathers goodness towards the younger son. He
began by nursing a grudge and reaped an open split in their relationship.
Are you by any chance the older son? In Jesus story, the older son had a perfect dad and so
have you in God but this did not stop him from judging him and nursing harmful resolutions. How are
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you feeling towards God your Father in heaven? Are you a Christian a child of God but never seem to
get anything?
Maybe your problem is not just with God but other family members. Imagine that the older
brother remained as he was resentful and distant from the father and then imagine that he himself had a
son. Would this son the grand-son ever learn to love the grand-father or would he grow up damaged
and corrupted in his views by his dad the older brother? Has there been a person in your life maybe
your own dad that harmed your relationship with Father God?
Listen to the following testimony Craig Hill: The Ancient Paths, Littleton: Family Foundations
Publishing 1992, p14-21:
Joe was a well dressed, successful businessman in his late thirties when I first
met him. He had come to a weekend From Curse To Blessing seminar. As we moved
into the small-group ministry time, Joe began to share sheepishly, about the tremendous
problem that anger had caused him in his life. Anger causes me to embarrass myself,
and then I feel guilty, he explained. One time a couple of months ago I was driving
my car out of a shopping mall parking lot into a stream of traffic. I thought that I had
enough space to exit the parking lot and enter the traffic flow on the street. However, as
I began to move my car forward, I stopped my car and decided to wait for a larger space
in traffic. The man in the car behind me was apparently surprised and gave me a little
toot on his horn.
Joe went on to describe, I was so infuriated that he would honk at me, I
slammed the gear shift into park, and jumped out of my car, almost ripping the door
off the hinges on the way. I stormed back to the car following me, grabbed the shirt of
the startled driver and jerked his face up through the open window. I then let loose a
tirade of choice obscenities and profanity as I let him know what I thought of him. All
the time while screaming at the other driver, it was all I could do to restrain myself from
physically punching him.
When I had exhausted my vocabulary of four-letter words and felt that the
other man sufficiently understood how I felt about his honking, I returned to my car. As
I sank back down into the drivers seat, tremendous guilt and shame began to
overwhelm me. I almost felt as if it had been someone else shouting those words. Who
was that crazy, raging maniac? I thought to myself. What a wonderful testimony of the
love of Christ I presented to that man following me! Then I remembered the bumper
sticker that my wife had recently attached to the back bumper of both our cars, Honk if
you love Jesus. I just sank into a pit of shame and depression all the way home.
Joe continued, Not only that, but sometimes I get so angry at my wife that I
am afraid one day Im going to physically strike her. We have a two-year-old son, and
when he cries and wakes me up at night, I get so angry that often I just have to get out
of the house and go take a walk, or Im afraid I might hurt him, too. Ive prayed and
prayed to get rid of this anger. Ive repented of anger. I hate it. Ive told God that Ill do
anything to get rid of it, but nothing seems to work. Its ruining my life and my
marriage, he said with exasperation.
I suggested to Joe and his wife that we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to
him the root cause of the anger in his life. He agreed, so we began to pray. Simply
asking the Lord to show Joe anything that was pertinent to his anger, we quietly waited.
After a few minutes, I asked Joe, Well, did the Lord show you anything? No, he
replied, nothing pertinent. What came to your mind? I queried. Oh, just a dumb
experience I had years ago when I was a kid, he said. As a matter of fact, I hadnt
even remembered that experience until now, but it doesnt have anything to do with my
life at this time.
I urged Joe to share about the experience, but he continued to maintain that it
wasnt pertinent. Finally I told him, We asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anything
He wanted that was important, and this experience was the only thing that came to your
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mind. So why dont we just trust God that He was reminding you of that experience for
a reason, and perhaps we will discover that it is relevant.
I have found that many times when people have been deeply wounded and hurt
in their lives, through the impartation of the devils message of identity and/or destiny,
especially by parents and other key individuals, the pain is so great that it is buried deep
inside and never really dealt with. Because of the intensity of the pain, many times a
key experience is even blocked entirely from the memory, and when it is brought to the
surface, the individual is not at all in touch with the emotional pain still down deep
inside from that experience.
As a result, regarding such memories or experiences, people will often times
say things such as, Oh, Ive dealt with that or I forgave my dad a long time ago for
that or Oh, that doesnt hurt any more. Christians will often say, Oh, Ive put that
under the Blood. However, many times the pain has not been released to the Lord, but
rather stuffed deep inside and covered over. This is a part of the superficial type of
healing that Jeremiah 6:14 speaks about. The truth is that there is still a deep wound that
has never been healed but has only been covered over as an oyster covers a grain of
sand. The prophet Isaiah describes the situation:
Isaiah 1:6: From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no
soundness only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or
soothed with olive oil.
Imagine that you suffered a physical laceration of your arm. Instead of cleaning
it out, antisepticizing the wound, and sewing it up, you simply left it open, let all kinds
of dirt get into it, and never tended to it at all. After a period of time, the wound would
scab over and might even look as if it were healed, but underneath the outer layer would
be a reservoir of infectious puss. In such a situation, each time pressure is put on the
wound, more infectious puss is released into the body. Eventually, for true healing to
come, someone must lance the wound, irrigate out all the infectious puss, cleanse and
antisepticize the wound, and close it back up.
This is the type of picture that Isaiah is giving us regarding the inner man. A
spiritual cleansing must occur, and when it does not, a person can walk around all
his/her life with deep emotional or spiritual wounds that are severely infected but have
never been pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil.
Such was the case with Joe. Finally, he agreed to share the childhood
experience that had come to his mind during prayer. However, he continued to maintain
that the experience was not relevant; it was so insignificant that he hadnt even
remembered it until that moment; besideds, it didnt hurt any more; and he had forgiven
his dad years ago.
Joe began to share by saying that when he was eight years old, one Friday night
he had an opportunity to have two of his friends spend the night with him at his home.
He was very excited about this and had been looking forward to the event for some
time. Finally the day arrived. That evening the three boys were allowed to stay up later
than normal, eat popcorn, and watch scary movies. They were having the time of their
lives and finally fell asleep at about 1:00 AM.
When Joe awoke in the morning, much to his horror, he discovered that a
terrible tragedy had occurred during the night. He had wet his bed. He desperately did
not want his two friends to find out about the accident, so he quickly stripped the bed
and hid the sheets and blankets.
However, Joes mother found the bedding and discovered what had happened.
She promptly let Joes father know. He decided that an appropriate time to discipline
Joe would be at the breakfast table in front of his friends and the rest of the family. Joes
father first exposed what had happened and then began to ridicule and shame Joe in
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front of the others. He called him a bed wetter and told him that they would have to
buy him a big diaper to wear. Joes dad let him know what a big disappointment it was
for him to have an eight-year-old son who still wet the bed. After much derision and
ridicule, Joes father pulled down Joes pants, bent him over his knee and gave him a
lengthy, bare-bottom spanking right there at the breakfast table in front of his friends.
Joe went on to share that after such total humiliation, he just wanted to sink
through the floor and disappear. He also said that at that moment he wished he could
have killed his dad, and that if he had a means to do so, he probably would have.
But it doesnt bother me any more, and I havent even remembered that
experience for over thirty years, he added. Realizing that there were probably was
some unresolved, emotional wounding bottled up inside, as though under a cork, I asked
Joe if he would speak out in prayer to Jesus how he felt while his father was ridiculing
and humiliating him in front of his friends at the table that morning many years ago. He
agreed to do so. We bowed our heads and closed our eyes to pray, and I waited about
ninety seconds for Joe to begin speaking to the Lord in prayer. But he was not saying
anything. I thought that perhaps he had not understood that he was to pray out loud, so I
finally invited again saying, Go ahead and just speak out to the Lord how you felt that
morning.
Suddenly this normally reserved, unemotional man burst into tears, and thirty
years of stored up hurt, resentment and anger came flowing out during the next 15
minutes. He wept and wept and wept as the covered over wound was finally lanced. I
was then able to show Joe how Satan had used his own father unwittingly to
communicate to Joe as a small boy his message of identity and destiny. Satans message
was: You are nothing but a bed wetter. There is just something inherently wrong with
you. No matter how hard you try, you will never succeed at anything in life. You are a
shame to your family and an embarrassment to God.
Joe later admitted that this really was how he had felt deep inside all his adult
life. He had always believed that the deck was stacked against him, and that no matter
what he did, circumstances beyond his control always caused him to fail, through no
fault of his own. This would create great frustration and anger which, when acted upon,
would further embarrass and shame him.
After releasing all that infectious, emotional puss from the inner wound, Joe
was then able to forgive his father from his heart and afterwards go to God, his heavenly
Father, and ask Him to reveal the truth of who Joe really was and why he was here. All
Joes life the Lord had been waiting to impart to Joe His message of identity and
destiny, but the devils message was already so strongly established deep inside. Up
until now he could never receive Gods opinion of him. As a result, even though Joe
was nearly forty years old, on the inside, in the emotional realm, there had always been
living a fearful, insecure, eight-year-old boy.
Finally that day as the cork was popped, all the hurt and anger of the
humiliated, eight-year-old boy inside were released, and for the first time Joe was able
to allow himself to receive Gods message of identity and destiny and to be the man
God created him to be without feeling inside to be a bed wetter. Joes entire life was
changed that day. He later reported that it was like having lived his whole life in black
and white up until that point and then discovering a whole new world of colour.
It is easy to see how Joes father was used unintentionally as a pawn of Satan
to impart to Joe the devils message of identity and destiny. He had no idea of the
impact that experience would have on Joes life for years to come. Joes father was
simply attempting to discipline his son, but he had no understanding of blessing and
cursing or of Gods ancient ways. Consequently, he delivered a message resulting in
an inner image in Joes mind that caused Joe to spend many years trying to hack his
way through the jungle with a machete instead of riding in a Mercedes on the highway

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to get to the goal. The Bible tell us that for lack of knowledge My people perish
(Hosea 4:6).
As an eight-year-old, Joe was traumatized and then made judgements and resolutions which
imprisoned him in anger even years later. Have a look again at the principles and their consequences in
Joes life:
1) We create the future with our words. 2) We receive according to our faith
expectation. 3) Wherever we judge and not honour, we receive according to our
judgement.
Like the older brother in Jesus story, he thought: I am worthless. I am a bed wetter.
And his identity never recovered from this experience. As a young boy, he had not
control over his bed wetting and then as a boy made this judgement: No matter
how hard I try, I will never succeed in life. The deck is stacked against me and
circumstances beyond my control like bed wetting will always cause me to fail
through no fault of my own. And this is how life turned out for him. He received he
was reaping according to his judgement and these powerful words.
4) We become what we judge. 5) Negative judgements and resolutions work ever
increasing devastation.
He had judged his dad for shaming him in front of his friends unreasonable discipline
but he became the same in responding to others with unreasonable anger even
towards his own infant son. He had hated his father for spanking him and never dealt
with this emotion until it became an uncontrollable anger problem with anyone that
tried to make demands or exert authority over him.
The upshot was that Joe ended up like the older brother at home with Father God as a Christian
but feeling poor and miserable. He thought of himself he experienced life as a failure a bed wetter a
slave to uncontrollable anger and circumstances. His marriage was on the rocks. He was worried that he
might lash out against his son. What would the future hold for him?
Are you by any chance the same as Joe and the older brother? Are there judgements and
resolutions in your life which have the same devastating consequences of keeping you poor even as a
Christian?
I will give you another sample of judgements and resolutions and you may check whether one or
more sound familiar to you:
Judgement: Ill probably fail. Resolution: Therefore, I wont try.
Judgement: Most marriages fail. Resolution: Therefore, I wont give myself totally
to my spouse.
Judgement: Nobody likes me. Resolution: Therefore, I will be unfriendly first.
Judgement: I am ugly. Resolution: Therefore, I will hide myself.
Judgement: I am dumb. Resolution: Therefore, I wont do my best.
Judgement: Im fat. Resolution: Therefore, I will just be couch potato.
Judgement: I dont deserve a good life. Resolution: Therefore, I wont try to improve
my life.
Judgement: I dont deserve Gods blessing. Resolution: I will make it on my own.
Judgement: My sin is unforgivable. Resolution: Therefore, I will hide from God.
Judgement: Life is unfair. Resolution: Therefore, I distrust and withdraw.
Judgement: Satan is powerful. Resolution: Therefore, I will try not to attract his
attention.

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Judgement: People dont accept me. Resolution: Therefore, I will put up a protective
wall.
Judgement: I must be perfect. Resolution: Therefore, I will try hard.
Judgement: Men dont cry. Resolution: Therefore, I will stuff my emotions.
Judgement: Pastors are authoritarian. Resolution: Therefore, I wont come under a
pastor.
Judgement: Godly businessmen cant succeed. Resolution: Therefore, I will
compromise my integrity.
Judgement: Women dont like making love. Resolution: Therefore, I will have an
affair.
Judgement: All men want is sex. Resolution: Therefore, I will use sex as a weapon.2
All of these judgements and resolutions are common in people and you may also agree with some
of them with devastating results (for yourself and others). Joe the man of the testimony received
healing and recovered his identity as a son of God. He was no longer a bed wetter poor and miserable
but a son of God. How may healing and reinstatement as a son and heir of God richness come to you?
The question is: How desperate are you? Most people resist change until they can cope no more.
How do you think (that) you are doing? Is it time to take another look at your relationship with Father
God and become a son (with the best robe on your shoulder) rather than the older brother?
The following are some of the steps towards healing which Father God will provide: 1) Humble
yourself before him and be prepared to give up your judgements and give up your resolutions your
version of the truth and your version of what life is all about. Unless you humble yourself, you cannot learn
anything new.
2) Have another look at your Father in heaven and become convinced of his goodness. The older
brother in Jesus story was so full of resentment, anger and judgements that he never noticed what the
Father was doing. In full view of the festive assembly, he left the celebration let his piece of the fattened
calf grow cold on his plate and chased after his older son who was making a scene of boycotting the
Fathers joy. He pleaded with his son. He loved him with no thought of his own dignity and reputation
before the others. Take time and take another look at our Father in heaven and what he did through
Jesus Christ John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Let him embrace you and love you. Receive his
compassion.
3) Let the Father help you. Like Joe, ask him to show you through the Holy Spirit where the
hidden wounds are. Jesus promised John 14:26: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will
send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
What is God bringing to your attention right now? What has long been forgotten but has never healed
properly?
4) Acknowledge your emotions, grieve and if you can let the tears flow. This is how we are
made. Dont bottle anything up. Even Jesus wept and shed tears (more than once) Luke 19:41-44: As he
approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it. Hebrews 5:7: During the days of Jesus life on earth,
he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and
he was heard because of his reverent submission. We have a Father in heaven who cares about our tears
Revelations 21:4: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying
or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
5) Repent, turn away, surrender and walk away from your judgements and resolutions. Dont fix
them dont improve them dont polish them up dont do anything in your own strength but give them
to Jesus. Let the damaging words die and then let Jesus give new life a new mind, a new heart and new
identity. The Fathers cure is radical but effective 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he
is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. In Christ we are
forgiven and in Christ the old is not fixed up but exchanged for the new which is a gift from God.
According to another Bible passage, we put to death the old including our sinful judgements and
resolutions:

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Colossians 3:1-10: ... you have been raised with Christ ... set your minds on things
above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in
God ... Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature ... You used to
walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of
all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Do not lie to each other [do not hang on to sinful judgements and resolutions], since you
have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is
being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
6) Reverse the judgements and resolutions by forgiving anyone that has wronged you and
blessing them. The older brother in Jesus story had a perfect father (God is a perfect father) but our
human fathers and other father-figures in our life are often like the older brother and through them we
get a twisted view of fatherhood including Gods fatherhood. Forgive them and bless them. Overcome the
negative words through the freedom of forgiveness. Jesus said Matthew 6:9-15: This, then, is how you
should pray: Our Father in heaven, ... Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others ... For if you forgive
other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive
others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 7:1-2: Do not judge, or you too will be
judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be
measured to you.
7) Join the Fathers feast. In Jesus story, the Father invited the older brother to let go of his
anger and have a bite of the fattened calf. If he just got over himself his self-pity and his view of the
world if he just accepted that it wasnt always about him the older brother would experience taste and
see how good his father really was. The Fathers joy would become his. A lost and dead brother had
come home. Other people as imperfect as you and I are also loved by this amazing God. As healing
comes, we are beginning to see the family again not just working late by ourselves and are beginning to
recognize the riches that come from our Fathers heart. [Maybe celebrate the feast of Holy Communion
with a new sense of awareness.]
Are we ready now? This morning can we leave our poverty behind our self-made prisons and
be restored as sons of our Father in heaven? I repeat the steps: 1) Humble yourself. 2) Take another look
at the Fathers goodness. 3) Let the Father show you the hidden wounds. 4) Grieve over the hurt and loss
that has come to you. 5) Turn away and put to death your damaging judgements and resolutions. 6)
Reverse the damaging judgements and resolutions by forgiving anyone that has wronged you and
blessing them. 7) Join the Fathers joy.
I will give you a short time where we are silent in prayer to God. Let him stir your heart and
bring to your attention what kind of judgements and resolutions need repentance in your life and get
ready to forgive and bless ...
Pray after me: Father in heaven, I am proud but only you are good. Thank you for Jesus who died
for me on a cross. Thank you for his blood that cleanses me from all sin. Please show me my judgements and
resolutions. I am heart-broken for the pain which they have caused. I put them to death. I turn away from them
and I forgive those that have wronged me. I bless them, Father, with your love. I receive your joy and rejoice in
the salvation of many.
God has heard your prayer. If you think that you are not yet free from your damaging
judgements and resolutions, then consider confessing to someone else in more detail and speaking out
what has been inside you. According to the Bible (again) there is power in the words that you speak
out:
Romans 10:9-10: If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your
heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that
you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and
are saved.
James 5:16: 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.
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Welcome back to sonship and new enjoyment of the Father. You are loved by him an heir of the
estate.
I want to come back to the beginning and the poverty of many Christians. This is what I asked
you: As a Christian, do you have God by your side but never seem to have enough of anything? In Jesus
story of the two sons and their father, the younger son had everything and he knew it but the older son
had exactly the same kind of wealth but knew nothing of it. We have now talked about the older son his
damaging judgements and resolutions his self-imposed imprisonment in a world of his own making his long
hours of work by himself and his anger towards his dad but what exactly kept him poor? The younger son
was not the perfect Christian either but he received from the Fathers riches. What was the difference
between the two?
It is a key feature of Jesus story. I read to you again two small segments. Can you spot what
makes the one rich and keeps the other poor?
Luke 15:12: The younger one said to his father, Father, give me my share of the
estate. So he divided his property between them.
Luke 15:29-31: But he [the older brother] answered his father, Look! All these years
Ive been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even
a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends ... My son, the father said, you are
always with me, and everything I have is yours.
Whats the difference between the two sons? Whats the difference between being poor and
being rich in the Fathers home? The younger son asked his dad for what he wanted. He knew that he
was a son and loved and that the Father would give him anything pay out the inheritance even before his
death. He was the son that always came to his dad with what was on his heart. He was not shy of asking
for things. The only time the younger son did not ask for what he needed was among strangers (in a
distant country) when he desired to eat the food of the pigs that he was herding. There, he could not ask
for his needs with the same confidence as a son would be asking his father. But even when he had made a
mess of his life, he knew enough of his dad and goodness that he planned to return and approach him
with another request: I am no longer worthy to be called your son; but please make me like one of your hired
men (so that I can earn a living). The younger son was rich and became rich again after he had wasted his
inheritance because he knew to come to his Father and ask his dad for what he wanted.
The older son never asked for anything with the consequence that he never received anything
not even a young goat for a BBQ with his friends even though the Father told him later: Everything I have
is yours. How could the older son watch the boldness of his brother his outrageous request for his share
of the inheritance and not learn anything from the fathers response? Anything was there for the asking!
As Christians, we are also invited to ask for things ask our Father in heaven and this is called
prayer. Do you pray? How often do you ask God for what you need and want? As in Jesus story, this is
what makes the difference between living as poor Christians never even having a young goat and living
with our inheritance as the sons of God. Are you confident in coming to God with your requests? I again
point out to you the younger son. He was not perfect as you dont have to be perfect but he knew that
he was a son; therefore he knew how to come to his dad with his requests.
We consider a few Bible passages:
James 4:2: You do not have because you do not ask God. [However, no anxious
babbling is required. Cf. Matthew 6:7-8.]
Matthew 7:7-11: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the
door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for
bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then,

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though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will
your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

I think that it was last year or the year before that I had planned to go to a conference (with
Bill Johnson) in Brisbane. David Challenor and David Francis were also going. The night before I had a
blocked nose and all the symptoms which told me that the next day I would have a massive head cold and
bothersome runny nose requiring tissue after tissue. As I was lying in bed, Tatjana offered to pray for
me. I put my head on her lap, she laid hands on me and then she prayed. I thought that it would be a
quick prayer and I would be back to what I was doing. However, she kept praying and praying and,
finally, I was thinking: Why shouldnt God heal me? I pray for others and have faith for their healing. Why
shouldnt it happen for me this time? I cannot really be at that crowded conference with my sneezing and messy
tissues. Slowly, I was relaxing into the prayer and exercising trust and faith. Slowly, I was turning into
the son that was asking his Dad in heaven for what he needed and God healed me. The flu was
completely gone which also surprised David.
Right there I experienced the difference in being rich or poor as a Christian. Would I be a son
would I be confident enough in asking my Father in heaven for what I need?
There is much to learn for us here. God frequently responds to immature prayers of
immature sons. For instance, at one time his people did not even pray but just groaned in their misery
and he heard them (Exodus 3:7). At another time, Peter one of the disciples had lost his faith (which
had previously enabled him to walk on water) and simply cried out: Help! Yet, Jesus answered his
prayer. God many a time responds to immature prayers of immature sons but on the other hand the
power of prayer increases with maturity because sometimes the level of our confidence as sons has
something to do with the outcomes of our prayers.
Matthew 21:21-22: Jesus replied, 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. If you believe, you will receive
whatever you ask for in prayer.
John 15:7: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you. [Cf. John 14:13.]
The following is the experience of a missionary in Mexico:
A young Southern-Baptist missionary not yet out of language school attended a
worship service in the jungle of Mexico. There were about 400 Indians standing around
and in his own words the Holy Ghost was everywhere in the meeting. They brought
a little girl to him who was four years old. They set her down. He didnt know what was
wrong with her. She couldnt hear. The problem was that she was born deaf. So he knelt
down there. He had watched the power of God fall in the place and knock everyone
down. He had watched people wailing and moaning. Jesus came and he was amazed at
what was going on. Benches and benches full of people were falling and wailing and
moaning. He had never seen it before. He in his own words again he was just a little
Baptist guy. But it didnt matter to him. He didnt value manifestations. He valued
Jesus. He wanted Jesus.
So, he was holding onto this little girl. He was down on the floor. He had seen
other things already get healed in the meeting and he was impressed with Jesus and his
heart was almost ready to burst with joy and faith. He just knew it was going to happen.
And he knew that he was going to run off that mountain like a madman, screaming and
yelling and glorifying the King. And he prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and
the healing did not happen. That impressed him. There was that much of Jesus, and

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what he could see and what he could feel, and the little bits of knowledge that he did
have in him, and it bothered him and irritated him that she was not healed.
He was weeping. He was complaining. He was screaming. He was
commanding. He was jumping. He was very frustrated and she stayed deaf. All right.
He was humiliated now. All of the great wonders of God were going on all around him
and this baby that he wanted to be healed so much, she was still deaf. He didnt like
that. Something had to change.
And now I quote from his account. He said: So as I was on my knees
weeping and holding this child, I called out to Heaven, Please, would you help me?
Just a little bit? And He did, there was a vision. I havent had a lot of them, just a few,
probably 4, maybe 5 open visions where it is like a movie and I was there. What
happened was, there was this awesome pasture, and it was beautiful, lush, and green and
full of nutrients. The right things were there. And there was a huge beast, a big bull that
was very strong, that represented me. He was snorting, and ripping the ground, and
eating the right nutrients, and the power was definitely there. And the bull was tearing
up the field with its horns. And then, suddenly in the middle of this huge beautiful
pasture, there was a little present placed there by the Holy Ghost. And this huge, power
bull walks up to that present, and with all of his power and might and all of his great
ability, he could not open that present. In the next moment, there was a baby, 10 or 11
months old, maybe 15 months old at the most, sitting in front of that present and was
very happily and easily opening the present. The big bull was tearing the ground up,
was very powerful, was eating the great nutrients, but it was the baby that opened the
box, not the big bull.
And I said to Jesus, Either make me that baby or Im not going to preach.
And He said, You must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of God. Its not
the manifestations; its not the great power you possess; its not your great abilities, its
becoming like a little child and using the gifts of heaven in your life. Thats the answer.
Thats it! And so Ive been working on that ever since (David Hogan: Faith To Raise
The Dead).
Why did God not respond to his prayer for healing? He was asking with power but not the
confidence of a son which comes natural for any baby. He had learned principles and techniques and he
had passion and resolve - (in many ways he used them to be self-reliant like the older brother in Jesus story)
but not enough trust that God was a good Father who would heal the girl in response to his prayer.
This devastated the missionary but put him on a journey of learning to become a son. [How? Spend time
with him. Allow the Spirit to strengthen you and lead you into all truth. Concentrate on his goodness and
worship him. Feed yourself on what he does the testimony of the Bible and others. Exercise faith and trust.
Take small steps first. Cf. Ephesians 3:16-19: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with
power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray
that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lords holy people, to
grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses
knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.]
Increased confidence will come with maturity not least because God wants to share all of his plans
with his sons. As you grow as a Christian, you will experience the thrill of being trusted with the Fathers
programs and projects which confirms your sonship and increases your confidence in acting out the will
of the Father (as you pray for a sick girl or others). Hear the Bible on this:
John 5:19-20: Jesus gave them this answer: Very truly I tell you, the Son can do
nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the
Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.
Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.

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John 15:15-16: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his
masters business. Instead, I have called you friends [or fellow-sons], for everything that
I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I
chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruitfruit that will last
and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
There is still more. Sometimes as sons who know the Father we dont even ask we are not even
meant to pray and petition God because God expects that like children today we go and open the family
fridge when we need something. When children are at home with dad, they use the fridge they dont ask
for extra permission at least in most families.
When the father told the older son in Jesus story: My son, you are always with me, and
everything I have is yours, he meant what he said. Everything of the fathers was already the sons which
meant that as owner he could have simply helped himself to a young goat for a BBQ with friends.
Learn to be a son and take what you need. [The father of Jesus story had indeed divided the property
between his sons and, thus, the older son was living on what was his share.]
This is quite a serious point because there comes a time when more prayer is not the answer
because as long as we keep asking we are not receiving. We remain poor and are not using the authority
that we already have as Gods sons. At one time, the people of God, under the leadership of Moses, were
in the most severe crisis wedged between the hostile army of Egypt and the Red Sea. They cried out to God
for help. They again felt poor and miserable like slaves praying furiously but God said: Why are you
crying out to me (Exodus 14:15). Sometimes God is not pleased with more prayer but confronts us with
this question: Why are you crying out to me? Use the authority that you already have. In Moses case he
said: Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water (Exodus 14:16). In other
words: Use that familiar staff again and perform a miracle. Come on! Its not your first time.
Jesus made the same point with his disciples. Consider these two encounters:
Matthew 16:5-12: When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.
Be careful, Jesus said to them. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees
and Sadducees. They discussed this among themselves and said, It is because we
didnt bring any bread. Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, You of little faith, why
are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand?
Dont you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls
you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you
gathered? How is it you dont understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But
be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then they
understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but
against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Matthew 6:45-56: Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on
ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went
up on a mountainside to pray.
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He
saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly
before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them,
but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried
out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and
said, Take courage! It is I. Dont be afraid. Then he climbed into the boat with them,
and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood
about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. When they had crossed over, they landed
at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people
recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to
wherever they heard he was. And wherever he wentinto villages, towns or

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countrysidethey placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them
touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Twice Jesus multiplied food for thousands of people and twice he made the food multiply in the
hands of the disciples as they were handing out the few loaves of bread and fishes. Jesus did not pray
about this miracle but simply thanked his Father for his provisions. The disciples were to learn from
these experiences. In a moment of crisis faced with a hungry crowd faced even with the minor problem of
not bringing lunch with them they were to repeat this miracle and others. As Jesus disciples as sons of
God they were carrying authority and Jesus was not (at all) pleased with them when they still behaved
like helpless and poor people and only prayed. People, who had fed thousands before, were not to worry
about not packing lunch and they were not to worry about a storm in the middle of the lake but as sons
of God take charge go to the fridge and fix the problem. Likewise, we never see Jesus praying for the
sick but laying hands on them and healing them. He knew his authority and commanded us to do the
same. Learn to use the fridge of your Father in heaven.
This is what it may look like. [Abbreviate and retell in your own words:]
Heidi Baker with Shara Pradhan: Compelled By Love, Lake Mary: Charisma
House 2008, p115-116: One day I was sitting on a grass mat in about 110-degree
weather on Christmas Day, looking out on hundreds of our beautiful children We
had invited all the children from the streets and the dump Gathered around me were
all the girls who had sold their bodies, the bandits, the rascals, the children from the
village, the forgotten, the lost, the abandoned and the lonely.
I was overjoyed to give out the presents that had been prepared by our amazing
staff Many of the youth had come to the Christmas party drunk The street girls
were hardly wearing anything. I just hugged them all. And they all called me Mama
Aida.
They came one after another hundreds of them whom we had invited to the
feast. We had a co-worker from America who was a mental health director for an entire
state. She thought it was rather ridiculous to try to give limited bags of toys to countless
children. I think she thought I was a bit mentally ill myself.
I explained to her, I am supposedly going to give the presents first to the kids
who have never gotten any presents before. So, we started giving out the presents. I
was not very popular at first; all the gifts that the volunteers had spent time gathering
and organizing were going to the street kids while our center kids just had to watch and
wait.
But we kept handing out presents. Finally, it came down to our older girls. My
friend and co-worker informed me that the bags we had left only had stuffed animals in
them. Old stuffed dogs were all that remained.
So when our girls got to me, I simply asked the first one, What would you
like, sweetheart? Beads, she replied. OK, they want beads. My friend responded,
There is nothing in the bags but old stuffed dogs. Please check again, I told her. She
was exasperated by this time, but she reached into the bag of old stuffed dogs and
started screaming. Beads! There are beads in the bag! The Argentinean volunteers
started jumping around, screaming for joy. All of our girls got beautiful, bright beads
for Christmas.
I come to a close. As a Christian, you can be rich because you have a Father in heaven who owns
everything. Learn to pray and ask him for things. Learn to be a son. The older brother in Jesus story
had exactly the same kind as wealth as his younger brother but knew nothing of it. You do not have to be
like him. Give up any damaging judgements and resolutions and open your heart again to your Father in
heaven. Ask him. Take what you need. He is saying to you: Son, everything I have is yours. Amen.

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Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church


Sermon Series: Supernatural Ways Of Royalty 02 (Chapter 3) Like My Dad; Date: 28 August 2011
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

Like My Dad
A few weeks ago, we had a church meeting where one of our members shared with us a common
experience. He said: Growing up I purposed never to become like my dad but in my early forties I
looked at myself and realized that I had become my dad. He had taken on character traits which he had
never liked in the person of his dad even though he loved him. Is this your experience? You resolve to be
different from your parents or your boss or your worst enemy and you have strong feelings about
taking a different direction but then discover that the unthinkable has happened to you. You have
become just like them.
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (and he was not at all a Christian) was certain that he
recognized this dynamic in people (we would say: this design feature of creation) and therefore
advised his readers: Be careful in choosing your enemies because you will become like them. In other
words: Be careful in choosing whom you dislike and who will occupy the thoughts of your sleepless nights.
Be careful about being consumed with rage about certain people and plotting against them because otherwise
you will turn our exactly like them.
At first hearing, this seems crazy. This doesnt seem to make sense. Irrespective of the odd son
who seems to take on the shortcomings of his dad, why would this be a common experience that the very
character and behaviour, which we dislike in a person and hate with a passion, become ours? [It may not
be related but it is like driving on a motor-bike and focusing on the ditch that needs to be avoided. The more the
drivers focus remains on the ditch, the more certain it becomes that this is precisely the inevitable target of his
driving.]
This morning I may not be able to give you a satisfying answer (penetrate the mystery to
everyones satisfaction) except to say that this is a law of nature a design feature of our world like
gravity (or the invariance of the speed of light in a vacuum). You can observe the law the principle of nature
and you can marvel at your discovery but then you need to accept the law rather than argue with the
design. For instance, try arguing with the law of gravity and improve your hang time through will power. It
wont work. God made the world as it is. We are not in charge.
Therefore, we become what we resolve with intensity and churned up feelings not to become.
Consider this Bible story [abbreviate and retell in your own words]:
2 Samuel 13:1-3: In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar,
the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. Amnon became so obsessed with his sister
Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to
do anything to her ... And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her
brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her ...
and since he was stronger than she, he raped her ... And Tamar lived in her brother
Absaloms house, a desolate woman. When King David heard all this, he was furious.
And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon
because he had disgraced his sister Tamar ... Two years later, when Absaloms
sheepshearers were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the kings
sons to come there ... Absalom ordered his men, Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits
from drinking wine and I say to you, Strike Amnon down, then kill him ... So
Absaloms men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered ... the report came to David ...
The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his attendants
stood by with their clothes torn ... Meanwhile, Absalom had fled ... Absalom fled ... But
King David mourned many days for his son. After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he
stayed there three years ...

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2 Samuel 14:28-33: Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the kings
face ... Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his
face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.
2 Samuel 15:10-12: Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of
Israel to say, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, Absalom is king
in Hebron. ... And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absaloms following kept on
increasing.
2 Samuel 16:20-22: Absalom said to Ahithophel, Give us your advice. What should
we do? Ahithophel answered, Sleep with your fathers concubines whom he left to
take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious
to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute. So they
pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his fathers concubines in the
sight of all Israel.
Absalom, the son of King David, took offense at his brother Amnons crime of raping their sister
Tamar, nursed a grudge when their father did nothing, finally took revenge and killed Amnon, but then
ended up committing the same crime in a far worse manner. In the sight of the whole nation on the roof
of the palace not as an act of misguided passion like his brother but for political gain he raped and violated
his fathers three concubines. At long last, he had become the person that he despised when the other
person was his brother (and father).
This is the lesson: It is absolutely crucial to focus the mind and heart on better prospects than
past offences or disappointments and it is absolutely dangerous to get it wrong. Absalom was right in
identifying the crime and he was right about the lack of justice (their father and king did nothing) but
he could not afford to stew over the matter keep the rape an open wound and hate his brother and then
take justice in his own hands because you become what you see and turn over in your mind what you
judge and despise with a passion.
One Bible story illustrates this law of nature in a most startling way [abbreviate and retell in your
own words]:
Genesis 30:31-43: What shall I give you? he asked. Dont give me anything, Jacob
replied. But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and
watching over them: Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them
every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-coloured lamb and every spotted or
speckled goat. They will be my wages. And my honesty will testify for me in the future,
whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is
not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-coloured, will be considered
stolen. Agreed, said Laban. Let it be as you have said.
That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and
all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the darkcoloured lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons. Then he put a three-day
journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Labans
flocks.
Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees
and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood
of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that
they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks
were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they bore
young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. Jacob set apart the young of the flock
by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-coloured animals that
belonged to Laban.

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Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Labans
animals. Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in
the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches, but if the
animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban
and the strong ones to Jacob. In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and
came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
Genesis 31:4-9: So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah ... He said to them, ... You
know that Ive worked for your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated
me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. If
he said, The speckled ones will be your wages, then all the flocks gave birth to speckled
young; and if he said, The streaked ones will be your wages, then all the flocks bore
streaked young. So God has taken away your fathers livestock and has given them to
me.
I dont know whether you can replicate the same breeding success of speckled or streaked
animals today. However, the Bible story does illustrate the important principle of reproducing what you
see. You somehow give birth to what you see and turn over in your mind. When what you see is speckled,
you give birth to what is speckled. And more importantly in the case of Absalom when you keep
looking at a crime and meditate on the rape of your sister without resolving anything then you give
birth to similar crimes or at least similar thought patterns in your own life.
Do you agree with this observation? Kris Vallotton the main author of The Supernatural Ways
Of Royalty writes:
As I pondered this unusual passage, it dawned on me that this was not a lesson in
agriculture! God was demonstrating how we, His sheep, reproduce. The watering hole is
a place of reflection, which means both gazing at something and meditating on it.
Meditation involves our imagination. If we feed our imagination with thoughts of what
we don't want to become and drink from the well of regret, we reproduce that very thing
in ourselves. It doesn't matter what we want to reproduce. It's only important what we
imagine while we are thinking and drinking at the watering hole of our imagination
(Kris Vallotton Bill Johnson: The Supernatural Ways Of Royalty, Shippensburg:
Destiny Image 2006, p41).
He also shared the following observation:
I have counseled a lot people over the years and have observed a common pattern
among many of them: People typically become like the person they most despise.
Alcoholics for instance, are commonly raised by alcoholic parents. I personally have
never met a child molester who wasnt a victim of molestation. At some point in the
counseling session, theres nearly always a statement like, I swore I would never be
like the person who abused me, but I have become just like them. I know this struggle
well myself. In spite of struggling not to be like my step-fathers through most of my
early life, I started becoming an angry man just like them (p39).
What we imagine, we reproduce. (I know that) this is still a big statement but two weeks ago
we have identified a number of other principles which all feed into this same basic principle and they
may sound more familiar to you: What we imagine, we reproduce. Let me remind you of them. [Keep this
very short.]
1) As God has worked creation by the words of his mouth, so we who are made in
his image have the same mandate of creating the future with our words.

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[Therefore, whatever reality we ponder and spell out in our imagination has a creative
force.]
Genesis 1:1-25: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light 2 Peter
3:5: by Gods word the heavens existed and the earth was formed Hebrews
1:3: sustaining all things by his powerful word John 6:63: The words I
have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
Genesis 2:19-20: Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild
animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would
name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the
man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals ...
Matthew 16:19: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind
on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in
heaven. John 20:22-23: And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the
Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive
them, they are not forgiven.

2) We receive according to our faith expectation.


Matthew 9:29: According to your faith let it be done to you.
Mark 9:23: Everything is possible for one who believes.

3) We reap what we sow.


Deuteronomy 29:18: Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you
today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of
those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
Hebrews 12:15: See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter
root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he
sows.

4) Wherever we judge and not honour, we receive according to our judgement.


Ephesians 6:2-3: Honour your father and mother which is the first commandment
with a promise so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on
the earth.
1 Samuel 2:30: ... Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will
be disdained.
Matthew 13:57-58: And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is
not without honour except in his own town and in his own home. And he did not do
many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

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Matthew 7:1-2: Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you
judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to
you. See also Mark 11:25-26.

5) We become what we judge.


Romans 2:1: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,
for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who
pass judgment do the same things.

6) Negative judgements and resolutions work ever increasing devastation.


Hosea 8:7: They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind ...

Whatever we imagine, we become and reproduce. If this was true and it is how then are we to
live? We exercise the utmost discipline in what we allow ourselves to look at and ponder. This includes
TV the life that is imagined in our entertainment but more importantly we check our heart for
emotions which keep us glued to negative images. I am talking here about unforgiveness, envy and
regret. You cannot keep looking at the poison of what has been done to you or where you seem to have
missed out and expect anything but the reproduction of that very poison in the present. Unless you let the
poison go, it will stay with you. Forgive (let God be the judge trust him with justice) and look at
something else in your life. Be content and rejoice in what you have.
Up to now we have considered the basic principle of reproducing what we imagine from a
rather negative angle. We may have become the person that we were determined not to become.
However, the same principle also works in our favour. If we only turned our focus away from flawed
people and pain and unto God, we would make a most joyful discovery: We reproduce something
wonderful in us when we set our imagination on God. Whatever we imagine, we become and reproduce
which means that we become like God when we worship him look at him, meditate on him, imagine his
glory. Then we will say in the best sense possible: I have become exactly like my father my Father in
heaven and I love it.
This then is exactly living according to Gods plan and design because from the beginning
he has made us in his image Genesis 1:28: So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God
he created them; male and female he created them. Thus, the more we keep gazing at God in worship, the
more we are realizing our own design as bearing the imprint of God from birth because we are becoming
also in our daily actions more and more like him a reflection of his nature and glory.
We may sense right now that we are not a pure image of God and it is true. Since the first
humans rebelled against God, the original image of God in people became corrupted by sin (cf. Romans
1:21-32; 8:18-21). However, genuine worship of God is reversing the damage because true worship by
default makes us turn away from sin the worship of our own self (maybe our wounded pride) and
wrong priorities such as lust and greed. Thus, whoever worships God exchanges an ungodly preoccupation
with an intense focus on God and this is called repentance and it brings life.
In one Bible account, the worship of God became so intense that even the persons body took on
the very qualities of God his glory:
Exodus 33:17-20: And the LORD said to Moses, I will do the very thing you have
asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name. Then Moses said,
Now show me your glory. And the LORD said, I will cause all my goodness to pass
in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have
mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion. But, he said, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.
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Exodus 34:29-35: When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of
the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had
spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was
radiant, and they were afraid to come near him ...
When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he
entered the LORDs presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out.
And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw
that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he
went in to speak with the LORD. [Cf. Matthew 17:2; Acts 6:15.]
Moses who had been made in the image of God in worship realized and stepped into Gods
original design. The corruption of sin was falling off him and he was glowing with the glory of God. The
other people had just been worshipping an idol danced around a golden calf took on some of its quality
and therefore could not tolerate the measure of Gods glory that was being reflected from Moses face.
However all of us here we can be like Moses. Another Bible reference picks up on his
experience and explains that becoming like God in worship recapturing and living out our original design
is the destiny of every Christian. I read 2 Corinthians 3:7-18:
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came
with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of
its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more
glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more
glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory
now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with
glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like
Moses, who would put a veil over his face ... we all, who with unveiled faces
contemplate the Lords glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing
glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
These are stupendous words. We become what we worship and our common Christian
experience is to surpass by far what happened to Moses. This is what the Bible reading argued: If the
past ministry of Moses came with glory (and that was in the time before all of Gods people were being
baptized in the Spirit of God through Jesus) will not the present ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
Therefore, as we contemplate the Lords glory, we are being transformed into his image with everincreasing glory and it will be outperforming anything that manifested on Moses face and scared the
rest of the people. We reproduce what we imagine. We become what we worship.
There are more Bible references that back this up:
Psalm 115:4-8: But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have
mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses,
but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they
utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all
who trust in them.
Jeremiah 2:5: What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from
me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.
Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of Gods mercy, to
offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Godthis is your true and
proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the

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renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is
his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1 John 3:2: Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet
been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we
shall see him as he is.
[Owners and their dogs seem to grow alike with age???]
However, how can we worship God? What is he like? We are not the first one to ask the
question. One of Jesus disciples asked him John 14:8: Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough
for us. Jesus answered John 14:9-21:
Dont you know me . even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone
who has seen me has seen the Father ... The words I say to you I do not speak on my
own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work ... 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.
If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give
you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth ... you
[will] know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as
orphans; I will come to you ...
Jesus has been revealing God the Father to us. The Father is exactly like Jesus which means
that we also learn about him from the climax of Jesus life his death on a cross for the forgiveness of our
sins. Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sin and his love
was also the Fathers love. The Father in Jesus proved that he would do anything for us Romans
8:32: He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us allhow will he not also, along with him,
graciously give us all things? Jesus revealed the Father to us and therefore it is Jesus and his entire life on
earth which informs our worship.
Like in any worship, we begin to imitate the person that has captured our affection and love. We
worship God with our whole life and become like him in practical circumstances. Numerous times, the
apostle Paul told his congregation in the Bible:
Ephesians 5:1: Follow Gods example, therefore, as dearly loved children.
Philippians 2:5-8: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as
Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking
the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in
appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death
on a cross!
Yet, Paul also knew that new Christians often need more practical instructions and illustrations
of a life of worship. Therefore, he made sure that his own life could serve as a model for others. He said:
1 Corinthians 11:1: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. [1
Thessalonians 1:6: You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the
message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.]
1 Corinthians 4:16: Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

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We need this. Imitate Jesus, who is like the Father, and you will become a father yourself a
spiritual father among us. This church needs people who imitate Jesus and become like the Father whom
they worship.
One outcome will be that this will be releasing everyone into their destiny as the sons and
daughters of the Father in heaven. Some people feel this enormous pressure to become like their human
fathers (or mothers) and perform to the same level of their specific success in sport or career path. This is
not how it is with our Father in heaven. He has already made us in his image [theres nothing lacking]
and then only wants us to share more of the same foundation his character and glory. Otherwise we are
free to be ourselves unique in our talents and calling and the spiritual fathers among us (in their
diversity) will help us and release us into our destiny:
Ephesians 4:7-13: But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it
... So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and
teachers, [diverse spiritual fathers] to equip his people for works of service, so that the
body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge
of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of
Christ.
Make this your aim: Become a spiritual father (or mother). How can you do this? This has been
the point of the entire message: Worship God and you will become what we need. You will become like
him transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.
We also learn from our spiritual fathers how the Bible promises come true in a persons life. As
we not only gaze upon the Father but also his promises, we learn still another application of the basic law
of nature which began this message and finds its highest expression in worship. We learned that
whatever we imagine, we become or reproduce. However, there is more: Whatever we imagine
whatever we are seeing with the eyes of faith whatever we are dreaming about has a tendency to manifest.
This belongs to us who are made in the image of God. We are co-labouring with God. He said in
the Bible:
Psalm 37:4: Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Mark 11:24: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have
received it, and it will be yours.
This principle of creating by our desires and faith creating by imagining the outcome also
seems to work to some extent in non-Christians (as a law of nature) but comes to its proper
fulfilment in the life of worshipping Christians. As we delight in him and imitate him in absolute
obedience, he looks at our other dreams and works with them.
A few years back, we had a church member who was struggling with depression, struggling with
finances and other issues. For years, she wanted to own her own car and become more independent but
she never had the necessary money. So she cut out the picture of a small car from a newspaper, pasted it
on a wall at home, kept looking at the picture every day and prayed to God for a car. A good while later
the picture of the car was no longer on the wall she received the surprising news that she was inheriting
some money and she immediately thought about buying a car. However, it was not enough but then some
more money came and she received a discount which meant that her available money matched the
purchasing price to the dollar and she was now the proud owner of a car. At home out of curiosity she
dug up the picture of the car from the newspaper and could not believe her eyes. She had bought the
same make (and maybe the same colour): a Holden Barina. The newspaper picture and her brand-new car
in the driveway also matched each other. She knew nothing about car models and just knew that there
had been a small car in the picture. However, what she imagined in faith, manifested to her as a
worshipping Christian.
God taught the same lesson to Abraham when he made him look and see a representation of
what he promised him:
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Genesis 15:2-6: But Abram said, Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I
remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? And
Abram said, You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my
heir. Then the word of the LORD came to him: This man will not be your heir, but a
son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir. He took him outside and said,
Look up at the sky and count the starsif indeed you can count them. Then he said to
him, So shall your offspring be. Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him
as righteousness.
At the present time, our church is under financial pressure and, some months ago, our
Evangelist David Challenor had the impression in prayer that God was going to give us a $1,000,000
cheque. This was a positive thought Rangeville Community Church seemed to be getting cheques like that
but I did not pay too much attention. Then three weeks ago he said it again at our board meeting
and a few days later when we prayed about our finances at our Prayer Watch, Joe took out a banknote from his pocket and gave it to me, saying: Ill give this towards it. I looked at the note and carefully
looked at the number. It was $1,000,000. Only, the bank-note was a fake and made up one side of a
Christian tract. Nevertheless, I took it as a sign from God because Joe had not heard anything about
hoping for a $1,000,000 donation. It seemed to be more than a coincidence that he was carrying this
strange tract in his pocket, attended the Prayer Watch and contributed this fake bank-note to our
finances so soon after David confirmed his sense of such a cheque coming. I want to remain open in my
prayer life to other solutions but I have taken the tract home, pasted it on a frame in my office and keep
looking at it in prayer every day because take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your
heart. What are you dreaming about? Get in touch with what God is stirring up in your heart.
I come to a close. Learn the basic principle of this message and be careful in its application.
What we imagine, we reproduce even to the extent that we become like the people whom we dislike (or
whose behaviour we judge and dislike). Therefore, watch when you say: I will never be like my Dad (or like
any other person), because you are setting yourself up to turn out just like him. Any nursing of a
grudge or feelings of regret may keep your focus on the wrong person when the best person is God. Turn
your life around. Worship him and you will experience the ultimate outcome of the law which says that
we reproduce what we imagine. Worship God the Father and become like him. Experience the day
when you will say with joy: I have turned out just like my Dad. We need people like you. And then
also have another look at the Fathers promises. As you delight yourself in him, he will give you the
desires of your heart. On many levels whatever we imagine, we become and reproduce. Amen.

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Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church


Sermon Series: Supernatural Ways Of Royalty 03 (Chapter 4) Ever-Increasing; Date: 11 September 2011
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

Ever-Increasing
This morning I want to talk about some Bible verses which seem to be too good to be true and therefore
most of us do not know how to handle them. Are we to rejoice in what is being said or admit to our
confusion? What is going on? I read from 2 Corinthians 3:6-18:
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenantnot of the letter but of the
Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought
death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites
could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it
was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that
brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings
righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the
surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the
glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like
Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end
of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil
remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ
is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But
whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled
faces contemplate the Lords glory, are being transformed into his image with everincreasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
There is much contained in these verses wide-ranging concepts such as the ministry that brought
death and the ministry that brings righteousness. There is shifting imagery which first mentions a veil
over the face of Moses (so that others cannot look at his face) but then locates a veil over the heart and
mind of every unbeliever (so that the unbeliever cannot look at Christians who are people like Moses). There
is some explaining to be done (and we will do so later) but (even now at first reading) the core message
of these verses the most stunning proclamation for any Christian is clear. Listen again to some of the
words:
Now if the ministry [of Moses] ... came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look
steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory ... will not the ministry of the Spirit be
even more glorious? ... For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the
surpassing glory [which is ours] ... we all, who ... contemplate the Lords glory, are
being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory ...
These words contain a plain reference to the past to the person of Moses and his most
stupendous experience of God. He had been conversing with God and then saw God with his own eyes
at least as much of him and his holiness as any sinful human being can endure (this side of eternity) without
dying. The result was that Moses own body took on some of Gods nature. His face began to reflect
Gods glory with such power he was glowing so much with God that no other man could even look at
him and then after this particular reference to the experience of Moses the Bible words suggest that our
own experience as Christians is far superior to his.
But can anything trump seeing God? Listen to a few Bible excerpts from the original account
and then be honest: Would you really say that anything more glorious has already happened to you?

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Would you say with our basic Bible reading in 2 Corinthians 3 that Moses experience (as you
understand it) has no glory in comparison with the surpassing glory that is yours as Christian?
Exodus 33:17-20: And the LORD said to Moses, I will do the very thing you have
asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name. Then Moses said,
Now show me your glory. And the LORD said, I will cause all my goodness to pass
in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have
mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion. But, he said, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.
Exodus 33:21-23: Then the LORD said, There is a place near me where you may
stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover
you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see
my back; but my face must not be seen.
Exodus 34:5-7: Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and
proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, The
LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in
love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness,
rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children
and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.
Exodus 34:29-35: When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of
the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had
spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was
radiant, and they were afraid to come near him ...
When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he
entered the LORDs presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out.
And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw
that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he
went in to speak with the LORD. [Cf. Matthew 17:2; Acts 6:15.]
What do you say? As a Christian, is your experience of God any more glorious than what Moses
must have experienced? The honest answer is no. I am sure that I have not yet seen God as Moses did
or has there ever been a time when you could not look at my face (because it was glowing with the glory of
God)? I have not yet experienced that God has come and passed all of his goodness in front of me because
I am absolutely certain that I still need a deeper revelation of his love and compassion on me and others.
I know and preach that God the Father has demonstrated his love for us when he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16) but I want the glory of
this truth to burn brighter in my heart with a greater awareness of the magnitude of what the Father has
done through his Son Jesus Christ. I am sure that there are aspects of Gods glory which I know nothing
about.
Only where does this position me? If after decades of being a Christian I am still lagging
behind Moses, what about the truth of our Bible reading? What do the verses mean?
Now if the ministry [of Moses] ... came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look
steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory ... will not the ministry of the Spirit be
even more glorious? ... For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the
surpassing glory [which is ours] ... we all, who ... contemplate the Lords glory, are
being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory ...
This is going to be interesting and fascinating. Moses encounter with God is still setting a high
standard too high for most Christians but all of us are surpassing his experience nevertheless. I will
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explain this riddle in a moment. However, let me say first that many religious people already stumble
over Gods introductions. As God begins his self-disclosure, the majority of people frequently stop the
experience and reject any further acquaintance even in the day of Moses. Listen to what happened in
the past:
Exodus 19:16-19: On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning,
with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the
camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they
stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the
LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a
furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew
louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
Exodus 20:18-21: When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the
trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a
distance and said to Moses, Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have
God speak to us or we will die. Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid. God has
come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where
God was.
Exodus 32:1-6 [The Message]: When the people realized that Moses was taking
forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, Do
something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of
Egypt who knows what's happened to him? So Aaron told them, Take off the gold
rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me. They
all did it; they removed the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He
took the gold from their hands and cast it in the form of a calf, shaping it with an
engraving tool. The people responded with enthusiasm: These are your gods, O Israel,
who brought you up from Egypt! Aaron, taking in the situation, built an altar before the
calf. Aaron then announced, Tomorrow is a feast day to God! Early the next morning,
the people got up and offered Whole-Burnt-Offerings and brought Peace-Offerings. The
people sat down to eat and drink and then began to party. It turned into a wild party!
This is a typical experience even in church. When God does not introduce himself to us in nice
and quiet and acceptable ways when he instead confounds us with his power and uncontrollable nature
(be it the thunder and lightning, trumpet sounds and smoke, thick darkness and earthquakes as in the time of
Moses or the unexpected power over sickness and demons and confronting miracles as in the time of Jesus and
now) then mere mortals often choose to shy away from God and make their own fun around a selfmade concept of God fashioned either with an engraving tool (that shapes a golden calf) or their mind. The
real God makes them afraid and thus they choose to recover their comfort (their easy religion)
from a distance (where they no longer have to talk to God themselves) with their own ideas about God
rather than experience and learn about the real God who is best feared in the midst of his awesome
display of love.
God cannot be tamed and we know that as all Christians should agree from the core revelation
of God in the cross of Jesus Christ. There we also find both: his fearsome wrath and his abounding love:
Isaiah 53: Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been
revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we
should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and
familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we
held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we
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considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for
our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us
peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet
he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep
before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the
living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave
with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was
any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORDs will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though
the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his
days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will
see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify
many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the
great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto
death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made
intercession for the transgressors.
Galatians 3:10-14: For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is
written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book
of the Law. Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because the
righteous will live by faith. The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, The
person who does these things will live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of
the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on
a pole. 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.
Romans 3:25-26: God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the
shedding of his bloodto be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his
righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand
unpunished 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.
Romans 5:8-11: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much
more shall we be saved from Gods wrath through him! For if, while we were Gods
enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more,
having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we
also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received
reconciliation.
1 John 4:10: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Like Moses and the people around him we can either seize the day the day of visitation the days
of revival draw near and see God encountering him through the thick darkness on the mountain which (on
a profound level) represents the cross or like many others such as the entire nation around Moses we
can choose disengagement from him and a self-made alternative.

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A few weeks ago we were hosting a rather famous guest-speaker in Toowoomba. It was a
combined effort of the Christian Leaders Network but I found myself reacting to some of the sessions.
For instance, in a Question & Answer segment, Pastor David Millican asked him for a Christian
response to the tragic house fire which (a few weeks ago) killed eleven people three generations of one
family in Ipswich. At the time, Logan police Superintendent Noel Powers told reporters: Never in my
service, never have I seen anything like this. Its a total and utter catastrophe. David had asked our guestspeaker a difficult question and I did not expect an absolutely satisfying answer. He did not know the
circumstances and there will always be the mystery why an almighty God did not rescue a close family
from being burned alive.
However, the guest-speaker seemed self-assured and spoke out against those Christians that
connected human suffering to Gods judgement. At first, I agreed with him in the sense that you cannot
always blame specific sins for accidents and disasters. For instance, the Bible is quite clear that not every
personal sickness is caused by sin (John 9:1-3). However, then the guest-speaker claimed that God is
always on the side of the rescue mission and is never responsible for any of the pain that has been caused.
God was always the loving God the loving Father.
I turned to the colleague on my left and voiced my displeasure. This was nice but inadequate. [It
was the judgement from God that expelled us from the Garden of Eden.] What about the many examples in
the Bible where national disasters were deliberately caused by God as judgements for present and past
sins? [Cf. Luke 19:41-44; Revelations 16:1-21.] Earlier in the year in the face of the Toowoomba Inland
Tsunami and catastrophic flooding in Queensland and other states we did hold God responsible but at the
same time acknowledged his love quoting 1 Peter 5:6-7: Humble yourselves, therefore, under Gods
mighty hand, ... Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. [Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13;
Revelations 2-3.] [God is on a rescue mission through us but sometimes the rescue is from his wrath Ezekiel
22:30: I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on
behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.]
The guest-speaker almost immediately confirmed my growing uneasiness. He faced the ultimate
disaster of hell and eternal condemnation and then shied away from affirming their reality. According to
the Bible at the end of time God will judge and punish sin and consign the people (who have not
believed in his Son Jesus Christ) to eternal torment (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:48; Revelations 14:10-11; 20:10)
but the guest-speaker was committed to his version of an always loving God a God that is always on the
side of the rescue mission and therefore chose to cast doubt on Gods eternal wrath on Satan and all
those who belong to him. This made everyone relax.3 This seemed balanced and compassionate. But was
it the truth? Was it the God in the thick dark cloud on the mountain on the cross or a man-made
alternative which made everyone happy?
Maybe my assessment of our guest-speaker was wrong. Maybe I did not quite understand him
but the tendency to miss out on the real God and his real glory for a less confronting version of religion is
common.4 As soon as the real God begins to move with signs and wonders the dark cloud and trumpet
sound the deep meanings of the cross (and remember that darkness also covered the land at Jesus death and
the earth quaked) then like the whole nation around Moses many religious people opt out of the
experience. Therefore the Bible words from the beginning do not make any sense to them: Now if the
ministry [of Moses] ... came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses
because of its glory ... will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
How then is our experience of God even more glorious than Moses? It has nothing to do with
the experience itself because Moses encounter on the mountain remains even for us the pinnacle the
absolute climax of what is possible. What can be better than seeing God and have all of his goodness
pass in front of us? No the difference between him and us is spelled out in the following sentences of our
first Bible reading. Listen again:
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenantnot of the letter but of the
Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought
death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites
could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it
was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that
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brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings
righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the
surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the
glory of that which lasts!
... Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is
freedom. And we all ... are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
I list the differences in two columns:
The letter kills  The Spirit gives life
Engraved in letters of stone  Empowered by the Spirit
The ministry that brought death and condemnation  The ministry that brings
righteousness and freedom
Transitory glory which does not last  The glory which lasts
The fundamental difference between Moses and us is the Holy Spirit. Even though Moses himself
had the Spirit of God on him and enjoyed amazing experiences, he could not pass on the Spirit to
everyone in the nation. Therefore, all he had was Gods holy laws and commandments all he had were
letters engraved in stone but not the power to obey the laws which meant that the laws without the
power to keep them only made matters worse. They confronted people with their failures and proved the
justice of peoples condemnation and death.
Thus, the Holy Spirit that came through Jesus Christ makes all the difference for us because his
power the power of the Spirit makes us free to follow his lead and succeed in living out holiness.
Furthermore in contrast to Moses experience the glory which we experience through the Holy Spirit
lasts does not fade away is not transitory because the Holy Spirit makes us his permanent dwelling
place his temple. We learn from him what God is like and over time in our lifes journey experience
ever-greater degrees of glory.
Before we continue how does this work in practice? Do not put your primary effort into
obedience but faith because you receive and activate the Spirit in you and his power in you by faith.
Exercise faith not self-reliance then righteousness comes in the freedom of the Spirit. We take a look at
some other key Bible passages:
Galatians 3:1-25: ... Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as
crucified. 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? Are you so foolish? After beginning
by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? ... 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? So also Abraham believed God, and it was
credited to him as righteousness.
Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture
foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in
advance to Abraham: All nations will be blessed through you. So those who rely on
faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written:
Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the
Law. Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because the
righteous will live by faith. The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, The
person who does these things will live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of
the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on
a pole. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the

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Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit
...
Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a
law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have
come by the law. 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.
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. So the law was our guardian until
Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no
longer under a guardian.
Galatians 5:1-26: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do
not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery ... You who are trying to be
justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope ...
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love ...
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your
freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire
law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbour as yourself. ... So I
say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh
desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They
are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you
are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law ... Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep
in step with the Spirit ...
How do we have surpassing glory in comparison to Moses? The Holy Spirit has been poured out
on all of us or is offered to all of us and he is our permanent companion who not only reveals the glory
of God to us but makes us like him in righteousness a permanent reflection of his glory. This ongoing and
ever-increasing experience comes to us by faith as we trust that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the
law by becoming a curse for us which means that the law requesting obedience in our own strength this
curse of certain failure is no longer the path to righteousness but a free life in the Spirit is.
Do you experience this free life of glory by the Spirit? You can. This is Gods gift to you.
However, sometimes we are so used to condemnation that we cannot quite seem to break through to the
reality of the greater glory. Many a time the following testimony is ours. Listen to the predicament but
then also to the cure of condemnation:
Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson: The Supernatural Ways Of Royalty, Shippensburg:
Destiny Image 2006, p51-59:
Living in forgiveness does not mean we are to forget our past. Rather, seeing
my past through the blood of Jesus brings praise to my lips and frees me from the
burden of a guilty heart. Jesus will be known throughout eternity as the Lamb of God;
so we will always remember that it was the provision of the spotless Lamb that obtained
eternal redemption for us.
I struggled for so many years with this truth. Shame and discouragement were
close friends of mine. I would counter such feelings with more prayer, study, and
reading about the lives of great men and women of God from the past. Yet, my problem
wasnt solved, even though I was doing what most would counsel me to do. I found that
when our perspective is wrong, more study and prayer can actually add to our
discouragement and shame, as it did for me. Every biography impressed me, but also
made me feel hopeless. They were all too perfect. I couldnt relate to any of their Godencounters. It seemed that they were Gods favourites, and I just existed. One day I
heard a tape from David Wilkerson called, Facing Your Failures. In it he talked about
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how the great ones all had failures and weaknesses too. He shared some of his
struggles and failures. It was the most refreshing message I had heard in my life. It was
the beginning of a change in perspective for me. But the religious spirit was not about to
give up on me so easily.
I had surrounded myself with people of like passionrevival at any cost! I was
weaned on this theme. I slept, ate, and prayed it constantly. But it was common
knowledge to all of us who had studied the revivals of the pastwe werent holy
enough. So I constantly re-examined my motives and personal holiness, and always
came up short. My passion for God was alive and well, but my efforts at personal
holiness were killing me. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was a pastor for a few
years before I actually started to get well. Every week I would get buried in my stuff
my sense of worthlessness and hopelessness. Thankfully, I was able to faith my way
out of it by Sunday so I could give the people I pastored something healthy to eat.
A dear friend and mentor of mine, Darol Blunt, lived a life of grace. Life
seemed so easy for him. He walked me through so much and modelled a life without the
intense introspection that I was trapped in. He laughed a lot, and knew how to have fun
without being coarse. That was new to me. I was too serious for my own good. I had
been a class clown while growing up, and had learned how to be crude for effect. I
turned from this and everything else I knew to follow God completely. Unfortunately, I
left a valuable part of who I was back on the chopping block of personal holiness, and
picked up a false image of spirituality that never did work.
How did God begin to change me? There wasnt a one-moment encounter that
changed everything. But there was a series of things that God brought my way to
establish me in Him and break off the religious spirit that had me bound. Repentance
was needed. It sounds strange to say it, because repentance was a major theme of mine.
Yet, true repentance is to change the way we think. I needed repentance that would
affect my mind, and redirect my heart toward a God who forgives. Faith is evidence of
true repentance. I wasnt living in secret sin. There were no unrighteous habits in my
life to torment my conscience with shame. My shame was over my humanity, and my
discouragement was over who I wasnt. At some point I actually had to believe that
what King Jesus did was enough. It sounds so simple now. My shame quietly denied
His atoning work. My discouragement dishonoured the sufficiency of the King's
promises.
It took a while, but I finally realized that my best moments (mentally,
emotionally, and spiritually) were when I just did my best, and stayed away from
introspection. This was a scary thing for me, because in my mind introspection was
almost a rite of passage to my biggest dream to be a revivalist. After years of
struggling with the conflict of personal holiness, I prayed something like this:
Father, You know that I dont do so well when I look inward, so Im going to
stop. I am relying on You to point out to me the things that I need to see. I promise to
stay in Your Word. You said that Your Word was a sword so please use it to cut me
deeply. Expose those things in me that are not pleasing to You. But in doing so, please
give me the grace to forsake them. I also promise to come before You daily. Your
presence is like a fire. Please burn from me those things that are unpleasing to You.
Melt my heart until it becomes like the heart of Jesus. Be merciful to me in these things.
I also promise to stay in fellowship with Your people. You said that iron sharpens iron. I
expect You to anoint the wounds of a friend to bring me to my senses when I'm being
resistant toward You. Please use these tools to shape my life until Jesus alone is seen in
me. I believe that You have given me Your heart and mind. By Your grace I am a new
creation. I want that reality to be seen that the name of Jesus would be held in highest
honour ...

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Some years ago I heard a prophetic word that really touched my heart. In it,
God spoke saying, I will not remove the scars from your life. Instead I will rearrange
them in such a way that they have the appearance of carving on a fine piece of crystal.
Such is the love of God. What was despised becomes a testimony of God's gracea
thing of beauty!
The mind set on the flesh is death and at war with God. That is the
unrenewed mind. In essence, the renewed mind is the mind of Christ. It is able to
demonstrate the will of God, which is best described in the prayer, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10) The exhortation of Scripture is clear, Let this
mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 2:5) The renewing of the mind
begins with our new identity obtained at the cross. We were once slaves of sin, but are
now slaves of righteousness. Our thought life must support that reality. The apostle Paul
emphasized this in his letter to the church at Rome, saying, Even so, think of yourself
dead to sin. (Rom. 6:11) Its an attitude...a way of thinking...an evidence of repentance.
The mind has a power to affect our behaviour either positive or negatively. But
it does not possess the power to change our nature. That alone is accomplished when we
are born again. When people are born again, they are transformed from the inside out. It
is not the external things that are likely to change first. God takes up residence in our
hearts, transforming us, as it really is an inside job. On the other hand, religion works on
the outside. While it can bring conformity, it is powerless to bring transformation.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is (Prov. 23:7). When we are charged
to think of ourselves dead to sin, it is more than a suggestion to think positively about
our conversion. It is an invitation to step into the momentum of a reality made available
only through the cross. The supernatural power released in this way of thinking is what
creates a lifestyle of freedom. It is able to do this because it is TRUTH. To say that I
have sinned is true. To say I am free of sin is truer still. The renewed mind is necessary
to more consistently taste the supernatural life, which God intended to be the normal
Christian life ...
God will not share His glory with another (Isa 42:8). The most common
understanding of this verse is that God is glorious and we are not. In reality we are not
another. Why do you think He made us individual members of His body? The lowest
(the least) member of His body is superior to the highest principality and power of
darkness. The original target in the creation of man was for us to live and dwell in His
glory. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The cross
removes the obstacle to His purposes, and restores us to His original intent. The
religious heart is unwilling to recognize that we really have been made in His image,
and that being born again restores us to a place of absolute purity.
Jesus added to this in His priestly prayer, The glory which You have given
Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one (John 17:22). It is
recorded in Proverbs that wisdom will bring to us a crown of glory. Even our bodies
were designed to live in His glory. As we become more and more accustomed to the
presence of His glory, even our bodies hunger for God's glorious presence. The sons of
Korah, who had spent considerable time in the actual glory of God, and had seen the
effect on their physical being, sang, My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God
(Ps 84:2).
When Gods royalty touches our lives, we discover we are designed to live in
God's glory. We no longer live in the bondages of our past performance and
comparison in our daily lives, but we know our worth in simply loving Him. For out of
that springs living water and revelation for those who have not found the truth in the
nations of the earth!
[Cf. Charles Finney: Holy Spirit Revivals, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1999,
p37: ... Sometimes I would pursue a wrong course in fasting, attempting to examine
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myself according to the ideas then entertained by my minister and the church. I would
try to look into my own heart and would turn my attention particularly to my motives
and the state of my mind. When I pursued this course, I invariably found that the day
would end without any perceptible advance being made. Afterward I saw clearly why
this was so: I was turning my attention from the Lord Jesus Christ and looking into
myself. But whenever I let the Spirit take His own course with me and let Him lead and
instruct me, I always found it useful in the highest degree. I found I could not live
without enjoying the presence of God; I could not rest, study, or attend to anything with
the least satisfaction or benefit unless the way was clear between my soul and God.]
You dont have to do introspection let go of endless self-examination stop scanning your level of
personal perfection and holiness because this is not a mark of maturity. If you want to pick holes into
your motives and find fault in the innermost recesses of your heart, then you will always find what you
are looking for because this side of eternity none of us are going to be 100% perfect like God. But this is
okay and only proud people need to be reminded of this fact.
Some time ago a young Evangelist from the USA (David Tomberlin) came to Toowoomba and I
had the opportunity to have lunch with him. He shared with our group that when he became a Christian
in his late teens (not sure about the age of conversion), he was on fire for God and exercised much spiritual
discipline. In the midst of another season of seeking hard after God in fasting and prayer, he felt pretty
good about himself because he was as holy as he could be. Yet, an angel appeared to him and held up a
mirror before his heart and when he looked at the reflection of his heart, he could see that it was vile and
diseased and rotten. The lesson was that even in the midst of our greatest efforts and most pious
demeanour, we are still not perfect and live by grace the forgiveness which comes to us through Jesus
sacrifice on the cross.
Yet, this is okay and no reason to slip back into introspection and self-condemnation. Our basic
Bible passage clearly states that we are being transformed into Gods likeness with ever-increasing glory (2
Corinthians 3:18) which means that there is always spiritual growth occurring within us. It is everincreasing. We are not perfect from the start but begin as baby Christians who then grow up into
greater measures of glory. This is normal.
Then and this is also clear from our basic Bible passage it is not introspection that makes us
mature it is not looking at ourselves and nitpicking every hidden flaw that is going to change us but everincreasing glory comes from looking at God. As we take our eyes off our own navel and behold God, we
are being changed by the grandeur of him 2 Corinthians 3:18: And we all, who ... contemplate the Lords
glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory ...
At the same time (in case that anyone feels like objecting) we are not easy on sin. We are not.
Bill Johnson made sure that God had plenty of opportunities to convict him of any wrong-doing. He
prayed: I am relying on You to point out to me the things that I need to see. I promise to stay in Your Word ...
I also promise to come before You daily [in prayer] ... I also promise to stay in fellowship with Your people ...
Please use these tools to shape my life until Jesus alone is seen in me. The key was that Bill Johnson no
longer relied on his own efforts of introspection but the Word of God, prayer and other Christians the
tools of the Holy Spirit to be on a more positive learning-curve where the Holy Spirit would free us from
being condemned slaves and instead make us cry out to God with the trusting voice of children: Abba,
Father ( Galatians 4:6). We are to enjoy every level of glory without being condemned by what we are still
to become. Trust the leadership of the Spirit. Relax in his freedom. You will grow by his power.
Are you taking this on? This lesson can change your life make you free release joy. Do you
know that most days God is saying to you: Oh, you are awesome. I loved your prayer this morning.
Thank you for this beautiful praise song. I love the way you are generous. I love the way you hug people. I love
every minute with you.
A few days ago, Wendy shared at the community centre that she was helping to shift this woman
with David Challenor and a few others. They were cleaning up the house when she found some syringes,
speed and hydro-cocaine. It was easy for her to hand in the syringes and speed but she hung on to the
cocaine for almost an hour because she was still addicted to this drug. However, God kept speaking to
her which made her laugh. David asked: Whats so funny? She answered: I cant tell you. For her it
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was a crazy idea to hand in perfectly good cocaine and she laughed at the thought of surrendering the
drug. Yet, God kept speaking to her and after almost an hour of wrestling with the idea she did do what
God said and as she shared last Wednesday she was not regretting it. Do you know that the entire week
God was telling everyone in heaven: Thats my girl. Do you see Wendy? Im so proud of her. This morning
learn to live with an awareness that God is pleased with you. Dont do unnecessary introspection but
live in the freedom of the Spirit. Let him guide you step by step and celebrate every step because God
does.
Discover that it is true: We have surpassing glory. Contrary to Moses own transitory experience
the Spirit of God is our permanent companion and in freedom with his power is transforming us
from one degree of glory to another. Receive it now. Receive the Spirit. Welcome him. You are being
transformed with ever-increasing glory into the image of God.
Do you think that God will make this work also for you? Yes (I hope that you are all hungry for
this) but there is still one important objection. How are we to deal with failure? What are we to do
when everything around us comes crashing down and we look anything but glorious? After his time with
God on the mountain people could not look at Moses face but what if our face our life remains plain
and normal with no one ever recognizing any glory on us and in us? Would that not be the time to get
back to introspection self-examination and fault-finding in our own strength?
It may surprise you but when the Bible talks about the surpassing glory of Christians, it does so
in the midst of oppression, apathy and catastrophic conflict and failure. The apostle Paul who wrote
down the words also had this to report:
2 Corinthians 1:8-9: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about
the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far
beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had
received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves
but on God, who raises the dead.
The unsettling reality was that the mission work in Asia suffered troubles and pressure which
depressed the apostle Paul and all of his companions. They despaired of life itself but it did not mean that
there was no glory. This according to Pauls words was just a lesson to rely on God rather than
themselves.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4: And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are
perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot
see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
[Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:6: I may not be a trained speaker ... 2 Timothy 4:16: At my
first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held
against them.]
The unsettling reality was that the surpassing glory of the preachers and their message remained
veiled to many of their listeners. Yet, this was not taken as evidence that they had no glory. Moses may
have put a veil in front of his own face but here now the veil is over the minds of unbelievers who are
blinded by the god of this age Satan so that they cannot see the glory of the Gospel preachers.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this allsurpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but
not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down,
but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the
life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being
given over to death for Jesus sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal
body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

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[Cf. 2 Corinthians 6:8-10: ... regarded as impostors ... regarded as unknown ... beaten
... sorrowful ... poor ... ]
[2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an
eternal glory that far outweighs them all.]
The unsettling reality was that the surpassing glory of the Christians was put in containers of no
apparent glory jars of clay their human bodies and personalities. In addition these plain looking
people were hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down and always being given over
to death. Yet, this was to show and prove that their all-surpassing power and glory was from God and
not from them.
None of the outward circumstances none of the beatings or sorrowful depressions made Paul
doubt (for a second) that he was still being transformed into the image of God with ever-increasing glory.
He was. You are. Surpassing glory is yours.
I come back to the experience of Bill Johnson. He said this in an interview (September 2011):
How we managed to live in the midst of disappointment, this is how weve done well.
Ten close people friends young people suffered painful tragedies in the church but
we were feeding our minds and hearts on the things that God was doing rather on
what he was not yet doing. I will not allow myself to accuse God. I will not allow
myself to think that he is not good. I dont ask why. I just dont go into the whys. I
pray: God, Im willing to live with mystery. If you teach me, I will love it but I will not
hold you to an explanation. If there is something wrong with me, I invite you to speak to
me through the Word, fellow-Christians and prayer but I am not going to go on a witchhunt to find out whats wrong with my life so that I can feel better about my
circumstances. Never blame God and be okay with mystery.
The ever-increasing glory is not contingent on visible success or satisfying answers in all
circumstances. We may be beaten up and still reflect his glory. We may experience no breakthrough in
conversions and healings the church may shrink to a remnant but still the glory is ours: Now the Lord is
the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces
contemplate the Lords glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes
from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Dont go on a witch-hunt of self-condemnation when the Spirit remains
on us and through him there is freedom.
If we understand this the perils of introspection we will survive and thrive in the bad times and
then be ready when the glory of God is breaking through in the good times. Moses came down from the
mountain with a glowing face that was radiating the glory of God for all to see and the same degree of
visual evidence of glory and its power can still manifest today. There are mountain-top experiences
ever-increasing glory breakthroughs where miracles happen and whole nations are impacted.
The testimony of this church already includes growing glimpses of Gods glory. God is
confirming his surpassing glory to us. [Abbreviate the following report:]
... Then, in 2009 we came to the last Sunday of the year and we were all in need of rest.
The last twelve months had been packed with new developments, not least the purchase
of our first worship home. We needed an uplifting service; therefore I decided to preach
on the glory of God. I enjoyed dwelling on the glory of God that shone around the
shepherds on the night of Jesus birth.
At some stage in the sermon, I announced that Gods glory had come to our
Living Grace congregation and then I provided some evidence. Three months ago I had
been preaching a series on healing for six consecutive nights at another Toowoomba
church. At the conclusion of one service, we discovered that two of our older members
had gold flakes on their faces. What was that? We never had that before. It was a

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manifestation that came out of the glory presence of God. I had only become aware of
such miracles two years ago.
Then I shared that at the Prayer Watch on Friday night, six weeks ago, we saw
a kind of mist under the ceiling. It was as if there was a small smoke machine in the
church. I thought that it must have come in from the outside. Everyone could see the
mist but the others assured me that it did not come in through the window. It was the
glory cloud of God which stayed for about one and a half hours. Previously, we only
knew the Bible accounts of this phenomenon and testimonies from church history but
now it was in our own church.
Finally, two weeks earlier I was praying for a woman who ended up on the
floor weeping and repenting to God. Suddenly I could see something sparkling on her.
The black skin on the back of her hand was covered with fine gold glitter. I turned her
hand but there was nothing on her palms. Two minutes later I checked again and now
her palms were also covered in fine gold glitter. I tapped her shoulder and said, Stop
crying. Look, what God is doing for you. He loves you. He makes you look beautiful.
You are his princess.
I kept preaching like this on the last Sunday of 2009 and, at the conclusion of
the service, invited the entire congregation to check their hands whether they had not
received gold dust as well. This was not planned but everyone that checked his hands
that morning had the miracle. I was happy and ever since the gold dust has been
manifesting at Living Grace. For eighteen months now members and visitors receive the
glory sparkles in our church. As people share the testimony of the miracle, it may
appear on them and those that hear the testimony. This is also happening during the
week. People are coming to faith through the miracle because it confounds the rational
mindset and confirms the preaching of Jesus. Twice I have prayed for another
congregation to receive the miracle and it manifested among the people. This has been
wonderful for us. The glory of God has come into our midst ...
Two weeks ago I paid one of our members (Will) a visit on Friday afternoon. In the course of our
conversation he told me again how God healed him supernaturally from speed addiction. He had no
cravings whatsoever but he then shared how he struggled with the miracle of glory dust. I was a little
confused because how can you experience one miracle but reject another. On the same day we had a
Bible study at church and concluded with a one-hour Prayer Watch. We were praising God in songs and
then I felt to speak again about the glory of God and pray that he would bless us with the gold dust
manifesting out of his glory. Everyone (about a dozen people) received the miracle except me. The
sceptical person, that I had visited in the afternoon, was also present and God seemed to pull out all stops
for him. Not only did he have glory dust all over his hands, the entire skin had a golden sheen and there
were drops of oil manifesting on every finger tip.
Another young woman (Alana) remained in the dark sitting down in the second pew. I called her
forward to check her hands in the spot-lights. She came forward, saw the glory dust on her hands and
burst out in tears. She was overwhelmed by the goodness of God his tangible love for her. David
(Challenor) cried with her and we had a fantastic night of encouragement.
The ministry of the Spirit in us and through us is glorious and it is ever-increasing. The
following testimony is an illustration of what we are hungry for. This is where we are going. On Father
Day (June 18) in 1995, the glory of God broke through in Pensacola, Florida. This is how the Senior
Pastor John Kilpatrick experienced the breakthrough which in the first three years brought more than
2.5 million people to their church (recorded by God TV in 2011):
I never felt it like that before the power of God. I hit the floor and could not get up
from the floor for more than four hours. I could not lift my head. I could not open my
eye-lids. I am six foot three inches and I hit the platform and was lying on the floor. The
congregation had never seen that before because I had been a very staunch preacher

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conservative, formal. I was ultra-conservative. Some said that I had lost his mind. Yes
my carnal mind. Now I have a spiritual mind.
I hit the floor on Fathers Day. I could hear everything but I could not get up.
And I remember when I laid there and I just got through preaching a series on the glory
of God and I preached about ten parts on it. I laid there on the floor and the first thought
that crossed my mind was: Oh my God! What is this? The first thing the Lord said to
me was Happy Fathers Day. And then he said: This is what you have just been
preaching on. The ten parts this is that. I realized that you can preach on something
and still not understand it until you experience it.
When I got up off the floor, I was never the same. God had touched me ... I
was lying on the floor for more than four hours and I could hear the Spirit come in.
However, I could not get up and not even open my eye-lid but I really wanted to see
what was happening with the congregation. There was nothing scary about the
experience but I wanted to see. When I first hit the floor, it was as if everybody that ever
loved me in my life was standing around me. I could not see them but they seemed all
standing around me. I could feel the presence of love. I never felt such love and such
security. I had been having some stress and it was locked up in my shoulder and the
shoulder hurt constantly. On the floor, I felt fluid leaking out of my shoulder (was not
actual fluid) and other things in my shoulder and God healed my shoulder so that I had
never again any pain in it.
There is something about the presence of God. It is the difference between you
carrying water and the water carrying you. When I got up off the floor, both of my sons
came over and said: Dad, are you all right. I asked them to help me to my chair. After
more than four hours on the floor, his bones were aching. Sitting on my chair, I was like
a wet noodle. He asked them to put his hand under his chain and prop up his arm on the
chair and then I used my fingers to open the eye-lid of one eye. I wanted to see what
God was doing.
I saw people like a battle-field (about 1600 people). When I was first lying on
the floor, I could hear the Spirit of God moving in different parts of the building as
people (hundreds at a time) became vocal in response (laughing, groaning). The time by
then was about 3pm. Finally, the 350 children of the childrens church marched into the
sanctuary. Immediately, hundreds of childrens voices went Jesus, Jesus. I had hot
tears running down my face. I said: Lord, even if I grow old to 500 years, I will never
forget this sound.
The first sight of revival I saw was a little girl below the age of five. She was
bare-footed and her mother had been lying on the floor (4pm by now) under the power
of the Spirit. The mother was now sitting up. The girl was between her legs. The mother
held her around the waist and asked: Baby, are you all right? The little girl never
moved her eyes from the ceiling. Her face was red with tears. She said: Mommy, dont
you see them. See what? The angels in the ceiling holding hands.
There was a time when I would have been sceptical with that but after God
putting me on the floor and making me lift my eye-lid with my fingers, I was different. I
asked: God, what is in this house? I did not know that it would last five years and go
into the nations. I did not know that revival would come again later in Alabama. The
only thing I knew was that when we started church on Fathers Day 1995 the church
was one way and by the end of the day it was another way.
I got up the floor. I was sweaty. My clothes were a mess. I had been rolling
around on a dirty floor. I said to my youngest: Tell Mama: Lets go. He came back:
Mums not going. What do you mean? Well, we have been waiting for God all of
these years. Now hes here, shes not going in case hes no longer here by tonight.
I went ahead and left and be cleaned up for church at night. Nobody else had
left but I did. Isnt that religion? I got home and it was about 4.30pm. The church would
start again at 6pm. I got home, took my clothes off, took my socks off, stretched out on
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my bed for a few minutes. After a while I dozed off and slept for about 20 minutes. I
sent my son ahead to go back to church. I would be fine on my own. Big mistake. So
after my son left, I tried to get out of my bed but I struggled to do so and I could not get
my feet up to put on my socks. I tried many different ways but only managed after some
time (10 minutes) with great difficulty.
I drove to church and usually there are people milling around and ushers. This
time there is no one there. Nothing stirring not even a mouse. They are still in the
church. I pull up and there are no ushers to greet me. I got out of my car and when I
slammed the door, my knees immediately gave way (under the power of God) and I
went right down the asphalt in my suit. Doesnt God have a sense of humour. When the
glory of God comes, it does not just come on people. It comes on places. It came on the
whole campus. Everyone is in the building but I get it in the parking lot. Now the pastor
of the church is crawling on all fours in the parking lot. I crawled to the door, got up on
my knees and pushed down the handle. I crawled up the steps and crawled back around
the sanctuary not a creature stirring but as soon as I get into the sanctuary, I heard a
roar an uninterrupted roar of praise which had been going for hours evidently. I
crawled up the steps by the side of the sanctuary and no one even noticed me because
after this day everyone was crawling, crying, whatever.
I crawl up the stairs, sit down in my seat and I am gone again. I did not know
what God was about to do. That night we had one of the most awesome services. The
visiting evangelist Stephen Hill chose to stay for another night and every night we came
back, the power kept increasing. One of the things that I learned is that when the
presence and power of God first touches you, you feel like if he gives me more it will
kill me but after a while once you get your sea-legs and learn to stand up under his
presence you realize it was only a drop. It was not even a spoonful. The glory has to
come in increments because otherwise you cannot stand it. (John in Revelation needed
to be strengthened by an angel.)
We kept going night after night and the nations started coming. Salvations
begin to take place. I just never dreamed that something like that would happen in my
ministry. When God is ready to move he is not going to move on your terms. Hes
going to move on his terms. All kinds of people begin to come. I saw the sinners come.
I saw healing take place. I remember one night whenever the heat of the Lord would
come in it would feel like the sun would come out on a cloudy day feel heat on your
ears and neck we would know that the Lord was here to heal. People would get up
from wheel-chairs. Services would go all night long.
One night I was up on the platform it was holy chaos and I heard this
woman and she screamed at the top of her voice and I thought: This better be good.
As I was walking towards her, she was staring at her husband. I looked just in time to
see that her husband Vietnam-vet who had half his hand blown off had hand being
stitched back with meat filling in until the hand was fully restored. If we only knew
what God can do. What a might God we serve.
Dont shy back from this because ever-increasing glory comes with ever-increasing power and is
not always nice and quiet and controllable. We dont want to be like the people around Moses who saw
the thick darkness on the mountain, saw the smoke and lightning, heard the trumpet sounds but
nevertheless turned their backs on this type of glory because it was not as comfortable as their self-made
alternative the golden calf a lifeless statue of gold. We want the glory.
As we journey to breakthrough dont do introspection. Look to God. If need be, let God speak to
you about sin in prayer, through the Word and other Christians but do not self-examine yourself with
the declared goal of self-condemnation. We walk in the freedom of the Spirit of God who is always with
us and always empowers us to grow at the pace of his gentle wisdom. There is not going to be more than
we can handle.

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Embrace the life of glory. God is fantastic. There is more to come. Listen again to our basic Bible
passage and celebrate and anticipate the every-increasing glory:
2 Corinthians 3:6-18: ... the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry [of Moses] ... came
with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of
its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more
glorious? ... how much greater is the glory of that which lasts ...
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is
freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lords glory, are being
transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who
is the Spirit.
Look at him and the glory is going to increase forever. Amen.

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Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church


Sermon Series: Supernatural Ways Of Royalty 04 (Chapter 7) From Slaves To Friends; Date: 11 September 2011
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

From Slaves To Friends


Jesus said to his disciples John 15:15: I do not call you slaves any longer ... but I have called you friends ...
At one time Jesus made it clear to his disciples that there was a progression in their relationship with
him. They went from slaves to friends. I no longer call you slaves but friends.
The question is: Does this progression also apply to us? Do we also start out as slaves of Jesus
Christ and then become his friends? Our immediate reaction may be that we oppose slavery. This cannot
be right. I am a slave to no one. We like our freedom and we like to be in charge of our own destiny. Yet,
the Bible says: No, you are slaves. Again and again Christians are identified as slaves and I give you a
small sample:
Acts 16:17: These men are slaves of the Most High God, who are telling you the way
to be saved.
Romans 1:1: Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the
gospel of God.
Philippians 1:1: Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, ...
1 Peter 2:16: ... live as slaves of God.
Revelations 1:1: The revelation of Jesus Christ ... to . his slaves ...
Most Bible translations do not use the word slave in these (and other) verses but are more
comfortable with the word servant or bond-servant. It seems to be less offensive. Yet, the Bible in its
original language (Greek) confronts us with the word doulos which was in common usage and does
mean slave so that believers (you and I) are slaves of Jesus Christ.
Now we can see in these Bible references that even mature Christians even apostles like Paul
remain slaves for their entire life. Thus, there is a slave-like quality in our relationship with Jesus that
remains even when he makes us his friends. Jesus said to his disciples John 15:15: I do not call you
slaves any longer ... but I have called you friends ... However immediately before this wonderful
pronouncement he also clarified John 15:14: You are my friends if you do what I command. Thus, we
need to be careful here. Obedience is still paramount and at least in this respect there is no difference
between slaves and friends. Jesus friends continue to obey him like slaves and for this reason other
Bible references can still call us slaves.
We pause here for a moment and ask ourselves what this means for us. Are you a slave of Jesus
Christ? Is it clear to you that your time is his, your money is his, your strength is his, your happiness is
his. He can do with you whatever he wants. He is God and whatever he commands must be okay with us.
We accomplish his will not ours.
Right? This is reality and if you are new here today we want to be honest about what is
required to be a Christian. Anyone can come to church, enjoy the welcome and explore God among other
Christians. This is what we want. Our doors are open and some do this for years. They explore, they hear
about Jesus and in time even come to believe that he is raised from the dead but they shy away from
becoming his slaves and therefore do not become Christians. If there is no absolute surrender of the
will to Jesus Christ, there may be some recognition of the truth but no saving relationship with Jesus
which is only possible as his slave.
Nick has been with us for quite a while and with his permission if I can talk about him for a
minute he is still undecided about taking the plunge and becoming a full-blown Christian. Why? He
may still need a greater revelation of Jesus but most of all he is counting the cost and I admire him for
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it. He is honest with himself, us and God. A commitment to Jesus means the surrender of everything to
him including some of the sins that are hard to let go such as taking the occasional drug, swearing, etc.
This does not mean that you must be perfect before you become a Christian. As a believer you
may continue to struggle with certain sins and slip up but and this is the difference you have made a
commitment to Jesus to overcome these sins with his help and strength. You are no longer endorsing
disobedience. You confront what is displeasing to Jesus and you know that Jesus has a right to demand
your best.
For instance, the Bible says 1 Corinthians 7:18-20: Flee from sexual immorality ... You are not
your own; you were bought at a price ... We are not our own. We are his. Therefore, Jesus our Master
can demand from us as in the reading here sexual purity. Dont sleep around. Dont visit a prostitute.
Dont indulge in pornography.
Is this too hard? Is anything too hard? Before we object too much we pay attention to some
other words of 1 Corinthians 7:18-20: You were bought at a price. The truth is that according to the
Bible Jesus the Master became a slave himself and (as a slave) paid the highest possible price to
purchase us as his own. It cost him to be our Master:
Philippians 2:6-11: ... he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a slave,
being made in human likeness ... he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death
even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him ... that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue
acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Acts 20:28: ... the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.
Revelation 5:9: ... you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
We do not have a cruel or unloving Master. Jesus gave everything his life his blood his
honour to make us his slaves because the only other alternative, which was and is available to us, is to
remain the slaves of sin, death and Satan. [We enslaved ourselves when our first human ancestors chose sin
rather than obedience to God. However, Jesus came to set us free and make us his own.] We humans are
never masters ourselves. We are always slaves either to sin or (and this is the better option) to Jesus
who loves us. He saved us by making us his slaves.
John 8:34: Jesus replied: Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
Romans 6:20-24: When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of
righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now
ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin
and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is
eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ
Jesus our Lord.
Today many a time we just use another word for the enslavement of sin: addiction, which is a
condition where you are no longer free to make up your mind about doing something or not. When you suffer
from addiction, something compels you to drink, something compels you to inject a needle, something
compels you to watch pornography, and otherwise destroy your life. We also know about shopping
addiction, mobile phone addiction and some of our celebrities seek treatment for sex addiction. This is
enslavement which you can ultimately trace back to another Master: Satan instead of Jesus.
Ephesians 2:2: ... the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit [ Satan ] who is now
at work in those who are disobedient.

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[Cf. Many women giving in to abortion say: I felt like I had no other option.]
Sometimes sin is very attractive in the early stages. I was watching a documentary of the Rolling
Stones when they made their album Exile On Main Street in France. They slept in, were creative, hung
out with each other and smoked a lot of drugs. For them it was a magic time but one of them said on
camera: Theres always this wonderful time before everything goes bad. For a moment the life-style was
cool and attractive but then sin began to enslave the musicians and their families. The power behind sin
Satan always seeks to harm us.
It is better to belong to Jesus. Think about him. Pay attention to him. In this church we love
miracles such as the glory dust and now oil appearing on peoples finger tips. There are miraculous
healings and prophetic visions. God is astounding us and we embrace the joy and excitement. However,
these demonstrations from God are not simply for childlike wonder. They come with a serious call to
commit to slavery under Jesus command. I read another segment from our first Bible reading John
15:22-25:
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they
have no excuse for their sin ... If I hadnt done such miraculous signs among them that
no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I
did, yet they still hate me and my Father ...
You cannot listen to the preaching, then marvel at the glory dust or be healed yourself and go
home unchanged. Jesus is calling for a commitment from you. He has paid a high price for you. Will you
be his?
This morning make the commitment and you will discover that we are rather unusual slaves.
There is a call on us to be obedient but it is not a kind of obedience which can be accomplished by
ourselves. Listen again to more verses from the chapter of our first Bible reading John 15:1-4:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that
bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even
more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain
in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the
vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
We do not have a Master that gives us a command and then lets us struggle by ourselves. Our
Master Jesus Christ expects fruit he keeps pruning us for even greater fruitfulness but the power and life
for fruitfulness comes from remaining connected to him and feeding from him. He is the vine; we are the
branches. Jesus Christ empowers your obedience. You are not alone with an impossible task. [It says here
that the disciples were clean because of the word which Jesus had spoken to them. There is life and cleansing
power in Jesus righteous instructions and commands.]
I come back to the beginning. Now is the time to shed more light on Jesus words. When it comes
to obedience, we are and remain slaves of our Master Jesus Christ but as our basic Bible reading suggests
the word slave is an inadequate description of the mature Christian. Friend a friend of Jesus is
the better word.
This is what Jesus said. I give you now the whole Bible reference John 15:12-15:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one
than this: to lay down ones life for ones friends. You are my friends if you do what I
command. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know his masters
business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father
I have made known to you.
According to Jesus words what is the difference between a slave and a friend? Why can you
be a friend of Jesus not just a slave? The answer is that Jesus speaks to you as a friend. There is a
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different level of communication that we enjoy as his friends. Hear the Bible verses again: I no longer
call you slaves, because a slave does not know his masters business. Instead, I have called you friends, for
everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. We know our Masters business. Jesus
makes known to us everything that he has learned from his Father God the Father in heaven and more
John 16:12-13: I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of
truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he
hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
What exactly is Jesus telling his friends? It must be more than giving orders and issuing
commandments because even a slave hears that kind of talk from his master. What is Jesus telling us in
addition to his instructions?
I think that he is speaking to us about love. Listen to what Jesus said first: My command is this:
Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down ones life for ones
friends. Everything that we say and do in obedience to him is about love. My command is this: Love
each other. And our love is grounded and fostered by his love: Love as I have loved you. Greater love has
no one than this: to lay down ones life for ones friends.
This is what Jesus has done. He laid down his life for us for you. There is no greater love. Our
sin condemned us to hell and eternal separation from God. We were lost but Jesus came and he died for
us. Our punishment became his on a cross in Jerusalem 2000 years ago and his righteousness his
blameless life became ours. He loved us and from the beginning treated us as his best friends. God is
about love and this is what we want. Are not all of us craving for greater experiences of love in our life?
Now let me ask you: As a new Christian are you still beginning as a slave and then progress to
being a friend of Jesus? I am asking this because Jesus said to his disciples: I no longer call you slaves,
which means that they at least began as slaves. I ask all of you: What are you slaves or friends?
This is not a question whether Jesus loves everyone. Of course he loves everyone. He loves you
but do you understand fully comprehend his love? When Jesus said: I call you friends because I have
made known to you everything that I have learned from my Father. You understand your masters business, he
seemed to refer to a depth of understanding that is not immediately available to new Christians.
For instance, take these three commandments: 1) Forgive your enemies. 2) Keep the Sabbath
holy. 3) Do not give up meeting together. When you are a new Christian or a young Christian, you hear
these commandments and you obey them but you may grumble: 1) Why should I be kind to my enemy
when I want revenge? 2) Why go to church and not do any work on Sunday when I need the money? 3)
Why bother with meeting church people when they also disappoint with their attitudes and behaviour? You
grumble because you obey like a slave not a friend. You do not yet understand everything that Jesus is
teaching about love. But then you learn and many a time you learn by doing John 7:17: Anyone who
chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my
own. John 15:10: If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Fathers
commands and remain in his love
1) Soon enough, your Masters compassion for his enemies becomes your own. He laid down his
life for you and everyone else. Furthermore, you learn that for your own sake you need to forgive so that
you can experience love instead of resentment, anger, bitterness and hatred. Give it time and you learn to
hear everything that Jesus is saying to you about love.
2) You will also learn to be passionate about keeping the Sabbath day holy. Jesus himself
explained that this day was given to us by God for love Mark 2:27: The Sabbath was made for man, not
man for the Sabbath. We gain rest and time to seek the presence of God which is refreshing us.
3) Then, the more we understand the love of Jesus, the more we will be committed to each other.
This is his command: Love each other as he loved us first. We learn the healing nature of a loving
community. Its worth investing in the church. God has no plan B. We need each other. Others need you.
This kind of understanding does not come to us quickly. We are often more selfish than loving
but all of us we will progress from slaves to friends because Jesus is committed to speaking to us. This
is one of the most crucial aspects of the Christian faith: As a Christian know that Jesus is always
speaking to you and revealing to you everything from his Father. Therefore, listen. Spend the time and
listen to him and become his friend. .

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[Many a time (as demonstrated) obedience comes before understanding ... Bill Johnson: When I give
up the right to understand (accept to be a slave), he often reveals things to me (as a friend).]
[How does Jesus speak: The Bible (quickening of your spirit), flowing thoughts, circumstances, peace,
experience the fruit of your obedience, etc. Cf. Mark Virkler: Dialogue With God.]
When we have become Jesus friends, our relationship with him changes on other levels as well.
Our privileges grow. There is more of a partnership developing. Our joy increases:
John 15:7: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you.
John 15:15-16: ... Instead, I have called you friends ... and appointed you ... so that
whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
John 15:11: I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be
complete.
As his friends Jesus is paying attention to our wishes our desires our plans. As his words
remain in us as we have been shaped and formed by the words that come from his heart we can be trusted
with greater responsibility and are invited into a partnership with God.
The Bible calls Abraham a friend of God James 2:23: And the scripture was fulfilled that says,
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called Gods friend. The
following account is an example of how friends can converse with God Genesis 18:16-33 [abbreviate and
retell in your own words]:
When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked
along with them to see them on their way. Then the LORD said, Shall I hide from
Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful
nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so
that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD
by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he
has promised him.
Then the LORD said, The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and
their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the
outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained
standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said: Will you sweep
away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?
Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous
people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thingto kill the righteous with the
wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the
Judge of all the earth do right?
The LORD said, If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will
spare the whole place for their sake. Then Abraham spoke up again: Now that I have
been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the
number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack
of five people? If I find forty-five there, he said, I will not destroy it.
Once again he spoke to him, What if only forty are found there? He said,
For the sake of forty, I will not do it. Then he said, May the Lord not be angry, but
let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there? He answered, I will not do it if I
find thirty there.

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Abraham said, Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if
only twenty can be found there? He said, For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.
Then he said, May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if
only ten can be found there? He answered, For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.
When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham
returned home.
Cf. Numbers 14:10-25; Romans 9:1-3.
Consider also 1 Kings 8:15-17:
Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his own hand has fulfilled what he
promised with his own mouth to my father David. For he said, Since the day I brought
my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a
temple built so that my Name might be there, but I have chosen David to rule my people
Israel.
My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the
LORD, the God of Israel ... [It was in Davids heart to build the temple not Gods.
God listens to his friends.]
Our basic reading in the Gospel of John makes still another point. The more we are growing in
friendship with Jesus, the more direct and immediate the words of Jesus become. He seems to be
deepening the intimacy level of our conversations with him:
John 16:17-33:
At this, some of his disciples said to one another, What does he mean by saying, In a
little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me, and
Because I am going to the Father? They kept asking, What does he mean by a little
while? We dont understand what he is saying.
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, Are you
asking one another what I meant when I said, In a little while you will see me no more,
and then after a little while you will see me? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and
mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A
woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby
is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So
with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no
one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I
tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not
asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no
longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day
you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No,
the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came
from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world
and going back to the Father.
Then Jesus disciples said, Now you are speaking clearly and without figures
of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to
have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.
Jesus no longer used figurative language (e.g.: parables, proverbs) but plain speech and he
answered the disciples questions before they even asked them. This created another level of intimacy
and faith.
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Cf. Exodus 33:11: The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a
friend ...
Numbers 12:6-8: When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in
visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful
in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the
form of the LORD ...
Deuteronomy 34:10: Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the
LORD knew face to face.
The reason for more figurative language and obscurity seems to be connected with the testing of
the people that listen to Jesus. Will we persevere and hang in there with hunger for the truth? Will we do
what it takes to understand Jesus words? Our character is going to be formed in the pursuit of his word:
Matthew 7:6: Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs ...
Matthew 13:10-17: The disciples came to him and asked, Why do you speak to the
people in parables? He replied, Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom
of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and
they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken
from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
I may close with an illustration of the disciples discovery that Jesus was answering their
questions before they even asked them. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even
need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God. God is speaking to us
and his communication increases rather than decreases.
This is a testimony from Pastor Bill Johnson (Brisbane 2008):
God answers questions that do not even seem important. This is just to express his love
for us. One day as a young man I was sitting by a lake praying, reading my Bible,
wonderful time with the Lord, sun was shining. There were these little fish (Blue Hill). I
was throwing little rocks into water. They would come and nibble at them and spew
them out again. They didnt like rocks. I was tormenting them. Then this thought
came to my mind: I wonder if they would eat a bee. Bees have stingers. Would they
eat them? Crossed my mind. As soon as this crossed my mind, a bee flies by (kamikaze
bee). The bee flies a certain height, stops right in front of me, drops voluntarily out of
the air into the water, the fish comes up right in front of me, eats the bee and I realize: I
am not alone here. I knew it but now I knew it. A passing thought got answered
straight away. That impressed me. God, you are so different than I thought. This kind
of activity of my heavenly Father just shocked me.
Cf. Many people may experience that the Sunday sermon or daily devotion is precisely
what they have been wondering about and need in their current situation. God speaks
into their lives before they even formulate the question.
Isnt God good? This morning Jesus words are for you John 15:15: I do not call you slaves any
longer ... but I have called you friends ... You begin as slaves with obedience that does not yet fully
understand the nature of God his love. But the more you listen and the more you practice the truth, the
more your relationship with your Master changes. He no longer calls you a slave but a friend. He laid
down his life for you. He is going to make more and more sense to you because you begin to share his
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heart. He is telling you everything about himself. This is exciting. Jesus friends can ask for anything.
Their joy will be complete.
Are you hearing Jesus this morning? If you are not yet his friend, make a beginning. Become a
Christian this morning. It may start with being a slave that does not comprehend everything but
friendship with true understanding is coming. Those that have been a Christian for a while but have
not progressed to friendship because you have not taken the time not invested the effort for hearing
from God, aim higher this morning. Attain the privilege and become a friend of Jesus. Obey him. Hear
from him. Love him. Amen.

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Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church


Sermon Series: Supernatural Ways Of Royalty 05 (Chapter 9) Tall Imitations; Date: 16 October 2011
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

Tall Imitations
Therefore I urge you to imitate me (1 Corinthians 4:16). These are words from a church leader in the
Bible to his congregation. Imitate me! How do these words sound to you? Would you accept them from
anyone in this church? Would we tolerate anyone getting up, pointing to himself and saying: Hey, listen
up. A good Christian practises my life-style.
Our immediate reaction would be to cut down such arrogance. How dare anyone suggest that he
is the model Christian the standard of perfection for others? What insolence! God will not tolerate pride
not even in someone that is ignorant of him. For instance, one day the king of Babylon was walking on the
roof of the royal palace enjoying the view and saying: Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal
residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty? (Daniel 4:30). God didnt like the words.
God didnt like the attitude. Therefore Daniel 4:31-32: Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came
from heaven, This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from
you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox ...
until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he
wishes.
Cf. Daniel 4:33-37: Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was
fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was
drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his
nails like the claws of a bird.
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and
my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him
who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from
generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does
as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold
back his hand or say to him: What have you done?
At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honour and splendour were
returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and
I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I,
Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he
does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to
humble.
Pride never succeeds but sets up even kings for failure. The Bible could not be clearer on this
matter:
Proverbs 3:33-34: The LORDs curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the
home of the righteous. He mocks proud mockers but shows favour to the humble and
oppressed.
Proverbs 16:5: The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not
go unpunished.
Isaiah 66:2: ... These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and
contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word

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Psalm 138:6: For though the Lord is high, yet has He respect to the lowly [bringing
them into fellowship with Him]; but the proud and haughty He knows and recognizes
[only] at a distance.
Romans 12:16: ... Do not be proud ... Do not be conceited.
James 4:6: ... That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but shows favour to
the humble. [Cf. 1 Peter 5:5.]
According to the words of Jesus (on more than occasion) pride sets us up for demotion but
humility is the pathway to promotion Matthew 23:11-12: The greatest among you will be your servant.
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Therefore
we are utterly careful when someone stands up, points to himself and pronounces to the rest of us: I
urge you to imitate me (1 Corinthians 4:16). Who does this person think that he is?
Yet for all of the apparent dangers of pride we especially in this nation of Australia have the
wrong gut-reaction. Not everyone that says imitate me is proud up himself or a tall poppy. In fact, our
nation this city our own little church cannot thrive cannot flourish without confident role models. I
put it to everyone here this morning: The time comes when we need you to be worthy of imitation. You
need to lead by example. Your children our children are watching and so are others.
Kris Vallotton the author of the study that we are doing currently experienced the following in a
conference in Australia:
Kris Vallotton: Heavy Rain, Ventura: Gospel Light 2010, p137-138: It was a warm
summer afternoon in Australia. About 200 leaders had gathered for a leadership
conference where I was teaching on the subject of greatness. I wanted to use some
examples that my audience could relate to in order to emphasize the fact that it is heroes
who make history. However, I was unfamiliar with Australias past, so I asked the
crowd, Who are the heroes in your nation? They were completely silent. After a few
moments of increasing tension, I pressed, Come on, Aussies, who are the most famous
people in Australia? You know what I mean. The U.S. has George Washington,
Abraham Lincoln and Billy Graham. England has Winston Churchill, and South Africa
has Nelson Mandela. Who are the heroes of this country?
The hush continued in the room. Finally, the senior leader on the front row
broke the silence. Kris, he whispered, obviously trying not to embarrass me. We
dont have heroes in our nation. Its culturally taboo to be great in Australia. Its called
the Tall Poppy Syndrome.
After the meeting ended, some of the pastoral team came over and explained to
me that the Tall Poppy Syndrome is a social dynamic in which anyone who
accomplishes something outstanding or somehow stands above the crowd is cut down
by the masses. I was stunned to learn this was a guiding principle in their culture, and
wondered if they understood that this societal dynamic inherently leads people to resist
advancement, innovation or progress. As I pondered the Australian mindset, however, it
occurred to me that much of the Body of Christ has the identical culture. Plenty of
churches are teaching people how to be good, but few are inspiring people to greatness.
In our nation everyone that rises above the crowd everyone that might say (with reason) imitate
me is cut down because in our national psyche we remain suspicious of tall leaders. Tall leaders
great leaders competent leaders may actually take us somewhere but we are not at all certain that we
want to be taken anywhere. We dont trust anyone with power; therefore undermine them for fear of
pride. [E.g.: My own experience of past church elections in Qld.]
Yet, it is God that makes some of us grow tall Matthew 23:11-12: The greatest among you will be
your servant ... those who humble themselves will be exalted. Humility is not the same as lowliness is not
the same as lowly insignificance but it is rather the gateway to greatness promotion and exaltation. As
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soon as the King of Babylon acknowledged God and his rule over all the kingdoms on earth as soon as
he said: All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: What have you done? (Daniel
4:35) God made him great again.
God is not threatened by great men and women. A humble king can have anything. The King of
Babylon declared Daniel 4:36: ... my honour and splendour were returned to me for the glory of my
kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than
before. The first twelve disciples of Jesus became so great in the kingdom of God that the foundation
stones of Gods city in heaven were named after them Revelation 21:14: The wall of the city had twelve
foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles ...
Would you like to have a street named after you in heaven? This kind of ambition is not wrong
for the humble. We need some of us (and why not you) to rise up and say: Imitate me.
And by the way the reason why in our nation not more people are rising up in this way is not
always a false understanding of humility but a lack of courage. A young man (or woman) may be too shy
to step up to the plate too afraid but to clarify this at once shyness is not the same as having a
humble disposition. Shy people can be extremely self-centred always worrying about how they may come
across always assuming that everyone is looking at them always fearing a negative outcome for themselves.
Yet, what they lack is courage. If you are shy, relax and dont take yourself so seriously. Humble yourself
and pluck up the courage to rise above the masses in our nation. Lead others (to Jesus). [Cf. Further road
blocks to greatness can be a false understanding of sin in a Christians life. We are not just poor miserable
sinners but are meant to conquer and not let sin dominate us (Romans 6).]
You may consider the shyness of Saul, his promotion and the true nature of his heart:
1 Samuel 9:19-21: I am the seer, Samuel replied. Go up ahead of me to the high
place, for today you are to eat with me, and in the morning I will send you on your way
and will tell you all that is in your heart ... Saul answered, But am I not a Benjamite,
from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe
of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?
1 Samuel 10:21-24: Finally Saul son of Kish was taken [to be King]. But when they
looked for him, he was not to be found. So they inquired further of the LORD, Has the
man come here yet? And the LORD said, Yes, he has hidden himself among the
supplies. They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a
head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, Do you see the man the
LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people. Then the people
shouted, Long live the king!
1 Samuel 15:10-12: Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: I regret that I have
made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my
instructions. Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. Early in
the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, Saul has gone to
Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honour and has turned and gone on
down to Gilgal.
1 Samuel 18:8-9: Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. They have
credited David with tens of thousands, he thought, but me with only thousands. What
more can he get but the kingdom? And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on
David.
Maybe it is time to define the nature of humility. What man (or woman) do we want to get up and
say: Imitate me? A humble person has an honest understanding about his strengths and weaknesses
doesnt puff himself up with pride and remains submitted to God always. However, one of the best
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definitions of humility is this one: Love taking the position to serve another. Humility is when you have
the power and position the right and privilege to be served by others but instead out of love you
choose to serve rather than be served. This lies at the heart of Jesus instructions. Listen again Matthew
23:11-12: The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and
those who humble themselves will be exalted. Even the greatest among us is to remain humble which
means that he serves rather than be served. Thus, Jesus performed the menial task of washing his
disciples dusty feet when none of them wanted to do the job (John 13:1-17). Here at Living Grace even
Jesus would be on the toilet roster. Humility is love taking the position to serve another.
This is at the core of the Christian message:
Philippians 2:5-11: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as
Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking
the very nature of a slave, being made in human likeness. And being found in
appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death
on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that
is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the
earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father.
We now have a closer look at the man the Apostle Paul who in the Bible said: Imitate me.
There are further lessons for us to learn. Listen to an entire chapter in the Bible. This is not an easy
chapter but is full of conflict, tension, sarcasm, explanations, pleading and warnings. When you are
meant to rise above others, it is not always in a peaceful situation. Dont let this hold you back:
1 Corinthians 4: This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as
those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who
have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by
any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that
does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing
before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is
hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will
receive their praise from God.
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for
your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, Do not go
beyond what is written. Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us
over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you
have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though
you did not?
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have
begun to reignand that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so
that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on
display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have
been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you
are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured! To this very hour we go hungry and
thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our
own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when
we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage
of the worldright up to this moment.
I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if
you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ
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Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For
this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord.
He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach
everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will
come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these
arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a
matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of
discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
The Apostle Paul was the missionary that first brought the good news of Jesus Christ to the
people in Corinth. The Christians there owed Paul their faith (1 Corinthians 9:1) but there was not much
gratitude but a growing rejection of Paul. He faced their judgements; therefore writes: I care very little if
I am judged by you ... (verse 3) Judge nothing before the appointed time (verse 5).
What were the issues? Other church leaders like Apollos had become more popular than
Paul. Paul had come to them in weakness and fear, and with much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3) he was
seen to be timid in person (2 Corinthians 10:1) [and bold when he was away] which was not portraying
an image of success and favour from God (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). He should have demonstrated
greater evidence of visible glory (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3: And even if our gospel is veiled ... ). [2 Corinthians
10:10: For some say, His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking
amounts to nothing. 2 Corinthians 10:6: I may not be a trained speaker ... ]
When Paul defended himself, the church soon accused him of making himself look good (cf. 2
Corinthians 3:1; 5:12: We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again ... ; 12:19: Have you been
thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you ... ). The church further accused Paul of
promising a visit but then not coming to them. They thought that he was withholding affection from
them (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:12: We are not withholding our affection from you ... ). Some used the
disappointment to rise up against Paul and fill the vacuum with their own views (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1819; 2 Corinthians 1:23). Some of Pauls correspondence seemed to be too harsh to them and caused them
grief (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:8: Even if I have caused you sorrow by my letter ... ). They also took offense that
Paul would not accept any money and support from them (cf. 1 Corinthians 9; 2 Corinthians 11:7-12: ... I
have kept myself from being a burden to you ... Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do ... ; 12:13).
The whole package of Paul was no longer the package of a valued church leader in Corinth.
Therefore it took courage, perseverance and confidence to keep saying to this congregation: Imitate
me. I urge you to imitate me. Become strong like Paul. The church is always in need of correction. We
need leaders heroes that conquer the status quo the moral compromises of Christians, the apathy, the
deceitfulness of wealth, the self-pity, the lack of compassion and we need to be lead by positive examples
rather than negative denouncements. Anyone can criticize but only few can demonstrate an alternative:
You need a model? Imitate me. [Cf. Francis Chans resistance among Christians when he wanted to
downsize his family home.] [Extended thought: The world does not only need a model of transformed Christian
but a model of a transformed church and then transformed city and nation. The world needs to see a working
model.]
I also find it interesting that Paul was the founder of the church an apostle but did not
demand and defend his authority through constitutional means. He had not put in place any legal
framework which could have enforced obedience from his congregation. He was confident in his role as
their spiritual father (1 Corinthians 4:15: ... you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your
father ... ) but when he left them behind on further mission journeys they were given their own eldership
(Acts 14:23) that was from a legal perspective independent from Paul. [Paul did not set up a franchise.]
This is again evidence of great humility. He would have had the right to insist on leadership but
out of love he chose to serve without forcing anything on the church. The definition of humility from
before said that it was love taking the position to serve another and this kind of service comes without
coercion. Humility is service without any strings attached. This is what Jesus taught. Consider again
Matthew 23:11-12: The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be

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humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. The greatest among us like Paul remain
humble that is: keep serving and trust God with their exaltation.
At the same time Paul knew that he was exalted by God a great leader and he knew that he
could trust God not any human means any human constitution to back him up in any leadership
conflict. He wrote 1 Corinthians 4:18-21: Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to
you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these
arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of
power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a
gentle spirit? Paul was humble but knew about his spiritual power. Become confident in God backing
you up. Serve with assurance in any conflict. God will confirm that we are to imitate you.
This leadership principle of humble service without enforcing authority (through human means) is
demonstrated in key crisis moments of other Bible leaders. God can be trusted to confirm the leadership of his
chosen ones:
1 Samuel 24:5-15: Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a
corner of his robe. He said to his men, The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing
to my master, the LORDs anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of
the LORD. With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to
attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way ... Against whom has the king of
Israel come out? ... May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he
consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your
hand.
1 Samuel 26:9-11: But David said to Abishai, Dont destroy him! Who can lay a hand
on the LORDs anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the LORD lives, he said, the
LORD himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into
battle and perish. But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORDs
anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and lets go. 1
Samuel 26:22-25: Here is the kings spear, David answered. Let one of your young
men come over and get it. The LORD rewards everyone for their righteousness and
faithfulness. The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand
on the LORDs anointed. As surely as I valued your life today, so may the LORD value
my life and deliver me from all trouble. Then Saul said to David, May you be blessed,
David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.
Numbers 12:1-16: Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his
Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. Has the LORD spoken only through
Moses? they asked. Hasnt he also spoken through us? And the LORD heard this.
(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the
earth.) At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, Come out to the tent of
meeting, all three of you. ... Then the LORD ... said, Listen to my words: ... But this is
not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to
face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not
afraid to speak against my servant Moses? The anger of the LORD burned against
them, and he left them ... So Moses cried out to the LORD, Please, God, heal her! ...
Numbers 16:1-50: Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain
ReubenitesDathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Pelethbecame insolent
and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community
leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to
oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, You have gone too far! The whole

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community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you
set yourselves above the LORDs assembly?
When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his
followers: In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy,
and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come
near him. You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers and tomorrow
put burning coals and incense in them before the LORD. The man the LORD chooses
will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!
... He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you
are trying to get the priesthood too. 11 It is against the LORD that you and all your
followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?
Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said,
We will not come! Isnt it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing
with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over
us! Moreover, you havent brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given
us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you want to treat these men like slaves?
No, we will not come!
Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, Do not accept their
offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of
them.
Moses said to Korah, You and all your followers are to appear before the
LORD tomorrowyou and they and Aaron. Each man is to take his censer and put
incense in it250 censers in alland present it before the LORD. You and Aaron are
to present your censers also. So each of them took his censer, put burning coals and
incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the
tent of meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly. The LORD said
to Moses and Aaron, Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to
them at once.
But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, O God, the God who gives
breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one
man sins? Then the LORD said to Moses, Say to the assembly, Move away from the
tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.
Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed
him. He warned the assembly, Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not
touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.
So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram
had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the
entrances to their tents.
Then Moses said, This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do
all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer
the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about
something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with
everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then
you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.
As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the
earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those
associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the
realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they
perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around
them fled, shouting, The earth is going to swallow us too! And fire came out from the
LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

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The LORD said to Moses, Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the
censers from the charred remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the
censers are holy the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer
the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the LORD
and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites. ...
The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and
Aaron. You have killed the LORDs people, they said. But when the assembly
gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting,
suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. Then Moses and
Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, and the LORD said to Moses, Get away
from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once. And they fell facedown.
Then Moses said to Aaron, Take your censer and put incense in it, along with
burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them.
Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started. So Aaron did as Moses
said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the
people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between
the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the
plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. Then Aaron returned to
Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.
Paul was a humble servant leader when he urged his congregation to imitate him. He wrote 1
Corinthians 4:1: ... you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ ... The problem of pride was rather with
the people. Hear some of the words again and pick up what was at the heart of all contentious issues:
1 Corinthians 4:7-13: For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you
have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though
you did not?
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have
begun to reignand that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so
that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on
display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have
been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We
are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You
are honoured, we are dishonoured! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are
in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands.
When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are
slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the
worldright up to this moment.
To the Corinthians Paul was an extremely unattractive role model because it cut down all their
achievements and privileges. Paul threatened to take away all their gains in the Christian faith. They
thought that they had the best church the best experiences the best conferences. They were so
deliriously happy that Paul confronted them with sarcasm words meant to bite through the delusion:
Already you have all you want! How could they think that when their own church members suffered
from bitter divisions (1 Corinthians 3:1-4), took each other to court (1 Corinthians 6:7-8), someone slept
with his fathers wife (1 Corinthians 5:1), the rich got drunk around the communion table while others
came in hungry (1 Corinthians 11:17-22), a lack of love was everywhere (1 Corinthians 13:1-3), worship
services were chaotic with everyone doing their own thing (1 Corinthians 14:26-40), some denied the
resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12), etc.
The Corinthians were boasting over their achievements but Paul asked them: What do you have
that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? No achievement
no breakthrough no spiritual gift no city transformation nothing is ever the result of our own effort.

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Credit honour glory praise always belong to God because he makes us live by his grace and his
power.
The Corinthians thought that they were doing so well compared to Paul. Again listen to the
sarcasm which Paul used against them: Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You
have begun to reignand that without us! ... We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are
weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured!
What the Corinthians did not want to embrace was the life-style of humility which Paul
demonstrated in his own work. Theres a job to be done. Jesus said Matthew 28:19-20: Go and make
disciples of all nations ... And this kind of job is going to be met with opposition. Not everyone welcomed
Paul and his preaching of Jesus Christ who died for the sins of the world. Looking at Paul the
Corinthians saw what was waiting for them, that is: weakness and dishonour. They were called to
humility: the love that is taking the position to serve another.
When Paul said: I urge you to imitate me, the Corinthians and we naturally drew back. The
role model was too radical but necessary 1 Corinthians 4:9-13: For it seems to me that God has put us
apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a
spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings ... To this very hour we go hungry and
thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we
are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have
become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the worldright up to this moment.
Do you want to imitate someone that is the scum of the earth the garbage of the world
hungry and thirsty brutally treated homeless and working hard? We need you to take this on.
This is how Jesus served us and this is how we are meant to serve each other and a lost world. We need
people in our own midst that can demonstrate this kind of life-style.
This may not be attractive to you but it is attractive to others 1 Corinthians 4:12-13: When we
are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. This
kind of humility is attractive it will win in the end because there is a willingness to serve without
insisting on any rights of fair treatment or other privileges. When someone meets us with this kind of
humility, we know we will be heard we know we will be served we know we will be helped we know
that our needs will matter we know that there will be peace we know that Gods heart will be present (Dr
Norm Wakefield & Jody Brolsma: Men Are From Israel, Women Are From Moab, Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press 2000, p156) and this is what we need among us: Love taking the position to serve
another humility for others to imitate.
This morning you can respond to the call: Imitate me. The words of the Apostle Paul in the
Bible remain an invitation to anyone that wants to hear the call. Are you ready? This may mean that you
also go hungry and work hard. You may have to endure persecution and slander even homelessness
but at the same time (and this is how we began the message) you are growing into greatness. Humility
is not the same as lowliness not the same as lowly insignificance. I think that Pauls name is on one of the
foundation stones of Gods city in heaven and who knows how God may recognize your growing stature
in his kingdom. Your humility is not a hindrance but the pathway to promotion and exaltation. We need
leaders that are tall among us. [Cf. Matthew 23:11-12: The greatest among you will be your servant ... those
who humble themselves will be exalted.]
Paul wielded extraordinary authority. He was 1 Corinthians 4:1: ... entrusted with the secret
things of God. And he was a father to the church 1 Corinthians 4:15: Even if you had ten thousand
guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
He also had the power to exercise discipline which would bear results 1 Corinthians 4:19-21: But I will
come to you very soon ... then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power
they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to
you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
He was a great man who nevertheless took the position to serve others. He was tall but humble.
Be like him and we imitate you. Amen.

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Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church


Sermon Series: Supernatural Ways Of Royalty 06 (Chapter 11) Fathers For The Family; Date: 30 October 2011
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

Fathers For The Family


The best Bible lessons are those that come verified by the experience of Christians. The Bible means so much more
gains our trust grows in our esteem when human experience backs up the Bible truth and witnesses the
fulfilment of Bible promises. For instance (consider the question) did God feed the nation of Israel with manna
(supernatural food every day) for forty years in the desert? Most of my life pastors and professors of theology cast
doubt and suspicion on the Bible accounts. They said: Oral traditions are known to exaggerate Gods basic
provisions. The manna has more of a symbolic meaning. However in 2008 I met an older woman (Kaye Beyer a
former Lutheran) from Canada. She was known to go on mission trips with her husband Harold for more than fifty
years and manna would on occasion (throughout these years) appear on the pages of Harolds Bible (and now
that he has gone to glory, Kaye experiences the manifestation less frequently). It always appeared on the page where
the Bible speaks about the hidden manna that the believer will receive Revelations 2:17: ... To the one who is
victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna ... Kaye and Harolds testimony is well documented and there are
many eye-witnesses all over the world (they even ate the manna and it tasted like the Bible said [Exodus 16:31: ... it
was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey ... ] Harold himself experienced its healing
power) which changed my former attitude to the Bible. God is the same yesterday and today and he is still
performing the miracle of producing manna. Therefore God did feed the nation of Israel with manna for forty
years in the desert. The Bible is true and can be trusted. Maybe I should have taken the Bible accounts by faith but
the modern testimonies helped me.
Isnt it true that many a time we only understand and accept the truth of the Bible when our own
experience with God or the experience of those around us point us into the right direction? Two further examples
have you always known the meaning of the following Bible verses? Be honest now. Have you always exercised faith
to receive what they promise? Romans 5:5: ... Gods love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit
... 1 Thessalonians 1:6: ... you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy
Spirit. [Peter 1:8: ... you believe in him and are filled [by the Holy Spirit] with an inexpressible and glorious joy.] 1
Corinthians 2:1-5: And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or
human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my
preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirits power, so that your faith
might not rest on human wisdom, but on Gods power.
It is only over the last few years that I have come to expect more of an experience of love and joy in Gods
kingdom. We are meant to receive these kinds of intimate feelings from God through the Holy Spirit. Maybe not
all of the time (there are seasons of trial and testing) but some of the time most times. It helps my trust in the
Bible to see how God releases supernatural joy on our church over the last few months (e.g.: Janne Eiby and I at the
Holy Spirit Seminar, several people at the Glory Conference, the wife of a cancer sufferer at the recent healing night, the
last few Sundays & Jubilee meeting, etc). A life of joy is possible despite severe suffering.
Then as you know I first took notice of 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 when I experienced power demonstrations
of God at one of our church services in 2003. Pastor Gemechis Desta Buba was our guest-preacher and two thirds
of the congregation ended up on the floor. I think that we needed this kind of encouragement an experience to
exercise faith in the truth of the Bible and also expect demonstrations of the Spirits power in response to our
normal Sunday preaching but its happening now the gold dust is a loving and gentle power demonstration of God
confirming the Bible truth.
This finally brings me to the study course which we are currently doing at Living Grace: The
Supernatural Ways Of Royalty by Kris Vallotton with Bill Johnson. The value of this course is precisely the same
approach to the Bible. The writers are not just offering theory clever words and opinions but they share with us
how their own experiences have validated confirmed the wisdom of the Bible and sometimes it has taken
them decades to see the light of the truth according to the Bible. (E.g.: We heard about Bill Johnsons journey to let
go of introspection. See http://www.livinggracetoowoomba.org/2011/2011Ever-IncreasingEdgarMayer.htm.) I
personally value what comes out of the experience of mature Christians and appreciate the shortcut of learning the
lessons without the long years of not knowing what to do. (There is still enough left for us to discover on our own for
the next generation.)
Now listen to a significant development in Kris Vallottons life:

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Kris Vallotton with Bill Johnson: The Supernatural Ways Of Royalty, Shippensburg: Destiny
Image 2006, 129-132:
I will never forget the night that Kathy and I received the Lord. I was 18 and Kathy
was 15 years old at the time.
I had an encounter three years earlier that sent me on a journey to find God. My
mother had become very sick with psoriasis and her body was covered with a rash. To make
matters worse, for nearly a year we had a prowler looking through our windows at night and
terrorizing us. One night I even took a shot at him after I awoke to find him coming through my
bedroom window.
The police were at our house several times a week. My mother was sleeping on the
couch with a shotgun. I would wake up in the middle of the night and hear my mom crying as
she struggled to keep herself together. This was all extremely unsettling for a 15-year-old boy
who was the oldest of three children. We were not raised in a religious home and therefore I
didnt really know if there was a God. One summer night, at about three oclock in the morning,
the pressure got to be too much for me. I sat up against my headboard. It was pitch dark and I
could hear my mother weeping quietly in the front room.
I cried out in desperation, If there is a God, if you heal my mother, I will find out
who you are and I will serve you the rest of my life!
An audible voice answered, My name is Jesus Christ and you have what you
requested!
The next morning my mother woke up completely healed. Her psoriasis was gone!
Within a few days the police caught the prowler and life began to change.
A week or so passed and I was lying on my bed around midnight contemplating these
amazing events when the voice spoke to me again.He said, My name is Jesus Christ. You said
if I healed your mother you would serve me and I am waiting!
I began searching for God everywhere. I would go to different churches and stand in
the back during the service and wait to see if God was there. I would often leave in
disappointment saying to myself, The God who spoke to me isnt here. Finally, three years
later, Kathy and I were invited to a friends fellowship. It was a home group packed with young
people. They were all excited about Jesus. We came in and sat down on the floor with about a
hundred other kids. The worship started and everyone began to sing passionately with their
hands raised. As the music died down, the leader gave an invitation for anyone who wanted to
receive Christ. Kathy and I raised our hands and prayed a prayer asking the Lord to forgive our
sins and come into our lives.
We didnt realize it then, but what happened next would forever change our lives.
After the meeting ended the leader came over and introduced himself. He explained what it
meant to be saved, how we were newborn babies in the kingdom and we needed to be fathered.
He then introduced us to three young men and asked which one of those men we wanted to
father us. I didnt realize that fathering wasnt normal in church at that time because I
hadnt been in church much. We picked a man named Art Kipperman who was about three
years our senior. He and his wife, Cathy, became our spiritual parents. It was awesome having
someone to mentor us and speak into our lives. We had a relationship with them from that point
on.
A few years later we moved up to the Trinity Alps in northern California. We lived
there a year without the benefit of having a spiritual father and mother living alongside us. I was
starving to be nurtured and felt lost. I began to cry out for God to send me a father.
I was working as a mechanic in a repair shop at the time. One day while I was laying
on a creeper underneath a green Jeep Wagoneer the Lord spoke to me saying, The man who
owns this Jeep will be your father. I had been praying fervently that day about the void in my
life, but I didnt even know the man who owned the Jeep.
When that particular customer came in to pick up his vehicle I collected his money
and explained the work order to him. I was so nervous. He was about twenty years older than
me and seemed very warm and loving. I accompanied him to his car, still trying to gather the
courage to tell him what God had said to me. He got in the Jeep and rolled down his window as
I stumbled over my words.
Finally I blurted out, God told me that the man who owed this Jeep would be my
spiritual father! (I was choking back tears.) He turned off the engine and opened the door of his
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truck. He stood up, wrapped his arms around me and said, I would be honoured to be your
father! This mans name is Bill Derryberry and he has been my mentor for more than 20 years.
His love and discipline have changed my life. I am forever indebted to him.
The love that Bill and I have for each other has resulted in many people being born
into the Kingdom through both Bills encouragement in my own life and the contagious nature
of love when it is expressed through someone. In the same way, Gods desire is for the bride
and the bridegroom to be so passionately in love with one another that children are the natural
outcome. The very presence of our children reminds us of the covenant love that we share.
When conceived in love rather than lust, the natural outgrowth of children and their parents is
an unbreakable, unchangeable and everlasting bond. Their childrens hearts become tablets on
which husbands and wives write their love letters to one another. The outcome of this kind of
relationship is that the children are secure, well-adjusted and have a healthy self-worth because
their parents value them.
When the Church of Jesus becomes a family instead of a harem, people wont just
come to church, they will become the church. It will no longer be a place they go to but a tribe
they live in, a people they have responsibility for and a family that nurtures one another in good
times and in bad, in sickness and health, until death do us part. They wont change churches just
because the worship isnt as good as Joes Super Church down the street. They will be
committed to a family where they hear the voice of their Shepherd in the people who are leading
them.
Covenant also means that people belong to a fellowship to be a contributor rather than
a consumer. Covenant breaks the back of the pressure that leaders feel to perform because their
flock hasnt come to be entertained but they have come to be led.
God introduced himself to Kris Vallotton in a supernatural way answered his prayer with an audible voice
and supernatural revelation: My name is Jesus Christ and you have what you requested! Jesus healed his mum but
why was this not enough? If we related this testimony to the Bible book of Philippians, we could find words in this
book that would tempt us to relax about the new convert Kris Vallotton (at the time 15 years old) Philippians 1:6:
... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ
Jesus. Jesus had begun a good work in Kris without anyones help and he could bring it to completion without
much further assistance. After all Kris had already seen and heard so much the voice of God and the miracle
healing of his mum. He was on the way and if he was someone in our church we would not have to worry about
him. Right? Wrong!
The miracles may bring in new Christians they prompted Kris to be on a search for God but they are
never enough. Miracles for the immature believers may even become boring. They say: Oh, another healing, more
gold dust, another one laughs ... For the immature believers after a while the miracles are like the new iPhone 4 a
marvel of technological brilliance but you get used to it and then wait for the iPhone 5. Kris Vallotton needed a
spiritual father because his miraculous encounter with Jesus needed to grow into a relationship with Jesus. You
never get bored with healings or any other miracles when you understand them as love notes from a gracious God.
For instance, I never grow tired seeing the gold dust because I take the miracle as the voice of God saying
to our church: I love you. I died for you. You are forgiven. My blood on the cross cancelled all your shame. Instead of
condemnation, you receive glory on account of me. I love you. [Cf. The nation of Israel lived in a miracle culture in the
wilderness but only ever saw the acts of God (manna, quail, supernatural victories, the glory cloud of God by day and the
pillar of fire at night) and never drew near to him in intimacy Exodus 20:19: ... and said to Moses, Speak to us
yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die. Therefore, they always rebelled and took up
idolatry.]
Any new Christian needs to be fathered into a mature relationship with God the Son Jesus Christ. The
Bible book of Philippians explains why:
Philippians 1:8: God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
This means that someone loves us with the very love of Jesus Christ whose affections for
us move our spiritual father/mother.
Philippians 1:9-11: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in
knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure
and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through
Jesus Christto the glory and praise of God. This means that a loving relationship with

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Jesus (and our spiritual father) can and will grow in knowledge, insight and discernment for
making good choices and producing positive outcomes of righteousness.
Philippians 1:25: ... I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy
in the faith. A spiritual father will help us to progress in our faith and ensure that Gods
joy will unfold in our lives. The fullness of Gods grace is not immediately manifesting in a
Christians life but comes with maturity.
Philippians 2:12-13: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyednot only in my
presence, but now much more in my absencecontinue to work out your salvation with fear
and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good
purpose. We need spiritual fathers and be obedient to them because they help us to work
out our salvation with fear and trembling. They help us by taking responsibility for us.
Philippians 3:18-21: For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with
tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their
stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our
citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who,
by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly
bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. We need spiritual fathers who warn us of
false teachings and discipline us with tears in their eyes.
Philippians 1:3-5: I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you,
I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Spiritual fathers need spiritual sons and daughters to partner with them and grow up into
helping with the proclamation of the Gospel the good news of Jesus Christ and the
salvation of all those who put their faith in him.
At this point can I ask you: Do you have a spiritual father or spiritual mother? Do you have someone
that loves you with Jesus affections, makes you grow in knowledge and discernment, continues with you for more
joy in the faith, takes responsibility for you in requesting obedience, disciplines you with tears and allows you to
partner in the Gospel with him? Do you have a relationship with another Christian whereby the other Christian is
more mature than you and offers you guidance and love? If not how are you doing? Are you going well in your
faith? Maybe this morning God will point out a spiritual father for you.
Then, I ask the more mature Christian? Are you a spiritual father or mother to someone? Are you
functioning according to this Bible truth of the church becoming a family with spiritual parents? Kris Vallottons
first spiritual parents were young (21 years of age) but this is not a matter of age. Sometimes like in normal life
you become a father before you think that you are ready. Then, you just have to step up. If you invite a friend to
church and he becomes a Christian, who is going to be the father of the new Christian? Most likely you are. He
trusts you and followed your lead. He already wanted what you had. Therefore: congratulations you have
become a dad. Take up the responsibility.
This is important. Unless we understand this principle of spiritual parenting in the church, we will never
get anywhere. Take our church. We are offering a whole range of programs: Sunday worship, Acceler8 for children,
Sunday afternoon meetings for youth and young adults, Wednesday night outreach at the Stations St Community Centre,
Getting To Know God studies on Monday, Friday night Bible study and Prayer Watch, various small groups in peoples
homes, craft group, etc. These programs are good but they are not the essence of the work. The programs are only
tools facilitating growing relationships between spiritual sons and fathers.
Programs by themselves do not make a church. Its all about relationships. This means that you cannot
sit back and trust that the church is doing its work through the programs that the pastor and evangelist and other
leaders are offering. We need you to attend and take someone else under your wings. Please if you have been a
Christian for a few years, its time to become a father to someone else. Just think how much care and time it takes
to raise a child. Its not different in the faith.
You may ask me how to be a spiritual father and in response I can offer you a bag of resources and
much helpful advice (even though I myself ask Tatjana for advice) but as any parent knows every child is different
(even within the one family). Therefore, you need the wisdom of God much prayer to raise up another Christian.
Open your heart to be a father. If today another person committed his life to Jesus Christ in our midst, who would
put up their hand to father him? We want an outpouring of the Holy Spirit but why would God grant us this wish,
unless we were prepared to be fathers and mothers to the new believers?
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What I like about the whole concept is that it is not complicated. We are born into families. We
understand families. There are entire bookshelves offering advice on church life (big church or small church,
multi-staff or lean structure, seeker-sensitive or solid) but ultimately its simple: God made us a family with
babies, children, youth, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, grand-parents. If we have healthy family
relationships, then we have a healthy church according to Gods design. Are we healthy? [Difficulty: We are living
apart during the week and the modern life-style is busy.]
Let me demonstrate again from Philippians how natural the family concept was for the first Christians:
Philippians 2:19-30: I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be
cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine
concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus
Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has
served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how
things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker
and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he
longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost
died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon
sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may
be glad and I may have less anxiety. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and
honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make
up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
Like any family (like any healthy family) the church family wants to be together and longs for each
other. They worry about each other. Epaphroditus was from the church in Philippi and as a messenger from the
congregation he visited Paul and his team with financial provisions and loving support. Then, he fell sick and the
church back home was worrying about him but he recovered and Paul sent him back to make everyone glad. Paul
himself was keen to come for another visit to Philippi but first sent Timothy to them. He wanted to be cheered by
receiving news from them. We need to find ways of coming together and know what each others needs are.
In the case of Timothy Paul was quite specific about the father-son relationship
Philippians 2:19-23: I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon ... I have no one else like him, who
will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But
you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the
gospel ... Timothy was doing well showed genuine concern for the welfare of the church in Philippi did not look
out for his own interests but the interests of Jesus proved himself in practice served in practical mission work
Timothy was doing well because he was fathered on the job and did not learn about the kingdom of God from
books (and I love books). He learned by doing. The spiritual father Paul demonstrated the truth to him. It was
practice not just theory.
And this is what we all need. I come back to the beginning. The Bible is wonderful and true but we
understand its riches best when human experience verifies the lessons. What better way than a spiritual father
demonstrate what a life according to the Bible promises looks like with spiritual power manifesting in his life
(miracles, signs & wonders), impartations of love and joy.
This is where it may get challenging because you as a spiritual father have to demonstrate the Christian
life also. We need you as a father. In the Bible book of Philippians Paul did point to the example of Jesus for
humble living Philippians 2:3-5: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others
above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships
with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. However, Paul was also confident in promoting himself as a
worthy model a mature spiritual father to emulate. He wrote repeatedly Philippians 3:17: Join together in
following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we
do. Philippians 4:9: Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in meput it into practice. And
the God of peace will be with you. We learn by imitating what is demonstrated to us.
Much is asked of spiritual fathers and mothers; therefore they are honoured before God and us. Paul
writes with a certain kind of confidence which may sound strange to us modern Western ears Philippians 2:14-16:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without
fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the
word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain. Philippians 3:15:
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too
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God will make clear to you. Philippians 4:1: Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown
... Paul was in no doubt as to the importance of his work. It would be his reason for boasting on the day of Jesus
return (always qualified by his dependence on God) and his crown in eternity. He knew that he carried authority
as a spiritual father. So do you among us and we owe you respect and gratitude. We need fathers and mothers.
One more point: As in natural families the relationship between children and parents does change over
the years. Its beautiful and satisfying great family gatherings and laughing around the table much happens at meal
times holidays and adventures highlights like the first day at school and graduation but there are also sleepless
nights with babies, toddler tantrums, rebellious teenagers and then its time to leave home and become a parent
yourself. In the beginning the parent may look perfect to you the dad as hero but then you grown up and you
recognize that your spiritual father is also on the way of growing in holiness. Be kind to him and simply leave
home when its time to establish your own household. I am now middle-aged and the relationship with my parents
has become more equal but and this is the same in Gods kingdom my parents still bless me as their son and I still
honour them as my parents. The relationship changes but it is lifelong.
I come to a close. Jesus knows what we need. He responded to the prayer of Kris Vallotton with an
audible voice and a miracle healing but then placed him in the care of a spiritual father who would love him with
his own affections and mature him in his faith for discernment and joy. This is Jesus way for us. This morning if
you do not yet have a spiritual parent, go home and pray about the person who will step into this role for you. Ask
Jesus to point out the man or woman to you and speak to them as well. [Sometimes spiritual fathers can do the
parenting form a distance through conferences, videos and books. This is how some Christian leaders (e.g.: John Strelan,
Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson) have become spiritual parents to me.] Likewise if you are here this morning and you are a
Christian of many years, consider becoming a spiritual father or mother to someone a new Christian.
Demonstrate the life of faith and receive the crown of spiritual fathers. Church life is simple. We are a family.
Amen.

Kris Vallotton with Bill Johnson: The Supernatural Ways Of Royalty, Shippensburg:
Destiny Image 2006, 129-132:
Many years ago the Lord convicted me of the cohabiting attitude that I had toward Bill
Johnson. Bill has been my senior leader and pastor for more than a quarter of a century. He is
one of the most amazing men I have ever known and I have a deep respect for him. One night
the Lord revealed my heart toward Bill. Although I had served him well and had done my best
for him, I never had any intention of staying with him forever. I wanted to be the Man, the Boss,
the number one guy and I was using Bill to get there. The Lord said to me, Youre always
talking about covenant but you havent made one with your senior father! You are serving him
to benefit yourself, not for his benefit. I want you dedicate the rest of your life to serving him.
Wow! I was undone. I realized then how much I didnt want to be in submission to
someone. All my trust issues began to surface. Did I really believe that if I gave my life to serve
Bill that he would reciprocate the relationship? More importantly, did I trust that Jesus could
give me the desires of my heart while I was the servant of another man? Could I live with Bill
getting credit for things that I accomplished because people saw Bethel as Bills church? Did
I want to spend my entire life living in the shadow of a famous man? My false heart was
unmasked. Yuck,Yuck,Yuck!
The conviction grew day by day until I could no longer stand it. I couldnt just have a
message, I had to be the message. I needed to make a change in my life but it was a battle.
Bill and I were doing a mens retreat together in Orangeville, California, right at the
height of my tension. It was tough, and to make matters worse we were riding in the same car
together all the way there. On the way there we hardly talked which isnt unlike Bill (he is very
quiet), yet it was a minor miracle for me. I was afraid to talk because I wasnt sure what might
jump out of my mouth. Finally I couldnt take it any longer. Bill was driving and I looked over
at him and I blurted out, I covenant to spend the rest of my life serving you. One of the main
goals of my life from this day on is to make sure that you accomplish all that God has given you
to do with your life and I will stay with you until I die.
I thought I was going to pass out, because I had such a deep revelation of what I had
just done and I am a man who keeps my word. Bill glanced over at me and said, Thanks. I
think Bill thought I was verbalizing something I had always carried in my heart because I had
served him for so long, but that wasnt the case. Those words have changed my life. I have
come into a whole new level in God since then. My ministry has exploded and my finances
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have more than doubled. In fact, this book is a result of Bill encouraging and promoting me. He
even called Destiny Image and arranged for them to read my manuscript.

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Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church


Sermon Series: Supernatural Ways Of Royalty 07 (Chapters 12-13) Doing Them Ourselves; Date: 08 January 2012
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

[The material is for preaching over two sessions.]

Doing Them Ourselves


Jesus performed miracles and none was greater than the one where he commanded a
dead person his name was Lazarus a person who had been dead for four days a
decomposing corpse to come out of his grave. This morning do you need a miracle?
Then, learn from this one. In the Bible account which we will read in a moment you can
identify the character and heart of God towards you and also the many components and
principles which God uses to do the supernatural here on earth. This is important for us
as a church. We need to take a hold of this because after the miracle of raising a dead
person to life and many others Jesus made his disciples a promise. He said John 14:1214:
I assure 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. 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.
[Acts 4:29-30: Now Lord, enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness by stretching
out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant
Jesus. Acts 14:3: the Lord . confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous
signs and wonders. Acts 8:6: When the crowd heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they
all paid close attention to what he said.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5: My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but
with a demonstration of the Spirits power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on
Gods power. Romans 15:18-19: what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles
to obey God by what I have said and done by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the
Spirit I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.]

This morning do you need a miracle? Good expect one but as a church (in a
sense) we need to do them ourselves. Jesus after saving us returned to heaven but not
without giving us a job. An amazing job! Imagine he said to continue his work on earth
do the works he has been doing which include miracles (must include miracles) of the
same magnitude as Jesus miracles even greater ones. (If you are a visitor, I dont know
where you are coming from but this is also an invitation to you) Do you want to explore
working with miracles? Then, you cannot do better than learn from this one.
I read from the Bible:
John 11:1-44: Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her
sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume
on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, Lord, the one you love is
sick.
When he heard this, Jesus said, This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for Gods glory
so that Gods Son may be glorified through it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So
when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his
disciples, Let us go back to Judea.
But Rabbi, they said, a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are
going back? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime

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will not stumble, for they see by this worlds light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble,
for they have no light.
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am
going there to wake him up. His disciples replied, Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better. Jesus had been
speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly,
Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to
him. Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, Let us also go, that we
may die with him.
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now
Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to
comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet
him, but Mary stayed at home.
Lord, Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I
know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise
again. Martha answered, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her,
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and
whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? Yes, Lord, she replied, I
believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. The Teacher is here,
she said, and is asking for you. When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus
had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who
had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they
followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said,
Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. When Jesus saw her weeping, and the
Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Where
have you laid him? he asked. Come and see, Lord, they replied.
Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, See how he loved him! But some of them said, Could not
he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the
entrance. Take away the stone, he said. But, Lord, said Martha, the sister of the dead man, by this
time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days. Then Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you
believe, you will see the glory of God?
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, Father, I thank you that you have
heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that
they may believe that you sent me.
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! The dead man came
out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, Take
off the grave clothes and let him go.

Mary and Martha the friends of Jesus sent him a message: Lord, the one you love
is sick. Mary and Martha had a brother Lazarus and he was in a bad way. The
message to Jesus was desperate: Lord, the one you love is sick.
For us usually there is only one way that Jesus should have responded: Hurry.
Drop everything, come from where you are to Bethany, lay your hands on Lazarus and
heal him. Jesus, this is an emergency!
Sometimes others the disciples even friends of Lazarus even advise caution.
This is what they said to Jesus John 11:8: Teacher, a short while ago people [original: the
Jews] tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there? They were right. It would have
been unwise to go and do another healing miracle in Bethany because this was the region
where even church people resented Jesus demonstrations of power. Why make trouble as
a Christian? This was serious. The previous Bible chapter records the following drama
John 10:31-32: Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to
them, I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone
me? John 10:38-39: ... even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you
may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. Again they tried to seize
him, but he escaped their grasp.
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Nothing rails stubborn people as much as miracles. Those that are comfortable
with their traditions comfortable with their life-style comfortable with their status they
smile at Christians when they feed the poor or shelter the homeless they dont even mind
some pious words on public occasions (e.g. public funeral service) but miracles are a
different matter because miracles are evidence of power which forces a decision. People
hated Jesus because he said to them: Look at the power that is demonstrated in my miracles.
You have to rethink my preaching. I am speaking the truth. God is with me. Believe in me.
These days there are still people who dont like being confronted with miracles. They
may not pick up stones but simply shut their ears and walk away in denial or judgement.
Therefore some of Jesus entourage advised him to be cautious. Why upset people with
too much reality from heaven? And they might have added: Jesus, let the crowd not be
stirred by miracles but simply worship God. Tone down the supernatural.
Yet, Jesus listened to no one. He neither hurried to Bethany he neither rushed to
the side of Lazarus nor did he cancel the trip. He followed an altogether different
strategy. I read again from the Bible John 11:4-6: When he received the message, Jesus
said, This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for Gods glory so that Gods Son may be
glorified through it. Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that
Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. Then having lingered for fortyeight hours somewhere else Jesus said John 11:11: Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep
[he is dead now]; but I am going there to wake him up.
What was Jesus doing? When we need a miracle when the need is urgent (e.g.:
finances, health, court case) when we need a breakthrough right now we dont always
appreciate this kind of response. There was no question that Jesus loved Mary and
Martha and Lazarus he loved all of them but was this love dawdling on the road?
Jesus took his time delayed his help and none of us (at least I do not) appreciates the
delay. He could have saved the sisters so much agony. Jesus could have spared Mary and
Martha the agony of watching their brother die. Why didnt he do it? If he loves you
why doesnt he cut down the time of worry? Why does everything have to be last minute
with him in the case of Lazarus even a fair few minutes past the last minute of his life?
Jesus spelled out the answer: This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for Gods
glory so that Gods Son may be glorified through it. Whatever would happen with Lazarus
would glorify God and from this angle Jesus delay makes sense. If he had rushed to
Bethany, laid his hand on the sick man and healed him, everyone would have said: Yes,
we knew that Jesus could do this (see also John 11:21,32,37). It would have been wonderful
but also nothing new (as the miracle of gold dust is no longer new among us) and people
would simply accept the healing (it would be within their frame of reference) and go on
with their business. However, this time Jesus wanted to make a bigger splash. Instead of a
supernatural healing, there would be an even greater miracle the raising of a dead person
from his grave with the clear objective of bringing glory to God which would glorify
Jesus.
Do you want a miracle that glorifies Jesus? Then, dont be surprised when God lets
your problem become absolutely hopeless before he rescues you because only when all
other avenues have been exhausted do people realize that only God can be relied on and
no one else no human fall-back plan or insurance. [This is what he does with those he loves. It
is a privilege to be used by God in this way.] Maybe this is what God is doing presently with
our church finances. The delay of the miracle may not be the best for our nervous
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disposition but his glory is surely increasing. A dead man a dead cause a dead heart a
dead money stream comes alive by the power of God through Jesus Christ.
This brings us to another point and judging by the space given to this theme a
most important point for Jesus. Mary and Martha should have relaxed while they were
waiting for him. Jesus had told them: This sickness will not end in death. Jesus had
promised them that Lazarus would be safe from death. Why not take Jesus by his word?
Their faith was of the essence. Jesus put the highest value on faith. Only the people
around Jesus those closest to him proved to be loyal with beautiful hearts faithful and
dedicated to him but also severely constrained in their level of faith. They could not
imagine the impossible they could not deal with the delay but (for Jesus) this would not
do. Jesus spent time pushing them into some kind of faith because the miracle and future
miracles were to operate also by their faith. This is important. You many a time
participate in the miracle that God is providing for you. It may just be a small
contribution a tiny investment of trust in Jesus mustard seed faith but it is important.
Setting up the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead Jesus called for faith. He
first worked on his disciples. I read again the verses from the Bible John 11:12-16: After
he had said this, he went on to tell them, Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going
there to wake him up. His disciples replied, Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better. Jesus had
been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told
them plainly, Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may
believe. But let us go to him. Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the
disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
No one had told them but Jesus knew that Lazarus had died and explained to his
disciples that he would raise him from the dead. He made his intentions crystal-clear:
Lazarus is dead but I am going there to wake him up. Jesus further clarified that he would
do so that they may believe. This miracle was to grow their faith they were to aim for the
impossible but then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples: Let us also go, that we may
die with him.
Disappointing in a sense but how can you criticize a Christian like Thomas? He
loved Jesus. He was ready to die for him. He was willing to go into enemy territory
where people had previously picked up stones against Jesus because of miracles but he had
not listened to Jesus. He had not expanded his mind and begun to dream about the
impossible. He had no faith for raising the dead or doing any greater works than Jesus
himself.
Then, Jesus met the two sisters Mary and Martha outside of Bethany away from
the mourning crowds and the environment of tears and unbelief (see also Luke 8:51). [The
mourners were in the majority, had the evidence on their side but you want to keep the promise
alive in you.] Martha came out to Jesus first. I read John 11:20-27: When Martha heard
that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. Lord, Martha said
to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God
will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha
answered, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am
the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and
whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? Yes, Lord, she replied,
I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.
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Martha was not in a bad place. She was certain that if Jesus had been present, her
brother would not have died and she kept exercising trust, saying: Even now God will
give you whatever you ask. (Mary also had this kind of faith. See John 11:32.) However, her
boldness had limitations. When Jesus told her in plain words: Your brother will rise
again, Martha did not enlarge her faith but play it safe. She was hiding behind some
other accepted truth, saying: I know my brother will rise again in the resurrection at the last
day. Right only Jesus meant a resurrection now and not at the end of time. Martha was
doing what many Christians also do today. When confronted with a promise that requires
faith, we many a time shy away from committing ourselves to trust Jesus. Instead we
play it safe hiding behind some other Bible truths such as: The Lord giveth; the Lord
taketh away. We live by faith not by sight. But godliness with contentment is great gain
(1 Timothy 6:6).
Yet, Jesus did not let the matter rest. He established again the foundation the core
belief for anything in the Christian life John 11:25-27: Jesus said to her, I am the
resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and
whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? Yes, Lord, she replied,
I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.
Miracles are always all about Jesus. He performs them and they bring glory to
him. He is the source of our salvation. He is the resurrection and the life. Whoever
believes in him will live even though they die. Whoever lives the life of faith will never die
but have eternal life through him.
John 1:10-13: He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not
recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did
receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Godchildren
born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God.
John 3:16-18: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the
world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does
not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of Gods one and only
Son.

Wherever Jesus is, there is life supernatural life eternal life conquering any
limitations of this natural world. Martha was again learning this but then Jesus required
her to apply this truth to the concrete promise of her brothers healing now. Because if
you want the miracle, you have to trust and then act on your trust. When it came for
Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead, this is what happened John 11:38-41: Jesus, once
more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
Take away the stone, he said. But, Lord, said Martha, the sister of the dead man, by this
time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days. Then Jesus said, Did I not tell you
that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? So they took away the stone ...
Martha objected to removing the stone from the tomb of her brother and she had
good reasons for her resistance. After four days of decay there was already a smell
hanging around the tomb. It would not have made sense to proceed with any ministry.
Yet, Jesus required her obedience and explained why: Did I not tell you that if you believe,
you will see the glory of God? Martha heard Jesus and (at the time) she may not have
believed much at all maybe she just obeyed without thinking much at all but she acted on

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Jesus instructions. They took away the stone and Jesus worked with this kind of faith
action. Lazarus came out of his grave alive.
[Sometimes faith is not so much how you feel. It is what you do. We may be used to a
clear distinction between faith and works but faith is also not passive but acts on Gods
promises. Cf. Abraham and Jesus in the wilderness.]
[Compare this with our faith action of moving our bodies after healing prayer and
check on the healing. We also have other faith actions: We raise our hands asking for healing.
We come forward for healing prayer.]
Miracles work by faith. Jesus frequently spelled out that a persons faith played a
crucial role in achieving the healing and he frequently required a faith action to
accomplish healing miracles:
Again and again Jesus said to the person in front of him Matthew 9:22: your faith has healed you
Luke 18:42: Receive your sight; your faith has healed you. Then frequently a faith action was
required to complete the healing. To a man with a shrivelled hand Jesus said Mark 3:5: Stretch out
your hand. When the man stretched it out, his hand was completely restored. John 9:6-7: Having said
this, Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the mans eyes. Go, he told
him, wash in the Pool of Siloam So the man went and washed, and [healing came through that faith
action and he] came home seeing.1 Luke 17:14: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And as they
went, they were cleansed.2

Our faith in general is important to Jesus. It is so important to him that he is


always at work growing, refining and testing our faith. You may consider the following
Bible verses:
Mark 6:5-6: He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must
believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 4:2: For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard
was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
1 Peter 1:7: These [trials] have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even
though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus
Christ is revealed.
2 Thessalonians 1:3: your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each
other is increasing.
Ephesians 3:12: In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Galatians 3:22: But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was
promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Ephesians 2:8: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves it is
the gift of God.

At this point I may expand on the theme of faith by telling the testimony of John
Bunyan (the author of the all-time bestseller book A Pilgrims Progress). This is how he
acquired the faith for the greatest and most important miracle in his own life: peace with
1

John 5:8-9: Then Jesus said to him: Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and
walked.
2
See also Acts 19:11-12: God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched
him were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

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God in eternity. As you can see in the testimony and you may identify with him the
struggle for the miracle of saving faith is not always an easy one but salvation is by faith:
[John Bunyan (28 November 1628 31 August 1688) was arguably the last and the greatest of
the Puritans. An uneducated tinker by training, Bunyan spent nearly fourteen years of his life in
prison because he refused to stop preaching the gospel without a license. Nonetheless, even the
eminent Puritan theologian John Owen often came to hear him preach and once said of him, "I
would give all my knowledge for the wisdom of John Bunyan." During his many years in
prison, Bunyan left a remarkable legacy through his many books, the best known of which is
Pilgrims Progress, which has become the best-selling book of all time other than the Bible.]
NOW you must know, that before this I had taken much delight in ringing; but my
conscience beginning to be tender; I thought such a practice was but vain, and therefore forced
myself to leave it, yet my mind hankered; wherefore I would go to the steeple-house and look on,
though I durst not ring. But I thought this did not become religion neither, yet I forced myself,
and would look on still; but quickly after I began to think, how if one of the bells should fall?
Then I chose to stand under a main beam that lay overthwart the steeple from side to side,
thinking here I might stand sure; but then I thought again, should the bell fall with a swing, it
might first hit the wall, and then rebounding upon me, might kill me for all this beam. This made
me stand in the steeple-door; and now, thought I, I am safe enough, for if the bell should fall I
can slip out behind these thick walls, and so be preserved notwithstanding. So after this I would
yet go to see them ring, but would not go any further than the steeple-door; but then it came into
my head, how if the steeple itself should fall? And this thoughtit may be for aught I know
when I stood and looked ondid continually so shake my mind that I durst not stand at the
steeple-door any longer, but was forced to flee for fear the steeple should fall upon my head.
Another thing was my dancing: I was full a year before I could quite leave that.
All this while, when I thought I kept this or that command, or did by word or deed
anything I thought was good, I had great peace in my conscience, and would think with
myself, God cannot choose but be now pleased with me; yea, to relate it in my own way, I
thought no man in England could please God better than I. But, poor wretch as I was, I
was all this while ignorant of Jesus Christ, and going about to establish my own
righteousness, and had perished therein, had not God in mercy showed me more of my
state by nature.
But upon a day the good providence of God called me to Bedford to work at my
calling, and in one of the streets of that town I came where there were three or four poor women
sitting at a door in the sun talking about the things of God: and being now willing to hear their
discourse, I drew near to hear what they said, for I was now a brisk talker of myself in the
matters of religion; but I may say I heard, but understood not, for they were far above out of
my reach. Their talk was about a new birth, the work of God in their hearts, as also how
they were convinced of their miserable state by nature; they talked how God had visited
their souls with his love in the Lord Jesus, and with what words and promises they had
been refreshed, comforted, and supported against the temptations of the devil; moreover,
they reasoned of the suggestions and temptations of Satan in particular, and told to each
other by what means they had been afflicted, and how they were borne up under his
assaults. They also discoursed of their own wretchedness of heart and of their unbelief,
and did condemn, slight, and abhor their own righteousness as filthy and insufficient to do
them any good.
And methought they spoke as if joy did make them speak; they spoke with such
pleasantness of scripture language, and with such appearance of grace in all they said, that
they were to me as if they had found a new worldas if they were people that dwelt alone,
and were not to be reckoned among their neighbours. At this I felt my own heart begin to
shake and mistrust my condition to be naught, for I saw that in all my thoughts about
religion and salvation the new birth did never enter my mind, neither knew I the comfort of
the word and promise, nor the deceitfulness and treachery of my own wicked heart. As for
secret thoughts, I took no notice of them, neither did I understand what Satans temptations
were, nor how they were to be withstood and resisted.
Thus therefore, when I had heard and considered what they said, I left them and went
about my employment again, but their talk and discourse went with me; also my heart would
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tarry with them, for I was greatly affected with their words, both because by them I was
convinced that I wanted the true tokens of a truly godly man, and also because by them I was
convinced of the happy and blessed condition of him that was such a one. Therefore I
would often make it my business to be going again and again into the company of these
poor people, for I could not stay away; and the more I went among them, the more I did
question my condition; and as I still do remember, presently I found two things within me at
which I did sometimes marvel, especially considering what a blind, ignorant, sordid, and
ungodly wretch but just before I was. The one was a very great softness and tenderness of
heart, which caused me to fall under the conviction of what by Scripture they asserted;
and the other was a great bending in my mind to a continual meditating on it and on all
other good things which at any time I heard or read of.
By these things my mind was now so turned that it lay like a horseleech at the vein,
still crying out, Give, give. My mind was so fixed on eternity and on the things about the
kingdom of heaven, that is, so far as I knew, though as yet God knows I knew but little, that
neither pleasures, nor profits, nor persuasions, nor threats could loose it or make it let go its
hold; and though I may speak it with shame, yet it is in very deed a certain truth, it would then
have been as diffcult for me to have taken my mind from heaven to earth, as I have found it
often since to get it again from earth to heaven.
One thing I may not omit. There was a young man in our town to whom my heart
before was knit more than to any other; but he being a most wicked creature for cursing and
swearing and uncleanness, I now shook him off and forsook his company. About a quarter of a
year after I had left him, I met him in a certain lane and asked him how he did. He after his old
swearing and mad way answered he was well. But, Harry, said I, why do you curse and
swear thus? What will become of you if you die in this condition ? He answered me in a
great chafe, What would the devil do for company, if it were not for such as I am?
About this time I met with some ranters books that were put forth by some of our
countrymen, which books were also highly in esteem by several old professors. Some of these I
read, but was not able to make any judgment about them; wherefore as I read in them and
thought upon them, seeing myself unable to judge, I would betake myself to hearty prayer in this
manner:
O Lord, I am a fool and not able to know the truth from error. Lord, leave me not to
my own blindness, either to approve of or condemn this doctrine. If it be of God, let me not
despise it; if it be of the devil, let me not embrace it. Lord, I lay my soul in this matter only at
thy feet; let me not be deceived, I humbly beseech thee
I had one religious companion all this while, and that was the poor man I spoke of
before; but about this time he also turned a most devilish ranter, and gave himself up to all
manner of filthiness, especially uncleaness: he would also deny that there was a God, angel, or
spirit, and would laugh at all exhortations to sobriety. When I labored to rebuke his wickedness,
he would laugh the more, and pretend that he had gone through all religions, and could never
hit upon the right till now He told me also, that in a little time I should see all professors turn to
the ways of the ranters. Wherefore, abominating those cursed principles, I left his company
forthwith, and became to him as great a stranger as I had been before a familiar.
Neither was this man only a temptation to me, but my calling lying in the country, I
happened to come into several peoples company, who though strict in religion formerly, yet
were also drawn away by these ranters. These would also talk with me of their ways, and
condemn me as legal and dark, pretending that they only had attained to perfection, that they
could do what they would and not sin. Oh, these temptations were suitable to my flesh, I being
but a young man and my nature in its prime; but God, who had as I hoped designed me for
better things, kept me in the fear of his name, and did not suffer me to accept such cursed
principles. And blessed be God, who put it into my heart to cry to him to be kept and directed,
still distrusting mine own wisdom, for I have since seen even the effects of that prayer in his
preserving me not only from ranting errors, but from those also that have sprung up since. The
Bible was precious to me in those days.
And now methought I began to look into the Bible with new eyes; and read as I
never did before; and especially the epistles of the apostle Paul were sweet and pleasant to
me; and indeed, then I was never out of the Bible, either by reading or meditation, still
crying out to God that I might know the truth and the way to heaven and glory. And as I
went on and read, I hit upon that passage, To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to
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another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another, faith, etc. 1 Cor. 12: 8, 9. And
though I have since seen that by this scripture the Holy Ghost intends in special things
extraordinary, yet on me it did then fasten with conviction that I did want things ordinary,
even that understanding and wisdom that other Christians had. On this word I mused, and
could not tell what to do; especially this word faith put me to it, for I could not help it, but
sometimes must question whether I had any faith or no; but I was loath to conclude I had no
faith, for if I do so, thought I, then I shall count myself a very castaway indeed.
No, said I with myself, though I am convinced that I am an ignorant sot, and that I
want those blessed gifts of knowledge and understanding that other people have, yet at a venture
I will conclude I am not altogether faithless, though I know not what faith is; for it was shown
me, and that too, as I have seen since, by Satan, that those who conclude themselves in a
faithless state have neither rest nor quiet in their souls, and I was loath to fall quite into despair.
Wherefore by this suggestion I was for a while made afraid to see my want of
faith; but God would not suffer me thus to undo and destroy my soul, but did continually
against this my sad and blind conclusion create still within me such suppositions, insomuch
that I could not rest content until I did now come to some certain knowledge whether I
had faith or no, this always running in my mind: But how if you want faith indeed? But
how can you tell you have faith? And besides, I saw for certain that if I had not, I was
sure to perish for ever; so that though I endeavoured at the first to overlook the business
of faith, yet in a little time, I better considering the matter, was willing to put myself upon
the trial whether I had faith or no. But alas, poor wretch, so ignorant and brutish was I, that I
knew not to this day any more how to do it, than I knew how to begin and accomplish a rare and
curious piece of art which I never yet saw or considered.
Wherefore, while I was thus considering and being put to a plunge about it, for you
must know that as yet I had not in this matter broken my mind to any one, only did hear
and consider, the tempter came in with this delusion, that there was no way for me to
know I had faith but by trying to work some miracles, urging those scriptures that seem to
look that way for enforcing and strengthening his temptation. Nay, one day, as I was between
Elstow and Bedford, the temptation was hot upon me to try if I had faith by doing some miracle,
which miracle at this time was this: I must say to the puddles that were in the horse-pads, Be
dry, and to the dry places, Be you puddles, And truly one time I was, going to say so indeed; but
just as I was about to speak, this thought came into my mind, But go under yonder hedge and
pray first that God would make you able. But when I had concluded to pray, this came hot
upon me, that if I prayed, and came again and tried to do it, and yet did nothing
notwithstanding, then to be sure I had no faith, but was a castaway and lost; nay, thought I, if it
be so, I will not try yet, but will stay a little longer; so I continued at a great loss, for I thought if
they only had faith which could do such wonderful things, then I concluded that for the present I
neither had it, nor yet for the time to come was ever like to have it. Thus I was tossed between
the devil and my own ignorance, and so perplexed, especially at some times, that I could not tell
what to do.
ABOUT this time the state and happiness of these poor people at Bedford were
thus in a kind of vision presented to me. I saw as if they were on the sunny side of some
high mountain, there refreshing themselves with the pleasant beams of the sun, while I
was shivering and shrinking in the cold, afflicted with frost, snow, and dark clouds.
Methought also between me and them I saw a wall that did compass about this mountain. Now
through this wall my soul did greatly desire to pass, concluding that if I could I would even go
into the very midst of them, and there also comfort myself with the heat of their sun. About this
wall I bethought myself to go again and again, still prying as I went to see if I could find some
way or passage by which I might enter therein, but none could I find for some time. At the last I
saw as it were a narrow gap, like a little doorway in the wall, through which I attempted to pass.
Now the passage being very strait and narrow, I made many efforts to get in, but all in vain,
even until I was wellnigh quite beat out by striving to get in; at last, with great striving,
methought I at first did get in my head, and after that, by a sidelong striving, my shoulders and
my whole body ; then I was exceeding glad, and went and sat down in the midst of them, and so
was comforted with the light and heat of their sun.
Now this mountain and wall were thus made out to me. The mountain signified the
church of the living God; the sun that shone thereon, the comfortable shining of his merciful
face on them that were therein: the wall I thought was the wall that did make separation between
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Christians and the world; and the gap that was in the wall I thought was Jesus Christ, who is the
way to God the Father. John 14: 6 ; Matt. 7: 14. But forasmuch as the passage was wonderful
narrow, even so narrow that I could not but with great difficulty enter in thereat, it showed me
that none could enter into life but those that were in downright earnest and unless also
they left that wicked world behind them, for here was only room for body and soul, but
not for body and soul and sin. This resemblance abode upon my spirit many days, all
which time I saw myself in a forlorn and sad condition, but yet was provoked to a
vehement hunger and desire to be one of that number that did sit in the sunshine. Now
also would I pray wherever I was, whether at home or abroad, in house or field; and
would also often, with lifting up of heart, sing that of the fifty-first Psalm, O Lord,
consider my distress, for as yet I knew not where it was.
Neither as yet could I attain to any comfortable persuasion that I had faith in Christ;
but instead of having satisfaction here, I began to find my soul to be assaulted with fresh
doubts about my future happiness, especially with such as these: Whether I was elected.
But how if the day of grace should be past and gone? By these two temptations I was very
much afflicted and disquieted, sometimes by one and sometimes by the other of them.
And first, to speak of that about my questioning my election, I found at this time that
though I was in a flame to find the way to heaven and glory, and though nothing could beat me
off from this, yet this question did so offend and discourage me that I was, especially
sometimes, as if the very strength of my body also had been taken away by the force and power
thereof. This scripture did also seem to me to trample upon all my desires; It is not of him that
willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. With this scripture I could not
tell what to do, for I evidently saw, unless the great God of his infinite grace and bounty had
voluntarily chosen me to be a vessel of mercy, though I should desire and long and labour until
my heart did break, no good could come of it. Therefore this would stick with me: How can
you tell that you are elected? And what if you are not? How then? O Lord, thought I, what if I
am not indeed? It may be you are not, said the tempter. It may be so indeed, thought I. Why
then, said Satan, you had as good leave off and strive no further; for if indeed you are not
elected and chosen of God, there is no hope of your being saved, for it is not of him that
willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. Rom. 9: 16. By these things I
was driven to my wits end, not knowing what to say or how to answer these temptations.
Indeed, I little thought that Satan had thus assaulted me, but thought it was my own prudence
thus to start the question: for that the elect only obtained eternal life, that I without scruple did
heartily close withal; but that myself was one of them, there lay the question.
Thus therefore for several days I was greatly assaulted and perplexed, and was often,
when I had been walking, ready to sink where I went with faintness in my mind; but one day,
after I had been so many weeks oppressed and cast down therewith, as I was now quite giving
up the ghost of all my hopes of ever attaining life, that sentence fell with weight upon my spirit
Look at the generations of old, and see ; did ever any trust in God, and were confounded? at
which I was greatly enlightened and encouraged in my soul, for thus at that very instant it
was expounded to me: Begin at the beginning of Genesis, and read to the end of the
Revelation, and see if you can find that there was ever any that trusted in the Lord and
was confounded. So coming home, I presently went to my Bible to see if I could find that
saying, not doubting but to find it presently, for it was so fresh and with such strength and
comfort on my spirit, that it was as if it talked with me. Well, I looked, but found it not, only it
abode upon me. Then did I ask, first this good man and then another, if they knew where it was,
but they knew no such place. At this I wondered that such a sentence should so suddenly and
with such comfort and strength seize and abide upon my heart, and yet that none could find it,
for I doubted not but that it was in the holy Scriptures. Thus I continued above a year, and could
not find the place; but at last, casting my eye upon the Apocryphal books, I found it in
Ecclesiasticus, 2 : 10. This at the first did somewhat daunt me; but because by this time I had
got more experience of the love and kindness of God, it troubled me the less, especially when I
considered that though it was not in those texts that we call holy and canonical, yet, forasmuch
as this sentence was the sum and substance of many of the promises, it was my duty to take the
comfort of it; and I bless God for that word, for it was of good to me: that word doth still
ofttimes shine before my face.
After this that other doubt did come with strength upon me: But how if the day
of grace should be past and gone? How if you have overstood the time of mercy? Now I
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remember that one day as I was walking in the country, I was much in the thoughts of this: But
how if the day of grace is past? And to aggravate my trouble, the tempter presented to my mind
those good people of Bedford, and suggested thus unto me: that these being converted already,
they were all that God would save in those parts, and that I came too late, for these had got the
blessing before I came. Now was I in great distress, thinking in very deed that this might well be
so; wherefore I went up and down bemoaning my sad condition, counting myself far worse than
a thousand fools for standing off thus long, and spending so many years in sin as I had done,
still crying out, Oh that I had turned sooner; Oh that I had turned seven years ago. It made me
also angry with myself to think that I should have no more wit but to trifle away my time till my
soul and heaven were lost.
But when I had been long vexed with this fear, and was scarce able to take one
step more, just about the same place where I received my other encouragement, these
words broke in upon my mind: Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled; and
yet there is room. Luke 14:22. These words, but especially those, and yet there is room,
were sweet words to me, for truly I thought that by them I saw there was place enough in
heaven for me; and moreover, that, when the Lord Jesus did speak these words, he then
did think of me, and that he, knowing that the time would come that I should be afflicted
with fear that there was no place left for me in his bosom, did before speak this word, and
leave it upon record, that I might find help thereby against this vile temptation. This I
then verily believed. In the light and encouragement of this word I went for some time; and
the comfort was the more when I thought that the Lord Jesus should think on me so long ago,
and that he should speak those words on purpose for my sake, for I did think verily that he did
on purpose speak them to encourage me withal.
But I was not without my temptations to go back againtemptations, I say, both
from Satan, mine own heart, and carnal acquaintance; but I thank God these were outweighed
by that sound sense of death and of the day of judgment which abode as it were continually in
my view. I would often also think of Nebuchadnezzar, of whom it was said he had given him all
the kingdoms of the earth. Dan. 5: 18, 19. Yet, thought I, if this great man had all his portion in
this world, one hour in hell-fire would make him forget all. This consideration was a great help
to me.
I was almost made about this time to see something concerning the beasts that Moses
counted clean and unclean. I thought those beasts were types of men: the clean, types of them
that were the people of God; but the unclean, types of such as were children of the wicked one.
Now I read that the clean beast chewed the cud; that is, thought I, they show us we must feed
upon the word of God. They also parted the hoof. I thought that signified we must part, if we
would be saved, with the ways of ungodly men. And also, in further reading about them, I found
that though we did chew the cud as the hare, yet if we walked with claws like a dog, or if we did
part the hoof like the swine, yet if we did not chew the cud as the sheep, we are still for all that
but unclean; for I thought the hare to be a type of those that talk of the word, yet walk in the
ways of sin, and that the swine was like him that parteth with his outward pollution, but still
wanteth the word of faith, without which there would be no way of salvation, let a man be ever
so devout. Deut. ch. 14. After this I found, by reading the word, that those that must be glorified
with Christ in another world, must be called by him herecalled to the partaking of a share in
his word and righteousness, and to the comforts and first-fruits of his Spirit, and to a peculiar
interest in all those heavenly things which do indeed prepare the soul for that rest and house of
glory which is in heaven above.
Here again I was at a very great stand, not knowing what to do, fearing I was not
called; for, thought I, if I be not called, what then can do me good? None but those who are
effectually called, inherit the kingdom of heaven. But Oh, how I now loved those words that
spoke of a Christians calling; as when the Lord said to one, Follow me; and to another,
Come after me; and Oh, thought I, that he would say so to me too; how gladly would I run
after him. I cannot now express with what longings and breathings in my soul I cried to Christ
to call me. Thus I continued for a time all on a flame to be converted to Jesus Christ; and
did also see at that day such glory in a converted state, that I could not be contented
without a share therein. Gold! could it have been gotten for gold, what would I have given
for it! Had I had a whole world, it had all gone ten thousand times over for this, that my
soul might have been in a converted state. How lovely now was every one in my eyes that I
thought to be a converted man or woman. They shone; they walked like a people that
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carried the broad seal of heaven about them. Oh, I saw the lot was fallen to them in
pleasant places, and that they had a goodly heritage. Psalm 16: 6.
But that which made me sick was that of Christ in Mark, He went up into a
mountain, and called to him whom he would, and they came unto him. Mark 3:13. This
scripture made me faint and fear, yet it kindled a fire in my soul. That which made me fear
was this, lest Christ should have no liking to me, for he called whom he would. But Oh, the
glory that I saw in that condition did still so engage my heart, that I could seldom read of any
that Christ did call, but I presently wished, Would that I had been in their clothes; would that I
had been born Peter; would that I had been born John; or would that I had been by and heard
him when he called them how would I have cried, O Lord, call me also. But Oh, I feared he
would not call me.
And truly the Lord let me go thus many months together, and showed me
nothing, either that I was already or should be called hereafter; but at last, after much time
spent and many groans to God that I might be made partaker of the holy and heavenly calling,
that word came in upon me: I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed; for the Lord
dwelleth in Zion Joel 3: 21. These words, I thought, were sent to encourage me to wait still
upon God, and signified unto me, that if I were not already, yet the time might come when
I might be in truth converted unto Christ.
About this time I began to break my mind to those poor people in Bedford, and
to tell them my condition; which when they had heard, they told Mr. Gifford of me, who
himself also took occasion to talk with me, and was willing to be well persuaded of me, though,
I think, from little grounds. But he invited me to his house, where I should hear him confer with
others about the dealings of God with their souls; from all which I still received more
conviction, and from that time began to see something of the vanity and inward
wretchedness of my wicked heart, for as yet I knew no great matter therein; but now it
began to be discovered unto me, and also to work at a rate it never did before.
Now I evidently found that lusts and corruptions put forth themselves within me
in wicked thoughts and desires, which I did not regard before; my desires also for heaven
and life began to fail. I found also, that whereas before my soul was full of longing after God,
now it began to hanker after every foolish vanity; yea, my heart would not be moved to mind
that which was good; it began to be careless both of my soul and heaven. It would now
continually hang back, both to and in every duty, and was as a clog upon the leg of a bird to
hinder him from flying. Nay, thought I, now I grow worse and worsenow I am further from
conversion than ever I was before; wherefore I began to sink greatly in my soul, and began to
entertain such discouragement in my heart as laid me as low as hell. If now I should have
burned at the stake I could not believe that Christ had a love for me; alas, I could neither hear
him, nor see him, nor savor any of his things. I was driven as with a tempest; my heart would be
unclean, and the Canaanites would dwell in the land.
Sometimes I would tell my condition to the people of God, which when they
heard they would pity me, and would tell me of the promises; but they had as good have
told me that I must reach the sun with my finger, as have bidden me receive or rely upon
the promises, and as soon I should have done it. All my sense and feeling were against me,
and I saw I had a heart that would sin, and that lay under a law that would condemn. These
things have often made me think of the child which the father brought to Christ, who, while he
was yet coming to him, was thrown down by the devil, and also so rent and torn by him that he
lay and wallowed foaming. Mark 9: 20 ; Luke 9:42.
Further, in these days I would find my heart to shut itself up against the Lord
and against his holy word. I have found my unbelief to set as it were the shoulder to the door
to keep him out, and that too even then when I have with many a bitter sigh cried, Good Lord,
break it open; Lord, break these gates of brass, and cut these bars of iron asunder. Psa. 107:16.
Yet that word would sometimes create in my heart a peaceful pause, I girded thee, though
thou hast not known me. Isa. 45: 5. But all this while, as to the act of sinning, I was never
more tender than now; my hinder parts were inward; I durst not take a pin or stick, though but
so big as a straw, for my conscience now was sore, and would smart at every touch. I could not
now tell how to speak my words, for fear I should misplace them. Oh, how cautiously did I then
go, in all I did or said. I found myself as in a miry bog, that shook if I did but stir, and was as
there left both of God and Christ and the Spirit, and all good things.

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But I observed, though I was such a great sinner before conversion, yet God
never much charged the guilt of the sins of my ignorance upon me, only he showed me I
was lost if I had not Christ, because I had been a sinner. I saw that I wanted a perfect
righteousness to present me without fault before God, and this righteousness was nowhere
to be found but in the person of Jesus Christ. But my original and inward pollution, that, that
was my plague and affliction; that I saw at a dreadful rate always putting forth itself within me;
that I had the guilt of to amazement; by reason of that, I was more loathsome in mine own eyes
than a toad, and I thought I was so in Gods eyes too. Sin and corruption, I said, would as
naturally bubble out of my heart, as water would bubble out of a fountain. I thought now that
everyone had a better heart than I had. I could have changed heart with anybody. I thought
none but the devil himself could equal me for inward wickedness and pollution of mind. I
fell therefore, at the sight of my own vileness, deeply into despair; for I concluded that this
condition that I was in could not stand with a state of grace. Sure, thought I, I am forsaken
of God; sure I am given up to the devil, and to a reprobate mind. And thus I continued for a long
while, even for some years together.
While I was thus aficted with the fears of my own damnation, there were two
things would make me wonder. The one was, when I saw old people hunting after the
things of this life as if they should live here always, the other was, when I found professors
much distressed and cast down when they met with outward losses, as of husband, wife,
child, etc. Lord, thought I, what ado is here about such little things as these. What seeking after
carnal things by some, and what grief in others for the loss of them. If they so much labour after
and shed so many tears for the things of this present life, how am I to be bemoaned, pitied, and
prayed for. My soul is dying, my soul is damned. Were my soul but in a good condition, and
were I but sure of it, ah, how rich should I esteem myself, though blessed but with bread
and water. I should count those but small afflictions, and should bear them as little burdens. A
wounded spirit who can bear?
And though I was much troubled and tossed and afflicted with the sight and sense and
terror of my own wickedness, yet I was afraid to let this sight and sense go quite off my
mind; for I found that unless guilt of conscience was taken off the right way, that is, by the
blood of Christ, a man grew rather worse for the loss of his trouble of mind than before.
Wherefore, if my guilt lay hard upon me, then would I cry that the blood of Christ might take it
off; and if it was going off without it, for the sense of sin would be sometimes as if it would die
and go quite away, then I would also strive to fetch it upon my heart again, by bringing the
punishment of sin in hell-fire upon my spirit, and would cry, Lord, let it not go off my heart
but in the right way, by the blood of Christ and the application of thy mercy through him
to my soul, for that scripture did lay much upon me: Without the shedding of blood there is
no remission. Heb. 9: 22. And that which made me the more afraid of this was, because I had
seen some, who though when they were under the wounds of conscience would cry and pray,
yet feeling rather present ease for their trouble than pardon for their sins, cared not how they lost
their guilt, so they got it out of their minds. Now, having it got off the wrong way, it was not
sanctified unto them; but they grew harder and blinder and more wicked after their
trouble. This made me afraid, and made me cry to God the more that it might not be so with
me. And now I was sorry that God had made me man, for I feared I was a reprobate. I counted
man unconverted as the most doleful of all creatures. Thus being afflicted and tossed about my
sad condition, I counted myself alone and above the most of men unblessed.
Yea, I thought it impossible that ever I should attain to so much godliness of heart as
to thank God that he had made me a man. Man indeed is the most noble by creation of all
creatures in the visible world; but by sin he has made himself the most ignoble. The beasts,
birds, fishes, I have blessed their condition, for they had not a sinful nature ; they were not
obnoxious to the wrath of God; they were not to go to hell-fire after death. I could therefore
have rejoiced had my condition been as any of theirs.
IN this condition I went a great while; but when the comforting time was come, I
heard one preach a sermon on these words in the Song, Behold, thou art fair, my love;
behold, thou art fair. Song 4:1. But at that time he made these two words, my love, his
chief subject-matter, from which, after he had a little opened the text, he drew these
several conclusions: 1. That the church, and so every saved soul, is Christs love when
loveless; 2. Christs love without a cause; 3. Christs love which hath been hated of the
world; 4. Christs love when under temptation and under desertion; 5. Christs love from
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first to last. But I got nothing by what he said at present, only when he came to the
application of the fourth particular, this was the word he said: If it be so that the saved soul
is Christs love when under temptation and desertion, then, poor tempted soul, when thou art
assaulted and afflicted with temptations and the bidings of his face, yet think on these two
words, my love, still
So as I was coming home, these words came again into my thoughts; and I well
remember, as they came in, I said thus in my heart, What shall I get by thinking on these two
words? This thought had no sooner passed through my heart, but these words began thus
to kindle in my spirit: Thou art my love, thou art my love, twenty times together; and still
as they ran in my mind they waxed stronger and warmer, and began to make me look up;
but being as yet between hope and fear, I still replied in my heart, But is it true? but is it
true? At which that sentence fell upon me, He wist not that it was true which was done unto
him of the angel. Acts 12: 9.
Then I began to give place to the word, which with power did over and over
make this joyful sound within my soul, Thou art my love, thou art my love, and nothing
shall separate thee from my love. And with that my heart was filled full of comfort and
hope, and now I could believe that my sins would be forgiven me; yea, I was now so taken
with the love and mercy of God, that I remember I could not tell how to contain till I got
home. I thought I could have spoken of his love and have told of his mercy to me, even to
the very crows that sat upon the ploughed lands before me, had they been capable of
understanding me; wherefore I said in my soul with much gladness, Well, would I had a
pen and ink here, I would write this down before I go any further; for surely I shall not forget
this, forty years hence; but alas, within less than forty days I began to question all again,
which made me begin to question all still.
Yet still at times I was helped to believe that it was a true manifestation of grace
unto my soul, though I had lost much of the life and savour of it. Now about a week or a
fortnight after this I was much followed by this scripture: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath
desired to have you. Luke 22: 31. And sometimes it would sound so loud within me, yea,
and as it were call so strongly after me, that, once above all the rest I turned my head over
my shoulder, thinking verily that some man had behind me called me. Being at a great
distance, methought he called so loud, it came, as I have thought since, to stir me up to prayer
and to watchfulness. It came to acquaint me that a cloud and a storm were coming down upon
me; but I understood it not. Also, as I remember, that time that it called to me so loud was the
last time that it sounded in mine ears; but methinks I hear still with what a loud voice these
words, Simon, Simon, sounded in mine ears. I thought verily, as I have told you, that
somebody had called after me that was half a mile behind me; and although that was not my
name, yet it made me suddenly look behind me, believing that he that called so loud meant me.
But so foolish was I and ignorant, that I knew not the reason of this sound, which,
as I did both see and feel soon after, was sent from heaven as an alarm to awaken me to
provide for what was coming, only I would muse and wonder in my mind to think what should
be the reason of this scripture, and that at this rate so often and so loud it should still be
sounding and rattling in my ears; but, as I said before, I soon after perceived the end of God
therein; for about the space of a month after, a very great storm came down upon me,
which handled me twenty times worse than all I had met with before. It came stealing
upon me, now by one piece and then by another. First, all my comfort was taken from me;
then darkness seized upon me; after which whole floods of blasphemies, both against God,
Christ, and the Scriptures, were poured upon my spirit, to my great confusion and
astonishment.
These blasphemous thoughts were such as stirred up questions in me against the
very being of God and of his only beloved Son, as whether there were in truth a God or
Christ, and whether the holy Scripture were not rather a fable and cunning story, than the
holy and pure word of God. The tempter would also much assault me with this: How can you
tell but that the Turks had as good scriptures to prove their Mahomet the Saviour as we have to
prove our Jesus? and, could I think that so many ten thousands in so many countries and
kingdoms should be without the knowledge of the right way to heaven, if there were indeed a
heaven, and that we only, who live in a corner of the earth, should alone be blessed therewith?
Every one doth think his own religion rightest, Jews and Moors and Pagans; and how if all our
faith and Christ and Scriptures should be but a think-so too?
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Sometimes I have endeavoured to argue against these suggestions, and to set some of
the sentences of blessed Paul against them; but alas, I quickly felt, when I thus did, such
arguings as these would return again upon me: Though we made so great a matter of Paul and
of his words, yet how could I tell but that in very deed he, being a subtle and cunning man,
might give himself up to deceive with strong delusions, and also take the pains and travail to
undo and destroy his fellows?
These suggestions, with many others which at this time I may not and dare not utter,
neither by word nor pen, did make such a seizure upon my spirit, and did so overweigh my heart
both with their number, continuance, and fiery force, that I felt as if there were nothing else but
these from morning to night within me, and as though indeed there could be room for nothing
else; and also concluded that God had in very wrath to my soul given me up to them, to be
carried away with them as with a mighty whirlwind; only by the distaste that they gave unto my
spirit, I felt there was something in me that refused to embrace them. But this consideration I
then only had when God gave me leave to swallow my spittle, otherwise the noise and strength
and force of these temptations would drown and overflow and as it were bury all such thoughts
or the remembrance of any such thing.
While I was in this temptation I often found my mind suddenly put upon it to
curse and swear, or to speak some grievous thing against God, or Christ his Son, or of the
Scriptures. Now I thought, surely I am possessed of the devil. At other times, again, I
thought I should be bereft of my senses; for instead of lauding and magnifying God the Lord
with others, if I but heard him spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous thought or
other would bolt out of my heart against him; so that whether I did think that God was, or again
did think there was no such thing, no love, nor peace, nor gracious disposition could I feel
within me.
These things did sink me into very deep despair, for I concluded that such things
could not possibly be found among them that loved God. I often, when these temptations had
been with force upon me, did compare myself to the case of a child whom some gipsy hath by
force took up in her arms, and is carrying from friend and country. Kick sometimes I did, and
also shriek and cry, but yet I was bound in the wings of the temptation, and the wind would
carry me away. I thought also of Saul, and of the evil spirit that did possess him, and did greatly
fear that my condition was the same with his. 1 Sam. 16: 14.
In these days, when I have heard others talk of what was the sin against the Holy
Ghost, then would the tempter so provoke me to desire to sin that sin, that I was as if I
could not, must not, neither should be quiet until I had committed it. Now no sin would
serve but that. If it were to be committed by the speaking of such a word, then I have been as if
my mouth would have spoken that word, whether I would or no; and in so strong a measure
was this temptation upon me, that often I have been ready to clap my hands under my
chin to hold my mouth from opening; and to that end also I have had thoughts at other times
to leap with my head downward into some muck-hole or other, to keep my mouth from
speaking.
Now, again, I beheld the condition of the dog and toad, and counted the state of
everything that God had made far better than this dreadful state of mine and my companions.
Yea, gladly would I have been in the condition of a dog or horse, for I knew they had no soul to
perish under the everlasting weight of hell or sin, as mine was like to do. Nay, and though I saw
this, felt this, and was broken to pieces with it, yet that which added to my sorrow was, that, I
could not find that with all my soul I did desire deliverance. That scripture did also tear and
rend my soul in the midst of these distractions: The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it
cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked
Isa. 51:20, 21,
And now my heart was at times exceeding hard. If I would have given a thousand
pounds for a tear, I could not shed one; no, nor sometimes scarce desire to shed one. I was
much dejected to think that this should be my lot. I saw some could mourn and lament their
sin; and others, again, could rejoice and bless God for Christ; and others, again, could quietly
talk of, and with gladness remember the word of God, while I only was in the storm or tempest.
This much sunk me. I thought my condition was alone; I would therefore much bewail my hard
hap (Ed., luck); but get out of or get rid of these things I could not.
While this temptation lasted, which was about a year, I could attend upon none of
the ordinances of God but with sore and great affliction; yea, then I was most distressed
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with blasphemies. If I had been hearing the word, then uncleanness, blasphemies, and despair
would hold me a captive there. If I had been reading, then sometimes I had sudden thoughts to
question all I read; sometimes, again, my mind would be so strangely snatched away and
possessed with other thing, that I have neither known, nor regarded, nor remembered so much
as the sentence that but now I had read.
In prayer also I was greatly troubled at this time sometimes I thought I felt Satan
behind me pull my clothes; he would be also continually at me in time of prayer, to have
done: Break off; make haste; you have prayed enough, and stay no longer; still drawing my
mind away. Sometimes also he would cast in such wicked thoughts as these: that I must
pray to him, or for him. I have thought sometimes of that fall down; or, If thou wilt fall
down and worship me. Matt. 4: 9. Also when, because I have had wandering thoughts in the
time of this duty, I have laboured to compose my mind and fix it upon God, then with great
force hath the tempter laboured to distract me and confound me, and to turn away my mind by
presenting to my heart and fancy the form of a bush, a bull, a besom, or the like, as if I should
pray to these. To these he would also, at some times especially, so hold my mind, that I was as
if I could think of nothing else, or pray to nothing else but to these, or such as they.
Yet at times I would have some strong and heart-affecting apprehensions of God
and the reality of the truth of his gospel; but Oh, how would my heart at such times put
forth itself with inexpressible groanings! My whole soul was then in every word. I would
cry with pangs after God, that he would be merciful unto me; but then I would be daunted
again with such conceits as these: I would think that God did mock at these my prayers,
saying, and that in the audience of the holy angels, This poor simple wretch doth hanker
after me, as if I had nothing to do with my mercy but to bestow it on such as he. Alas, poor soul,
how art thou deceived. It is not for such as thee to have favour with the Highest.
Then hath the tempter come upon me also with such discouragements as these:
You are very hot for mercy, but I will cool you; this frame shall not last always. Many have
been as hot as you for a time, but I have quenched their zeal; and with this, such and such who
were fallen off would be set before mine eyes. Then I would be afraid that I should do so too;
but, thought I, I am glad this comes into my mind. Well, I will watch, and take what care I can.
Though you do, said Satan, I shall be too hard for you. I will cool you insensibly, by
degrees, by little and little. What care I, saith he, though I be seven years in chilling thy heart,
if I can do it at last? Continual rocking will lull a crying child asleep. I will ply it close, but I
will have my end accomplished. Though you be burning hot at present, I can pull you from this
fire. I shall have you cold before it be long.
These things brought me into great straits; for as I at present could not find myself fit
for present death, so I thought, to live long would make me yet more unfit, for time would make
me forget all, and wear even the remembrance of the evil of sin, the worth of heaven, and the
need I had of the blood of Christ to wash me, both out of mind and thought; but I thank Christ
Jesus, these things did not at present make me slack my crying, but rather did put me more
upon it, like her who met with the adulterer, Dent. 22 : 27, in which days that was a good word
to me, after I had suffered these things, a while: I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, etc., shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:39. And
now I hoped long life would not destroy me, nor make me miss of heaven.
I had some supports in this temptation, though they were then all questioned by
me. That in Jer. 3:1, was something to me; and so was the consideration of verse four of that
chapter, that though we have spoken and done as evil things as we could, yet we shall cry unto
God, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth, and shall return unto him. I had also once a
sweet glance from that in 2 Cor. 5: 21, For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no
sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. I remember that one day, as I was
sitting in a neighbours house, and there very sad at the consideration of my many blasphemies,
and as I was saying in my mind, What ground have I to think that I, who have been so vile and
abominable, should ever inherit eternal life? that word came suddenly upon me: What shall
we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? That also was a help unto
me: Because I live, you shall live also. But these words were but hints, touches, and short
visits, though very sweet when present, only they lasted not, but like Peters sheet, of a
sudden were caught up from me to heaven again. Rom. 8: 13; John 14: 19; Acts 10: 16.
But afterwards the Lord did more fully and graciously discover himself unto me,
and indeed did quite not only deliver me from the guilt that by these things was laid upon
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my conscience, but also from the very filth thereof; for the temptation was removed, and I
was put into my right mind again, as other Christians were. I remember that one day, as I
was travelling into the country and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and
considering the enmity that was in me to God, that scripture came into my mind: Having made
peace through the blood of His cross. Col. 1: 20. By which I was made to see, both again and
again, that God and my soul were friends by his blood; yea, I saw that the justice of God
and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each other, through his blood. This was a good
day to me; I hope I shall never forget it.
At another time, as I sat by the fire in my house and was musing on my
wretchedness, the Lord made that also a precious word unto me: Forasmuch then as the
children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that
through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver
them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Heb. 2:14, 15. I
thought that the glory of these words was then so weighty on me, that I was both once and
twice ready to swoon as I sat, yet not with grief and trouble, but with solid joy and peace.

Jesus kept putting his promises before John Bunyan but faith did not come easy
for him. First, he tried to ease his conscience by being good but he was never good enough
as none of us can achieve righteousness on our own. Then, he listened in on some other
Christians who seemed to have a different kind of faith relationship with God than he did.
They knew about joy in God which made him doubt his own condition because he did not
have that kind of joy. At this time, he neither knew the comfort of Gods word in the Bible
nor did he know how big the problem of sin was in his life.
God began to speak to him through Bible verses. As he read 1 Corinthians 12:8-9,
he began to understand that faith is given to us by the Spirit of God: To one is given by
the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to
another, faith. All the while, other Christians looked like they were on the sunny side of
some high mountain, there refreshing themselves with the pleasant beams of the sun,
while he was shivering and shrinking in the cold, afflicted with frost, snow, and dark
clouds. John Bunyan struggled hard to break through into a new relationship with God
which would be released by faith. He kept doubting and was tormented by his doubts: Did
God want him to be saved? (Was he elected?) Was it not too late for him? Why did he
grow cold in his passion for God? Why would he want to blaspheme God? Where were
these temptations coming from? Did they not mean that he could not be saved?
God kept encouraging him with his words from the Bible:
... just about the same place where I received my other encouragement, these words broke in
upon my mind: Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled; and yet there is room.
Luke 14:22. These words, but especially those, and yet there is room, were sweet words to me
...
... that word came in upon me: I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed; for the Lord
dwelleth in Zion Joel 3: 21. These words, I thought, were sent to encourage me to wait still
upon God, and signified unto me, that if I were not already, yet the time might come when I
might be in truth converted unto Christ.
Yet that word would sometimes create in my heart a peaceful pause, I girded thee, though thou
hast not known me. Isa. 45:5.
... I heard one preach a sermon on these words in the Song, Behold, thou art fair, my love;
behold, thou art fair. Song 4:1. But at that time he made these two words, my love, his chief
subject-matter, ... So as I was coming home, these words came again into my thoughts; and I
well remember, as they came in, I said thus in my heart, What shall I get by thinking on these
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two words? This thought had no sooner passed through my heart, but these words began thus to
kindle in my spirit: Thou art my love, thou art my love, twenty times together; and still as
they ran in my mind they waxed stronger and warmer, and began to make me look up; but being
as yet between hope and fear, I still replied in my heart, But is it true? but is it true? At which
that sentence fell upon me, He knew not that it was true which was done unto him of the
angel. Acts 12: 9.
Then I began to give place to the word, which with power did over and over make this
joyful sound within my soul, Thou art my love, thou art my love, and nothing shall separate
thee from my love. And with that my heart was filled full of comfort and hope, and now I could
believe that my sins would be forgiven me; yea, I was now so taken with the love and mercy of
God, that I remember I could not tell how to contain till I got home. I thought I could have
spoken of his love and have told of his mercy to me, even to the very crows that sat upon the
ploughed lands before me, had they been capable of understanding me; wherefore I said in my
soul with much gladness, Well, would I had a pen and ink here, I would write this down before
I go any further; for surely I shall not forget this, forty years hence; ...
Now about a week or a fortnight after this I was much followed by this scripture: Simon,
Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you. Luke 22: 31. And sometimes it would sound so
loud within me, yea, and as it were call so strongly after me, that, once above all the rest I
turned my head over my shoulder, thinking verily that some man had behind me called me ...
was sent from heaven as an alarm to awaken me to provide for what was coming ...
I had also once a sweet glance from that in 2 Cor. 5: 21, For he hath made him to be sin for us,
who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. I remember that one
day, as I was sitting in a neighbours house, and there very sad at the consideration of my many
blasphemies, and as I was saying in my mind, What ground have I to think that I, who have
been so vile and abominable, should ever inherit eternal life? that word came suddenly upon
me: What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? That also was
a help unto me: Because I live, you shall live also. But these words were but hints, touches,
and short visits, though very sweet when present, only they lasted not ...
... that scripture came into my mind: Having made peace through the blood of His cross. Col.
1: 20. By which I was made to see, both again and again, that God and my soul were friends by
his blood; yea, I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each
other, through his blood. This was a good day to me; I hope I shall never forget it.
At another time, as I sat by the fire in my house and was musing on my wretchedness,
the Lord made that also a precious word unto me: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers
of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might
destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Heb. 2:14, 15. I thought that the glory of these
words was then so weighty on me, that I was both once and twice ready to swoon as I sat, yet
not with grief and trouble, but with solid joy and peace.

God kept encouraging John Bunyan with his words from the Bible and he stirred
them in Johns heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. [Like he did with Martha and Mary
Jesus promises the outcome and we are to respond with faith.] However, it took time before
John Bunyan came to a place where he could exercise faith were he dared to trust the
promises but this had to happen also for you because without faith there is no
breakthrough into salvation and the peace and joy of the children of God.
[Martha in John 11 and John Bunyan both had an intense struggle for faith. However,
can we relate to John Bunyan? For us conversions and faith seem to come so easily. A
persons response to an altar call and a few minutes of counselling seem to achieve the result.
Why? Why does John Bunyans experience seem to be so alien to us? Today we probably
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have more confidence more faith that conversions can be instantaneous (compare with the
struggles of John Wesley).
But on a more serious note we may no longer fully understand the work of
conversion. John Bunyan himself only suffered doubts and despair when he stopped trying to
master sin on his own. Once he realized how deep his corruption went and how lost he was,
then he began crying out to God. Do we today know that we are also lost and dead? Do we
realize that we need a resurrection a real conversion which comes with real trust in Jesus
that he is rescuing us from sin, death and the devil? Or do we today approach conversion with
the attitude of Western consumers who think that God owes them a good service? Are we
broken before him humble and on our knees? ... Food for thought.
Salvation is a miracle that compares to the raising of Lazarus from the dead and faith
in this miracle is not easier than what was required from Martha. Saving faith needs to be
given, stirred and prompted by the promises of Jesus.]
The greatest miracle on earth is even bigger than the raising of Lazarus from the
dead. It is the raising of you to eternal life. Lazarus came out of his grave, lived again but
then also died again. You on the other hand according to Jesus promise (though you
die) will live in eternity with him. He is the resurrection and the life. He said that the one
who believes in him will live. Therefore this morning now believe and live. Amen.
Besides faith, Jesus used other means to raise Lazarus from the dead. After he had
spoken to Martha, Jesus conversed with Mary. Like her sister, she loved Jesus and
expressed her trust in Jesus that he could have saved Lazarus from dying if he had been
with them at the time but now it was too late. Then, she cried and her tears stirred Jesus
into action. Something happened to Jesus that lies at the heart of all miracles. I read from
the Bible John 11:32-38: When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she
fell at his feet and said, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. When
Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he
experienced indignation in his spirit [or: was deeply moved in spirit] and was troubled. Where
have you laid him? he asked. Come and see, Lord, they replied. Jesus wept ... Jesus, once
more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
Marys tears and the tears of those with her seemed to trigger a strong emotional
reaction in Jesus. The words in the original Bible language Greek are hard to translate
I have rendered them thus: he experienced indignation in his spirit and was troubled but
what is clear enough is that the emotion came with two components: compassion and also
a sense of anger. We know that Jesus wept himself he shed tears himself and then
charged ahead with the healing of a dead man that was already decaying with a bad
odour. These emotions of Jesus are important; therefore listen to how a number of Bible
translations understand the words that are used for Jesus: American Standard Version
Jesus groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. Amplified Bible Jesus was deeply moved in
spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.] JB Phillips he was
deeply moved and visibly distressed. The Message ... a deep anger welled up within him.
New International Version Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. New Living
Translation ... a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.
How are Jesus emotions connected to the miracle of raising Lazarus from the
grave? We deal with the compassion side first. If you want the power of God to flow
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through you so that you can perform miracles, signs and wonders in Jesus name, then
you have to learn that his power is released through love. In fact, the power is in his love
because God is love 1 John 4:16b: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God
in him. Love is the essence of God; therefore his power is flowing from this love. Live in
that love which means: live in God allow his compassion to fill you and then God can
exert his love with power through you.
This is what happened to Jesus. He was overcome with compassion and wept. A
reaction had come upon him which was not even from himself. As much as he loved Mary,
Martha and Lazarus, there was something of the Spirit of God that moved him deeply. He
allowed the emotion to come out. He wept. He did not harden himself he did not complain
about compassion fatigue but surrendered to the heart of God who released his love for
Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Jesus and with the love of God Jesus received the power
for the miracle.
There are other Bible references which explain how it works:
Matthew 9:35-36: Jesus went preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every
disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were
harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 14:14: When Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed
their sick.
Matthew 20:34: Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they
received their sight and followed him.

As compassion touched Jesus as the Spirit of God stirred up the love of God in Jesus
he received power to heal the sick. The same applies to us today. The more we grasp the
love of God, the more his power is increasing in our lives Ephesians 3:16-19: ... he may
strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being ... power ... to grasp how wide
and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses
knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
We may learn from the following testimony:
Todd Bentley: Dynamics Of Faith, Podcast: You think I just showed up in a meeting with this great
faith I had to take steps. I had to break through. Every meeting I gave an altar call and prayed for the
sick and layed hands on everyone many meetings where not one person reported any physical change.
Can you imagine to pray for one thousand and no one is healed? I said: God, I am going to do it again
because God is a rewarder of those that are seeking him diligently. When I break through the first time,
Ill crack the dam I need to get it open first I started with my faith and my faith was pain, arthritis
that was my faith when I got a few healings then I heard God telling me that it is time to pray for
the deaf my mum was deaf It is time to exercise your faith muscle you can work your way into
the gift of healing You can have a grace gift and I will give it to you because you desire it so much
You can have no healing gift but end up with a healing gift It starts in faith but ends up in a gift I
went after healing with no call for healing, no angelic visitation, no words of knowledge I started
teaching healing and I prayed for how many deaf people (probably hundreds) and no one gets healed
In British Columbia there was a deaf woman who reminded me of my mother and even talked like my
mother and when that compassion because I thought she was like my mother an extra little tear
in my eye, an extra emotional moment If you dont have compassion and love When that love
welled up because she looked like my mother and sounded like my mother my faith worketh by love
a connection between to love the one When that faith rose and that love touched, she was
instantly healed. From that day forward I dont know how many thousand deaf are healed Bring me
the deaf and they get healed

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When the dead woman reminded the evangelist of his mum, there was an extra
little tear in his life an extra emotional moment which was enough for Gods power to
flow through and heal the womans deafness. God wants to release his power through
compassion through love which means that we want to be stirred by his love and share
in Gods emotions.
Consider also the following:
D.G.S. Dhinakaran: Gifts Of The Holy Spirit, South India: Word Of Christ, p153-154: Once a
mother came to me with a strange request; by constant weeping, her eyes had sunk in, and her body was a
mere skin and bones. Though only 45, she looked 70. Her request was this: Sir, my two sons, aged 16
and 18, both met a calamitous end in a car accident on the same day. I keep at home the ashes of their
bodies. If you come and place your hands on those ashes, they will come back to life. Please come to my
house.
On hearing these words, my heart was shattered. I was overwhelmed by despondency with this
thought, If only I have the same compassion and power which the Lord Jesus Christ had, I too, with his
might which raised the dead Lazarus, four days after his death, can do this. But I dont have the millionth
part of His love and might! I did not know how to answer the request of that weeping mother. But, the
next moment, the Lords unparalleled love overflowed in my heart. Embracing the mother, I shared the
word of wisdom, given by the Lord with her. I told her: My dear sister! I too was crying like you, two
years ago; the reason was that my beloved 17-year-old daughter Angel, died in a horrible car accident like
your children. Even today, agony swells up in the depth of my heart, when I think of her.
The lady was wonder-struck at my words; she asked me in surprise, You too have lost your
daughter! Really! I said, Yes! and added, Yet, the Lord who gave up His life on the cross has
miraculously comforted my wife and me. Then I prayed for her; a divine comfort filled her heart.
D.G.S. Dhinakaran: Gifts Of The Holy Spirit, South India: Word Of Christ, p208-209: Once,
because of tribulations resulting from the ministry, I was sore depressed. To die is better than to live
was my haunting thought. One day the Holy Spirit filled me with his power immeasurably and took me to
heaven. There the Lord introduced me to the apostle Peter and told him, Peter, take him around and what
I saw everywhere, sent me into raptures. Peter, on the way, was narrating how he met Jesus in the world,
what different experiences he had with Jesus, what his weaknesses were and how Jesus helped him in
spite of his weaknesses. Finally he consoled me by posing this question: Will not Jesus Christ who
helped me to complete this ministry in the world, in spite of my weaknesses, help you too? I was thrilled
and encouraged.
At last, Peter brought me back to the throne of Jesus. Jesus asked me with a smile, Would you
like to stay here forever? Who would not like to stay in Heaven, where there is no sorrow or pain or tears
or tribulation? I was about to say, Yes! However, the Holy Spirit thrust into my heart, at this crucial
moment, a great burden for the great number of people in the world whose souls are perishing due to
grievous, distressing problems in life, with no one to comfort them or care for them. That burden crushed
me. I could literally hear their wailings and mournings rising up to heaven from the world. So, I replied,
without any hesitation, Lord! If I choose to remain here, who is there to pray for the suffering and
mourning people? Who will show them your compassion? So, let me go back. Accordingly, the Lord
sent me back to this world.

Compassion a crushing burden for the lost made this pastor choose earth rather
than heaven and this happened as the Holy Spirit thrust into his heart the very heart of
God because in the same way even more so God Jesus (the Son of God) chose earth
rather than heaven for our sake. Love made him come and release the power of salvation
for us through his sacrifice on the cross the greatest display of love and power that we will
ever know. God loves you and his power is for you.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.

Now we come to the second aspect of Jesus emotion when he was deeply moved in
his spirit. He not only felt compassion and wept. He also became upset with a sense of
aggression and anger righteous indignation. He became stirred up over Lazarus death
and this was necessary because without a sense of injustice (Lazarus died before his
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time) without a sense of anger that draws a line in the sand against evil you do not rise up
against impossible odds. There is something about righteous indignation that makes you
bold so that you have a go praying for a corpse that has been four days in the grave. You
need the aroused passion of God to flow through your veins to tackle abortion in our
country to stand up for righteousness on television to speak against divorce to make a
stand that there is right and wrong (truth and lies) and Jesus is the truth. Unless God puts
something of a lion in us, we wont ever dare to stand up and attempt anything because
miracles always seem impossible.
[Can you also see how this emotion of anger aggressive boldness is connected to
the emotion of compassion? They belong together they were one in Jesus because when
evil threatens the ones you love, you rise up in angry warfare. Just watch a mother when anyone
or anything threatens her children. Then, mothers know no fear. They are bold. You can
imagine that God is like that when anything threatens you.
In war men work with their anger when they charge the enemy with loud war cries
yelling as they run. The release of the aggression through yelling drowns out any other feelings
such as fear or doubt in ones own abilities.
Some people are so insecure that they always look for a fight because the emotion of
anger gives them direction for a brief moment.]
God stirred Jesus with his righteous indignation to set him up for the miracle of
raising Lazarus and what happened to Jesus, will happen to us. The Bible provides a few
case studies for us:
1 Samuel 10:22-24: So they inquired further of the LORD, Has the man come here yet? And the LORD
said, Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies. They ran and brought him out, and as he stood
among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, Do you see
the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people. Then the people shouted,
Long live the king!
1 Samuel 11:1-11: Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh
said to him, Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you. But Nahash the Ammonite replied, I
will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so
bring disgrace on all Israel. The elders of Jabesh said to him, Give us seven days so we can send
messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.
When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all
wept aloud. Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, What is wrong
with everyone? Why are they weeping? Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with
anger. He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel,
proclaiming, This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.
Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out together as one ...
The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night
they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who
survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

There was no way that a shy young man (hiding among the luggage when they
wanted to make him king) ploughing a field instead of acting like the king with fickle
support from his own people could take on and defeat an enemy army. Yet, when the
Spirit of God came upon him, Saul burned with anger holy indignation at injustice and
this hot passion made him courageous blocking out anything that was timid in him any
unbelief. In the face of impossible odds wait for God to stir you up in this fashion.
Acts 4:29-31: Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great
boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy

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servant Jesus. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled
with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Now some modern testimonies which are confirming the Spirits operation in us:
In 2010, Pastor Save Nakauyaca told us the story of the way God used him to raise a woman
from the dead. We had to prise the story out of him but when we finally heard the account, there was
much laughter from him and his dad (Pastor Vuniani) and others in the church. They enjoyed what God
had done.
They were doing another Healing The Land process (based on 2 Chronicles 7:14) in a village.
(This involves ministry by a larger group of praying people, house visitations, much repentance, public
confession, preaching, etc.) A woman died at about 5pm and they brought her into the meeting dead at
about 7pm. However, by then Save was in the midst of preaching the Word of God. When the dead
woman was brought in, all attention was focused on her and the expectation was to deal with her. Just
then Save experienced that some righteous indignation came upon him. With boldness he assured the
congregation that he would pray for the woman later and that she would live again. He also said: First
listen to the Word of God and make the dead woman also sit on a chair. Let the dead also hear the Word
of God. This is what they did even though the woman was already in a body-bag and needed a person
on either side to keep her head from falling down.
At the end of the preaching, he had an altar call for salvation and then prayed for all the sick.
Finally at about 10pm he prayed for the dead woman. It did not take long and she took a deep noisy
breath and came back to life. There was much joy and this miracle opened up another three villages to
enter into the Healing the Land process. See Vuniani Nakauyaca & Walo Ani: Healing The Land. A
Manual For Teachers, Editors: Deryck & Nancy Thomas, Toowoomba: TC Books 2009

From http://canecreekchurch.org/index.php/what-is-your-legacy/38-smith-wigglesworth
(accessed December 2011):
The first person Wigglesworth prayed from the dead was a friend. Brother Mitchell was at the
point of death when Smith was called by his wife to come to the Mitchell home. When he arrived he heard
terrible screams. He asked Mrs. Mitchell what was wrong? She replied, He is gone! He is gone! Smith
entered the room and saw that the man was dead. In the room was Polly, Smiths wife, and the doctor who
had just verified the time of death. Smith didnt understand it but immediately he began to pray.
Wigglesworths wife grabbed his arm and said, Dont Smith! Dont you see that he is dead. Smith
continued to pray and then God took over. A heavy peace filled the room and Smith shouted, He lives!
He lives! He Lives! Mr. Mitchell sat up and stared at all those in the room with their eyes and mouths
wide open. The first words out of the doctors mouth were, This is God!
Another time, Smith was in a hospital room with a friend, a doctor, and the husband of the
woman he was praying for in the bed. While he and his friend were praying for the women she died. The
doctor confirmed her death and was pulling the sheet over her face when he said, she was such a young
thing, Gods will. Indignation rose up in Smith, premature death was the work of the devil, not God, so
therefore it must be destroyed. He then took the women out of the bed and stood her against the wall.
Everyone was so dumb-struck they didnt know what to do. [Notice how the strong emotion of
indignation and boldness leads to bold actions.]

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We let Wigglesworth tell us his version: My friend said, She is dead. He was scared. I have
never seen a man so frightened in my life. What shall I do? He asked. You may think that what I did
was absurd, but I reached over into the bed and pulled her out. I carried her across the room, stood her up
against the wall and held her up with my arm, as she was absolutely dead. I looked into her face and said,
In the name of Jesus, I rebuke this death. I repeated it again. From the soles of her feet her whole body
began to tremble. In the name of Jesus, I command you to walk, I said. I repeated, in the name of Jesus,
in the name of Jesus, walk! and she walked.
The womens name was Mary Pople and she relates her version of the story: I went to heaven
and was allowed into the throne room. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne. I saw light such as I had never
seen and heard music such as I had never heard. My heart was filled with rapturous joy. As I looked at the
Lord, he pointed to what seemed to be a doorway by which I had entered, and I knew I had to go back
even if I did not want to. When I went through the door, I heard a gruff voice. He was saying, Death, I
rebuke you in the name of Jesus. Then he commanded me to live, and my eyes opened, and those who
had been weeping around my bed began to rejoice. I arose and got dressed totally healed of the sickness
that was unto death.
Word spread throughout the community like wild fire. The next Sunday Smith, Mary and her
husband went to her church to testify of the mighty work the Lord had done. When they entered the
church, the pastor stood up, motioned to the ushers to escort them back out the door saying, We will
have none of that here. [Notice that this is the same rejection that Jesus experienced in response to
his miracles.]
To elaborate more on that story George Stormont relates this incident:Bishop Ronald Coady
and his wife were ministering in New South Wales, Australia, in 1950 where they met a Methodist
deaconess from America called Sister Mary. She brought them large quantities of tracts to use in their
crusades. While there they were reading Stanley Frodshams book, Smith Wigglesworth, Apostle of Faith.
The incident of his raising a young women from the dead especially had gripped them, and when Sister
Mary came in, they read it to her, adding, How we should love to meet that lady! She said, You know
that lady. They protested that they did not, but she persisted, Youve known her for some time, I am that
lady! The three of them laughed together with joy at Gods goodness and coincidences. She then
proceeded to tell them of that miracle back in 1922.
In 1913, while Smith was waiting for a train to leave for Scotland, he received devastating
news. His wife, Polly, had collapsed with a heart attack while preaching at their mission. She was
pronounced dead at the mission door. Smith hurried back to his home where they had taken the body.
When he arrived: The house was already full of people. The doctor said, She is dead, and we can do no
more for her. I went up to her lifeless corpse and commanded, in the name of Jesus, death to give her up,
and she came back to me for a moment. Astonishment filled the house and everyone including
Wigglesworths grown children were speechless. As Polly opened her eyes, Smiths face was streaked
with tears and she said, Smith, it is my time, the Lord wants me. Heartbroken he replied, If the Lord
wants you I will not hold you. He stepped back, she closed her eyes and was again in her Saviours arms.
She had been the light and joy of all their years of marriage, and he grieved deeply over the loss. Smith,
when he released Polly to God, asked Him for a double portion of the Spirit...his wifes and his own.
From that moment on his ministry carried an even greater power.

Jesus had declared to Mary and Martha John 11:4: This sickness [of Lazarus] will
not end in death. No, it is for Gods glory so that Gods Son may be glorified through it. Then,
he proceeded to perform the miracle of raising him from the dead. So far we have
learned that Jesus wanted to work with the faith of Mary and Martha and required them
to roll the stone from Lazarus grave even though there was already an odour. Then, Jesus
allowed himself by the Spirit of God to be moved with compassion for those he loved
and righteous indignation which made him attack with boldness the curse of death.
There are two more ingredients in the working of the miracle. I read again from
the Bible account John 11:41-44: So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and
said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said
this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me. When
he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! The dead man came out, his
hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face ...

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Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed. He had prayed previously but now
demonstrated again how God the Father was on his side and had sent him as he is
sending us now: Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me,
but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent
me. After he prayed, Jesus spoke a word of authority in a loud voice. He shouted a
command: Lazarus, come out! With these two actions his praying and speaking words of
authority Jesus modelled to us what we are to do in performing a miracle: Pray and
speak the word.
These two actions flow out of our identity as a kingdom of priests to our God:
Exodus 19:6: you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation ...
1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Gods special possession,
that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Revelation 1:6: . has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father ...
Revelation 5:9-10: ... you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every
tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our
God, and they will reign on the earth.

As a kingdom of priests we pray as you would expect priests to pray and we


exercise authority as you would expect royal priests (kings) to exercise authority. In
another Bible reference, we learn in more detail the authority that we have received. Jesus
said:
Matthew 16:19: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will have
been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.

As a kingdom of priests, the keys to the kingdom of heaven are ours. As we speak the
word we bind or loose open or shut allow or disallow on earth what God has
determined in heaven. God is taking the initiative. First, there is a binding and loosing in
heaven in the spiritual realm but then as royal priests we have the keys to manifest
these spiritual advancements here on earth. I rephrase the Bible verse to make this
absolutely clear:
Matthew 16:19: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever will have been bound in
heaven you bind on earth, and whatever will have been loosed in heaven you loose on earth.
[Cf. Matthew 18:18-19; John 20:21-23: Again Jesus said, Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive
anyones sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.]

See also John 5:17-21: My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working
the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the
Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does
John 6:63: The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
This principle was already operational before Jesus came Amos 3:7: Surely the Sovereign LORD does
nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. See also Ezekiel 37:1-10.
Jeremiah 1:9-10: Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, I have
put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear
down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant. Cf. Isaiah 6:5-13.

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Revelations 19:11-16: I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse whose rider is
called Faithful and True on his head are many crowns his name is the Word of God Out of his
mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations On his robe and on his thigh he has
this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.
Ephesians 6:17: the sword of the Spirit . is the word of God.
James 1:18: God chose to give us birth through the word of truth

I come to a close and summarize some of the teaching points. What is required to
perform a miracle? 1) We are commissioned to do the works of Jesus and even greater
ones. 2) Miracles are evidence of power which force a decision for Jesus and are therefore
resented by many. 3) Sometimes Jesus delays miracles to bring greater glory to God.
Lazarus had to die for the greater miracle of his resurrection. 4) Jesus said: The sickness
of Lazarus is for Gods glory so that Gods Son may be glorified through it. 5) Jesus required
faith for the miracle. He commanded the people to move the stone from the grave (after
four days) and met Marthas objection with the words: Did I not tell you that if you
believed, you would see the glory of God? 6) Compassion with tears and righteous
indignation release the power of God. 7) As a kingdom of priests, we pray and speak the
word of authority.
I may add that Jesus performed the miracle to bring glory to God and himself.
Therefore, he did not encourage any worship of the miracle. He told the people after they
had received Lazarus back John 11:44: ... Take off the grave clothes and let him go. Let
him go let the miracle go and listen to Jesus.
Theres much for us to learn but the good news is that God wants the miracles to
happen by his power to his glory.
John 11:45-51: Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did,
believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. What are we
accomplishing? they asked. Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this,
everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our
nation n.
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, You know
nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the
whole nation perish. He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus
would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to
bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
John 12:9-11: Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only
because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made
plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and
believing in him.
John 12:17-19: Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him
from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed
this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, See, this is getting us nowhere.
Look how the whole world has gone after him!

Therefore dream about the impossible. He builds your faith. He makes his
compassion overflow in your heart and his anger at evil. He listens to your prayer and he
backs up the word of authority that you speak in his name. Miracles happen by faith,
compassion and righteous indignation, prayer and words of authority. Do them for him.
Amen.
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Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church; Message on John 6; Date: 22 & 29 January 2012
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

Intelligible Miracles
Last century one Bible scholar from Germany shaped the thinking of many learned Christians across
the world. His name was Rudolph Bultmann and according to one source after the war he became
Europes most influential theologian. His pupils held leading positions at leading universities, and his views
were debated throughout the world (New World Encyclopedia:
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Rudolf_Bultmann, accessed 17 January 2012).
This morning I do not think that any of us would be fond of his writings and lectures but many
of us (without much awareness) have nevertheless shared in his world-view because it was the
dominant world-view of the 20th century and for all practical purposes remains the accepted value
system of our nation. I am talking about materialism the theory according to which physical matter is the
only (important) reality. In this system, it is assumed that thoughts, feelings, the mind and will are
products of chance and nature. We are basically chemicals and molecules and now (if we are so
inclined) with the best asset that nature has given to us our mind we can process the information of
the material world to work out what is true and acceptable to us.
Materialism in its many forms may not be easily understood (besides, I am intrigued that
materialism remains such a rampant practical force despite the rise of post-modernism; maybe we even treat
spirituality as a material commodity which can be consumed) therefore, any discussion of materialism may
seem rather complicated and impractical for the purposes of Sunday preaching but it is not. Listen to
some quotes from Rudolph Bultmann. Many of them may sound outrageous to you (and they are
because we object to the non-Christian presuppositions) but others have become quite accepted among
many probably most Christians in the West.
In fact, most believers sound and church-going Christians would insist that some of his
statements are an adequate reflection of the Bible. Only as I will show later they are not. The ideas of
materialism are dominant in our culture and we have absorbed some of the culture even in the church
(thus, nowadays some church denominations can appear to be more materialistic than some of our post-modern
youth) but there is a new day coming when we return to the world-view and methods of Jesus himself.
We must to be effective.
Hear some quotes from Bultmann (written in 1940s) Rudolph Bultmann: New Testament And
Mythology, in: Kergyma And Myth. A Theological Debate, edited by Hans-Werner Bartsch, translated by
Reginald H. Fuller, London: SPCK 1972, p1-44.
P:3: All our thinking today is shaped irrevocably by modern science.
P:4-5: Human knowledge and mastery of the world have advanced to such an extent through science and
technology that it is no longer possible for anyone seriously to hold the New Testament view of the world
in fact, there is no one who does ... Now that the forces and the laws of nature have been discovered, we
can no longer believe in spirits, whether good or evil ... Sickness and the cure of disease are likewise
attributable to natural causation ... The miracles of the New Testament have ceased to be miraculous ...
It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical
and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of spirits and
miracles ... to expect others to do so is to make the Christian faith unintelligible and unacceptable to the
modern world.
P12: The last twenty years have witnessed ... a return to a naive acceptance [of the Bible teaching] ...
The danger both for theological scholarship and for the Church is that this ... may make the Gospel
message unintelligible to the modern world ...

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P22: The Spirit does not work like a supernatural force, nor is it the permanent possession of the
believer. It is the possibility of new life which must be appropriated by a deliberate resolve.
P26-27: ... the very fact that it is possible to produce a secularized version of the New Testament
conception of faith proves that there is nothing mysterious and supernatural about the Christian life.
P39-40: Yet it cannot be denied that the resurrection of Jesus is often used in the New Testament as a
miraculous proof. Take for instance Acts 17:31 ... Then again the resurrection narratives ... But these are
most certainly later embellishments of the primitive tradition. St Paul knows nothing about them. There is
however one passage where St Paul tries to prove the miracle of the resurrection by adducing a list of
eye-witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). But this is a dangerous procedure ... An historical fact which
involves a resurrection from the dead is utterly inconceivable.
Yes indeed: the resurrection of Jesus cannot be a miraculous proof by which the sceptic might
be compelled to believe in Christ ... For the resurrection is an article of faith because it is far more than
the resuscitation of a corpse it is the eschatological event. And so it cannot be a miraculous proof. For,
quite apart from its credibility, the bare miracle tells us nothing about the eschatological fact of the
destruction of death ...
P42: The real ... faith is the word of preaching which brings illumination. P42: The death of Jesus ...
inaugurates the ... word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18f.). This word supplements the cross and
makes its saving efficacy intelligible ... P43: In the word of preaching and there alone we meet the
risen Lord. So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

What are we dealing with here? Bultmann scholars may accuse me of not doing him justice and
not taking into account his many nuanced arguments but his starting point is crystal-clear: The worldview of our modern age cannot be changed; therefore Christians must take out of the Bible what is no
longer intelligible to the man and woman on the street or to the learned minds in the lecture halls of
universities. The unshakable consensus of our age demands the acknowledgement that there is nothing
supernatural; therefore Christians must not embarrass themselves by talking about angels, demons,
God, the devil, healings or miracles. Maybe this sounds a little foreign in 2012 (here at Living Grace)
but these have been the powers that shaped our culture and current church life.
Bultmann a church pastor and Bible scholar did not even consider defending the supernatural.
Everyone even in the church seemed to agree that apart from our natural existence there is nothing
no God. Thus, he was almost scathing when he considered the concept of sin as a concrete failing before
God:
P7: Again, the biblical doctrine that death is the punishment of sin is equally abhorrent to naturalism and
idealism, since they both regard death as a simple and necessary process of nature ... to attribute human
mortality to the fall of Adam is sheer nonsense, for guilt implies personal responsibility, and the idea of
original sin as an inherited infection is sub-ethical, irrational, and absurd.

Christians must not dare to preach anything that is considered nonsense foolishness to the
rational mind. According to Bultmann this kind of preaching and witnessing is simply doomed and will
bring no results:
P:3: All our thinking today is shaped irrevocably by modern science.
P:4-5: ... it is no longer possible for anyone seriously to hold the New Testament view of the world in
fact, there is no one who does ... It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail
ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New
Testament world of spirits and miracles ... to expect others to do so is to make the Christian faith
unintelligible and unacceptable to the modern world.
P12: ... the Gospel message unintelligible to the modern world ...
P39-40: An historical fact which involves a resurrection from the dead is utterly inconceivable.

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What was Bultmanns solution to the problem? He did not resign as a minister and teacher in
the church but committed himself to be intelligible to the modern person. He attempted to preach Jesus
apart from the Bible and apart from the conviction that he was the Son of God that he died for the
forgiveness of our sins that he rose from the dead that he will return to judge the living and the dead.
Bultmann attempted to preach Jesus apart from his rule and reign in eternity. We may say that as a
preacher he had not much of a message left but he would have disagreed. In his mind he had made
Christianity acceptable, reasonable and conceivable to the modern age.
Many conservative Christians opposed Bultmann but precisely at this point they bought into
his argument. You have to make the Good News of Jesus Christ you have to make the preaching of the
Bible intelligible to modern people. The key to church life is preaching and witnessing and the level of
clarity (how reasonable and intelligible everything sounds) determines the success and fruitfulness of the
church:
P42: The real ... faith is the word of preaching which brings illumination. P42: The death of Jesus ...
inaugurates the ... word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18f.). This word supplements the cross and
makes its saving efficacy intelligible ... P43: In the word of preaching and there alone we meet the
risen Lord. So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

Does this sound familiar? As long as the preaching (and witnessing) is engaging, authentic, clear,
fast-paced, attractive, intelligent, modern and multi-media, the people in todays culture will come and
be part of the church. As much as we can, we remove the stumbling blocks of old thinking and old
community attitudes from modern expressions of faith. (With Bultmann) we want to say something that
makes sense.
Does this sound familiar and at least in this regard are we on the right track with Bultmann?
Can you make the Christian message intelligible and reasonable to the people living in our city? Is it ever
going to be reasonable to the natural mind? Just think about what we believe: There is one God but this
one God exists in three persons: The Father, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. How reasonable is that?
Jesus existed as God from eternity but then became a human baby and then died on a cross? How reasonable is
it to believe that God could be contained in a human frame and even die? Can the eternal God actually die?
How many sermons do you need to preach for the crowd to say: Yes, I will stake my life on this story
about Jesus. Wasnt the sermon well-structured? Wasnt the preaching educated? He quoted so many other
people. This must be right.
Will this work? It hasnt so far and therefore we may go back to the method of Jesus which he
himself practiced and instructed us to copy. Are you ready for a few surprises? Jesus was not doing at all
what we would expect him to do. I read from the Bible John 6:1-71:
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
1

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2
and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the
sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover
Festival was near.
5
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, Where shall we
buy bread for these people to eat? 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he
was going to do.
7
Philip answered him, It would take more than half a years wages[a] to buy enough bread for each
one to have a bite! 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peters brother, spoke up, 9 Here is a boy
with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?
10
Jesus said, Have the people sit down. There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down
(about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those
who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, Gather the pieces that are left over.
Let nothing be wasted. 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five
barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

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14

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, Surely this is the Prophet who is
to come into the world. 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force,
withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Jesus Walks on the Water
16
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off
across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind
was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[b] they saw
Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, It is
I; dont be afraid. 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached
the shore where they were heading.
22
The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat
had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23
Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord
had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into
the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
Jesus the Bread of Life
25
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you get here?
26
Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I
performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for
food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has
placed his seal of approval.
28
Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires? 29 Jesus answered, The
work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent. 30 So they asked him, What sign then will you give
that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness;
as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.[c]
32
Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven,
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that
comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
34
Sir, they said, always give us this bread. 35 Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I
told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will
but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of
all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Fathers will is that everyone who
looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
41
At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, I am the bread that came
down from heaven. 42 They said, Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we
know? How can he now say, I came down from heaven?
43
Stop grumbling among yourselves, Jesus answered. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father
who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: They
will all be taught by God.[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46
No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I
tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in
the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may
eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live
forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh to
eat? 53 Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his
blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will
raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my
flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live
because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came
down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live
forever. 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Many Disciples Desert Jesus
60
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?
61
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, Does this offend you? 62 Then
what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for
nothing. The words I have spoken to youthey are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of
you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who

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would betray him. 65 He went on to say, This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the
Father has enabled them.
66
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 You do not want
to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we
go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One
of God. 70 Then Jesus replied, Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! 71 (He
meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
Footnotes:
a. John 6:7 Greek take two hundred denarii
b. John 6:19 Or about 5 or 6 kilometers
c. John 6:31 Exodus 16:4; Neh. 9:15; Psalm 78:24,25
d. John 6:45 Isaiah 54:13
e. John 6:63 Or are Spirit; or are spirit

How did Jesus pull a crowd? How did Jesus tackle the mind-sets and culture of the people
around him? The multitudes (at first) did not come to him for words intelligible arguments but
miracles especially supernatural healings which ministered to their needs: John 6:2: And a great crowd of
people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick.
Throughout his ministry Jesus made much of his miracles:
John 2:11: This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his
glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
John 4:48: Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, Jesus told him, you will never
believe.
John 5:20: For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even
greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.
John 5:36: For the works that the Father has given me to finishthe very works that I am doingtestify
that the Father has sent me.
John 10:25: Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Fathers
name speak for me.
John 10:38-39: ... even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and
understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped
their grasp.
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 miracles themselves.
John 14:12-14: I assure 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. 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.
John 15:24: If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now
they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
John 20:30-31: Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not
recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in his name.
[Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5: My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words,
but with a demonstration of the Spirits power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on
Gods power. Romans 15:18-19: what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles
to obey God by what I have said and done by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the
Spirit I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.]

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What are we learning from this? Would Bultmann ever have impacted the church, if the church
had not lost her way so completely? Why did he write, as he did? Why did he see no chance in changing
the mindset of his age? Answer: He was a member of a church which no longer believed or performed
any miracles. He ended up denying the supernatural including God because in his own life and the
life of the church there was no longer an experience of the supernatural no encounter no confrontation
with the power of God. How do you change anyones mind? Everyone has words bla bla bla. You need an
experience. [This is not denying that Gods words can stir in a persons heart and burn with conviction.
However, Jesus and the early church nevertheless used miracles to confirm the message. More about this
below.]
He himself wrote:
P3: Can Christian preaching expect modern man to accept the mythical view of the world as true? To do
so would be both senseless and impossible. It would be senseless, because there is nothing specifically
Christian in the mythical view of the world as such. It is simply the cosmology of a pre-scientific age.
Again, it would be impossible, because no man can adopt a view of the world by his own volition it is
already determined for him by his place in history. Of course such a view is not absolutely unalterable,
and the individual may even contribute to its change. But he can do so only when he is faced by a new set
of facts so compelling as to make his previous view of the world untenable. He has then no alternative but
to modify his view of the world or produce a new one. The discoveries of Copernicus and the atomic
theory are instances of this, and so was romanticism, with its discovery that the human subject is richer
and more complex than enlightenment or idealism had allowed, and nationalism, with its new realization
of the importance of history and the tradition of peoples.
It may equally well happen that truths which a shallow enlightenment had failed to perceive
are later rediscovered in ancient myths. Theologians are perfectly justified in asking whether this is not
exactly what has happened with the New Testament. At the same time it is impossible to revive an
obsolete view of the world by a mere fiat, and certainly not a mythical view ...

According to Bultmann change can only come when there is a new set of compelling facts which
force a rethink. In the church these new facts consist of miracles (that are backing up the preaching)
public displays of power. World-views can change (easily) when the preaching comes with evidence
when the preaching is confirmed by experiences of the supernatural (e.g.: the supernatural love of God,
healings, multiplication of bread, peace, deliverance from demons, etc).
I know that this is challenging and uncomfortable especially for a church that no longer knows
how miracles operate. [See the message over the last two Sundays.] Yet, there is no alternative not
according to the Bible. People flocked to Jesus because of the miracles that he performed.
Have a look at what transpired John 6:5-15 [retell in your own words]:
5

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, Where shall we
buy bread for these people to eat? 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he
was going to do.
7
Philip answered him, It would take more than half a years wages to buy enough bread for each one
to have a bite! 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peters brother, spoke up, 9 Here is a boy with
five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?
10
Jesus said, Have the people sit down. There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down
(about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those
who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, Gather the pieces that are left over.
Let nothing be wasted. 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five
barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, Surely this is the Prophet who is
to come into the world. 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force,
withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Jesus with nothing in his pockets fed five thousand men plus women and children. He took five
small barley loaves and two small fish, gave thanks to God and then the food multiplied and multiplied
until everyone was absolutely satisfied with twelve baskets full of leftovers. Amazing! This is what we
want and Jesus made sure that the disciples would learn the lesson. He confronted them first with the
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need of supplying food for all the people and then he showed them how to trust in God without
calculating the cost of buying food or counting a boys sandwiches. Whatever was there would be enough.
Wow!
The people responded. A dream came true. Everyone put their faith in Jesus. Perfect this
seemed to go according to plan:
John 6:14-15: After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, Surely this is the
Prophet who is to come into the world. ... they intended to come and make him king ...

This was progress and accurate according to the Bible. Jesus was indeed the Prophet the
fulfilment of the ancient promise that God gave to Moses (the man that led the nation out of slavery in
Egypt): I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his
mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him (Deuteronomy 18:18). Experiencing the miracle the
people got excited. Like Moses Jesus would be the spiritual and political ruler of the people. Jesus
would be their king the Prophet as King. Perfect!
Only Jesus seemed to undo his own ministry. Instead of affirming the people and accepting
their expressions of faith instead of reaping the benefits of the miracle he left them. Would you do that?
John 6:14-15: After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, Surely this is the
Prophet who is to come into the world. Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by
force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Why hide on a mountain when the crowd wants more from the man of God Jesus himself? If
that happened to us, we would probably offer another worship service, evening miracle meetings,
conferences and seminars. We blog on the net, make more friends on Facebook anything to keep the
momentum going. Yet, Jesus walked away from everyone. Why?
This intrigues me and for the disciples the whole experience became even worse. Not only did
Jesus hide on a mountain, he left them behind on their own. After enjoying the miracle among the
multitude, (suddenly) they were doing it tough again. After experiencing one of the best highs spiritual
power in abundance they struggled to complete an ordinary task: rowing a boat from A to B. What was
going on?
John 6:16-21: When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set
off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind
was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus
approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, It is I; dont
be afraid. Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore
where they were heading.

Miracles are a core ingredient of our ministry but they neither promise a life without struggle
nor do they guarantee growing understanding. After the victory of performing miracles the disciples on
occasion as in this instance kept encountering strong wind and rough waters as we keep struggling
against the powers and principalities of darkness and the disciples especially in this episode also failed
to learn anything from what happened in the feeding of the thousands.
Did they not pick up on who Jesus was? The crowd declared that Jesus was the Prophet their
King and the disciples also knew that Jesus consistently proclaimed himself as the Son of God who had
authority over life. He came to give eternal salvation. Therefore, who did they expect to walk towards
them on water in the dark? Were there other people around that could do things like that?
The disciples seemed to be like us in the sense that we dont like new and strange encounters. We
get used to one miracle the feeding of thousands in a nice setting of green grass and full bellies. This is okay
and we rejoice. Only on the same day the disciples shied away from Jesus when the miracle was not
the same was not nice but frightening. (Yet, in the storm they needed a miracle more than before.) Are we
not same? Have we learned anything? In our case is the gold-dust okay but not the fire of his glory?
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[A few months ago, I was in Orange (New South Wales) and a few of us pastors shared miracle
stories. The people from a certain church told me that they have had feathers appear in their worship
services hundreds of them. I became excited because I knew this kind of miracle from other churches
around the world and I have been waiting for the feathers to come into our midst. Then at the evening
service of the opening conference (13 November 2011) we were all sitting in the front row when some
of the other pastors kept motioning towards me and smiling. As I looked at the speaker, I saw what they
were seeing. Small white feathers manifested to the left and right of the preacher and floated down to the
ground. It happened precisely when the preacher asked whether we would be ready for God to do a new
thing. However, the preacher was not aware of the feathers.
I was rejoicing and also found a small white feather on my black pants one morning. Was this
the same miracle or did it come from the duna? I am certain that in time we will see this manifestation
frequently here at Living Grace and we will have joy over what God is doing.
However, over the last few days I found brown (dark) feathers at home and on Wednesday
even my daughter showed me a brown feather and asked whether it came from an angel. I dont know
whether these feathers come from angels but I am comfortable with the white ones because white is
clearly the colour of heaven. On the other hand, the dark feathers worry me a little. Is this okay? I googled
the net to find out whether other Christian places have experienced the miracle of dark feathers appearing.
It is so much safer to have something happen to you that is already familiar to others. Maybe the dark
feathers have come into our home in another way maybe the cat or the duna. In any case, I recognized
that in my fearful response I was not any different from the disciples who were worried about Jesus
walking on water towards them in the storm. We are not always ready for something new. Yet, God is
creative with his signs and wonders. Otherwise, we get used to him and no longer pay much attention to
his presence. He likes confounding us to test our humility.]

The disciples problem was that the miracle of multiplying food for thousands had not trained
them to keep living on that supernatural plain. Miracles pointed to Jesus and Jesus promised more of
them; therefore they were to expect them and count on them. What in the life of a Christian can be
achieved without the presence of God which by definition is supernatural? Jesus walked on water to
help the disciples and as soon as they let him into the boat as soon as they put their trust in whoever was
approaching them they reached the shore where they were heading. This is the lesson: After the miracle
of multiplying food, do not go back to a normal life and rowing the boat in your own strength. When he
comes, let Jesus into the boat and immediately in his strength on account of another miracle reach
your destination.
The day after multiplying the food, Jesus and the disciples caught up again with the crowd that
received the miracle. Immediately, the crowd became aware of another miracle because they figured out
that the disciples had taken the last boat to cross the lake but left Jesus behind. How did Jesus make it to
the other side? Who was this man?
I read how the story continues:
John 6:25-27: When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you
get here? Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I
performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food
that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his
seal of approval. [Notice how miracles are called signs. See also John 2:11; 6:2,14,30; 20:3.

Now we find out why Jesus was hiding from the adoring crowd. They had declared him to be the
Prophet and wanted to make him King (and this was not even wrong according to the Bible they made a
good confession) but nevertheless their responses to the miracle did not go far enough. Jesus told
them: Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because
you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
I have made the same discovery. There are people who love miracles because they receive a
healing or share in the excitement of looking at the gold dust or enjoy the atmosphere of peace in the
church. However, this is as far as it goes. There is a positive attitude toward Jesus and the church a love
of the miracles but surprisingly (at least for me) no deeper reflection on who Jesus is and why these
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miracles happen. The crowd only followed Jesus for the sake of another miracle picnic another meal
time with a full belly. They did not come to expect more of him and find God in a new way. Yet, Jesus
struggled to raise their expectations. The miracle only pointed to an even greater reality: Do not work for
food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. Miracle food
multiplied for a picnic it was one meal here on earth but the real miracle food the one worth pursuing
sustains you for eternal life. If Jesus can give you a miracle lunch, find out whether he can give you even
more that is: eternal life.
Jesus said: Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son
of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. Then, the crowd responded
John 6:28: What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered John 6:29: The work of
God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.
In a sense the crowd already believed in Jesus. They had already begun the required work of
believing in him. They knew that he could work miracles heal bodies and provide lunch but all the
same they had no idea who he actually was and what more he could give. Jesus his true identity
would blow their mind. He was the kind of Prophet and King that exceeded everyone that had come
before him. No one else had ever provided eternal life but he would. On account of the miracles that Jesus
performed he expected the crowd to take another leap of faith and trust him with the even bigger
miracle of saving them. The crowd asked John 6:28: What must we do to do the works God requires?
Jesus answered John 6:29: The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent. Believe him for
more not just healings, gold dust, feathers, etc. We love all of this these are good gifts demonstrations of
his love but look further believe him for eternity. Trust him to save you.
John 1:10-13: He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not
recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did
receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Godchildren
born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God.
John 3:16-18: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the
world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does
not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of Gods one and only
Son.

[I may finish the first half of the message here. These are some of the points that we have covered
so far: 1) The world-view of our modern age cannot be changed unless a new set of compelling facts force
a rethink. 2) In the church, these compelling facts consist of miracles. They challenge the material mindset and confirm the preaching of Jesus. 3) People flocked to Jesus because of the miracles that he
performed. 4) The miracles pointed to Jesus identity. 5) Miracles neither promise a life without struggle
nor do they guarantee growing understanding. 6) Immediately, after the multiplication of food, the
disciples struggled in a storm and were frightened when Jesus performed another miracle by walking on
water towards them and rescuing them. 7) Yet, as soon as the disciples let Jesus join them in the boat and
trusted him, they reached their destination. 8) The problem of the crowd was that they were interested in
another miracle lunch and healings but not more. 9) They believed Jesus for more of the same miracles
but did not trust him to provide eternal life. 10) What God the Father requires is that we raise our vision
and believe in Jesus whom he sent. Amen.]
Sermon 2nd Part: Review the first part and then read the remainder of the Bible reading John 6:1-71:
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
1

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2
and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the

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sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover
Festival was near.
5
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, Where shall
we buy bread for these people to eat? 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what
he was going to do.
7
Philip answered him, It would take more than half a years wages[a] to buy enough bread for each
one to have a bite! 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peters brother, spoke up, 9 Here is a boy
with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?
10
Jesus said, Have the people sit down. There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down
(about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those
who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, Gather the pieces that are left over.
Let nothing be wasted. 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five
barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, Surely this is the Prophet who is
to come into the world. 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force,
withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Jesus Walks on the Water
16
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off
across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind
was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[b] they saw
Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, It is
I; dont be afraid. 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached
the shore where they were heading.
22
The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat
had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23
Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord
had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into
the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
Jesus the Bread of Life
25
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you get here?
26
Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I
performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for
food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has
placed his seal of approval.
28
Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires? 29 Jesus answered, The
work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent. 30 So they asked him, What sign then will you
give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the
wilderness; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.[c]
32
Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven,
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that
comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
34
Sir, they said, always give us this bread. 35 Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I
told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my
will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose
none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Fathers will is that
everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the
last day.
41
At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, I am the bread that came down
from heaven. 42 They said, Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How
can he now say, I came down from heaven?
43
Stop grumbling among yourselves, Jesus answered. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father
who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: They
will all be taught by God.[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No
one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell
you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the
wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat
and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live
forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

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52

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh to
eat? 53 Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his
blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will
raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my
flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live
because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came
down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live
forever. 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Many Disciples Desert Jesus
60
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?
61
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, Does this offend you? 62 Then
what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts
for nothing. The words I have spoken to youthey are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some
of you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and
who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless
the Father has enabled them.
66
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 You do not want
to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we
go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy
One of God. 70 Then Jesus replied, Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! 71
(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
Footnotes:
f. John 6:7 Greek take two hundred denarii
g. John 6:19 Or about 5 or 6 kilometers
h. John 6:31 Exodus 16:4; Neh. 9:15; Psalm 78:24,25
i. John 6:45 Isaiah 54:13
j. John 6:63 Or are Spirit; or are spirit

The conversation between the crowd and Jesus continues and now the crowd upsets me as it
may upset you. I read again from the Bible:
John 6:28-36: Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered,
The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent. So they asked him, What sign then will you
give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the
wilderness; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from
heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread
that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Sir, they said, always give us this bread. Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I
told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.

How can the crowd ask Jesus for another sign another miracle after thousands of them had
seen food multiply the day before? Did it not happen and how could they ask for another miracle of
supplying food? They said: What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you
do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness. Did the crowd not just eat something like manna
miracle food supplied by heaven? If I had been Jesus, I would have felt like shaking the crowd. When
would they ever be satisfied? Instead of asking for one miracle after another, the time had surely come to
accept the evidence and put their faith in Jesus. Let them act on Jesus demonstrations of authority and
submit to him. Maybe this morning the time has come for you to stop requiring more experiences and
simply believe.
There comes a time when Jesus has enough. He will attack and judge a stubborn refusal to act
on the miracles with faith. For instance, consider the following episode:
Luke 11:14-16: Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had
been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, By Beelzebul, the prince of
demons, he is driving out demons. Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

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Luke 11:29-32: As the crowds increased, Jesus said, This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but
none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. ...

In the case of the crowd who had come to Jesus after performing the miracle of multiplying food
Jesus was very patient. He did not perform another miracle but he also did not pronounce judgement on
them. He kept drawing their attention to his own person. He himself was the real miracle food. He said:
I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be
thirsty. Everything became about Jesus John 6:38-40: For I have come down from heaven not to do my
will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all
those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Fathers will is that everyone who looks to the
Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
Yet, here the crowd made a mistake. When Jesus teaching became too difficult for them and
somehow unacceptable, they all of a sudden chose to ignore the previous miracle just a day old and
reduced Jesus to the ordinary the box that they had him in before:
John 6:41-42: At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, I am the bread that
came down from heaven. They said, Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we
know? How can he now say, I came down from heaven?

The crowd failed to believe in Jesus on account of the food miracle; therefore rejected his
teaching and the whole encounter did not end well. The thousands that flocked to Jesus all except for a
remnant of his disciples took offense and left him. This is sobering for us today. Miracles do not
guarantee followers of Jesus a full church.
In fact, a rather frequent response to miracles was hostility and Jesus greatest miracle the
raising of Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave led to the murder plot against him. No one
doubted that the miracle actually happened but not everyone wanted to change their allegiance to Jesus.
Another mans miracle may prove you wrong but not everyone wants to change or take the risk of
changing:
John 11:45-51: Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did,
believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. What are we
accomplishing? they asked. Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this,
everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our
nation ... So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
Luke 6:10-11: He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, Stretch out your hand. He did so,
and his hand was completely restored. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and
began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

However, there is still no alternative to miracle. We need them to do mission work according to
Jesus. We can trust God will not let this method fail and our Bible reading gives us plenty of assurances
that God will oversee the processes of our hearts:
John 6:37: All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive
away.
John 6:44: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at
the last day.
John 6:65: He went on to say, This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has
enabled them.

I come back to the beginning. Do you remember what we learned from Rudolph Bultmann? He
did not believe in miracles; therefore did not believe in Jesus as the Son of God but he said something
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that rang true for generations of Christians: We must make the Good News of Jesus Christ intelligible to
unbelievers. We must remove stumbling blocks of understanding. Bultmanns words sounded good to a
church that had lost the power of miracles. Let me give you another quote: In the word of preaching and
there alone we meet the risen Lord.
We agree that there would be no faith without preaching and witnessing to others. We all grow
in our faith through the proclamation of truth the meaning of the cross and resurrection and the
declaration of Gods promises. The words of God have power:
Genesis 1:1-25: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light 2 Peter 3:5: by
Gods word the heavens existed and the earth was formed Hebrews 1:3: sustaining all things by
his powerful word John 6:63: The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
1 Peter 1:23-25: . you have been born through the living and enduring word of God James 1:18:
God chose to give us birth through the word of truth
1 Thessalonians 1:5-6: . our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the
Holy Spirit and with deep conviction you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy
Spirit. Titus 1:3: he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me

We agree with Bultmann in this instance and the widespread practice of most churches that
the word of preaching is of the utmost importance and surely must be as intelligible as possible.
Agreed? Only, Jesus engaged in rather strange preaching. Instead of making his words accessible, he
seemed to hold back with the meaning of his words. He made the concepts of salvation obscure and
incomprehensible on purpose. Listen to his dialogue and judge for yourself. Could he not have made
things clearer:
John 6:47-56: Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your
ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from
heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever
eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh
to eat? Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his
blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will
raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh
and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
[Cf. John 3:3-9: Jesus replied, Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are
born again. How can someone be born when they are old? Nicodemus asked. Surely they cannot
enter a second time into their mothers womb to be born! Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, no one
can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but
the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again. The
wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is
going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. How can this be? Nicodemus asked.]

These are not the words of a person that wants to be understood. If I preached like that, you
would not want me back. This is double-dutch (or double-german). Jesus could have done better. How
can he be eaten like bread and how will people eat his flesh and drink his blood? Were they to become
cannibals? Why did Jesus not explain himself better?
Even now scholars are not absolutely certain what the words mean. With the benefit of hindsight
we know that Jesus flesh and blood have been given for us as a sacrifice on a cross and we share in the
benefits of the sacrifice by faith but do Jesus words further hint at Holy Communion or some deeper
intimacy with him? The crowd had no chance to listen to his dialogue and be impressed by a clear and
intelligible presentation. It was almost as if Jesus was revealing some truth but was also hiding behind his
words. And he was on purpose.
Increasing clarity according to Jesus design comes with growing friendship between God and
us:
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Matthew 7:6: Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs ...
Matthew 13:10-17: The disciples came to him and asked, Why do you speak to the people in parables?
He replied, Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not
to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even
what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do
not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
John 15:15: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead,
I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 16:17-33: At this, some of his disciples said to one another, What does he mean by saying, In a
little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me, and Because I am
going to the Father? They kept asking, What does he mean by a little while? We dont understand
what he is saying.
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, Are you asking one
another what I meant when I said, In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while
you will see me? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve,
but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but
when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So
with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take
away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give
you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you
will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this
kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not
saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved
me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am
leaving the world and going back to the Father.
Then Jesus disciples said, Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now
we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This
makes us believe that you came from God. [Note also as we will discuss later that the miracle of
knowing their thoughts disposed the disciples towards faith.]
Cf. Exodus 33:11: The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend ... Numbers
12:6-8: When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in
dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to
face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD ... Deuteronomy 34:10: Since then, no
prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.

I spell out what is happening here. We may at this point of time as a church be open to
operate with miracles but we would most likely adopt the following method: Draw a crowd with
miracles, then preach the Good News as intelligible as possible so that faith in Jesus comes out of the
preaching. We determine to go from miracles to preaching to faith. Only, this was not Jesus way and
wont work. This is important. According to Jesus and the Bible, the miracles must be met with a
response of faith and only with faith (and be it small) does the subsequent preaching make any sense.
Maybe this doesnt feel right it certainly hasnt been our practice but miracles must directly lead to
faith in Jesus and only then the preaching can further grow understanding.
Let me establish this truth from the Bible. Miracles are meant to do more than draw a crowd.
They are meant to draw a faith response:
John 2:11: This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his
glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
John 2:23: Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs
he was doing and believed in his name.
John 3:2: He came to Jesus at night and said, Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from
God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.

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John 4:48: Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, Jesus told him, you will never
believe.
John 5:20: For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even
greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.
John 5:36: For the works that the Father has given me to finishthe very works that I am doingtestify
that the Father has sent me.
John 7:31: Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, When the Christ comes, will he do
more miraculous signs than this man?
John 9:16: Some of the Pharisees said, This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.
But others asked, How can a sinner do such miraculous signs? So they were divided.
John 10:25: Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Fathers
name speak for me.
John 10:38-39: ... even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and
understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped
their grasp.
John 12:37: Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not
believe in him.
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 miracles themselves.
John 14:12-14: I assure 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. 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.
John 15:24: If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now
they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
John 20:30-31: Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not
recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in his name.
[Cf. By the way, the verses above demonstrate that the Bible is not unduly concerned with counterfeits.
The magnitude of the miracles (see the raising of Lazarus) and their context seem to be out of the devils
league and in any case he is more interested in causing sickness rather than healing. See also Exodus
7:10: Aaron threw down his staff in front of Pharaoh and his court, and it turned into a serpent . Then
Pharaoh in his turn called on the sages and sorcerers, and with their witchcraft the magicians of Egypt
did the same. Each threw his staff down and these turned into serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up
the staffs of the magicians.]

Then after the faith response further understanding is possible and preaching becomes
intelligible. This dynamic is played out again and again. In a moment I will explain why but first have a
look:
John 1:47-51: When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, Here truly is an Israelite in
whom there is no deceit. How do you know me? Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, I saw you while
you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you. Then Nathanael declared, Rabbi, you are the
Son of God; you are the king of Israel. Jesus said, You believe because I told you I saw you under the
fig tree. You will see greater things than that. He then added, Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven
open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. [Nathanaels faith was
prompted by Jesus prophetic declaration that he had seen him under the fig tree. This positioned him to
see even greater things.]
John 2:18-23: The Jews then responded to him, What sign can you show us to prove your authority to
do all this? Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. They

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replied, It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days? But
the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what
he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. Now while he was in
Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his
name. [Only after the disciples saw the miracle of the resurrection and put their faith in the risen Lord,
could they make sense of Jesus teaching.]
John 8:31-32: To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really
my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. [Once a commitment of faith
has been made, the truth will unfold.]
John 8:43-47: Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You
belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your fathers desires ... Yet because I tell the
truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why dont
you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do
not belong to God. [Jesus is not clear because the people have not put their faith in him and therefore
cannot hear. Only those that belong to God, can hear what he says.]
John 10:19-21: The Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, He is demonpossessed and raving mad. Why listen to him? But others said, These are not the sayings of a man
possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? [The level of openness to Jesus
determines the attitude towards his words which are obscure and raving mad to those that are hostile to
Jesus.]
John 10:24-28: The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, How long will you keep us in
suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly. Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe.
The works I do in my Fathers name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my
sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they
shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:37-38: Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you
do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I
in the Father. [Believe the miracles and trust Jesus identity so that you can know and understand more
of him.]

Probably the clearest example of how miracles, faith and preaching work together is recorded in
John 4 [retell in your own words]:
Jesus Talks With A Samaritan Woman
John 4:1-42: ... Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near
the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacobs well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was
from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, Will you give me a
8
drink? (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, You
are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews do not associate
with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a
drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.
11
Sir, the woman said, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you
get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it
himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds? 13 Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this
water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I
give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
15
The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water so that I wont get thirsty and have to keep
coming here to draw water. 16 He told her, Go, call your husband and come back. 17 I have no
husband, she replied. Jesus said to her, You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is,
you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is
quite true.
19
Sir, the woman said, I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this
mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. 21 Jesus declared,
Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in
Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation
is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the

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Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his
worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
25
The woman said, I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will
explain everything to us. 26 Then Jesus declared, I who speak to you am he.
The Disciples Rejoin Jesus
27

Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one
asked, What do you want? or Why are you talking with her? 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the
woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 Come, see a man who told me everything I ever
did. Could this be the Christ? 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him ...
Many Samaritans Believe
39

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the womans testimony, He told
me everything I ever did. 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and
he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42
They said to the woman, We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have
heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.

The Samaritan woman and Jesus discussed spiritual matters (e.g.: Jesus identity, spiritual water
[notice again the obscure use of images] and later worship) but only when Jesus performed the miracle of
revealing supernatural knowledge about the womans circumstances (the fact that the woman had been
married five times and was now living with a man that was not her husband) salvation opened up for her.
On account of this miracle she put her faith in Jesus John 4:19: Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
[John 4:25-26: The woman said, I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will
explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared, I who speak to you am he.] She believed in Jesus as the
Saviour because she said: He told me everything I ever did.
The miracle and the womans testimony of the miracle spread faith in her entire community and
during another stay of two days Jesus built on this kind of faith with further teaching John 4:39-42:
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the womans testimony, He told me
everything I ever did. [Notice how much the miracle and Jesus supernatural knowledge had impacted her.]
So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because
of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, We no longer believe just because of what
you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world. The
womans testimony of the miracle had predisposed people to exercise faith in Jesus which then positioned
them to benefit from Jesus further preaching. There was a progression from miracle to faith in Jesus to
understanding his preaching and growing in faith.
Why is there no alternative to this progression? Why can preaching not be intelligible unless
there has been a faith commitment first on account of some kind of miracle? The answer is that spiritual
truth cannot be understood apart from the Spirit of God who gives understanding. Our own natural
mind cannot fathom God. It is only when we make a faith commitment to Jesus Christ that we receive
the Spirit of God and are born as new people in God his children. Only then enlightened by the Spirit of
God can we hear and understand spiritual things:
1 Corinthians 2:6-15: ... No, we speak of Gods secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that
God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has
heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him but God has revealed it
to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the
thoughts of a man except the mans spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God
except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that
we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by
human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man
without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to
him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned ...

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John 3:1-6: Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling
council. He came to Jesus at night and said, Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.
For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him. In reply Jesus
declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. How can a
man be born when he is old? Nicodemus asked. Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mothers
womb to be born! Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is
born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. [Unless a
person is born again and the Spirit gives birth to the spirit in a person, he cannot see the kingdom of God.]
2 Corinthians 3:14-16: But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old
covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when
Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
[Only after turning to the Lord and committing to faith is the veil of blindness and not understanding
removed.]
[See also Luke 24:13-35. The two disciples hearts were burning as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them
but they only received Jesus words and acted on them after the miraculous discovery of Jesus identity.
On occasion, the words of God may burn with fire even for unbelievers but there needs to be something
from God some sort of revelation and faith before the fire of the word can consume a person and be
received so that there is conviction of the truth and zeal for mission.]

I come back to our main Bible reading once more. The reason that the core of the disciples did
not also take offense at Jesus words and abandon him is expressed in these words:
John 6:61-64: Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, Does this offend
you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh
counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you
who do not believe. ... [Even though Jesus words are spirit and life, there is grumbling because some of
the disciples do not believe.]
John 6:67-69: You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered
him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know [have
experienced through miracles] that you are the Holy One of God. [Since Simon Peter and the others have
put their trust in Jesus, they discern that his words have life.]

The core group of the disciples the Twelve had responded to the miracles with faith; therefore
the Spirit had given them life the kind of life in God which made them discern that Jesus subsequent
preaching had spirit and life. Faith in Jesus came before understanding. Jesus made nothing intelligible
to those that ignored the evidence of his miracles.
Where does this leave us? I think that we must have miracles. Maybe we can get away with
preaching only when we are dealing with lapsed Christians who already know that Jesus is real. These
people dont need further miracles to make another faith commitment toward him [cf. Billy Grahams
ministry in back-slidden Christian nations] but in a raw mission situation and this is the case now in
Australia we must have miracles according to Jesus own ministry and the Bible. Miracles are
demonstrations of power which point to Jesus. They demand faith so that further understanding will
come in the preaching.
In a practical way, this applies to all of us. Sometimes the miracle maybe a strange moment of
God demands a leap of faith (the holding back of judgement) before we can understand a new level of
teaching from God:
A pastor (Kris Vallotton) was for the first time confronted with a woman who had the strange
manifestation of shaking her head from side to side under the power of the Spirit while she was
prophesying. He jumped out of his chair, went out, sat in his car with his heart pumping. God asked:
Where are you going? Im scared. Im going home. She has a word for you and I am not giving it to
you unless you get back in here.

I summarize the teaching points. The first ten are from the last session: 1) The world-view of our
modern age cannot be changed unless a new set of compelling facts force a rethink. 2) In the church,
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these compelling facts consist of miracles. They challenge the material mind-set and confirm the
preaching of Jesus. 3) People flocked to Jesus because of the miracles that he performed. 4) The miracles
pointed to Jesus identity. 5) Miracles neither promise a life without struggle nor do they guarantee
growing understanding. 6) Immediately, after the multiplication of food, the disciples struggled in a
storm and were frightened when Jesus performed another miracle by walking on water towards them
and rescuing them. 7) Yet, as soon as the disciples let Jesus join them in the boat and trusted him, they
reached their destination. 8) The problem of the crowd was that they were interested in another miracle
lunch and healings but not more. 9) They believed Jesus for more of the same miracles but did not trust
him to provide eternal life. 10) What God the Father requires is that we raise our vision and believe in
Jesus whom he sent.
11) After the food miracle, the crowd kept asking for another food miracle but the first one was
enough and none was given. 12) When Jesus teaching became too incomprehensible, the crowd made the
mistake of ignoring the miracle and only considering Joseph and Mary his parents whom they knew.
13) Miracles also cause opposition because they confront people with the need for change. 14) The
methods of God will not fail because all those that he gives to us will come to us. 15) Instead of making
his words accessible, Jesus made the concepts of salvation obscure and incomprehensible. 16) Increasing
clarity comes with growing friendship between God and us.6 He does not throw pearls before pigs. 17)
The progression is not miracles, preaching and then faith but miracles, faith in Jesus and then
understanding the preaching. 18) Unless there is a faith commitment, we cannot be born anew and be
spiritual people who understand truth by the Spirit of God. 19) We must have miracles in a raw mission
situation.
As a church this morning can we make a fresh commitment to having miracles among us and
then dare to make better use of them? Let them point to Jesus. We challenge people to respond to them
with faith in Jesus as their Saviour. Dont take them for granted. Dont ignore the evidence. Dont just
enjoy them but make a commitment to Jesus. Unless you connect the miracles with Jesus, nothing
further will make sense to you. Put your faith in Jesus be born of the Spirit then listen and you will
understand the preaching. In Jesus name we have words of eternal life. Amen.

See also Ephesians 6:17: the sword of the Spirit . is the word of God. Revelations 19:11-16: I saw
heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True
his name is the Word of God Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the
nations Hebrews 4:12: . the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword
judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Isaiah 55:10-11: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without
watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the
eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return empty, but will accomplish what I
desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 1 Peter 1:23-25: . you have been born through the
living and enduring word of God James 1:18: God chose to give us birth through the word of truth

Luke 8:4-15: This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God But the seed on
good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering
produce a crop. Colossians 1:6: this gospel is bearing fruit and growing Acts 6:7: So the word
of God spread Acts 12:24: But the word of God continued to increase and spread. Acts 19:20: In
this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
1 Thessalonians 1:5-6: . our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the
Holy Spirit and with deep conviction you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy
Spirit. Titus 1:3: he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me Philippians
2:15-16: in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life Ephesians

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5:26: cleansing . by the washing with water through the word 1 Timothy 4:5: it is
consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Thessalonians 1:13: the word of God . is at work in
you who believe. 2 Timothy 4:1-2: in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this
charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with
great patience and careful instruction.
2

These examples are from Mark & Patti Virkler: Prayers That Heal The Heart, Alachua: Bridge-Logos 2001, p40-41.
A few pews in front of me, a couple that had recently left Living Grace over issues of spiritual healing with the methods of
Eastern religion cosied up to each other and seemed to feel very affirmed.
4
Mark Stibbe: http://www.fathershousetrust.com/blog/51, 2011: Theres a new book by Rob Bell out and its
called Love Wins.
3

In the opening pages, Rob tells us that the main reason for writing his book is because he now no longer believes in the
version of the Christian story that hes heard so often in the past. This version teaches that very few people will go to
heaven when they die and that the vast majority of people (billions in fact) will spend the whole of eternity in conscious
torment in hell. Rob puts it like this:
A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous
place called heaven while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for
anything better. Its been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to
reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided, toxic, and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus
message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.
Reading this, its hard not to admire Robs honesty. Many of us are naturally drawn to a person who asks the difficult
questions that many deep down are asking and which they often feel they dont have a legitimate forum to explore.
Love Wins faces these head on. And bravo for that!
So there is much to honour about Robs book.
In fact, let me mention a few things that I particularly like.
For one thing, I agree wholeheartedly that heaven is something we are called to bring to earth right here, right now. I
have thought and taught this for years. I am right behind Rob when he seeks to fill the word heaven with a more
immediate relevance. This I believe is true to the mission of Jesus.
Similarly, I agree that heaven is not something we go up to when we die. I have said and written for a long time that our
prospects are more glorious than that. It seems to me that the Bible teaches that we are not going up to heaven when we
die. Heaven is coming down to earth at the end of time.
Thirdly, I want to shout Hallelujah whenever anyone reinstates the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like
Rob, I dont think this is taught enough. So often we have treated the Resurrection as an afterthought. But on Easter
Day, heaven invaded. A new world came into being.
So theres a lot to learn and I think its important that people read Robs book carefully and respectfully.
At the same time, some readers and reviewers are getting very nervous about Love Wins. Much of this is because they
believe that Rob is whats called a universalist. Put very simply, Christian universalists believe that Gods love will
ultimately triumph. Peoples hearts will one day melt before the irresistible overtures of the divine love. Everyone and
everything will be reconciled to God. All will be saved.
Now theres a great deal of debate about whether Rob teaches this. I personally dont believe he does, though at times
he sounds as if he does. In addition, Rob is happy to leave certain questions unanswered when others want everything
tied up neatly. So, on page 101 (of my iBook edition), Rob asks questions whose answers would resolve pretty well all
the issues that are causing concern.
Here they are:
Will everybody be saved, or will some perish apart from God forever because of their choices?
Here is Robs answer:
Those are questions, or more accurately, those are tensions we are free to leave fully intact. We dont need to resolve

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them or answer them because we cant, and so we simply respect them, creating space for the freedom that love
requires.
It is really here that the problem lies. Rob argues that we cant ultimately know if everyone will be saved or not. But
others would want to say that we can know, because the Bible teaches that our choices in this life determine our destiny
in the life to come especially our decisions around Jesus.
I have just come to the end of writing a daily devotional commentary on the Gospel of John. It is called Every Day with
the Father and it will be published in October. I have been challenged time and time again by the way in which human
beings are presented with what in the Greek text is called a krisis a verdict. No one can sit on the fence when it comes
to the claims and the challenge of Jesus. Neutrality is impossible. We have to make a decision whether or not we are
going to turn from sin and turn to Christ. If we consciously remain in sin and turn away from Christ, the consequences
are serious. We miss out on eternal life and Gods righteous judgment remains upon us. If we turn from our sins and
turn to Christ, then the door to the Fathers house is opened and we can come running home into his arms of love. We
can live life in all its super-abundant fullness (John 10.10).
Now all of this bizarrely is found in the same Gospel which emphasizes the Fathers love, and indeed emphasizes it
more than any other New Testament book. In the same book that tells us the Father himself loves you dearly (John
16.27) we also find this, whoever rejects the Son will not see life; the wrath of God remains upon him (John 3.36).
And its really here that we cut to the chase. In proclaiming the revelation of Gods love, all of us have to be careful
whether its Rob Bell in Love Wins or me in I Am Your Father. We must always remember that according to the Bible
Gods love is not just expressed in terms of affection; it is also expressed in terms of anger. This anger is traditionally
known as the Fathers wrath and I define that as Gods righteous and measured anger over human sin, demonic
wickedness and social injustice.
Not long ago I was standing in a building in Auschwitz looking at all the names of the members of the Stibbe family
who had been deported from the Netherlands in World War Two and killed in the Nazi Concentration camps. I stared
with tear-soaked eyes at one name in particular Jonah Stibbe, six years old, who had been gassed to death on his first
day at Sobibor concentration camp in Eastern Europe. I can safely say that at that moment I felt the Fathers wrath
rising up within me. And I know to this day that this was just as much an expression of his love as anything else I have
experienced in my Christian life.
Those of us who proclaim the revelation of the Fathers love have to be very careful. We cannot just focus on his
affection and neglect his anger. We have to focus on both. The Fathers affection and the Fathers anger are both
expressions of his divine and perfect love. If we stress affection alone, we will love him but not fear him. If we stress
his anger alone we will end up fearing him but not loving him. If we stress both together we will have a healthy love
and a healthy fear of the Lord. And this will be the beginning of true and lasting wisdom.
I would love to think that our heavenly Abba will one day cause every heart to melt and that everyone will be rescued
from his righteous and measured anger over human sin, demonic wickedness and social injustice. But Im not sure I see
that in the Fathers book, the Bible. Im not sure that Rob sees that either, because like me he knows that the Father
respects our choices, however destructive and disastrous those may be.
In addition, Id love to believe that countless thousands of people before Jesus (and indeed since) have discovered Jesus
in some mysterious way or other within their own pre-Christian or non-Christian contexts. In the end we simply cannot
know where people will stand before God on the last day. But I do suspect we will be continuously surprised by who we
find in heaven and constantly undone by Abbas amazing grace.
In this year when we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible,
lets do what Rob Bell has done. Lets go back to the Fathers book. Lets study for ourselves those passages that Rob
quotes and lets study them diligently, in their original context. Lets be open about our uncertainties and lets be ready
to embrace ambiguity where ambiguity is justified. Lets be honest with each other and real as a church.
Robs book encourages us to ask the difficult and sensitive questions questions like,
What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
Do people get another chance after death to respond to Gods love?
Does a loving Father really consign certain people to an eternity of suffering in the fires of hell?
That is certainly something I respect and appreciate in Rob, even if I sometimes disagree with his conclusions. I

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encourage you to read the book with an open mind. Discuss it with other Christians. And may you find when you do
that love wins in your life too.
5

http://www.letusreason.org/pent33.htm: Kenneth Hagin tells a series of incredible tales about unusual healings he has done
when peculiar anointings have been manifest in his ministry: Several times the anointing has come on me to do unusual things
while praying for the sick. Sometimes I go along five or six years between times. The first time it happened to me was in 1950. 1 was
preaching in Oklahoma. A woman came forward for prayer. She said she was 72, but she looked like she was about to give birth to a
baby. Of course, she had a tumour. I started to lay hands on her to pray when the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, Hit her in the
stomach with your fist. On the inside of me, I said, Lord, Youre going to get me in trouble, going around hitting women in the
stomach with my fist! I dont believe I much want to do that! Well, if you get to arguing about it, the anointing will leave you-it will
lift from you just like a bird flying away after sitting on your shoulder. It left me. When it left me I thought, Well, Ill go ahead and
minister with laying on of hands. I laid hands on her again and the anointing came again and the Word of the Lord came again: Hit
her in the stomach with your fist. The Lord is saying to Hagin not to pray, but to punch!
I decided I had better stop and explain that to the crowd before I started doing it. So I told them what the Lord said, and I
punched her in the stomach with my fist. And God and hundreds of people are my witnesses that that stomach went down like youd
stuck a pin in a balloon. (Hagin, Understanding the Anointing, 114-115).
Hagin tells of another man he was told to hit in the head and a young female college student he hit in the kidney. (Hagin,
Understanding the Anointing p.116-117) Rodney Browne also has a story of him slapping a deaf person so hard the person fell flat
on the floor. And it worked! The deaf person got up totally healed.(Flowing in the Holy Ghost p.53, R.H.B quoted in counterfeit
Revival H. Hanegraaff).
6

Cf. R.T. Kendall: Out Of The Comfort Zone, London: Hodder & Stoughton 2005, p15-37.

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